The next couple of weeks were a little hectic. The first weekend back was the twins' thirteenth birthday party. When their parents mentioned that they thought it should just be family, they liked the idea. The entire extended family was there. Jake and Tom took turns with the grilling duties. The boys spent most of the time in the pool. That night all the boys stayed at Jake's and spent some quality time together. Granted, they were up a little late, but the next day was Sunday, so they got to sleep in the next day. The birthday boys were most appreciative. Early in the week they went shopping for new clothes and supplies for school.
September 7th arrived, the first day of eighth grade. Their schedules had the four boys all in the same classes, which pleased them immensely. They were able to reconnect with Luke and Gary before classes started. Something else started happening that they were not used to, they started to get a lot of looks from other kids. The four boys all wore their hair long and tied back in a ponytail. They had also grown and now stood around 5' 7". Because of the training they had gone through over the summer and the work they had done at the ranch, they had put on some muscle, and from all the time spent out in the sun, all four of them sported good tans. A lot of girls smiled at them and said "hi" to them, and giggled a little when the boys said "hi" back. During lunch the four of them told Gary and Luke about most of the stuff they had done during summer, except of course for the training, especially the magic stuff. Gary and Luke were a little envious about everything they had done working on the ranch like they did. The four boys had a good time reconnecting with their friends.
Life got back to normal for the family. The boys continued their martial arts training. Trevor and Zach practiced their skills, at least as much as they could.
Near the end of September, Jeff Gant asked to meet with Jake and Tom at the office.
"What can we do for you, Jeff?"
"I just received some info on Harvey."
"Oh? What do you have?"
"The source that helped me get that picture of him heard something about him and passed it on to me. He heard that Harvey had some plastic surgery done a few months ago to change his appearance and has bleached his hair. My source doesn't have a picture or a description, but he heard through the slime ball underground about it. He is still apparently involved in the 'industry' if you know what I mean."
"Any idea where he is working?"
"Not really, still here in California, but nothing specific."
"Have you told the Sheriffs?"
"Not yet; I wanted to let you guys know first."
"Contact that detective... Graham and pass the info to him. Maybe they can do something with it."
"Okay, I'll let you know if I get anything else." They watched him leave.
"So... what do you think Jake?"
"I don't know. I don't like the thought that he might be in the area, but since we moved here after Denise's death, then he won't know where we live. So I'm not going to tell the boys about it."
"Yeah, sounds good. They don't need to be worried about this guy. He had his chance and lost it. I'm guessing that since he changed his appearance, he's not going to be trying anything with the boys anyway. Hopefully the Sheriffs can get their informants to help them out in finding this guy. He needs to be off the streets permanently."
At a warehouse in Oxnard, James Harvey was overseeing the filming of a movie. The current scene had a thirteen-year-old boy having sex with a woman and a thirteen-year-old girl having sex with a man. The eyes of both of the kids looked glassy, like they were under some kind of drug. He felt his cell phone vibrate and stepped away into an office in the warehouse as he looked at the caller ID. He flipped the phone open.
"Yeah, Dion, what do you want?"
"They's back, Mr. Smith."
"I found out that it was a couple weeks before school starts. Don't know where they was, but they's back now."
"Good, thanks, Dion, I'll be in touch."
He hung up and punched a button on speed dial. It rang and a man's voice answered.
"Kev... I mean Mr. Racine, may I speak with him?"
"Hold on, I'll ask if he wishes to speak with you."
James could hear the phone being put down and the sounds of Kevin Racine's footsteps as he stepped away. After a few moments, footsteps could be heard nearing the phone and it was picked up. The voice on the other end was cold.
"James, I hope that this is important?"
"Yes, sir. It is. The kid is back in town; my contact just called to tell me that the kid is back."
"Well, I thought I'd ask if you want me to get him."
"That seems to be something you tend to have a problem with. Two chances, two failures. That does not give me much confidence in your ability to carry out those kind of assignments."
