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Chapter 11: Creep It Real (thanks to my friend S. for the great title/chapter idea!!) 

She woke up to a knock on the door, and a cheery ‘good morning!’ from Adri. As she went to open the door, she grabbed a jacket and her backpack. She swung open the door and was greeted with a smile, a cup of coffee, and a bag of donuts.

“Morning sunshine! Ready for your test?” Adri handed her a donut and swung the door shut behind her.

She jokingly scowled at him as they started walking out of the building. “How are you so chipper in the morning? Mornings are a time for murder and caffeine, not a time for skipping and smiling and singing. Thanks for the coffee and donut btw, I owe ya. Would not survive this test without some artificial energy.” She bumped her shoulder against his, smiling.

“No, don’t worry, you don’t owe me anything, you just go and rock that test, then we can go do something fun! I’ve got a great idea for this afternoon after I drag all my crap into the apartment and stuff.” He grinned and held open the door for her. “I promise it’ll be really fun, don’t make that face!”

Angela stopped making her skeptical face and shrugged. “Alright, sure, can’t wait! What time you need help moving in? Also, don’t you have tests today too? I mean, graduation is like, Friday, you should be buried in tests too, right?”

“Nope, I did most of my tests last week, when my classes ended, because most of my teachers were leaving for vacation around this week. As for the moving in…” He paused and thought for a minute. “I think I’ll be needing to bring stuff in at around two if you’re not busy then.”

“No problem, that’s around when my last test of the day ends. Oop, that’s my bus! See you this afternoon!” She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek, then hurried onto the bus, waving an enthusiastic goodbye to Adri through the bus window as it drove away.

As the bus turned the corner and drove out of sight, he turned and started walking to the subway station.

After an hour of switching subways, and a bus ride, he arrived at his parent’s house. “Hey guys! It is I, your son, arrived back from college for a few hours to grab my stuff and immediately leave again, open the door!”

The door swung open, and he was immediately pulled into a hug. “Adri! It’s been ages since we’ve seen you, what on earth is happening at college? Have a seat, tell me everything!” His mother thrust a cup of tea into his hands and dragged him over to the sofa. “It’s been almost a year, why didn’t you visit?” She plopped into a seat across from him and turned to the hallway. “Darling, Adri’s here! Come say hello, have a chat!”

His father poked his head out of the office and waved. “Just a minute dear, I’ve got to finish this bit of work and I’ll be right out!” With that, he retreated back into the office, and his mother turned back to Adri.

“So, what’s been happening at college? Have you met any girls? Any boys? I do hope I’m invited to your graduation this Friday by the way, I expect an invitation.” She finally paused for an answer, and Adri jumped in.

“Well, college is going quite well, I have actually met a girl, she’s quite nice, we’ve been officially dating now for a few days, and of course you’re invited to the graduation, why on earth wouldn’t you be? Also, remember, I don’t really have a lot of time to chat, unfortunately, I need to get my stuff, and get back to the apartment, so I can kinda get settled before it’s too late at night.” He stood up and pointed towards the stairs. “Do you mind if I start packing up my stuff as we talk?”

His mother stood up and started following him up the stairs. “Of course I don’t mind, grab what you need. So, this girl, is she nice? Does she treat you better than that awful woman you dated a while ago?” She passed him a box and started helping him dump his things into it.

He nodded and piled a stack of books into the box. “Yes, she’s amazing. I’m sure she’d love to meet you sometime after we’ve been officially dating a little longer.”

“Ooh, you’re dating Angela, aren’t you? That friend that was helping you that you were telling us about! Good choice, good choice. How’d you do on your tests?”

Grateful she had moved on from talking about his love life, Adri started turning the subject back towards school, and together they packed up the rest of his room, and stacked it all into the car.

Meanwhile, Angela stared at the test paper in front of her, double checking her answers. Upon finding what she hoped was no errors, she handed in her test, and almost ran out of the classroom to the bus stop, silently cheering as she celebrated the last test of college. It was all out of her hands now, and she decided to just not waste time worrying.

She arrived at the apartment at the same time Adri’s parent’s car pulled up. “Eyy, perfect timing!” She ran over to Adri as he hopped out of the car and hugged him. “Alright, whadda’ya need help carrying in?”

He pointed to the trunk. “Well, there’s a bunch of boxes in the back, and there’s the bed deconstructed in the back seat. I get the bed, you and my dad get the boxes?”

She nodded and started pulling a box out of the trunk. “Geez, is this box full of bricks?” She picked it up and started walking towards the door, pausing to laugh as Adri struggled to pull a piece of the bed out of the backseat.

“No, not bricks, books! Lemme know if you need help lifting that!” He finally detangled the headboard from the seat-belt and started following Angela to the elevator.

She punched the up button with her foot and grinned. “Nah, I’ve got this. What sorta books you got in here anyway?”

