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Prom Nights from Hell (Chapter Four)

I laughed.

"But you girls go on, knock yourselves out," he said. "I've actually got an errand to run."

"You're leaving?" Yun Sun said.

"What about the pizza?" I said.

He opened his wallet and laid a twenty-dollar bill on the coffee table. "It'll be here in thirty minutes. My treat."

Yun Sun shook her head. "And again I say: You're leaving?. You're not even staying to eat?"

"There's something I need to do," he said.

My heart constricted. I ached to keep him here, even if just for a little longer. I darted back to the kitchen and pulled Madame Z's corsage-no, my corsage-out of my bag.

"At least wait till I've made my wish," I said.

He looked amused. "Fine, wish away."

I hesitated. The den was warm and cozy, pizza was on the way, and I had the two greatest friends in the world. What else did I truly want?

Duh, the grasping part of my brain told me. Prom, of course. I wanted Will to ask me to prom. Maybe it was selfish to have so much and still want more, but I pushed that line of reasoning away.

Because look at him, I thought. Those kind brown eyes, that lopsided smile. Those ridiculously angelic curls. The entire sweetness and goodness that was Will.

He hummed the Jeopardy! theme song. I raised the corsage.

"I wish for the boy I love to ask me to prom," I said.

"And there you have it, folks!" Will cried. He was far too euphoric. "And what boy wouldn't want to take her to prom, our fabulous Frankie? Now we'll just have to wait and see, won't we, whether her wish will come-"

Yun Sun cut him off. "Frankie? Are you okay?"

"It moved," I said, cringing away from the corsage, which I'd flung to the floor. My skin was clammy. "I swear to God, it moved when I made the wish. And that smell! Do you smell it?"

"Noooo," she said. "What smell?"

"You smell it, Will. Don't you?"

He grinned, still on whatever high he'd been on since… well, since Madame Z warned him away from heights. A clap of thunder rumbled, and he shoved my shoulder.

"Next you're going to blame the storm on the evil wish fairies, aren't you?" he said. "Or, no! You're going to go to bed tonight, and tomorrow you'll tell us you found a hunched and skulking creature on your comforter, smiling a twisted smile!"

"Like rotting flowers," I said. "You honestly don't smell it? You're not playing with me?"

Will dug his keys out of his pocket. "See you on the flip side, homies. And, Frankie?"

"What?"

Another boom of thunder shook the house.

"Don't give up hope," he said. "Good things come to those who wait."

I watched through the window as he dashed to his truck. The rain was coming down in sheets. Then I turned to Yun Sun, a balloony feeling pushing everything else away.

"Did you hear what he said?" I grabbed her hands. "Oh my God, do you think it means what I think it means?"

"What else could it mean?" Yun Sun said. "He's going to ask you to prom! He's just… I don't know. Trying to make a big production out of it!"

"What do you think he's going to do?"

"No idea. Hire a skywriter? Send a singing telegram?"

I squealed. She squealed. We jumped about in a frenzy.

"Got to hand it to you, the wish thing was brilliant," she said. She flicked her finger to indicate giving Will the push he needed. "And the rotting flowers? Verrrry dramatic."

"I honestly did smell it, though," I said.

"Ha-ha."

"I did."

She looked at me and shook her head, amused. Then she looked at me again.

"Well, it must have been your imagination," she said.

"I guess," I said.

I picked the corsage up off the floor, holding it gingerly between my thumb and forefinger. I took it to the bookshelf and dropped it behind a row of books, glad to have it out of sight.

The next morning I trotted downstairs, hoping foolishly to find… I don't know. Hundreds of M&Ms spelling out my name? Pink hearts sketched in silly string on the windows?

Instead, I found a dead bird. Its tiny body lay on the welcome mat, as if it had flown into the door during the storm and bashed its brains in.

I scooped it up with a paper towel and tried not to feel its soft weight as I delivered it to the outside trash bin.

"I'm sorry, little bird, so pretty and sweet," I said. "Fly to heaven." I dropped in the corpse, and the lid slammed shut with a bang.

I returned inside to the sound of the ringing phone. Probably Yun Sun, wanting an update. She'd left with Jeremy at eleven last night, after making me swear to tell her the minute Will made his bold move.

"Hey, sweetie," I said, after glancing at the caller ID and seeing that, yep, I was right. "No news yet-sorry."

"Frankie…" Yun Sun said.

"I've been thinking about Madame Z, though. Her whole don't-mess-with-fate mumbo jumbo."

"Frankie-"

"Because how could Will asking me to prom lead to anything bad?" I walked to the freezer and grabbed a box of frozen waffles. "Spit's going to fly from his mouth and land on me? He'll bring me flowers, and a bee'll zip out and sting me?"

"Frankie, stop. Didn't you watch the morning news?"

"On a Saturday? I don't think so."

Yun Sun made a gulping sound.

"Yun Sun, are you crying?"

"Last night… Will climbed the watertower," she said.

"What?!" The watertower was easily three hundred feet tall, with a sign at the bottom prohibiting anyone from ascending. Will always talked about climbing to the top, but he was such a rule-follower that he never had.

"And the railing must have been wet… or maybe it was lightning, they don't yet know…"

"Yun Sun. What happened?"

"He was spray painting something on the tower, the stupid idiot, and-"

"Spray painting? Will?"

"Frankie, will you shut up? He fell! He fell off the watertower!"

I gripped the phone. "Jesus. Is he okay?"

Yun Sun was unable to talk for sobbing. Which I understood, sure. Will was her friend, too. But I needed her to pull it together.

"Is he in the hospital? Can I go visit him? Yun Sun!"

There was wailing, and then a shuffling sound. Mrs. Yomiko took over.

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