"I swear, that was just bad luck, sir. It won't happen again."
"I will think about it and let you know. Goodbye, James."
There was a click on the other end and James closed the phone thinking. After ten minutes he called Dion.
"Yo, you got Dion. What you need?"
"Yes. Dion, I want you to carefully watch the kid. Track his moves. See what he does every day and when, but be careful, I do not want to hear about you getting caught watching the kid."
"Got it, Mr. Smith."
"I'll call you in about a week or two and see what you have."
James hung up and went back to watching the filming. James watched with approval, especially the boy. He planned on sampling those pleasures later tonight.
School was going well for the boys. They were doing well in school and played soccer for the school. Because of all the training and hard work they had done during the summer and had continued after they got home, they were in very good shape for their ages. Since they all were in the same classes, you always saw them together. They had other friends like Luke and Gary, and several girls were always trying to make their interest known to the boys. There were a lot of people who remembered the assembly the year before after Zach was hurt and the apparent affection between him and Trevor, but the two boys didn't go around holding hands or anything "gay", so most people figured it had just been a guy being there for his best friend during a tough period.
With their builds, long hair and good looks, they were the dream of many of the girls and probably a few of the boys as well. The boys were friendly but they ignored the hints that the girls dropped. Many times they talked at home about some of the antics of the girls and laughed at how blatant some of the girls acted. The girls would put their hands on the arm of the boy that they liked and lean into them when they talked to them. Some of them would giggle at almost anything one of the boys would say that was even remotely funny. The boys continued to pretend ignorance of what the hints by the girls meant. During the summer up at the ranch, the boys had talked about what they would do about people's perceptions of them. They had decided that they would not pretend to like girls and have fake girlfriends. They knew that because of what had happened last year and some of the comments that they had heard after the assembly, they would have to be careful and not do anything to arouse suspicion. So they were friendly but did not encourage any of the girls and continued to pretend to be ignorant to the girls' attempts to get them to ask them out.
As September changed into October, the girls' efforts increased because there was a Halloween dance, to be held on the Friday before Halloween. The girls started to get impatient with them. They could see it in the faces of the girls. It all came to a head at lunch one day. The four most persistent girls were sitting with the boys at lunch. Allison was sitting next to Trevor, and gave him a gentle nudge with her elbow to get his attention. He turned from saying something to Jeremy to look at her and smiled.
"You want to go with me to the dance?"
"I, uh... don't know if I can. I mean I, uh think our dads are taking us somewhere that weekend, but can I, uh let you know tomorrow? I have to check with my dad."
He could tell she wasn't happy with his answer, but after looking at him for a few moments she smiled.
"Sure okay. I understand if you have a family thing, but yeah, tomorrow sounds good."
"Okay, uh... cool. I'll check tonight and let you know."
He was shocked by the question and looked at his brothers for support; all of them were just as surprised as he was.
'Tigger, I guess we have to talk about this tonight.'
'Yep, guess so.'
The other girls didn't say anything, but they did have hopeful looks on their faces.
On the way home that afternoon they decided to meet after dinner over at Trevor's house. Since they were always welcome at each other's house, Zach and Jared just walked in. Jake was sitting in the living room watching TV.
"Hey, Uncle Jake."
"Hey, guys. They're upstairs."
"'Kay, thanks, Uncle Jake."
They went upstairs and found both of them in Trevor's room, playing on the Playstation. Trevor and Jeremy looked up and smiled when the twins came in. They paused the game and got up to greet their boyfriends. Trevor and Zach sat on the bed, Jeremy brought a chair from his room and sat next to Jared at the end of the bed.
"Okay, what do we do?"
"I guess we didn't think that one of them would ask us out."
"Yeah, Trev, you should have seen your face. It was a real 'deer in the headlights' look."
"Hey, you would have looked the same if Sue would have asked you."
