The Horrorphiles by StephanieThompson, 1, 005 words
But, in fairness, she’d been busy growing Horrorphiles into something for the last five months and she hadn’t hardly touched it since Jordan took all his stuff back the month previous while she was getting drunk at their regularly scheduled gathering.
The days after Jordan left her, broke up with her were weird and hazy now. She knew she'd sloppily kissed Kurt outside the bathroom of a Mexican restaurant at a Horrorphile Meet-Up but she didn't actually remember doing it. And she'd spent a lot of time in bed, days and days, so that all blended together in a blur of Kleenex and twisted bedsheets.
They'd been together two years…or was it three? That sort of thing didn't matter too her much and it was something her other boyfriend had liked about her. There were a lot of things guys liked about her, that Jordan had liked to. Ronny liked horror and action movies, she liked sports comedies too. She didn't ask for romantic dates all the time or go in for overly romantic gestures on Valentine's day. She liked pizza beer and football on Thursdays and Sundays. She never minded a boys night out or her dudeguy having his own interest. What the problem was, what it always was, was Ronny's obsession with horror.
Horror movies, horror shows, horror music, horror merchandise, horror fiction. It was her favorite thing. Her only favorite thing.
She didn't have family or many friends. She didn't have a job. In fact, she'd always said her job was being a full-time horror fangirl. Turns out that occupation is pretty detrimental to a love life.
Then again, what did she need a love life for? Her Great Aunt Wanda had lived to nearly 100 without one and she'd been happy and fulfilled on her deathbed. If she could die like her Great Aunt Wanda, then she’d be satisfied too, no matter the status of her love life.
She sighed again but in the meantime it was pretty lonely, especially in this giant rambling, creepy in a general but annoyingly non-specific way mansion. She sat up on her elbows, in the vanity across from her reflection did the same.
To meet Mr. Peabody, she’d dressed a more business casual than usual in a dark purple button up and black knee length skirt. She has hair of some sort and it looks a certain way. She looked the same on the outside as she had when she left her house this morning but on the inside she felt an unraveling, like all the careful work and single minded determination was coming apart in a single afternoon, unnerved by Adam Newbridge and Grayson Manor.
She checked her watch, just thirty minutes to the other horrorphiles were set to arrive. Although Adam said he would greet and escort the attendees and she could take her time, she wanted to be there as well. After all she was the face of horrorphiles now, online and in real life, there was no point of building herself up not to deliver now.
For the retreat, Ronny had chosen only items from the new line of clothing merchandise she was launching online next week and offering as exclusive early bird purchases here at the retreat. Tonight she was wearing a tee shirt that read I heart horror where the heart was a photo of a human heart rather than cartoon or emoji. Across the back it had the horrorphile logo.
When the doorbell rang for the first horrorphile, Adam beat her to the door. She was proud enough to have found the foyer staircase from her room. From the second floor the vibrant crimson stairs looked even more like a tongue in a fanged mouth. She tried not to feel like she was being followed as she went down it.
“Welcome to Grayson Manor for the first even Horrorphile Halloween Haunt weekend,” Adam said to Kurt.
She had prayed that he wouldn’t be the first to arrive, or the last, that somehow he would mix in with several other fans arriving at the same time.
Adam handed him the program for the weekends events and a floor plan of the house, indicating on the map where his room would be. Adam studied dutifully, pushing his glasses up his nose every few seconds. When he noticed her hanging back near the stairs, his face lit up, from his eyes to his smile. He seemed too happy to see her ever since that drunken kiss in Los Toltecos. More friendly too. And like he seeked her out in any crowd. For her part she tried to never be alone with him, in case he tried to ask her out or anything else that would make their already awkward casual aquantaince any more awkward.
“We look forward to seeing you later tonight,” Adam finished his spiel.
Kurt waved and smiled as he approached her. “Hey, Ronny! This place is terrific isn’t it? Like something out of a (insert director here) film.”
“Yeah, I know, right?” She said reapplying her fake smile. She didn’t know when she’d wear a real one again but she hoped it would be sometime this weekend or else no matter what else happened this weekend, it would not be a success for her. “So did you find the house all right? It’s not on GPS or anything, so I hope my directions were good enough.”
“Of course, of course.” He put a hand on her shoulder. “I’m really looking forward to this weekend, Ronny.”
“Me too, Kurt. See you at the Creep ’n’ Greet.” She moved out of his friendly but unwelcomed touch went to talk to next guest, one she hadn’t kissed in desperate drunken mistake.
The guest filed in in a steady flow and nobody came too late. Ronny almost felt normal again. The house was far less unsettling when it was full of people. She actually loosened up and had fun when Mr. Peabody appeared at the Creep ’n’ greet.