It probably isn't a surprise any longer, is it?
Didn't think so.
In any case, I have a story for you, so sit back and relax. A little warning, this was one time when Cass was attacked, so if that's the kind of thing that bothers you, skim down a ways.
I've been asked if Cass and I ever had any normal Halloweens growing up.
The short answer is No.
You've read about a couple of them - when we were little - in Memories of Aiyana (and if you haven't, what are you waiting for?)
But those weren't the end of it.
This was when we were both fifteen. 2095. We were sophomores in high school, though Cass was taking some college-credit courses.
Our school had a dance on Halloween that year, even though it was a Monday.
I was still heavily into Buffy, but I was also watching more of your MCU movies, and I latched onto Captain Marvel - and let me tell you this, Captain Marvel 2 is AMAZING! (But it doesn't hold a candle to Captain Marvel 3.)
So I decided I'd be Carol Danvers in full USAF flight gear during the day and Captain Marvel at the dance.
Lyssa was my date. I wanted to go with Cass, but she was dating Jaime. If not for what happened, I wouldn't remember him. Their relationship didn't last long, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Lyssa. Right. I convinced her to go as She-Hulk, even though Lyssa was (and is) a tiny little thing.
The school day went pretty well. I got a lot of compliments about my outfit, and inside I was gleeful. They had no idea what was going to hit them at the dance!
I went home, changed, then went over and waited for Cass to get ready.
Jaime was a junior, and had his own car, so he agreed to give us all a ride. That's why I was waiting with Cass.
She was dressed as a naiad, long red hair flowing down her back, all her curves highlighted. I was freakin' staring and didn't care who knew.
Anyway, about five Jaime shows up. He's wearing a costume from the latest big alien movie that summer (#Spoilers), as one of the colonists. I'd seen the movie and complimented him, then settled in the back next to Lyssa. She was dressed up, too, She-Hulk, green skin matching her green hair, but wrapped up in an ankle-length parka. Minnesota, October. Cold. Remember?
We cuddle. She was always fun to snuggle with, even though our relationship didn't last beyond sophomore year, and she says to me, real quiet-like, "Kendra, I've been watching Jaime."
"Oh?" I didn't think Lyssa liked boys, but whatever. "He's cute enough, I guess."
"No, no," she says. "He's acting weird."
"What do you mean?" I peered at him, but he was concentrating on driving.
"I'm not sure. Just, bad vibes. You know?"
I frowned. This wasn't good. Lyssa was sensitive to things like this, and I believed her. But I didn't know what I could do.
"I'll tell Cass."
That was the end of it for now. The rest of the ride was very quiet.
When we got to the school and parked, I pulled Cass aside.
"Aiyana, Lyssa says that there's something wrong with Jamie."
She looked at me in shock. "She's just jealous."
"No, she's not, why would she be jealous?"
"Because Jaime's cute and she wanted to go with him."
This was news to me and I said as much.
"Seriously, ask her. My date's waiting." And she was off.
Lyssa and I followed several paces behind Cass and Jaime. "Did you want to go to the dance with him?"
"What? No, I was going with you. Why?"
I didn't want to start trouble, so I let it drop. "Just curious. Don't you think he's cute?"
"Eh. Too tall." True. Jamie was over two meters tall and played on the basketball team.
That was the last we spoke of it. We went in and circulated, talking to all of our friends and having a good time. Then the music started and I dragged Lyssa onto the floor. We made an enthusiastic if uncoordinated couple. An hour or so later we were both sweaty and needed a break.
"I'm going to get some air," I said, and Lyssa nodded before moving into a group dance.
I went out front, nodding to the various teachers and chaperones, and poked my head into the cold night air.
Then I heard a shout.
I didn't think; I ran.
"I said no!" That was perfectly clear, as was the sound of flesh on flesh.
I skidded around a car to find Jaime holding Cass. She had a rip in her costume and was not happy, not at all. But he was a good thirty centimeters taller and at least twenty kilos heavier.
"Let go of her!" I yelled, but he didn't turn.
"Kendra! Get help!" Cass was thinking clearly.
I raced forward and jumped on his back, grabbing on with my legs and arms and doing my best to pry him off Cass.
Unfortunately, I didn't have a clue how to fight, not really, and he was able to shake off everything I tried. I finally got my fingernails across his throat, leaving bright red scratches and a bit of blood, and he let go of Cass.
But now he turned to me.
I should have run.
I was dumb. I closed in.
He lifted me and threw me to the pavement. Suddenly, all I was aware of was pain. He didn't stop, though, but brought back his foot and kicked me in the gut. I retched and curled into a ball, operating entirely on instincts.
I think he kicked me two or three more times, but I was hurting so much I couldn't count. When I didn't resist, he stopped.
He must have looked for Cass, but she was smart. As soon as she was free, she ran for help.
He figured it out, cursed, gave me a final kick, got into his car and left.
I lay there, wondering what happened and how it went bad so quickly, until Cass returned with a half-dozen adults, Lyssa close behind. For a while, I was the center of much unwanted (but very necessary) attention.
Between us, we described what happened.
Lyssa had been right. Jaime asked Cass outside with him to "get something from his car", and then tried to kiss her. She was having none of it, and had held her own for a few moments until he grew frustrated. Then he grabbed her, and I entered the picture.
"Do you want to file charges?" By now my parents were there, and the principal addressed Dad. He looked at me to see what I wanted to do.
"Kendra?" he prompted when I didn't answer immediately.
"Give me a minute?" I said, and the adults backed away. Cass and Lyssa stayed glued to me.
"What are you thinking?" hissed Cass.
"I'm thinking I find him and beat the crap out of him and I'll feel better," I growled. I was angry and hurt and ashamed.
"Don't be dumb," Lyssa said. "Look what he did to you!"
"He caught me by surprised," I argued back, stung by the assumption that I was doing something dumb. I couldn't separate myself from my actions, so it was all very personal.
"Kendra, it's not dumb, but charges will do more damage to him." Aiyana was always the voice of reason.
"He was going to rape you!" I snapped. "He ought to pay!"
She nodded. "That's what the charges will say. Attempted rape. Assault. Anything else, I don't know. I've already told my parents and the principal what I'm going to do."
She nodded again. "And if we both file charges?" Aiyana gestured to the light stanchions. There was a camera blister on every one. "This whole thing was videoed. Be brave for me, Kendra."
"I just wanted to be your hero," I said, weakly.
"You are. You always have been. Be my hero again?"
That did it.
A month later, Jaime's trial was short. The video evidence was compelling, and neither of us had to testify. Our depositions were enough. By the end of the afternoon, with no real defense, the judge found him guilty.
I may have been brave.
But Aiyana was more courageous.
Anyhow. Enough of that.
If you want happier memories? Check out my first memoir. Don't worry, there's going to be more, but this will get you started!