Rewind (Book 2)

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Chapter 10: Jailbirds

Infuriated, I cross my arms over my chest and glare out the moving vehicle’s window. Grey literally forced me into his car before strapping me down. He hasn’t even bothered to apologize. He can’t just do what he wants with me. I will not be tamed! I am a wild card. I’ll forever stand by that.

Emma insisted on taking her own car. Xavier, Nancy and Ryan are riding with her, leaving me with Grey, Sarah and Landon. Sarah’s the only nice one in this car, sucks to be her. The odds are not in her favor.

The journey is silent, mostly because I’m still sulking.

“So how does it feel to be back in town?” Sarah asks, directing her attention off of Landon and unto me. She does it in an attempt to break the silence and slice the thick tension between Grey and myself.

Not in the mood for small talk, I shrug as I try to think of an appropriate response, “Well there’s a lot of cars and stuff…” I answer glumly, “everyone loves cars.” I conclude, not quite sure what the hell it is I’m even saying. All I can focus on, is killing Grey for being inconsiderate and inhumane. He’s so mean. He has to be the worst person I know.

Sarah falls quiet, unsure what to say to that. Grey, on the other hand, scoffs in irritation at my answer. Fortunately, Landon seems to think that my answer is a reasonable one, “I hear you.” He agrees with me easily, able to relate. I have to crack a smile at that. He’s so clueless.

Grey parks his car at the police station. I hop out immediately and head straight to the front desk, ignoring Grey’s calls for me to slow down. He wants me to first think about what I’m going to say. Funny!

On impulse, I slam my fist down on the front desk, causing the officer on duty to just about skyrocket off his seat in fright. “I demand you release Dean this instant! He is innocent!” I raise my tone at the poor officer, still livid with Grey and now taking my fury out on the guy before me.

Grey’s the one who should be in prison on the charges of kidnapping. He’s the guilty one here! This is all his fault. I blame him. I always blame him because it is always his fault.

“Miss, calm down.” The officer states as he takes out some documents, “Ma’am, I’m going to need to see some identification.” He informs me as if unfazed by my attitude. I suppose he’s used to this. Perhaps he gets this on a daily basis.

“What am I? A fugitive? An escaped convict? A bandit? An outlaw? What is this? An interrogation? I refuse, at least not until I see Dean.” I argue, too annoyed and riled up to care as to how I’m speaking to a federal officer.

The officer sighs at my difficulty and persistence, “What’s his last name?” He queries, choosing to be helpful. I suppose he can sense that if he doesn’t help me, he’ll be signing his own death warrant. I’m in a mood.

Exasperated, I throw my hands up to the air, “I don’t know!” I yell, “What kind of question is that anyway?” I huff in irritation.

“A rather fairly normal one, Miss.” The commanding officer says as he raises a prodding eyebrow at me, “You don’t know his last name?” He asks in bewilderment, confused as to why I care so much about Dean when I don’t even know his last name.

Landon shoves me aside, determined to bail his best friend out of jail. “It’s Wyatt, Dean Wyatt.” He answers the cop - the earth’s worst kind of human being, after lawyers that is. Lawyers are hardcore. They’re the scumbags who let criminals walk free.

“Oh yeah, that kid who broke in to a vehicle and then harassed a cop.” He, the cop, distinctly remembers. Dean’s surname rings a bell for him. It just shows how many arrests he makes in a day. It also shows just how many times Dean has been arrested.

“That’s the one.” Landon grins as if proud of his friend.

“There’s no such evidence, your majesty.” I debate in spite of Landon confirming Dean’s crimes. “All guilty until proven innocent!” I pause, “Wait, that doesn’t sound right.” I then take the initiative to question him, “And how do you, your highness, know that the arresting officer was not lying? Maybe he just wanted to arrest someone and took it out on our - Landon’s - poor friend. I mean no disrespect, your majesty. I am merely suggesting that the arresting officer is a two-faced liar.” I jump to my own assumptions nonchalantly.

“Ma’am, I can assure you that we do not make arrests unless necessary.” He promises before adding, “I don’t think you get how the police operate.” He tells me, his tone a little rude as if impatient with me. “Also, you don’t have to keep referring to me as ‘your majesty’.” He informs me, making me aware of the simple fact.

