Keep the Beat

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Chapter 20

“Let’s go back.” Shane murmured, letting me go. “We can chill in your cabin. I told Kelly to make more cookies after what happened to yours.”

I furrowed my eyebrows. “I still can’t believe they destroyed all my cookies.”

“I didn’t even get a taste.” Shane agreed, “We’ll eat a tray in your cabin.”

“A tray wouldn’t taste too nice. I’m not very fond of metal.”

“Ha ha.” He responded dryly, “We’ll eat a tray of cookies in your cabin. Better?”

“Much.”

We trailed through the woods back towards the cabins as I thought everything over. “What are you going to do?” Shane questioned. I glanced at him with pursed lips.

“I still haven’t made my mind up yet. All I know is that this isn’t Keara winning. If she thinks this is all it takes, she’s having a laugh.”

“So what are you going to do?” He repeated.

“I’m going to win.” I stated, “And I’m going to do some pranks. It’s been too long.”

“Who are we going to prank?” Shane pressed, always eager to be the robin to my batman.

I chuckled, “Everyone.”

“Where have you been?” Shannon demanded. “I was worried sick! Have you even checked your phone? Did you see all my calls? My voicemails? My messages? I wasted so much credit on you, jeez!”

“Lay off Shannon.” Shane snorted, softly pushing her aside. I however wasn’t so gracious as I shoved her onto her bed.

“Me? You and Cassie started a cookie war! With my cookies! Have you any idea how long I was craving those cookies? You monster!”

Melissa and Jessica were sitting on my bed, watching with an amused expression.

“I was angry, your cookies were the last thing on my mind.”

“How dare you. They should have been the first! They’re special cookies.” I huffed, crossing my arms stubbornly.

“Can we stop talking about cookies for a moment and focus on the more important topic?” Shannon demanded, sighing exasperatedly.

I glared at her before nodding. “Good idea, I still can’t get over the fact that Orlando Bloom is going to be back in the new Pirates of the Caribbean film!”

“May!” Shannon, Jessica and Melissa chorused in disbelief.

“What? That’s the only important topic I can think off.”

They glared at me blankly causing me to sigh, “Okay fine. Chase and Keara are together. Big whoop, I hope they are very happy with each other.” I snapped, throwing my hands up in the air angrily.

“May don’t think like that.” Melissa murmured, “No way would Chase ever date Keara without a reasonable explanation! He could be doing this to stop her from annoying you-“

“Don’t.” I hissed. “I don’t need anyone to ‘protect me’ -or whatever the hell they think it’s called- against her.”

“I’m not saying you do.” Melissa said softly, “But Chase cares too much about you to do this.”

“I thought that about Marc for years. I’m not doing that again.” I promised myself, “If you’re right, then time will show it.”

“So you’re just going to do nothing?” Jessica asked, slightly shocked by this.

“What is there to do?” I questioned, rolling my eyes.

“Well do something to show Keara that you aren’t going to lie in bed all day with ice cream and Taylor Swift songs.”

She was right. I never thought I would say that Jessica was right. “Okay.” I agreed, “I’ll do something then.”

“Like what?” Melissa asked cautiously.

I grinned slyly and made my way to the wardrobe, pulling out one of my smaller suitcases that I never opened. I opened it up to reveal a suitcase full of all-you-need prank equipment.

“Oh no.” Shannon whispered, “Are we doing what I think we’re doing.”

“Oh we’re doing something alright. The annual prank war is today, pass it on to anyone who needs to know.”

I climbed onto the table and began to decorate the dining area with balloons. The wooden piers that surrounded the area and held the roof over our heads were perfect objects to hang our paint balloons. I climbed back down and tied the string to one of the tables at the bottom.

“How is this going to work?” Jessica asked, as she tried to piece the puzzle together.

“Well, the needle is sitting right under the three balloons up there. When we pull this string- which hopefully no one can see because it’s basically thread, the balloons will be tugged down onto the needle, bursting them.”

Jessica looked impressed as she tied the second thread to the second table.

“And you’re going to get Keara and her small gang just like you got me?”

“Exactly.”

Once we were finished we left Max who had already been thrown out of the war by Cassie, to mind the strings.

