Sisters of Midnight:Dark Moon
Author: Kimberly Diaz

Chapter 8
Chapter 8

Chapter 8

The doorbell rang just then and my feet were rooted to the ground. It was too late to do anything about the fact that I was going to the dance with a guy I cared nothing about and the guy I loved would be there with my enemy.

Rachel looked out the shuttered window over Tracey’s bed. “It’s Tony. I see his SUV.”

I grabbed Emily’s arm. “Whatever he says, you are not going home with anyone but us. I will kill you if you leave us alone.”

Tony had an impressed grin on his face when we came down the stairs. “Hey sexy, you ready?”

Relax, I told myself. It’s only one dance. Try to have fun.

Tony was pretty handsome, but after last night, I knew I had no desire to kiss him ever again. I didn’t owe him anything just because he was taking me to Homecoming. I grabbed my purse and took his outstretched hand. He had on a white button up shirt with the sleeves rolled to under his elbows and khaki dress pants. He looked very California with his blonde sun-streaked hair spiked up. I promised myself to let him down easy when he brought me home. As the three of us headed out the door, Ryan and Zack were arriving. Emily and I waved goodbye to the others and Tony sped down the road.

Our High School gym had been transformed into a jungle. The theme, “Welcome to the Jungle”, was fitting since our mascot was the Panthers. Balloons and crepe paper in bright greens and other colors were everywhere. A curtain of fake jungle vines covered the doorway that led to the hall where the restrooms were. Also down that hallway was the darkened room where backstage props and lighting equipment were stored.

I couldn’t believe my luck that as soon as we walked into the dance area, we were standing right in front of Cyndi and Nick, who looked like they had just gotten there too. They were busy looking at everything before they noticed us behind them. He took my breath away; the green silk shirt he wore under his black blazer matched his eyes perfectly. It was tucked into black dress pants that molded themselves to his lean muscles.

Cyndi, I hated to admit, looked gorgeous in a barely there white dress that showcased her tan and left nothing to the imagination. She flashed a fake smile at me. “Faith, you look cute.”

Tony put a possessive arm around my waist. “Don’t our women look hot, Sullivan?”

Nick stole a glance at me, taking in the outfit I wore. “Very.” he agreed, meeting my eyes ever so briefly.

“Nick,” Cyndi pouted, “you promised we’d dance when we got here.”

“We’ll see you later,” I said, silently telling Nick that I understood, that there would be no repeat of yesterday night.

Tony and I danced for a little while before getting something to drink. It wasn’t so bad, I thought. Tony was behaving himself, offering politely to refill my empty cup whenever I ran out of something to drink. I was so thirsty from all the dancing. Nick appeared to be slightly bored as Cyndi refused to let him out of her sight. The others arrived then and we headed to our table to socialize.

Ryan and Tracey were all over each other. I was happy for them. Ryan was a great guy and even better, he was Nick’s best friend. He was sweet to Tracey the way Nick was with me. Zack, Rachel’s date, was kind of cute too, with brown hair and a nose covered in freckles. Not my type, but he and Rachel fit well together. She was smiling nonstop.

Emily, I knew, was going to be trouble with a capital T. She had worn magnet oil to attract as much attention as possible and was dancing with a guy from the soccer team, one of the three that had asked her out, while the other two guys who had asked her looked on. She was slowly making her way closer to Mr. Nichols who was one of the chaperones. He was trying not to watch her as she danced but was failing miserably; slightly uncomfortable, but unable to look away. Every now and then she would look at him from hooded eyelids.

“I hope Em knows what she’s doing,” I whispered to Tracey. Then to Tony, I said, “I need to go to the girls room, be right back.”

I went past the curtain of jungle vines and took a deep breath. It was hard to see Cyndi with her arms all over Nick, but I knew I had to stick it out for a couple more hours. I didn’t have to use the restroom but needed a minute away from the suffocating hold Tony kept on me as we danced. I stepped inside the darkened equipment room thinking about what I was going to say when I broke up with Tony. I tensed as I heard someone come into the room behind me. Then, realizing who it was even though all I could see was an outline, I relaxed.

“I didn’t think we’d get a chance to be alone tonight,” I said.