I all but protest, “But your majesty…” I trail off upon realizing my mistake, “Sorry.” I apologize with a sheepish wince, “Force of habit.” I explain before correcting myself, “But your highness,” the cop rolls his eyes at me as if I’m tiresome, “I insist that the arresting officer be thrown into prison on the charges of being mean-“

“That’s not a crime.” He chirps in like some smartass as if he knows all the laws of the damn country. He’s the exhausting one, not me. Why can’t everyone just be more reasonable like me?

“And for lying!” I conclude sternly, “Dean…something surname…is innocent.” I persist stubbornly and relentlessly. I’m not going to stop until Dean is out safely. Friends do that for friends. I barely know the guy, but he’s a friend of Landon’s - that’s enough for me.

“That’s a serious yet baseless accusation on a police officer. You could be held liable if you’re wrong.” The cop speaks up, on the defense, before revealing, “Just by the way, I am the arresting officer.” He confesses to his crime.

“Shame on you.” I scowl at him and shake my head, feigning true disappointment. I take the liberty and initiative to emphasize, “Shame. On.” I point directly at him, “You.” I then address him directly, “Your majesty.” I add the last part for obvious reasons - to irritate him further. I’m literally playing with the law.

Grey slaps his forehead in frustration at my stupidity. He wanted me to persuade the officer, with my people skills, to let Dean go. He didn’t want me to make an enemy out of a cop. He should’ve known better and seen this coming a long time ago.

The officer clarifies, “I was not lying. Your friend smashed a vehicle’s window in order to get inside the car and presumably steal it. We are still currently tracing the owner of the vehicle - but until then, Mr Wyatt is being detained. He also harassed me, a federal officer, when I caught him in the act. He swore at me.”

I would’ve sworn at him too. The officer left him no choice. It was the only rational option left.

“Have you inspected and analysed the car for DNA samples or fingerprints?” I inquire knowingly, “It’s vitally critical that you do so before arresting someone without any evidence.” I lecture him, knowing pretty much nothing about police procedures. I’m just taking a chance here.

“I saw him breaking in, I don’t need evidence to detain him.” The cop answers briefly, trying and failing to be astute. He’s in the wrong. I’m the astute one between us. He’s just trying to compensate for being one of man’s biggest failures - a cop.

“Let me handle this.” Xavier suggests as he takes the lead, trying to take over.

I push Xavier aside with very little difficulty before he can say anything more, “I’ve got it!” I raise my tone at him before glancing back at the officer before me, “If you fail to comply with my terms - releasing Dean Something - I will plant a bomb and blow this entire place, with everyone in it, to hell.” I warn and then thoughtfully add, “And then I’ll personally break Dean out.” I finalize the arrangements, giving away my secret plan. “Also, I will teepee and egg your house. Fire will rain down on you if you do not let this man go. Do you understand what I’m saying?” I ask ruthlessly, harshly and mercilessly. I’m done being subtle.

“If you blow up the place with everyone in it, you’ll kill Dean in the process too, you doofus.” Grey remarks, pointing out the facts, “You’re going to be breaking out a dead body. Think a little.” He insults my intelligence, not that I have much.

“Are you threatening me?” The officer asks me, acknowledging what I’d said and now proceeding with caution. He’d better, I am capable of just about anything. He’s so stupid. Of course I am threatening him. How much clearer do I need to be?

I place my elbows on his desk before leaning in toward him with a menacing grin, “Do you have to ask?” I say in a hushed tone before slipping him a single dollar bill. He looks at me weirdly in turn. I place a finger against my lips and wink at him, “Sssh. No one has to know.” I reassure him secretively.

“Are you seriously trying to bribe me, a federal officer, after first threatening me?” He questions in disbelief at my nerve, “You’re literally breaking a ton of laws here, probably more so than your friend in jail.” He slides the one dollar bill back across the table (separating me from killing him) to me, “Cheap much? Only a dollar?” He asks humorlessly, severely peeved. “The audacity of you youngsters these days. I don’t have time for this.” He shakes his head at me before blatantly ignoring my presence as if I’m no longer deemed important in his eyes. He’s had enough of me. I guess he’s no cheapskate then.

I grit my teeth in frustration. I’m about to explode in rage. Xavier sees this and places his hands on my shoulders as a result. He begins to slowly drag me away, “There, there. Time to go Kitten.” He offers gently, “Your claws are starting to come out in any case.” He teases, trying to prevent an explosion, and I’m not talking about my escalating emotions (I will literally blow this entire place up and Xavier doesn’t doubt me for a second).

