#Chapter 61: All’s Fair in Love and War
The day after the hockey match was Halloween, which also meant that the Halloween fair was in town. Every year, an exciting fair came to town for Halloween weekend. I normally went with Lori and Jessica, but they wanted to make it a date this year, so I went alone this year.
The fairgrounds were already packed full by the time I arrived. The air smelled like kettle corn and apple cider, and all I could hear above the din of excited students and screaming children was the sound of rides and Carnys trying to sell their rigged games. Ahead of me, a man on stilts dressed as the Grim Reaper terrorized a gaggle of children, and a woman dressed in a skimpy clown costume juggled bowling pins while passersby tossed coins into her hat on the ground.
Smiling, I walked into the fair and started making my way through the various carnival games. One particular game caught my eye that seemed new; it was a simple shooting game with moving targets.
As I was watching a couple trying to shoot the targets to win a stuffed animal and ultimately walk away empty -handed, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around to see none other than Ronan standing behind me.
“It’s Nina, right?” he asked.
“Oh, hey,” I said, feeling a little awkward to be talking to the rival school’s hockey captain. “Are you planning on playing this game, too?”
Ronan nodded. “I’ll try to win you something,” he said with a wink as he stepped up to the counter. I watched as Ronan picked up the toy gun and tried
shooting the targets, but missed almost all of them.
“I guess you’re not as good at carnival games as you are at hockey,” a familiar voice said from behind me. I whirled around to see Enzo standing there. His eyes flashed orange as he glanced at me, quickly fading back to brown as soon as Ronan turned around.
“I guess so,” Ronan replied, surprisingly well-spirited although I could tell that Enzo was being more territorial than joking. Ronan looked Enzo up and down, noticing his protective stance as he strode forward to stand next to me. There was a flash of something unrecognizable in his eyes, but he said nothing and instead gave us his usual polite nod before walking away and disappearing into the crowd.
“How much for that one?” Enzo said to the attendant, pointing to a stuffed wolf hanging on the wall above him.
“Oooh, that’s an expensive one,” the attendant said. “Tell you what… fifteen shots in a row and it’s yours.”
Enzo nodded and slapped his money
down on the counter, picking up the
toy gun to shoot the moving targets.
I watched in shock as Enzo shot down one target after the other with ease. When he was done, he set down the gun and folded his muscular arms across his chest while the baffled attendant turned around to grab the wolf.
“Hey, you’re a good shot!” Ronan said, slapping Enzo on the shoulder — which Enzo did not seem to appreciate — and sticking his hands in his pockets. “That’s way better than I could’ve done.”
The attendant handed Enzo the wolf, who took it and turned to face me He held it out to me with an adorable combination of seriousness and bashfulness on his face. For a moment, I completely forgot all about the rival hockey captain. It was as if everything else faded away as Enzo held the wolf plushie out to me, our fingers brushing as I took it from him.
“Thank you,” I murmured.
Before I could explain anything about why Ronan was with me, Enzo wrapped his arm around my shoulder and made my heart skip as he guided me toward the ferris wheel. As we got in line for the ferris wheel and I clutched the stuffed wolf to my chest, I realized that this was quickly turning into a date.
“Step right up!” the ferris wheel attendant said, gesturing to the next available seat. Enzo climbed on ahead of me, sliding over on the bench and patting the spot next to him.
“I’m scared of heights,” I said sheepishly, running my fingers
through the soft fur on the wolf plushie.
“It’s alright,” Enzo replied, holding his hand out for me “I’m here. Trust me. It’s worth it.”
Taking a deep breath, I got on and clutched my wolf to my chest as the ferris wheel started to move
“Close your eyes,” Enzo said as we
started to move up above the fairgrounds. I did just that, clenching them as tight as possible. I gulped as I felt the wind hit us as we went higher and higher, but relaxed a bit when I felt Enzo’s strong arm slip around my shoulders.
“I always liked the ferris wheel the most here out of all the other rides,” Enzo said, squeezing my shoulder “I love the view. Open your eyes.”
I cracked one eye open at first, then the other .
“Woah,” I whispered, too awestruck by the beautiful view to notice my fear anymore. Enzo was right: it was gorgeous. We could see the entire campus from where we were, its stone buildings poking out from between the pine and oak trees.
“See?” Enzo said quietly. “It’s not so bad.”
Just then, while we were right at the top, the ferris wheel stopped. I gasped. and clutched the sides of the seat
“What’s happening?” I said, my voice trembling
Enzo chuckled. “It’s fine,” he said. ” We’ll start moving in a second.”
Enzo’s words went right over my head, however, as I started to hyperventilate It felt as if the world around me was spinning out of control, like the ferris wheel would suddenly pop off of its stand and go rolling across the fairgrounds like a giant spinning wheel of death–
“Hey. Look at me.”
Enzo cupped my cheeks in his hands and turned my head to look into his eyes. Their soft brown color was illuminated by the amber glow of the streetlamps and the flashing lights of the fairgrounds. Looking into them calmed me; I felt like I could just stare into them forever.
Suddenly, the ferris wheel lurched and started moving again. I wasn’t sure if it was the sudden movement or if he pulled me closer on purpose, but as we started moving, I found my lips pressed against his.
We finally pulled away after what felt like an eternity. I felt my face get hot as I flushed with embarrassment and looked away, still clutching the wolf plushie that Enzo had won for me to my chest. “I’m… sorry,” Enzo said quietly, looking in the opposite direction and out over the bustling fairgrounds. “That was inappropriate.”
“It’s okay,” I replied softly, a smile spreading across my lips as the ferris wheel slowly carried us back down to the ground. “I don’t mind.”
Once we got off the ferris wheel, Enzo turned toward me with his hands in his pockets. It was getting dark.
“Can I walk you home?” he asked, to which I nodded and tried to hide my excitement.
While we walked, feeling the cold breeze on our faces, I couldn’t help but feel a magnetic attraction to Enzo. My heart raced as I felt his fingers intertwine with mine
A cold gust of wind suddenly hit us, making me shiver, and without a word Enzo stopped and took his jacket off,
draping it over my shoulders. I blushed and pulled the jacket around me. It felt warm from his body, and it smelled like him, too. Wood and smoke.
“Nina,” he said softly, reaching out and brushing a loose strand of hair out of my face.
I leaned closer to him, standing on my tiptoes to kiss him…
Before we could kiss, however, we were alerted by the sound of screaming coming from the forest.