Jacob Mackenzie (Evening of September 11, 1994)
Mr. Ricci told us to mingle, but honestly, I wanted nothing more than to get the hell away from all those people. It seemed as though everywhere I turned someone new would be trying to make lame small talk with me. It made me sick.
As I went outside to get some fresh air, I noticed both Priscilla and Brian, sitting around a fire pit, along with a couple of kids our age. Finally, some people I can actually talk to.
“Jake, come and pull a chair up next to me,” Priscilla called out the moment we locked eyes.
I grabbed a nearby fold-out chair and dragged it over to where they were sitting. I was about to sit down, myself, when I caught a glimpse of some familiar frosted tips across the way. Chris gave me a sinister grin as I finally took my seat.
“Jake, I’d like you to meet my friend Cassie,” Priscilla began, pointing at the brunette beside me. She then pointed over to Chris. “And my neighbor—”
“Chris,” he interrupted, reaching over the fire to shake my hand. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“You too,” I said, nervously, searing off one of my arm hairs as I went in for said handshake. I better not say or do the wrong thing here or else he may report it back to Adeline.
“Jake and his family just moved to Freehold not too long ago,” Priscilla explained to the group, putting her hand high up on my kneecap. I hastily brushed it away when I noticed Chris staring directly at it.
“I’m sensing a weird vibe here,” Cassie commented, looking back and forth between Chris and I. “Do you two know each other?”
“No, I mean, I’ve seen him around town a couple times,” I fibbed.
“Yeah, Jake’s been all over town,” Chris mumbled under his breath, taking a sip of his punch.
The group soon became completely silent.
“Well, this has been sufficiently awkward,” Brian said to break the tension. He then stood up from his chair. “I’m going to get some more punch. Anyone else want anything?”
“Actually, I’ll go with you,” I told him as I got up, also.
“No, you just got here,” Priscilla whined, tugging on my sleeve.
“Yeah, Jake, stay awhile,” Chris intervened. “We were just about to play truth or dare.”
“Well, I would, but I just remembered I have to piss,” I told him as I pried Priscilla off of me and attempted to make a run for it. However, my escape plan failed when Mrs. Ricci stepped out and announced that dinner was ready to be served. Shit!
“C’mon, New Buddy,” Chris chuckled, tossing his arm over my shoulders. “You’re sitting next to me.”