"Nah, it was a joke. We thought it would be funny to all show up as badass wolves," he said, laughing good-naturedly.
"Oh, I get it. We used to do stuff like that when we were in second grade," I said sweetly.
"Ouch, that's harsh, but I guess when you put it that way, it does seem pretty childish," he said, pulling off his mask and tossing it to the side.
Static from the mask made every hair stand up straight across his head.
"Much better," I said, stifling a giggle.
"Damn, I make static look good," he said, glancing in the mirror on the wall behind me.
"Wow, I'm surprised you made it through the door with that ego of yours," I said.
"You don't like me much, do you?" he asked, sitting on the edge of the end table in front of me.
"I don't know you well enough to determine if I like you or not."
"We could change that," he said, dropping his voice down a notch.
"Seriously, that's the pick-up line you decide to go with?" I asked, shaking my head as I started to walk away.
"Hey, wait. I know I sounded like an ass there. It's just unsettling to talk to you."
"Really?" I said, raising my eyebrows behind my mask.
"Yeah, Zorro was a hero to me when I was growing up, and I just never expected him to be so shapely."
I couldn't help laughing as I pulled off the cheap mask and tossed it to the side. "There, is that better?" I asked.
"Oh, damn, you're a girl?" he teased. "Can I get you a beer?"
"I was actually on my way out," I said, all my animosity gone.
"Just one? As friends," he pleaded.
"Friends?" I asked, raising my eyebrows.
"Yeah, you definitely have the 'no vacancy' sign on. I figured you have a boyfriend that is either stupid enough to leave you alone at a party or doesn't go to school here, right?"
"No, he doesn't," I said, not bothering to correct him. "Okay, I'll have a beer, but can we drink it on the porch before my ears start bleeding?"
"Sure, I'll grab a couple while you head outside."
"Okay," I said, making my way through the sea of bodies toward the door. Multiple hands grabbed at me on my way out, but I ducked away from each of them.
I was grateful to find the porch empty when I finally made my way out. I breathed in the cool crisp air, glad to be away from the smoky haze that had filled the building. I sat on the rustic swing at the far end of the porch, enjoying the relative silence. I could still hear the music throbbing beyond the walls beside me, but the muted sounds were a relief. While I waited for the "werewolf" to join me, I contemplated Carol's words from earlier. Maybe it was time for me to move on. Maybe meeting someone was my sign.
"I was worried you'd ditch me," werewolf boy said, exiting the building with two bottles of beer in each hand.
"I contemplated it, but I thought I remember reading somewhere that werewolves are super fast," I teased.
"Good call. I would've definitely sniffed you out," he said, setting the unopened bottles on the ground befo
re sitting beside me. "By the way, I'm Brad," he said, holding out his hand.
"Kimberly," I said, taking his hand in mine. I was slightly disappointed that I felt nothing at his touch. His hands were smooth and cool from carrying the beers, and all I could think about was Mason's warm calloused hands that felt so right wrapped around mine.
"Freshman?" Brad asked.