"Probably, but I'm glad it wasn't me. Nice recovery though; nice idea about us going somewhere with the Dads."
"That gave us a reprieve until tomorrow. We gotta figure out what the answer will be. Cuz you know the others are going to ask you guys too."
"Yeah, Zach and I talked about that at home. So is it yes or what?"
Trevor sat and thought about it for a few moments.
"I got an idea. Let's ask Jake what he thinks."
"I guess that couldn't hurt."
Trevor gave Zach a quick kiss on the cheek and went to get Jake. He returned shortly with Jake following behind. Trevor reclaimed his spot next to Zach leaning against the headboard. They both scooted over a little so Jake could share the headboard with them.
"Okay, guys, Trevor says that you guys need my help."
"Dad, there are some girls, who are, um, kind of pushing us to take them to the Halloween dance at school."
"Ah, girl trouble, I didn't think I would have to worry about that with you guys." He smiled at them, and Trevor jabbed him with his elbow, which started making the boys giggle. Jake tickled Trevor in payback for the jab. Trevor started squirming away from him, but Jake stopped the tickle torture after a short time.
"Okay, so girl trouble."
"Yeah, girl trouble. You know we'd rather go with each other, but that probably isn't a good idea."
"Probably not, maybe later, but not yet. So what can I help you with?"
"Well, like I said, we have some girls that want us to take them to the dance. Well, one of them, Allison, asked me, but I know from the looks on the faces of the other girls, they want the others to take them, and we don't know what we should do. I kept from answering by saying I had to check with you in case we might be doing something that Friday."
"Well, mostly it's up to you guys. I know you'd rather go with each other, but we already know that's not something you want to do right now. First, do you want to go to the dance?"
"Well, then you should go."
"But what about the girls? They want us to go with them, y'know, like as a date."
"There is no reason it couldn't be kinda like a date."
"But we don't want a date."
"Look, guys, think of it this way. They are friends, right?"
The boys nodded.
"Well, it's not like you're driving over to their house, picking them up, taking them out to dinner, and that sort of thing. You guys will meet them there. Do you guys all sit together at school like for lunch?"
"Then it's simple: you'll meet them there, you'll sit together and talk. You'll dance with them and probably have a good time. Unless of course you don't like them, then you'd probably have a crappy time."
The boys laughed at that. The boys looked at each other.
"I guess that could work. It would probably be fun to go, it's kind of a costume party dance. So yeah, that could be cool."
"The important thing to remember, guys, is to not do anything to make them think that you want more from them. Don't lead them on."
"I don't think that's the problem. I think they're the ones that want more from us."
"Yeah, they are pretty blatant about it. But then who could blame them, when you have someone like me to hang around?" A pillow hit Zach in the face.
"Don't get so full of yourself, 'big' brother."
"Okay, four someones like us to hang around. Cuz we all are hot, they just can't help themselves."
Jake reached over and grabbed a handful of Zach's belly and started squeezing. Zach started squirming to get away and held up his hands. "Okay, okay, I give."
"Good, you need to stop being so full of yourself, or you won't fit your head through the door. Well, you guys need anything else?"
They shook their heads.
"Then the doctor is out. Make sure you get your homework done."
"'Kay, Dad, thanks."
"Yeah, thanks, Uncle Jake."
"Like I've said, anything you guys need, anytime, anywhere."
Jake left the room.
"We need to get home and get our homework finished, so see you guys."
The twins gave their boyfriends a hug and kiss and left the room. Jeremy carried his chair back into his bedroom, while Trevor turned off the Playstation and sat at his desk to finish up what homework he had left.
The next day, the boys were nervous as they went to lunch. The girls sat down and Allison looked at Trevor.
"So can you go?"
"Ye... yes. We aren't going anywhere like I thought, so I guess we're free."
"Good. Then we're all going?"
The other boys nodded, which made the other girls smile.
"Cool, then we'll meet you there. Do you know what costume you're going to wear?"
