Don't Stop Believin'

By J.C. Books All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Romance

Chapter Five

--Working hard to get my fill
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin’ anything to roll the dice
Just one more time
Some will win, some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on, and on, and on--

It was around eight pm when the bus arrived at the bus depot in Detroit. After carrying Declan off the bus and Evan shortly behind me, we called a taxi to take us to his parent’s house to ask for permission to use the jet. I was a bit nervous and wary because all I could think of is that his parents are going to call mine and turn me in and then I’m done. No more travel for me. My grandma’s money she gave me will go down the tube because I’ll be locked in my room for the rest of my life till the day I die. And Nigel will always be around and I’ll just want to scream in frustration for someone to come rescue me, but that won’t happen because Nigel and my parents will throw me down into the basement where no one will hear my pleading screams. And I’ll die alone and afraid.

Woah, that’s a lot to keep in for one person. This is why I need to get away. I’m gonna go bonkers if I don’t!

A half an hour later, we arrived at his parent’s house. The lights were all on and a ton of cars were parked outside. I got a bit worried. “Do you know what’s going on?” I asked Evan as I shifted Declan in my arms while getting out.

Evan got our suitcases from the back of the taxi before coming to stand next to me as the taxi drove away, back down the long driveway. I heard him curse under his breath. “It’s my sister’s sixteenth birthday today. I completely forgot.”

“Oh no.” I groaned.

“Yeah, I know the feeling.”

“Do we have to go in now?”

“Yes. My parents should be in their room, away from the party going on downstairs. So if we go in through the back, we shouldn’t be noticed.” Evan grabbed my free hand with his free hand and led me to the back entrance. He took a key out of his back pocket and unlocked the door. He checked to make sure the coast was clear before entering, towing me behind him. You could hear the party going on in the background. It was a bit disconcerting though because it was loud, yet sound proofed, making it possible to have a conversation on the other side of the house.

Evan led me up what looked to be a servant staircase—if there were servants—and we came out to a part of the house that was silent.

“My parent’s room isn’t too far away.” Evan said quietly as he led me down the hallway to a door. He knocked lightly on it. No answer. He opened the door slightly. “Mom, Dad?” He said into the room. No answer again. He opened the door wider and turned the lights on. “Dang.” He walked in. I followed behind.

“What? What’s wrong?” I held Declan against me, worried.

“My parents aren’t here.”

“What do you mean they aren’t here?”

“They’re gone.” He paced the room. “I’ll have to ask my sister where they went.”

“Are you sure you want to do that?”

“No.” He sighed. “But I’m going to have to.” He grabbed my hand again. “Here, let me show you a room you can stay in and so you can put Declan into a proper bed.” He took me down the hall a ways and opened another door to a room. He turned the lights on before setting the suitcases down by the couch. The room looked like a fancy hotel room what with a big bed, a couch, and a flat screen TV in the room.

“Woah,” I walked around the room in amazement, before going over to the bed to put Declan in it and tuck him in. “This is a nice room.” I turned back to Evan who was standing by the couch still. I smiled at him. “You rich people sure go all out on things.”

It took him four strides to come over to me before he planted his hands on my waist and held me in place. He lowered his head toward mine, and my stomach turned to butterflies at the prospect of him finally giving me the proper kiss I was due from him. “You ready?” He asked, smirking. All I could do was nod, too nervous to say anything, afraid to ruin the moment. His lips firmly planted themselves to mine, and my whole body went aflame as Evan’s hands became more possessive on me. He held me tighter, like he never wanted me to float away as he kissed me. I was practically on cloud nine.

After Evan pulled away from me and said, breathing heavily, “That’s what a proper kiss is.”

My face flamed with embarrassment. I wasn’t expecting to be kissed that soon. We’ve only known each other for a few days and we don’t know a lot about one another. Are we moving too fast? I have no clue. This has never happened to me before. Because even when Nigel and I were dating, we waited like five months before kissing.

