Chapter 1: The Black Jet
School sucks. My friends are all goody-two-shoes. My teachers are unfit to teach. No one understands anything I do or why I do it, it’s just automatically considered wrong.
So my life pretty much sucks already, and now they wanna send me away to my grandparents for an entire week? Let me make something clear here... I can’t STAND my grandmother, or her stupid ideals.
“All I did was throw a couple eggs at some passing cars!” I argue before pulling into their driveway. A three and a half hour drive of trying to convince them to send me anywhere, ANYWHERE but here, all for nothing!
“Jade, You took your mother’s car without permission, blocked innocent people from seeing the road and... now we don’t have any eggs to make French toast tomorrow!” My dad complains.
“Harold...” My mother scolds. Who can blame him? Food’s always on his mind.
“I mean... people got hurt because of you.” He corrects.
I stay seated as they hop out of the car and grab my things. Soon mother becomes irritated and prompts me to exit the vehicle by swinging my door open and signaling me out.
“A week at the lake will be very relaxing for you, Jade.” Mother informs, drilling it into my brain for, oh, maybe the hundredth time this trip. “You can spend time with your grandma, where you can’t possibly get in any more trouble!”
Yeah, just what I need! Granny telling me to ‘go play in the sun’ and ‘make sure you floss three times a day!’ Why don’t they just shoot me now?
I step inside and granny’s mutt, pickles, instantly tackles me. He was a mix between a German Sheppard and a werewolf.
“Pickles! Down!” Grandma yells from her seat. Her voice didn’t carry well at her age, but it was enough to get the mutt to stop licking my face.
Once my parents drop all my bags by the stairs and thank grandma for taking me for a week, they get back in the car and leave. They were maybe there three minutes tops, clearly not wanting to stay any longer than that.
That’s when it started trying to talk to me.
“Oh, hello honey bunny! My, have you gotten more beautiful since I last saw you!”
“Yep.” I nod, then grab my suitcase and start dragging it up the stairs as fast as I can.
I didn’t stop, even when she tried talking to me again. “Where are you going in such a hurry? Come talk to me, Jade! I miss you dear!”
I closed the glass door behind me, drowning out her screechy voice. There were three rooms on the top floor, and two bathrooms. Since it was only me and granny, I could have my pick of any! Except her room, of course, this was on the main floor.
I took the far room on the end. The room was dressed in black and gold with a king size bed in the center. There was a huge flat-screen TV on the dresser across from it, controlled by the same remote as the lights, fan, shades, and music stereo. Granny may be annoying, but she sure is loaded! It almost makes up for the torcher I’m forced to endure.
As I lay back on the large cushy bed, staring at the Greek-goddess outlining around the room, I certainly felt like royalty. Maybe this won’t be so bad after all!
CH 1: The Black Jet
I awoke to a phone call. I roll over lazily at eight o’ clock in the morning to see its grandma calling.
“Hello?” I yawn, stretching my arms and neck tiredly.
“Hello honey.” She replies. “I made pancakes!”
The old lady was too brittle to walk up the stairs herself and talk to me. Maybe if she had she would’ve realized I was still asleep...
“Let me throw on some clothes.” I sigh before pushing the end button.
Who would make someone wake up at eight in the morning? Yeah, it’s Friday, but it’s summer for god sakes! It’s only been one night and already she’s getting on my nerves...
I grab a light top and some shorts, and drag myself down stairs. Grandma wasn’t around, but there was a plate of pancakes sitting on the counter.
After dousing the breakfast food with maple syrup, I begin eating. Halfway through pickles starts whining for food, and I throw her a piece just to get her to stop. Soon after, the screen doors slide open and the brittle lady hobbles inside.
“I see you found your breakfast, deary.” She smiles, then leans on the counter top for support.
“I see you found Pickle’s breakfast!” I comment at the bag of dog crap she held.
“Oh, yes.” She remembers. “Can you take this out front dear? It would really help me out.”
“Can’t.” I shrug. “I gotta go finish unpacking.”
With that I hop up, scoot in my chair, and make a break for the stairs.
“But honey, it’s just-”
“Look, I’d really love to help out, but If I don’t start unpacking right now I’ll probably forget, and then I’ll have to dig through my bag if I want something, and it’s just bad. Okay?” I stall, adding as much pointless detail to my excuse as possible before making it to the top and shutting the door.
What? A little exercise will do her good!
One missed text from Cat, and one missed episode of ‘the wood’. Good thing the DVR records all my requested programs. Thankfully, my setting were still saved from last time. All I had to do was turn on the TV last night and punch in my name, and POOF! All my shows started recording! I answer Cat’s message while simultaneously switching on the TV.
“This week on, The Wood!” The surround sound blared. I cover my ears as I scramble for the remote.
I forgot, it remembered my volume setting too!
Yep, things were great for a good hour and a half before I got another text. Thinking it was Cat messaging it back, I look to see it’s grandma, asking me to help her with the dishes.
“So, you think you’re so cool cause you know how to text? Try to decipher this one...” I mock aloud, knowing well that she couldn’t hear me anyway.”
Sry but I m biz e. Send.
About ten minutes later it starts ringing. I’m surprised it kept her stalled that long before she gave up!
“Heeey...” I say drawlingly.
“Jade West this is not a vacation, now I don’t think you understand that this is your punishment and I’m trying to be as patient as possible but you have been nothing but-”
At that point I just set down the phone and un-paused my program. Let her rant a little, maybe it’ll get her off my back.
“...which is totally and completely irrespons- Jade? Are you listening?” I pick up over the two boys fighting on the show.
“Yep.” I lie, then let out a laugh when one of the kids gets stabbed.
“Young lady you get down here this instant!!!”
I got a good, long talking to, and then she ordered me to clear off all the spider webs in the yard; including the dock, boats, and balcony. I was just getting done wrapping the webs off the pontoon on the end of a stick when I saw a Jet Ski come racing by.
Some freaking IDEOT in their damn black water ski, decided it would be a good idea to splash me as I was walking back to the house! I turn around and shout at the inconsiderate jerk, but he was too far gone to hear a word I said. Already the black water vehicle was on its way past the Marina, and making the round to the other side.
The nerve... I came in the house, soaking wet.
“Dear, did you fall in the lake?” She asks with a concerned look. “Did you hurt yourself honey?”
I tell her I’m perfectly fine, and explain the jerk on the jet ski.
“A black water bike you say...?” She ponders. “Did it have white streaks sort of fanning out around it?”
“Yeah!” I answer. “You know it?!”
She said that many people complained about getting hit with water from the guy, but no one’s ever seen him. He lives on the other side of the lake from here, though.
“The neighbors and I went over there once, after observing the culprit return one day. Whenever we try knocking on the door, there’s no answer.”
That’s no help then.
“We do know that whoever it is doesn’t exactly live there all the time. It’s more of an on and off thing that’s been happening for quite some time now...”
If granny’s looked into the situation to this extent, clearly it’s bugging her. And if it’s begging her THIS much, and THIS many people are annoyed by this mysterious jet-ski trouble-maker... well, it starts to make me wonder...
Why haven’t I met this person yet!
I mean, obviously if the guy gets a kick out of pestering the old geezers that live here he knows what fun is. Come to think of it, the Marina rents out jet skis. Maybe the next time I see this culprit out on the water, I’ll try to solve his identity myself. Just thinking of all the devious times we could have together makes me anxious to get to know this person!
It’s settled. I grabbed some lunch money, plus an extra fifteen for rental, and informed my grandmother I was going to the Marina.
The Marina is this amazing place on the corner of the street, and the lake, that serves your basic favorites like sandwiches, hot-dogs, and nachos, along with other zesty foods and a large selection of ice cream! It would be the perfect hot-spot if the town wasn’t full of old people. The emptiness of the place was peaceful, and the workers were pretty decent.
“Jade!” One of the employees greets. I think her name was Barb. “Long time no see! Hey, where’s the rest of the family? You take off ahead of them again?”
“Hey.” I smile. “I’m here by myself, actually.”
“Ya don’t say!”
I nod. “Yep, just me and my grandma.” I reply in a fake excited tone.
“What can I help you with today sugar?” She asks.
Barb, although in her late forties, was one of the youngest people living on this block. She acted like the old folk, except with a little more exuberance in her speech. She was nice, for the most part.
“I was looking to rent out one of your jet skis, as a matter of fact.” I reply, taking the money from my pocket.
“Whoa there, Jade. You sure you know how to ride one of those?!”
It can’t be that hard. Beck had one at his aunt’s house in can-cun. Even though I didn’t personally drive it, watching him do it seemed like it was easy enough.
She was hesitant, but I know Barb well enough that once you offer her money, she can’t refuse. I don’t mind paying a little extra anyway if it goes to supporting this place.
“Don’t forget your helmet!” She calls after me.
She tossed me a hot pink helmet to match the Jet Ski. Not my first color choice, but it’s the only one that works properly according to her. I snap on the head protection and swipe the face mask on before starting it up and heading out.
I took a couple laps around the island. Diamond lake wasn’t huge, but it was definitely bigger than most that I’ve seen. Getting the hang of it wasn’t too hard, and I quickly found myself pushing it to full speed.
I didn’t dare take any jumps, however, as I witnessed the mystery man doing when I first spotted him, half an hour later.
He zipped through a strait path, then sharply turned and jumped over his own wake. It cut me off and I nearly lost balance. I took my water ski back up to speed, and began my pursuit of the black wave runner.
We circled around the island, then rode through the fishing hole. After circling through that forbidden area, the mystery rider caught on that he was being followed. Once we got back out to open waters, he made another shape turn and threw waves in my direction. As I attempt to dodge the other way, the huge wake smashes into the side and sends me flying off the Jet Ski.
The mask filled with water, forcing me to lift the face protector. Once I scramble to the surface, I see a black glove reaching out towards me.
I follow the arm up, until greeted by the warm smile of-
“Vega?!” I choke in shock.
Chapter 2: Bonfire
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
Her expression quickly changed from welcoming to disgust as she store down at me. I take her hand anyway and let her pull me on her vehicle.
“Jade what are you doing on Diamond Lake?” She questions.
“I could ask you the same!” I glare.
She started going on about how sorry she was for throwing me off like that. When I ask her why she did it, or why she splashed me earlier, she explained to me that both times she thought I was my grandma.
“Mrs. West is one of the people who threaten to kick me off the lake. I never would have guessed she was the same ‘West’ as you, though...” Tori explains, now realizing that I’m related to the hag.
“So wait... what your saying is, you hate my grandma too?” I clarify.
“Well, her and her friends. They’re always leaving me rude notes saying I’m disturbing the nature or something like that.”
Tori? Taking revenge? This was a first. We never got around to explaining why we were here, but I assume Tori knew I have family here. I climbed back on my bike, and started it up once again.
“See you around I guess!” She waves before starting hers.
“Don’t count on it!” I call before speeding off.
Back at the Marina, I take the few bucks I have left to order myself a scoop of strawberry ice-cream.
“Waffle cone?” Barb asks, assuming I want my usual.
“You know it.” I reply and hand her my tip. It was just a quarter, but I wasn’t gonna carry it around with me.
“You take care now hun!”
I ate my lunch on the walk home, and then had to do more chores before released to my room. When I was finally done mopping the kitchen floor, I decide against going up stairs and instead turn into the garage, where there was a full-blown arcade waiting for me to play.
I hook up my iPod to the stereo, then blast some metal while enjoying a game of ‘New Zealand Story.’ Four turns later, and already the hag starts complaining.
“Could you please tune it down some honey?” She shouts over the electric.
When I head to my room later on, I realize Cat messaged me some time before lunch. I also received a text from Tori sometime after she finished on the lake.
It read. ‘bonfire @ 322, 10PM. Tell your grandma she’s not invited.’
Bonfire? Who all would show up! I suppose whoever’s hosting probably lives at the house Tori’s visiting. If there were other teens on this lake, I’m sure I would know by now.
Ten o clock at night? I could be playing games or watching TV at that hour! Grams would be asleep, I’d have the house to myself, why on earth would I go to some old-person bonfire? The more I thought about it, the more curious I became, though. What if there are other teens on Diamond that I don’t know about? I could text her back and ask, or maybe I’ll just show up for a couple minutes and see. ...yeah. If I go after a couple people get there, I can see what kind of crowd there will be and if it’s no good, I can always say I’m feeling sick and leave.
Or not! No reason I can’t tell Tori to her face that the party sucks. I suppose we’ll see how it goes.
By the time ten o clock rolls around, I realized the Marina’s closed and can’t lend me a jet ski. Granny keeps the keys to her other boats in a safe, so that only leaves me with the paddle boat. Peddling myself all the way there will take quite some time, I figure, so if I wanted to get there by ten fifteen, I’d have to leave now.
...god, it’s a long way, though.
“Hello?” Tori picks up when I decide to call her. There’s music blaring in the background.
I really didn’t want her to know I was showing up at all, but getting her to give me a ride over will be much more easier.
“Hey.” I respond. “That invite still open to me?”
“Yeah, if you’re up for it. Just come to the house with the fire!” She shouts over the song.
“Actually, I was hoping you could come pick me up on your jet ski.” I admit.
There’s a pause.
