Valentineís Day. The worst holiday of the year. And thatís my opinion. I know a lot of people disagree. But I donít care what they think. I hate February 14.
At first I hated it because of all the flowers, hearts, candy, teddy bears, and balloons everyone got at school on this day. Everyone, it seemed, except me. But now I hate this day for another reason. Because of what happened this year on Valentineís Day.
It began with one of those stupid secret admirer notes about a week before Valentineís Day. I should have known it was too good to be true . Iíve never had a secret admirer. No one ever admired me.
Anyway, here is the note:
I like you. A lot.
Thatís it. Yeah, I know. Some note, huh?
But if you were like me, you would have thought this was the best day of your life. You would have thought maybe you are actually getting noticed by someone. I was thinking maybe I will get kissed by a boy one day; maybe Iíll get a boyfriend; maybe Iíll get married and have kids. Seriously, I thought all those things. I thought my life didnít suck after all.
Then my dumb conscience screamed, You idiot! Itís a prank! Youíre falling for it! And there went my hope of ever having a love life. Someone was playing a joke on me. I thought people quit doing that once they started high school.
Well, surprisingly, it didnít take long for the culprit to step up. This boy in my science class named Cameron was my partner for an experiment. This happened a week after I found the note.
Cameron is a hottie. He has caramel colored skin and black hair to his shoulders, which he always has in a ponytail. Heís kind of muscular, and his eyes are brown. Heís about the same height as me, but Iím taller than normal. Heíd just come to our class as a new student.
"Lydia, Iím anonymous," Cameron said.
"What?" I didnít quite understand at first, because the note wasnít exactly the top thing on my mind. Magnets were at the moment, because of the experiment we were working on.
"I left the note in your locker."
I dropped the battery Iíd been holding and looked at Cameron. "Youíre the secret admirer?"
Cameron nodded. For a moment I forgot about the note being a prank. I wanted it to be real so badly. Cameron was nice, and extremely good looking . . .
Then I went back to working on the experiment. "It wasnít very funny."
Cameron looked surprised, as if he hadnít been expecting I was smart enough to figure it out. "What do you mean?"
"Youíre old enough now to stop pulling childish pranks on people."
"Prank? You think it was a prank? Lydia, I really do like you."
I almost laughed out loud. "Why canít you give up the act already? Iím not going to fall for it so just stop."
"Why donít you believe me?"
"Because . . . no one likes me."
"Because . . . well . . . I donít know. Iím what they call a dork. A nerd, a loner."
"Youíre not to me."
"Okay. Why do you like me?"
"Youíre smart, nice, and honest."
I didnít reply. Could he really think I was all those things? Could he like me just because I was all those things?
Our male teacher said, "Almost time for the bell to ring. Finish the worksheet and turn it in. Iíll collect the materials from the experiment."
I finished my work, without talking to Cameron. One minute before the bell rang, Cameron said, "Even though you donít believe me, want to go out on Valentineís Day?"
"I donít know . . . " I said. Iíve never been asked out before.
"What have you got to lose?" Cameron asked.
I thought about that. Well, letís see . . . my pride, my dignity, my mind.
But I said, "Okay."
"Great! Iíll pick you up at seven."
"Wait, how do you know where I live?"
"Oh. And where are we going?"
"Itís a surprise."
The bell rang. Cameron said, "See you!" and left out the door. I muttered goodbye.
Today was a Friday, so I had to wait a whole weekend. Valentineís Day was on Monday.
The fact that I was going on a date didnít hit me till the morning of Valentineís Day. I began to panic. I didnít know what to wear, how to do my hair, or anything. I couldnít even figure out what to wear to school that day. I would see Cameron, so I must look nice.
I settled on red pants and a white button shirt. I combed my mass of frizzy red hair and put a heart clip in it. This was the first time in my life I was actually celebrating Valentineís Day.
When I got to school, I felt jittery and nervous, like I do when I have to speak in front of a class. And I didnít have to do that. So why were my hands sweaty and my heart pounding?
To my surprise, Cameron was waiting for me at my locker. He had a teddy bear and a chocolate rose in his hands.
"Hi," he said when he saw me.
"Hey," I said. Then I pointed to the objects in his hands. "Who are those for?" They couldnít have been for me.