I smiled at him shyly, my face still burning, and said, “Well, I guess James doesn’t have to deal with my deal anymore since it’s finished.” I laughed awkwardly.

“Yes, I guess.” He moved his hands off my waist, taking the warmth, and took a step back from me, with a confused look on his face. Or maybe it was sadness?

“Is something wrong?” I asked, worried I did something wrong. Maybe I said the wrong thing in mentioning James after Evan kissed me. I don’t know? Ugh, I’m so dumb when it comes to guys.

Evan shook his head. “Everything is fine.” He started to back out of the room, kind of wary…or maybe shock…it’s some emotion I can’t pinpoint. Which just lets me know that everything is not fine. “I’m just gonna go find my sister now.”

“O-kay…” I said slowly, trying not to startle him anymore that what he seems.

After that, he split the room like a banana, leaving me alone and confused on what just happened.

“That was weird…” I said to the empty room.

I sat down slowly on the couch, trying to piece together what just happened. After a while, my brain started thinking about the kiss I just had and a similar one I had a year ago. My memory loss not being a hinderacnce for once.

It was the one time my parents were nice enough to let me go to a concert in Detroit with some friends. We had left late in the afternoon, but Vivian had left our concert tickets at her house so we hat to turn around and go back for them, which made us even later. And by the time we got back on the highway, it was dark out. We left three days early before the concert. It was summer and we were ready to have some fun before our senior year. Nigel and I had recently broken up and I was ready to be free, and not give a care of what people thought about me anymore.

Once we reached the train station, we boarded it and found an empty compartment to fit the four of us.

“Viv, I can’t believe you almost forgot the tickets!” Our French foreign exchange student, Anita, said for the thousandth time in her adorable French accent.

“Calm down, Anita. At least I remembered them eventually.” Vivian sighed in the seat, tired of Anita’s constant nagging she’s been giving her since we had to turn around for the tickets.

I ignored Anita’s and Viv’s bickering and turned to my cousin, Cassidy. She was the only reason I could come to this concert. My parents didn’t trust Viv since she was a “bad influence”—not really actually, she’s just outgoing—and then they don’t trust Anita since she’s from a different country. My parents are very superstitious about people from other countries. It’s kind of annoying if you really think about it.

“So, Cass,” I started to ask, “How are you and Davis?”

“Oh,” She said timidly, “We broke up.”

I blinked back, surprised. “Really? It seemed as if you two would be together forever.”

She shook her head slowly. “No, not forever.” Bitterness was laced in her voice.

“Did he do something?” I asked, genuinely concerned.

She glanced at Anita and Viv, hesitant to answer. She pulled out her phone and started to type something. At first I thought she was ignoring my question all together, but then my phone pinged. I glanced at it.

New message from Cass

I opened it, to see what she said.

I was in a domestically abusive relationship with Davis. I finally had to get out. I couldn’t stand it anymore. So, I left him.

My eyes got wider and wider just reading what she said. “I didn’t know,” I said quietly.

Cass came over and sat next to me. “Nobody knew.” She spoke in a low voice as to not let Anita and Viv hear. “I didn’t tell anyone until someone noticed how different I was around Davis and other people.” She sighed, sounding exhausted. “That, and the fact that I came to school a bloody pulp basically.”

My eyes really widened at that.

She smiled kindly at me. “I’m okay now. Jake really helped me get back on my feet. And my family was a big support too. Davis knows to stay away from me until I’m comfortable enough to talk with him again.” Her face turned harsh. “Which will never be ever.” She mumbled angrily.

I just stared at her. I thought Cass was perfect, but I was completely wrong. She was Captain of her cheer team, got accepted to Yale and Princeton on several scholarships, that I knew of. She was good in school—capable of being Valedictorian—and to top it all off, she was gorgeous. Her dark green, emerald colored eyes were so memorizing with her light blonde hair and light skin to compliment her features.

Her face changed and so did her demeanor. “So, how are you and Nigel then?” She asked excitedly.