Nick stepped closer and slipped his arms around me. “Hey, I saw you come in here, but it’s so dark, how’d you know it was me?”

I smiled. “Just a feeling.” I kissed his cheek and whispered in his ear. “Plus, I’d know the scent of your cologne anywhere.”

I gave him my lips, getting a rush from being so secretive and I sighed as we kissed wildly for several seconds. I must have sounded disappointed when we pulled apart because he explained, “Someone might decide to come after us. I’ll meet you later.” He was going to meet us at the woods before the ceremony.

“Okay.” I turned to leave but stopped when he called my name. “Yes?”

“You do look really beautiful in that dress. I haven’t thought about anything else all night.”

I blushed even though it was dark. “See you later Nick.”

I almost laughed out loud when Tony didn’t even appear suspicious after my return. I didn’t want him touching me when my mouth was still burning from Nick’s kisses, so I tried to dance with other people as much as possible. Tony was very possessive and kept cutting in, refusing to leave me alone. He tried to kiss me several times but I put him off; he was acting a lot different then he had been at the beginning of the dance.

Emily came over to us and said to Tony, “I need to borrow Faith for a minute.” Once we were alone, she whispered, “Nick hasn’t taken his eyes off you all night! He looked like he wanted to kill Tony when he wouldn’t stop trying to kiss you. Cyndi looks pissed!”

“Well, what am I supposed to do about her? Cyndi knows she and Nick are over tonight. It’s not my fault he’s into me and not her.”

“Just be careful. I have the feeling she’s spoiling for a fight.”

“I will.”

After a few more dances and some more punch, the principal made the announcement for all Homecoming nominees to come on stage. I had almost forgotten about this part of the dance. Tony led me to the stairs and kissed my cheek. “Good luck.” I felt my legs get weak as I walked up the rickety metal stairs and I held the railing tightly. What was wrong with me, I thought. Was I so nervous that it felt like the room was spinning?

I joined Cyndi, Nick and the seven others onstage and suddenly grew nervous as I discovered that I really wanted to be chosen. It was a huge honor and my mom would be so proud if I won and followed in her footsteps.

I wasn’t surprised at all when Nick’s name was announced and they placed the crown on his head. Cyndi looked smug and pushed her shoulders back, tossing her long blonde mane behind her, flashing a triumphant smile to the gym. I noticed her edging forward as the applause for Nick died down and the announcer prepared to name Nick’s queen.

Please, I prayed silently. Not Cyndi. Let one of the other girls win. Michelle, my friend from cheerleading, was much more deserving than her. “No,” I cried inwardly as I saw Cyndi take a step. But hers was not the name they called.

“Faith, you won!” Michelle squealed in my ear as she hugged me with genuine warmth. I was stunned but smiled as I stepped up to Nick’s side to receive my tiara. I made the mistake of looking back at Cyndi just then. She was wearing a look of complete and utter disbelief. She recovered quickly enough, but at that moment, I could tell she hated me.

This was twice now that I had won something she thought should be hers; head cheerleader and now Homecoming queen. (Oh, yeah; and Nick too, but she didn’t know that yet). I smiled through the surprise. People were taking pictures for the yearbook and the paper, then Nick had my hand and was leading me off the stage steps.

“What are you doing?” I whispered shocked. Was he going to claim me as his right in front of everyone? That would definitely make Cyndi and Tony mad. I suppressed a giggle. What was wrong with me? I didn’t want anyone to get hurt.

He smiled at my confusion. “Did you forget, Homecoming king and queen always start off the first slow dance.” I had forgotten. Here I was being presented with the perfect opportunity to dance with Nick. And no one had any say about it. Nick and I would start out and the other nominees were to pair up and join in.

It felt only natural as I put my hand on his shoulder and his went to the small of my back. He positioned us so that there was no room between us. I smiled up at him, my head cloudy as if I were in a movie.

I didn’t feel like myself. We became lost on the dance floor as everyone joined in, surrounding us in movement.

“I knew the hottest girl would be my queen. The next time we dance, it’s going to be at that new club in town so I can show you how I’d be dancing with you if the whole school weren’t watching.”

“I’d really like it if you showed me now.”