"Oh, yeah, costume. I, uh don't know yet. I'll have to think about it."
"Well let me know, maybe we can match, y'know, since we're going together."
"Yeah, to the dance."
"Oh, yeah, right, the dance."
They finished lunch; the girls hugged the boys goodbye and went off in a group, giggling to each other. The guys watched them go and breathed a sigh of relief.
"Well, that takes care of that. I guess we have to come up with costumes now."
The bell rang to signal the end of the lunch period.
That night, James Harvey sat in the hot tub at his condo and leaned his head back against the rim with his eyes closed, just feeling relaxed, when the phone rang. He opened his eyes as he heard Ricky pick it up and answer it. A few moments later, the naked thirteen-year-old came back out to the patio and handed the phone to James as he slipped into the hot tub and sat down next to him. James took it as he smiled at the boy.
"Mr. Smith, it's Dion."
"Good evening, Dion. What do you need?"
"I just wanted to report in. I got the kid's routine figured out. I know when and where he goes places."
"Good, give me a rundown."
"Okay, he and the other three kids leave their houses and ride to school by seven in the mornin'. They get out at about 2:30 in the afternoon and ride home. They all play soccer for the school, so on those days they go home later, maybe about 4:30 pm. When they have a game, they usually get a ride home from their parents instead of riding their bikes. They don't have no set schedule on the weekends. They go visit their friends or play in the park. Sometimes they go to the old folks, I think it's the kid's grandparents house, on one of the days of the weekend to visit, but they don't do nothing like a schedule on the weekend."
"Hmmm. Well, I guess that's a start. Anything else?"
"Yeah, kinda. You never see him alone; one or the others is always with him./ Mostly all four of them are always together; they like four peas in a pod. You don't see one without the others."
"Okay. Stay on it, Dion. Let me know if anything changes."
"Yes, sir, Mr. Smith."
James hung up the phone and put it on the decking around the rim. He sat back and closed his eyes as Ricky started rubbing his hand across Jim's chest and cuddled up next to him. He smiled at the young teenager's caress.
For the next several days, the girls anxiously asked the boys what they were going to wear for the dance. The boys kept answering that they were still working on it. A couple of weeks later they were still trying to come up with costume ideas. They didn't really want to just go down to Halloween Club and buy any old costume; they wanted something unique. The girls had finally stopped asking them what they were going to wear. When they went home from school on Friday, they only had one week left before the dance. They all went to the MacLaren home to do homework and talk about the dance. They grabbed some snacks and sat in the living room talking.
"We only have a week and no ideas yet."
"Well, we could wear either our cowboy stuff or our Indian stuff. That'd look pretty cool. The cowboy stuff might be a little plain, and there will probably be others dressed as cowboys. The buckskins would look cool, since they're beaded and stuff. Do you think we should wear the breechclout and leggings or the buckskin pants?"
"Well, if it were my choice, I'd choose the leggings; that way I can ogle your cute butt."
"Well if you're gonna be ogling, It's only fair if I can do that with you."
"Although I'm guessing that there would be others that would want to ogle it too, and the school would probably take a dim view of our butts hanging out, so probably the pants instead of the leggings. Well, I guess that's settled. We can tell the girls on Monday when we see them at school."
They finished their snacks and sat at the dining room table to do homework. Once they were finished, they decided to go swimming. Instead of putting on shorts, they just stripped everything off on the back patio and went skinny dipping. They swam and played for awhile, when there was a sudden yell that startled them.
As they turned toward the yell, a wave of water hit them, causing a couple of the boys to cough and splutter because their mouths had been open as the water splashed them. The boys recovered quickly and jumped Jake as he surfaced. It quickly became a no holds barred wrestling match between Jake and the boys. They were able to dunk him a few times, but there were just as many times a boy flying through the air from being thrown by Jake. Jake finally raised his hands in surrender and moved to the steps in the shallow end and sat down. The boys crowded around.
