Hi, I'm Cephas Parker.
I'm a lot of things. I'm a photographer. I'ma lab assistant. And, I'm also superhero.
Yes, you heard that right. I'm a superhero. And at the moment, I'm rolled up in a cocoon of webbing, stuck on a web like a fly, which is rather ironic, now that I think about it…
Wait, you're still stuck on the superhero part, aren't you? I should have figured. I guess you want me to tell you my whole origin story, huh?
…Oh, you do want to know my origin story.
Okay, fine. I'll tell you my origin story.
It all started with one bad week in high school.
Well, actually, let's start a week before then. Since you want to know my origin story, I guess you want to know what makes me tick, right?
Right now, picture an American Literature class. Now picture all the usual people you'd find in the class. The jocks, the cheerleaders, the nerds… I didn't belong to any of those groups. I was that one kid that no one really knew much about because I tended to keep to myself. At that moment, I was looking up at the clock, thinking that the second hand couldn't have moved any slower. There was literally two minutes left in class, and all I could think of was what I was going to do with my group after school. As I stared at the clock, I half-listened to the teacher remind us of an essay that was due at the end of the week. I wasn't too worried about it since I already did it and just had to proofread it.
I glanced over at my friend Harry, who tapped his pencil against the cover of his composition book impatiently. After what seemed like an eternity, the bell mercifully sounded throughout the school, prompting me to grab my book bag and stand up. I took walked towards the door and exited, shouldering the backpack in the process. As everyone flooded out of the room, I waited for Harry to make his exit. Once he entered the hall, we made our way towards the door that lead to the courtyard.
"So, Homecoming's coming up," Harry mentioned. I shrugged my shoulders. I made an audible as I neared a bathroom door. I stepped inside of it, with Harry right behind me. "It's three weeks away."
"What of it?" I asked. I stepped in front of the urinals and began the process of relieving myself. I didn't even have to turn my head to know that Harry was shaking his head at me.
"Cephas Parker…" he began.
"Yes, Mr. Osborn."
"What year is this for you?"
"My junior year."
"Exactly," he said after I zipped up and moved towards one of the sinks. "For two years, you go to this school, do school work and…. That's it. Would it kill you to do something fun?"
"I hang out with you and the others at least once a week. Isn't that fun?"
I looked up at the mirror as I pressed the heel of my palm against the closest soap dispenser. Staring back at me was a somewhat tall guy with dark skin, dark eyes, and short hair. I'm not an ugly person. Not by my standards anyway. But I didn't think I was the type of guy that has girls falling out of the sky for me with my looks. Truth be told, I felt that if I was in a high school drama, I'd be portrayed by an extra that happens to be a random black guy off of the street that may or may not appear in a shot. You see, I was the guy no one notices. No girls gawked at me and bullies never took my lunch money. It was a nice balance, in a way.
Harry, on the other hand, was the exact opposite of me. The brunette was a lot more outgoing than I was. I liked to keep to myself, he loved going out and doing social activities. And while I did have a decent allowance, his dad, Norman, was loaded, with him being the CEO and head scientist of Oscorp and all. So, he can afford to do what he wants, whenever he wanted. He was one of the most popular kids in school. So, needless to say, he was more amped up for Homecoming than I was.
"Ceph'," he began as I washed my hands. "Would it kill you to go to the dance? You barely go to football games, or any sporting events for that matter. You don't even go to other social events. Why not just go to this one dance?"
I turned off the faucet before reaching for a paper towel.
"It's just not my thing," I said replied as I dried my hands. "Unless I'm hanging out and doing something that just involves you and the crew, I prefer to stay at home. You know that." I turned away from the sink and made my way out of the restroom with Harry in tow.
"We all know that," Harry said. "Thing is, we often hang out at these events, and the first thing that comes to our minds are 'Man… wish Ceph' was here'." I pressed my lips together as we walked out of the building. I narrowed my eyes as the Florida sun beamed down on us.
"Yeah, I'm sure you were thinking about me when you were grinding up on that girl while LMFAO was playing in the background." I looked over at Harry, who looked at me with a look of slight surprise. I scoffed before looking forward. "Facebook."
From the corner of my eye, I saw Harry shaking his head as we headed towards the east side of campus.
