The Awakening/C14 Longest Night Ever
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The Awakening/C14 Longest Night Ever
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C14 Longest Night Ever

They stumble out of the club arm in arm. Amanda leans over starting to tell her something before bursting into hysterical giggles.

"I guess I'm driving." That only starts another set of giggles. "That's a yes." Sera guides her over to where she could have sworn the car was. The street is completely vacant except for a few yellow taxis waiting out front. Her eyes scan the street again just in case.

Amanda laughs. "Where's my car?"

“I don't know," Sera mutters. "Stay here." She points to the sidewalk before unwrapping her arm from Amanda's and walking up to the bouncer gabbing into his cell phone.

“Do you know what happened to our car?"

“They must have towed it." He shrugs, making his muscles gyrate with the motion.

“Towed it?"

“There's no parking on this side."

“What? There's no sign here!"

“It's down there." He points to a rusted sign halfway down the block.

“Why didn't you warn us?"

He shrugs, returning to the conversation on his phone. Jerk. Sera turns, Amanda stands there in her tiny little dress shivering and wobbling in her heels. She has to keep it together to get them home.

“Sera? You're still here!" Jacks voice calls from behind her.

With a sigh, she spins back around, "Our car got towed."

“We can give you a ride!" he announces a little too happily.

“I don't—"

“Just trying to find the friend that drove us here." He keeps glancing around, "Short guy, dark hair, have you seen him?"

“No," she states with a shake of her head. A shiver rakes through her. Sera wraps her arms around herself.


“I guess we are in the same boat," she sighs, "Where do towed cars go?"

“I'm pretty sure the city has an impound lot."

“Great, let's get a cab." Sera wanders up to one of the yellow cabs sitting out front. Leaning in the open window she tells the driver they need a cab to the impound lot.

His dark eyes squint. "How many?"


His eyes hold her gaze as he waves the trio inside. She shivers again.

“Amanda, come on. We are going to get your car."

“Okay." Amanda prances toward the cab on her tiptoes and slips around to the other door. Jack motions Sera to slide in first. Sandwiched between her two friends, the cab driver takes off through the city. The cab reeks of food and garbage. Sera has to hold back bile as she turns to Jack.

“Can we open a window?" she mutters leaning toward him.

“It's cold out there." He turns to face her now, his breath hot on her cheek.

“The smell doesn't bother you?" Her face scrunches with her words.

“What smell? That's just the city." Jack waves her off, returning his attention to the window. Sera returns her focus to the cab driver. He's wearing a hat which casts a shadow over his eyes. His gloved hands twist on the steering wheel.

Sera's eyes glance out the front window, the sights around her no longer vast and impressive, just unfamiliar, and a reminder that they are far from home. The cabbie turns around to strum up some conversation.

“Where are you guys from?"

“Outside the city," Sera mumbles.

"Angelica," Amanda answers like she's in school. Sera nudges her to shush.

"Angelica, huh?" His eyes meet Sera's in the rearview mirror. She gets a gut feeling that telling him was a bad idea. The car zooms around, weaving through traffic. The driver never seems to step on the brake. His head swivels toward the back seat. "What brings you into the city tonight?"

“A little chaos," Jack jokes, still staring out the window. Sera doesn't miss the color in his face fading.

“Yes, chaos." The driver smirks, returning his eyes forward. They flick once again to the mirror. Sera squirms in her seat, rubbing shoulders with both her friends. Those eyes... she needs to get out of this car.

The longer the car continues weaving in and out, the more her stomach fills with something other than queasiness—anticipation. She's getting that sixth sense that something is off.

The cab screeches to a halt outside the impound lot, finally.

“Thirty-six, fifty," The cab driver turns to announce.

“Thirty–six, fifty!" Sera gasps.

Amanda is the first out of the car. Jack lingers, tossing Sera a twenty-dollar bill, slipping out as well. Digging through her wristlet for some money, she pulls out another twenty before glancing up. When she looks up, his face is watching her intently.

“Here you go." She attempts to hand him the money—he doesn't take it. His eyes still study her. "Um..."

“You're a ways from home."

“Excuse me?"

RUN. The little voice inside her says.