"Hello, sons, and of course my favorite nephews. How was school?"
"The same as usual, okay."
"You learn anything?"
"Good, otherwise it'd be a waste for you and the teacher and my tax money, so I always like to make sure I get my money's worth."
"Daaaad, you are so corny."
"Guys, I have something for you that your Grandfather sent. So get out and get dried off..."
He looked at the four of them as he grinned.
"... and get dressed."
"What is it?"
"I don't know, it was just a big box with you guys' names on it."
They giggled and everyone got out. The boys went to the cabinet where towels were kept and started drying off. Jake, who was wearing his shorts, dried off quickly and then wrapped the towel around his waist as he went inside, so the wet shorts wouldn't drip on the floor in the house. The boys quickly reclaimed their discarded clothes. Jake came back downstairs just as the boys walked in the patio door. They followed him to the living room and there in the middle of the room was a large box. They walked over to it.
"Your grandfather sent it to the office, since he knew that there would be someone there to sign for it. So it's yours, open it up."
The boys started to tear at the tape to open the large box. Once they had the top open, they saw that there were more boxes inside. There were boxes in different shapes and sizes. They all had their names on them. Trevor and Jeremy were pulling boxes out and handing them to the person whose name was on it. There were even some for Jake. Once the big box was empty, they each had an identical set of packages. At the bottom of the big box was a letter, addressed to Jake, so Trevor handed it to him. He opened it and started to read it, he chuckled a little as he read it. The boys watched him for a few moments.
"So, Dad, what's it say?"
Dear MacLaren Clan,
Thank you for welcoming us into your family. Ginny is very happy and my new grandson Cody is bloody brilliant. I hope that you all can come and visit us someday soon. Anyway, when I found out that here was practically a clan in itself all without knowing the proper way to dress in public, I took it upon meself to rectify the situation. In these packages are everything that a fine Scottish gentlemen needs when he's walking about the countryside or going out on the town. Enjoy and be proud. You're MacLarens; wear the tartan proudly.
Your friends, Uncle William and Aunt Heather Kilpatrick.
Within moments Jake and the boys were opening the boxes and looking at what was inside. A large package from each pile held a kilt in the MacLaren dark green tartan. Another had a couple of different jackets in it, one of which looked like a short dress jacket, the other like a regular suit jacket. There were a couple of vests, some brogans and long socks. Each person had one box that held several clan crest accessories, buckle, kilt pin, cap pin and a sgian dubh. Another held the belt and sporran. Each of the sporrans had the MacLaren crest on the flap. There were a couple of different caps included, a Glengarry and Balmoral for each of them. On the caps the clan crest badge was pinned in place. Jake whistled when he saw what everyone had gotten.
"Wow! You guys need to make sure that you write Mr. and Mrs. Kilpatrick and thank them. There is several thousand dollars worth of clothes in here, and this is all high quality stuff, not the cheap stuff."
"Guys, you know what I'm thinking. I know what I want to wear to the dance now."
"Yeah, that'll be cool."
"Boys, you know they say a real Scotsman wears nothing under his kilt."
"What do you... oh, uh... nothing?"
"Yep, that's what they say: if you're a real Scotsman, you wear nothing under your kilt..."
"Uh, maybe this ain't the best idea for the dance."
"...but I would prefer that you wear underwear. So as the Chief of this MacLaren clan, I give you permission to not go commando."
"Okay. I like that better. I think we should tell the girls that we know what we're going to wear, but we want to surprise them."
"All right, let's get this all cleaned up and put your stuff away. Zach, Jared, let's put your stuff in the Jeep and I'll drive it over to your house for you, so you don't have to carry it down the street."
"Thanks, Uncle Jake. See you guys later."
