Teen-Age Spider-Girl Part 1

Josephina Johnson was an average High School student. She was one of the unnoticed kids with an knack for staying in the shadows. But that's all about to change her Senior Year when she finds herself with unnatural powers like sticking to walls and shooting webs. Can she manage to keep her status as the quiet girl, but get the boy of her dreams to take her to Homecoming, all while battling a chain of bank robberies led by someone she may or may not know? Join Josephina and her friends in their quest to find answers.

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23. Homecoming or Bust

Saturday morning.  I wake up, lay in bed, stare at my ceiling.  I close my eyes and sigh.  I open my eyes.  I’m not going to Homecoming tonight.  The realization sinks in.  Sorry to sound so dramatic about it, but it’s my senior year--my last chance to go to a Homecoming dance while in high school, and I’m not able to go.

I look at my clock.  The power must’ve gone out in the night because it’s blinking 12:00.  I check my phone to see that it’s actually 10:45.  I sigh again and roll out of bed, sliding my feet into my slippers.

Upstairs, my mom and grandma are chatting in the kitchen.  When I walk in, my mom says,  “Well, good morning, Sleeping Beauty.  Today’s the big day!  What’re you going to do with your hair?”

“Nothing.”

“You’re not going with your hair like that are you?”  my grandma asks.

“I’m not going.”

“What?  I thought you were looking forward to it?”  asks my mom.

“I was,”  I tell her.  “Pete had to cancel because of a family emergency.”

“Oh… well, we know a little something about that, don’t we?”  she says and I nod.  “I’m sorry, honey.”

“It’s okay, I thought I’d just hang out with Kyle and Tyler.  They were planning on playing video games tonight.  Everyone else is going to the dance.”  Before my mom can ask the questions, I say,  “We’ll be at Kyle’s house; both  his parents will be there; we’ll be playing Mario Cart, Smash Brothers, or Halo; I’ll have my phone with me--on and charged--I’ll call you if I need anything; and I’ll be home by 11:30.”

“Okay,”  my mother replies with a smile.  “Have fun, then.”

I eat breakfast and then go back to my room to get ready for the day.  I decide to wear something with long sleeves so I can wear my spider suit underneath--just in case.  I mean, seriously, I’ll be with Tyler.  These days, I never know when he’s going to tell me there’s a bank robbery or something.

Around five o’clock, I get in my car and drive to Kyle’s house.  He answers the door.  “Hey, look who made it!  (Alive).”

I laugh.  “Hey!  I brought some chips and salsa.”

“Awesome!  You can just bring them in the kitchen.  You showed up just in time.  I’m starting to think Tyler’s letting me win at Mario Cart.”

“Oh, dude, whatever!  I’ve beat you like, 50 times already!”

“Don’t listen to Tyler--he’s a liar.  You hear that?”  he says, turning to Tyler.  “TYLER--LIAR.”

“Shut up, man.  You’re just jealous!”

“Oh, I’m jealous?”

I roll my eyes.  “You guys are ridiculous.  You’re just stalling ‘cause you know I’m gonna beat both of you!”  I put my arm out in front off me as a web shoots out of my hand and grabs a controller.  I yank on the string and the controller flies through the air between Kyle and Tyler right into my hand.  I look at both of them.  “Let’s play,”  I say, sitting down on the couch.

“Okay, let’s do this,”  Kyle says, sitting down next to me.

Tyler just stands there for a moment.  “That.  Was awesome,”  he says as if it’s two sentences, then takes his place on the other side of me.

“I know,”  I say with a smile and a little shoulder-shrug.

“But, that’s my controller,”  he says, handing me another one.

“Oh, sorry,”  I say as we trade.

We play Mario Cart for about an hour.  As I predicted, Tyler has the police scanner and is listening to it the whole time.  “You only have to go if there’s a bank robbery,”  he tells me.  “We want to see if we can’t get to the bottom of what they’re really after.”

“What do you mean ‘what they’re really after’?”

“Oh!  I guess I haven’t told you about that, yet.  The police think that the money they’re taking is just a cover-up.  There was almost two million dollars in the safe they hit yesterday.  They had all the time in the world before anyone even knew they were there and they only took a thousand.”

“Well, why would they do that--what else was in there?”  Kyle takes the words right out of my mouth.

“Yeah,”  I say.

“That’s what we want to find out.”

I think about it while we continue playing Mario Cart.  Then suddenly, Kyle turns to me and says,  “Jo, do you still want to go to the dance?”

I’m taken aback.  “What?”

“Do you still want to go to the dance?”  he repeats.

“Um, yeah, I guess I’d like to, but--”

“What if I told you I would take you?”  He’s looking right into my eyes, sounding completely serious.  But I still have to ask.

“A-are you serious?  You’d take me?”

“If you’d like to go with me.  I mean, you got a dress and everything didn’t you?  Wouldn’t want to let that go to waste.”

              I hesitate to respond as I’m looking into his eyes.  Then I laugh.  “No, I guess not.  Sure, I’ll go with you.”

“Okay, it’s a date.”

“Kyle and Jo, sittin’ in a tree…”

“Whoa!  Tyler!  Dude, this is just as friends,”  Kyle says defensively.

“Yeah, Tyler.  It’d be the same as if you and I were to go together.  We’re just friends.”

“Riiiiight.”  Tyler drags the word out like it’s part of a song.

“Anyway…  so, you go home to get ready and I’ll pick you up at about eight?”

“Okay!  Sweet!  Thanks so much for this, Kyle.”

“No problem!”

I can hardly contain myself as I drive back home to get ready.  When I come in through the front door, my mom asks why I’m home so early.  “Kyle said he would take me to Homecoming in place of Pete.”

