It's Halloween in Ashton Falls and that means Haunted Hamlet and the annual haunted house. Zoe is determined not to have her plans for this annual event ruined this year especially since it is also the weekend of the big game and a lot of old friends are in town. Things look as if they are on track for a spooktacular good time, until Zoe receives a message from an anonymous source predicting a death. At first Zoe and the gang think the note is a prank until one of the friends Zoe went to high school with actually turns up dead. Once Zoe realizes the note might not be a prank, she sets out on a race against time before someone else dies.
“We could still go with the chubby pumpkin costume,” I suggested to my best friend, Ellie Davis, as I tried to help her squeeze into a sexy vampire costume that was never going to fit.
“I’m not chubby,” Ellie insisted as she stood in front of the full-length mirror in the dressing room of the local costume shop, sucking in her stomach.
“I know, but you are three months pregnant. This costume isn’t going to fit no matter how much you suck in your stomach.”
“If I go as the chubby pumpkin people will know. It’s the classic costume for pregnant women.”
“No one will know.”
“Okay, how about a ghost? We’ll just grab a sheet, cut out some eye holes, and you’ll be good to go.”
Ellie started crying.
I knew it was the pregnancy hormones, but seriously? If I was going to cry at every little thing when I got pregnant I was going to go back on the Pill before it was too late. Of course Ellie wasn’t just pregnant; she had a secret—a very big, life-altering secret she’d already kept much too long.
“Don’t cry; we’ll figure this out.” I tried for an encouraging tone. “We’ll keep looking until we find the perfect thing.”
“It’s no use,” Ellie sobbed. “I look like a whale. I’ll just skip the party and stay home. It’s really the only logical choice.”
“You’re not staying home and you don’t look like a whale. In fact, other than the tiny baby bump you don’t look any different at all. Still, it’s not going to be too long before even the baggiest sweaters fail to hide your secret.” I took Ellie’s hand and led her over to the little bench that ran along one wall. I sat down, pulling her down beside me. “You know I love you and you know I’ll do anything for you, but it seems to me that your current dilemma might serve as a hint that it really is time.”
“You can and you should. Levi has a right to know.” I referred to the baby’s father, my other best friend, Levi Denton.
Ellie took a deep breath. Then she let it out slowly. “I know. I’ll tell him. I promise. I just need to find the right time.”
“Now seems like as good a time as any.”
“No. Not now. He has the big game against Bryton Lake this week. I don’t want to distract him. I’ll tell him after.” Levi was the head coach for the Ashton Falls High School varsity football team.
I gave Ellie’s hand a squeeze. “Okay. I guess it can wait another week. But we really do need to find you a costume for the party. You mentioned a whale. You know, a whale actually might be the perfect costume.”
Ellie started crying again.
Good going, Zoe.
“How about we take a break? We’ll go get something to eat and maybe we can try costume shopping again another day.”