Horror movies were my first true love. Not only because I love being scared, but because I liked watching everyone else be scared too.
I sat very still on the couch between Cole and Caleb and every time Jason Voorhees came onscreen I would simply close my eyes. At the end of the movie everyone said I was so brave, I didn't tell them I had missed 90% of the plot but I now knew the inside of my eyelids better than ever before. I thought that was pretty profound at ten years old, but at eighteen Caleb could not read my mind yet and said I was more hardcore than any other girl he knew.
Andrew, at eleven, just nodded. He wanted to be like Caleb but he had a hard time concealing his wide fearful eyes and the hair standing up on his forearms. He pulled Christian aside and asked him if he could walk home with him now instead of going alone through the woods behind the baseball field. I laughed. They never made me walk alone but the first one to jump out from behind a tree and scare me would get a watershed of scared-tears that would scar them with guilt for the rest of their lives, exacting a pledge that it would never ever happen again.
But it did. Over and over again. Cole was probably the worst. He would make some excuse and take off in the other direction, only to double back around and jump out at us somewhere along the path. I learned to walk directly behind Caleb. I still do.
Those were nights that Lochlan was still at the garage, stupid nights with stupid part-time jobs that left-me in the half-assed care of the others, who tended to pass me off on each other and sometimes take me home early, and sixteen-year-old Lochlan would lock up the garage and go track everyone down, unable to find me and showing up at my window at midnight, and I would sneak out the front door and sit on the steps talking to him until the sun came up. He told me about his plans to go on the road with the carnival while I watched the edges of the trees for Jason and he would repeatedly ask what I was afraid of. Sheepishly I finally told Lochlan, and he pointed out as long as he was around, nothing bad would ever happen to me.
That promise has held ever since. Now I just need to figure out how to glue myself to him and then I think I'll be all set. The minute I'm out of his sight everything falls apart.