8:00 pm – continued
By eight that night, Perkins Stadium was already hopping. Cars were parked haphazardly in the parking lot and in the surrounding streets. Music was pounding from a stage in the center of the field, run by five DJs who believed music and spreading music around the world was their life’s mission, even tonight. Hundreds of people were continuously streaming towards the stadium doors, laughing and talking, excitement permeating every inch of the place as everyone tried to forget the fact that their lives were going to end at midnight.
The sun was already about halfway hidden by the horizon, so the stadium and surrounding area was cast in a golden glow as Abigail and her friends made their way to the stadium on foot. Due to the traffic jammed all around the stadium, they had given up on trying to get to the parking lot and had pulled off to the side of the road. Now they were stuck walking in heels for the last three blocks.
Ellie laughed. “One last exercise before the end of the world,” she joked.
Her companions and best friends laughed along with her as they joined another crowd headed in the same direction, having also decided to leave their cars on the side of the street. Chatter exploded all around them as they were engulfed in the larger group. Their pace also slowed since they were now a larger mass of people.
“This looks like it’ll be the party of the century,” Abigail remarked. “Crowded, but fun.”
Morgan gently bumped her friend with her hip in time to the beat of whatever song was playing. They were too far away to pick up much more than the beat and a few words here and there. “And with cute guys, no less. I still can’t believe the guys you and Ellie picked are roommates. I mean, how amazing is that? What are the odds of that happening?”
Abigail shrugged as she moved around a woman who had stopped suddenly to throw up all over the sidewalk. “I don’t know. But it’s pretty cool. Too bad you and Court never met anyone.”
Morgan and Courtney, who was walking ahead with Ellie, shrugged. There were sure to be plenty of guys out looking for a nice companion for the evening, so they weren’t worried about having to spend midnight alone.
“Doesn’t matter,” Courtney said, flipping her long blond hair behind her shoulder, revealing the deep V neckline in the front of her crimson dress. “There will probably be tons of guys tonight who are looking for a good looking girl. Besides, girls always have the pick of guys, right?”
“I suppose,” Abigail said. “You don’t think there’ll be an exception tonight?”
Morgan laughed, throwing back her head and shaking out her mane of wavy, shiny brown hair, linking arms with Abigail as she did so. “I hope not. Court and I are counting on there being tons of guys looking for a girl to share a kiss with. Hopefully, we’ll get some cute ones, too.”
Abigail smiled as they finally made their way into the stadium, following the influx of people pushing them out onto the field. They danced and wound their way towards the stage, through the crowd, to the place where they and Grant and his friends were supposed to meet.
Abigail couldn’t help the bubble of excitement growing in her. At first, Grant hadn’t excited her too much, but she’d spent the better part of the day thinking of him and occasionally texting with him. He had a wit and charm that she found appealing. It also helped that he was pretty cute.
Her bubble of excitement grew to bursting as soon as she saw him standing at the side of the stage with a group of three other guys. One of them she knew had to be his roommate, and Ellie was now waving as she had apparently picked him out of the group of guys. The guy who turned towards Ellie and waved back looked a little scruffy, but appeared to have made an attempt to look presentable. Behind her, Morgan and Courtney were verbally checking out the other guys with Grant and Rob, playfully fighting over who got which guy. Abigail mentally shook her head and walked right up to Grant.
Grant leaned over and gently kissed Abigail’s cheek, deeply inhaling the light floral scent she wore as he pulled away. He had dressed casually in well-worn jeans and an un-tucked button down shirt, and he had to admit she looked far more ready for a party than he with her strapless sky blue dress that billowed out slightly around her legs.
“You look beautiful,” Grant shouted in her ear so she could hear him.
She smiled her thanks and then joined in with their friends as they went around yelling introductions before Rob suggested they move into the stands. The crowd in the stands looked more spread out than that on the field, so they would have more space there to chat and dance. Nodding in agreement, the eight of them held hands in a long line so they wouldn’t get separated. Winding and twisting their way through the crowd on the field, they made their way into the crowd in the stands. It was less crowded and slightly less noisy due to the awkward dancing space, but plenty of socializing was going on.
“This is a great place,” Abigail said as she danced with Grant, tucking her hair behind her ears self-consciously. “I can’t believe how many people there are. I guess I never knew just how big the stadium is. I haven’t been here since I was a kid.”
Grant looked around the stands and down on the field. It was packed all around them and everyone was clearly enjoying themselves. There were groups and couples everywhere and single individuals wandering around were quickly absorbed into groups. No one was alone this night. He also knew there were food and drinks and alcohol somewhere in the stadium, and Abigail had told him her aunt had donated all of the alcohol. He had seen dozens of people wandering by with plates and cups, but had yet to determine where the delicious smelling sustenance was located.
“Yeah,” he said enthusiastically. “This is pretty awesome.”
The group of eight had nicely paired off as Morgan and Courtney had finally settled on which girl got which guy, much to the amusement of Grant’s friends, who also happened to be Valentine’s older brothers Jared and Nathan. They were both good looking guys who had a storehouse of hilarious jokes, so Abigail guessed it was a win-win situation and it became more of a “you’re closest to me, so you’re mine” kind of situation. Now they were enjoying spending some time dancing and getting to know each other in the few hours they had left.
After a few more minutes of dancing and exchanging shy, self-conscious smiles, Grant leaned in close to Abigail so he could speak in her ear. She turned her head slightly so she could hear him better, their bodies still moving to the music blaring all around them.
“Come on,” he said. “Let’s find somewhere quieter so we can talk. I know how to get up to that hill overlooking the stadium. What do you say?”
Abigail nodded and shouted, “Sounds good to me. Let’s just let our friends know.”
He nodded and they moved closer to their respective friends to shout in their ears. Their friends gave the couple knowing smiles and looks. Abigail had the feeling that, before long, the group would be splitting up into pairs anyways. They wouldn’t be missed. She and her friends made plans to try to find each other during the eleven o’clock hour, but, just in case they didn’t get back together for midnight, they said their good byes and hugged each other tightly. Eyes misted with tears as they clasped each other close, knowing this was likely to be the last time they ever saw each other again.