“So you’ll call us as soon as you get there?” Damien leaned toward his son as he spoke.
“If I still have reception, sure…”
“And who’s going, again?” Becca chimed in.
“Just some friends from school. Noah, Sam… You’ve met them.”
Lucas’ father cleared his throat uncertainly. “What about that girl you were telling me about a while back? Is she gonna be there too?”
“No, she… She couldn’t make it.”
“Good.” Becca said seriously. Her husband shot her a look. “Um, I mean… That’s too bad, honey.”
Lucas rolled his eyes, laughing to himself. “Will you guys stop freaking out? I’ll be fine.” He smiled at his nervous parents as he saw Sam’s van pull up outside.
“That’s them.” He said, rising to his feet.
Becca rushed forward to give her son a squeeze. “Be safe. Please.”
“And have fun.” Damien added, standing as well.
“I will.” Lucas smiled at both of his parents. “Don’t worry.”
“I don’t know…” Becca muttered nervously to her husband as she watched Lucas step away. “There’ll be girls there… And what if there’s alcohol? Or drugs?”
“He’ll be alright.” Damien assured her. “That’s no worse than any of the stuff we were doing when we were his age… And we turned out just fine. Ow!” He pulled back as his wife smacked him on the arm, though she laughed as she did so.
“Wow, thanks, babe.” She rolled her eyes. “I feel so much better…”
“Hey man, you ready?” A familiar voice called from the kitchen.
Sure, guys, just let yourselves in… Lucas thought, amused as he left the living room to join his friends. Thankfully, his parents knew enough not to follow.
“Aw man, you guys have no idea how much I need this.” Lucas said with a smile as he greeted his friends. “Feels like I’ve done nothing but work lately.”
“Okay, rule number one of this trip.” Noah’s girlfriend, Camryn cut in. “No talking about work…”
Noah stepped forward with a smile. “Or school.”
“Or parents.” Sam added, laughing.
“Done.” Lucas grinned at his friends. “Let’s go!”
He grabbed his backpack from the corner and headed outside with his friends, giving one last wave to his parents when the others weren’t looking.
As they reached the curb, Laura peered up toward the sky. “Sun’s going down… If we make good time, we should get there by 9.”
Noah was beaming. “Perfect.”
Lucas threw his bag in the back of the vehicle with the rest of the supplies, feeling happier than he’d felt in a long time. “Let’s do this.” He said excitedly as he hopped in the backseat beside Sam.
With the sun finally setting, Evelyn emerged from her grave. The ghost floated around the side of the house just in time to watch the beaten-up blue van drive away. She could not help the wave of bitterness and jealousy that washed over her at the sight.
Have fun without me… The girl thought sadly.
She continued watching until the van had rounded the corner and completely vanished from her view. Then, with a soft sigh that went unheard by living ears, she returned to the darkness, alone.