"Well…" Harry continued. "Most of us are looking for dates. And 'most of us' includes…" A part of me was getting frustrated. I couldn't help but get the feeling that he wasn't going to take no for an answer. And whenever he got like this, he usually had a trump card drawn to finally make me relent. One time it was a DVD of Wrestlemania 2000. Another time, it was a guaranteed job at a restaurant (that folded two months later). And this time, it was…
I stopped in my tracks.
"Why'd you have to mention Gwen?" I said as I turned to him, letting my frustration show.
"Because I know that's the only way I can get you to Homecoming."
"…Ugh… Whatever," I said. "Where are we going anyway?"
"The usual place," he said as we approached the parking lot.
About ten minutes later, we pulled into the parking lot of Wendy's. I stepped out of Harry's Honda S2000. I looked down at the silver roadster before looking over at Harry as he stepped out of it. We then made our way inside. As we made a beeline towards the counter, we waved to three people who was seated at a section of the restaurant. While Harry grabbed a double cheeseburger with a Coke and fries, I opted for a Vanilla Frosty Shake, not really in the mood to eat a whole meal at the moment. Once we got our orders, we made our way towards the tables that our aforementioned friends were sitting at.
As I took my seat, I exchanged handshakes with Carl, Gwen, and Jessica.
Sitting across from me was Carl Lucas, the biggest guy in our group, standing at six and a half feet and weighing about 270 pounds. He was the star defensive end on our school's football team and the only senior in my circle. Because of how good he is on the field, he can practically go to any college he wanted to. Not that he wasn't a smart guy or anything; on the contrary, he had quite a bit of brains to go with his muscles. Plus, he seemed to have the uncanny ability to utilize common sense whenever necessary, making him the voice of reason of our group. Unlike Gwen and Harry, I didn't know Carl until my second year of high school when we shared a class. I jokingly pointed out to him that we were the only black guys in class, which got a laugh from him. After a couple of weeks, I invited him to hang out with us. And the rest was history.
Sitting next to him was his girlfriend Jessica Jones. Just like Carl, I met Jessica when I attended this high school. Heck, we didn't even talk much prior to her going out with Carl. However, after a while, we got to know each other, if only because Carl and I hung out with Harry and I. I later figured out she was a little shy, and even now, it was easy to get in a one-sided conversation. But that was one of her best traits: She was a great listener. She was also the morality pet of the group. While she normally went with the flow of things, when she voiced a differing opinion, we all stop and reconsider the situation. And more often than not, she's right.
Now, sitting next to me was Gwen Stacy. Harry, Gwen, and I grew up together, with her living the closest to me out of my friends. She shared my love for science and fiction, though she was more interested in literature while I had a thing for pro wrestling and comic books. And, as you probably guessed, I have a thing for her. Other than Harry, she was my closest friend. We talked a lot about many things, and she was my foil in quite a few areas. For example, she often spoke her mind whenever she found something stupid while I merely kept my sarcastic thoughts in my head. While I was usually reserved around people who I just met, she was more outgoing and welcoming. Plus, she was the only person other than Harry who knew everything about me.
I flashed a smile at Gwen as she tucked a stray golden strand of hair behind her left ear.
"Great to have most of us here," Carl said, narrowing his eyes. He was referring to the sixth person of our group. You'll hear about her soon.
"She'll be back on Monday," I said as I took a sip of my shake. "So, what's on the agenda today?"
"Homecoming," Gwen said with a smile. "This is my first time going."
"I heard you were looking for a date," Harry said. I turned towards him and gave him a look. I knew what he was trying to do. He wanted to force me to go to the dance. And he knew if she asked, I wouldn't say no.
"Yeah, I am," Gwen said. "It's not something I want to go to by myself. I even bought two tickets." I suppressed a cringe as I began to take another sip of my shake through the straw.
"Hey, Ceph', aren't you looking for someone?" Carl chimed in. Coincidently, some of the shake went down the wrong tube, causing me to cough. After short coughing fit, I then looked at Carl, eyebrow raised. I then turned my head towards Gwen, who looked at me in surprise.
"You are?" she said. I wanted to put an end to it, but before I could I say anything, Carl continued.
"Yeah, he said he wanted to go to Homecoming with someone he knew, someone he could trust. So, I figured… You both are looking for someone, and you two trust each other…"
"It would be a good idea," Jessica said with a small smile.
Ain't this some crap! I just got ganged up on by own friends. I looked over at Gwen, who had a subtle look of anticipation. So, way I saw it, I only had two options. I could either tell Gwen the truth and disappoint her, and have her end up with some guy who I didn't even know. Or, I could just go along with this sham, and end up going out with her. And considering that there couldn't be a better girl to be forced on a date with…
"Well… Gwen, what do you say?"