But they were. He held them out and said, "Happy Valentineís Day."
I swallowed and just stared. "But, I didnít get you anything."
"Itís okay. I donít mind. Giving is better than receiving."
I reluctantly took the bear and rose. "Uh . . . thanks."
"Youíre welcome. I better get to class."
It was five minutes before the first bell. Still, I said, "Okay. See you in science class."
"See you." He walked down the hall.
Well, I went around the whole day, smiling. In science class, we had a test, so Cameron and I didnít get to speak much.
Then it was after school, and seven oíclock came. I wore a pink dress my older sister had let me borrow, and white sandals from my mom. I had nothing date-material in my closet.
Cameron rode up to my house at five after. But he wasnít in a car. He was on a moped. I didnít know people still rode those.
"Youíve got to be kidding," I told him.
"I donít have a car yet," he said.
"But . . . my mom will kill me."
"Does she even have to know? Where is she?"
"Sheís at work, but . . . " I wasnít so sure I had the wits to get on it.
He held out a helmet. "Come on, itíll be fun."
Hesitantly, I took the helmet and put it on. I hesitated again before getting on the moped.
"Hold on tight," Cameron said. I held onto his waist. And we sped off.
Oh, boy, did we speed off. It seemed we were going eighty miles an hour, though we only happened to be going thirty when I looked at the speedometer. The wind effects made it seem worse than it was. I think I almost squeezed the breath out of Cameron.
Finally, we stopped at a small, old-styled restaurant on the edge of town. It looked hundreds of years old. It was a one story building, made of gray stone, with vines creeping up the sides of the door. The few windows it had were completely dark. Not a place I wanted to be in at this time of night. Iíd never seen it before, and I know Iíve passed through this area. The place was called, "Dynaís Diner."
I got off the moped and took off my helmet. Cameron did the same.
"This place has the best food," Cameron said.
I didnít like the looks of the place. I should have refused to go inside. But I didnít. I let Cameron grab my hand and lead me inside.
The inside was creepier. The only light was a red glow from the ceiling. There were circular tables in the center of the place. Everyone seemed to be in shadow. To my surprise, the place was really crowded.
A woman walked up to us. She had palish skin, a wide nose, and tall brown hair. By tall, I meant her hair stuck straight up, two feet high. She looked like Frankensteinís wife.
"Ah, youíre here," the woman said. "Hello, Lydia. Iím Dyna."
"How do you know my name?" I asked.
"Weíve been expecting you."
I scrunched my eyebrows in confusion. Before I could turn to Cameron, I saw a flash of red before my eyes. Then it faded to black.
* * * *
When I regained consciousness, I had a terrible headache. I discovered that I was in a large cage where iron bars surrounding me. Cameron sat on the other side.
I groaned. I felt so horrible, I couldnít say a word.
Cameron stood and walked up to the bars. "I guess you want an explanation to why I knocked you out."
"What?" I asked. Cameron had knocked me out?
"This isnít a diner. This is a . . . well, in your world I guess youíd call it a spaceship. We came from another world. Every Valentineís Day, we come to a new town on Earth to find someone. Someone who doesnít receive much love on this day. Either I go to find a girl, or my sister goes to find a boy."
I blinked. Was this really happening?
Cameron continued. "This Ďspaceshipí is disguised to seem like an ordinary restaurant. Dyna is our queen. She chooses the victim, then the person is lured here."
This is a joke. This has to be a joke.
"Weíre flying back to our planet now. Iím sorry I wasnít who you thought I was." Cameron actually looked sincere as he gazed at me with his brown eyes.
I didnít say anything. It would all be over soon. How long could he keep this prank going?
But days passed. I was let out of my cage. So I looked for some way to escape the Ďspaceshipí. But the doors were sealed tight, and the windows were unbreakable. I was trapped like a mouse.
* * * *
It has been six years now. The people on this yellow, dust-covered planet are strange, and they constantly drain blood from me for God knows what. And there are others here like me who are from Earth. Some have been here for fifty years or more.
I found out that this wasnít a joke. Of course, I should have known Cameron didnít like me. No one ever does. And now no one ever will.
Love stinks. And you know what else?
I hate Valentineís Day.