“Tell me if you’re game.”
Cord’s words swirled around my head as we peered into the construction site, our fingers gripping the chain fence that separated it from the rest of the neighborhood. Everyone else had already hopped over; their laughs echoed back to us from around the sleeping machinery. I looked over my shoulder, then back.
“I don’t know.”
Cord huffed, irritated. “Look, Teri. If you’re not game, you’re not game. But I’m not going to sit around and let them drink my beer while you dick around with your feelings.” He didn’t wait for me to answer, scaling the fence with a metallic rattle and disappearing into the shadows. I sighed, watching him go. A quiet cheer filtered back to me: he must have made it to the group. My fingers tightened around the fence a bit more.
This was the first time I’d been invited out with them. I’d been in school for six months, ever since I moved in with dad. I’d had classes with them the whole time. This was the first time they asked me to go with them. Only twenty kids in the whole school, seven in our grade – including me. It was starting to get awkward. Now that it was here, I wasn’t sure about it. I shook my head, frowning. Get over it, the voice in my head hissed. You’ve been wanting this! My toe nudged the fence, searching for a hold, and I started to push myself up.
I froze as the red and blue lights of the police lit up the night sky from the other side of the lot. Spotlights swung across the machines as the group went from laughing to yelping in panic in the smallest fraction of a second. Scrambling backwards toward a bush, I watched their silhouettes throw shadow as the white beam of light picked them out one by one, now with officers heading toward them and shouting instructions.
From my hiding spot, I watched them all get handcuffed, put into the police cars and driven away into the night. Cord’s head turned toward where he left me as he was led away; his eyes glittered tiny jewels of blue and red from the light’s reflection. The next day at school, I was the only one in my class there. Everyone knew what had happened through whispers; gossip burned like oil-fueled wildfire through the school. I was the only one who got away. For one day, I was legend. I was perfect. I was popular.
It was the best last day of school ever.