The Macerena was blaring. The red-headed woman on the stages was smiling brightly at the sea of kids, dramatically exhibiting the dance moves. Sourness flooded my system, until I singled Sam out in the crowd of dwarves. Waving her sparkly fairy wand, dressed in her pink princess dress, next to her best friend Mandy (who was dressed as a witch), she was so happy. So I was too. Even though this was the last place I wanted to be.
My eyes lit upon a figure alone in the corner. Her hair was dark brown and teased into a style that almost could have fallen into he category of "affro". Her attire consisted of a luminous yellow t-shirt and legwarmers with a short black skirt. What was she supposed to be? A disco dancer from the 80s? Damn, that was original. I kind of wished I'd invented some clever costume now.
A beam of orange light came over her face, and my heart skipped a beat. Wow.I'd never laid eyes on anyone that beautiful before. What was she doing here? Supervising with the red-headed woman? Dragged here with a younger sibling, like me? Who even cared?
I'd never gone up and spoken to a girl I liked before. I guessed tonight was the night. Taking a deep breath, I prepared to cross the dance floor.
Patrick pulled the car into the carpark at the Volcanic Springs Hotel. My stomach gave a lurch of apprehension as I thought of how somewhere in this three-storey building, the Order of Daisy was convening to discuss... me. Oh God. Maybe I'd been alright at home. Maybe it wasn't too late for Becca to come back and get me.
Patrick got out of the car. I did the same, and retrieved my bags from the back. He started to pace towards the entrance. I stumbled after him, into the lobby.
A man and two women were seated in a set of sofas around a coffee table. They looked up at Patrick, and the four of them exchanged words while I stood awkwardly at a distance.
"I'm sure it won't be a problem," were the anxious words I caught from the youngest woman. Her eyes met mine for a moment, and my skin prickled. What were they talking about?
Patrick turned quickly towards me, and clapped his hands together. There was a huge fake smile on his face as he put a hand to the base of my spine.
"Come, Jim. Come meet some of my colleagues."
As we approached the others, all three of them eyed me as though I were a hand grenade that had just been placed in front of them. And each one was hoping someone else would throw me away.