“Jade, I’m in the middle of roasting marsh mellows! Can’t you just-”
“Look Vega if you really want me to come to your stupid party then come get me damn it!” I interrupt angrily. “I’ll be outside on the dock at 117. If you’re not here in five minutes I’m going to bed.”
I hang up without giving her chance to respond. She knows where my grandma’s house is if she felt it necessary to splash me this morning, five minutes is more than enough time to get her ass down here.
I sat and listened to the music echo off the lake. They were playing songs like ‘tonight tonight’ and ‘pumped up kicks’... that’s what I heard through the phone anyway. And now ‘TGIF’ bounced through the sound barrier, and it made me wonder if the songs reflected the generation of the group that was going to be there. Maybe there was hope...
The black jet blended in with the dark lake and night sky. If it weren’t for the motor, I’d never had known she was even coming.
“About time.” I say impatiently, hopping on the water bike.
“You know if you think the party’s so stupid no one’s forcing you to come.” She points out, and before I can respond, she speeds off toward the fire pit glowing in the distance.
Unfortunately, the party was just a bunch of old people. Tori’s ancient uncle was hosting, as it was his house. I’d actually gotten my hopes up that there was an actual party... but it’s just a stupid geezer gathering.
“Here we are!” Tori smiles.
“Can you take me home now?” I ask, knowing the answer was no, but only asking to piss her off more.
“You haven’t even been here long enough, how do you know you’re not gonna have fun?” She challenges, then skips to the fire pit.
“Cause everyone here is a dinosaur!” I call angrily, and then walk towards her.
We have a seat by the crisp fire, which felt warm on my hands and face. The rest of me was covered, but my bare flesh was starting to feel the cold nip off the water’s breeze.
“Have a marsh mellow, youngin!” A man offers, handing me the puffy round treat.
“I don’t accept food from strangers.” I state bluntly, then go back to toasting my fingertips.
“Jade, this is my uncle Phillip!” Tori introduces.
“Pleasure to meet one of Tori’s friends!” The old man smiles. “Err... what’s your name again kiddo?”
“Jade W-” I start, but Tori cuts me off.
“Wheeler! Yes, this is my friend, Jade Wheeler!” She finished.
Her uncle handed me the gooey snack, and shook my hand with his open hand. Once he walked away, I shoot Tori a look.
“What was that all about?” I ask her, still glaring at her while I stab a stick through my marsh mellow.
“Well, my uncle sorta hates your grandma too... Cause, you know, they-”
“They don’t want you on the lake, I got that.” I finish.
She takes a bite of her burnt marsh mellow. “Right.” She chomps. Once she swallows, she continues to her point. “Well, if he knew you were her grand-daughter, he probably wouldn’t let you stay or anything.”
“So you chose Wheeler?” I accuse. “You couldn’t think of anything better?”
“Chill!” She laughs. “It’s just temporarily. You know, just when you’re here and wanna hang out and stuff.”
When my treat catches on fire, I rotate it a couple times and let it brown before blowing it out. The skin is the best part, after all. Anyway, I hope Tori isn’t serious about me wanting to come over and hang out. Just because we both have relatives on the same lake doesn’t mean we have to see each other all the time. I see enough of her at school to last me through the whole summer, believe me.
I lost track of time, but I’m pretty sure it’s past midnight at this point. Many of the guests were starting to leave, while others trailed in. At most there were at least ten people here at a time and no more than twenty five, according to my assumption. The music was good, but there was really nothing much to do.
“Jade!” Tori’s uncle calls, then dances over to me.
I was contently picking at little hermit crabs when he decided to come check on me. Who knows where Tori disappeared to, but I could really care less.
“Hello, youngin!” He laughs, clearly drunk off his ass. “How’re you enjoying the party? Ya having fun?"
“Not really.” I sigh in annoyance.
“Aw, shucks! That’s cause you’re not drinking!” He chuckles, then slowly wobbles from place to place.
“Dude, I’m 16.” I inform him. “And I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to offer alcohol to a minor.”
“Really? Well I’m already in trouble then... drink up!”
He drops a half-drank can on the cement where I was sitting, then waltz away. The impact wasn’t enough for any to splash up, but the noise caused my shell-fish to crawl away.
What did he mean when he said ‘already in trouble’ I wonder. Could it be that...?
No. Tori’s a good girl. Tori follows all the rules. She’d never drink under-age. Then again, I’d never think she’d purposefully harass an elder, much less a few! Maybe there was a dark side to this goody-two-shoe I thought I knew. Only one way to find out, I guess.
Chapter 3: Vicdevious
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
“Heh heh...” Woozy Tori Vega giggles. “Don’t be ridawnculous!”
“Really? Cause you just said ‘ridawnculous’.” I point out to her response when I asked ‘have you been drinking’.
“Alright, alright.” She laughs. “Maybe I had, like, a sip, but I’m not friggin drunk!”
“Yes you are!” I yell angrily. “And you have to take me home!”
“Nah... you can... you can drive it home Jade. Just make sure you drive it back when you get there.” She instructs ignorantly.
“Dude, seriously! How much did you have to drink?” I repeat, almost fearful for her health at this point.
“Like... I dunno... five?”
“Oh my god!”
Watching her try to move and talk was pretty funny at first, but making fun of her gets old real quick these days. Kinda like the people at this party. Besides, whenever I tried to tell her she was a klutz or dimbo, she took it as a freaking compliment! Eventually she offered me some, but I declined.
“Forget it. If I drink now, I’ll never get home in one piece.”
“Just stay the night here!” She offers.
How dumb is she? I explain to her that my grandma, who HATES her uncle, has no idea that I’m here. She then says that we can just leave early in the morning before granny even wakes up, and she’ll never know I was gone.
“I have to say, that’s pretty clever...” I ponder.
Tori smiles and nods erratically.
“Clever and devious... When did you become so devious Vega?”
“I dunno. Uncle Philip is pretty deeverin...” She sounds.
“Dee-vee-iss.” I break down for her.
“Right.” She shakes. “I guess I feel more comfortable being myself around him then I do my real family...”
It was decided that I stay the night, and would sleep on the couch. After this, Tori holds up a new can of beer.
“So...?” She tempts, dangling it in front of my face.
I give. “Oh, fine!”
The two of us go through an entire twelve pack, and things started getting a little loopy...
“Okay, so, I got one!” Tori laughs, then spits on the ground when the alcohol tries to come back up again. “Okay... okay... if you could... uh.... if you could date any celebrity in the universe, who would it be?”
“Oh, Nolan Funk.” I answer. “No question!”
“Really...?” She says, her vision failing her. “I thought you’d be more of an ‘Usher’ or ‘Nickleback’ kinda girl.
“I have one.” I start, ignoring her last comments. “Um... if you could...shoot any celebrity in the world!”
“Oh, oh man!” She stresses, putting her hands over her head like it were actually a choice. “Okay, well, what if I shot Justine Beiber, but the bullet went through him and hit Rebecca Black?”
“Only one.” I re-iterate. “Besides, Rebecca Black isn’t a celebrity, she’s a hoe!”
We both start laughing hysterically.
The more questions we went through, the stupider they became. It was interesting... we pretty much agreed on all the answers for the most part. Even though we were drunk, our sense of option didn’t seem too blurred. Could it be I actually have more than a few things in common with this girl?
We were still perched on the stairs when a random lady approached us. “We’re about to do karaoke, kids! Would you like to join us?”
Both of us jump up in a heartbeat, except Tori hit her head on the railing and I just sorta lost my balance and fell back down.
“We’ll be right there Miriam.” Tori replies as she rubs her head.
Everyone was off-key and singing the words slurred, but it was okay. When you’re all drunk off your ass, it really doesn’t matter. Then Tori asked me to do one with her. I said no, but everyone else insisted I sing with her. Finally I give in.
“...oh! Alright alright! I’m gonna sing!”
The night was a blast, from what I can remember. It was wired waking up in Tori’s bed the next morning, because I swear I fell asleep on the couch.
“Tori.” I groan, shaking the sleepy girl. “Tori get up...”
Here eyes had a red tint to them when she opened them. She sat up slowly and looks around.
“Where am I...?” She blinks, rubbing her head.
I sign angrily and yank the covers off. “We’re at your uncle Philips dumb ass, now get up and drive me home before my grandma kills me!”
“I’m at my uncles?” She ponders.
No use trying to talk to her. No doubt her head was buzzing twice as fierce as mine, and I assume she couldn’t understand a word I was saying. The only thing there was to do was drag her out of bed and somehow up the basement stairs to the water bike.
I plop her on the seat and shove the keys in.
“Drive.” I command, then take hold of her torso.
With one swift move, I push her from the side and fling her into the water. A second later she pops up and stares at me ruthlessly.
“You awake yet?” I laugh sarcastically.
After scolding me and grumbling rude comments to herself, she climbs up the jet ski once again and starts the ignition. Once I inform her, for the fifth time, that it is seven forty-five, she throws on her helmet, cranks the handles, and we take off at full speed.
“Drop me off at the Marina.” I yell over the wind in our faces.
I wasn’t sure if she heard me through that thick helmet of hers until she slows down as we near the Marina.
“If your grandma’s awake she’ll probably be angry with you weather you came with me or not.” Tori reasons.
“Not if I pay off Barb to tell her I was here this morning to pick up some fish for dinner tonight.” I smirk, then climb off the vehicle.
“Hey, they don’t sell aspirin there, do they?”
I shake my head and shrug, then start speed walking towards the Marina after waving goodbye.
“Grams?” I call when I enter the door.
Lucky for me, she was still sound asleep. Pickles came running to the door, but I threw him a bass before he starts barking like crazy.
Finally I reach my room, after tip-toeing up the stairs and quietly inching the door shut. All was well until my phone started buzzing, and I thought for sure grandma was on to me.
“Oh, just Cat.” I sigh in relief. Perfect timing on her part.
“Hey Cat.” I laugh when I pick up.
“Jade!” She excites. “You’re okay!”
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
Apparently the impatient red-head was trying to reach me all last night. It was a full moon, and she was afraid I’d been eaten by ghosts.
I know what you’re thinking, but this time she actually makes sense. Cat, you see, has been to the lake with me a long time ago, and knows of the creepy house looming across the driveway. While we were here we climbed from the balcony facing the lake to the other side of the roof, and tried to see in the abandoned house through grandpa’s bird watching binoculars. We swore we’d seen one of the doors open through the patio, we even heard the eerie creek, but nobody was in the house... It freaked us out!
It wasn’t until a couple days later Cat checked, and that night was a full moon. We’d looked into it other nights, even went up and knocked on the door in broad daylight, but nothing happened after that.
“Did you at least check? What if our theory is right...?” She whines. “What if there’s some sort of paranormal portal that only opens on the night on the full moon...?”
“I didn’t check.” I answer. “I was at a bonfire all night.”
“Oh poo...” She pouts.
I get another incoming call... this time it was grandma. I tell Cat I’ll call her later, then answer the phone.
“Hey granny.” I moan.
“Jade dear, I was wondering if you could run down to the Marina and pick up some fish for tonight’s dinner.”
It’s better I go and pretend to buy fish, and come back with the stuff I already bought then to let her drive down there and get a mixed story from Barb. Best I save myself some explaining and not fight her.
After hanging up and stuffing the seafood in my purse, I scurry down the steps and leave out the door.
On my way I took a close look into the ghost house. That place was still creepy as ever, and no one wanted to purchase it. I can’t blame them; I wouldn’t set foot inside a place like that to save my life!
I get to the Marina and explain to Barb the new story. She says she agrees, on the condition that she still gets to keep the five bucks I slipped her when Tori dropped me off.
“Since I’m here...” I start, seeing as the topic was on my mind. “Do you know a chick named Tori Vega?”
“Is that the Philips’ niece?” She clarifies. “Yes, I know Tori. She always drops by whenever she’s here visiting her uncle.”
“You wouldn’t happen to know why any of her other family isn’t here, would you?”
She explains that Tori’s family doesn’t exactly agree with Greg Philip’s values. Whatever the case, they can’t keep Tori from seeing him if she wants to.
“She tells me she has to pay for her own food and anything else she may need, since Greg never has any food in his fridge.” Barb continues. “So I usually give her a discount.”
“That’s where all my bribe money is going?” I confirm, closing one eye, “to make up for Tori’s inability to pay?”
“Now now, I know your grandma don’t like her, but she’s actually a very sweet girl Jade.” Barb attempts to explain. “Besides, with all the money I’ve made off you in just two days, any additional money can go towards that new chocolate-raspberry ice-cream you’ve been begging for!”
“Don’t count on it.” I grumble and start out the door.
I slouch in and Pickles looks at me beggingly once again. I tell her to shut up, and shove her out of the way.
“My, you seem very feverish this morning honey.” Granny notes. “Did you not sleep well?”
“I got the fish.” I say, and slap the bag on the counter before walking away.
Halfway up she starts talking again. “Did Barb forget to put in a Bass?”
“I was short a couple bucks, so she docked me a fish.” I call down.
No response, so I figured she bought it.
My head was pounding like crazy. I tried relaxing on my bed and turning the TV on, but no matter what I did the surround sound just made my headache worse. Playing games downstairs only hurt my eyes from the bright colors constantly flashing, and if I tried to eat anything the dog would just holler at me. It’s not like I’ve never drank before, but I’ve never felt this hung over in my life!
