"He's been nothing but a perfect gentleman," she said, but then whispered, "Hopefully that will wear off as the evening continues."
Alexander and I laughed. "We'll leave you two kids with your candy. I promised Raven I'd take her on the Ferris wheel."
We cut away from the food booths and past the carnival games.
"Raven," Billy Boy called from behind.
We turned around, and my brother ran up to us, holding a plastic bag with a frantic fish inside. Henry followed close behind with his own swimming prize.
"Look what we just won!" Billy Boy exclaimed.
"Cool," Alexander commented.
"He's a cutie," I said, tapping the side of the bag. "Just make sure you keep him out of reach of Nightmare. She's small now, but she'll be growing."
"Not to fear, I'm going to make a safety roof for their fishbowls," Henry proudly proclaimed.
"I'm sure you will," I said to my brother's nerd-mate.
"We're all out of tickets," Billy Boy whined. "Did you see Dad around?"
"Here," Alexander said, reaching in his back pocket before I could answer. He handed Billy Boy some cash.
My brother's eyes bugged out as if he'd just won the lottery.
"Thanks, Alexander!" he exclaimed. "Yeah, thanks, man," Henry said, and they took off back to the goldfish booth.
"That was so nice of you. You didn't have to do that," I said.
"Don't worry about it. Now let's go ride the Ferris wheel," he suggested.
Normally I hated waiting for rides and would cut in line, dragging along a reluctant Becky. Now I enjoyed the wait, because it meant I had more time with Alexander.
Soon we were ascending into the night sky. We slowly came to the top when the ride stopped, letting off the riders at the bottom.
"Do you think it will be difficult because we are different?" I asked, staring down at the couples.
"We are more alike than most."
"Does it bother you that we are not the same on the inside?" I asked, looking at him.
"But we are in here," he said, pointing to his heart.
"If I were Luna, would you have left the ceremony?"
Alexander looked confused. "What do you mean?"
"Do you want me to become a...?" I asked.
Suddenly the ride started up, cutting our conversation short. We cuddled as our car finally descended to the ground.
Alexander helped me off the Ferris wheel. We paused, overwhelmed by the choices of food, games, and rides that still awaited us.
"Let's do the ring toss," he said when we got off. Alexander and I went over to the ring toss booth as a couple finished, walking away emptyhanded.
I gazed at the stuffed animals as the blue-and-white-uniformed clerk, wearing a black top hat, picked up the rings off the floor.
"They're rigged. I never win. I usually spend all my allowance and I don't even get Mardi Gras beads," I lamented.
Alexander placed some money on the counter, and the clerk stood up and handed him three rings.
"Harder than it looks," I said.
Alexander stared at the single wooden pole as if he were a wolf staring at an unsuspecting deer.
He threw the rings in quick succession like a dealer at a casino. The clerk and I were stunned. The three rings were resting around the pole.
I jumped up and down. "You did it!"
Alexander beamed as the clerk handed me a giant purple bear. I squeezed it hard and gave Alexander a huge kiss.
I glowed as I held the bear, almost bigger than me.
"Snow cones are on me," I announced, as we turned to make our way back through the crowd. My stride was broken when I bumped into someone.
"Excuse me," I said, and placed the bear on my hip so I could see. "Hey, monster, watch out!" Trevor hollered, holding two tickets. "On your way to get your face painted?" he asked. "Perhaps you should."
"Nice seeing you, too," I said sarcastically.
I grabbed Alexander's hand, and we headed toward the snow cones.
"Hey, Luna!" I heard Trevor call from behind.
Alexander and I stopped dead in our tracks. He couldn't have just said what we thought he said.
"Luna!" Trevor called again.
Alexander and I looked at each other in disbelief.
Luna? It couldn't be! Jagger's twin sister? What would she be doing in Dullsville?
We turned around to find Trevor looking toward the fun house--a huge multicolored rectangular building. On the upper left- hand side of the structure was a gigantic clown's head, his mouth the entrance to the exhibit. On the bottom right-hand side, patrons exited through the red fabric laces of the clown's enormous brown shoe.
"That is her," Alexander said, shakily pointing to a petite girl standing near the front of the ramp that led to the entrance. She had long, flowing powder white hair and pale porcelain white skin, and she was wearing a pastel pink dress and black boots.
"It's like seeing an apparition. The last time I saw her was in Romania."
"What is she doing here?" I asked. "It's not like this town is vacation central."
"That's what I want to know!" I handed the bear to Alexander, and we hurried after her, catching up to Trevor.
"You know that girl?" I asked Trevor, my pulse racing.
"A friend of Alexander's introduced us and asked me to bring her here. She's really pretty," he said in my face. "Why, are you jealous?"
"Jagger? He's still here?" I asked, confused.
"If you really were a good friend of his, you'd know that."
"He's not a friend. He's evil. You can't trust him," I warned.
"Well, he is kind of freaky like you guys, but he said he'd had a falling out with Alexander, so I figured that made him cool."
"He talked to you more than that night outside the Mansion?"
"What, are you spying on me? He came to a night game and told me his sister was coming to town. He asked me if I'd want to meet her. The coach wouldn't let him on the field, though. That dude has more metal on his face than a pair of cleats."
"Jagger's not a replacement for Matt, you know," I tried to tell Trevor. "He's nothing like Matt. Jagger's just trying to play you."
"Sounds like someone is jealous."
"He's not what you think he is," Alexander urgently cautioned.
"Listen, it was wonderful talking to you, but I have a date. Besides, you better get back to your cage. I think the zoo has reported you missing."
He took off into the crowd. We began to follow but were stopped when a burly man holding a toddler stepped in our way. I could see Trevor and Luna racing up the red, tongued ramp of the fun house. "The end of the line is back there!" the burly man ordered, pointing behind us.