Happy Friday super sleuths!
I shoved the last of a king-sized Snickers bar in his mouth as I wrapped up our weekly Northern Ohio Association of Conspiracy Theorists online chat. Kate thinks it's hilariously appropriate that a group of guys who spend the majority of their time debating whether or not the moon landing was a hoax goes by the acronym NOACT because we get NO ACTION. Get it? Yeah, Kate might be hot but I'm not giving her any points for originality.
I was just about to log out of instant messenger when a new chat popped up.
SethFan#1: Hi there!
SethaSaurus: Very funny, Kate.
SethFan#1: This isn't Kate.
SethaSaurus: NOT funny Liam.
SethFan#1: It's not Liam either.
SethaSaurus: ...ok? So who is it then?
SethFan#1: Someone who has a thing for you...
SethaSaurus: Yeah, sure. Logging out now.
My finger hovered over the logout button but I saw that SethFan#1 was responding to my message and I couldn't quite bring myself to log out without seeing what they said. I mean, what if it wasn't a joke? What if some girl actually had a thing for me. I grabbed the bag of Cool Ranch Dorritos shoved underneath my desk and tore it open with my teeth. Something told me this was about to get interesting.
SethFan#1: Meet me at Farrow's Arches at midnight and I'll explain.
My Cool Ranch Dorrito crusted fingers hovered over the keyboard, but I had no idea how to respond. It was 11:38. That gave me 12 minutes to get to the arches to either be humiliated or meet my dream girl.
SethaSaurus: Not sure this is a good idea.
I polished off the last few chips in the bag and poured the crumbs down my throat. There's no way I wasn't going to the arches, but I had to figure out who was going to be waiting for me.
My phone buzzed on the desk next to my computer. I had a new text.
Right. So apparently my secret admirer was into riddles. Not gonna lie, that's kind of a turn on for a guy who's been known to spend entire weekends trying to break a code created by someone named ConspiracyLuvR. I looked at the clock on my phone, only 10 minutes till midnight if I was going to get there in time I had to get going. I peeked my head out into the hallway, the house was silent and dark. My parents had a strict 9 PM bedtime routine and I could hear my dad snoring loudly behind the closed door of their room. It was now or never.
I fired up my mom's minivan and crossed my fingers that the sound machine in my parents' room would drown out the noise of the garage door opening. My stomach grumbled as I pulled out of the driveway. All this stress was making me hungry. Thank God my mom kept snacks for me in the car. I grabbed a package of Oreos and stuffed a few in my mouth. By the time I pulled up to the school I had finished half the package and it felt a little like all the cookies had congealed together in a giant cookie cannonball in my stomach. Not. Good.
The clock on the car radio read 11:58 PM. I threw open the car door and made my way through the shadowed gardens to the arches. Out of nowhere two hands flew around my eyes.
"Guess who?" The voice sing songed softly while someone else slipped a worn piece of paper into my clammy hands.
Honestly, I had no idea.
But when I opened my eyes and saw three girls staring back at me, I knew this was going to be more complicated than I ever could have imagined. Especially after I read the note.
Pain shot up my thigh my bicep and I had to bite back the urge to yelp. Yep, this was actually happening. I grinned from ear to ear. I just couldn't help it. Three hot girls waiting in the garden for me? This was awesome.
"Eeew, Seth! You have all this black stuff in your teeth. What have you been eating?" Kate looked totally disgusted with me as usual, but she slung her arm around my shoulders and gave me a little squeeze. I don't even think she realized she was doing it. Typical Kate. Liking people in spite of herself.
Taylor hung back a little from the rest of the girls. Her icy blue eyes looked even more haunted than they usually did in the moonlit garden. She offered me a small smile and I had to wonder if she was the one who came here to meet me tonight.
Meanwhile Maddie stood next to Kate, pulling down her t-shirt and tugging at jeans that looked too tight now that she was eating again. Her eyes flicked onto my face and then flicked back to the ground.
All of the sudden I knew exactly who had called me there tonight. At first my jaw dropped in shock but then I felt my lips turn up into a smile when I noticed the tiniest pink flower embroidered on Maddie’s shirt.