Sometimes I thought that Larabee should have been the one that got the special ability. He should have been the one to have a superpower. He was the one that wanted one so desperately, and he could have made any kind of costume that he wanted for it.
Maybe he secretly wanted to be in fashion design. I’ve never quite been sure about him. He’s Larabee. He’s odd.
At least, though, when he met us at the door that night, he had pants.
If spandex counts as pants…
April leaned up so that she could see into the brown bag that Clayton was carrying, and then she gave him a pointed look. “Are you planning to get toasted or what?”
He shifted the alcohol in his arms. She could have offered to help instead of blocking his path. What, was she scared of going into Larabee’s house on her own? Granted, Clay wasn’t really looking forward to it, but he knew Larabee. There was a reason he lived on his own in a broom closet, after all. “When you have seen what I have seen, you learn to be prepared.”
“He is going to wear pants, right?”
The door burst open, and they turned to see Larabee making a grand gesture with his fuchsia cape. “Welcome, welcome. Enter. I’ve got dinner ready, and the show will begin after that.”
“The show?” April repeated, unable to stop staring at Larabee’s extremely bright outfit. She blinked, a dazed expression on her face. Clayton pushed her forward, toward the house.
“Do you think those count as pants?”
“No. Maybe. I’m afraid to look again.”
Clay laughed. “And you were wondering why I brought alcohol. The outfits were bad enough when he wasn’t modeling them.”
“I am so not eating anything,” she muttered, reaching into the bag for the large and unfortunately cheap bottle of rum. He followed her into the house as she started twisting off the cap. She drank straight from the bottle, and Larabee frowned.
“I never knew your girlfriend was such a lush, Clayton.”
“She’s not my girlfriend,” Clayton reminded him for the thousandth time, at least. He went into the kitchen and set the bag on the counter, taking the other bottles out. Did he want whiskey or bourbon or tequila or vodka? He had options, and his instinct was to get drunk as quickly as possible. That would be good. Yeah, very good. “Hey, April—”
“Not going out with you, Clayton.”
“Not what I was about to ask, but thanks for clarifying. I might have thought you liked me or something,” he said, shaking his head as he took out his big bags of gummy bears, grabbed one of the bags, a plastic cup, and the tequila. “You want to play a game?”
“I’m showing my costumes, remember?”
“Yes. The game is part of the show,” Clay agreed, sitting down next to April and opening the gummy bear bag, reaching for a red one. “We drink to the best name for the costume you’ve created.”
“Oh, that sounds fun,” Larabee agreed, striking a pose. “Well?”
“Magenta Man,” April said before Clay got a word out, and he reached for his cup, filling it with tequila, tossing it back without the salt.
She smiled, drinking straight from the bottle again.
“This is great!” Larabee cried happily, clapping his hands together. “I am going to go get the red one now. Oh, wait. Camera. Here, Clayton. Pictures. I need to make sure they all get properly captioned, too.”
Clayton snapped a picture of the pose. “Magenta Man. Good call. Next?”
“You’re going to leave if I go get another one, aren’t you?”
“No,” April answered immediately, shaking her head in a way that really wouldn’t convince anyone. She was a terrible liar. How did she expect to handle a bunch of kids, anyway? To deal with the questions that they’d ask her on a daily basis?
“I’m not staying the night, and it’s not anything I haven’t seen before. In fact, I have seen worse.”
“Okay, then. I’m getting the red one,” Larabee said, frowning a little as he walked away, much less excited than he was before.
“You need to work on that. You couldn’t have convinced anyone that you meant it.”
April sighed. “I’m not a big fan of liars. Probably because I’ve never been any good at it, so everyone always knows. It’s better not to lie, right?”
“I am not ready to get philosophical yet,” Clay said, reaching to refill his plastic cup and wondering if it was going to melt under the strength of the alcohol. It was pretty cheap plastic, and he thought that the alcohol was rather strong. “Maybe later.”
“Ta-da!” Larabee called, and April leaned over the back of the couch, staring again.
“Jockey Man,” Clayton said, and April nodded mutely.