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Chapter #27: Homecoming
October 8th, 2027-CE
Spiritis dressed in her yellow dress for the Homecoming dress. She knew that she originally coordinated a green scheme with Ray, but she felt bad that Ashara didn’t get a date for the dance so they both went in for yellow dresses the day before. Spiritis’s dress had long sleaves that were see through and had floral designs on them. Ashara did not. Ashara smiled as they climbed into the back seat of her father’s black sedan, “Thanks for this gesture, Spiritis. I hope Ray won’t be pissed.”
“I am sure he will understand. It isn’t the prom or anything. You would be up a creek if it were the prom,” Spiritis replied, “I wouldn’t break the scheme for that.”
“But he would also be picking you up for that. I don’t think we have prom until we are juniors and seniors anyway. By then, he would be able to pick you up himself, or we would be driving there to meet him on our own.” Ashara replied.
“True enough,” Spiritis nodded.
Ashara’s father decided to add to the conversation, “If he really cares about you and you explain the situation to him, I am sure he will forgive you, Spiritis.”
“Thanks, I think that helps,” Spiritis nodded.
“No problem,” He nodded, “I am not so old that I don’t remember being a teenager.”
“Even though it has been at least fourteen years,” Ashara scoffed.
“Longer than that,” Spiritis chortled, “And I am closer to fifteen now.”
“Ashara is also close,” He nodded, “We will just keep how old to myself. Doesn’t mean I still don’t remember being a teenager. It just means that it has been a little while since I had to go to a homecoming dance.”
“Have they changed a lot since you have been to high school?” Ashara asked.
Her father shrugged, “I don’t know as I don’t know how they go anymore. I know in the past, before my time, they used to have bon fires, but they don’t do that anymore. At least not everywhere.”
“That sucks,” Spiritis replied.
“Think about climate change. That is probably why they don’t stack five hundred pounds of wood in a parking lot and light it on fire,” Ashara mentioned.
“Actually, it was because of safety concerns,” her father contested, “I bet your reason is probably the thing that keeps the tradition from being brought back now. Back then it was because someone got killed during a bonfire.”
“Wow,” Spiritis looked shocked, “The things you learn.”
“Can’t exactly get close to a bonfire and roast marshmallows,” Ashara mentioned.
“It’s like being close to a blast furnace. You can melt your shoes if you get too close,” Her father nodded in response. He pulled up to the school parking lot, “we are here. Have fun girls. Don’t get into too much trouble. I don’t want to hear it from Sylvia, Spiritis.”
“You won’t,” Spiritis waved goodbye as she stepped out of the car.
Spiritis led Ashara to the gymnasium door. There, the two saw Robin and Ray. It looked like Robin was waiting for her date in a purple dress. Neither twin had spotted the duo yet, “I am still surprised that someone was willing to date her. She seems like a spitfire ready to eat someone alive.” Ashara whispered.
“What do you have against her, other than the fact that she can go toe to toe with you and your wit?” Spiritis questioned in response.
“It might be her paradigm. I don’t remember everything about our past lives yet, but I sense bad blood between us,” Ashara replied.
“How about you treat every new life as a clean slate. Maybe we can all be fast friends this life,” Spiritis suggested.
“You mean we should all hold hands and sing kumbaya?” Ashara rolled her eyes.
“I suggest burying the hatchet. Especially one as old as some sort of past life squabble,” Spiritis replied as she met with Ray’s eyes.
He glared at Spiritis and she intuitively knew she was in trouble, “So much for burying any hatchets. If looks could kill, he would be burying a body or two tonight.”
“Hey, Big Guy,” Spiritis greeted nervously, “Has Robin’s date showed up?”
Robin glanced at the three of them and glanced back beyond the crowd, “Well, I found Hector, so I am going to blow this maternity ward of awkward turtles. Later bro!”
“Thanks for not letting it die!” Ashara called out as Robin ran off.
“I thought we agreed to wear green?” Ray fumed, “What is with you dressing like Ashara?”
“She is family, and she doesn’t have a date,” Spiritis replied.
“Not my fault!” Ray chewed on his lower lip and crossed his arms, “If she can’t get a date, there is some sort of problem with her! If I knew that this monkey suit would have been useless, I wouldn’t have worn it tonight! Now I will stand out like a sore thumb next to Princess Bell and her sister!”
Ashara raised an eyebrow, “Which one of us is Bell?”
