Everyone remained stunned by the blunt disappearance of the jumper, no one more so than the detectives that had been mentally prepared to clean up a whole mess. Ethan’s eyes drew to the punk cop who was whipping his head around in an effort to check if maybe they bounced off to the sides in a weird defiance of physics. When the only conclusion could be that they had vanished, the detective’s patience went right along with it.
“Are you FUCKING kidding me?!”
The outburst startled everyone present, including the man’s more reserved partner. The kept detective sighed, looked to the line of law men before throwing an arm up, and within moments the shimmering blue police tape stretched skyward into an opaque barricade, the rest of the story becoming a mystery.
The crowd corrected their balance and wardrobes, most stumbling off in a daze as if nothing had even occurred.
Ethan Glass remained still among them. His hand drew to a burning sensation in his chest, eyes burning from the crime scene’s light.
What did I just…
Ethan closed his eyes.
Flashes of violet.
Flashes of red—no… orange? Yellow?
Shit. Ethan twisted away from the scene towards home, nausea bubbling into the back of his throat as he moved. His aquiline nose tickled, blue eyes watered red, and even through rapid breaths to soothe the urge, he chanted, “Nononono I don’t want to throw up, please—” before whiplashing into an alleyway and doing just that.
After retching and straining, tensing his body against the wall so he wouldn’t wet himself, he pressed his head against the cool surface to catch his breath. He’d been getting worse and worse lately. It was an acid reflux that medication wasn’t resolving and no doctor could explain. Its frequency was—
A chiming noise shrilled inside his ear, smacking Ethan’s head into the wall in a fright.
“Fucking - what!”
“Ethan Glass, your vitals suggest you are ill. Do you need an ambulance?” It was his wing’s assistant.
“No! Just… No. Uhh.. Wing Note: Today’s date. Vomit. Current time.”
“Thank you.” He slapped his hand to the wall to push himself upright, rolling his eyes upward to a sky saturated in grays. Pressing a sweaty palm to his scratchy throat, he sighed. “What else could go wrong today?”
“Ethan,” the wing assistant perked up again. Ethan punched the wall again in response. “This is your 2-hour reminder for Las Morales’s Birthday Party.”
“The best party for the best people.”
“The party that will not stop. The party to end all parties. The escalated forces of partying nature cannot be contained in these walls par—”
“Wing, Stop! I got it!” The assistant cut off. Ethan let loose a small smirk. “Forgot he sent the invites like that.” Rubbing his eyes of dust and tears from getting sick, he laughed. What I get for asking the universe questions like that, I guess. Another chirp in his ear. “Wing, what - “
A photo of a young man with bright brown eyes, dark skin, and blonde hair suddenly snapped in front of him with what could only be described as the grin of someone ready to make a fool of himself. Ah. Speaking of what else could go wrong…
Ethan answered the incoming call. The young man in the photo sprang to life.
“'Sup, Ethan! You home? You still coming tonight?” Las Morales. Ethan’s buddy from high school and overall menace with good intentions.
“No, not home yet… But, uh, Yeah, I’m coming. Just had somethin' to do.”
A silence lingered between them, something Las wasn’t really capable of most of the time. Ethan realized he was being stared at with immense suspicion.
“Huh?” Damn, he was sharp. Ethan tried to look away, but Las caught on.
“Aaahh… You’re trying to be obvious, huh? Why don'tcha just beg me to ask instead?” Ethan sighed, but Las waved his hand and chuckled. “Kidding, kidding! If you don't wanna tell me, though, I won't cry about it.” An incredulous look from Ethan emerged that Las promptly ignored. “Y'know I tried to message Charlie again but he hasn't answered. He's really not comin' back to school, is he? You talked to him at all?”
“Considering I broke his leg, I'm probably the last person he and his family wanna talk to.”
Las rolled his eyes. “Dude, come on. That was an accident and everyone knows it.” A mild comfort comes to Ethan with that. “A FREAK accident, but an accident.” And less comfort with that.
“Well, it’s never gonna happen again. He should just come back to school.”
“Yeah... but I don’t think quitting football was the way to make anything better. If Charlie's gone, he's gone. I think we're all just stunned you had that much strength in your kick. More surprising you didn't detonate every ball we had.” Ethan started to flashback on Las’s trip down memory lane, but the man himself cut it short. “ETHAN!” Ethan jumped. “Stop thinking.”
“Er, yeah. Sorry. Was just... Las, hey, why did you quit too?”
Las rolled his eyes far back to consider the question but then shrugged. “Got boring with both of you gone.”
“Yeah, I guess that works for a guy like you.” Las approached life with the simplicity of a child. Ethan could only dream to have such an outlook. “How many people are coming tonight?”
“The entire football team, some people from the art club, the music club, the programming cl - “
“Okay, I get it—a lot.” Ethan groaned, rubbing his palm to his temple. “Still Omega?”
“Yup. You got, like, two hours to get goin'.”
“Yeah, your invitation name wasn’t going to let me forget.” Las grinned, winked, then cut the laughs to lean in. Ethan realized he was searching his face through the screen. “What now?”
“Nothing, just... you’ll be there, right? I want the two of us to have a good time. You need it, y'know? You look pale as hell and that’s hard for brown guys like us. Just wanna be sure you catch a break.”
Ethan felt his face heat up, all that missing color coming right back to him. Las was too straightforward for his own good and it often caught Ethan off guard enough to embarrass him.
Why invite everyone if that’s what you want? “I'll be there. Promise.”
“Okay, see ya tonight!” Zip. Right off the line.
“... Seriously?” Ethan turned his wing off and looked back towards the street. It was time to head home to clean up for the upcoming social nightmare.
I can’t tell if he’s the best or worst kind of friend…