She chuckled as she looked down at her burger. She then nodded.
"Yes, Pete, I'll be your date for the dance." She then stood up from her seat. "I'll be back." I watched her as she made her way to the bathroom. As soon as she was out of sight, I turned my head towards my other friends, scowling at them.
"Y'all planned this from the start, didn't you?" I demanded.
"We're only trying to help you, Ceph'," Harry said, putting an arm around my shoulders. "It's obvious you like her. We're just doing you a favor."
"I can't believe this," I said. "I just got pimped."
"Look at it this way, Cephas," Jessica said. "While at Homecoming, you can take the time to actually tell her how you feel."
"Like I got a choice," I muttered. "Still screwed up how you planned it. But worst of all, I don't even have time to prepare."
"No worries," Harry said. "You, Carl, and I can swing by one of the malls this Saturday and begin shopping. There should still be plenty of stuff to buy."
"For Gwen," I whispered. "I'm doing this for Gwen."
Carl laughed as Gwen eventually returned, and we talked about the usual stuff: Teachers we hated, the absurdity of assignments, and what he had planned for the week.
Eventually, Harry dropped me off at home in Lauderhill. After waving to him, I turned around and pulled out my keys. I after finding the right key, I unlocked the front door and walked in. As I closed the door behind me, I heard the faint sound of music playing from upstairs. I looked up at the ceiling for a moment before walking over to the kitchen. The light was on, and taped to the fridge door was a folded piece of paper with my named scribbled on it in black ink. I grabbed it and opened it up. A twenty dollar bill dropped out of it, and I was barely able to catch it before it landed on the ground. I then looked down at the paper and saw that a note was written on it.
"'Cephas'," I muttered to myself. "'We decided to catch a movie tonight. Order a pizza for you and Anya'." The name Uncle Ben was written after those words.
I guess this is the part where I explain my family situation.
You see, until I was eight years old, I lived with my parents, Richard and Mary Parker. However, during that period, I spent quite a bit of time with my uncle Ben and my aunt May. This was mostly because my folks were away half the time due to government work. They never told me what that work entailed, and I still didn't know, but I knew that it often took them around the world, as evidenced by the many souvenirs they brought back. So, I imagined that they were secret agents, like American 007's.
Unfortunately, when I was eight, my uncle had to break the news that my folks died in a plane crash. My uncle and aunt took me in, and when I moved in, I had Anya Corazon waiting for me.
Anya was that last person of my circle I mentioned earlier. When I moved in with my uncle and aunt, we immediately clashed. We didn't really know each other that well yet, so she thought I was a brooding killjoy while I thought she was an annoying half-pint. However, as we eventually got to know each other and grew close. Unlike me, she doesn't even know if her parents are even alive or dead; she never knew them. She was raised in an orphanage until she was taken in.
Thinking about her all of the sudden, I left the kitchen before making my way upstairs. As I did, the music I heard became louder and louder. I reached the second floor and walked towards the source of the sound. I stopped in front of a door before placing my hand on the knob and twisting it. As I pushed the door open, I saw Anya sitting on her bed, head bowed as she was engrossed in a book that opened in her hands, her feet tapping the comforter to the rhythm of an instrumental I couldn't quite recognize at the moment. I looked over to my left to see a small table. And top of it was a light brown teddy bear. I reached for it and grabbed it before I threw it at Anya. As I expected, the small toy hit Anya on the head, causing her to look up in surprise. When she saw who it was, she tilted her head while pressing her lips together, slightly annoyed. She stood up and walked over to her radio. She pressed the power button on the radio, causing the music to stop, before turning towards me. She then cocked an eyebrow.
"Really?" she said.
"Yup," I said with a smile on my face. "Hey, our folks left some cash for a pizza. Want the usual?"
"Yeah," she said. I nodded.
"Meet me down stairs. We'll watch a movie or something."
"I'd like that," she said. I nodded at her before I made my way downstairs.
About a half hour later, the two of us was watching Equilibrium on our folks' couch. Or, at least we tried to. As great as the movie was, we've seen it quite a few times. We spent most of the time talking about what happened to me after school. In front of us were two opened boxes of pizza and two half full two-liter bottles of soda with two glasses, all on the coffee table.
"And I was set up, just like that," I said before finishing off my slice of pizza.