“Faith,” he groaned softly. I knew I wasn’t being fair, but something was making me say what was in my head. Cyndi and Tony had disappeared and being in Nick’s arms, hearing his words, was more than I could stand.

I looked into his eyes, seeing my love reflected in them, wondering if everyone could see it, when his lips brushed against mine ever so lightly I thought I had imagined it. I came out of my fog, realizing what he’d just done. “Nick, we can’t! Not here!”

“I couldn’t help it, this feels so right.” But after that he kept his emotions in check. He was holding me so tight against him I almost couldn’t resist stealing another kiss. I knew if he did it again, I wouldn’t be able to stop him; rationality had been replaced by desire. His hand was slowly moving in circles on my back. I closed my eyes and put my head against his shoulder, the heat of his body scorching my cheek.

No sooner had I done that, a voice hissed, “We need to talk.” Cyndi had maneuvered her dance partner over by us. The slow song ended, replaced with a fast one I heard often on the radio.

“I’d like my girl back now, Sullivan,” Tony demanded rudely from the other side of us. “You got your one dance. I know you’ve been drooling over her all night just like every other guy here. No offense Cyndi.”

Nick reluctantly released me. “Whatever Tony; She’s your date. Tonight,” he added. “You should be glad for what you’ve got while you’ve got it.”

“What I’ve got,” Tony growled as I stepped away from Nick and closer to him, “is the Homecoming queen.”

I touched his arm, annoyed by his over-possessiveness. “Calm down Tony. I’m here with you, so let’s go dance. Or I can go dance and you can stay here and continue acting like a jerk!”

I didn’t want to leave Nick’s side but that kiss was a close call. I could tell Cyndi was ticked off, probably about losing when she felt she deserved to win. I heard her and Nick start to argue as Tony escorted me back to our table.

Looking around to see if I could find any of my friends for support, I spotted Rachel who was mouthing, “Are you crazy?” She must have seen our quick kiss. I wondered if anyone else had seen it. I knew it had been wrong of us to do, but for that second, I had wanted it, regardless of who was looking.

Tony grabbed his drink, which I noticed had a smell to it that was clearly more than just punch. I wondered how long that had been going on tonight.

“Did you spike your drink?” I exclaimed in disbelief.

He put his arm around the back of my chair. “Relax. Here, have some more punch.” He handed my drink to me. I took one taste and spat out the bitter tasting liquid.

“This isn’t punch. Did you put something in my drink too?”

He laughed proudly. “You’ve been drinking it all night. I must’ve put too much in this time. It’ll loosen you up.” He leaned in to kiss me. I’d had enough of Tony, his groping and the annoying behavior.

“We need to go talk. Outside.”

I swayed on my feet as I stood, gripping the chair for support, and I wondered how much alcohol or whatever else was in my system. It wasn’t like I’d never had a drink before. But I usually made sure to eat plenty first and sip my drinks. Tonight I had been too nervous to eat much and who knows how much I’d had to drink or if there was more than alcohol in my body. He grinned. “Sure, let’s go.” He grabbed my arm tightly as if I might escape and I suddenly felt afraid. He already had a temper, how would he react if he’d been drinking? I looked for Nick but he was facing Cyndi’s wrath.

I heard from Tracey later that Nick and Cyndi were having their own verbal battle. She and Ryan happened to be dancing next to them.

Cyndi was yelling, “You were supposed to make sure I won!”

“Really?” he had yelled back, “How was that part of the deal? Faith won fairly. Was I supposed to change all the votes?”

“Whatever,” Cyndi went on. “About her, I’m willing to forgive your temporary indiscretion. Just as long as you know I won’t tolerate any further intimate moments between the two of you, especially not right in front of me or at the next dance.”

Nick tried to be tactful. “I can’t take you to the next dance.”

Cyndi, who no one ever rejected before, dropped her voice down low. “You will if you want to keep that scholarship my dad just gave to you. One word from me and it can go to someone else.”

Tracey said when she threatened him with that, his rarely seen temper flared. He was most likely thinking about how she lied to him. “Save it, Cyndi. You can’t play that card anymore. I already talked to your dad. I know you had nothing to do with me getting it.”

“Nick!” she yelled, angry at not getting her way for once. But something else had caught his attention.


