A Matchbook Valentine

“Yes, the same red lettering and everything!” Megan Madden was trembling on her bed as she described her mysterious valentine. “Shannon,” she whispered, “it’s the same as Bridget’s last year.” Shannon, Megan and Bridget had all been best friends since third grade and inseparable up until their senior year of high school. Last Valentine’s Day had mysteriously disappeared. After responding to a date proposal etched inside a matchbook valentine in the mail, their friend was never seen again. In bold red lettering the note read:
“Happy Valentine’s Day Ms. Connors,
I am a friend of a friend. I have a surprise
dinner date reserved here. Meet me at 6 pm
for a Valentine’s you’ll never forget.

Yours truly, XO"

Both girls had an eerie feeling at the sound of “you’ll never forget” but all doubts aside the three were all hopeless romantics and encouraged their friend.“Hopefully it’s not either Ben Turner or Shane Bryant.” Bridget retorted. These two were past exes that she had broken up with around this time. Megan and Shannon were both in and out of serious relationships with these guys.“Or Julian, Eric or Alex.” Shannon giggled nudging Megan. They all had liked one another since third grade and these boys were all good friends.

The girls got Bridget ready for her date complete with red lipstick, merlot to be exact, made by some French cosmetic company. “This was your only chance to give us a clue Bridge and I am so sorry.” Megan thought out loud. Chills ran down her spine now as she read her valentine again.
“Shannon, I’m going to go on the date.” Megan started. “ I think that we can trick whoever in to helping us find her.” Without explanation, she hung up the phone and raced to her best friend’s house to announce her plan.
“Didn’t you two buy the same dress? You were going to wear it to prom right?” Megan asked excitedly. Shannon nodded and headed to her closet and pulled out the red dress with the gold chiffon and frowned. Megan moaned when she saw it. Bridget had looked so beautiful that night she disappeared. In Shannon’s bathroom now looking in the mirror at her crimson lips, she looked stunning. A tear slowly ran down her cheek. “This is for you B.” She wiped her face and her and Shannon headed out the door.
As they pulled up Shannon looks over to Megan. “Meg, I’ll wait right out here, okay?’ A worried look came over her face as Shannon watched Megan get out of the car and walk slowly into the restaurant.
Inside now, Megan was seated in the back. The restaurant was loud and packed with freshmen dates and middle-aged lovers, so to see Julian there with his date was a surprise. Staring out the window, Megan hadn’t realized how much time had went by and looked up to see if her date had shown.
“Hi!” Julian flashed her a smile while hovering over her table. Blind date gone bad?” He snickered. Megan half nodded before he continued, “Just ditch and let’s go. We’re meeting Eric and Shane and wanted to see if you and Shannon wanted to come out.” His voice was shaky and Meg sensed something was up. “Shannon’s busy but I guess I’ll come for a bit.” She stated as she skeptically followed them to the car. Within minutes they were flying up the back roads to where the lake and the mountains meet and embrace the scarcity of silence.
“Where are we going?” She asked nervously.
“Don’t worry. We are going to have a few beers up here and reminisce about Bridget. It was a year ago today she disappeared.” Eric stated flatly.
As they pulled into a dirt turnaround near the lake Megan’s heartbeat quickened. Something wasn’t right. He stopped the car and Shane whipped his head to face her and grinned. The boys started getting out of the car.
“Is there a reason you are wearing the same thing as Bridget the night she died? Hmph, you must have known!” Had she heard him correctly? Did he said she died?!
“Meg, sometimes you just have to let things go. A bad grade, not making the football team,” he raised his voice. “The death of a friend.” He paused. “Letting go of love? Now you can’t just let it go”. He looked at Julian and they nodded in unison. “ I loved Bridget, and Julian loved you. And you two just let us go on Valentine’s Day. You were so self indulged thinking that everyone loves you two and accepted a date from a matchbook.” With resistance Megan planted her foot to stop walking toward the water. Julian yanked her two hands forward as he continued to walk. “This time, you two don’t decide to let us go.” The other two were close behind. “Come on guys, help me out.” He turned to face Meg, his hot breath on her face made her shiver. “Tonight my friend, just like we killed Bridget, we are going to kill you too.” Meg heard a loud crack and felt a sharp pain pummel the back of her head and everything went black.
Once conscious, blurry white lights were all she could see. She could hear Shannon’s voice. “Meg, it’s okay now." She touched her forehead happy she was awake. “I called the police once I saw that it was Julian you left with. We found you knocked out hanging over the dock and they arrested the boys.” Her head rocked. As Shannon’s voice trailed off Megan looked out to the water, “Happy Valentine’s Day Ms. Connors.”

A Matchbook Valentine

angelica harrison

Allston, United States

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