I licked my lips, nervous. “Um…we broke up too…” I looked away, incapable of looking her in the eyes.

“Really? You guys were a cute couple?” I could hear the confusion in her voice.

I clasped my hands and stared at him. “He abused me too.” I whispered.

Cass enveloped me in her arms, hugging me. “Did you talk to anyone about it?” She asked when she pulled away from me and made me look her in the eyes.

I shook my head. “No. My parents are horrible about things with me. They control me and don’t think of what’s best for me.” I glanced at Viv and Anita. “And I don’t want to tell Viv, since it will just upset her. And Anita…well, I don’t really know her, so I’m not going to tell her all my personal problems…”

Cass had a hurt look on her face. “You could’ve told me.”

I couldn’t bear to look at her with that hurt look on her face. It was going to make me cry. “I know. But I didn’t want to bug you with it, since it’s overly depressing.”

She gave me another hug. We stayed like that for a few minutes. It really helped to make me feel better. It’s weird how hugs can do that. Most of the time I hate hugs, but in this situation, it’s okay.

“Okay, on a brighter note,” Cass said excitedly as she pulled away. “I’ve got a date for the concert!”

“Really?!” I raised an eyebrow at her skeptically. “How?”

“Well, Jake has a friend in Detroit who has to take his sister to the same concert we’re going to. And Jake’s friend had asked a different friend to go with him, but he bailed, so Jake’s going instead.” She pursed her lips. “I guess it’s not exactly a date since all he said was, ‘I’ll see you there’. Which could basically mean anything when it comes to Jake…”

“That’s neat. But how does Jake know someone in Detroit?”

“Oh, well their dads are friends actually. You know, people who are high up in the business industry know everyone and anyone.”

“Oh, right.”

Sometimes I forgot that Cass was rich and I was not. It didn’t bug me, I just usually forgot since she didn’t act like she was rich. She was really humble about it.

Cass and I finally noticed that Anita and Viv had stopped bickering and had fallen asleep in their seats, exhausted. I yawned, just seeing them made me sleepy. Cass noticed.

“Why don’t you sleep? I’ll stay awake till we get there.” She waved her phone. “I’ve got a distraction.”

“And its name is Jake.” I pointed out, teasing her.

She blushed. “Yeah, yeah,” She grumbled. “Just go to sleep, Mimi.”

“Fine.” I leaned my head back, resting for the long ride to Detroit.

Someone shook me awake.

“Mimi. Mimi.”

“Five more minutes…” I mumbled.

“Mimi, we’re here.”

I sat up fast. “Huh?” I blinked, trying to steady my swimming head and tired brain. I looked up to Cass. “What time is it?”

She looked at her phone. “It’s eight-forty pm.” She saw the alarm in my eyes. “The concert isn’t till two days from now, silly. We’re heading to our hotel now.”

“Oh,” I rubbed my eyes to help make myself wake up. After standing up, I gathered my things and then helped Cass wake up Anita and Vivian. I took Vivian since I knew she punched and kicked if someone woke her up before she was ready to be woken up.

After waking up Vivian and Anita, we arrived at our hotel by taking a taxi that took about twenty minutes to get there. When I exited the taxi and looked up, I saw that the hotel was The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit. It is an upscale hotel set in a 1924 Italian Renaissance style. The only way we were able to stay there is because Cass said she’d pay for the hotel rooms and picked a fancy hotel that we could stay at. Even though we were mostly coming to Detroit for a rock concert, we were going to stay a few extra days for some girl time before our senior year of school. Which is great since there’s an indoor pool that I’m dying to try out. Oooo, and the spa too. I totally need some relaxation.

The rock concert was held at The Fillmore Detroit, which was about nine minutes away if you walked—I had googled it before we even left. I was overly excited for this trip. I had really needed to get away.

Cass had booked two rooms. They were both suites. One for Anita and Vivian and the other one for us. When she told me she had booked two suites, I told her that was way too extreme for this little trip, but she insisted and I wasn’t going to stop her because once she had her mind set, there was no stopping her from having her way.