"So you're finally going to Homecoming," Anya mused after swallowing a piece out of her slice. "And with Gwen to boot. Who'da thunketh?"
"What are you trying to say?" I said as I leaned back on the couch.
"Ceph', everybody knows you like her," Anya said, turning her head towards me. "And she likes you too."
"What makes you think so?" I said, raising my eyebrow at her.
"Well, let's see," Anya pressed her tongue against her cheek. "You're the only person she gives a nickname to. She hangs on to your every word and laughs at your pathetic excuse for jokes. Oh, she also slept in your bed while you were in it quite a few times…" I tilted my head at that last part
"How did you know about that?" As I asked this, I bent forward as I grabbed my cup. I then leaned back against the seat and took a sip.
I immediately did a spit take before turning towards Anya, my eyes as wide as saucers. Anya looked straight back at me with a straight face. I felt myself starting to panic. That panic subsided quickly when Anya began to snicker before laughing out loud. I kept on looking at her until for a few moments. I then narrowed my eyes as I realized that she was just screwing with me.
"Oh that's funny?" I said before pouncing on her. She yelped in surprise as she was on her side. I immediately straddled her before I brushed my fingers against her side, tickling her. She started laughing uncontrollably, yelling to get me to stop. After about a minute, I relented, removing myself from on top of her. She then rolled onto her back, breathing heavily before frowning at me.
"Big meany!" she said in mock anger.
"You mad?" I said with a smirk on my face. My smile faded away as I gave her a solemn look. "Do you really think I should pursue Gwen?"
"It's not really pursuing when she's waiting for you to find her." She then propped herself on her elbows before smiling slightly. "But yes, I do."
I nodded before looking off to the side, raising my eyebrows in thought.
I really did like Gwen. But even despite everything Anya told me, I still wasn't sure that Gwen liked me romantically so much as she trusts me a lot. I heard stories of guys and girls going so far as to have sex with each other on a regular basis without any type of romantic relationship between them. Granted, Gwen wasn't like that. Not by a long shot. Still though, I wasn't so quick to take her sharing a bed with me quite a few times as a sign.
But, what if she did like me?
I shook my head before looking back at Anya.
"You know, you still haven't told me why you were suspended," I said, intent on changing the subject for the time being. Anya rolled her eyes as her eyebrows squeezed together in annoyance.
"I told you already," she said as she looked back at me. "I kicked a guy in the nuts."
"That really clears it up," I deadpanned.
"I had a very good reason, Cephas. But it's a reason you do not want to know. Trust me."
I kept my eyes on her for a few moments. I then sighed in defeat.
"Just, don't do it again," I said as I reached over for another slice of pizza.
I rolled my eyes as she sat up again. We remained quiet for the rest of the film, watching Christian Bale using Gun Kata to mow down several mooks. Once the movie was done, we cleaned up and put the rest of the food and drinks in the fridge. As I closed the fridge, I looked over at the digital clock that was positioned above the stove top.
"Nine thirty," I said to myself. I then turned towards Anya, who was looking back at me with a frown. She knew what I was going to say next. "Let's get you to bed. You're already in hot water as is after the suspension."
"I was afraid of that," she muttered as I turned and walked to her room with her in tow. As we reached the stairs and began to ascend, I looked over my shoulder.
"Everyone misses you," I said before looking forward to make sure I didn't miss a step.
"Goodness, it's only been three days," she said with a scoff. "Could you all not survive that long without me?"
"What can I say, you're our G.E.C.K."
"Glad that I'm the only reason you haven't turned into a ghoul. Or, better yet, some kind of spider-freak."
I want you to remember that statement. It's going to be hilarious in the future.
When we reached the top of the stairs, I turned around and looked at Anya. She stepped forward before wrapping her arms around my abdomen. She placed the side of her face against my chest, prompting me to rest my chin on top of my head as I embraced her. She then moved back and looked up at me.
"Waste this opportunity with Gwen, and I'll kill you," she said, putting on her best threatening face. I fought to keep a straight face as I felt myself corpse. She playfully punched me in the stomach, causing me to let out a surprised oof. "Seriously, I will kill you."
"I know," I said.
We then parted after bidding each other goodnight.
The whole Gwen thing was on my mind the next day. So much so that, even to this day, I don't quite remember what happened during my first two classes. Heck, I wasn't even sure if I even ate breakfast that day. What I did remember was sitting in a secluded part of the campus with Gwen during lunch. During that time, we were talking about some books. Specifically, the Twilight series.