What happened last night anyway? I remembered that one of the neighbors kicked me off the couch, but how did I end up in the basement?
“Look here kiddo, this is Charles usual spot when he’s too drunk to go anywhere for the night, and seeing as you weren’t even invited to stay...”
“You niece said I could!” I argue back angrily.
He takes a step back. “Whoa! Okay, alright. Don’t bite me kid, just sleep in the game room. There’s a couch before the second dining room down the stairs, it pulls out into a bed. Just make sure no bugs are on it and ya should be all set.”
When I got down there...
“Greeeg! There’s a bug on the couch!” I call when I notice Tori’s already there.
She rolls over and looks at me. “Rude.” She smites. “I told you you could sleep in the living room.”
“Well there’s a big-ol bug on that couch too.” I inform. “Why aren’t you in one of the other rooms anyway? There’s like, three stories to this place.”
She rolls her eyes. “I’m too tired to walk up the stairs.”
Then I think I just climbed in bed with her that night. That’s right... and she kept stealing all the covers! Even when she’s asleep she’s annoying as hell.
And now I’m back to square one; bored at the lake house with nothing to do.
...strike that. I have chores to do.
Chapter 4: Deviled Eggs
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
I was sitting in my room watching the latest episode of ‘Big Brother’ when the balcony door swings open.
Who, you may ask, is breaking into my grandmother’s house at 8 at night?
“Oh, hi Jade!” Tori laughs nervously. “I didn’t know you were uh...”
“What the hell are you doing Vega?!” I interrogate as I spring from my bed.
She tells me to shush and closes the balcony door. “Relax, I just came to play a prank on your grandma! You can help if you want.” She shrugs, then sets down her bag.
I stare at her in awe. This was NOT the girl I knew from school, she was a different person entirely.
“What are you doing with those eggs?” I snap when she pulls a carton full of them from her bag.
“I’m gonna throw them at her windows. Won’t that be fun!” She giggles.
“No, Tori, that would not be fun.” I inform. “That’s the exact reason I was sent here in the first place, and she’s gonna think that I was the one who did it!”
“Wait...” She pauses. “You got sent here as some sort of punishment?”
I tell her the whole spiel. About chucking eggs at cars, people getting in accidents, and how I’m forced to do chores until the week is up, chores that would include scraping egg off the walls if such thing were to happen.
“So you’re gonna be here an entire week!” Tori excites, missing the point of my entire explanation.
She seemed a little too excited that the girl whose goal it is to make her life miserable is now staying on the same lake as her for another five days. I thought she hated my guts just as much as I did hers.
“Common, we have a lot of egging to do!” She laughs and starts toward the hallway gleefully.
“Did you not hear what I said?!” I glare.
“Jade...” She huffs. “You’re really gonna let your old grandmother boss you around? If you’re gonna be stuck here for a whole week, why not have a little fun?”
The thought was intriguing. The punishment for raising hell here would either be more chores, which I could refuse to do, or go home, and get out of this prison cell.
Tori held her hand out, egg in her palm, tempting me with the very thing that sent me here. Maybe this isn’t gonna be so bad. If she’s seriously about to egg someone’s house, this Tori chick might not be as good as I came to think.
I smile with a devious look in my eye as I snatch the egg from her hand and dig the slingshot out of my bag.
“Let’s go have some fun.” I smirk, and Tori’s overjoyed.
First I tell her to leave out the balcony (however she managed to get up here in the first place) and meet me at the Marina. From there we’d hop on her Jet Ski and shoot eggs from the lake at granny’s house!
“Pretty good idea, but why not hit every other house on the lake while we’re at it!” She devises.
“Oo, I must say I am impressed Tori Vega!” I smirk.
We part our ways, and I inform the hag I’m going to get ice cream from the Marina. She tells me to be home before it gets dark, and I lie and promise I will.
Next thing I know, Tori and I are once again on her black jet, and that can only mean trouble for anyone in our scope.
We sped by, hitting the houses of my grandma and all her friends. I had a lot of practice hitting targets while moving, but Tori’s ability to shoot eggs and steer the water bike was pretty amazing! Window after window was vandalized until the only places not covered in sticky yellow were Tori’s uncle’s house and the Marina.
“This is the best punishment ever!” I shout, and Tori gives me a thumbs up. We take one more swoop around the lake before stopping at the Marina so I can return my helmet.
“Well, it’s been a productive night, if I do say so for myself.” She smiles proudly.
“Agreed.” I laugh. “I never thought I would ever have this much fun at grandma’s!”
She nods, and there’s an awkward pause.
“...well, I should be going home now. My uncle’s probably pretty upset with me, heh...”
As she turns back to her black jet, I stop her. “Uh, hey, how about we get some ice cream first?” I shyly suggest.
She turns her head and closes one eye. “Really?”
“Yeah.” I say, more confident. “If you’re up for it.”
She drops her helmet on the seat of her jet. “I would like that.” She agrees.
She walked up to me again and we store at each other for a second before walking in. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think Tori Vega’s my friend.
“Hey Barbra!” Tori smiles.
“Well if it isn’t Tori Vega and Jade West!” She comments. “I thought your families didn’t like each other!”
“Did you not here?” Tori questions. “We just egged the entire lake! No family feud is gonna stop us from having a good time!”
Of course Barb didn’t approve of us going around causing mischief, but she didn’t call the authorities or tattle on us or anything. She was pretty cool about letting us do our own thing. I ordered a plain vanilla, and Tori requested a superman. She paid Barb full price, probably because I was there too and she doesn’t know that I already knew Barb was giving her special treatment. We sat at the table by the jukebox while enjoying our frozen dessert.
“Dude, what are your neighbors gonna say when they figure out you egged their friggin houses!” I wonder and take a lick from my cone.
“I’m sure the ones who know Uncle Philip already know I did it; they get the pattern... Greg’s niece comes to town, the black jet starts causing problems the next day, Greg’s niece goes home, the black jet stops being troublesome.” She explains. “They know they can’t do anything to make me stop, so they just stopped trying!”
I never really thought about it that way, mainly because being sent to grandma’s IS their way of making me stop whatever bad thing I’m doing. Now that my partner in crime is here, however, it’s not such a terrible thing anymore! This could really work in my favor, and all thanks to the girl I hate!
...USED, to hate, anyway.
“I never knew how truly evil you are inside.” I say aloud.
She snickers. “You said that before.” Tori reminds, and takes another bite out of her rainbow treat.
She didn’t have a problem explaining it. She tells me that when she’s at her uncles, the atmosphere is just different. There aren’t any directors or agents around to evaluate her actions, no parents to disapprove of her behavior, no sister around tattling on her wrong-doings. There’s no pressure to be ‘liked’, so she feels more relaxed about not caring.
I guess getting away from Hollywood with the pressure to keep a good rep slips away from her when she comes here. Seeing the real Tori not being such a puss brings things to a whole new perspective
“What does that taste like anyway?” She comments, referring to my waffle cone.
I raise an eyebrow. “You’ve never had a waffle cone?”
“Actually I haven’t had ice cream since the night of our Ke$ha concert.” She admits. “Just thinking about it made me sick!”
I laugh in memory of that experience...
“Well, we’d be doing great if we were trying to win a concert from ‘Hakakakkaka’!” Tori angrily grunts to Andre, throwing the extra ‘k’ to the floor.
“Here.” I offer, handing her my dripping cone. “It’s really good, actually.”
She grabs the sticky vanilla from my hands and takes a chomp off one of the sides. “Mmm!” She delights. “This is so sugary!”
“Hey! Give it back before you eat it all!” I growl playfully.
“No way! You can have mine, this shit is way better!”
“Tori, did I just hear you swear?” I blink in astonishment.
She shrugs like it’s nothing. “So?”
Ten minutes later and we finally part our ways. Tori to her black jet, and me to the dirt road. All was well until I’d returned home to find my grandmother staring at me angrily, my phone in her hand.
“Young lady, where have you been the past few hours!” She scolds harshly.
“Gr-grandma!” I stutter fearfully. “I was just, at the Marina! I-i...”
I stop and remember Tori’s words from earlier... ‘You’re really gonna let your old grandmother boss you around?’... Well, granny better think again if she thinks I’m just gonna sit back and let her take my phone.
I snatch the mobile device from her brittle fingers and take off to my room. She might not be completely un-able to get up and down, but it sure would take her quite a while regardless.
I had maybe five minutes to pack my things, find a way down the balcony, and get Tori to come pick me up at the Marina.
I shoved some essentials in my purse, knowing I couldn’t take my luggage across the water. I left my phone the past couple times because I was too afraid to bring that over the lake! Tori seems to have a pretty good grip on the vehicle, so I’ll risk bringing it along due to the occasion.
“Hi.” Tori finally answers. “So did you get in mega trouble from your grandma?”
I tell her how I snatched my phone and sassed to my grandmother, and that I freaked out and decided to bail.
“So I need you to come get me at the Marina and maybe let me stay at your-”
“Forget it!” She scoffs. “I let you stay last night because I was responsible for your drinking. This time you made your own mistakes, plus I’m leaving soon anyway!”
I was shocked at her hostile behavior. “What?! You’re going home tonight?”
She sighs into the phone. “No, Jade. My uncle and the family are going to the bar. I’m coming with so they can sneak me in and actually make use of my fake ID.”
“Wait, seriously?” I ponder, knowing she was different now but curious at her slightly sarcastic tone.
“Yes, seriously. Now I gotta get going, they’re waiting!”
“Wait! Tori!” I cry, hoping she hasn’t already hung up.
“What!” She responds harshly.
“I don’t want to go back to my grandmothers... I really need somewhere to go, and you’re the only one who can help me!” I beg. “Please!”
There was a pause, and then the call ends.
...guess I could always sit at the Marina till it closes.
I sat by myself at my table, wondering what granny must be telling my parents about the incident. I don’t know if they’re gonna force me to stay here, or take me home where they can physically take my phone and other electronics. Either way seemed pretty cruel, considering I don’t even have a friend on this lake anymore.
Next thing I know the doors open, and Tori struts through the door.
“I’m looking for Mika Symons?” She announces as she approaches my position.
I stare at her oddly, then notice the drivers license she was waving in her hand.
“...look, sorry for blowing up at you earlier. I’m going through some things right now... you forgive me?” She looks at me apologetically.
I smile and swipe the fake ID from her. She seemed pretty upset about the way she treated me, and I really do need her help. Her uncle honks from out front, so we rush out and hop in the back of his huge pick-up truck.
“I’ve never actually ridden in the back of one of these.” I admit. “It’s fun!”
She giggles. “I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself.”
My real name is Jade West, but Tori’s family here thinks my name is Jade Wheeler. My fake name is Mika Symons; apparently I’m 21 years old, and I was born in San-Fran Cisco. I was born on March thirtieth of 1990.
Victoria Vega’s name on her fake driver’s license is Patricia Lance. An aunt of hers married name. Patricia is 21 years old as well born on the twentieth of December, 1990.
“I’ve been meaning to ask...” I begin, since I was thinking about it anyway. “How did you get an ID made up so quickly for me?”
“Her cousin used to go to bars with us.” Tori’s aunt Miriam informs. “Then her parents found out and forbid her from visiting.”
“Yeah...” Tori continues. “But now we have an extra fake ID lying around for anyone under-age to use, so it worked out good for us, huh?”
I was a bit weary, to tell the truth. I’ve never lied about my age before! “Won’t they know I’m not twenty-one just by looking at me though?”
“As long as you present them with a legit ID, they can’t deny you.” Another family member from the back of the truck says. “Just make sure you know your stuff, because if they ask you, you’ll want to be prepared.”
“Just know what your name and birthday are. Oh, and the street that you live on!” Tori advises, examining the ID I was holding.
I was still nervous at first, until Tori explained to me that I should treat it like acting. It’s like playing a character; as long as you believe that you’re the character you’re portraying, the audience (or person you’re trying to convince) will believe it too.
It made sense. Let’s just hope this piece of advice won’t result in me getting in a shit load of trouble like the last time she tried to tell me something useful.
“ID, ma’am?” The guy asks, and Tori hands the lady her ID.
She looks at her skeptically. “What did you say your name was?”
“Patricia Lance.” She say, reaching for her license back.
The cop swipes it away, then asks Tori a few questions. After she gets them all right Tori steps through, then a couple more people until it’s my turn.
“What about you?” She glares, knowing for a fact that neither Tori nor I were really 21. “What’s your name?”
“Mika Symons.” I respond confidently.
“...what’s your mother’s name?”
I tried looking to Tori. The lady never asked her what her father’s name was! Tori was already heading in though, so there was no help from her.
“You gonna answer, or should I just call the cops now?”
Gotta think... there were a few aunts here, but the only one I knew was Miriam. It was worth a shot, I guess.
“Her name is Miriam Symons.” I state, keeping my expression just as bold.
No response at first, then she sighs, hands me the license, and opens the rope.
I rush to catch up with the group. Already I know that this is gonna be one hell of a good week, judging by all the excitement we’ve had already. After ten is when it gets good, so in the mean time Tori and I reminisce over the good times we’ve had this year at Hollywood Arts.
“Yeah,” I agree. “But that wasn’t nearly as hilarious as the time Trina’s harness broke in the middle of your play!”
She laughs. “I have to admit it was pretty funny watching her dangle there, crashing into everything!”