After checking in and coming to the floor where the suites were at, Viv and Anita went to their room while Cass and I headed to ours. “I’ll see you two in the morning.” I told Anita and Viv before they went into their room.

“Maybe only one,” I heard Viv grumble. I knew Anita hadn’t let up on the ticket thing since we had woken up and made our way here. It was kinda getting annoying. I’m glad I won’t have to deal with that, but then I feel bad for Viv because I know she is feeling sorry for forgetting them and almost making us late for our train. But we made it so I really think that Anita should let it go. Not that I’m going to tell her since I never—usually—speak my mind. Unless if I get really irritated, then I explode.

Once we entered our hotel suite, I dropped my bag in the nearest spot that wouldn’t be in the way and kicked my shoes off, needing to just flop onto a bed and deflate. Which is exactly what I did. I deflated the bed spread and myself at the same time, face first.

I felt Cass sit down next to me. “I texted Jake letting him know we got here safely. Since he told me that I had to tell him when we got here.”

“Okay,” I said into the bedspread, which made if somewhat muffled.

A few seconds past. Cassie’s phone pinged. “He just asked what room number I’m in. Should I tell him?”

I rolled over and Cassie was looking at me. “Sure. But it’s not really my choice. He’s your boyfriend.” I rolled back over, done for the day, not wanting to talk anymore.

“He’s not my boyfriend.” I could feel the embarrassment in her voice. There was silence, then I heard her typing a response. “Okay, I did it.” She laid back into the bed and sighed. “This has been a long day.”

I made a noncommittal sound, not wanting to talk and just sleep. Just as my body was relaxing enough to fall asleep, there was a knock on the door. I groaned and then jabbed Cassie’s side. “Make them go away. I want sleep.” I grumbled to her.

She sighed. “Fine. But you owe me one.”

“Mmmm. Fine.”

Cass got up and went to the door as I went back to trying to sleep. But that did clearly not happen since I heard Cass shriek and scream “Jake!” after the door was opened. I cringed into the covers and then grabbed a pillow to cover my ears, not wanting to hear anything and to try to get some sleep. Which was clearly not going to happen right now since Cass was now wide awake and animatedly talking to Jake. Ugh, c’mon… I pushed myself up from the bed. I rubbed my eyes as I went over to Cass, who had wrapped herself around Jake in a hug. “Cass,” I grumbled. “Make him go away.” I was not in the mood to entertain people because I would really like to sleep.

Cass untangled herself from Jake. “Sorry, Mimi,” Cassie’s face was red, embarrassed. Jake looked embarrassed too since he was averting his eyes, not directly looking at anything. She looked to Jake. “Jake, this is my cousin, Mimi. Mimi, this is Jake.” She introduced us since I had never met Jake before, just heard about him.

Jake held his hand out and met my gaze, getting over his embarrassment. “It’s nice to meet you, Mimi.”

I shook his hand, sleepily. “That’s Mira to you. Only Cass calls me Mimi.” I told him. And it was true. Well, except for Nigel. But he doesn’t count anymore. But thank goodness Cass has been calling me that since we were young, because if she had started when Nigel had been dating me, I would’ve totally been weirded out every time I heard it.

“Oh,” He said lamely.

“But it is nice to finally meet you.” I started to say, going back on my thing on not wanting to talk. “I’ve heard so much about you.” I glanced at Cass to see her reaction. She was fidgeting.

Jake smirked. “Oh, really.” He glanced at Cass too. “I didn’t know I was that interesting.”

Cass glared at him. Probably because of the word interesting since he made it more pronounced. It’s also probably some hidden meaning between them.

Someone cleared their throat. I hadn’t known someone else was in the room with us.

Jake turned toward that person. “Sorry, man. I forgot you were here.”