They all helped carry their stuff out to the jeep and hopped in. Jake drove them down the street and helped them unload everything. They went in and visited with Tom and Terry for a little, while the boys showed them everything they had gotten. The boys played some video games with the twins up in their room... at least that was the original intention. Jake came to the room and told the boys that he was going home and told them to come home soon. They acknowledged him and after playing another hour, they said goodbye... a few times and then went home.
James was once again overseeing another video shoot when he felt his cell phone vibrate in his pocket. He pulled it out to look at the caller ID and stepped away from the filming studio to answer it.
"Mr. Smith. There might be a chance for us to get to the kid."
"Well I been noticing that those kids have had some girls hanging around them a lot lately. The same four all the time. So I been thinking that maybe they gots girlfriends and they is a Halloween dance next Friday at the school. So maybe we can grab him there. Them girls is pretty sweet looking, so maybe if we go there and watch, mebbe the kid and his girl will try to find a place to where they can have a little privacy, and we watch for 'em and grab 'em."
"Do you know if they are going to this dance?"
"No, sir. I ain't got no idea, but mebbe they will and if we's waiting, then we can get him then."
"Possibly. If they're together, then we may have to take them both or kill her and take him."
"Why don't we take 'em both? I could take care 'o her and you can take care of the kid."
"Yes, that is right, you like girls that age."
"Yep, just ripe for the plucking."
"Besides, I could use her in my other work. She could be valuable. If she is his girlfriend, we could use her to get his cooperation. But once I pass him to the customer, all bets are off and it doesn't matter what happens to her. Hmmmm. It has possibilities. We would need to do it as quietly as possible. I will let you know in a few days, Dion."
"Okay, I'll wait for your call."
"Keep watching them."
James closed the phone and went into the office to think where he wouldn't be disturbed by the cries of the eleven-year-old boy that was in the scene being presently filmed.
On Monday, they told the girls that they had their costumes for the dance. The girls immediately wanted to know what they were.
"C'mon, Trevor, tell me. I want to know if we'll match."
"Yeah, we want to know too."
"It's a surprise, but if you tell me what your costume is, I'll tell you if it matches what we're wearing."
"No, turn about is fair play. You won't tell so we won't tell."
"Fair enough. I guess we'll all find out on Friday night."
For the rest of the week, the girls, either together or separately, tried to get them to reveal what they were wearing to the dance. They would pretend to zip their mouths closed and smile when asked, which usually caused the girl who asked for the information to scowl at them. Friday finally arrived and the family came together over at Jake's house for dinner. Earlier in the week, the boys had looked at everything to figure out how to wear the kilts and all, and some of it was common sense, but some of the stuff was hard to figure out. After some frustration Jared went online to a couple of sites that showed how to wear everything and where the accessories were worn. They decided they would wear the less formal Argyll jackets with a white dress shirt and dark green tie, rather than the formal Prince Charlie dress jacket and weskit. They also wore MacLaren tartan stockings with green flashes and ghillie brogues. The Glengarry became the hat of choice rather than the Balmoral. Since they were not wearing the formal stuff, they dispensed with the fly plaids that would be worn over the left shoulder. When they were finished all four came downstairs for inspection.
"Well, how do we look?"
The four adults looked at them a few moments and then Terry started taking pictures.
"You guys look awesome. You're going to have to help me get mine to look that good when I have a chance to wear mine."
"You boys are very handsome. C'mon, lets go out back so we can get some good pictures."
Jake looked them up and down. "Oh, wait a minute, one thing we have to change."
He went over to Trevor and reached down to his right stocking and pulled the sgian dubh out.
"Remember you're going to be at the school. They might not look too kindly on you carrying the knives on you."
"Oops, forgot. We were just putting everything where the pictures on the website showed us and kinda forgot that part."
Each of the others reached down and removed the sgian dubhs from their stocking tops and handed them to Jake. The next few minutes were taken up with pictures, Terry kept moving them around in different groups, all together, couples together, brothers together and on and on.
"Mom, can we just get going? I doubt you have any room left on the memory card for the camera anyway."