“Now hang on a moment...” One of Tori’s relatives contemplates. “This girl here goes to the same school as you?”
“Yep, Tori and I are classmates back in Hollywood.” I smile.
She puts her hands on her hips. “Well I’ll be! What are the odds of that, hmm?”
“Christa!” Greg shouts. “It’s your turn!”
The obnoxious drunkards continue their game of ‘have you ever’, and I order another martini.
“What about when we made those Northridge girls babysit your sister?” I continue.
“Wait, you mean like, Jade level mean?!”
“No.” Cat clarifies. “Not that mean. But REALLY mean!”
“They had it coming!” Tori giggles. “Watching Trina was the absolute worst!”
We continued this until Greg got in a fight with one of the waiters, and we got kicked out. He suggested we just go to another bar, but I was unwilling to take the risk of being caught.
Apparently I was being a ‘party pooper’ though. Greg mentions that he was nice enough to come get me, so I should play by his rules, as opposed to life. Clearly he and the others were too drunk to realize they too will get in trouble for allowing me entry knowing I’m underage. The only think they could think of were more boos. Finally after arguing with them through the whole car ride, Greg swung around and dropped me at the edge of their neighborhood.
“What?” I glare when Miriam pulls me from the window and sets me on the wheel.
“Down.” She commands.
I comply and step off the wheel, before Greg starts driving again.
“The house is probably three minutes that way by foot.” Another of the relatives points. “If you’re not gonna be a team player, than you can just find your own way home!”
“Sal!” Tori says accusingly.
Greg took his foot off the breaks, and it was obvious there wasn’t going to be any arguing about it. Hastily, Tori hops out before they take off.
She went straight from the back of the truck to plumbing to the ground, with no middle step like I had. She seemed pretty tough though; she could take it.
“Bad idea...” She comments, rubbing her head.
Chapter 5: Rawr, I'm a Vampire!
CH 5: Rawr, I’m a Vampire!
I was still confused from what was happening at that moment. I was just told to walk to a house I don’t even know in the middle of the night because I refuse to lie about my age. I guess the alcohol wasn’t helping my judgment either though.
Oh, and Tori was here. I guess she knows where she’s going, so that’s good. I offer her my hand and help her up. Right, she was here for me...
“Thanks.” She sighs, most likely regretting the choice she made.
“No... thank you.” I responded gratefully. “I’d be frickin lost without you!”
“Not true. You wouldn’t be caught up in ANY of this if it wasn’t for me convincing you to come with in the first place.”
She was talking about us egging the lake, of course. I look at her very serious for a moment, then smile.
“You know, you’re right. I wouldn’t.” I start. “...thank you.”
If it weren’t for Tori, chances are I would still be at my grandma’s doing all sorts of chores. Instead, we’re having an adventure. I for one am glad for it.
She nods, knowing I was sincere. “We should get going, huh?”
It turns out the house was three minutes in ‘that’ direction by foot... over the lake. Since neither me or Tori are Jesus, we come to the conclusion that we must walk AROUND the lake, ten minutes in ‘this’ direction. Who knows if Greg even knows where he’s at? He’s so drunk, he might as well try to drive through lake diamond.
It was quiet at first. I’m sure Tori’s head was buzzing from the impact, and all the tequila she’d consumed was making it worse.
A little while though and she spoke.
“Why didn’t you wanna go to the next bar with us anyway?” Was the first thing that came out of her mouth.
“Honestly, I was afraid that I’d get caught.” I explain.
“...okay. Well, it was your first time, so I can see how you’d be nervous.” She finally answers. “Heh... your first time sneaking in, and I’ve already lost count of how many times I’ve done this!” She mocks, playing with the idea. “Who would’ve guessed?”
She seemed to find it pretty funny, which I thought was rude. “Just what do you mean by that, Vega?”
“Well.” She starts through her giggle. “It’s just, if I can do it, there shouldn’t be any reason that you wouldn’t be able to!”
“Are you calling me chicken?” I glare, picking up at what she was saying.
“Oh, no.” She confirms. “I’m calling you a PUSSY.”
“Excuse me?!” I grunt, then clench my fists.
She simply scoffs. “What are you gonna do, hit me?”
I don’t see why I shouldn’t! It’s pitch black, and no one in this town likes us enough to care if she’s injured or not anyway!
But I couldn’t...
“See.” She laughs triumphantly. “I told you, you’re a pussy! You can’t even take a swing at me! I bet if we were back at Hollywood arts, I’d be dead by now! What’s your problem?”
She was taunting me! My god, she really wanted me to hit her. Was she really that drunk, or was there something else? Something deeper to it all...? I would think, but I was too tired to come up with any other reason than she was just a very mean, very loud drunk.
“Forget it.” I sigh. “Fine, I’m a pussy. Can we just go home, please?”
Her attitude changed as well since I dropped my hostility. She simply turned and continued walking, and we avoided speaking for the rest of the walk.
That night I fell asleep in one of the guest rooms. All the drunkards from the party last night were at their respectful homes, but they left their mess here at Greg’s. It took hours just to clean up the place, and still the room smelled musty and syrupy. I laid there, no sheets or pillows on the bed, for about five minutes before Tori popped in.
“Need a fix?” She tempts, waving a bottle of some type of alcohol back and forth.
I stare at her. “It’s a wonder you still have a working brain.”
“Whaaaat?” She moans. “It’s not like I drink regralerly. Only when I’m here!”
She began to wobble in the room now, nearly dropping the bottle on the floor.
“Hey... Hey Jade?” She says, after poking me in the shoulder. “Sorry about... um... ...well whatever it was that happened. I sorta forgot.”
I sigh. “Don’t worry about it. It was nice of you to let me stay, so, ...and I guess I may have said some pretty rude things too...” I ponder, upon further remembrance of the situation. “But that’s behind us now, huh?”
She half falls on me, unable to keep her balance on her own. “Yeah.”
I stand her up again, and remove the bottle of toxin from her grasp. “No more.”
“Then you finish it.” She shrugs. “I’m all better now, but you... missy... you must head hurt.”
Not only was she slurring her words, but she couldn’t even form a complete sentence! It’s amazing that brain of hers still works!
“Tori, you are not better. If anything you’re worse! And you’re not gonna get better until you sober up, nor will I, so let’s just put the drinks away, and go to sleep. Sound good?”
Ten minutes later, and we’re through two twelve packs.
She and I had moved to the basement at this point. I was lying on the floor, and Tori was upside down on one of the chairs.
“Umm... if you could... live on any planet, where would you live?” She asks when it’s her turn. The questions were getting more reticulate by the second!
“Definitely the Sun.” was my response, despite the Sun not even being considered a planet. “Think about how bright and happy it would be there! Like, unicorns, and... uh... birdies... heh heh!”
“Yeah...” She smiles, as she closes her eyes, possibly fantasizing about how wonderful it would be to live on the sun.
“Mine turn.” I state. “If you could... be any animal-”
“Jaaade! You asked that, like, a gazillion times already!” She accuses, “ask something more-” As she swung her arms, she fell backwards off the chair and landed on her head. The she sat up normal on the ground. “Ask something more betterer!”
She didn’t look hurt or anything, but I bet her whole body’s just numb. “Okay! Okay! How about, if you could date any of our teachers, who would you date?”
“EEEEEEEWW!” She shrieks. “Why would I wanna date a bunch of old person??”
“Just answer! It’s just a question!!” I push.
She looks up, as if she’s thinking. “Umm... I guess Miss Taylor, cause she’s the youngest teacherer at Hollywood Arts.”
“Miss Taylor?” I squint. “You’d date her just because she’s the closest to our age?”
She gets a face like ‘is that bad’
“But she’s hideous! I mean, I think Mrs. Hill is only a few years older.”
“She’s got a husband!” Tori argues.
“Yeah, but at least she’s not fat!” I reason.
“Mrs. Hill is like, ancient though.” She points out. “And Miss Taylor isn’t fat, she’s just a little chubby!”
Tori plops down on the floor and looks at me. I glare at her for a second, before she says, “Are we really arguing about which female teacher is hotter?”
I pause. “At least they’re both sane. I mean, name one male teacher in that school who’s got no mental issues!”
“...it’s my turn to ask a question!” She blurts immediately. “If you could-”
“No. I’m sick of the ‘if you could’ game. I wanna play something different!” I pout.
She rolls her eyes, and then licks the last of the beer from the rim of her bottle. “Whatta ya wanna play?”
I was at a stuck point. All these questions, when was it going to end! She just kept bombarding me with question after question, and all I want to do is stop having so many questions!
“Jade?” She concerns, poking me with her empty bottle.
I look in her direction, then begin to laugh for no apparent reason.
She smiles uncomfortable. “Heh... uh, what is it, that we’re laughing about?
“I don’t know!” I gasp, curling up and rolling on the floor in laughter.
I had a feeling she was watching me, either highly amused or worried for my health. She latched her forearms under my shoulders, and stood me up.
I had calmed down a little now. “What ya do that for?”
“I think you’re drunk.” She says with a serious look on her face.
I melt back onto the floor, and look up at her smiling. “Don’t be ridawnculous!”
She picks me up again, then spins me around, holding me steadily by my shoulders, and looks me in the eye with the most serious gaze. “Jade, listen to me. You’re drunk!”
I laugh, which somehow turns into a snort. “Yeah, so are you! So what are you gonna do about it?” I tease, playfully running my finger down her nose to her lips.
“Jade! Cut it out!” She glares, pushing me away now.
“Are you gonna be mean Tori now, or what?” I giggle, walking closer again.
She limped backwards, but eventually hit a wall, which she proceeded to slide down and hide her head in her arms. “If I can’t see you then you can’t see me!” The girl continued to chant.
I knelt down to her now, and pried her arms apart. “Hey, Vega.” I state, slinging her arms across the back of my neck. “You look sleepy.”
She nods slowly. “Carry me up stairs.” Tori demands.
“Hell fuggin no! You carry yourself up to bed!”
She had herself latched around me though. How did she do that...?
“Then carry me to the couch down here. And bring me some crackers.” The girl whines. “My belly feels like it’s being eaten by itself.”
“You don’t have any crackers, Tori.” I remind. “The only thing your uncle has in his house is beer. ...well, USED to have.”
“Aw... what happened to it?” The girl questions.
“We drank it all you moron!”
She sorta half-laughed at this. “Oh yeah... ...Jade> Carry me to my bed.”
I sigh heavily. “That’s two flights up! I’m not gonna!”
“But my belly hurts! Can you get me some crackers?”
“...okay fine I’ll carry you up stairs.” I give, not in the mood to continue this argument with her.
About six or twelve millenniums later, I reach the bedroom I had just cleaned. I flop her on the bed, then push her over to make room for myself.
“This isn’t my bed.” She glares.
“No, your bed is still a mess from all those relatives of yours from the bonfire. I cleaned this room, so-”
“You CLEANED it?!” She asks in amazement, looking around.
I push her back down. “Just go to fucking bed, Vega.”
“Ah, ah... who’s the mean drunk now?” She taunts, pointing at me. “I think it’s you! I think it’s you!!”
I slap her hands away. “Am not.”
I lay back, and try to ignore her, when she shoves one of her arms behind my neck.
I look at her. “What did you do that for?”
She pulls back then, without saying a word.
I grab her arm angrily and yank it back in place. “Leave it! ...it’s warm there.”
She had turned to face me now, and I’d just realized how close she was. “Gimmi my arm back.” She yawns, with not much intention of actually wanting it back.
“Nope!” I smite. “It’s mine now. I take ownership.”
“You can’t OWN my arm!” She laughs.
“Yeah I can! I just did! And you know what else? I’m also taking your leg!” With that, I cross my legs around her left leg, and trap her.
She was squirming away at this point. “Jade! No! I need those!!”
“Naw! You don’t need them! It’s not like you have to walk or anything!”
She was acting so funny, as if I were really going to take her ligaments away. Soon I began claiming her eye, her ear, her bones.
“And your lip.” I say, pulling at her top lip. “...no, actually, I want both.”
“I need those to say words.” She reminds, looking like she’s getting bored of this game.
“But wouldn’t life be better for everyone if you couldn’t?” I reason, circling her lips with the tip of my finger.
“Relax! I’m kidding!”
She sighs in relief.
“But I’m still taking them.”
She squints her eyes shut. “Nooo...”
It was more like a lazy moan then she was actually worried about it. I think she was getting a little sleepy.
“You should just fall asleep.” I suggest.
She quit talking then, and just looked at me like she was slightly confused.
“Close your eyes, and go to sleep.” I command, not sure if it was quite working.
She sighs, then shuts her eyes and positions her head lower against the pillow.
I sat rubbing her back for a little. I highly doubt she was actually asleep, because I could feel her pulse oddly speeding up.
“Are you asleep?”
With that I get up and return to the basement, where I pick up all the empty bottles and throw them in the large garbage bin. The floor had a stench of alcohol, but I’m pretty sure that’s always been there, despite how much we spilt.
When I returned to the room, Tori was no longer in bed.
“...Vega?” I call, and I hear giggling from the closet.
The light was on, and it was slightly cracked. I open it...
“BLEH!” The girl shrieks before falling head first to the ground.
When I opened the door, she was hanging upside down on the hanger rod. I guess she was attempting to scare me, but ended up losing her balance and falling.