I took my phone out of my pocket, and dialed Shane’s number. “Hi Shaney boy, where are you?”

“I was just talking to Kelly, heading back with the cookies now.”

“Oh, well thank god I’m not late because I was supposed to call you earlier… Try not to get pranked.”

“Pranked? What?”

“Love you! Bye-“

“You did not call a prank war without warning me!”

I hung up and smirked at Jessica. “Who do you want to prank?”

Shannon and Melissa had made themselves busy with my latest prank invention. I wrote small notes to be pushed them through the cabin doors informing people that their ‘friends’ were teaming up and that they were going to meet up in a certain place to come up with plans.

They were going to meet up, they just weren’t expecting to be covered with glitter glue and feathers.

“I want to prank James.” She stated and I smirked.

“I already have a plan for that.” I stated, reaching for my bag and producing a tub of sticky blue liquid.

“What are you going to do with that?”

“Well, I think everyone has realized how much hair gel James uses in his hair. What you have to do is place the label and lid of his hair gel on this tub. Then if you meet him, mess his hair up a bit and make sure he has to go back inside and fix it. You’ll see the results soon enough.”

“And what are you going to do?”

“Get my cookies, duh?”

With that I spun around and began to walk in the direction of Kelly’s kitchen, hoping to meet Shane along the way. My miniature journey was quite eventful as I passed by many people being pranked. Chris himself had been pranked by a group of boys who decorated his car in pink glitter, pompoms and feathers.

“May!” I heard someone hiss from the bushes. Cautiously I pulled my glitter gun out of my pocket and made my way around the bush, pointing it at the weirdo in the bushes.

“Shane? What the hell are you doing?” I asked, my face pulled back in an utterly confused expression.

“Hiding from a groups of prankers.” He grumbled, balancing the tray of cookies on the palm of his hands.

“Ooh cookies.” I mumbled, stuffing one in my mouth. “We have to run back to Kelly’s real quick though.”

“What for?”

“You’ll see.”

Once we reached Kelly’s, she turned to look at me with disbelief. “Dude, how many emotions are you going through today?” She asked, gesturing to my excited grin.

“Shut up and get me some paprika, woman!” I ordered, taking a bite out of a cookie.

Kelly narrowed her eyes at me, “Why?”

“Because I feel like something… Spicy.”

“You’re going to put it into the cookies, aren’t you?”

“Damn right I am!”

She glanced over at Shane, eyes wide with disbelief. Shane sighed, “She started a prank war.”

“Oh.” Kelly mumbled, before shrugging, “Of course she did.”

Seeing that she wasn’t making any move to get paprika, I made myself busy by rooting through the presses. “Jeez woman, these are so unorganized. Why the hell is the can of sweetcorn beside the tin of maple syrup?”

“Why not?”

“One is savoury, the other is sweet. Don’t you organize your cupboards?”

“No actually, I just grab whatever I want when I want it.”

“Disgusting.”

I finally found the paprika and checked the ingredients, making sure it was extra spicy. “Perfect.”

“People are going to see the red stuff on top though?” Shane added.

“No they won’t.” I argued, grabbing a tin of hot chocolate from the same cupboard. “It’ll be hidden.”

“You’re terrible May.” Kelly pointed out, but she grinned none the less.

“Yolo.”

I made my way through the camp, munching on a prank free cookie. “Cookies!” Josh exclaimed, “Are these the ones the Max tasted?”

“Yup.” I nodded, chewing slowly. “Do you guys want to call time out? Because I want to eat these beauties.” I sat down on the ground, the overflowing tray of cookies on my lap and grabbed another cookie that I had marked with an ‘x’ through the chocolate powder so that I knew it was prank free also.

Quite a few people were in the area and they all nodded in agreement and made their way over, snatching up a cookie. Josh was the first to take a bite, he chewed slowly before his face began to scrunch up in horror. By this stage the tray was almost empty, and Josh began cursing as he searched for some sort of liquid.

“Fuck you guys!” He exclaimed, his mouth open wide as he frantically tried to wave wind at it to calm the heat down.

The other campers reacted similarly, jumping around and cursing. “My gran always said I’d never be a chef like Kelly…” I mused, backing away from the crowd of people. “Trust nobody!” I yelled, saluting them and sprinting away.