When Tony grabbed me, I had already changed my mind about going outside with him. I should break up with him around people. I could now recognize the bitter smell of alcohol heavy on his breath and I didn’t want to get him mad. At least there were other kids and teachers here in the gym. He wouldn’t make a scene in front of everyone, would he?

“On second thought,” I told him, “I’d rather just stay in here and dance till we have to go home.”

“No, you had it right before, we need to go talk outside.” He tightened his grip on my arm, roughly pulling me toward the double doors a few yards away.

“Tony, wait.” I knew I wouldn’t be able to talk him out of going outside but I figured I would play along with him. I wracked my brain for a way to get help. I knew if he got me alone, I’d be in trouble. “I have to make sure Emily has a ride home.”

Before he knew what was happening, I made a beeline for Emily who was the closest one of my friends. Her last dance partner was nearby looking dejected as she attempted to flirt with Mr. Nichols. He was attractive, as far as teachers go anyways, with light brown hair, blue eyes and a boyish grin-kind of a younger Brad Pitt. He kept fiddling with his tie like it was hard for him to breathe. She had his other hand in hers and was reading his palm. I noticed his eyes kept slipping down from her face.


She jumped, not hearing me come up behind her. “Oh, hi. Congratulations, by the way. I knew you’d beat Cyndi. What’s wrong?” My worry must have shown on my face.

“Em, I need you to find me in like five or ten minutes and tell Tony that you need a ride home.”

She turned away from Mr. Nichols. “But…I’m not ready to leave yet!”

“I know and I’m sorry,” I apologized. I tried to explain but I was starting to really feel the effects of whatever was in my system. That explained why I had been so reckless with Nick on the dance floor. “I’m going to tell Tony I don’t want to date him anymore since he seems to think I’m his girlfriend. But he’s been drinking and I don’t think he’ll take it well. He put something in my drink too and I’m not sure how much I’ve had. He wants us to leave right now but I can stall him if he thinks you have to go with us. If anything goes wrong, get Nick.”

I left without waiting for her to answer.

From Tracey’s retelling of what she saw, Nick had started to go to me when he saw Tony grab me the first time, but Cyndi had detained him and they continued to argue, Nick relaxing when he saw I had gotten away from Tony to talk to Emily.

I went back to Tony. “Emily needs to go home in a little bit. She couldn’t get another ride.”

He turned on me. “Well she needs to find one, I told you we have other plans. Let’s go talk.”

Against my better judgment, I followed him out, looking back at Nick who wasn’t having much luck calming Cyndi down. Once outside, Tony surprised me by letting me have my space as we walked down the sidewalk that led to the courtyard area outside of the cafeteria. Relieved that he wasn’t going to try and force me to leave, I went to sit down at one of the stone benches but he grabbed my hand and led me around the corner. There were a couple of scattered benches that were a little more secluded on this side of the school because of all the trees. He pulled me down gently down next to him. I could faintly hear traces of music from the gym resonating in the air.

“I’m glad you came with me tonight,” he spoke, as if he had no idea I was angry about what he’d done to my drink. I didn’t want to give him any false hope. He was being so calm I started to lose the feelings of anxiety that had been building up. Maybe things would go smoothly.

“Tony, I-” His mouth came down on mine before I could finish. “This is why you brought me out here, isn’t it,” he whispered, placing a slobbery kiss on my neck.

I tried to pull away, but he held my arms “What, no! Tony, stop!”

His face turned stony and he stilled. “Stop, so that’s how it’s gonna be with you, huh? I go all out to show you a good time, spend a ton of money for our own room, and you still want to play the tease. You know, I could tell you wanted me last night.”

I almost choked at his assumption. “I never told you to get a room Tony, or gave you any reason to believe you should.”

“Your body did,” he said contemptuously, trying to kiss me again while forcefully pushing me back on the cold bench and I winced as my cheek scraped against the rough cement. The situation was quickly spiraling out of control. I thought about screaming for help, but I knew we were too far from the gym for anyone to hear me over the music. My limbs felt heavy, my actions too slow and I sent my purse tumbling to the ground as my fingers fumbled around for something to use as a weapon.