“What the hell was that for?!” I scold, as I help her to her feet.
“I’m a vampire!” She giggles. “I’mma suck your blood, Jade!”
I flip my hair and offer my neck. “Go on then.”
I knew it, of course. She wasn’t actually about to bite me, especially with me being that forward.
“Rawr.” She says, pinching at the back of my neck with her fingertips.
“Chicken.” I scoff, then sit back down on the bed.
“Not CHICKEN! VAMPIRE!” The girl re-iterates, flopping down beside me.
I look at her. “...yeah I don’t think so.” I shake my head.
She was laying on her back with her feet hanging off the edge, stretching and yawning. “Well, not all vampires bite people.”
I grin. “You wouldn’t bite me if you wanted to.”
She sat up, started to say something, got dizzy, held her head, THEN said to me: “Could to.”
While we were walking home, Tori was testing me to see if I would actually have to guts to punch her. This time, I was in control. It’s a first, since we’ve been to this lake, so I figure why not tease her a little while I had the upper hand?
“Prove it, bitch!” I mock, speaking to her now in a playful tone.
She sits up. “I’m not gonna, cause I bet you want me to!”
Whatever that meant. I roll with it.
“You’re right. I don’t want you to.” I smile.
Her expression; priceless. She looked so lost.
“In fact, you better not bite me, Vega, I’ll be really mad if you bite me. Cause that would be the LAST thing I want!”
“Your body language says otherwise.” She says, her eyes half closed like she was still trying to process what I was trying to convince, or not convince her of.
My hair was off to one side, and my head was tilted leaving a spot on my neck very available to her. I was staring off with my eyes fixed to the ceiling, so when she nipped my neck...
It was a complete surprise.
“...I can’t believe you actually did that.” I reply, my voice shaky as I lower myself to the bed.
She had claimed she’d only nipped my neck, not actually biting. I don’t know what point she was trying to make, but I do know she was back in control now.
“...go to bed.” She demands.
“Shhh...” She warns, and I notice she was doing to me what I had done to her. “Just sleep.”
Damn it, Vega!
Chapter 6: The Island
CH 6: The Island
I awoke terribly sick, and threw up for about the first hour of my morning.
Once I got that out of my system, I return to the room and find Tori still sound asleep. It was about four in the morning.
I don’t know how she looks so composed; most likely because she’s already used to the alcohol. I’m sure she’ll be feeling SOMETHING though very soon.
“Good morning!” The girl smiles, stretching and yawning as she rises.
“What? No barfing? No headache? Nothing?!”
She looks at me strangely. “Hey, why are you waking me up at like... four?”
I sigh. “I’m just... not feeling very well is all.”
“Aw.” She searches the area around her, then picks up a half-empty bottle. “This should make you feel better!”
I swat it away. “No! That’s the last thing I need right now!”
Someone needs to learn alcohol doesn’t solve all her problems, and that someone is Tori.
“Starting now, you and I aren’t going to touch a drop of that stuff for twenty four hours, understood?”
Her eyes widen. “What?!” She stands now. “Jade, no! This is the only time I can drink! Please, please! Don’t take that away from me!”
“Just do this for me, just until the end of the day.” I reason. “And if you make it to midnight, then I’ll buy you all the boos you want. Sound like a deal?”
She contemplates. “No, Philip already has all the boos I could want. I want something else.”
“Okay...” I drag, crossing my arms. “What’s that?”
She looks away and blushes. “A kiss.”
She was giggling to herself, and holding her hands to her face like a little kid.
“Okay then. You go the whole day without drinking, and I’ll kiss you.” I agree, highly doubting she’d be able to hold out that long anyway.
I considered the risks; it’s true she goes without alcohol all the time back home, but I figure it’s only because it’s not available to her. Even if she does go most the day without drinking, I can always tempt her before midnight. It’s like a win-win situation.
“Yay!” She excites, then runs down stairs. I still have no clue how she has so much energy after last night.
I had went back to bed, and this time slept until 2.
A helmet landed on my stomach, and I nearly threw up.
“Tori, for god sakes!”
“Get up lazy girl, we’re going for a ride!”
Though I don’t think she has any alcohol in her, it’s possible she had a drink while I was asleep. Like I said though, she seems pretty sober now, and back to her regular Tori.
I climb on the back of her water bike and clasp my arms around her for support. My helmet was loosely placed upon my head, as I was too lazy to properly put it on. It doesn’t matter; Tori’s a friggin shark on this thing. I wasn’t worried.
“You wanna tell me where we’re going?” I shout over the roaring waves.
“Marina.” I thought she had said, but it’s hard to hear with the wind and such. I later learned she was taking me to the island in the middle of lake Diamond; Serena.
She sped toward the island, and I began to get nervous. She pulls back at the last second, and I’m impressed at her control over the black jet.
“Welcome to isle Serena!” She announces, removing her head protection.
She claims she gave it this name for its serine surroundings and lovely view.
“And why have you brought me to said island...?” I ponder, hopping off the machine.
“Cause there’s no beer here!”
That’s what she thinks! Me, being smart, brought along a canteen full of the stuff.
“And, I’ve always wanted to explore this place.” The girl admits.
“Sounds like a lot of work.” I sigh. But there’s nothing better to do.
She lead the way, grabbing a long stick from the ground and using it as a walking stick. She hopped down the path cheerfully, humming one of the songs Andre wrote and occasionally skipping.
I remember why she annoys me so much...
I follow behind, walking along the trail toward the middle of the island. It wasn’t too big, and there were people’s summer homes all around the outside, but apparently there’s nothing but forests in the middle section.
“Let’s play I Spy!” The quirky girl suggests.
“Why?” I nag.
She stops and turns around. “Why not?” She asks, slightly upset.
“Cause that game’s stupid!” I conclude.
She slouches her shoulders. “Aw. Well, can we play something else?”
“Yeah!” I say in a southern accent. “Let’s all play the shut the hell up game!” I shout, switching back to my regular voice at the end.
“What’s your problem?” She states, glaring in my direction.
I ignore her.
It was one of those silent walks for a while. I thought I wanted her to be sober, but the truth is she’s only fun when she drinks. It’s sad. I know I shouldn’t be encouraging such behavior, but I wasn’t going to spend my time here with a chipper Tori, and I DEFINATLY wasn’t going back to grannies.
“Want some water?” I offer, pulling the canteen from my belt loop.
She seemed shock; I think she forgot I was there. That or she was just to lost in shock. She took the container from me when I offered, and opened the lid.
She puts her mouth on the lid, then shoots back. “This does not smell like water!”
“Well how would you know? You probably drink this stuff so much it’s become usual for you!”
“You make me sound like an alcoholic!” She hollers back.
“THAT’S BECAUSE YOU ARE!”
“Oh yeah...” The spacey girl remembers. “But only some times...”
“Look, just have some. Just a little! Something that’ll make you at least a little entertaining.” I explain.
“Is that all I am to you?” She picks up. “Entertainment, and a provider for a place that you can stay?”
She seemed angry, but that’s totally not what I meant! The truth is, Tori and I have really become friends over the past couple of days.
“N-no!” I stutter. “That’s not what I-”
“You want entertainment? Fine. Then find your own way back! That should keep you busy for a while!” The upset girl out lashes in rage, and the runs off, dropping the canteen on the ground.
“Tori!” I call, drooping in disappointment.
I tried to follow her, but I quickly lost track of her.
It wouldn’t be too hard finding my way OFF the island... I’ll just have to walk in one constant direction until I find the water’s edge. The problem is, I would have to swim back, or catch the ferry on the hour.
Which wouldn’t be hard either, but I wanted to find my distraught friend before I went anywhere. I thought to look for the black jet, considering she’d have to go there eventually. On my way toward the shore though, I changed tactics and figured I would instead search the wooded area.
“Vega?” I call for the tenth time today. “I’m sorry. Please come out.”
It was no use. I don’t even know if she’d still on the island anyway! All I did was mock her a little, but I get how she can be so upset. I guess... it could seem like I’m just taking advantage of her. I have to find her, and clear this up.
And what was with her this morning, wanting to kiss me? I hope she wasn’t serious. I don’t know what’s gotten into this girl all of the sudden.
While walking, I check up trees and on the ground, looking to see if the girl had left tracks or was hiding above. I accidentally ran into a small bush, and tripped and fell to the ground.
That was certainly clumsy!
But now I had thorns and pickers all over my clothes. ...they hurt! What kind of strange fruit was this place growing, anyway? Small, round red berries. And not like raspberries either. Like a blueberry; but half the size. ...and red. This sucks.
I thought about eating one... my stomach was empty and I was pretty exhausted from walking all this way. The odds of it being harmful aren’t worth it, though, considering I may be stuck here for the rest of the day.
I took a break and sat by a tree, where I pulled the pickers off my top. Some were on the inside, which lead to me having to remove my top to take them out. I realized my skin was starting to become puffy and red from the sticky pickers, and wonder if I should be concerned.
I finish removing the spikes from my bra, but decide to leave my top off due to the increasing heat. It would probably cool off when it starts getting dark, but in the mean time, there’s really no one here anyway.
Searching the island was exhausting. I wish I still had my canteen. At least I could fill it up with lake water or something to keep me from dehydrating. I’d been to the black jet three times, and each it still sat there.
“Maybe she caught the ferry back and left me the bike.” I sigh.
I should be getting back, since she’s probably there anyway. I don’t want her to worry about me, if she even cares at this point.
“There you are!” I hear, and at first see nothing.
I look around until I notice the sound wasn’t coming from behind, but above. Tori was laying on a branch, staring down at me.
“I thought you went back home! You’ve been here this whole time?” She asks, then starts her way down.
“Yep.” I reply when she reaches a lower branch. “Lookin for you.”
“I thought I annoyed you though.” She says, nearly slipping on the next one.
I gasp, but she catches her balance.
“...yeah, sorry about that.” I admit.
I look up at her, now only a few feet above the ground. She smiled at me in an accepting way, then loses her footing and slips for real.
“TORI!” I freak, and run to her position. She was caught by the edge of her shirt, and it looked like she was choking.
“Uh! Stuck!” She announces.
“No shit!” I call. “Tori, get down here before you hurt yourself!”
She flails about for a few seconds before finally slipping out of her top and landing on the ground in front of me.
“Ow.” She sounds. “Thanks for catching me!” The hurt girl glares.
“Sorry. I was too busy watching you struggle.” I tease.
“Yeah, I bet you enjoyed that.”
Soon she smiled though and laughed. At least she wasn’t upset with me anymore.
“We should get back to the jet.” I advise, and start toward the edge of the island. I knew this place like the back of my hand, after searching around here all day.
“Actually...” Tori starts, and I stop. “It’s kinda at home.”
I stare at her wide eyed. “What?!”
“Well! I thought you might have went home, so I rode the jet back, but you weren’t there, so I was gonna go back and look for you, but if you had taken the ferry here, I figured I could catch you on the way over, and I also figured that if you were waiting for the ferry to get here, then I could catch you when we arrived at-”
“How much time do we have until the last ferry leaves?” I interrupt. For all I know, it could have left in the middle of her long explanation.
“Dunno. But I think we should hurry... it’s getting dark.”
We sprint as fast as we can to the edge where the ferry stops, but when we arrive, the boat isn’t even on the cable.
I don’t think it really hit either of us that we were now stranded here until tomorrow. We never verbally said the ferry wasn’t coming back for us, but we sure did know it. You couldn’t really tell that we knew it though, because we showed no concern what-so-ever.
“...we could play hind and go seek!” Was Tori’s response to the missing boat.
Tori must have been starving, but I think she’s used to it by now. I was also pretty hungry, but I figure if Tori can handle it, so can I. I also like to think that if you ignore something it’ll go away, but Tori has already proved that theory wrong. I was stuck with this bitch forever. And I was kinda okay with it.
It didn’t matter what I did to her in the past, there was no getting rid of her. Ever. It didn’t even matter to her that I yelled at her and called her annoying, and practically admitted to using her. She was still concerned for me, and I was concerned for her. Maybe we just can’t help but care.
She and I found a little hovel in the center of this island; the deepest part of the woods, as a matter of fact, and we’d made a temporary home out of it. We even found my canteen before coming here, considering we had plenty of time to walk around the island and play whatever games Tori wanted. We stopped by a random house on the island and filled up our water bottles. Tori said that the people who lived there hadn’t come back in years... so it was safe to go in. I’m just surprised the sink still worked.
“What?” I moan and swing around.
“Are you asleep?” Tori asks.
I stare at her in disbelief.
“...right.” she sighs. “Well, you weren’t answering and stuff, so I just thought... I don’t know. Never mind.
With that she crawls back to her area and slumps against a tree.
“Very cute.” I smile at her. “But really, you should go to bed. It’s like-” I reach into my pockets, then freeze. “Well, if I had my phone on me, I could tell you what time it is.”
“I can tell you what time it is.” She smirks with pride.
She was looking up at the sky now. The moonlight shone through the trees, dotted by little star-like fruits glowing between the branches.
“It’s really easy. Just think of the sun and the moon like hands on a clock.” She explains.
I sit closer to see what she’s pointing at, and the three-quarter moon was visible from her position.
“When the sun is just peaking over the east, it’s six o clock in the morning. And when it reaches its highest point, that makes it twelve o’ clock in the morning.”