“It’s fine.” The guy said as he came closer to where we were standing. “I didn’t want to get in your way.” The guy had blonde hair and light green eyes. He looked to be in his early twenties, maybe nineteen. He was wearing a black tank top with a brown jacket over it with a dog chain tag necklace. There were two, small hoop earrings in his left ear. At first I thought my impression of him was going to be an arrogant snob, but I didn’t get that from him. He also seemed really familiar, but that’s crazy since I’ve never met him in my whole entire life until now.

“Cass, Mira,” Jake was saying, “this is my friend, Evan.”

“Hi Evan.” Cass said.

“Hey,” Was all I could manage, my sleepiness starting to take over again. I yawned.

“Looks like someone’s tired.” Evan said with a smirk on his face.

I yawned again instead of answering him. Once I finished, I looked to Cass. “Make them leave. I’m going to bed.” I turned around and went back to the bed before flopping on top and then crawling in to the covers. I basically got into the bed the hard way, but I was tired and lazy.

“Well, you heard the girl.” Evan said as I started to shut my eyes. “Let’s go, Jake.”

“Bye, Cass. I’ll see you in the morning.” Jake said his goodbye to Cass.

Cass said her goodbye and then I heard the door shut. Finally, some peace and quiet. I snuggled deeper into the covers, not caring that I hadn’t changed into my pajamas, just as Cass joined me.

“Goodnight, Mimi.”

“Goodnight, Cass.” Was the last thing I said before the power of sleep took over me.

The two days before the concert were a blast.

That next morning, Cass, Viv, Anita, and I all went down and got breakfast before going on a shopping spree down to the Shops at Kresge Building, which was only a four minute walk away from the hotel. For lunch we went to the Hudson Café that was nearby. After that, we went back to the hotel and went to the pool, which I was really excited for since I had just bought a new swimsuit that I was just dying to use. Well, not literally dying, but you get the gist.

When we had all changed into our swimsuits, our towels wrapped around us, we went down to the pool area and ended up meeting Jake, Evan, and Evan’s sister, Kathleen, down there. We took a spot near where Jake, Evan, and Kathleen had their stuff at. After I took my towel off, I immediately went to the deep end of the pool and jumped in, really wanting to enjoy myself since I usually couldn’t at home.

When I surfaced, someone was calling my name.


I turned my head and found Cass walking towards me. I swam over to the ledge. “What’s up, Cass?”

She knelt down next to me. She opened her mouth, hesitating, before closing it. “Never mind.”

“Okay…?” I said slowly and unsurely. I knew she had wanted to tell me something, but I wasn’t going to bug her now with what it was.

“Just,” She hesitated again. “Have fun.”

“Oh, don’t worry, I will.” I smiled happily at her, even though I knew something was on her mind. I knew I’d ask her later about it.

“Okay,” She got up and walked away from me.

I moved away from the ledge and then went under, swimming more towards the middle of the pool—at least what I thought was the middle since my eyes were shut and I was just pinpointing from where I looked before I went under. When I resurfaced, someone had jumped in in front of me, spraying water in my face, which made me end up swallowing it and end up having a choking fit. I moved back over to the ledge to try to calm my choking fit without drowning at the same time.

“Are you alright?” I heard someone ask me.

I had to finish coughing before I could answer. “Now I am.” I turned to look at the person and it was Evan. “Oh,” I said surprised that he was wondering how I was.

“Oh?” He gave me a confused look as he treaded in the water.

“Sorry,” My face flamed, embarrassed. “I didn’t expect you to be the one to ask that.”

“Why’s that?”

This is not a question that wouldn’t be unexpected since I’m a completely awkward person, and now I’d be forced to explain in an awkward position as to why.

“Ummmm…” I averted my eyes, nervous. “Well, you see…” I then went on a long explanation—completely awkward, mind you—on how I didn’t expect him to be the person. My ending was really lame and afterward, Evan just stared at me, not exactly knowing what to say. But then, unexpectedly, starting busting a gut. Which just made me more embarrassed then what I already was. This is really helping my self-esteem. I thought ruefully. I started to swim away from him since he hadn’t stopped laughing and knowing that I could have a better time somewhere else. After getting out of the pool, I walked over to the hot tub where Cass and Jake were snuggling and chatting. When I got in, they separated.