“Oh, hush!” Spiritis replied, “Sorry, Big Guy. At least this isn’t prom. I wouldn’t have done it then.”
“You shouldn’t have done it at all!” Ray grumbled.
“I’m sorry!” Spiritis called out.
A tap on the shoulder made Spiritis nearly jump out of her dress. She spun around to see Jena standing there with Curtis. Both were dressed in blue. Jena was in a conservative dress unlike Ashara and Spiritis, “Jena! Curtis! Nice to see you here!” She smiled and gave Jena a hug.
“Hey stranger!” Jena greeted with a hug, “If I didn’t know better, I would say you have been trying to ignore me recently!”
Spiritis shook her head, “Not at all. Ashara’s father has been on a lot of business trips lately so she has been staying with us some of the time and recently we got a chance to house sit for her father. Quite a nice place really.”
“Lots of lonely bus trips for that, though,” Jena nodded, “Especially when you are at her house.”
“None of the buses run out that far, neither the city buses or the school buses,” Ashara mentioned, “So in the mornings, Sylvia runs us to school, and we ride share home.”
“That sucks,” Curtis mentioned.
“I am sure we can arrange some form of sleepover sometime, Jena,” Spiritis replied, “Just as long as we don’t destroy the place.”
“Spiritis tells me it has all the creature comforts of a resort,” Ashara boasted, “you will have fun there.”
Jena shrugged, “I will think about it.” She glanced around and could feel the uncomfortable energy coming off Ray and the tension between him and Spiritis, “How about we move this inside where we can get some goodies and sit down?”
Spiritis nodded, ‘Sounds good to me.”
Ray shrugged but his mood was not abated, “Why not.”
The group crossed the distance to the inside and they made their way to the refreshment stand. Each grabbed a cup of punch and a small plate of snacks before making their way to one of the empty tables that lined the dance floor in the center. The lights were low and there was a DJ providing music for the night. It was loud inside the gym which made it hard for them to hear each other. Spiritis wanted to take to her telepathy to communicate with everyone present but that would leave Curtis out since he did not have abilities potent enough to either hear or keep up with the rest of them.
“So, are you two an item?” Ray called out to Curtis and Jena.
“What, us?” Jena questioned and pointed to her and Curtis, “No! We just didn’t want to go stag!”
“Bummer,” Spiritis whispered under her breath. Her words did not carry to the next person, something not hard to do considering the current atmosphere. She noticed that her friend and compadre seemed to be a little let down from the answer. Spiritis was not sure if he prematurely tried to ask her out or if he thought he had made it further than he did.
Ashara leaned over to Spiritis and said, “You know, not being able to project to you is starting to become a drag!”
“What are you two whispering about?” Ray growled.
“Chill, Big Guy!” Spiritis jumped, “She is just telling me that she is having a hard time with my mental wall. So am I by the way!”
“Why haven’t you been able to pull it down?” Ray grumbled.
“If I knew, don’t you think I would have been able to pull it down so we could have a telepathic bonding?” Spiritis questioned in response.
“Now, there is a woman who has the guts to go stag,” Curtis pointed out, trying to break the tension.
The party looked out to the dance floor to see Angela in a silver dress walking around. Spiritis recognized the look on her face instantly. She was on the prowl. Spiritis sat back and glanced to Ashara, “Don’t fall for it, Ashara! She is looking to score!”
Jena rose to her feet and shrugged, “Well, if none of you are going to dance, I am going to dance with her. I came to this shindig to move.”
“Jena, wait!” Curtis called out but Jena didn’t listen and met up with Jena on the dance floor.
“Damn, that sucks kid,” Ray sucked in breath.
Ashara leaned in to whisper something in Spiritis’s ear, “That is the problem with the Paradigm of Affinities, she tends to do that unless she is hooked on someone…”
Ashara sat up straight and stretched. She smiled and rose to her feet, “Come on lover boy, I will dance with you for a while!” She offered her hand to Curtis, “It will be a fun night. It is dangerous to venture out alone, after all.”
Spiritis glanced to Ray and nodded with her head to the floor, “You want to dance, Big Guy?”
“I don’t think we are done with our conversation from outside,” He said and crossed his arms.
“Oh, come on, dude!” Spiritis complained, “I already said I’m sorry. Ashara didn’t have a date at the time and I felt bad for her. She bought the dress, so I didn’t have to rent one. It’s like every girl’s dream to have a dress in their closet! Something they can just slip on for a posh party or something like that! Yellow is her favorite color. We are at this dance to have fun; can’t we have fun?”
