As soon as we entered the café, the place felt creepy already. “So, what makes you think vampires are real?” I asked. The whole thing sounded hokey, like some fable to bring people into the café.
“My father has seen one. He had business in Midnight Hollow. Barely escaped with his life.”
That sounded impossible. “Midnight Hollow? I’ve never heard of it. Where is that?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. But I do know my father isn’t crazy.”
Pointing, Celia got all excited and said, “There’s the statue where the secret passageway is. Come on!”
As we walked toward a small statue, Celia put her head on my shoulder. “This is so exciting. I’ve heard there are five tombs and a maze!”
Arriving at the statue, Celia pointed behind her. “Here it is. Now all we have to do is nudge the figure and it should reveal a stairwell.”
My eyebrows rose. I was sure I’d heard about the underground passage at the café but there were no graves.
True to what she said, after she poked the sculpture, the ground started to rumble, revealing a large stairwell.
Entering a huge basement, my mouth dropped. I could see an enormous maze and all my mind thought of was what was at the end of it. Nothing but alone-time with my girl.
“I’ll race you!” I offered. “If you reach the end first, I’ll do whatever you want.”
“And if you win?”
I pulled her toward me and said in a low, sexy voice, “You’ll do whatever I want.”
“Not a chance.”
“You’re no fun.”
“I know you, Jackson.”
“Fine. If I win, I’ll put up an Ironbound poster in my room.”
“Huh? How is that a bonus?”
I smirked. “I was saving it for you.”
Rolling her eyes, she started down the steps, but I was quicker. I actually wanted that poster in my room.
Gaining ground, I teased, “Sage is really hot, you know. You should try to beat me. I can already see her tail above my bed.”
“You’re not going to win, Jackson. I have everything under control.”
But she didn’t. As I saw the entrance to the middle section, I sprinted. But when I got there, I couldn’t believe what I saw. “Oh my God.”
“What is it, Jackson? I don’t care if you did win, you can’t put Sage in your room.”
My heart sped up. She was freaking right. There were five tombs with five vampires sleeping on top of them.
“L-Let’s get out of here,” I whispered.
“What the hell, Jackson? You’re not putting up Sage. I’ll buy you an Ironbound poster of Korv. He’s more your speed.”
But as she pulled me to her, I thought I saw one of the vampires rise.
“What?” she cried.
“Run!” I hollered.
“Jackson!” she squealed.
But then I noticed something strange about one of the vampires. “Hey, isn’t that my jacket?”
“Who cares, Jackson! Let’s go!”
“She’s right, mortal,” said the big blonde guy vampire. “You better leave before we have you for dinner!”
That totally gave it away. “Clarke?”
He stopped in his tracks. “You recognized me?”
“Who wouldn’t? You have the deepest voice in Newcrest, loser!”
Laughing, he said, “We got you, though. You were scared. Admit it.”
Then I recognized them all: Victoria, Winter, Manu, and Ro. “What the hell, guys? Who put you up to this?”
Manu said, “Why don’t you ask your girlfriend?”
“Y-You?” I sputtered.
“Guilty as charged.”
“I hate to admit it, Jackson, but you’ve got the coolest girlfriend on the planet,” Victoria mused.
When Ro called me to do a prank on Jackson, I jumped at the chance. The boy was definitely not following my six-year plan. At all. I mean, who gets attached to a girl less than 24 hours after the first girlfriend dumps you?
He was a handful for sure. But I wasn’t going to let a little thing like Celia get in my way.
Unfortunately for me, Celia was nothing like Sandra. Drop dead gorgeous and smart, this girl wasn’t going anywhere. Sandra was so stupid like I’d predicted. How she could throw away someone like Jackson for puke-for-brains Mickey was beyond me, but I was happy to hear she did it. THEN Ro tells me Jackson has a date not 18 hours later. I’d hoped it was going to be a one-time thing, but no such luck. Fast-forward a month, and here I am playing a part in a vampire prank to “cheer Jackson up”.
Jackson didn’t need to be coddled like this. He needed a wake up call.
Give me five minutes in a closet and that would make his day. No. It would make his century.
But he was too stupefied with Celia to even notice me. Luckily, I had a gbf in Ro. He was always telling me his troubles, and I stoked the friendly fire. If I could keep Ro close, surely, I’d be able to jump in when Jackson got tired of Celia.
Who knew the boy would fall head over heels in love?
I did my best today in looking my vampiest. Sexy was what I was going for. Somebody needed to knock that boy over. Celia wasn’t the only one who would turn his head.
When Jackson entered the basement of the café, my heart sped up. I’d hoped he’d recognize me and realize his mistake.
But when he did recognize us, he didn’t even look at me.
That had to change.
Victoria said, “I hate to admit it, Jackson, but you’ve got the coolest girlfriend on the planet.”
I yacked in my mouth at Victoria’s over-the-top brown-nosing. Anyone with eyes could tell she was beyond in love with Jackson.
“If you think cool is scaring the bejesus out of your boyfriend then whatever.”
“You don’t think he had fun?” Victoria countered.
“I’m just saying that if he was my boyfriend, I’d do better things to cheer him up.”
“Shut up, Winter,” Jackson said.
Crap. He wasn’t supposed to hear that.
But then I noticed Manu making eyes at Celia.
That would be my ticket to getting Jackson out of Celia’s claws.
Jackson had nothing in common with Celia, but Manu was her perfect match. All I had to do was make those three realize their mistake.
As we all danced to the spooky music, I privately plotted my next moves. Sure, Jackson THOUGHT he was happy with Celia. It was nauseating watching them together.
But when I got through with them, Jackson would be begging for me to lick his wounds.
My plan had to start now. Before I physically got ill seeing them paw each other.
“Jackson, my hubby, you’re not going to know what hit you.”