“Hey,” I whisper into her ear as I surprise her with an embrace from behind. The last bell has rung for the day and I found her where I expected, at her locker. It’s been a few days since they busted Pam for drugs and I feel at ease, seeing Lane here on her usual routine.
“Hey back,” she giggles as I kiss her neck. She turns around to face me and drops her bag on the ground. I pull her chin up for our lips to touch and I feel her lean against my chest.
“So Pam’s gone,” I hold her against my chest.
“Mmhmm…” she nods warmly.
“About Winter Formal,” I barely finish my thought as she snaps her head up and stares at me with wide eyes. “What?”
“Are we going?” She sounds like she’s panicking, but there’s still a hint of a smile in her eyes.
“I-I don’t know,” I was sure of it a second ago, but now I can’t make out what her reaction means. “Do you want to go?”
She opens her mouth, but nothing comes out. Staring off into the distance, she finally admits, “I’ve never gone to something like that before.”
“You’ve been at this school for two years and you haven’t been to our winter formal?” I try to mask the disbelief in my voice but the question itself gives it away.
“No,” she says shyly as she lowers her eyes. “No date, no dress, no money.”
I can’t help but smile. She’s so cute.
“Lane,” I start as I hold her face, tilting it up to meet my gaze. “You’ve got a date, you’ll look beautiful in anything, and I’ve already bought the tickets.”
Her eyes shift into a look that I can only describe as a cross between gratitude and love. Lifting herself onto her toes, she gives me a kiss on my nose. I chuckle and pull her close until I feel her melt into me.
“Don’t worry about the dress,” I tell her, “I’ll get you one.”
She pulls away to raise an eyebrow at me.
“What? You don’t trust my taste in fashion?”
She lowers her lids and looks at me like Really?
“Fine,” I groan, “I was gonna bring Vinh and Scar.” Her smile returns and she spins around to finish packing her things. As soon as she closes her locker, I tell her, “I have to get to practice. The season’s finally in and Coach is always mad that I stick around with my girlfriend too much.”
She kisses me on the cheek and responds, “Well, it sounds like Coach is jealous. Love can’t cope with people who scream for a living.”
With that, she turns on her heel and walks toward the front gate. I smile as I watch her walk away just for a bit before turning back to wave at me.
I enter the locker room, wrinkling my nose from the awful stench. Surprisingly, most of it comes from the coaches’ rooms, but no one says anything.
As I pull my shirt off and toss it in my locker, I hear my phone ring from inside my pocket. I pause to pull it out and check the screen.
It’s an unfamiliar number. I swipe to take the call.
“Hello?” I sound wary, mostly because I never get calls from strangers.
“Hello, Silas,” the slimy tone sends my body into shock.
She responds to my silence with, “Miss me yet?”
“Leave me alone,” I bark into the phone, but as I pull it away from my ear to hang up, I hear her loud mouth.
“THIS IS ALL BECAUSE OF THAT BITCH.” I bring the phone back to my ear and hear her cackle as she continues, “but if she’s gone, there won’t be any problems anymore. Maybe just a bit, but at least she’ll stay gone.”
“What are you talking about?” I can feel heat rising as the tension at the back of my neck tackles me in waves of panic.
“All this time, you just can’t see my value because she’s blinded you. I don’t know how a boring girl like her could seduce the brains out of you, but don’t worry. You and I can be happy together like we were when we were young.”
I shake my head. We were never happy together. I hated her guts after I realized she was just a loud bitch who had been spoiled by her parents.
“Don’t you dare touch a hair on her head,” I growl into the phone.
“It’s so cute when you’re all mad and protective. It’s too late for her, but I can’t wait to see you act this way for me. Well, I gotta go. Love ya, bye!”
She hangs up the phone and I am stuck staring at my phone screen, where a smiling Lane posed with me kissing her cheek.
“Wait, why did you need my locker combo,” I speak into thin air as I walk home alone. I have my earbuds, which have a microphone, on and I’m currently talking to Nat over the phone.
“Because,” she answers over the line, “Pam wanted to see me put drugs in your locker. She had to check. Little did she know I also tried memorizing her combo. I just came back at a later time and moved everything back.”
“I know she was trying to frame me and all, but I feel bad that she got caught and humiliated like that…” I kick a rock that’s on the ground and it hits a tree.
“That bitch deserved it. I was doing god’s work, turning her in. She is constantly snorting cocaine, consuming that crap like how you used to pour five Pixy Stix into your mouth at once.”
I laugh at the memory, but pause suddenly as I notice a squirrel on a tree I am approaching. I pull my phone from my pocket and snap a picture to post on my wall.
“Why are you so quiet?” I hear Nat ask in the phone.
“Check my page, I just posted it.” I stare at the thing with the fluffy tail until it darts up the tree and out of sight.
“Oh! That’s so cute! But the sketchy ass van behind it kind of ruined the picture.”
I look up at the van and realized that it really did look shady, like a typical pedophile kidnapper van. I try to walk by it cautiously.
“Yeah, I’m actually trying to walk by it, and it’s really freaking me out.”
“Well I mean, what are the chances of getting kidnapped twice in a school year? I doubt that you-”
“AAAH,” I scream as a large man with an ape mask charges at me. I elbow him in the face and try to kick him in the groin, but he grabs my leg in time and twists it so that I fall on my knees and hands. My phone falls out, and on the screen I can see that my call with Nat had not disconnected.
“Nat! It’s the van! They’re taking me!”
Before I knew it, the man covers my face with a white cloth and everything goes dark.