Caitlyn really wished she had her own wheels back but Joe had left a message on her cell phone that it was taking longer to get the replacement part than he had anticipated. If only she hadn't broken her truck…but too late to worry about that now and besides Ethan had been nice enough to pick her up and take her to school and occasionally giving her a ride home.
He had been at her house bright and early and she had climbed into his truck and they had driven off. In his regular wardrobe of jeans and a faded shirt, she wished she had dressed casual herself but she had a student council meeting that afternoon and so she had chosen a smart wardrobe of dress pants and a blouse. She hadn't worn them doing her early morning chores in the barn but she looked far removed from ranching right now.
"You are going on a business trip?"
She shot him a look.
"Yeah right Ethan…and you're going out to rope a cow?"
He shifted the gears. She liked watching how his strong capable hands nursed the truck into picking up speed on the highway. The town limits sign whizzed by and he headed towards the exit ramp.
"Did you study for the civics test?"
"Not too much…it's not that tough. How about you…?"
He shrugged as he turned off into a side street.
"Yeah I did…two hours…not all of us are as sharp with book learning like you."
She rolled her eyes at him.
"Don't play with me like that Ethan," she said, "You're one of the brightest guys in school."
"What's that saying exactly," he said, "Not many in our class are even going to college."
She watched as he deftly turned into the parking lot which was spilling over with cars and students walking in throngs to the main school building.
"You are Ethan…and so am I," she said, "We're both going to get out of here."
He parked the car and they both got out of it. They rode in the tide of arriving students into the building. Alicia waved to them and sidled up next to Caitlyn.
"Kevin's looking for you."
"Oh…well I'll see him at lunch."
Alicia lowered her voice as they reached their lockers. Caitlyn waved goodbye to Ethan whose locker was on the other side.
"Hey I just saw some cops in the principal's office," she said.
"Who got arrested this time I wonder?"
"Probably Devin, for bringing a knife to school again," she whispered, "He pulled it on some freshman for his iPod."
Caitlyn shook her head.
"That never happened," she said, "The way I heard the story, it was just a pocket knife."
"Who knows the truth here anyway," she said, "It gets so twisted here."
Caitlyn opened her locker and put some of her books inside of it, then shut it.
"Yeah, I never believe most of what I hear."
They walked to their first class and passed the principal's office where the door had been open…enough for Caitlyn to see two cops, one with his arms folded listening to Principal Walker speaking. She paused to look but she couldn't hear what was being said.
Then the bell rang.
"Come on, we'd better get to class," Alicia said, "We got that test."
Walker stood inside the office listening to of Braddock's deputies relate to him the news about the escaped mental patient.
"So you're telling me that this Boone character is wandering around out there?"
One of the deputies nodded.
"His doctor called this morning to alert us," he said, "We've been advised to activate the National Guard."
Walker pondered that, his eyes widening.
"You know what this means don't you?"
The deputies being young guys didn't have a clue…and looked at each other to see who'd be the one to ask. Finally the redheaded one spoke up.
Walker shook his head impatiently.
"It means that this deranged madman might be targeting our upcoming prom."
The redheaded deputy nodded.
"Could be sir…Mayor Wheelock will be calling a meeting later this evening on how this situation will be handled."
Walker sighed…of all the times for Boone to pull a stunt like this. The guy had been one of his brightest students years ago before he had gone psycho killer on that long ago prom night and snuffed out all those innocent lives. The town had taken over a decade to put that deadly rampage behind it, even erecting a statue to serve as a memorial to the lost lives in the courtyard at City Hall. If it had been up to him, he would have seen Boone fry in the electric chair and even would have thrown the switch himself.
After all, he had been but a history teacher himself back in those days. He had been assigned to oversee the prom but one by one young students wandered off outside the established perimeters of the prom and disappeared…still it wasn't until later that they realized that they had been lured to the lair of the murderous psychopath and their bodies…what had been left…Walker put his hand over his mouth at the memory of walking into the stench of the hidden room in the crow's nest where the walls had been splashed by blood from one end to the other.
The blood of innocents…ten lives snuffed out before they had really begun.
"You okay Principal Walker?"
He recovered enough to just nod.
"I'm fine deputies…I will be at the meeting tonight," he said, "We must discuss the emergency steps we need to take to contain this threat…and we must decide what to do about prom."
Of course the prom itself wasn't the only attraction and threat to the safety of his students. Prom night had proven to be just as dangerous…what happened after the students paired off and left the dance floor to slip away into the darkness to engage in illicit fornication.
Every much a tradition with prom as the dancing and dangling disco ball itself. In fact, he had been alerted to attend the student council meeting that afternoon when some troublemaking student had dared introduce the distributions of condoms at the prom as an agenda item.