Shane followed me, howling with laughter. We approached the canteen area once again, to see a number of people sitting- having already been pranked. I could see Keara making her way over, hatred and rage surged through me as I growled under my breath.

“Easy tiger.” Shane mumbled, squeezing my shoulder.

I glanced over at Max, who was already sitting beside one of the strings for the paint balloon prank. Cassie was sitting with a group of other people, her hand ready to pull another one, and I made my way over to our usual table where the last string was. Keara didn’t look like she’d been pranked, yet Stella did. Stella was covered head to toe in glue and feathers. Her mascara was running down her face where a water gun must have striked her.

Keara sat down beside her and attempted to pluck the feathers out of her hair, she look irritated with Stella for being pranked already. Chase entered the area, and walked to the same table right in the middle towards Keara, like an obedient dog.

I watched him, trying to figure out his next move. His eyes quickly shot to mine, as if he knew he was being watched. I bit my lip, hesitant but the moment passed and I tugged down on the string. Max and Cassie both followed my lead and balloons burst, letting a flow of colors fall from the roof and splash down on top of the three.

The moment the paint hit them, Keara shrieked, Stella screeched and Chase did absolutely nothing but hold back an amused smile.

Keara’s head shot up and she snarled at a spluttering me. I couldn’t control the fit of laughter that was shaking through my body.

“You know May, I was listening to a song by Paramore yesterday. And it reminded me of you.”

I wiped the tears of laughter from my eyes before replying, “I don’t know what shocks me more. The fact that the green, orange and blue paint made that sort of purple colour, or the fact that you listened to Paramore.”

Whoa, I never meant to brag.
But I got him where I want him now.” She began, smiling at me. “Whoa, it was never my intention to brag, to steal it all away from you now.”

But God does it feel so good,
’Cause I got him where I want him now.
And if you could then you know you would.
’Cause God it just feels so…
It just feels so good!”
Keara and Stella chorused, I could tell they had been rehearsing this- preparing for the moment to take me down through music. I grinned, they underestimated my love for Paramore. I decided to shake things up a bit. I could have easily won that sing off by singing the next verse of the song and directing it at Keara, but I didn’t want to be petty. I didn’t want to look like I was fighting about a boy, singing lyrics about how I was going to get him back.

“I told ’em all where to stick it.
I left town with a dime to my name..
I said, I’m done with all of my fake friends!
Self-righteous pawns in a losing game.”
I sang softly, ignoring confused looks. I was going to sing one of my favorite yet least known Paramore songs against Keara’s version of Misery Business.

Keara furrowed her eyebrows but continued her singing,

Second chances they don’t ever matter, people never change.
Once a whore you’re nothing more, I’m sorry, that’ll never change.
And about forgiveness, we’re both supposed to have exchanged.
I’m sorry honey, but I passed it up, now look this way.” She sang furiously, in an attempt to make her voice sound tougher and add a rock sound.

“Got my band and a light that won’t go out.” I sang, gesturing to Shane and Shannon who were standing behind me.
“Been burning since the day I was born.
So I cried just a little then I’ll dry my eyes,
cause I’m not a little girl no more.”

“Well there’s a million other girls who do it just like you.
Looking as innocent as possible to get to who,
They want and what they like, it’s easy if you do it right.
Well I refuse, I refuse, I refuse!” Stella finished, unsure of herself. My song was extremely different to theirs. It was an odd choice, with a different rhythm and tone all together. I smiled at her and continued.

Some of us have to grow up sometimes.
And so, if I have to I’m gonna leave you behind…
Some of us have to grow up sometimes!
And so, if I have to I’m gonna leave you behind!” I sang, and took lead of the performance.

Stood in line for so long just to picket…
Something I will never understand.
Aren’t you tired of always being mad at the world?
Won’t you just admit you don’t care?
And lady, I don’t want your pity!
So don’t feel sad for me!
I got a love I would die for and a song to sing.
Maybe we’re both just living out our dream?”

“Whoa, I never meant to brag!
But I got him where I want him now
-” Keara attempted to regain control but she was interrupted by me and a handful of campers.