“Okay.” I follow.
“So when it sets, that makes it six PM.” She continues. “And the spots in between are nine AM, and three PM.”
“So it’s obviously past 6...” I comment.
She smiles. “You’re smart. The moon and the sun are opposite of each other... you figure out the rest.”
With that she looks back at the night sky. If 12PM happens when the sun is at its highest point, then obviously, since the moon is at its highest point.
I get the weirdest feeling I’m missing something, or, forgetting something. Not only that, but Tori was acting a lot different now. And not drunk different, but... something about her.
“...” She looked at me briefly, then looked the other way quickly. There must be something I’m forgetting... let’s see...
“I need those to say words!”
“Yeah, but wouldn’t life be better if you couldn’t?”
Wait... that wasn’t it. Maybe...
“I’m a vampire!” She giggles. “I’mma suck your blood, Jade!”
What if Tori seriously is a vampire?! And being explosed to the moonlight will turn her into a bat! ...no, no. That’s crazy. I was getting closer, though.
“How much time do we have until the last ferry leaves?”
“Dunno. But I think we should hurry... it’s getting dark.”
Too far that time. Tori was standing now, and began up the tree she was previously leaning against. I think she wanted to get a better view of the moon, maybe to try and calculate exact minutes, even. ...oh wait! That’s it!
“Just do this for me, just until the end of the day.” I reason. “And if you make it to midnight, then I’ll buy you all the boos you want. Sound like a deal?”
She contemplates. “No, Philip already has all the boos I could want. I want something else.”
“Okay...” I drag, crossing my arms. “What’s that?”
I look to her instantly at memory of this event, and she looks away and blushes...
“Hey.” I say. “Get down here.”
She slowly climbs down. “I’m not gonna fall again.” She shrugs, although complying anyway.
“Not that. ...About this morning.” I state, and hope she’ll fill in the blanks.
“I had a feeling you were gonna ask me about that...” She winces, looking down.
“Look, I get it. You were drunk, you didn’t mean it, and, if you still want me to buy you alcohol, then I will! Or if you don’t want alcohol now, I could get you something else.” I shrug. “You know, cause you haven’t drank in twenty four hours. You won the bet, you get your reward.”
“But I already told you what I want!” She argues, stomping her foot. “And, I know you were drunk, talking about... teachers and stuff, and, I know you were hung over when you promised you’d kiss me, but you still promised.”
“You said you would!” Tori snaps. “I heard you! You said ‘you won the bet, you get your reward’.”
“I don’t sound like that!” I defend, and feel an odd tinge of irony.
She just smirks and crosses her arms triumphant. I sigh and take s few paces in the other direction, and even though she may have won that last one, she’s still not getting a kiss from me.
“...so maybe that method only works on me.” She huffs, then drops against the tree. “Go figure.”
Now I just felt bad.
“Hey, it’s nothing against you!” I confide, and take a step closer. “You’re a beautiful girl! ...if it’s any constellation, I would so pick you over Miss Hill.”
She lets out a laugh. “Right. The one you said was fat and hideous.”
Why? Why does she have to be like this.
I sit next to her now, but she turns her face away. Was she seriously this upset because I wouldn’t kiss her?
“...it’s just a kiss, you know. It doesn’t mean I don’t like you, it just means I have a boyfriend... and that would kinda be like cheating.”
She doesn’t say anything, and at first I don’t know if she’s ignoring me, or just thinking.
After a few minutes...“Let’s play ‘If you could’.” She decides.
“Isn’t that a drinking game?” I ask, not quite sure where she’s going with this.
“It’s still a game, and it doesn’t require alcohol, really. It’s just a little more ridicules with it. Totally not necessary.
I look at her nervously. “...okay.”
“I’ll go first.” She announces, then takes a breath in. “Jade.”
I flinch as she says my name.
“If you could kiss me right now without Beck ever knowing, would you?”
It shouldn’t even be a question, yet here I was contemplating it. And Tori was sitting across from me, looking into my eyes with all seriousness, waiting for an answer.
“...and I promise you won’t hurt my feelings, no matter what you answer. It’s just a game, okay?” She reminds.
I don’t know if she really just wanted this, or what was going through her mind. The scary part is; I kinda wanted to. The thought of kissing a girl had never so much as crossed my mind before. With her so willing, and no one else around...
“...oh my god, Vega. If we’re going to do this, you have to swear you won’t tell anyone.”
She was already smiling hugely before I could so much finish my sentence though. I doubt she heard a word I said.
“Really?! You mean it?!!” She says, shaking and laughing with joy.
“First, promise.” I demand.
“I swear!” She says. “I-I promise I won’t ever, ever tell anyone about this.” Tori nods.
“...okay.” I state.
She was finally settled down from the initial shock, and now looked almost a little nervous. I can’t say I wasn’t feeling a bit nervous myself; my head felt a little dizzy, but that might just be the lack of food talking.
Tori scoots herself closer and takes my hands. She was looking down with her eyes half-closed, trying to catch her breath. Her head rose, and I caught a glimpse of absolute lust in her eyes before our lips touched and I instinctively closed my eyes.
It really hits you when you realize you’re leaning topless against a tree, in the middle of an island, kissing someone of the same sex, who, by the way, is also topless, at exactly twelve o’ clock midnight. I don’t claim to know the feeling to describe the way this feels... But I liked it.
Chapter 7: Ghost House
CH 7: The Ghost House
Waking up this morning was a very different feeling. First off; I wasn’t hung over, which was very unusual, but nice. Second, I was outside, lying on the ground in Vega’s arms. She was still asleep from what I could tell, but it looked to be a little past six AM. Surely the ferry has started back up by now.
“Wake up.” I command, then nudge her with my elbow.
“...huh?” She sounds, after yawning and stretching. “Damn, I’m hungry...”
I stand, then help her up. “Then let’s go back to your uncles. I can grab some money, we can order some nachos at the Marina.” I suggest.
“Oh right.” Tori still held on to my hand, but let go promptly. “Lead the way.”
I make my way to the outer ring of the island, and was soon on the ferry. No one was on at this time besides the operator, being so early. We are able to walk a short distance to reach Tori’s uncle’s house, and change our clothes before heading out to the Marina.
I’d been gone all day. I wonder if my grandma has been searching for me, or even the police! Or, if my parents were on their way over here...
I don’t even want to leave with them, though, even if they were on their way in hopes of finding me. This place is my safe haven, and as long as Tori’s here, I’m staying. ...I never thought I’d hear myself say that.
I guess the drinks deserve some credit, considering it’s gotten us in just about every mess so far! It’s the truth, though. We’ve grown closer than ever before, and I could see in her eyes she was thinking the same thing.
“You alright?” I ask before she starts up the jet.
She must not have realized she’d been staring at me until now, because she was acting nervous. “Y-yeah! Just fine. ...thanks.”
“Not so used to being sober, huh?” I smile, then nudge her shoulder.
“Jade, put your helmet on! You’re gonna crack your skull open.”
“Yeah, whatever.” I sigh. Sober Tori cares for my safety- imagine that. It’s alright though; she’s a sweet girl.
I pull on my helmet and Tori waits until she hears the click before clenching the handles and taking off at full speed. Hey, we were stuck on a freaking island for god sakes! Yeah, we’re hungry!
I swear she was contemplating ordering everything on the menu, until remembering cash is limited. I suggest we go back to my granny’s house and take some from there, but she scolds me, claiming that that would be stealing.
“Says the same girl who lies about her identity and breaks into houses.” I tease.
“Yeah but that’s totally different!”
“Are you two going to buy something or not?” Barb asks.
But that’s Barb for ya. Listening to all this about stealing, breaking in, and underage drinking, and only caring about profit. It’s good to know some things will always stay the same.
“How much does a scratched up quarter get me?”
“Half a song on the juke box.” Barb answers, slightly annoyed.
Tori looks down and huffs in disappointment. Barb may let her off the hook every now and then, but certainly not by that much; I would know. ...oh, but this is all my money for the rest of the weekend...
I stare at the menu, and quickly make a decision, considering Barb’s impatiens right now.
“Lemmi get two nacho baskets, and... hey Vega? Whatta ya want to drink?”
She looks shocked. “Seriously? Jade, you don’t gotta do this.”
“Fine, then I’ll just get a Diet Coke.” I shrug.
“No! I mean, you don’t have to get me anything! Really, I’m okay!” She insists.
I roll my eyes. “Common. Sober Jade can’t be nice too? Tell you what; I’ll buy the food, and you can cover the music.” I propose, signaling toward the juke box in the corner.
“And don’t try to convince me otherwise!” I warn.
She closes her eyes, takes in a breath. “Diet Coke is fine.” The girl exhales, smiling sweetly.
“Large diet.” I repeat to Barb, who was already filling up the cup. “And maybe a scoop of superman too... Waffle cone, of course.”
“You best finish your food before you come back for that. I don’t want ice cream dripping everywhere because you took too long to eat it.” She says, handing me the soft drink.
I put exact change on the counter, which she quickly scoops up and examines.
“Thanks sugar! You enjoy your lunch, now.”
I take a seat next to Tori, who was still contemplating which song to play.
“Food’s here.” I announce.
She looks at me. “Thank you so much.” She replies sincerely, then continues her intent staring contest with the song list.
“...indecisive, much?” I derive.
“It’s just I’ve never really heard of any of these songs before! So, I don’t know if they’re any good.” Tori explains.
I take a look through the song list. “They’re all old people songs, none of them are good!”
“Now that’s a common misunderstanding!” Barb argues, walking over to the table.
She points to one, which Tori has to squint to read since the labels were worn out.
“Dancing Queen?” She reads, and Barb nods.
“Go ahead; give it a test run. If you don’t like it, I’ll give ya a refund!”
Wow! Barb offering a refund for anything, that’s like saying you’re going to like it no matter what!”
Tori shrugs, puts her coin in, and punches in the numbers to select the song.
It was surprisingly upbeat, and almost a little familiar. Though I don’t know where I would have heard it, it didn’t even sound like an old person song!
It changed the atmosphere from lonely to energetic, and the next thing I know Tori and I are dancing around the room with Barb and one of the cleaning guys, drunk on happiness.
Finally, the song ends and we decide to eat our meal before it gets cold.
“This is like the best vacation ever!” Tori laughs.
“Agreed! I never want to leave!” I laugh as well, then take a bite out of my nachos.
On the ride back, I noticed my grandma was out back. She was watering the flowers as usual, and I wondered if she could even remember that I was missing. It’s not my problem, I guess.
We finally return to Tori’s uncles. My devious friend insisted on having a few drinks, and I told her ‘absolutely NOT’. Of course when she wants something, though, she won’t stop until it’s hers.
“Okay, fine.” She sighs in defeat. “I’ll only have one.”
“That’s not what I meant!”
“Well you can’t expect me to just not drink at all!” She reasons.
“You know just because it’s available doesn’t mean that you-” I begin, but was cut off when my phone went off.
It was currently charging in the corner of the basement where we were. I check it, and while my back is turned I hear a beer can being opened. That girl...
“Cat.” I reply, but not sure of the truth to that statement myself.
“Oo! Answer it!” Tori demands.
She walked over to where I was and began to reach for my phone, but I pull it back. “What if it’s my parents, calling from her phone?”
“Do you really think Cat would let them do that?”
No, but if my parents made something up... well, Cat would no doubt believe any fake ploy my parents could use to trick her into letting them get a hold of me. Despite my concerns, I answer.
“Cat...?” I say into the phone, and pause mortified.
“Jade!” the perky red-head responds from the other end.
“Hey Cat!” Tori says while waving at the phone, even though Cat can’t see her.
“It’s Tori!” Tori angrily responds, and I can tell from her tone that she must have been through this before.
“Oh, hey Tori!” The eccentric child gleams. “What’s up?”
“Why did you call?” I ask, before she forgets.
“I wanted to know if you brought me some Citrus water.”
“Citrus water?”Confused Tori questions.
“Oh yeah,” I begin in a sarcastic tone. “You know how all your uncle has to drink is beer? Well the only beverages in my grandma’s house are these sparkling lemony waters.”
“They’re so yummy! Hehe!” Cat giggles. “So did you bring some home with you?”
Why would Cat assume I’m at home?
Oh well. “Sorry, but I can’t.”
“Jade isn’t exactly home yet. ...or at her grandmothers.” Tori generously explains, and I still have a slight fear that my parents could be listening in on all this.
“Then where is she?”
“She’s at my house!” Tori smiles, and I cringe.
Cat gasps. “No way! Me too!! Hehehe!!”
Tori and I share the same confused expression as we look around the surrounding area for the annoying red head.
“Um, really?” I ask.
“Yeah! Trina asked me to come over and help her with chores.”
Of course! Now it makes sense. Cat thinks I’m at Tori’s Hollywood house. “Cat, I’m at Tori’s UNCLE’S house, at Diamond lake.” I explain, now certain there’s no way my parents are with her.
“Oh my gosh, you’re both there? Did you tell Tori about the ghost house?!”
And here we go. Tori was obviously interested in this little ongoing mystery Cat brought up, and now I had to explain it to her. I tell her how Cat and I used to go to the lake when we were younger, and Cat sorta took over the explanation from there. She told her about every last detail, when finally I just felt so left out I got up and left, with a few empty cans Tori had finished since we got back. That’s a total of three, by the way.