“Don’t bother.” I said as I sat down in the hot tub. “You guys are cute together anyways.”

Cass blushed and Jake averted his eyes, nervous. Cass coughed into her hand. “Well, thanks for being so blunt, Mimi.”

“No problem.” I smiled sweetly.

Cass rolled her eyes. “I don’t know how I’ve put up with you for so long.”

“Because you love me.” I said simply. We looked at each other, then laughed.

“Now what have I gotten myself into?” Jake grumbled.

Cass and I laughed again.

Afterwards, Cass asked, “So, why did you decide to come over here anyways?”

I fiddled with a piece of my hair as I told them the story. Even though it’s not exactly a story, just a weird experience. Well, I find it a weird experience, they might not.

“Huh,” Was what Jake said after I finished. “That’s strange of Evan to act like that.”

“Strange?” I asked, confused.

“Yes,” Jake contemplated what he was going to say next. “Usually he never chases after a girl, since most of them know who he is. But apparently you’re different.”

“Why does he not chase after girls because of who he is? Isn’t he just a normal good looking guy?”

Jake was about to answer, but someone said, “So, you think I’m good looking then?”

I looked up to see Evan with a cocky smile on his face. I blushed, but didn’t dare to look away. “Well, yes, but now with you being all cocky, it’s not quite so prominent in your features.” I replied back.

“Well, aren’t you a comedian.” He replied back as he got in the hot tub and sat next to me.

I glared at him, but didn’t say a word.

That was just the first day. Then second one was even worse.

After the five of us—Kathleen asked if she could join us just so she could get away from the boys—went to the spa, we decided to just hangout in Cass and I’s hotel room. It was really fun just talking with Kathleen—even if she is only fifteen, but she’s one of those more mature ones that I can handle. That was until Jake and Evan came to crash on our fun with a couple of other guys that they had met when they had been playing pool or cards or whatever guys did for fun when girls weren’t present.

I was a bit claustrophobic, so being in the hotel room—even though it was a suite—with nine other people in the room made it feel smaller than normal. At one point, Cass had pulled out Uno™ and asked if anyone wanted to play, everyone piped up, besides me.

“Mimi?” Cass asked and glanced at me somewhat asking me if I was okay.

“Yeah, deal me in, I just need some air.” I got up and walked out of the room to get some air. I leaned against the wall and sighed, exhausted even though I hadn’t really done anything. Sometimes being around a lot of people exhausts me. It’s like they suck on my soul as I’m around them, draining my life force. My essence if you really think about it.

Just bringing up the word essence makes me think of Jim Henson’s movie, The Dark Crystal, where the Skeksis suck and then drink the essence of basically any living thing they can get their hands on.

I smirked and shook my head at my thoughts. I’m such a weirdo.

“What are you thinking about?”

I jumped. I hadn’t noticed that Evan had come out of the room.

“That I’m a weirdo.” I said truthfully and without a second thought.

“Really now?” He raised a perfectly constructed blonde eyebrow in question.

“Yep,” I said blatantly, not caring anymore that he thought I was a weirdo and just basically accepted that I am a weirdo.

He crossed his arms across his chest and looked me up and down. “Do you want to know what I think?”

“And what’s that?” It was my turn to raise my eyebrow—even though it wasn’t perfectly constructed like his—in question.

“That you really are a weirdo.” He smirked at me with a cocky look in his gaze.

I slapped him on his arm. “You’re mean! I’m going back in.” I started to head back in, but Evan grabbed my hand and stopped me.

“Please, don’t,” He said in a quiet voice, not exactly pleading nor wanting, just there, almost like a whisper in the wind, a secret.

“Why not?” I asked in a quiet voice also, as if there was some purpose to being quiet in a hotel hallway. Besides not disrupting the other guests.

“Because…” He hesitated, as if almost nervous. “Because I enjoy your company.” He finally said, a bit confident.

