The Love Song (10)

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The pothole at the stoplight marked the two minute drive until I reached Everything Roni. Since it was early morning, I swerved around it without having to worry about other drivers on the road.

I had the 6 o’clock opening shift at work and the parking lot was empty when I pulled in. I swung my car around to the back of the lot where employees were required to park. Once the engine died, I sat back in my seat and made no movement to pick up my purse and open the door.

Sucking in a shaky breath, I tried to calm my nerves as I stared out the windshield. Today was the start of the game. Last night had been a sleepless one, so besides being nervous I was exhausted.

After getting back from shopping with Bennett and the twins, I took the rest of the day to prepare myself to play. Just like the rulebook instructed me, I hid stashes of the bright orange darts around my house. I also made sure my car had a stash, along with my purse.

Everything that Bennett had purchased for the Zombie Emergency Kit went into a gallon ziplock bag—which took an hour of searching through the kitchen to find. Then I tore my closest apart to recover the shoulder bag my cousin had bought me for my birthday last year, since I needed a purse that would be big enough to fit the ZEK.

Last, but not least I registered my gun. My full name had to be printed in sharpie in a visible spot on the gun. Then a picture of the weapon had to uploaded to the Zombies Versus Humans Website. Bennett had instructed me to be careful when I printed my name on the second gun; it had to look exactly the same. That way if I ever had to use it, nobody would be able to tell the second from the original.

I had gone to bed early in hopes of getting a full night of sleep, but instead I stared at the ceiling thinking of all the different ways I could lose the game. At one point I had thrown my pillow at the wall in frustration; I shouldn’t have been so worked up about something that I hadn’t even planned on doing this summer. But, I wanted to beat CC so bad!

Sighing, I knew that it was time to get out of the car and head into the restaurant. But the thought of crossing the parking lot scared me. Who knew how many zombies would jump out and try to tag me?

Before I unlocked the door, I made sure my nerf gun was loaded. I doubted that anyone was up, because it was early. On top of that, I couldn’t be tagged once I was inside Everything Roni. This was going to be my first small taste of playing the game and I prayed that it would be uneventful before springing out of the front seat.

The slam of my car door was loud enough to make me wince as it cut through the quiet morning air. The laces of my shoes slapped against the concrete as I raced across the parking lot towards the front door.

Just as I reached out to grab the handle, I realized that it would be locked. Stupid, stupid, stupid, I thought to myself as I dug through my purse in search of the key. I should have had it out and ready before I got out of the car. When my fingers finally grasped the cool metal of my keychain, my heart was slamming against my chest.

I felt like a sitting duck as I stood outside Everything Roni. As I jammed the key into the lock and turned it, I threw a nervous glance over my shoulder. There was nobody in sight and a breath of relief escaped my lips as I stepped inside the dark restaurant.

A dark figure jumped towards me and yelled in my face. “Boo!”

“Holy Hamburgers!” I screamed. I threw my purse at the person and unloaded all the darts that were in my gun. Of course, if the person had actually meant me harm the small orange darts would have done nothing in my defense, but it still made me feel better.

A deep laugh rang out as the figure dodged away from my attack. “You know I can’t tag you in here Mikey,” Decklan said as he stepped out of the shadows. “You didn’t need to shoot me.”

“That. Was. Not. Nice,” I said very slowly. I was trying to sound angry when in fact my hand was still clutched to my heart and I could feel the blood ringing in my ears.

“Sorry,” he said with a smile. “When I saw your car pull up I was just too tempted to try out my new look.” He took a step closer to me so I could get a better look at him in the light from the window.

Decklan was sporting a torn up zombie Halloween costume. Someone had even gone through the trouble of helping him with face paint—his cheeks were pale white, his eyes a dark black, and his mouth was surrounded with fake blood and guts. And somehow on top of his whole outfit, he managed to look hot. Only Decklan could make a member of the walking dead look desirable.

Even though he had scared the crap out of me and I should be furious, I had to try my best not to smile and giggle. Be cool Mikey, I told myself. “Please don’t tell me you’ll be wearing that all summer. You look disgusting.”

Decklan grinned. “Why thank you,” he said, turning to admire his makeup covered face in the window. “My little sister Sarah tried really hard this morning. She was delighted to finally be able to put girl goo on her older brother without me complaining. And if it makes you feel better, I’m only wearing the costume today to celebrate the start of the game. I want my first victim to be welcomed into to the zombie mass properly.”