The whole idea must have sounded silly to Tori. I mean, it’s not like I actually believe there’s paranormal activity in the creepy house across from my granny’s.
I reach the main floor, and realize Tori’s uncle is home. “Who the hell are you?” He kindly greets.
Short term memory loss. Classic. Well, I can’t introduce myself as a West, unless I want to get kicked out, so I suppose...
“My name is Jade Wheeler. I’m Tori’s friend.”
“What in the- Tori’s here? Well why ain’t she helpin me with the chores?!” The drunk man questions.
“I don’t know.” I lie, but even if I did tell him, I doubt he could remember long enough to actually make her do anything.
I step outside afterwards and throw the cans in the recycling bin. As I re-enter, Tori’s now standing in front of me, about to open the door.
“Hey, where ya been?” She asks.
“To the freaking moon and back thanks to your spontaneous appearance.” I say, angrily placing my hands on my hips.
“Oh cool! How was it?”
“Jade, why haven’t you ever told me about the ghost house before?” She asks, more to the point.
I shrug. “We weren’t exactly friends before, I guess.” That, plus I never thought she’d be interested.
She smirks, and I feel a chill down my back. “It doesn’t matter. I know about it now, and I also know what we’re doing later tonight!”
Chapter 8: What happens in Cassopolis...
Ch 8; What happens in Cassopolis...
I look at her in shock, and instantly disapprove. “Oh, no. No no no no no- Tori! We are NOT going to that house! No!”
“Why not?” She slumps, trying to make me feel guilty for ruining her fun.
“Because we could actually get in trouble for that!” I reason. Breaking into my own grandmother’s house is one thing, but an abandoned house? I’m pretty sure that’s illegal.
“So what? Like that’s every stopped you before.” She scoffs. “If we were back at Hollywood-”
“Don’t give me that crap! You think I’m so different here... I mean, have you SEEN the way you’ve been acting lately. If we were back in Hollywood, you wouldn’t have even suggested it in the first place!” I denounce slyly.
She draws in a sigh. “Okay. Point made. We’re still going, though.”
There’s no convincing this girl otherwise. The best I could do was come to a compromise.
“Fine.” I give. “But we only stay for a minute tops, and then we leave. And don’t think that I won’t leave you there by yourself, because-”
She instantly squeezed her arms around my waste, and I couldn’t have finished the rest of my sentence even if I wanted to. “YAY! You’re the best!”
“Can’t... breath...” I manage, and she lets me go.
“So we’ll take the jet to the fishing hole, and walk to your grandmas from there. We’ll easily reach the house by midnight if we leave by eleven thirty. Ooo, this is so exciting!”
With that Tori dashes back to the basement, probably realizing she’d left my phone running.
This is defiantly NOT going to be exciting.
We arrived at the fishing hole later that night.
“You can leave your helmet here, you know.” Tori states. “I’ve left the jet here hundreds of times, it’s perfectly safe!”
“Well the ghost house is NOT entirely safe, and I want to have protection when things start falling down.” I respond.
She rolls her eyes. “Please! It can’t be that old!”
“My grandma grew up in it.” I state. “And she’s ancient.”
For a second she almost looked as though she wanted to bring her helmet along. She shrugged, and started down the path without it. I remained still, wondering if I’d really need it or not.
“Coming?” She calls.
I quickly set the head gear on the seat. “Coming!”
It wasn’t that long of a walk, and Tori’s prediction on the time was spot on. The moon was at its highest point when we’d gotten there, and things couldn’t be much creepier than this.
She looked so happy when we got there, and I tried to remain calm. Inside, I was freaking out. Tori went on ahead up the stone stairs, and my legs were too wobbly to move.
“Locked.” She sounds, pulling on the handle noisily.
I smile. “Oops! Oh well, I guess we can’t go inside! Well, we better be getting back to the jet before-”
“Is that a cellar?” She intrigues. I doubt she’d heard a word I said.
Last time Cat and I were here, the cellar doors did open to an extent. Not enough for anyone to fit in, except maybe bugs are small mice. Last time Cat and I were here was years ago, though.
Sure enough Tori yanks open the large metal blockade, and the chains emanate a loud clank when it collided with the handle.
I thought for sure someone would catch us, but not so much as a light went on.
“Hand me that stick.” She demands, pointing to a fallen branch from a tree in my grandma’s yard.
I retrieve it. “What are you gonna do?”
She was carefully lining the broken branch between the lock and the opening with incredible precision. “Look at how rusted this old thing is. I bet if we had enough force, it might...” She pushes the stick to the side forcefully. “SNAP!” And sure enough, the lock unlatches and the left door swings open.
Tori smiles triumphantly, and I look into the dark cellar of my doom.
“Yes!” She rejoices, offering me a high five.
I tap my hand to hers, unenthusiastic, and she loses the energy as well.
“After you.” I cringe.
Tori crawled in the entrance and climbed down the ladder to the basement, as I followed. I pulled the door shut before reaching the floor, so we don’t draw any more attention to the house that we already have.
“Wow, this place really is old...” She amuses, grabbing a flashlight from her pocket.
“When did you...?” I start, but don’t even bother asking. She has one, which makes things a little safer. That’s all that matters.
We wander up the steps, and have to pry open another door to get to the main floor. Tori does so without hesitation.
“Do you have any fear of the consequences?!” I whisper.
“I have a fake ID.” She reminds in normal volume. “Does it look like I care about consequences?”
We entered what looked to be a kitchen. There were dead and alive bugs in the sink, and dead bugs surrounding the cabinets. Tori opened a cupboard, and a large rat hops out.
“Eee!” Tori squeals, and jumps back.
“Shut up!” I warn.
“Jade, there’s a whole family of rodents living in here!” She freaks, still staring at the baby rats as if they were going to bite her when she wasn’t looking.
“I’m pretty sure there’s more than one family.”
She no longer held her poised attitude, and looked like she was going to start screaming at any second. “It’s been a full minute, if not more. Let’s go!”
Before I could concur, she’s already halfway down the steps, running like mad to get out. She does know there’s a front door, right?
I unlocked the front and walk out onto the stone steps. I go around the side to see that the stick we’d previously used to get in was now wedged in between the handles, keeping the doors shut.
She was banging on the heavy metal, shouting ‘Let me out! Let me out!’
I laugh. “Hang on, chill out. I’ll just...”
But as I pulled on the thing, it wouldn’t budge.
“...uh, Tori? So, the front door is unlocked, you know. If you wanna just come out that way.”
“...yeah, you’ve probably already thought of that, then, and are on your way right now.”
I stare at the door hopefully, but nothing happened. Tori didn’t stroll on out, nor answer me, nor pound on the doors. I know I said that I would, but I couldn’t just leave her in there by herself.
I re-enter the spooky house now, and make a bee-line to the basement. No sign of Tori anywhere, so I go back up to the kitchen area.
“You rats wouldn’t happen to know where my friend went, would you?” I question.
Just then, there’s a slamming sound through the hall.
“Tori?” I call in hope, but nothing. Is it possible she and I AREN’T the only ones here? ...no. Ghosts don’t exist! That’s- that’s just silly is what that is! ...
I carefully tread into the family room where I heard the noise, but there’s nothing here that’s different than before. Whatever made that noise is probably further down the hall.
As I start toward the front door, I once again hear a sound. This time human.
“EEEEE!” A sharp, high-pitch squeal emanates.
I freeze, and can’t find the breath to even call her name this time. It’s probably just more rats that she found. Yeah. Tori. Found rats. And she’s screaming. Simple explanation.
This time the sound came from above, so I start looking for another door or a way up. It was dark, and Tori was the only one smart enough to bring a flashlight, so searching to longer than I would have liked.
I opened a few doors, and my heart raced each time I found a new one. I was expecting undead or skeletons to be staring me in the face when I’d look inside, but all there was were more rooms, bathrooms, and closets. I thought about calling for her again, but if there really is someone else in here, or someTHING else, I didn’t want to draw attention.
Finally, after what seemed to be forever, I noticed a hatch above the fireplace. It opened as a small door, and dropped down a ladder. There were some broken steps, and others had dead termites over them... but this was the only way to get to that scream. I have no choice but to climb up and hope I don’t fall and crack my head open.
One of the steps splits under my foot, but I catch my balance before falling.
Once up, I take a look around. There was a bed, a half-eaten wooden desk, and some dusty books and feathers laying on the floors and shelf.
I hit a board, which creaked under my foot. I saw something flinch in my peripheral vision and quickly spin around to find-
“Tori.” I sigh in relief I’d never felt so happy to see her in my life.
She was curled up in a bal, and still looked a little shaken. She didn’t respond at first. I took a step towards her, and she cringes in fear, burying her head deeper into her knees.
“Hey, it’s just me.” I confide. “I’m not gonna hurt you.”
She points her flashlight at me now, which temporarily blinded me.
“J-jade?” She confirms.
I nod, with my hand up blocking the light.
Tori stood and looked at me a little longer before realizing it really was me. She dropped the light, puts her arms around me, and tucks her head under my chin.
I think she was crying.
“Jade... I wanna go home...” The scared girl whimpered.
I didn’t know what to do. She seemed so afraid, I didn’t want to let her go. I had to if we were going to get down the ladder, though.
“The front door’s open.” I tell her. “Just follow me, alright?”
She nods shakily.
We work our way down the ladder, and I warn her about the broken ledges. We made it to the main floor just fine.
I take her down the hall and to the main door. At first I thought the wind blew it shut, but as a started to pull on it, there was no way it was going to open.
I look outside, and see a branch up against the door. It was unlocked, but the stick was places so that the handle couldn’t be moved.
“That’s the same branch we used to open the cellar.” Tori notes, also peeking out.
It couldn’t be. That one was keeping the cellar door shut! Unless, it was a different one? “How can you be so sure?” I test.
“Cause look, there’s the dent from when I pried the door open! That means that the one from the cellar is gone!”
I press my forehead harder against the thick glass to see she’s right. There was no longer a block on the cellar doors, and they were actually swinging wide open.
Before I can confirm Tori’s assumption, I notice her running to the stairs. I quickly take her wrist, and pull her back.
“Jade!” She cries. “I want to get out of here! Please!”
“Tori no! It’s a trap!” I respond as she desperately tries to break free of my grasp.
“We’re going to BE trapped if we don’t leave while we can!” She argues.
I squeeze her wrist, and let her go. She stays put though, giving me a chance to explain my theory.
“I hate to say this, and I don’t want to alarm you... but it really looks like someth-one.” I correct. “Is trying to keep us here.”
“Then why would they leave the cellar door open?” She asks impatiently.
“Exactly! Why would they leave it open, unless they knew we would have to leave out that way?”
“So you’re saying...?”
“Whatever it is that’s keeping us here, is trying to lure us back into the cellar.” I conclude.
I really hoped that I was wrong, but neither of us were going to risk it.
“So what do we do?”
I was stuck. We couldn’t go back, we couldn’t stay here, though... oh, wait! “...I have a plan.”
“W-what is it?” Tori stutters, once again crying.
“I can’t tell you. But trust me, okay?”
She nods, and I quietly lead her back into the living room.
We both freeze when we noticed the room was now full of bats. The creatures watched us as we watched them, and I pray Tori doesn’t start screaming again.
Slowly, we lower the attic trap-door and carefully unfold the latter to the ground. Tori starts up first, once I instruct her to, and she hesitantly rises. I follow after her, careful not to make any sudden movements that will set off the winged beasts on the ceiling.
Tori reaches the top, and I grab her hand as she helps me up.
“Slow and steady...” She reminds me.
Ironically, my hand slips out of hers and my foot falls back on the lower step with enough pressure for it to break. I slip and fall to the floor, and immediately hundreds of bats start swarming around me, flaring their teeth and screeching as they bash through the room.
I couldn’t freeze up now- I bolt up the ladder and slam the door shut before any of the flying demons find their way in.
“Oh my god, are you okay?!” Tori freaks, not bothering to watch her voice level now.
“This is all my fault! If it weren’t for me, we wouldn’t be in this mess! I’m so, so sorry.”
This is hardly the appropriate time to start caring about the consequences. I couldn’t tell her that though, she was so upset by what she’d done.
I take her in my arms and start rubbing her back. “It’s alright, just calm down. We’ll be out of here shortly.”
“Thank you for coming back for me.”
She was squeezing the life out of me, and I didn’t wish to stall any longer. I pull her back, and point towards the glass window by the bed.
At first she didn’t understand, then,
We both walk over to the opening, and start to pull up. It’s just our luck that it happened to be locked, except not by the traditional pull locks. This one took a key.
“We can try breaking it.” Tori suggests.
We could. But, “No.” I respond. “We’re safe up here, the only entrance is locked, and I bet you there’s a key hidden somewhere in this room. We should at least look for it before we cause anymore permanent damage to this house.”
She doesn’t look like she agrees, but comes to a sound compromise. “Okay. But if I start hearing noises again, I’m breaking out of here.”
“No objections to that.” I agree, and I see Tori almost smile.
We looked through draws, shift through dead bugs, checked inside of books, but nothing was to be found.
Tori drops on to the bed in defeat, and sighs loudly. “This was my worst idea ever.”
