My mom stuck the wig on my head, and I held the clothes in front of me.

"It's like looking at a teenage version of myself," she said fondly.

I threw the skirt and blouse in the wash, and Becky and I returned to my room.

"We are so going to rock!" I said. "But we just need one thing to complete our outfits."

I hunted through my dresser drawers, closet shelves, and boxes underneath my bed.

Halloween was months ago, and in a town like Dullsville it was easier to find a fake Prada purse than fake teeth.

Frustrated, I banged on Billy Boy's door. He opened it slightly, sticking his Charlie Brown--shaped head out. I could barely see Henry typing at my brother's computer. "Did you take my vampire teeth?" I accused him.

"Why would I want your nasty saliva near me?" Billy Boy said, starting to close the door on me.

"Well, I can't find them, and I have to have them for tonight," I argued, pressing the door back open.

Henry rushed over to the door. "I have some," he offered. "Never been used."

Henry and Billy Boy rode their bikes, and I followed with Becky on mine. We must have been quite a sight as we headed to Henry's house at the edge of Oakley Woods--two goths and two nerds riding alongside one another.

We parked our bikes in Henry's driveway and entered the colonial-style five-bedroom house.

We were greeted by his housekeeper, who was folding laundry.

We walked up the pristine wooden stairs to his bedroom. A NO YUPPIES ALLOWED sign hung on his door.

"I like that," I said.

A spongy black doormat rested on the floor, and a million dead bolts sealed his door.

"What are you hiding inside? Secret recipes of cafeteria food?" I asked.

After he unlocked the outside dead bolts, he stepped onto the mat. His bedroom door sprung open automatically.

Henry had a loft bed, with a metallic blue computer underneath. Stars were pasted on his ceiling, I'm sure in astronomically correct order. A solar system mobile hung from his ceiling fan. A telescope stood by his window.

He slid open his walk-in closet doors to reveal neatly stacked, clear plastic shoe boxes.

"Five dollars gets you samples," he said, pointing to them.

Each box was labeled: ACNE, BLOOD, PIMPLES. PUKE. SCARS.

"Who wants to have more pimples?" I asked.

"And I have smells. Here," he said, opening a beaker and pushing it under my nose.

"Gross!" I said, repulsed. "It smells like the bathroom after Billy Boy uses it."

"Shut up!" my brother said.

"I like to pour this on Mrs. Louis's chair sometimes," he said proudly. "Look around. I have them alphabetized."

"I should have known."

Becky and I each handed over our money and loaded our pockets with ghoulish goodies.

When we were finished, Henry held a box before me as if he were holding the Holy Grail. He opened it, revealing two exact replicas of human teeth in the shape of fangs.

"With the glue, seven dollars."

I knew I had only six in my purse.

"Five dollars and a stick of gum," I offered.

"Six. And your school picture," he countered. I looked hard at him, then at Becky.

"But you inscribed it to me!" she said.

"Please," I begged, flashing her my puppydog eyes.

She opened her wallet and handed Henry the picture.

I handed him the money and left before he changed his mind.

As I headed out to meet Alexander for our date, I found my parents in the kitchen, paying bills.

"I'm going to be out a teensy bit late tonight," I advised.

"It's a school night," my mother said.

"I know, but we're going to the drive-in," I said with a smile.

"Why don't you wait until the weekend?" my mom asked.

"Because tonight's half price if you wear a costume. Becky and Matt are going, too."

"Becky?" my mother asked, surprised.

"Yes, my little Becky. It'll be our first double date. Besides, I already did my homework, and we have a sub for first bell anyway."

"Seems like you had all your excuses lined up," my father said.

"I'll take care of the dishes all week," I said to my mother. "And Dad, I'll wash your car." "Last time you washed my car, you put Wicked Wiccas stickers on it."

"But you have to admit, it looked cool."

"And last time you took care of the dishes, you broke Grandma's teapot," my mother remembered.

"Fine. Then we have a deal," I began. "I'll just go to the movie, and I'll save you trouble by not doing your chores."

"How did that just happen?" my dad wondered, as I headed for the front door. "And when you're finished with that blond wig, your mother needs it back."

I slung my backpack filled with my Kissing Coffins accessories on my shoulder and grabbed a container of garlic powder from the kitchen. I held it tightly in my hand, as if I were holding a can of Mace, as I walked to the Mansion. If Jagger jumped out at me, I wanted to be protected.

I felt a familiar lurking presence as I turned the corner to Benson Hill. I saw a rustling in a bush and blond strands poking through the branches. I took a deep breath, and I quietly opened the container of garlic powder and threw it hard, directly into the brush.

"Ouch!" a male's voice cried.

Trevor jumped out of the bush and held his forehead.

"What are you doing?" I shouted at him.

"I saw you coming up the road and wanted to scare you," he said, rubbing his wound.

"You don't have to hide. Your face alone could scare Frankenstein." I grabbed the container from the sidewalk and replaced it in my purse.

I walked away, and Trevor continued to follow me as we drew closer to the gate.

"I really don't have time for you anymore," I said. "I'm going to the drive-in." And I slipped past the slightly open iron gate.

"You have a pretty good arm. You should try out for the baseball team. And tell your gothic boyfriend," he called, "if he wants to apply, they could use a batboy."

I left Trevor and was walking up the Mansion's driveway when I overheard him talking to someone outside the gate. I glanced back and saw my nemesis from behind, standing next to a guy with white hair.

I stopped. Jagger and Trevor? A dangerous duo.

I sneaked back down the driveway and hid behind a bush next to the wrought-iron gate.

"Hey, watch out, dude!" Trevor hollered. He must have bumped into Jagger in the darkness.

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