The temperature in the car drops a few degrees; her skin prickles with electricity again. The driver opens his mouth to speak, but words never seem to come. Instead, Sera watches in horror as black and blue beetles cascade from his mouth. They fall into the seat in front of him. Their hard shells clack together. The driver's arm suddenly starts to wiggle, his gloves clench to a fist as it shapes itself into something—a tentacle. It extends for her as the beetles begin to topple over into the back seat. They climb over each other trying to get out the open door. Sera snaps to attention, slamming the door shut just as the tentacle lurches forward. The suction cups on the underside pressed hard against the window between them. She can faintly hear the popping sound as he pulls it off the glass.

Sera spins to run toward the gate when she spots a lone beetle trying to escape on the sidewalk. She stomps her heel through it, squishing it until blue goo oozes from its sides. When she looks up again, the cab is gone.

The tall entryway looms above them. Taller than all three of them combined with barbed wire wrapped on the top. Sera stands beside her two friends. Police officers run back and forth, while others sit in their parked cars ready for action. A night in New York City, one never knows what they are in for.

“Are you two just going to stand there all night or are we going in?" Amanda calls over her shoulder as she wobbles slightly on her heels heading through the open gate.

“Yeah, let's go." With one last glance at the street, Sera heads into the impound lot. Once through the gate, they veer toward the building marked Office. The line at this time of night is longer than she expected. Everyone before them is in various states of dress, most in heels and dresses, sparkles shimmer on the floor, and one guy looks to be in his pajamas. Then there are the tourists, no doubt trying to get their rental cars back.

“I'm going to sit." Amanda points to an open chair in the corner, leaving Jack and Sera alone, again.

She uneasily shifts her weight from foot to foot. She had just left Jack to peruse the dance floor for a figment of her imagination. He hasn't mentioned it making her feel even worse about it. She struggles to find the words to break the deafening silence, but nothing seems to come.

“Well, tonight was fun," Jack tries.

"Yeah, it was different. Not usually my scene though."

“Oh, thank God—mine either." He smiles, his eyes having a hard time focusing on her face.

“Really?" Jack is young, it just doesn't match his fun, easy going image. Sera finds it hard to believe he doesn't have a party side. "

“Yeah." His hand does that adorable thing when he scratches the back of his head. "Places like that make me... uncomfortable."


“Plus, I usually have to open the shop at six in the morning it doesn't leave much time to socialize."

“I'm sorry, Jack, you have to be at work soon."

“Don't worry about it, I already made a call." "Good, good. Wouldn't want to deprive people of their coffee—might start a revolution."

“Wow, your jokes just get worse and worse as the night goes on."

“Ouch! A little harsh there." She smacks his arm playfully. "In my defense, I'm a little sleep deprived." Starving also, but she'll raid the fridge when she gets home. "

“I'm just kidding, Sera. I feel like I've known you forever. Is that weird?" His eyes get a second of clarity as they lock with hers before he hides a laugh. "I'm sorry, that was pretty—"

“No, it's okay, Jack."

“Next!" The cashier calls and Sera slowly realizes he means her. Wow, when did that happen? She and Jack make their way up to the counter. The beady eyed cashier eyes them wearily, must be a long night for him. He taps Amanda's license plate number into an ancient computer. We're talking old—before the computer mouse was invented. He hits the enter key a few times.

“That'll be five-hundred dollars, for the ticket and the tow."

“What?" Sera's mouth drops open.

“I have—" "

“No, Jack, it's fine." Sera glances over at a sleeping Amanda in the corner. There's no way her best friend can afford this on top of her school tuition payment. "I'll take care of it."

Without further thought, she pulls out her credit card from her black clutch and hands it to the cashier. She winces as he swipes it, but she never tells him to stop. When it comes to the people she cares about, she's willing to do just about anything. Besides, Sera was only going to blow it on clothes anyway.

She gets handed a receipt and directed to line up outside. Jack has the honor of waking sleeping Amanda, who almost takes a swipe at him. Then they all file outside and wait.