...okay, so I guess we can take a little break. I sit next to the girl. “No it wasn’t.” I confide, “It was exciting, right? That’s what you said it was going to be before we got here, and I wouldn’t exactly call this trip ‘boring’.”
She shakes her head. “How can you stay so calm? This is like one of your stories from those plays you write... and doesn’t the main character always die at the end?”
“Well, not ALWAYS.” I explain. “But this isn’t one of my plays, this is real life. Ghosts don’t exist in real life.”
“But rabid rats do.” She argues. “And demon bats, and poison bugs, and psychotic hobos that don’t want you in their house.”
“You know, you should really try writing a horror flick some time, you’d be really good at it!” I joke.
She didn’t even budge though.
“...I guess, the reason I’m so calm, is because you’re here.” I admit, and finally she looks at me.
I smile, and place my free arm over her shoulder. “Yeah, really.”
“Is it because I’m so scared, and you’re just acting this way to keep me from yelling and getting us both killed?” She guesses.
Not entirely... Not even for the most part, though.
“It’s because I know with you here there’s no way we can get trapped. You can just as easily weasel your way out of the things you get yourself into, I’ve seen you do it before. COUNTLESS of times.”
She drops her head against my shoulder and starts to sob. “I can’t.”
“Yes you can.” I insist. “And you’re going to, because our lives depend on it.”
I didn’t want to put more pressure on her, but I had to. It’s at that point that she and I actually start getting ahead, and I rather get it over with before we end up like the bugs in the corner.
She was quiet for a while, before suddenly out bursting with “I don't want to spend my last few hours alive looking for some key!"
"Well sorry, but there's nothing else we really can do here." I point out.
She had her arms tightly wrapped around her forelegs as she pulled slightly at her hair "we could talk. You know, about the good old days."
Like what?" I urge, again taking a seat next to her.
“Like our friends, at Hollywood Arts. I miss them. Cat, André, even Robby and Rex! And Sikowitz.”
“Speaking of psychotic hobos!”
“she'd finally let out a laugh. A short one, but it was enough. "He would make us do ridicules scenes, and speak in funny way, and drink milk out of coconuts, and-"
“Make us create a scene using the letters of the alphabet.”
“I remember that day..." Tori recalls. "Yeah, that was my first day at Hollywood Arts."
"remember when I poured coffee all over you head?" I remind.
She smiles and nods
"You weaseled your way right out of that one, too."
I was referring to her kissing Beck, and she knew it, too.
"Oh. Um... Y-yeah."
"Hey, don't worry about it. We're even, right? It seems pretty fair to me. You got coffee hair, and I got to watch you kiss my boyfriend."
"And now I got you stuck in a haunted house, and you have no coffee."
"right! Because that's the problem here!" I tease back
We both get lost thinking about those days, and remain quiet for a moment.
"...hey, i'm sorry for all the revenge stuff back then. I didn't think you'd ever actually be nice to me. I didn't think we'd ever be friends." Tori reminisces aloud.
"Don't even worry about it. I was way worse to you anyway. Hell! I probably deserve to be locked up in a ghost house after the shit I’ve put you through!"
"No you don't!" she protests. "You tried to talk me out of it, but I was too damn stubborn!"
"We're here now, though, so it doesn't matter. We need to stop focusing on the past and start thinking about the here and now."
"So you're saying you want me to die searching for something we'll never ever find, and probably doesn't exist."
"Hey! You said you never thought we could be friends, and we found that. That key is just as real as our friendship, and I don't care what we have to do, where we have to search- we’re going to find it!"
"...I think you're right. I gotta quit complaining, suck it up, and start actually doing something for a change."
Finally! I was finally getting through to her!
"We checked all the books, all the shelves, all the corners... Where haven’t we looked yet?"
There's a beam going across the roof that looks like something small could be hidden, and we could try lifting the mattress. And checking the sheets.
First we pull the bed apart, but all we find are dead rodents and dust. I'm able to boost Tori up on my shoulders, and she takes hold of the beams for support.
"See anything?" I call.
"Just dust. A few bugs. And a couple splinters." she sighs. "nothing."
She hops down and I briefly hold her for support.
"It's just not here. I bet you it's at the bottom of the lake, and nothing we ever do will open this damn window."
Technically, it can't be in the middle of the lake. That spot was occupied by an island, and I doubt our missing key is there. Still, there's always a chance some little kid took it, and thought it would be fun to throw it in the water. Was it possible that
Tori was right? Was the key so far buried beneath layers and layers of sand that it was impossible to reach before we die?
Tori sat against the side of the bed frame now, since we’d destroyed the only comfortable part. She was shivering, so I cuddled against her for warmth. She was clearly uneasy, so I started bringing up the good times again. The more recent ones, at any rate.
“Remember that time we sang karaoke at your uncle’s bon fire?”
“We were totally off key then two.” She quietly giggles.
“You, making puns, even at a time like this!”
She drops her head against mine. “Remember that time we egged everyone’s houses on the black jet?”
“Remember that time we jumped off the back of your uncle’s truck?”
“He expected us to walk across the water. Man, that guy’s messed up!”
“Remember the time we got stuck on that island?” I continue.
“I think that was yesterday!” Tori corrects.
“In that case, do you remember yesterday?” I tease.
“Remember that time you said you had water, but really you were just trying to make me drink, because you really didn’t want to kiss me?”
“Oh, don’t be like that!” I scold. “I never said I DIDN’T want to kiss you!”
“Right, you said I was boring you.” She sighs. “My mistake.”
“...you don’t bore me. Look at this- look at where we are! If you ever, ever say that you’re boring again, I’m gonna frickin lose it!”
She smiles and shakes her head, knowing it’s the truth. “Even through all that, though. All ‘those times’, you stuck by me.” She begins again. “You didn’t leave me on the island, and you didn’t leave me in the ghost house. You came back and you looked for me. I don’t get it.”
“We’re friends now, you know. And friends make sure that their friends don’t get stuck on islands, or, I don’t know, have to spend a boring weekend at their grandma’s house.”
She didn’t respond.
“Despite what’s happened, this has still been the most fun I’ve ever had at the lake. If you hadn’t been here, we never would have had those good times in the first place. I’m thankful for that.”
“...yeah, I guess I am too.” She admits, and I sink my head further onto her shoulder.
Tori is not the same girl I remember from Hollywood arts. She’s not just some perfect goody-two-shoe brat that has to be loved by everyone. Those people, those fake people, they drive me insane. Tori was real though; she wasn’t a ghost or anything like that, she was a person right here and right now, with dimensions and meaning and purpose. I could hold her, interact with her, and she could understand me, and the fact that I too am real. Finally, we understand each other. Finally.
For whatever reason, all I could think about was that ice cream. Before we came here, Tori and I had left the Marina, and I completely forgot I’d ordered it in the first place. It wasn’t until right now that I remembered I’d paid Barb for one, and she owed me. Like what happened on the island.
Yeah, it happened then too. Tori had asked me to kiss her, and I completely forgot about it. Such important and vital information, which could have saved us both some trouble had I just remembered.
“You know I wasn’t trying to get out of kissing you, right?” I explain out of the blue. “I seriously forgot about the whole thing until you’d mentioned that trick about the moon and the sun, and when I did remember, I was sorta glad you didn’t drink.”
I was being sincere, but I don’t know if she believed me. “Oh, no. Jade, no.”
“I mean that! Don’t be so modest, I mean, you’re a beautiful girl. Who wouldn’t want to kiss you?”
Her face was flush now and she was smiling again, which made me happy.
“...I think I sorta... wanna kiss you again... actually.” I admit quietly.
“I think I would really, really like that.”
At first neither of us moved. I wanted this from her, though. If I was going to die, I was going to die happy. Slowly I pick my head up, and she turns toward me. Before she changes her mind, I press my lips to hers and lock her in a deep kiss.
I had the same feeling as I did when we were on that island, when we first kissed. Sparks shot up from my body, and I felt more intense happiness each second as the kiss went on. I sucked at her bottom lip, each time with more craving for her soft succulent complexion before she’d pulled away, and we both gasp for air.
“I swear to god, Tori Vega, if we ever get out of this house alive I will never, ever be mean to you ever again.” I declare, then she embraces me in a hug.
I clung to her tightly.
Still the only thoughts occupying my mind at the time was that damn ice cream cone. Why? Why did I still feel like there was something I was forgetting? Something missing, wrong, out of place? Perhaps it’s just the false hope that I’ll be out of here to ever get that ice cream.
“You know, I was never bored for a second either.” Tori admits. “When I’m with you, it’s impossible to get bored.”
Yes! I KNEW I was forgetting something!
That moment, without so much as an explanation, I dive to the lose floor board I’d stepped on earlier and pull it up. Underneath, there were dust, bugs and-
“The key!” Tori excites, also noticing the shiny object under the paneling. “How did you know it was-”
“I’ll tell you later. Over ice cream.” I smile. “Let’s just get the hell out of this place.”
“No arguments with that!” She complies.
The key fit perfect, thank god something’s finally working for us. We side the window open carefully, and shut it on our way out. Tori easily climb down the roof, and I just followed her until we were safe on the ground.
“We made it!” She excites, hopping up and down. “Jade, we’re alive!!”
There was a creaking sound in the house, though, and we both notice a door move from the patio.
“Um, you think we can stay at your grandma’s for the rest of the night?” The now-timid girl asks. “I’m kinda not comfortable walking all the way back to the-”
“Say no more. We can get in through the garage.”
We were laying on my bed, curled up in the sheets, cuddling with each other and comfortably in an actual bed for the first time in a long time; safe, secure, warm, and it didn’t smell like liquor or Tori’s cousins.
Yet somehow neither of us could really fall asleep. I don’t think I was still freaking out over the whole ghost house ordeal, but my mind was just so preoccupied. It really, really counts to pay attention to those little details. Falling asleep, I’d be missing so much! And I may even forget about my ice cream over night, or something else that I may need in the future. I really need to take a lesson or two from Tori; although, that crazy chick can almost be too carefree at times.
“You asleep yet?” Tori whispers, nudging me in the shoulder.
“Nope. You too, huh?”
She nods and yawns. “I’m getting there though. Today really tired me out. I bet you we’ll remember this for the rest of our lives.”
Yeah. If something’s really important, I’ll probably remember it eventually. If not, then I guess it didn’t matter. Things turned out great, after all, and I wouldn’t change even one detail about this vacation.
“I’m so glad we both have relatives who live on this lake.” Tori states, before we both fall asleep for the night.
Chapter 9: EPILOGUE
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Eventually my parents came to pick me up, after that dumb mutt of my granny’s discovered I was home. I don’t know where Tori went, but she was gone when I woke up. I feared she was taken or hurt, until I got home and received an email from her, saying I left my phone at her uncle’s, and she’d give it to me the next time we see each other. After that I went two whole days without seeing her or hearing from her, and things just felt different. It was lonely without Tori by my side every second of every day, and I absolutely hated the feeling.
Beck came to visit me Sunday before school. Tori and I promised we’d never tell anyone about what happened in Cassopolis, but I really just wanted to spill everything to Beck. Not because I felt guilty, but because I wanted him to know I had feelings for Tori. I wanted him to accept that, and accept me, and understand what I was feeling. I promised, though, and had no choice but to go along pretending he’s the only love in my life.
At school, I didn’t see Tori until lunch time. It was very hard, since I wanted to wait for her by her locker or pop in her classroom. I couldn’t do it though, because not only did I promise I wouldn’t revile anything that happened, but I also promised I’d be nice to her. How would I respond if people started asking me why I’m suddenly being nice to Tori? I just don’t trust myself to answer without saying something I know I shouldn’t
So at lunch she handed me my phone, and that was it. It was the first time I’d seen her beautiful face in over 48 hours, and we can’t even talk to each other. After everything, though, there’s not much more to say. I assume she must have been sick of me, after all that time, and needed a break. I knew it wasn’t true, though, because I could just tell by the way she walked, and the way she looked at me, that she had been missing me all this time. That’s how well I know her- I can analyze every move she makes. I could give you a minute-by-minute break down of what has happened to her in the past hour, simply by the tone in her voice, and the flicker in her eyes.
Tori acted happy when she was handing me my phone, but the emotion was much more complicated, masked, and confusing then just ‘happy’.
“...so how was everyone’s break?” Cat asks, once everyone has sat down at the table.
“Mine was pretty good!” Andre announces.
“Eh, coulda been better.” Beck shrugs. “Family issues, you know?”
“I had fun.” Robby answers. “What about you Cat?”
“My vacation was great!” She chimes. “Did you and Tori have fun at the lake, Jade?”
All attention was focused at us now.
“...Well, you know.” Tori shrugs. “Boring old lake, same as usual.”
“I brought you some of that citrus water, by the way.” I state, and hand a bottle to the hyper red-head.
“Yay! That’s my fav!”
After handing it to her, I knew she’d shut up. Tori half smiled in my direction instantly picking up on my plan, as everyone else was still left wondering why she and I were at the same lake to begin with.
It’s best we just leave Cassopolis behind us, and focus on here for now. Tori acted the same way she was before, but every time we locked eyes I knew we were both thinking the same thing; We can’t wait to go back next year. After all...
Barb still owes me my damn ice cream cone!
Thank you for reading everyone! Keep an eye out for part two of the Lake fic series, which will be titled 'Cassopolis Diamonds'
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