“She could have bought green, and everything would have been much better!” Ray fumed.
Spiritis rose from her seat, “You know what, steam there in your pot of jealousy for all I care!” She started to walk off.
“Where are you going?” Ray asked.
“To get some refreshments!” She replied and walked towards the table.
“You have some right here!” Ray called out, but Spiritis ignored him.
She walked to the table and started to gather another plate of food when someone bumped into her. She glanced over to see a black dress belonging to someone much taller than her. Angela was taller than her but this girl seemed taller than Angela and even Ray. She glanced up to see a woman with brown eyes and light brown hair gazing down at her, “Sorry, didn’t see you there.”
“I don’t imagine you would…” Spiritis’s voice trailed off as she recognized the deep feminine voice, “Wait; you’re bus pass girl! Wow, you’re tall!”
The woman in the black dress chuckled, “I have been called far worse. Fortunately, I haven’t broken six feet.”
“I’m Spiritis,” She greeted.
“I’m Courtney,” The woman in black mentioned, “Other than the fact we bumped into each other, how are you?”
Spiritis sighed, “Could be better.”
“Want to gather snacks and talk about it at my table?” Courtney suggested.
“I don’t want to disturb your date,” Spiritis replied.
Courtney laughed like Spiritis just told the world’s funniest joke, “What date? I came here alone.”
“This is becoming a topsy turvy night,” Spiritis sighed and quickly filled her plate.
Courtney chuckled and led Spiritis back to her table. Spiritis was surprised to find Courtney all alone at the table. She glanced at Spiritis and asked, “So, hat has got you down?”
“Where to begin?” Spiritis sighed and snacked on a cube of cheese, “So, my two best friends showed up together on a date but they didn’t show up as a couple. When my older sister showed up alone, my female best friend decided to ditch her date. My second cousin, who came with me went to his rescue. I decided to color coordinate with her instead of my boyfriend because I felt bad for her and he is eternally upset with me now.”
“Yikes!” Courtney chuckled, “You want to trade places? That’s a lot of drama!”
“Yeah, you can have this short body while you are at it!” Spiritis chuckled.
“You wouldn’t like being 5’11, trust me,” Courtney replied, “I hope I don’t have any growth spurts left in me. I don’t want to be any bigger.”
“I’m only 5’4. They must grow them big in your family,” Spiritis replied.
“I see you being a 5’8 girl,” Courtney replied, “As far as I am concerned, let’s just say there are reasons why I am so tall and leave it at that for now. You are just a freshman, so you probably have a spurt or two left in you.” She glanced to Ray sitting over at the other table, “Your boy toy on the other hand, He is almost as tall as me, he might be hitting the top of doorways soon.”
Spiritis smiled, “I know, right!”
“I never saw someone so stoked about the possibility of using a step ladder just to get a kiss from their significant other,” Courtney guffawed, “It’s cute in a bizarre way!”
“Well, I did have to jump him this summer to plant a kiss on him to convince him to date me,” Spiritis beamed.
“My, you are a bold one!” Courtney beamed and picked up their plates, “I think we should go over there and keep your bean pole of a boyfriend company.”
Spiritis shrugged and followed Courtney back to Ray’s table. They sat down next to Ray, He scooted his chair over to Spiritis and leaned into her. Spiritis noticed it was more out of disgust for Courtney as opposed to affection for Spiritis, “What’s going on, Ray?” Spiritis questioned in response.
“I’m used to it,” Courtney said flatly, “Don’t worry about it.”
“I don’t see what the problem is, you are pretty and cool.” Spiritis replied.
“Thank you!” Courtney beamed.
“What’s up?” Ray mentioned.
“Well, we wanted to see how you are doing,” Spiritis replied, “We started to worry about you.”
“I’m doing okay. I’m a bit calmer now. I noticed our friends seem to be doing okay, despite the mismatched dress.” Ray mentioned.
“We are a motley crew,” Spiritis advised.
“As long as everyone has fun,” Courtney stated and slapped Ray on the back, “How about you two have some fun and get out onto the dance floor. I have the feeling they are going to play a slow song soon.”
Spiritis nodded and eagerly pulled Ray up to his feet, “Let’s go, big guy!”
Courtney smiled as they ran to the floor. Interestingly enough, Spiritis did not notice the Spirit marks on Courtney’s face. Maybe because they looked more like black eyeshadow on her eyes. Spirit marks that she could easily cover up with makeup.