So Decklan hadn’t even tagged a human yet. I had run across the parking lot this morning like an idiot for no reason... “Well, I’m pretty sure I was your first victim. I mean, I know you didn’t tag me or anything but you scared me to death. What are you doing here anyways?”

The lights flickered on when Decklan hit the switch by the door. “My mom had to take Jack to the hospital. Sarah didn’t clean up our mess in the bathroom this morning and it seems that my costume makeup is delicious. She won’t be coming in today. I’m here to help with her shifts.”

Decklan had so many siblings that I could never remember all of their names. Jack however didn’t even ring a bell, so the Brody clan must have grown since I had last been over to their house.

I was going to get to spend most of the day with Decklan? I bit back my smile. Things couldn’t have turned out better. “Don’t you have a few victims to scare to death today?” I said, trying to sound sarcastic instead of excited.

“Yeah, about that,” Decklan raised his arm and scratched the back of his head. His shoulders shrugged as he did so and it made him look hesitant.  If I hadn’t been so busy staring at his biceps I might have melted on the spot; was Decklan nervous? “It’s never busy in here during the morning shift. I thought maybe I could run out for an hour or two and tag a few people? I’ll be back before the lunch rush hour?”

“Um?” I said not knowing how to answer. Mrs. Brody had never left me in charge before. The thought was daunting.

“Pretty please?” Decklan begged me. He took a step towards me and grabbed my hands in his as he pouted his bloody lips. With his makeup on he looked ridiculous.

I couldn’t help but giggle. “Sure, I guess it won’t be a problem.” If I hadn’t been so distracted by the cute boy in front of me, maybe I would have realized just how bad this idea was.

“You’re the best, Mikey,” Decklan said and another smile covered his face. Sweet cupcakes, did he really just say that?

For a moment, we stared at each other and my breathing came to a halt. He was standing so close to me and neither of us moved. If Decklan kissed me, it would be my very first kiss. My gaze drifted down to his lips. Instead of that magical moment, he pulled his hand from mine and slapped me on the shoulder in thanks.

“I’ll only be gone a little bit,” Decklan said as he headed for the door.

All the air I had been holding in rushed out of my lungs. It hissed out my mouth and my bangs puffed up in the air. Figures…

“Yeah, okay,” I called back, trying to sound cheerful. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.”

Kneeling down, I scooped up the darts and loaded my gun back up.

“It’s okay, Mikey,” I said, talking to myself. “It wouldn’t have been a very romantic first kiss with his zombie makeup on.”

The thought made me scrunch up my nose. Our faces would have stuck together and I probably would have ended up looking like I ate a pound of makeup just like Jack.

“Well, time to get to work,” I said and looked up at the clock.

My heart stopped for the second time that morning. It was already quarter to seven. With only fifteen minutes to open the restaurant, I was doomed.

All the thoughts that should have raced through my mind when Decklan proposed leaving me alone flashed before me. I couldn’t help but picture the entire restaurant burned to the ground.

This wasn’t going to end well.

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Hey everyone!! I'm so sorry about the long wait for this chapter, but I had a ton of fun on vacation.

I actually have some exciting news about this chapter. I just got back from Edinburgh, Scotland. For any Harry Potter fans out there, this is where J.K. Rowling lives. While I was in the city, I got to visit The Elephant House cafe. This is where Rowling wrote most of the first and second Harry Potter books and where I wrote this chapter out. It was an exciting moment for me!

Anyways, onto more important information. Thank you to everyone who participated in my book cover contest. There were a ton of amazing covers. First place goes to silvermistenfusion for the beautiful new cover that my story is sporting. She also created the cover on the side of the chapter as well. Over the course of the next few chapters I will be posting some other awesome covers I received on the side. Once again, thank you everyone!

Question #11: If you could only pick three movies to watch for the rest of your life, which three would you pick? I have so many favorite movies that it will be hard for me to answer my own question... First I would say The Goonies because it always makes me laugh. Second would be Ever After because it was the movie I would always watch when I stayed home sick from school. Third would have to be The Sandlot because it reminds me of growing up.

Remember to vote. It takes two seconds :D

Peace and Cheers,

Ali

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