She glared out the window, eyes on the moving van ahead of her.
Her friend was eating French fries from a KFC bucket, dark blue Converse resting up on the dashboard. They were playing the game where they guessed who the newcomers were.
She laughed and smacked her friend in the shoulder. They knew better than to play the game. If the Mayor heard them, he would surely be upset. "Definitely not. That would be a stretch, even for us." She plucked a French fry from her friend's bucket and popped it in her mouth. It tasted like cardboard. "Where were we headed to, again?"
"Oh," she made a sharp left turn onto Atwood Street, "Right."
They'd never been huge fans of parties; either of the girls would have preferred to stay at home sipping from giant cups of hot chocolate, whispering about the unattainable movie characters they were in love with. This party was different because the newcomer, the oldest son, would be there and everyone wanted to find out what made him tick, what his wiring was. They pulled into the biggest house on Atwood Street. It was gray and made of bricks and smelled like a chlorine explosion despite the fact that there hadn't been a pool there in ages.
"Ready to go in?" She smiled at her friend and climbed out of the car, long limbs already cold in the fall breeze. "I should have worn a sweater."
Her friend shrugged, pulling the sleeves of her own sweater closer around her shoulder. "Guess so. Let's get going, though."
They approached the house, rang the doorbell, and the party's host, a guy from school, answered. "Hey, didn't think you two were the party types."
She said, "We're not," at the same her friend said, "Things change."
Hm. It wasn't like them to be out of synch.
"Well, ah, come on in." The guy waved them into the house. There were people everywhere; lounging on sofas, sitting in laps, swinging from chandeliers, digging around in the kitchen, hiding in dark corners of the basement- basically it was a normal day on Atwood Street. A day like any other.
"What should we do first?" The blue Converse friend, the one she remembered knowing, asked. She shrugged at her. What did they know about parties? It wasn't part of their programming.
"Maybe we could find the new guy. Ask around, see what they know."
"What would they know that we don't?" It was a good idea, though. "But we can ask." They began to walk around the party, asking everyone if the newcomer had actually bothered to show up. No one could tell them much, just that he was a bit odd.
"He laughs a lot."
"He has a unique style."
"Weird kid, dudes, weird kid."
This only made the girls all the more curious.
The food table was filled with snacks and candy and dessert. She and her friend ate a lot of it. It didn't do much. Didn't make them full, didn't make them hungrier. Just was. They just were.
The party's music was a softly pounding thunderstorm, reverberating through the walls of the house.
"They should change the music. This sounds old."
"It really does." Her friend handed her another plate of cake. "The DJ probably needs to be updated on what's new." She smiled, white teeth turning disco colors under the flashing party lights. "What the kids like these days, no?"
The food table lurched. The girls looked up to see the newcomer staring at them with scuffed shoes and weather beaten eyes. She didn't recall ever seeing such raw emotion in eyes, but there it was and it worried her. This boy was no ordinary addition to the town. He was odd indeed.
"Hey, sorry, I'm Nash." He had acne peppered skin and a light scar sliced across his jaw. Also, a name. This boy had a name. It was Nash. The girl and her friend turned in unison. Odd, odd, so very odd and yet they were both enthralled. Not a vampire. His teeth were crooked and stuccoed with spinach pizza, but not sharp enough to cut through flesh. Not a werewolf, either. He wasn't sniffing around the food table, wasn't itching to howl at the blatantly full moon out that night, didn't have the nails that curled like wheatgrass at the ends of his fingers.
His hands looked like they played the guitar.
"And you guys are?"
"We live here." She said.
"Yes, we live here in town." Her friend said.
"I meant like names. People here are super weird about giving them. I haven't gotten a single person's name since the minute I hit the door and to be honest, the whole party's giving me weird Twilight Zone vibes." He pulled at the collar of his t-shirt. "Like, is Rod Serling going to pop out of the women's bathroom and tell me I'm in a simulation for science or some weird crap?" He stopped talking when he realized neither of the girls had said a word, but they weren't laughing at his joke, either. They were staring. "Haha, really great acting." They didn't blink. "Bet you girls are a lot of fun to have staring contests with. Half the town acts like they don't have eyelids."
"You should get going. Maybe parties are not your scene."
"Actually, parties are super cool. I thought I'd make some new friends, not find the lost city of Antartica." He chuckled softly. "You know, cause everyone here's so cold."
"We're not cold."
"I didn't mean it offensively, it's just that you guys aren't the most welcoming crowd."
"Hm, well," she cracked her left thumb and it made a hollow popping sound, "We haven't reached that level yet."
"Haha, so you do know how to make jokes!"
"Yes." Her friend smiled. "We like to tell jokes. We play games and we are best friends. Why did the chicken cross the road?"
"Uh, to get to the other side?"
"Wrong. To get to the idiot's house."
"Oh, okay." Nash didn't get the joke.
Her friend continued, "Knock knock."
He rubbed a nervous hand across his face. "Who's there?"
"Ohhh, very subtle. Calling me an idiot. Nice, nice. Usually I wait till I know someone a bit better before they can demean my intellect, but it's cool. Good to know you lot aren't complete robots."
She popped another finger. Her friend picked up a paper clip and stuck it through her cheek.
"This has been, what, freaky? I don't know. I'm going to go, though. See you guys around."
"Will you be here tomorrow?"
The girl nodded. She knew that. They would all be there tomorrow.
They always were.