A long golf cart appears with the police emblem scrawled on its side. Everyone in line seems to pile in quietly. The patrolman attempts to crack jokes that just go unappreciated at this hour. The entire cart looks like a bunch of zombies. Sera's tired head lolls onto Jack's shoulder. He welcomes it, placing his arm around her. She's too exhausted to care. Those hazel eyes of hers scan the lines of lines of parked cars they pass on their way through. There's so many. The cart stops to let off the Japanese couple. They retreat to their car and Sera hides a smile when she notices the rental logo on the back bumper.

In the corner of the lot, a street lamp flickers drawing her attention. The corner goes dark, and when it flickers on again, a familiar figure takes shape. For a millisecond, Sera can make out those eyes and his offensive stance. The blond man. Her heart pounds as she sits up from Jack. The light flickers on and off and he's gone. Her heart hammers against her ribs and her head swivels from side to side. He's here.

The entire time the cart winds its way around the lot, slowly losing a passenger or two at a time, until it is just the three of them left. The cart swivels to the side as Amanda's black coupe comes into view.

The lamppost hangs over her two-door car drenching it in light, almost protectively. Amanda is the first inside diving into the back seat and nestling herself across it. Sera thanks the poor patrolman stuck with the graveyard shift before following in her footsteps.

“Are you sure you're okay to drive?" Jack is suddenly at her side again.

"Yeah, I'm fine." It's the God's honest truth. She isn't impaired at all. "

“Oh thank God," he lets out a breath, "Because I've been seeing two of you."

She stifles a giggle. "It's okay, Jack, climb in." They split going to their respective sides of the car. Opening the driver's door, she takes one last glance around before slipping inside.

The drive home was a chorus of snores and groans. Even with the serenity of the car, she couldn't stop her heart from racing. Her eyes find their way to the rearview mirror every few seconds. By the time Jack directs her to his apartment in a complex by the park, her eyes have begun their scanning again.

The complex is dark, even with the sky beginning to brighten with the coming day. The circular dead end is quiet, vacant. People tucked away in their beds like Sera should be. "

“Thanks for the ride..." Without further warning; he leans forward placing his lips to hers. This time, it was quick, fleeting, but it still left her surprised when he slipped out of the car, leaving her to stare after him. He stumbles once on the stairs before he fumbles with his keys in the door and lets himself inside. Sera shifts the car back into drive and spins back around leaving Jack's house far behind. It's been a while since she's shared a kiss with anyone else, but deep inside she knows she's supposed to feel... more. There's no butterflies, no excitement, when Jack kisses her she feels... nothing.

It only takes a few more minutes before she arrives at Amanda's brick apartment building. One peek in the back seat tells her she's going to be staying the night. "

“Morning sunshine!" she calls, shaking her best friend. "

“Mm," Amanda mumbles rolling over.

"Come on, we are home."

“I want cheese fries."

Sera has to admit that sounds pretty good about now, "How about some toast?" "

“Okay," she grumbles scooting out from the back seat. "I love you Sera... you're always there for me."

“I know, babe. Come on, let's get you up these stairs."

“Race ya!" She giggles swinging open the vestibule door and running up the three flights of stairs. "

“In these heels?" Sera calls after her, but there's no use. She makes it inside before having to peel out of her knee high boots and runs up the stairs after her friend. She finds Amanda on the third floor sitting against her front door.

"What happened?" Sera can't hide her laughter. "

“I can't find the keys." Her hands slap against the floor. "

“That's because I have them." Sera's hands dangle them for emphasis.

“Oh good. Let's go to bed."

Leaning over Amanda's slouched form, she gets the key in the door, and it swings open causing Amanda to fall inside. Both girls giggle uncontrollably.

"Come, time for bed." Sera hooks her arms under Amanda's and lifts her up with one motion. "Damn, you're super light. Have you been losing weight?"

“It must be from all my extracurricular activities."

Sera's mouth quirks to the side, "It must be."

Amanda gets her feet under control, hobbles the rest of the way down the hallway, and falls face first into her bed.

"Goodnight, Sleeping Beauty!" Sera carefully places the garbage can by the side of the bed and twists her head to the side before closing the door behind her. Stealing a blanket from the linen closet, she makes herself at home on the pullout couch that is practically labeled as hers at this point. After the long night she's had, she's really looking forward to seeing that mystery man of her dreams. Within seconds, as hoped, she's transported from this world.

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