2 Days Before -
“If I find you camping, I swear to god, Chloe ******* Price –“ Rachel challenges, “– I’m drawing blood. Don’t grin at me. I’ll leave you for the vultures to snack on. Maybe for cannibals too.”
“**** me with a plastic light up gun? How threatening.”
You know when you’re listening to the instructor reciting the rules for the game of laser tag for the nine thousandth time, and there’s the teenager ******* around in the background with guns? That’s me and Rachel, who holds a gun up to my face and makes a reference to the Star Wars Family Guy episode where the storm trooper pretends to shoot down passerby ships by saying, “Pew, pew, gotcha!”
Both team vests, red and blue, are occupied so it’s a full game. Even though we were one of the last people to come in, we managed to get opposite colored vests. Rachel is on the red team, while I’m on the opposing blue team. Only natural since the vest matches my hair color.
When the instructor opens the door, the crowd piles out into the room booming Irresistible by Fall Out Boy. Rachel and I are one of the last ones out, holding our guns up towards the sky as we walk in feeling like we’re walking away from a huge explosion acting like we’re James Bond. As the vocals of the song begin, the red and blue vests come to life beginning the game.
“Pew, pew, gotcha!” Rachel coyly replies, rushing off as my vest dies.
Insert groan here. I roll my eyes, darting quickly after Rachel as my vest comes back to life. Rachel ducks down behind a purple glowing pillar, holding her gun out from behind it to shoot me as I come up the stairs. “Your shooting is so messy, you idiot.”
Someone takes out Rachel’s vest, and my vest is taken out immediately after hers. What a way to start this game. “******* it.”
“Have you even gotten anyone yet?” She yells as she darts off.
A group of kids in red vests come upstairs. I shoot at the vests from the second story, and they glance up angrily at me as their vests die. They invade my hiding space shortly after, and I’m forced to flee over to the other side of the arena into one of the walled-off areas with a hole to shoot out of, specifically for campers and for recharging vests. Immediately, I crash into somebody who drops their gun and grabs my arms instinctively because of how hard I slam into them, pushing me back gently. “Are you okay?”
The short-haired brunette girl I run into is drop-dead gorgeous, freckles peppering her cheeks. As usual, I don’t think before I say the first thing that comes to mind. “Woah.”
“You’re making this too easy for me.” The girl comments, shooting out my glowing blue vest quickly after grabbing her gun and steps around me to find another hiding place. *******, I think, what hierarchy of angels did you come from? Why didn’t I notice you before I walked into this laser tag room?
Right. Because I’m on a date with Rachel. Or at least, I’m trying to convince myself that’s what this is. Five days ago, Rachel kissed me while she was drunk mostly because someone suggested the Pocky game at Dana’s nineteenth birthday party. I can see Rachel’s face coming closer to mine as she chomps down on the chocolate Pocky sticks oblivious to the closeness that I was to her face, and I feel her lips crashing with mine for a split second. It feels like I give her the entire world in that kiss, but she pulls back like it was nothing.
How am I the only one who remembers that?
I have to retreat from my camping spots a few times, but I get enough vests taken out that Rachel is guaranteed to say something like, “Oh, you got a pretty good amount of people in this round.”
Ghost by Halsey starts booming through the arena, and practically everyone must be thinking why a song like this is playing because it's slow at first but it reverberates through the bass.
“You’re camping too? You must be bad at this game.” Brunette-haired princess holds me at gunpoint. "Any last words?"
Again, I don’t think before I speak. "You're hella cute."
The brunette girl's vest dies as I shoot at her immediately after, and she shoots mine out shortly after hers turns on. Her doe-like eyes are staring at me angrily in a playful manner, yet also glistening like stars. There's something about her that makes me feel like she sees a universe inside of me.
The music briskly cuts off, and everyone stops in their tracks and fumbles out. Rachel and that girl get lost in the red and blue blur of lights as the arena starts emptying.
It isn't until I come outside that I find Rachel holding a slip of paper. "What was your name, Chloe? I was Rocket, and I got eighth place."
"Starlight, I'm pretty sure?"
"You got seventeenth. Knew it." Rachel joked. "You were camping."
Focus on the here and now, Chloe. You have to ask Rachel about your relationship with her. Stop procrastinating. Rachel's face drops in confusion as I drop the bomb on her. "Can we talk?"