Desperate, I made one last attempt at talking him off me. “Tony, we can still go to the room you got. This isn’t going to be very comfortable.” I willed him to listen so I could get away, hoping he’d be fooled by my apparent eagerness. I knew I had underestimated him when I saw the steely reserve in his eyes. “Don‘t worry, we won’t be bothered out here. So, did you and Sullivan have a good laugh over the way you played me?”

Oh why didn’t I notice he spiked my drink earlier? My head was fuzzy, my heart racing. “Tony, you have to let me up. I don’t want this.”

He went on talking as if he hadn’t even heard me. “You walk around school acting so coy and innocent, not wanting me to kiss you at all, but you sure weren’t saying no when Sullivan’s hands were all over you in the history room yesterday.”

I froze and stopped struggling temporarily, fully comprehending his words. I should have listened to my gut yesterday when I felt someone watching us. “It was you! You’ve been following us around!”

He looked down at me with a calculating smile when he saw that I understood. “You two were so wrapped up in each other that you never even noticed. You didn’t notice anyone at the library either. Did you like the picture?”

I knew at that moment what it meant to be truly frightened. What would he do now that he knew the truth, that I wanted Nick and not him? I tried to apologize for hurting him. “Tony, I didn’t mean-”

“I don’t care what you meant! Tonight you’re my date! You owe me for all the weeks of teasing, for getting my hopes up. Oh yeah, and for acting like a tramp with Sullivan when you can barely stand for me to touch you.”

I tried to push him off me. “Tony, I have to get home. My mom-”

He looked down at me, eyes blazing with anger. “Another lie! Your mom is working tomorrow-you don’t have to go visit relatives.”

Tony was a lot brighter than I had been giving him credit for. How did he know? I opened my mouth to ask him another question but he pressed a beefy hand down on my mouth, silencing me. I tasted blood as my teeth pressed into my bottom lip. “Enough talking,” he ordered. He replaced his hand with his mouth and kissed me roughly. I trembled with fear as I felt a hand snake up my leg.

Do something, my brain said, but my body was too scared to comply. I tried to bring a knee up hard where it would bring the most damage, but he caught my leg in his hand before it could connect, my reflexes slowed by the unfamiliar substance in my system.

“Baby, you don’t want to do that,” he whispered. “Relax. Pretend you’re with Nick if it helps.”

I raked my nails across his face instead as I pulled an arm free, catching him off guard. He yelped and stopped kissing me, touching his hand to his face. When he pulled it away, I could see wetness reflected in the moonlight. His hand closed into a fist.

“You little bitch!” he yelled at me, his face twisting into a mask of outrage. My eyes squeezed shut, afraid he was going to hit me as it became apparent that I had only served to make him even angrier. “I guess you were trying to tell me you like to play rough. I can handle that.” He went back to kissing my neck, his hands grabbing at me roughly. I cried out as I heard a rip and felt the material around my neck fall loose. I was trying to fight him off but was no match against a drunk, angry football player.


Inside the gym, Cyndi was in the middle of a rant. Emily had gone out to the parking lot to look for me. We were nowhere to be found so she ran to locate Nick. “Faith’s in trouble,” she said half out of breath. She could feel it as she spoke. “Tony wouldn’t keep his hands off her so she went outside to break things off. But he’s been drinking. She said he slipped something in her drink too and now I can’t find them. I’m scared for her! She told me to come after them, but his SUV is empty.”

Cyndi whirled around angrily glaring at Emily. “Nick is busy with me right now. You better tell your friend she needs to stop depending so much on my boyfriend and keep the one she has happy.” She turned back to Nick only to find him racing out the door. Emily went to tell Tracey, Rachel and their dates that Nick might need help.


Tony was still on top of me, attempting to stop me from screaming with one hand and pulling at my dress with the other. Tears ran down my cheeks and I knew if I quit fighting, there would be no stopping him. “I don’t know why you’re fighting me, Faith. You’re acting like you’ve never done this before.”

His words sent a sudden surge of adrenaline through me.

“I haven’t!” I yelled, gathering all my strength and giving him a hard push. Tony lost his balance and slipped off the bench, hitting the ground with a loud THUD! I took that opportunity to run but his hand came out to catch one high-heeled ankle, pulling me down next to him. I screamed as I hit the ground and he reared up above me, pinning me down. He opened a hand and I knew this time he was going to hit me. Tony was beyond reasoning with.