“And some of us have to grow up sometimes!
And so, if I have to I’m gonna leave you behind!
Some of us have to grow up sometimes!
And so, if I have to I’m gonna leave you behind…”

“Just give it up already!” She cried, the moment we had finished. She stormed forward, paint still dripping from her head, her voice fell to a softer tone and she looked at me with sympathy. “You’ve lost Esme.”

I scoffed at this, but she continued. “You always lose. And I always win. Don’t you see? Our dance instructor chose me. Marc chose me. Sarah chose me. Your parents would choose me if they could!”

“Stop.” Shane told her, his voice worried.

“Chase chose me. In the end it’s the same as always. You’re reckless May, you have nothing to your name. You’re an embarrassment to your parents.” She laughed mercilessly, “Remember when they refused to bring you to one of their opening evenings because ‘kids couldn’t go’, but then asked me if I’d like to go?”

“No one cares about Esme. Sure, some people put up with May because she’s the one who does stupid pranks to make them laugh, but they don’t even know you. They don’t even know you Esme.”

“Keara stop it now.” I could hear Chase whisper.

“And then you thought that Chase actually did know you, I know exactly what you said to Jack. Jack told me, that’s another name to add to the list of people who chose me-“

“That’s a lie.” I croaked out, “Jack hates you more than anything. You know nothing about him, so don’t even think about bringing him into this.”

Keara rolled her eyes, “You know what your dad said to me last Summer? He said ‘Esme should learn how to be like you. If she was more like you then I’d tolerate her more.’ He said that while he made me a cup of tea at your house. Has he ever even made you tea?”

“I don’t like hitting girls, but if you don’t stop you’ll be an exception.” Josh snarled protectively, “I told you the other day to back off.”

“They hate you Esme. You’re useless, an utter mess. Soon enough they’ll have left you too and you’ll be lonelier than you are now. You’re probably the loneliest person I know, because even though you have friends- they don’t even know the real you. Pathetic.”

“Say one more word, and I will rip you apart.” A voice hissed, venom laced in every word. The sound made the hair on the campers back stand up, and it even shut Keara up.

Kelly stood behind me, nostrils flaring as she glared at Keara. Keara backed up a little, intimidated by Kelly’s stance.

“I’ve been looking for an excuse to ruin that fucking face of yours for a very long time, and I think you’ve finally given me the opportunity.” Keara’s eyes widened at Kelly’s words, and tried to hide behind Stella.

I took this opportunity to flee the dining area, twice in one day.

I felt broken, worthless, stupid, pathetic. The words continued in my mind. I stood there and let her say those things, let her say… The truth.

“May!”

I was almost at the dock, ignoring looks of campers passing.

“May stop, please just let me know you’re okay.” Chase grabbed my arm, pulling me to a halt. I broke free from his grip and looked at him at disbelief.

“Am I okay? Really? Are you asking me this?” I questioned breathlessly, “You’re so stupid!”

I gritted my teeth and groaned in frustration. I couldn’t stop myself from hitting him, repeatedly on the chest. I wasn’t hitting him hard, despite the rage inside me, I still didn’t want to hurt him. He didn’t try to stop me.

“I fell in love with you Chase, and you knew I did. Don’t even say you didn’t, because it was obvious!” I whimpered, “And then you go to her? Her? Why her? Anyone else but her… I feel so stupid!”

I gripped my hair, and his hands wrapped around mine, bringing them away from my hair to stop me from pulling at it.

“I don’t know what to say, May. I l-“

“Save it, don’t pretend. There is nothing that can excuse this! Nothing, literally nothing!”

I could see water in his eyes, despite his attempt to hide it. My heart broke at the sight and a sob shook through my body. “Just go.” I sobbed, “Please Chase just go.”

He sighed, and tucked a lock of hair behind my ear. “You’re not stupid. I’m the one that’s stupid. You hear me? You are everything May, people love you for being you. So don’t even think about changing that! May you don’t lose people to Keara, the only thing she does is take the toxic people out of yours.”

They he complied to my wished, and walked away from me. I was so confused, thoughts were spinning around in my head, and the main one was that he still cared.

I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

My legs gave it, and I sat on the rough ground, tears pouring down my cheeks as I sobbed my heart out. I was tired of pretending to be okay, I was so tired.


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