He blushed and stuttered a bit before answering. “Uh, just some old dumb romance novels, nothing fancy.”

She gasped dramatically and stepped into the elevator. “You read romance novels?! Oh my gosh, that’s adorable, how did I not know that! What sort of romance novels? Like, how cutesy and cheesy are they? Can I borrow a few?”

He stepped into the elevator behind her, sheepishly smiling. “Uh, well, I haven’t really read them in a while, cause they’ve been at my parents house, but I like the cute ones where it’s not quite clear if they get together or not, but then there’s that cute emotional scene in the rain or whatever, and then the book ends on a really happy note, you know what I mean?” The elevator doors opened, and Angela walked out backward, peppering him with questions.

“I totally know what you mean, those scenes are the best. We absolutely have to watch the Notebook together sometime, it’s a classic. Have you ever seen it? What did you think? Can I borrow some of these novels? What do you think of the types of stories that end in weddings? Man, now that I know you like these sorts of books, we’ve got so much more to talk about! Not that we were running low, just, now there’s more variety!” She set the box down with a thud and spun back out the door. “Be right back with another box! Race you to the elevator!”

He leaned the headboard against the wall and sprinted after her. He was a few seconds too late, however, and she slammed into the button just as he skidded to a stop outside the doors. She smirked and patted him on the shoulder. “Better luck next time? Anyways, let’s go get the rest of those boxes.”

Just then, the elevator doors opened, and Adri’s father wheeled the rest of the boxes, and the rest of the bed frame out of the elevator. “Here you go! I’ll be right back with the mattress, you just wheel that into the apartment.” He pushed the handles into Adri’s hands and closed the elevator doors again.

“Well, I guess we don’t have to go get the rest of the boxes!” Angela grabbed the cart from him and started shoving it towards the apartment door. “So, what was that big surprise you said you had planned for this afternoon? Should we unpack first, or can that be done later?”

He grinned. “We should unpack now, the ‘big surprise’, as you called it, is best in the evening.” He reached for one of the boxes and started dragging it into his room, and Angela followed with the box of books. As he started to unpack the box of clothing into various drawers, she opened the book box and started looking through it.

“Nice, I loved this one!” She waved a book at him and grinned. “Although, if I’m being honest, that guy Robert was a total jerk in the beginning, so I’m not quite sure how they ended up working so well together.”

Adri turned around and glanced at the cover of the book. “Oh yeah, Robert sucked for the first few chapters. That time he stood her up at the fair? Unbelievable!” He turned back to the dresser and continued piling shirts into the drawer. “However, we do need to put the books away more than we need to discuss them right now, so how about they go in that corner over there until I get a shelf.” He pointed to a corner, and Angela started arranging them in piles.

“You’ve got some classics right here, I’ve gotta say. Some of these I’ve never heard of, but most of them I’ve probably read like a billion times. What’s this one about?” She held up a book she had just pulled from the box and flipped it around to read the description. “Hmmm, guy meets guy, guy doesn’t think he needs a relationship at the moment, but surprise, they’re perfect for each other? Nice! Can I borrow this one sometime?”

He shrugged. “Yeah, no problem, it’s a pretty good one, I highly recommend it.” He put the last pair of socks into the dresser and slid the drawer closed. “Time for another box! Are you done with those books?”

She pushed the last book into place and hopped up. “Yep, ready to start unpacking the next box.” She followed him back into the living room and picked up one of the boxes. He grabbed it away from her and pointed to the other box. “I’ll help you unpack that one, it’s just got all my knick-knacks and stuff in it. This one can just sit in the corner over here, we don’t need to unpack it.”

She picked up the other box and started carrying it in. “Alright, sure. What’s in that one?” She nudged her shoulder in the direction of the other box, which he had just pushed into a corner.

“Nothing, just some old junk from when I was a kid, nothing important.” He kicked it farther into the corner and started pulling things from the knick-knack box.

“Hey, you don’t need to be embarrassed about dumb stuff from when you were a kid! What’s in the box?” She put a figurine on the dresser and pulled an emoji shaped pillow from the box. “Wow, colorful. Just put this in that corner over there until we get the bed set up?”

“Yeah, over there’s okay.” He pushed another figurine onto the dresser. “That other box, it’s just some old stuffed animals, I just can’t bear to get rid of them, they’ve got too many memories and crap attached to them.” He turned away and started sticking up a poster, trying to hide his embarrassment.

Angela laughed and pulled the last thing from the box, an old-looking jewelry box. “Oh, don’t be embarrassed about that! It’s actually quite sweet that you care enough about memories to keep those things!” She put the box down on the bed and walked over to the other box. “Is it okay if I open it? We could arrange them on that side of the dresser, it’s still pretty empty over there.”