2 Days Before-
Wowser. Felt like just yesterday, I got an email for my acceptance into Blackwell Academy on a scholarship. And now I’m an adult, graduated, with a potential photographer job under my belt.
With events such as graduation, it should feel vaguely melancholic but Blackwell Academy is an eye-catcher in my resume. My dexterity with analog and digital cameras catches the eye of a professional photographer named Jack Rousseau working for Hot Topic, and he asked me for an interview. ME.
When I got the email, I practically leaped into Kate’s room gushing over this rare opportunity to work with a professional. I think Victoria overheard me loudly discussing this to Kate, because she was giving me the stink eye all throughout my ceremony from the other day. Whatever. Victoria will eventually earn her spotlight…in hell. I snorted writing that actually, and blushed furiously remembering I’m on a pretty packed bus. Probably got people looking at me like, “Is she okay?”
The first thing my Mom does when she sees me is give me a bone-crushing hug, and compliment my outfit even though it’s a tank top with a large dream catcher printed on the front with my loose green jacket overlapping the shirt with the sleeves pulled up to my elbows. She asks about Mr. Jefferson, and I think I over emphasize how I’m his star pupil. I’m pretty sure Mom gets it after trying to explain that to her several times.
The house smells like spaghetti, and I’m already drooling like a baby when I walk through the front door.
Then Mom randomly hands me a 50$ bill, and tells me to go hang out with one of my Seattle friends since I must miss the crap out of them.
I accidentally say, “What the hell?” in front of Mom. Funny thing is, she doesn’t wash my mouth out with soap. I must be too old for things like that. Maybe this is what a perk is of growing up, I think.
“Come on, go have fun!” Mom practically pushes me out the door, not before letting me have some of her World-Famous spaghetti. Mmmmm. As I jump into my Mom’s vehicle, I realize I don’t know where the **** to go or who to contact so I head to the first place I can think of: Laser tag.
As I sit out in the parking lot, I text Kristen or Fernando to see if they want to hang out here. Usually, Kristen will text back immediately but there’s no response. Fernando seems to be busy, so I head inside myself and buy myself a wrist band for laser tag alone. Who says you need to be with other people to have fun? I’m an expert at laser tag. They call me the best shooter in the northwest.
The instructor looks overwhelmed at the thirty or so people flooding the room, and attempts to talk at the loudest pitch possible to get everyone in the room to listen to the instructions. Of course, there’s giggles happening somewhere over all of these tall and short bodies so I get the jist of it: No running, pushing, fighting, and yelling. We all know there’s running and yelling going to happen.
As I run in, I immediately head for the stairs as my rest vest turns on. Someone shoots me from behind, and I notice it’s a group of kids. Then I decide to camp out in a corner, at least, until I get caught.
I bring out my gun and shoot out three blue vests on the other side of the laser tag arena. The air gets knocked out of me, plus my gun flies out of my hand as someone falls into me. My hands instinctively grab their arms, pushing them off me when I glance up at her face, suddenly startled.
“Woah.” She says, and I feel like lightning passes through both of us as I let go of her arms.
Immediately, I shoot out her vest, rushing off to find somewhere else to hide. My body is racing with adrenaline, and it’s a little hard to concentrate on the game because I’m trying to look for blue hair. In this packed arena of thirty people, it’s easy to get lost in the blur of red and blue lights. It’s easy to see the lights blend into purple.
It’s ironic when Ghost by Halsey starts playing because the first few lines is literally making me think of blue hair: “I’m searching for something that I can’t reach. I don't like them innocent. I don't want no face fresh. Want them wearing leather begging, let me be your taste test. I like the sad eyes, bad guys, mouth full of white lies…”
I find her tucked in a corner, mimicking me. And she’s gorgeous. I’m not sure why I am looking for her, but I am. “You’re camping too? You must be bad at this game.” I jokingly hold her at gunpoint. “Any last words?"
What comes out of her mouth leaves me off guard. “You're hella cute."
My vest goes out as she shoots me, and I shoot her back giving her a playful glare. And then something happens between us again, and it’s that jolt of lightning passing through both of us. The music cuts out, and I tear my eyes from the stranger and run out of the laser tag room by myself.
Once I get outside, I check my texts from Fernando and Kristen. Since they’re not replying, I decide to head on home, but my heart is still beating rapidly in my chest. And I’m not sure if it’s because of the game or blue hair.