A Short Story to Share

It’s been a busy week of appointments as I continue my quest to find a job to cover my COBRA premium. Interviewing, doctors, fingerprinting. I haven’t run around like this since right before surgery and they had me do a million blood tests and imaging studies. I realize this is a bit late, given I’ve been trying to be more consistent with updating this blog, but I think you might enjoy this. At least, I hope you do! In honor of Halloween Eve, I thought I would share a short-short YA story I wrote a LONG time ago to celebrate. (Now I guess it would be considered Flash Fiction since it’s only 990 words).It’s never been published, and I wanted you to be the first people I share it with.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love dressing up and joining in the fun, even when I’m just walking around with the kids. A few years ago, I went to work dressed as Ash (but kept the fangs out of those little kindergartners’ sight). I’m planning to dress up as Simi tomorrow after my interview. And, yes, me gots barbecue sauce! {You know, cause them little trick or treators makes for a yummy snack (although Akri won’t let the Simi eats them).} Now if I can remember to do my nails and my fangs, I’ll be good to go. My son is going to be teenaged Bamm Bamm, and I can’t wait to see how he looks in the costume! We made the hat and shirt; the hat is still  He and his cousin (who is going to be Pebbles) have been planning this for weeks, so it should be tons of fun.

Before I get to the story, I just want to remind everyone that the GoodReads giveaway ends around 3 a.m. tomorrow morning (they think I’m still in Cali, so does my voicemail. Go figure). Here’s the link if you need it:

http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/68345-riptide

On to the story! I hope you enjoy!

First Date

 Sarah shut the closet and stepped back to examine her outfit in the mirrored door. Her brown boots were the perfect complement to her jeans and sweater. Satisfied, she flipped her head forward and brushed her shoulder-length hair to add some fullness. Stepping closer to the mirror, she opened her hazel eyes wide to apply her mascara. Hopefully, this kind wouldn’t clump. She wanted everything to be right tonight.

Although she wouldn’t start school until next week, James, her new neighbor, had been relentless in asking her to come out tonight. He finally wore her down by promising to introduce her around so she wouldn’t be so lost on Monday. If nothing else, she would hear some new music and get him off her back at the same time. Not that she minded his attention; after all, he was really nice. And cute. That hadn’t escaped her notice. At sixteen, it was about time she started dating.

Lincoln High was her fourth school in three years. It was hard to make friends when your mother insisted on living like nomads. Sarah had been so happy when her mother said she could stay with her aunt until graduation. She would actually be in one place for the next two years! Maybe now she could start living like a normal teenager.

When her aunt dropped her off, Sarah wandered around Lincoln’s locker-lined hallways before locating the gym where the Battle of the Bands would be. It wasn’t very crowded, and James wasn’t there yet. She climbed the bleachers to watch the first band set up. A few people were hanging around doing the same thing. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a boy with dark hair—he looked like a senior—watching her intently. When she looked at him, he winked. She quickly looked away. Flirting wasn’t her forte.

“There you are,” someone behind her said. It was James. “I was beginning to think you bailed.”

She turned around. “I said I’d be here.”

“That you did.” He had such a nice smile. “Come on. I want you to meet a few people.” He walked down the bleachers. Feeling self-conscious, Sarah hesitated. “You coming?” he asked. Her uneasiness increased as they neared a group of eight popular-looking kids. She wasn’t good at groups.

Before James introduced her to anyone, a pretty girl with a wild mane of auburn curls looped her arm through James’. She smiled. “I’m Keri. You’re Sarah, right? I saw you the other day. I would’ve said hi, but I was late for rehearsal.”

“Keri’s a dancer,” James explained. Sarah could tell he was in love with her.

The familiar feeling of not belonging gripped her stomach. How could she be so stupid? Of course he only wanted to be friends. That’s how it always was. “Look, James,” Sarah said, “I, uh, can’t stay after all. I have to get going. You know, finish unpacking and stuff. I’ll meet everyone Monday.”

She left before he could protest and made her way across the crowded gymnasium. Outside, on the basketball court, she sat, leaning against the brick wall, listening to the music and watching the stars.

“It was too stuffy in there for me too,” someone next to her said. She hadn’t seen him, nor did she acknowledge him. “I knew you’d come,” he added in a soft-spoken, confident voice.

Sarah eyed him warily. “You psychic or something?”

“Something like that,” he said, smirking.

Sarah looked at him again. It was the winking guy from inside. She studied his face; at least she’d know one person Monday morning. His deep-set dark eyes gave him a brooding look. He resembled one of those boys from the troubled teens talk shows, dressed in a black leather jacket, white tee shirt and jeans, but with short hair. He was extremely handsome. She couldn’t tell how tall he was, but that didn’t matter; everyone was taller than she was.

“I don’t go to school here.”

“Huh?” She never asked if he did. His unwavering gaze made her nervous. “Well, this had been fun, but I’ve got to go.” She rushed her words. “See you ‘round.” She’d taken only a few steps when he appeared in front of her. She hadn’t even heard him get up.

“Mind if I walk with you?” His voice was smooth and nonthreatening.

She shrugged. “Whatever.” He walked beside her. It was chilly, and Sarah wished she’d worn a sweater.

“Take this.” He draped his jacket over her shoulders.

In the gym, a different band began playing. He stopped and listened. “Let’s go back in. They’re really good. You’d like them, Sarah.”

Her stomach tightened. How did he know her name? This was too weird. “Maybe we should.”

“Relax. I’m not going to hurt you,” he said softly as they walked into the gym. Despite every warning about strangers she’d ever heard, she believed him.

They stood at the foot of the bleachers. As the band launched into their next song, she let her guard down. She felt totally comfortable with him. He stood behind her, wrapping his arms around her shoulders. She couldn’t tell if he was being protective or possessive. Either way, it felt good to have someone treat her special, even if she didn’t know his name.

“Andre,” he said, bending down so she could hear him.

He’d read her mind. Again. “How do you do that?” she mumbled.

“Call it a gift.” He sounded detached.

When he switched to holding her hand, Sarah was surprised that it felt a little cold. Then again, it was October.

After the show, around eleven-thirty, Andre walked her home. “My car’s in the shop,” he explained apologetically.

“Do you want to come in and warm up?” She still had his jacket.

“No. I’ve got things to do. I’ll see you again. Soon.”

She didn’t doubt he meant it. He left without trying to kiss her.

 

© 2013 Michelle Moklebust

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I write paranormal stories, usually YA with a dash of romance added in. I have been a bank teller, a school photographer, a news photographer, and a special education teacher.

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