While she was distracted, he grabbed the jewelry box and shoved it into a drawer. “Uh, yeah sure, I guess we could put them there. Just be careful with them, they’re really old.”

She pulled the box open, and started slowly arranging them on the dresser, occasionally giggling and asking questions about ‘when did you get this one’ and commenting on ‘aww, this one’s so cute!’, until finally Adri just grabbed them all, piled them onto the dresser, and called it a day.

“Alright, time for fun, let’s go! I said I had something fun to do, and we’ve finished unpacking, for the most part, so gosh dang it, let’s go do the fun thing!” He grabbed Angela’s hand and pulled her out of the apartment. “It’s not too far away, so we could stop for food first. Where do you want to eat?”

She giggled, half-running as she tried to keep up with him. “Uh, I don’t know, I’m not even really that hungry. I’m too curious about the ‘fun thing’ to be hungry.” She punched the elevator button and spun around to ask more questions. “Where are we going? How late is it going to go?” She poked him. “Come on, tell me, ya big dork!”

He held up his hands in mock surrender. “Whoa, cool it with the questions! I found an all-year haunted house, I thought you might like it from the number of horror movies you watch. It closes at 10, but the time it takes is up to how fast we get out of there, plus I’m taking you out to dinner afterward, because you’ve got to eat something, and also because it will be fun. Does that answer your questions?” He reached down and took her hand again as they stepped out of the elevator.

“Yep, that answers those questions. How much do I owe you for tickets?” She swung the door of the building open and dramatically ushered him through. “After you.”

“Oh, you don’t owe me anything, don’t worry about it! I know the guy who runs it, he’s gonna let us in free, like the lady at the ice skating place you know.” He smiled. “It’s fun, but in the cheapskate fun way. Someday though, I’m taking you out somewhere fancy, just you wait. Once we figure life out a bit more, I’m taking you to the nicest place in town, wherever that is!”

“You know, the nicest place in town isn’t necessarily the most expensive.” She elbowed him in the ribs. “The nicest place in town is wherever you are.”

Adri froze for a split second, trying to formulate a response. “I, uh, um, you, uh…” He hid his face with his hands again, trying not to blush.

“Aww, you’re cute when you’re flustered.” She reached over and put an arm around his waist, leaning against his shoulder. “I need to compliment you more, so I can see this adorableness. But seriously, I mean it, even the most expensive restaurant in the world is comparatively the worst if you’re in the McDonalds down the street or whatever. I’d pick you over expensive rich people food any day.” She took his hand and pulled it away from his face. “Hey, you don’t need to be embarrassed, it’s okay to accept compliments and stuff. Plus, your face is really pretty and you keep hiding it.” She kissed his cheek, giggling, then stopped walking in front of a rickety looking building. “Is this the place we’re headed?”

Adri stammered for a moment before answering. “Uh, yeah, this is it, let’s go!” He pulled her inside and told her to wait by the entrance while he went to go pick up tickets. As he waited at the counter, he tried to slow his heart rate, and shove the heat that had risen to his face out. Goshdangit, she’s adorable, how am I supposed to stay cool and collected around her?

Finally, he was called up to the ticket counter, and after a chat about college, and how the business was running, the manager handed him two tickets, patted him on the back, and wished him good luck.

“Alright, I got the tickets, let’s go get terrified!” He cheerily handed the tickets to the bored looking attendant, and they stepped through the curtain into a surprisingly dark room. “Well, let’s start walking, see what happens.” He grabbed her hand and they started cautiously walking aimlessly across the room. In the middle of the room, Angela stopped and tried to listen for any traces of other people. “Are we the only people in here right now?”

Adri shrugged, trying to hide his nervousness. “I don’t think there are any other customers, but there’s probably some actors or something in here to scare us.”

Angela pulled him along, into the next room. As they stepped out, the door behind them slammed, and Adri jumped. “Crap, what was that!”

Angela laughed as they turned to look at the door. “It’s just the door closing, probably all part of the attempt to terrify us. Come on, let’s keep moving.” She spun around, and found herself face to face with a rather ghoulish looking clown, staring down at her with a demented grin.

“Hey Adri, check this out!” She spun him around, and immediately regretted it as Adri shrieked, and nearly detached her arm from its socket as he sprinted past the clown, colliding squarely with another, slightly more bloody clown. She started giggling as Adri grabbed her around the waist and started half dragging her through the hallway. “Dude, it’s just people in makeup!”

As soon as he had pulled her into the next hallway, and shut the door behind them, he replied. “Yeah, people in makeup, but it’s freaking terrifying makeup. I regret many things right now.” He looked her in the eyes. “Could you maybe check this room and tell me if there’s anything super creepy in it?”

“Nah, it’s your turn to check, I found the clowns last time, you check for whatever horrors are in this room.” She patted him on the shoulder. “You got this!” And then she spun him around.