"You have to admit, Edward was acting rather romantic," she said. I rolled my eyes as I set down my Mexican pizza.
"All I'm saying is that if I did half of the stuff Edward did in the first book, I'd either get backhanded or arrested," I replied. "I'm just saying."
"Well, you never minded whenever I snuck in your room." She gave me a mischievous look as I gave her a wry smile.
"Yeah, well…" I then bowed my head in defeat. "Okay, you got me." She laughed out loud as she brought her arm around my shoulders.
"So you like being my Bella, huh?" she said in jest.
"I like to think I'm better than that," I said. I then turned my head towards her. "I am capable of more than one expression, after all." She scoffed.
"Okay, fine. What about Edward?"
"We talked about this Gwen. No body glitter." She playfully pouted at me.
"Come on! I bought the one boy bands wear." At that I just laughed as I set my tray off to the side, picking up my carton of milk after I did so.
"Is that what you want me to wear for Homecoming?" I said sarcastically, raising my eyebrows. My eyebrows then dropped down as she looked down for a bit. "What's wrong?"
She shook her head as she looked up at me. "Nothing's wrong." Before I could even ask if she was sure, I was pulled into an embrace. This caught me off guard, but I went with it, putting my arms around her. "Pete… thanks for asking me out for Homecoming."
"I should be thanking you," I replied. "You could have gone out with anyone."
"And miss out on the going with the greatest guy on campus?" I knew she was laying it pretty thick, but I wasn't going to stop her. She then pulled away before smiling at me. "In all honesty, I can't think of anyone else to go out with. Someone has to make me look good on the dance floor." I rolled my eyes upwards. She couldn't resist. I then looked back at her. She smiled back at me. "Seriously, you're the only person I wanted to go with." I smiled back at her. My smile then faded as I looked away. "What's wrong, Pete?"
"Nothing," I said as I turned my head towards Gwen. Of course, it wasn't "nothing". I was thinking about whether or not to tell her how I felt. After a moment, I opened my mouth, deciding to grab every bit of bravery I could conjure up to try and say something… anything. However, I didn't really get a chance to say anything when the bell rang with timing only found in a romance novel.
I let out a breath as I grabbed my tray, rolling my eyes.
"Is it time for class already?" Gwen said. I looked back at her and raised my eyebrows briefly as I shrugged. Inside, I was a little miffed. I stood up, wondering to myself if I just squandered an opportunity or if it happened for a reason. Maybe I did lose my one, and possibly, only opportunity. Or maybe it just wasn't the right time. Maybe there was no chance at all and that bell just saved me from one awkward week.
I turned my head towards Gwen. Now it was her looking off to the side, and I knew the gears were turning in her brain. I could practically see them. She then looked back at me.
"Um… I want to talk you about something… at Homecoming." I tilted my head as I started to feel worried.
"Is it something bad?" I asked.
"It depends on how it goes." She then smiled that smile that always made me at least smirk, as I was doing at that moment. "I'm hoping it will be something great Pete… for the both of us."
Within moments, my head was swirling with thoughts as different parts of my mind argued over what it meant. I opened my mouth to try to inquire more, but she closed the gap between us and placed her hands on my upper arms.
"Pete, you need to get to class. Don't dwell too much on it, okay?"
"Easier said than done," I said. I then smiled slightly. "I'll try."
"I'll take that. Now go to class." I nodded as I turned away, tray in my head. "Oh, and leave your window unlocked tonight."
Now I know what you're thinking.
Okay, what's so bad about your life? Don't get me wrong, it sucks that your parents died while you were young and all, but, you seem well adjusted and you're about to get a girl in your life and have a great Homecoming. What's so bad about that?
Well, you see, things don't come that easily for me.
You know when you play some type of action adventure game, and enter this one room that has loads and loads of goodies to pick up, only to walk into the next room and quickly realized that those goodies are going to come in real handy? Well, that's how things are for me, except those goodies get taken away right before the bad stuff happens.
And this was no exception.
Let's fast forward to Saturday, also known as the beginning of what was going to be a crappy week.
I woke up to the scents of bacon and pancakes. The scents were telling me that breakfast was ready. Smiling to myself, I sat up from the bed before stretching. I then looked down to see that I slept in a black tank top with matching pajama bottoms. Deeming myself decent, I stood up before making my way out of my bedroom and to the bathroom. After a quick brushing of the teeth and emptying of the bladder, I made my way downstairs before moving into the dining room. Once I reached there, I saw that Anya was already eating along with my aunt and uncle.
