10:00 pm – continued
She couldn’t help it; even on the last day of Earth, she still felt compelled to look out for her little sister, especially since Sabrina was always so boy crazy. Any one of these guys might take off with her and take advantage of her. How many guys here were looking for a pretty young thing to spend the last few hours of life with? The thought disgusted her. She just had to protect her little sister.
Sabrina’s fingers were halfheartedly prying at Valentine’s fingers, which were firmly wrapped around her wrist. She’d tried a few times to get free for the past hour, but Valentine always managed to keep her close. There were a lot of cute guys dancing around and eyeing her, but Valentine, apparently, wasn’t ready to let her sister run off.
“Val, please,” Sabrina pled. “Please let me go. I’ll be fine. I’ll just go find my friends and we’ll keep together.”
Valentine glanced over her shoulder at her sister as she followed Cooper towards the smells of food. Sabrina was eyeing every guy they were passing with interest, no matter how unsavory he looked.
“Look, Sabrina, I’m not just going to hand you off to some guy. He could do shameful things to you. It may be the last day of Earth, but I still need to protect you. Mom and Dad are counting on me. As for your friends? Well, they hooked up with a bad crowd. Trust me. I know who they are. If your friends are lucky, they’ll only be lightly raped tonight before they die. You’re lucky Cooper and I saw you before you could disappear with that group.”
Sabrina couldn’t hear it, but, in front of Valentine, Cooper snorted. Those guys Sabrina’s friends had gone off with had been part of his high school crew. He knew how bad they were and was glad Valentine had had enough sense to grab her sister’s arm before Sabrina could become a rape victim. The boys still wanted to get their kicks. Cooper’d had enough over the past two years. He was done with all that and was glad to have met Valentine, a nice young woman with a good head on her shoulders and clean hands.
At her sister’s speech, Sabrina’s prying fingers dropped to her side and she became much less rebellious. She now followed Cooper and Valentine more obediently. She also now wanted to find her friends and rescue them from the group of older guys, but, she had to face it, there was no way she was going to find them in this crowd. There was simply too many people and too many nooks and crannies.
“Val,” Sabrina said, “it’s past ten. When am I going to meet a nice guy?”
“We’ll find someone suitable for you soon enough. But you said you were hungry. Have you changed your mind?”
“No, I am hungry.”
“Okay, then, let’s find the food,” Valentine said.
“How’s she holding up back there?” Cooper asked as he glanced over his shoulder, his hand tightly latched around Valentine’s. His other hand was sliding his cell phone back into his pocket.
Valentine shrugged. “She’s okay. I finally got through to her. She’s stopped fighting me, at least.”
“Good. I do actually know someone around here who would be good for her. He was an old friend of mine from middle school. He still lives just down the street from my parents. Good guy, bright, very neat, but far from boring. I talked to him earlier today and he said he’d be here. He gave me his number and I just called him. He said he was eating and that he’d meet us by the food. Something about desserts.”
Valentine raised an eyebrow. “Do tell more, Coop. This is my little sister, after all.”
“His name’s Ethan. He was kind of a geek when we were little kids, but he really developed in middle school. All the girls liked him, but he was really shy, just wanted the perfect girl. We lost touch in high school when I fell in with the bad crowd. He started off there, too, freshman year, as the brains of our group. He came up with the funniest and most brilliant pranks. After one detention session, though, his parents got really mad and put him in an all-boys Catholic school. I’d heard he went to some big name school for chemistry after that.”
Valentine shrugged. “Well, I’ll meet him and see if he’s good enough for my little sister. She is still under eighteen, you know.”
“Yeah, but this guy’s straight laced. Not, like, in a boring way, though. He’ll be entertaining enough for your sister, but he’s a good enough guy that he’ll take care of her.”
“Well, we’ll see about that,” Valentine muttered. The guy sounded good, but she would decide for herself when she met him. She wasn’t going to leave her sister with just anyone.
Cooper shrugged and squeezed her hand a couple of times. Ethan was a good guy and he hoped Valentine would agree. He wanted to unload this sister of hers so they could be alone to dance to the music and maybe share a kiss or two.
“I smell food,” Sabrina announced a few minutes later. “Are we getting close?”
“By the looks of this crowd, yeah,” Cooper called back as they made their way through the stadium’s concourse. “We need to find the desserts. Ethan said he’d be there. He really likes chocolate, so I’m assuming he’s by the chocolate desserts.”
Sabrina licked her lips at that. She loved chocolate, too. So far, this guy was sounding pretty good. And he was older than her. Just what she had always wanted. She only prayed her sister would agree and let her vanish into the night with this guy. Was it Ethan that Cooper had said the guy’s name was?
“Ethan!” Cooper called out as they inched along the dessert tables.
Yeah, it was Ethan. She wasn’t too fond of the name, but it wasn’t like she was going to marry him. As long as he was cute, she was good.
A hand went up just a few feet beyond them. It was off to the side, making it look like the guy might be pressed against the wall he was standing in front of. But from next to him, where hot dogs and popcorn was supposed to be sold, was the sweet wafting unmistakable scent of chocolate.
“Cooper! Over here!”
“Yeah! We’re coming!”
Cooper picked up his pace, almost causing the two young women with him to trip over their feet and each other. He could hear them grumbling behind him, but was too anxious to be alone with Valentine to care too much.
Ethan turned out to be a nice looking guy, about Cooper’s height with neatly trimmed sandy blond hair and bright blue eyes behind black framed glasses. He looked a little nerdy with a few extra pounds, but Sabrina thought he had a killer smile and that made up for everything else. He was also munching on a chocolate frosted brownie when they approached and Sabrina gave him points for that. How could she not like a guy who liked chocolate as much as she did?
“Hey, man,” Cooper said, clapping his old friend on his shoulder. “This is Valentine and her sister Sabrina.”
“Hi, ladies,” Ethan said, bowing slightly to them.
Sabrina giggled as her sister’s hand fell away. She stepped forward and shook hands with the young man. His hand was soft and warm and his grasp was firm, but not crushing. His eyes twinkled at her from behind his glasses and he had a bit of chocolate smudged at the corner of his lips.
“It’s very nice to meet you, Sabrina. Brownie?” Ethan said, offering her the second brownie from the napkin he was holding.
Sabrina couldn’t help it; she giggled again, feeling herself blush. “How did you know? I love anything chocolate.”
“Well, then,” Ethan said, placing her hand on his arm, “you’ll love this spread. We’ve got chocolate chip cookies, double chocolate chip cookies, brownies, chocolate frosted cupcakes, chocolate cake with a raspberry filling, chocolate covered fruit…”
Ethan’s voice faded away as he led Sabrina off. She was gazing up at him with awe as they enjoyed their brownies. Valentine turned to look at Cooper and shook her head.
“He totally reminds me of a nerd, but Sabrina seems to like him. He seems like a nice guy.”
“He is a nice guy. Don’t worry. He’ll take care of her. You cool with that?”
She cocked her head to the side, staring off in the direction the couple had vanished into. Finally, she shrugged. “I guess so. If you think he won’t hurt her, I guess I have to hope that’s true. Besides, they’ve disappeared and I don’t think we’ll find them again.”
He grinned and grabbed her hand. “Okay, then, let’s dance.”
Valentine laughed and let him lead her back to the field where they could dance to the beat until midnight. She hoped that now that they’d gotten rid of her sister, they would be able to share a kiss or two.