“Oh, really?  That’s sweet of him.”

“I know, isn’t it?  He’s like, the best friend ever right now!”

“So, how are you going to do your hair then?”

“I thought maybe you could help me put it up somehow.  I want to use that sparkly headband we bought to go with my dress.”

“I might still have a few tricks up my sleeve for hair,”  my mom tells me, looking over what she has to work with.  “We could curl it and then pin it up with a few loose curls in the front.”

“Sounds good to me!”  I say excitedly.

It takes almost the full two hours I have to get my almost waist-length white hair all on top of my head in just the perfect way.  I barely have enough time to do my make-up and get into my dress before the doorbell rings.  My mother answers the door and I hear Kyle’s voice.  When I enter my front room and see Kyle, the look on his face is just like the prince’s when he first sees Cinderella at the top of the staircase.  And I feel just like the princess.  “Wow,”  he says.  “Y-you look great, Jo.”

I blush and bow my head.  Then I look up and say, “You’re not too bad, yourself.  Where’d you get a three-piece suit so quickly?  Your blue bowtie and vest even match my dress.”

“It’s my dad’s,”  he says, then puts his hand to the side of his mouth and whispers,  “He says he’ll kill me if I get it dirty.”  He smiles at me.  “You ready?”

“Yeah--”

“Wait!  We have to get pictures!”  my mom stops us.  “You can’t go to a dance without getting pictures first!”

“Aw, why not?”  I tease my mom.

“Because you’re going to want to remember this night.  You think you’ll remember it forever, but when you’re old like me, you tend to forget things,”  my grandma says to me.

“I know, Grandma, I was just joking.”

“I know,”  she says with a smile.

My mom makes us pose in like, ten different places in the front room.  I hear “just one more” several times.  When she finally stops, she cups the camera in her hands just in front of her chest.  “If only your father could be here…”  Her eyes start to wet and I can’t help but be a little embarrassed.  “He’d be so proud of his beautiful daughter.  Okay, go have fun, before I make a mess of myself.”

“Okay, bye Mom.  I love you.”  I give her and my grandma each a kiss on the cheek just before I head out the door with Kyle to his car.

“You have your phone, right?”

“Yes.  Mom.”

“Okay, go have fun.  And remember to be home by midnight!”

"I know, Mom."

After we get in the car, I turn to Kyle and say, “Sorry about that.  I thought she’d never let us go.”

“No, it’s fine.  I think it’s great that she cares about you so much.  She really misses your dad doesn’t she?”

“Yeah.  So do I.  Even though I never met him, the way she talks about him sometimes makes me feel like I have.”

On the way to the school, Kyle realizes that neither of us have had a bite to eat.  “Do you wanna stop someplace and get something?”

“Sure, but nothing very fancy.  I don’t want you spending more money on me than you need to.”

“But it’s Homecoming.”

“I know, but you weren’t even planning on coming.  I won’t settle for anything more than a fast food burger.”

“Okay, if that’s the way you want it,”  he concedes.  “At least let me take you indoors.”

“Oh, alright.”  We stop at a Burger King and he opens the car door for me.  (Along with opening the door to the restaurant, and pulling out a chair for me at the table.)  He asks what I want and then makes me stay seated while he orders it for me and plays the waiter.  I can’t help but laugh when he pulls a napkin off the tray that he placed over the top of all the food to make it look more fancy.

“Mademoiselle, your dinner…  is served,” he says in a fake French accent.  Oh, Kyle.  My dear friend, Kyle.  I try to imagine Pete doing something like this, but it just wouldn’t be the same.  Kyle sits down across the table from me.

“Here,”  I say and take a napkin off the tray and tuck it in to his shirt collar.  “Wouldn’t want your dad to kill you over spilled ketchup.”

“No.  Wouldn’t want that,”  he laughs.  This is turning out to be a nice evening after all.

We get to the dance and the school gym is decorated so perfectly for the theme “Starry Night”.  There’s white sheets draped above us on the ceiling with images of stars spread all across them.  There’s starburst candy at the punch table and blue and white balloons all over the room.  It’s amazing to me, just a very wonderful environment.  A slow song is playing when we walk in and Kyle asks me to dance.  I’ve never thought he could look so amazing to me as he does right now.  He’s one of my best friends in the whole world, and he’s helped me make it to the Homecoming dance I’ve been dreaming about for years.  Only, in my dreams, the person I was holding as we danced was Pete, not Kyle.  But it’s still a lovely night.

“Hey!  Jo!  Kyle!  What’re you two doing here?”  The slow song is over (I didn’t even realize it had ended), and Colleen and James come over to where we are, with Sammi and Brett and Trish and Dylan not far behind.

“We’re dancing, Colleen,”  Kyle says to her.

“Oohh, okay,”  Sammi says.

I look at her and ask,  “Why did you say it like that?”

“Like what?”  she plays innocent.

“You know, like, ‘oohh, okay,’ like it’s supposed to mean something else.”

“Oh, no reason…”  she evades.  I pinch my eyebrows together and shake my head at her as she smiles at me.

“Kyle just kindly offered to bring me in place of Pete.  I had to find some reason to wear this dress.”

“Okay.”

We continue dancing for a few more songs.  During the next slow song, my phone vibrates in my purse.  I take it out once the song is over and see that there's a text from Tyler.

“Bnk rbbry.  Cm4details.”

I show the text to Kyle and he says, “Go.”

Out in the hall, I talk to Tyler on the phone.  He gives me the when and where then says,  “Now’s your chance to find things out.”

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