Not in his watch would that happen. But first these two deputies had to finish briefing hin on the issue of Boone's escape and no doubt his plans for revenge.
"We're going to post some extra officers around the campus just in case," the redheaded deputy said, "It's possible that Boone might be lurking in the area."
Kevin sat down with his lunch tray with a bunch of jocks after the last class before lunch let out. Ron joined him and they dove into their Sloppy Joes and tater tots.
"So you reserved a suite dude?"
Kevin nodded in between bites.
"Sure did…but she's gone all hot and cold on me…if this doesn't work…"
"She's got taste."
Kevin shot him a look.
"I mean I broke it off with Alicia to get it on with her because she's so hot…but it's like her legs are glued together or something."
"Come on dude, you are the man…if you can't open them up no one can…I mean I'd try but I don't want to poach on your Astroturf."
Kevin flipped the top off his cola.
"Well I got the got the second best suite in the hotel," he said, "I don't know who got the best one…the hotel manager wouldn't tell me even when I slipped him some cash."
"As long as it has a bed, what does it matter…and sound proof walls."
Kevin laughed and they did the bump with their fists. Ethan walked by then and sat down with his food.
"Hey man, that was some test wasn't it," Kevin asked.
Ethan shrugged as he reached for his burger.
"Not as bad as the last one," he said, "But then I studied."
"I didn't have enough time," he said, "I had to fill out all that paperwork for college."
Ron looked at Ethan.
"You got a date to the prom?"
Both guys looked at him.
"You're not going," Ron said.
"I didn't say that."
"But you don't have a date…"
Kevin slapped Ron.
"He's still got time to find one from the leftovers."
Ron laughed at that and Ethan just looked at them as if they were being silly.
"You taking Caitlyn," he asked.
Kevin blinked his eye.
"That's the plan…got plans for afterward too."
Ron and Kevin bumped fists again.
"Does she know your plans?"
Kevin looked at Ethan, smiling.
"Of course she does…everyone knows that prom night really starts in between the sheets."
Ethan had heard that adage thrown around enough to have believed it once but he didn't worry about it.
"You hurt her…I'll hurt you, got it?"
Ethan had smiled when he said that but both Kevin and Ron knew that he meant it. No one wanted to mess with Ethan…because though he was quiet often enough in his style, he packed a powerful punch.
Ron chortled again.
"You have a thing for her man?"
Ethan picked up his burger and took a bite.
"I don't want to see her hurt, understand?"
Kevin put up his hands.
"Okay I promise…she and I have been going out for a few months…everything's cool…"
Ethan didn't feel too sure about that.
Caitlyn sat at the head of the table with the other members of the student council and with Principal Walker sitting in the corner. He had walked into the room past the faculty advisor, saying he wouldn't be participating but just observing. But Caitlyn knew why he had shown up, she knew what agenda item had him worked up.
The distribution of condoms at prom…that had obviously gotten back to him.
It's not like they were handing them out like candy to all the students in attendance, they were just putting them in a bowl by the registration table. Discreet but visible enough to be noticed by students. She didn't know what the problem was because everyone knew that after the dance floor emptied and the lights went dim, students coupled off with their dates and had sex in some hotel room, suite or maid's closet somewhere.
After all, that's what she planned to do with Kevin afterward. The idea of what they had planned made her blush. But he had coaxed her into believing that it would be the memorable and pleasurable for both of them.
She knew Kevin wanted sex from her and she had been putting him off because…well she hadn't been sure of his intentions after he had gotten together with her after breaking off with Alicia.
He swore to her he had chosen to be with her and only her…and after a little while to think about it, she had believed him.
But Walker had shown up to try to commander the meeting so the condoms wouldn't come up for discussion. She had tried to stand strong because she really thought if students were going to have sex…they might as well practice safer sex. But people like Walker just wanted to pretend that sex wouldn't happen on prom night if condoms weren't there to tempt them away from the path of chastity.
"Now…I knew you mean well…but have you really thought about what you're doing by opening Pandora's Box?"
She rolled her eyes believing he was being melodramatic.
"Principal Walker with all due respect…if students are going to have sex…"
He thrust a hand up.
"Don't say that…you're going to poison minds…"
She rejected that because minds had already been poisoned as he would call it, did he really think her generation were the first to have sex on prom night?
"Principal Walker…don't you think if students are going to have sex, they should protect themselves?"
He shook his head.
"They aren't having sex. They aren't having sex. They aren't having sex."
She watched him sitting there with his hands over his ears repeating this mantra and didn't know what to make of it. Principal Walker had always appeared to be a tightly wound spring.
She just sighed as she knew his drive to bring chastity back into the school would last all afternoon and so she didn't know that outside the window, a man stood there watching.