Bell, Troy and Max continue to stare at my nose while the silence lingers.
I sigh. "How bad?" It's a good thing I have brutally honest friends.
"I'm not gonna lie," Max pauses in thought, "actually, scratch that, I'm gonna have to lie because if I tell you the truth you will cry. I know how your looks are the only good thing you have going for you."
I wouldn't be so sure about that.
As if reading my mind, AJ sits down beside me and rubs my arm. "Ben, I cleaned you up. It's not that bad." She shakes her head. "I'm lying. It's bad. I just don't care."
"How can you stand to be that close to him now?" Troy chimes in, looking at AJ questioningly. Unfortunately, he met her. "I have to know. How can you love a monster?" He gestures over to me. "He's hideous."
He honestly deserves to have his ass handed to him.
"With a skew nose like that, he looks like a black witch," Troy pipes up again with his unwelcome opinion, talking as if I'm not sitting directly in front of him.
I scowl at him until he finally decides to acknowledge me.
"You wanted the truth, Bro spell caster. I'm just putting it out there; your nose looks rather out there. Looks like a blotched Botox op if I'm being partially honest. If I'm completely honest, Max's right, you're gonna bawl your eyes out. But don't worry, you were never attractive anyway. Nothing lost." He touches the side of his head, pretending that there's a brain somewhere in there. "Positive thinking, my friend. You're welcome."
Bell whacks Troy in the stomach. "Stop talking."
He hunches over in pain. "Never."
"Bell?" I look up at her standing before me. She'll be truthful.
"No, I can't do that to you." She puts her hand up and shakes her head. "You don't want to hear my opinion," she says before quickly walking out of the room, avoiding me.
No! I don't want to hear Troy's stupid opinion!
"I don't blame her. It's really hard to look at you," Troy continues to talk through that fat hole in his abominable face. "Just so you know." He too shakes his head as if disgusted by me. "You might just need a face transplant or maybe just wear a bag over your head or something." He touches the side of his head again and grins. "Innovative thinking, my friend."
I glower at him. "I'm not your damn friend."
"Bro, don't stress it," Max waves the matter off, dismissing it completely. "You're lucky to have me as your friend. I'm gonna help you," he says, too overconfident for my liking. "Do you trust me?"
"Absolutely not," I immediately answer him. I'm not letting him come near my face.
"Okay then," Max rubs his hands together as if getting warmed up, "not quite the answer I was expecting, the opposite in fact. It would have stung a little less if you hesitated for at least a second or so." He shares a look with AJ and Troy before motioning over to me with his head. "Just like we planned guys."
"Forgive me, Ben," AJ says softly. "It's for your own good."
"And all of ours," Troy adds.
Before I can react, I'm tackled down by the two of them. How Max got Troy to actually follow through with his plan, I'll never know.
"Max," I struggle against Troy and AJ but AJ's freakishly strong and Troy's well built for an idiot, "listen to me. I'm a lawyer. Lay a finger on me and you're going to jail." I try to shove the two off but to no avail.
Max laughs, not taking me seriously. "Spare me your pathetic threats, Benjamin."
Not my freaken name!
I turn my head to the side when Max comes closer but Troy forces my head straight. "Look at him, BroBlackWitch, because we can't look at you any longer when you look like this. I'm sorry but I don't think I can be friends with you anymore."
"I would've got my nose broken a million times then, like a century ago!" I yell at Troy, momentarily distracted from the threat at hand.
I feel Max's hands cover my nose. I automatically tense up. "Relax, dude. I'm a pro at repairing faces. I've had a lot of experience in the area."
AJ frowns at him in confusion. "I will touch on that later," she says, her interest piqued. As for me, I don't want to know.
"On three, Ben," Max tells me, ignoring all of my protesting and attempts to get away. "One," he begins slowly, making it that much worse.
I close my eyes, expecting him to go on one. When he doesn't, I wait for two. Still nothing. However, my heart continues to pound in my chest. "What the heck, Max?!" I shout. The suspense is killing me -- this is torture, I can't take it. "Everyone says they're gonna go on three but then they go on one so that it's over quicker and unexpected!"
"But I knew that you'd be expecting me to go on one or two and not on three like I said, so really I'm helping you out by actually going on three," he explains, his logic making no sense to me.
"But now I know that you're going on three!" I argue with him, furious.
He furrows his eyebrows in realization before shrugging. "Three!" He shouts anyway, clamping his hands down on my nose.
I feel a sharp twinge of pain before hearing a crack. I bite down on my bottom lip, waiting for more extreme pain but it doesn't come. I open my eyes. Max's hands have been replaced with AJ's pretty, blue eyes.
"All done," she smiles at me and hands me a lollipop. "You were so brave."
"I'm too old for this crap." I roll my eyes but stubbornly pop the lollipop into my mouth anyway. I glare at Max.
"AJ!" Troy whines like a girl despite just meeting her. "Move your giant head so we can see our work! It must be bestowed upon us. Don't block our view." As soon as AJ moves out of the way, Troy gasps in horror. "Block the view again, AJ! Block it, block it!"
"What?" I ask, glancing at Max, already knowing that I won't get a proper answer from Troy.
Max cringes and places both hands over his mouth, taking in my face. "I think I may have just made it worse."
"Gah! Gross! Sea monster! Eew! Yuck! Sick! Nightmare from hell!" Troy covers his eyes with his hands and jumps up and down in disgust. "I can't! He's more hideous than before! The image of his nose is burning into my brain. I can feel it coming up. I'm going to vomit."
"So then why are you leaning over me?!" I snap at him and kick him away from me.
"I figured it won't make much difference to your appearance," he replies, still on the verge of puking his guts out.
"Here," Max hands me Troy's compact mirror.
I hesitantly look into the mirror and then sigh in relief. "This is how my nose has always been, morons!"
I need new friends.
"Oh," Max replies coyly, showing no shame whatsoever. "Well, then this is extremely awkward." He pats me on the back. "I'm sorry you look the way you do. No one's ever noticed how ugly your nose is before. You're very lucky but also very ugly."
I really need new friends. I'm going to branch out and spread my wings. These people are useless.
Troy brings his sister and his stupid friend to the room. He still has his eyes covered with one hand. "It's in there, guys," he uses his other hand to flimsily gesture in my direction, peeking from the gaps in between his fingers.
Bells immediately shields her own eyes when spotting me. "I'm blind!" She shakes her head, refusing to look at me. "Max, what did you do to Benley?! Bring his nose back!"
"Zie nose zis zasgusting!" Ramos pulls a face too before fainting.
I'm officially done for today.