The fall had left me able to see the gym now, which was still hundreds of feet in the distance, outlined in the dark. I wished that I had never left the safety of its doors, knowing that everyone was having fun inside while I was alone.

“Tony, no-”

His hand never connected. Things began to happen so fast after that.

A foot came out of the darkness and made contact with Tony’s chest, causing him to fly off me. As soon as I felt the absence of his body weight, I scrambled to my feet, ignoring my pain and clutching my torn dress. I located my fallen purse and instinctively moved away as my rescuer pulled Tony up to face him.

Tony swung at Nick blindly, his inebriated state hindering him. I was like a deer in headlights, wanting to run from Tony, but unable to look away. Instead, I backed against the brick wall and looked at Nick in shock, seeing him as I never had before. He tore off his blazer and threw it carelessly to the ground behind him.

His face was stone cold, handsome. His green eyes shone obsidian in the darkness as he looked at me quickly to make sure I was out of the way. He looked very dangerous, but cool and collected, as if he knew what the outcome of the fight would be. My gaze dropped to his fisted hands, always gentle with me and I knew they would be anything but gentle with Tony.

“You’ve had this coming a long time,” he warned as a solid fist connected with Tony’s jaw. Tony stupidly got right back up, trying to rush Nick, getting a punch in as they both fell to the ground and rolled over twice before Nick finally came up on top. He pulled Tony forward and punched him again. “How do you like being held down? It’s different when you’re fighting somebody your own size, isn’t it.” Another punch. ”So you have to get girls drunk to take advantage of them?” Another. “I wonder what the cops will think about that.”

Tony had finally stopped trying to reach out and grab at Nick, his head lolling from side to side, bruised and bleeding. I was numb, tears frozen on my cheeks, my breath shaky as I slid down to a sitting position, my legs too weak to stand. I silently watched as Nick continued to pummel him.

“Nick, stop!” I cried. “He can’t take anymore.”

My own eyes could hardly take any more of what I was seeing, even though I knew Tony deserved it. Rapid footsteps came up next to me and Ryan appeared to pull a furious Nick off Tony’s lifeless body. “Dude, he’s unconscious.”

Nick, who was on his knees, looked down at Tony as if only just seeing what he had done out of pure adrenaline trying to save me. His face softened when he saw my tear streaked one. “I saw what he was doing to you, how he was hurting you.” His breathing was heavy, erratic, as he tried to explain the violence I’d witnessed. I attempted to nod in understanding, too in shock yet to speak.

Tony groaned and coughed. As Nick rose to his feet, he looked at Tony again, speaking venomously. “Touch Faith again, and I’ll kill you myself. I’m sure the police will thank me for stopping a piece of trash like you from hurting girls.”

He moved to my side and I stood up, welcoming the support his arms offered, and buried my face in his chest, ignoring the crowd that had gathered. “Are you alright? Did he…I mean, he didn‘t-”

I knew what he was trying to ask. I shook my head and wiped fresh tears away. “I’m so glad you found me in time,” I sniffed. “I was so scared Nick, I…”

“Isn’t this touching,” a voice said icily. “I bet she planned this too,” Cyndi accused.

“Shut up, Cyndi!” I was glad to hear Tracey’s voice defending me. “Tony was attacking her or are you too stupid to see that?”

I lifted my head to meet her eyes, not caring about my disheveled appearance as half the school looked on. “I didn’t want for any of this to happen Cyndi.”

“Sure, just like you didn’t plan to take my crown-or my boyfriend.” She snatched my forgotten tiara up from the ground where it had fallen during my struggle with Tony, and broke it in two pieces.

“What the hell is wrong with you Cyndi?” Nick yelled, holding me as if to shield me from her hostility.

“I’ll never forget how you both humiliated me tonight. You wanted a war Faith, you’ve got one!”

“Don’t blame her,” Nick tried to talk to her, to calm her down. “We were over tonight anyway. Don’t try to pretend you didn’t know! In fact, I almost broke up with you yesterday but Faith talked me out of it. She didn’t want anyone to get hurt.”

“You witch!” she yelled at me before turning to Nick. “She is you know, you’re under one of her spells.”

