Was this part of the Plan?
Cindy managed to escape her house soon after her parents left for work. Her body was shaking with ire and frustration, but she decided to walk to the park.
She took no time finding Libby, who had been waiting on a bench near the ugly fountain.
"Take the SATs again? AP testing is coming up, can't you even take a break until after finals?"
Cindy hid her face in her hands, "What do you think? I'm terrified what this summer is going to be like. I'm never going to get to leave the house except to go to work."
"We have to survive spring break and the stupid prom first. Which reminds me: we need to go for our dress fittings tomorrow."
"Great. But what do you want to do today?"
"I don't know. Watch a movie? Sunbathe? Get my nose pierced?"
Cindy chuckled until she realized that Libby wasn't smiling. "Oh my god, you're serious! Libby, you don't even have pierced ears: you just wear clip-ons."
"Then I'll do them too and worry about infections later. Charisma Magazine says that after a break-up you should change up your look, and since my hair and body are already perfect, I figure-"
"Bedazzling your face will make you feel better?"
Libby had a look of indignation on her face, "What do you care? It's not your face!"
"I just want you to think it through first."
There was an awkward pause. "Brittany has a nose ring"
"Brittany didn't just break up with her boyfriend and create an elaborate scheme to make him jealous."
Libby glared, "I'm not-"
"Right, whatever. Can we just go watch a movie at my house or something? I don't want to argue today."
"Eh, neither do I. Let's go, and maybe we can make some brownies."
"I like the way you think."
Jimmy checked his phone and black box obsessively from the moment the clock stuck 10. Five minutes had passed and Cindy should have been in position by now. He could only keep Sheen occupied in the lab for so long. Eventually he was going to figure out that there was no cheese hidden in that maze.
Finally, the two girls walked up the street, holding a grocery bag.
Jimmy stuck the phone in his pocket and walked over to them. "Good morning ladies. What are you two collaborating on this very fine day?"
Libby rolled her eyes. "Do you think you could maybe talk like a person for once?"
"We were going to make some snacks. Nothing definite. What's up?"
Cindy was a better actress than he gave her credit for. "Do you think you could help me with a little project in the lab".
"I don't see why not?"
"Whatever. But, I will not do anything that involves electrical wiring, raising the dead, or going back in time".
"Duly noted. Come with me". They walked towards the lab entrance. Jimmy gave Cindy the thumbs up when Libby wasn't looking, but she didn't look so confident.
Things will work perfectly. He would have told himself that nothing could go wrong, but that always seemed to end in disaster, and there was no way that could happen. Right?
"Alright, what do you need us to do?" Libby got off the mat and walked towards the computer. "Compare data, pour green stuff, watch moni-" she stopped short when Sheen walked out of the containment maze bemoaning the lack of cheese. Then he saw them.
"This had better be a hallucination caused by a gas leak".
Libby's eyes narrowed, "What is he doing here?"
"Apparently getting screwed over. A change of pace from just being physically injured."
"Oh, so you're speaking to me now?"
"I could ask you the same question"
Jimmy walked between them. "If you would allow me to explain, I invited you both here to-"
"Invited! You tricked us! We only came because you said you wanted help. This is not-"
Suddenly Carl and Elke came through the emergency exit. "Hey everybody! Are we having a party?"
Sheen waved his arms "Get out of here Carl! It's not safe for anyone in here!"
"Jimmy decide to be the world's biggest betrayer-er"
"That's not a word"
"You're not a word!"
Cindy stood by desk, seeming to grow more nervous by the minute. Jimmy seized the opportunity to back up, leaving Sheen and Libby in the perfect position.
"The reason you are here," he calmly stated, "is to open a dialogue and figure out what is going on."
"Yeah, ok Doctor Freud, we'll do just that. Or we can leave here before I break your face." Libby started to walk back to the exit tube.
"I was hoping it wouldn't come to this," Jimmy pulled out his control panel and pushed a button. Suddenly, four glass walls rose out of the lab floor and surrounded Sheen and Libby. Cindy stared on horrified as the two beat on the glass. "This wasn't part of the plan!"
"Actually…" she glared at him, "I had to have some way to control the gas!"
Libby threw her entire body against the wall, screaming "Jimmy Neutron, you let me out of this case or I will drive my spiked heel through your eye socket!"
"You don't exactly have that kind of bargaining chip right now."
"Dude, come on! Since when did you become a super villain?"
"When you became a couple of juvenile cowards? Now you two are going to talk like mature adults or I will make you talk."
Libby put one hand on her hip and sneered, "I'd like to see you try."
A smirk spread over his face, "I was so hoping you would say that," he pushed another button.
A light yellow gas slowly filled the container, piped in from black tubes that appeared from the floor. A look of panic spread over Sheen and Libby's faces, then dissipated. The pair looked confused when it didn't have a physical reaction.
"What? Not going to melt off my skin today, super freak?"
Sheen fanned the cloud away, "I was kind of expecting more than this. Although I must say, I don't mind the arrangement."
Libby whipped her head around. "What is that supposed to mean?"
He blushed, "Nothing! I-I mean…what did I mean?"
Jimmy continued to smirk, "Oh, I think you'll find that you say exactly what you intend."
Libby turned to glare at Jimmy again "What is that supposed to mean?"
"Why are you a vegetarian?"
"Don't try to change the subject!"
Just answer the question."
"Because I like mayonnaise too much to be a vegan!" She clapped a hand over her mouth. "What was that?"
She raised one eyebrow about to ask something, when it suddenly dawned on her. "Jimmy, what is this yellow stuff?"
Cindy, who had been biting her thumbnail for the last ten minutes couldn't stand it any longer. "It's a chemical compound that makes you unable to lie. This was all an elaborate ruse to get you guys to open up!"
Libby looked livid, "Oh, I'm about to open something up! What made you think this was a good- wait, how did you know that?"
"Did YOU have something to do with this?"
"NO! I mean, I knew about the serum, but-"
"Did you know he was going to use it on us?"
She stared at her feet.
Libby's jaw dropped. "Oh my gosh, you did. How could you? You know what, I really shouldn't be all that surprised. I just knew that once you two started dating you would throw me under the bus."
Cindy looked as though she had been struck across the face, "What! Why would you say that?"
"Oh, I don't know- BECAUSE YOU DID!"
"Don't yell at her Libby, this was all my idea and she tried to stop me!"
"Oh don't worry, I have plenty of things to say to you too. You had better hope this gas is poisonous or else I will strangle you when I get out of here".
"That's not fair, I thought this could help you. I didn't know he would do this."
"Oh really? Because his track record is so squeaky clean. You two are so self-centered, you don't even-"
"Self-centered! You two were making everyone's lives miserable with this! Breaking up is one thing, but you've been moping and making a point to stab each other in the back at every turn!"
Cindy looked like she was going to cry. "Jimmy, that's a little-"
Sheen interrupted, "Oh please, you are just mad because all the focus isn't on your relationship for once!"
"Who makes the focus on us! Who is such a busy-body they can't leave anyone alone!"
"Don't bring her into this!"
"Who said I was talking about just her?"
Carl, Elke, and Cindy stared at the spectacle in front of them, not daring to say a word.
This is not how this was supposed to go.
Everyone was so busy watching Sheen and Libby yell at Jimmy; they didn't notice the gas seeping out of the miniscule hole in one of the tubes.