MILEVEN 15 (LOUD SO EVERYONE CAN HEAR)
THIS IS THE STUPIDEST THING I’VE EVER WRITTEN LEGGO!
She didn’t like heights; something he came to realise as the night progressed further on.
When the carnival had come to a town just ten miles from Hawkins, Mike had jumped at the chance to ask his girlfriend to go with him. And with El came Will, with Will came Lucas and Dustin, and with those two came Max (who inevitably offered to bring Steve, and Steve was part of a trio… Jesus, their friends were exhausting).
She had agreed. The drive hadn’t been long and so far she’d won a stuffed bear which she gave to Nancy (who named it Jonathan Bears), and a glow bracelet. She looked happy. She looked mesmerising; the various coloured lights of the amusement rides danced over her pale skin, reflected in her eyes, making her light up even more than she already did.
They were walking alone, along the boardwalk of a lake (Mike had forgotten the name; he never paid attention to little things in towns that weren’t his own), thee fingers intertwined.
“So… you’re having fun, right?”
El smiled. “Definitely.”
Mike was relieved. He wasn’t quite sure why, but it seemed detrimental that she enjoy herself. That she have fun. That she get to experience a normal childhood thing which he himself had done a dozen times.
It wasn’t fair that she had to wait until fourteen years old. She’d spent far too long in that damn lab.
“Do you wanna try the Ferris wheel?”
El stopped dead in her tracks, eyes drifting to the tall mass in the centre of the carnival. He worried, immediately, that he’d done something wrong—but he couldn’t think what.
“I don’t like heights, Mike,” she said at last. “I’m sorry.”
“You don’t have to be sorry,” he told her, feeling a little relieved. “It’s okay.”
She frowned. “But I want you to have fun, too.”
He shrugged. “I’ve been on it loads of times. It’s alright—”
“No,” she said, and the matter was put to rest. “You go on the Ferris wheel, okay? I’ll wait. Go with Dustin or something.”
Mike followed her gaze to where Lucas, Will and Dustin were approaching, with Max in tow. “Ferris wheel next,” Will said gleefully when they were close enough to be heard. “You ready, El?”
“I’m not going,” El told him. “But Mike sure as hell is.”
He rolled his eyes as she pushed him toward their friends. Lucas complained a little while Dustin threw an arm around Mike’s shoulder. “Come on, man.”
They got their tickets, and El walked with them until they came to the line. She then broke off, promising to meet them back there in five or so minutes.
“Dustin got his fortune told,” Max was telling him. “Apparently, he’s gonna marry rich.”
“That is such bullshit,” Lucas interjected.
“Yeah it is,” Dustin agreed with a disdainful scoff. “I’m gonna be a bachelor. No one can deny my irresistible good looks.”
Max elbowed him and Lucas grinned. “Not even Lorie Masterson?”
Dustin blushed. “Shut up!”
They seated themselves. Mike was still grinning at his friends’ antics as the wheel began to draw them up. Dustin fidgeted beside him. “Man,” he said. “If I throw up I’m aiming for Lucas.”
“If you throw up, I’m taking a picture,” Mike said.
“That’s Jon’s job,” said Will, from above them.
Mike shook his head, looking out at the lights and rides and people below. They were so small.
“I’m doing something crazy,” Mike told Dustin, spotting El by the popcorn stand. “Make sure I don’t fall and die, okay?”
Dustin frowned. “Yeah. Obviously. But what are you—?”
Mike stood, nearly falling over the edge as his seat swayed (Dustin cried out a little). “I LOVE YOU, EL BYERS!”
He saw her turn, saw her smile, and that was enough for him.
“Kid, get back in your damn seat!”