I guess this is the part where I have to introduce the latter two.
First, there was my Uncle Ben. He was a rather firm guy. He did his best to make sure that Anya and I was on the straight and narrow. He was the last person we wanted to talk to whenever we screwed up.
Case and point, Anya, who received a whooping of a lifetime when she was suspended.
So, out of him and Aunt May, he was usually the bad cop. Still, he was a fair guy and an easy enough person to talk to, and it was a lot easier for me to open up to him than to Aunt May, if only because of guy stuff. He was also very understanding, giving you the chance to tell your whole side before deciding how to react.
Then there was Aunt May. She was akin to the sweet old grandma that bakes cookies every time you roll around. While my uncle was the person making sure that Anya and I did the right thing and wasn't getting into trouble, my aunt was the person to make sure that we were happy. She'd often ask us how our day was and would do anything to make us smile whenever any of us were in crappy mood. While she seemed rather meek, I couldn't help but feel a certain type of strength underneath the surface.
"Cephas," my uncle said, turning his head towards me with a slight smile. "Glad you can join us. Better come on down before little Hoover here eats the rest of the food." Anya shot her uncle a glare, prompting me to chuckle.
"Seriously, sit," my aunt said as she stood up and picked up a fork. She used the fork to put some pancakes and bacon on the plate in front of the one empty seat. "Wouldn't want you to be hungry before you head out." I smiled before I walked over to the empty seat. I took the seat and grabbed a fork before I started working on the flapjacks.
"Heading out?" my uncle mused as I popped a piece of pancake in my mouth. "What's on the agenda today?" I took a few moments to chew and swallow before I answered.
"Harry is going to pick me up around eleven," I said. "We're going meet Carl at Sawgrass so we can shop for Homecoming." This caused my uncle chuckle.
"I never thought you'd be the one for Homecoming," my uncle said. "What changed?"
"My friends suckered me into it," I said. My uncle actually laughed at that part.
"Well, it's a great experience. I still remember my first Homecoming." He then looked at Aunt May. "It was because of Homecoming that I met your aunt." My aunt smiled back at him. My uncle then looked back at me. "So, are you taking anyone?"
"He's taking Gwen," Anya said with a smile. I gave her a sideways glare before looking back at my uncle and nodding. I then saw him look at my aunt, and the two of them shared a look.
"What was that?" I demanded.
"Nothing…" my uncle said, looking back at me. He then smiled. "You and Gwen knew each other for a long time, didn't you?"
"Yeah," I said as I stabbed a piece of bacon with my fork. "I knew her even before I moved here. So, I figured that if I was" My uncle nodded a few times.
"Well, I hope you two have a good time," Aunt May added. "And treat her right. It's not often you find a girl so sweet."
Translation: You have a golden opportunity. Don't screw it up.
I looked back at Anya, who mouthed an "I told you so" before she returned to eating her food.
After breakfast, I went back upstairs and got ready. After deciding to go with a pair of blue jeans, white sneakers, and a black t-shirt, I went down to the den and passed the time by watching some television. Right when I turned on the TV, I glanced at the clock that sat on top of it, seeing that it read 9:45. As I watched the television set, I glanced back at the clock every now and again, seeing the time change. As the clock read 10:53, I expected a call or text from Harry, letting me know that he was outside. However, 10:53 turned into noon, and noon turned into one. By the time my cell vibrated repeatedly, signifying a call, it was about two o'clock in the afternoon. I pulled out my phone and looked at the screen, seeing Harry's name on it. I let out an annoyed sigh before pressing the accept call button. I put the phone to my ear.
"You better have a good reason for being so late," I said darkly. I expected Harry to tell me to calm down or sarcastically tell me how much I was scaring him at the moment.
"…Yeah…" Harry said in a somewhat vexed tone. "The plan has changed. I'm going to scoop you up around six. And see if your folks can let Anya come with us as well." I raised an eyebrow as my face contorted into a look of confusion.
"So we're not shopping for Homecoming?"
"Ceph', we're not even going to Homecoming." At that moment, I wished I existed in a cartoon universe so I could punch Harry through the phone.
"Harry…" I took in a deep breath to keep myself from going off on him. "Someone better been arrested."
"…That's exactly what happened. Carl is in custody right now."