I glanced at him, skeptical if he really meant it. Nothing in his face told me either way, so I said, somewhat coldly, “I don’t believe you.” Before I went back in leaving him there, confused and alone.

The night of the concert was another weird experience for me, but fun just the same.

After having that “chat” with Evan in the hallway, things were a bit awkward between us, which is weird since we’d only known each other for a total of three days, six hours, thirteen minutes, and twenty eight seconds. Not that I wasn’t counting.

So having to stand next to him the whole rock concert as my favorite band, Veridia, played on was a bit awkward. But I ignored the feeling since I wanted to have fun and not worry about awkwardness between Evan and I.

Some point during the concert, I was bumped by some dude and ended up tumbling into Evan, who held me in his arms longer than a normal person would. And as I stared into his light green eyes, something clicked in me. I don’t know what exactly, but my heart started beating faster and I felt an electrical current in me where Evan had grabbed onto my arms, making me feel hot. Finally Evan righted me and I felt back to my normal self.

That was a weird sensation. I thought to myself as I went back to listening and dancing to the music. I hope Evan didn’t think that it was weird or meant anything.

The concert ended with Veridia playing their newest song, Still Breathing.

“That was amazing!” I yelled as we left The Fillmore Detroit, excited from the ending of the concert. “Isn’t Veridia just one of the coolest bands ever?!” I turned around and faced the group with a big smile on my face. This consisted of Vivian, Anita, Cass, Jake, Evan, Kathleen, and the three other dudes Jake and Evan had met yesterday. I think their names were; Eric, Dan, and Tim. They apparently were also going to the concert. Not for Veridia playing though, for some other bands that I’ve never heard of that played before Veridia.

No one answered me. They all seemed a bit restless. Now as I looked at them, they seemed to be paired off in couples. Cass with Jake—no dur. Viv and Tim. Anita and Dan. Kathleen and Eric—they were both the youngest with Kathleen being fifteen and Eric sixteen. Evan was the lone wolf in the group. As was I. So apparently I’d have to be paired with Evan if we did something in pairs of two.

I was going to say something, but Evan beat me to it.

“Do you guys want to do laser tag? I hear Galaxy Zone isn’t that bad and it’s not that far away.”

Everyone nodded collectively and said sure.

So after we got in the van that Eric, Dan, and Tim had driven over to the concert, we rode, smushed together since it only was supposed to hold seven people and we had ten, for thirteen minutes before arriving to Galaxy Zone. So for thirteen minutes, I had to sit on Evan’s lap, with him breathing on my neck, which sent shivers down my spine every time.

At one point during the ride Evan had whispered in my ear, teasing me, “Comfortable?”

I gritted my teeth. “As comfortable as I’ll ever be.”

As the van entered onto the highway, Evan had wrapped his arms around me to hold me still and keep me in place. It was in a protective like manner, not I-think-of-you-in-an-attractive-way-and-I-want-to-hold-on-to-you way. Which bummed me a bit for some odd reason.

Once we finally arrived at Galaxy Zone, I tried to get out of the van as fast as I possibly could, but since I was in the back and I was a nice person, I let other people go before me. Even though I really didn’t want to stay on Evan’s lap for any longer than I possibly had to.

The clock said nine-twenty when we walked in to Galaxy Zone. They were open till eleven on Friday nights. So we’d have about an hour and forty minutes to do laser tag.

“So,” Jake clasped his hands together. “How should we team up? And how are we divvying up who pays what?”

“Let’s ask first, and see what they offer before we decide on that.” Cass spoke up before walking over to the counter to inquire on the deals they offered. Jake followed her.

As she inquired, I pulled my wallet from my purse to see how much I had to offer for helping to pay for the laser tag. Twenty-six bucks cash… I hope that would be enough or else I’d have to sit out.

I made a deal with myself years ago that if I ever had to help pay for something, I made sure I had the right amount to help out or else I’d sit out. I didn’t think it would be fair if I paid the least amount, but still got to enjoy the fun while someone had to help pay for the money I couldn’t afford.