I snapped. Being verbally attacked by her right after Tony’s physical attack was more than I could handle. I was close to emotional overload. “Look, why do you even care if Nick and I are together?” I fired back at her over his shoulder. “It’s not like you love him. You only care about yourself! He knows what a self-centered bitch you really are.”

“I care,” she retorted, “because you two made a fool of me tonight. Everyone saw you kissing! He was there with me! Don’t think I’m going to let you get away with it either. I promise you both, you’ll be ruined at school. I hope she was worth it, Nick. I’d watch my back from now on.”

With that, she stormed off. With both fights over, most of the spectators left and went back to the gym. Some people offered words of concern for me, others just commented on what they saw. Finally, only Nick, my friends, and their dates remained.

Where were all the teachers at a time like this?

“She’s right.” I whispered, more to myself than anybody else. “It’s my fault Tony thought I liked him. I kissed him last night, I led him on.”

I was still shaken up and under the influence or I would’ve realized how crazy I sounded.

“We need to take you home to rest,” Nick said. He pulled some leaves out of my tangled mess of hair. “He’s lucky I didn’t kill him for what he was trying to do to you.”

“What if he tells the police what you did to him? I don’t want you to get in trouble.”

He caressed my cheek with his hand, his thumb brushing against a tender spot, causing me to wince. “If anything, we need to go report him for what he did to you -spiking your drink, trying to force himself on you.”

His eyes hardened as he took in the cuts and bruises on my face and body and the ruined dress I had to hold just to keep up. I swayed against him, dizzy from the alcohol and exhaustion. “No, no police right now. I just want to get away from here. After what you did to him, he’d be an idiot if he ever tries to hurt me again.”

“I’m not willing to take that chance.”

I looked over to where the fallen football player lay groaning and moving slowly. I couldn’t manage to summon any feelings of remorse for the beating he suffered at Nick’s hands. If Nick hadn’t shown up when he did, I would have been laying there instead of Tony right now. I shivered at the thought. Nick mistook my shiver of fear for cold and retrieved his blazer from the ground, placing it around my shoulders. “Let’s go.” he said.

Rachel held my purse in her hands and Emily had picked up the discarded pieces of my tiara. They followed us, along with Tracey and the guys, to Nick’s car in the parking lot. Rachel’s brother Steve was with us too. I sat down carefully in the passenger seat, my body sore in some places. I was slightly less lightheaded than before, most likely from all the confrontations. I had refused to give in and let Tony or Cyndi get the best of me. The guys hung back as I talked to the girls, Steve going back to alert the teachers to what had happened just in case Tony tried to lie.

“Thanks guys, I don’t know what would’ve happened if Nick didn’t show up in time.” I looked up at him suddenly. “How did you know where to find me or that I was even in trouble? We’d been out there a while.”

“Emily. She told me you were in trouble. I took off looking for you as soon as I heard.”

“I could feel your fear,” she explained.” You told me what he did to your drink. I knew he was too much for you to handle on your own.”

I had known Emily would come through and that if Nick found out I was in trouble, he’d find me. I was safe now and I had the feeling he would fight off anything that threatened me.

“Are we still meeting later?” I asked.

My friends looked from Nick to me uneasily.

“Do you still think it’s safe?” Rachel questioned.

I looked at my cell phone. “It’s almost eleven now. I need to go home and change. We’ll meet at midnight as planned.”

“Faith!” I could sense Nick’s disapproval before I turned to face him.

“Tony was the one who left the picture at my house, but that still doesn’t explain Em’s locker, the break-in or my premonitions. We have do go ahead with our plans, before anything else happens.”

“She’s right,” Tracey interjected. “Remember what my grandmother told us? She said ‘The ceremony is necessary’. We have to do this.”

“He’s gone!” We all looked up at Steve’s shout. “Tony’s gone.”

“What do you mean gone?” Nick said angrily. “His SUV is right over there.”

“He disappeared. When I took the teachers out there, he wasn’t where we had left him and no one has seen him.”

“He probably took off on foot, afraid Faith already went to the police,” Rachel said sensibly.

“Another reason why we should get you home.”

Nick was right. “My house in 45 minutes,” I told the others before shutting the door.


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