"I can't help it, you guys look really great. If I was a girl or even a boy at the dance, I'd want to be seen with you."
"Ewww, Mom, you're our mom!"
"I don't care; I think you guys look hot."
"Ewww, you're going to scar us for life. Now all I can think about is my mom saying I'm ho...."
Trevor grabbed Zach and kissed him, cutting off the protests. When they pulled apart Zach was no longer saying anything.
"I think you're hot too."
"I guess that's okay, cuz I think you look hot. This sucks that we can't go together instead of with the girls."
"Yeah, that would be cool, another time maybe. C'mon, we need to get going or our 'dates' will be getting anxious."
Jake got everyone into the jeep and drove off. As they neared the school, they started looking for the girls. As soon as Jake pulled up they got out of the Jeep.
"Trev, I'll be back about nine thirty to pick you guys up, unless you call earlier, okay."
"Sounds good, Dad. We'll be waiting here."
"Have fun, guys."
"Bye, Uncle Jake."
Jake smiled and waved as he drove off. The boys looked at each other and turned to walk to the auditorium. They started to get looks from everyone as they neared it. The girls spied them and hurried over. Allison, Trevor's date, was dressed as Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty in a pink princess gown and tiara. Susan, Zach's date, was dressed like a 60's hippie, in a psychedelic pants suit with love beads, headband and square shades. Lacey, Jeremy's date, was dressed as a vampire in black and purple with a long cape. Julie, Jared's date, was dressed as Catwoman. The girls were smiling widely.
"Wow, you guys look... wow!"
"Where did you rent them and all exactly the same? They look really expensive."
"We didn't rent them, they are ours."
"Why would you guys have kilts?"
"Our Uncle Robbie got married this summer up in Montana while we were there for vacation. He married a lady from Scotland and her parents sent these to us. We got them last week and when we opened the packages, we decided to go to the dance as Highland gentlemen."
"Boy, the other girls are going to be jealous of us. Our bo... uh dates are better looking than anyone else's."
Trevor and Zach exchanged quick glances. They both caught Allison's slip of the tongue.
'We're going to have to make sure that's nipped in the bud.'
'Yeah, we will. Let's have a good time, Tigger.'
They smiled and turned their attention back to their dates. The girls wrapped their arm around their dates' arms and they started to go inside, when a voice behind them stopped them.
"What have we here, a bunch of lesbos?"
They turned around and saw several boys about their age or maybe a little older, with their dates.
"Oops, sorry, I couldn't tell from that back since you're wearing those dresses and you all have long hair."
"Skirts? Oh sorry, I couldn't tell from the back because you're wearing those skirts."
"Exxcuuuse me. Well, girls, you look cute in your skirts."
"Just ignore him, let's go."
"Yes, run along, girls. Don't forget to save a dance for me, toodle loo."
The girls pulled them to the building entrance as the loudmouth and his friends laughed. They showed their tickets to the teacher at the door and went inside. There was music playing as they made their way inside. There was a photographer who ushered each couple over to get their pictures taken. Once all four couples finished with the pictures, they moved farther into the auditorium. There was a DJ on the stage running his equipment, which was putting out a good dancing beat. The central area of the floor had been cleared for dancing. There were tables and chairs along the side walls. The back wall opposite the stage had tables with snacks and refreshments.
The boys were immediately dragged onto the dance floor by their dates. For the next fifteen minutes they danced. Afterwards they found a table or two where they could cool down and talk. A couple of the guys went to get some drinks for everyone. Once the drinks were finished, they headed back out to the dance floor for some more dancing. While they were out there, Trevor felt a hand on his shoulder.
"Hi, ladies, remember you were going to save me a dance."
Trevor looked to the side and there was the guy from outside; his friends were nearby. The guy had a twisted smile on his face as he turned to look for approval from his friends. No one saw the movement, but within moments Trevor had slipped out from under the guys hand, grabbed and twisted it into a wrist lock and exerted pressure; without trying to, the guy found himself on his knees in front of Trevor, gasping in the pain that was shooting up his arm. He looked up and Trevor brought his face close to him, grinning.
