"Everyone gather round as we announce this years Homecoming Queen!"
I grabbed my camera, weaving my way to the center of the crowd. My gaze flickered momentarily around the crowd to locate Carter -- she was hovering at the edge, as usual. My lips twitched into a slight smile. She looked beautiful in her princess dress, and she was still glowing from her showdown with Donnie mere moments ago. There was something off in her crossed-arms poise, though, but I wrote it off as nerves about the results. My first mistake, in retrospect... First of many. My attention redirected to the teacher on stage. Mistake number two. Little did I know, that would be the last time I saw Carter for a good while.
"This year's Homecoming Queen is..." I trained my camera, catching my breath. Carter, Carter, Carter, Cart-- "Rosie Gonzalez! Congratulations, Rosie!" I released the sigh I'd been holding, feeling the camera dip momentarily in my grasp until I redirected it, catching Rosie's enthusiastic speech with only the half enthusiasm I'd entertained minutes ago. Don't get me wrong, I love Rosie. She's great! But she's no Carter, that's for sure... Carter. Where was she? I turned, expecting to see her applauding in her previous haunt, but the space she once filled was noticeably empty. Carter? I glanced up to the stage to see Rosie staring at the same spot, brow furrowed with concern. Why was she concerned? Where could Carter be? A flash of movement in the back of the gym caught my eye. I squinted, and saw a flash of -- could it be? -- Caribbean blue. Carter. My camera was in my pocket in heartbeats as I darted towards the dark corner where I'd seen the blue flash, but I was met with nothing but a door to the boiler closet. Why was Carter in the boiler closet? ..Only one way to find out. I glanced back to see Rosie headed out the front door, and pushed my way quickly into the back hallways of the school. Of course! There was a maze of halls in the boiler area... But still, what in the world was Carter doing back here?
"Carter?" I called hesitantly. My voice sounded harsh and ugly in the severe silence of the hallway, and I quickly decided not to shout again. I just ran, like my life depended on it. Little did I know, it just might...
The plan was working beautifully! The ugly bald guy was dragging me through the hallway with an assured smirk that proved his whole-hearted belief that I was Rosie. Haha. I guess I got him pretty well, huh? We rounded a corner a little sharper than I had expected, and I fell, my dress catching on a pipeline. Baldie growled impatiently, his hand grasped a little too tightly around my upper arm. He pulled roughly, dragging me a few feet on my side as I tried to regain my composure. I heard an ugly rip -- oh no he didn't! A glance back confirmed my worst fears; the dress now went only down to my knees, it's former glory a sad looking lump hanging from the pipeline. Ugh. This was a one of a kind! I bet Elegante won't make me another, either, now that Rosie will be able to go home... Darn it.
"Get up!" Baldie hissed, dragging me to my feet. Screw him. I stumbled a few more steps, evidently convincing him that I was good to go, because he began running again. I staggered after him, rolling my eyes a few times. Thank goodness Rosie wasn't going through this, her fragile heart wouldn't be able to take it! That made me feel a little better, knowing I was saving my best friend from this kind of torture. Best friend... Wait. If Rosie was my best friend, then what was Ed? A little voice in the back of my head answered that question, but I tuned it out. The last thing I needed right now was that kind of confusion to distract me from the task at hand! I could hear the faint whirring of helicopter blades, and smirked. We were getting close. Baldie was about to get what he deserved! As I was reflecting on this, I guess I missed the entrance of a man dressed almost identically to Baldie, but with less adornments on his uniform. Loser. The new man, Boring McBorington, leaned in to Baldie and whispered to him quickly. My forehead scrunched up like it always does when I'm confused. Ed tells me that all the time... Why were they looking at me? What had happened?
"Change of plans, beautiful." Baldie growled, and dragged me down another hallway, towards the side of the school rather than the back. My heart leapt into my throat and my eyes widened -- Change of plans?! No! There couldn't be a change of plans! My dad was waiting in that helicopter! Without him, who knows what would happen to me once they realized I'm not Rosie!? My heart was beating double time as we reached the main boiler room. Baldie grabbed a pair of handcuffs, attaching me to a steam pipe towards the center of the room and running his hand along my shoulders, chuckling. "Everything will be fine soon, Rosalinda. You just wait." Yeah, doubt that.
My heart pounded as I slipped through the double doors at the front of the school. Carter. Where was she? My eyes darted, left to right, as I surveyed the front of the school. Empty. But.. What was that sound? Helicopter blades... Carter. With a gasp of realization, I set of at a brisk jog towards the side of the school from which originated the helicopter noises. There was a brief episode at the pool involving that prissy girl, I can't think of her name. She's all washed up anyways. Haha.. all washed up.. haha! Anyways. I reached the helicopter, only to find the site abandoned. Were they already inside? I marched up confidently and tapped on the side of the cockpit. The door opened almost immediately, and I stared into the startled gaze of Mr. Mason.
"Mr. Mason?" I gasped softly. He caught his breath, springing out of the helicopter and grabbing my shoulders.
"Rosie! Where is Carter!?" He asked. I stammered, no coherent words coming out. My silence was answer enough. He turned sheet white, grabbing onto the side of the helicopter for support. "Oh God.. You don't think?"
"Mr. Mason, what is going on?!" I asked urgently, not really wanting an answer. He gave me a pained look, and I cringed. Why did he look so upset?
"He's here." Oh no.