A few minutes passed before Cass came over and told us the deal she was able to barter with the guy working behind the counter since we were the only ones there. Since there was ten of us, we each had to pay a total of sixteen dollars for it to be fair. I relaxed, glad that I was able to pay the full amount. And still be able to have some leftover too.

“Okay, so the guy said we can group together two different ways, but three different styles.” Cass was explaining after we had given her our share of the money so she could go pay for it. “We have—“ She looked at her phone checking the time. “An hour and a half to do this. So we can separate by doing boys vs. girls. Or we can split five on five. Or split into five teams of two.” She looked at each of us. “So let’s put it to a vote.”

I definitely knew I didn’t want to do the five teams of two because I’d be stuck with Evan and I don’t want that to happen. But it probably will happen, since that what seems to have been happening to me lately.

“Alright, shut your eyes and I’ll call out the groups. Raise your hand for the one you want.” Cass was saying. I shut my eyes. “Boys vs. Girls.” I raised my hand. Silence, as she counted. “Five on five.” Another bout of silence. “Five teams of two.” More silence. Then, “Okay, you can open your eyes.” I opened mine. “The final vote has been made. It’s five teams of two.”

Everyone cheered while I cringed internally. So everyone paired off and I was stuck with Evan. After we suited up in the charger box and laser gun, we went to our prospective areas. There were spots for six different colors, but since there were five groups, we only had to go to the five spots. The six different colors were; yellow, red, green, blue, purple, and orange. Apparently we weren’t using the color yellow. But what do I care about that?

Evan and I were blue. Which totally works with my mood since I was pretty down about being with Evan.

“Cheer up.” Evan said as the game started up. “I’m not that bad at this game. I think we could win.”

I rolled my eyes. “Let’s just get this over with.” I said grumpily as I lifted my laser gun up and it made a noise, letting me know it was fully charged. I was in no mood to be messed with, so getting my ticked off mood to go away was going to be easily solved by shooting people with lasers.

“Wow, you sound so enthusiastic.” Evan said sarcastically.

I turned to look at him, a determined look etched on my face. “Oh, I am.” I turned back around, waiting to start.

Let the games begin.

Because of my kill, leave no survivors mood and with Evan’s skill at laser tag, we ended up winning all seven rounds that we played. They were ten minute increments each, but cut in half with five minutes on each round. So it basically was fourteen rounds, but only seven really counted.

“You’re not a bad shot.” Evan told me as he held his hand out to me at the end of the game.

“Thanks. Neither are you.” I said as I grabbed his hand and shook it.

He held onto my hand a bit longer than necessary after we shook hands and we just stared at each other. Me looking into his light green eyes, him looking into my brown ones.

Something clicked between us again and before I knew it, Evan was pulling me forward and planting his lips on mine.

Mindlessly, I dropped my laser gun and wrapped my hand around his neck as I stood on my toes so it was easier for him to kiss me since I was only five-foot-four and he was over six feet. Evan pulled me closer as he deepened the kiss.

After we finished kissing, we parted from each other and I went back to having my feet firmly on the ground, a bit wobbly, but firm nonetheless.

Once that moment was over, we never saw each other again.

Until now. I thought as the realization that the guy I liked my whole senior year of high school was right in front of me this whole time.

Since I was already sitting down, still as a rock I was, as the shock and realization settled in my body. I broke down, crying, with relief and happiness just as the door reopened and Evan entered.

He rushed over to me. “Mirabella?! Is something wrong?” He asked, concerned.

“No,” I said as I wiped some of my tears away. I smiled a happy, sheepish smile at him. “Everything is fine.”

A wave of relief washed over his face and he sighed with relief. “Good. I thought you had been hurt or something.”

“Nope!” I chirped as I wrapped my arms around his neck and buried my face there.

Evan hugged me back and we stayed like that until we both fell asleep; me thinking of happy thoughts that haven’t been with me for a while.

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