"You don't want to do that."
The guy's friends started to move toward Trevor and Trevor's brothers shifted slightly closer. Trevor applied more pressure and the guy yelped again.
"Tell 'em to back off. We don't want any trouble; we just want to have a good time with our friends."
By this time people nearby had stopped dancing and were looking at the scene. The teachers who were there as chaperones noticed that something was going on and started to make their way to where the problem was. Trevor leaned close and allowed his eyes to glow for a second as he looked at the guy. Then he slowly released his hold and stepped back. The kid got up and rubbed his wrist as he looked at Trevor, to get the blood circulating again.
"This ain't over."
"Yeah, it is. C'mon, let's just have a good time, huh."
About that time, one of the male teachers pushed his way through the crowd.
"What's going on here?"
The kid looked at Trevor and then turned toward the teacher.
"Nothing, I tripped and knocked into the kid in the skirt. He helped me up."
He glared at Trevor daring him to say anything different. Trevor grinned at him before he turned to the teacher.
"Yeah, I was helping him get up."
The teacher looked at the two of them frowning, but since he saw nothing, there was little he could do. He looked to the group of students nearby.
"All right, show's over, get back to what you were doing."
The kids nearby turned away, disappointed that there wasn't going to be a fight. The incident had happened off to the side and the music drowned out most of it, so that the dance continued as if nothing had happened. The eight of them went to a table to cool down. Allison was gushing.
"Wow, I didn't even see you move and he was on his knees."
"We've had some martial arts training for self defense."
"That was cool."
"No, it wasn't, I just did the least that I could do, to stop the situation. I don't like to use it. I don't think it's cool to hurt people."
"I didn't mean that. I mean I guess you could've hurt him worse."
"Maybe, but I just wanted to diffuse the situation and get on with the dance."
"Well, thanks for protecting me."
They got more drinks and sat for a little while listening to the music and watching the other dancers. Other people who were friends of either the boys or the girls came by and said hello, staying to talk for a little while before moving on. At one point Lacey stood up and pulled on Jeremy's hand. He stood up and they went out to the dance floor. The others soon followed. After dancing one dance, Lacey pulled Jeremy over to the side.
"Jeremy, I feel a little overheated in here. Could you walk with me outside so I can get some cooler air?"
"Sure, I guess."
She led him out the door they entered from and they walked in the cooler air. She took his arm and placed it over her shoulders as they walked; she smiled at him. He gave her a nervous smile in return. She led them around the corner away from the entrance door. Jeremy was starting to get a little nervous. She stopped and moved in front of him.
"Jeremy, do you like me?"
"Sure, you're a good friend."
"A friend, what kind of friend?"
"A... you know, uh... a fr... friend."
"Do you think I'm pretty?'
"Ah... sure I guess, I mean, yeah, you're pretty."
"Then why don't you kiss me?"
She moved toward him as he tried to back away.
"La... Lacey, I, uh... mean, uh... "
He was looking in her eyes as they suddenly went wide in surprise and then slowly started to close and she sagged against him. Instinctively, he tried to grab her and his hand brushed against something on her back. Then as she slipped down, he felt a sharp sting like getting stuck with a thorn in his upper left chest, and then he started feeling dizzy. Lacey slipped out of his arms as they started to feel heavy. He looked around and saw two dark figures moving towards them. He swayed for a moment and then saw the grass rushing toward him. He felt like he was trying to swim through mud. and he could hear faint voices nearby.
"That should do it. Grab the girl, Dion; I'll get the kid. Make sure you grab everything off the ground."
He felt real tired and tried to fight against it to stay awake. He forced himself to open his eyes. Everything was blurry and he could see one of the figures pick Lacey up before everything went black.