I pout up at him, “But, but, but-“

“Ssssh.” He soothes as he and Emma guide me out, “Everything will probably not at all be okay.” He reassures me. I gasp. He’s quick to add, “Which is why we’re getting you a bubblegum ice-cream.”

Nice save!

“Yeah!” I cheer and clap my hands enthusiastically upon hearing his words.

Xavier smirks and high-fives Emma as if they were betting on me calming down with ice-cream. Apparently I’m predictable.

Grey shakes his head at me as we step outside, “You’re useless.” He comments casually.

My expression drops to disappointment as a known fact sinks in, “But Dylan’s ice-cream store is gone.” I state, recalling the food court in it’s place, completely unfazed by Grey’s insult. “I’m going to need a moment.” I sigh, well aware of the fact that the food court’s ice-creams will never be able to match up to the ice-creams Simo always made me. Offended by it all, I add, “I need some fresh air to clear my mind.” I say as I place a hand to my temple feverishly, suddenly feeling lightheaded by the thought of losing good quality ice-cream.

“We’re outside.” Nancy all too cleverly points out, responding to my ‘fresh air’ comment. “There’s no where else to go.”

I don’t bother to listen, instead, I take out phone and dial Bells, “Hey, what’s up girl?” Bells answers kindly, “This better not be one of those ‘just to catch up’ phone calls again. I literally just saw you like ten minutes ago.” She reminds me before questioning my absence, “Where did you go anyway?” She asks out of plain curiosity.

I was kidnapped woman! It’s better she doesn’t know…

“Just took a trip to the moon,” I retort sarcastically, answering her question truthfully.

“Why not go with Mars?” Bells asks playfully from her side, well aware that I’m messing with her.

“What am I? An overachiever?” I joke before giving her the details, “Food court in ten minutes. We’re getting ice-cream. Xavier’s buying, it’s all on him. Go wild!” I cheer into the phone before hanging up on her, knowing fully well that she’ll pitch. If she doesn’t, there will be severe consequences. They could be fatal.

“I never said I was buying for everyone.” Xavier points out, making his complaint known. It’s not like I was being genuinely serious. The only one who will take me seriously on that is Troy, and maybe Max if he’s feeling up to it.

Emma places her hand on his arm, “Xav, it’s fine. It’s not like we don’t have cash to spare.” She remarks sweetly, persuading him into following through with my ‘assumptious idea’. I’m a damn genius.

“Alright.” He agrees all too easily upon hearing his wife’s request. He’s such a softy when it comes to Emma Kitler - well Emma Thorman now. He can’t refuse her. She’s his entire life.

“Whoohoo! Free ice-cream!” I fist pump the air in excitement.

Grey merely shakes his head at me in repulse, “You haven’t changed at all.” He comes to the conclusion all on his own.

“You mean to say that she’s always been like this?” Ryan asks in shock, actually taking an interest in something other than his phone for once.

“Dude…” Lan whistles and gives him a stern look, “you have no idea.”

“Yeah.” Xavier nods, agreeing, “You don’t even know the half of it.”

“And you don’t want to.” Grey adds, always having to have his own dig at me. It’s like his favorite hobby - being mean to Aqueela. It’s just because he knows that I’m superior to him in every single way possible and that he’ll never be able to surpass me with his failed, measly existence.

Sarah rolls her eyes at them and their immaturity, “That’s enough guys, let’s just go.” She suggests ever so politely, forcing them to leave it altogether. For some reason, whenever she speaks, people drop everything and immediately listen. People respect her. I would not like to get on her bad side. I’m sure she has a lot of pent-up anger bottled up inside of her, just waiting for a release. I don’t want to be the reason behind her explosion.

“Fine.” Grey grumbles out angrily, reluctant. I guess even he knows not to pick a fight with Sarah. It’s called wisdom. With regards to Grey himself, I can’t vouch that he has any.

“Kiss ass.” Ryan coughs mockingly, shooting Grey a scornful smirk.

Grey says nothing, merely shooting Ryan a sharp glare. The day when Grey finally cracks and goes apesh*t on Ryan’s ass is fast approaching. I can’t wait. Ryan is obnoxious and in actual fact, his parents should be sued for spawning him.

I twirl the cone of bubblegum ice-cream around in my hands, refusing to eat it as I thoroughly inspect it. It’s not the same. It will never be the same. I voice my opinion, “This is lame. I hate it here. I want to go home.” I complain with a pout, crossing my arms over my chest as I glance around the dumb food court that stole the place of Dylan’s magnificent ice-cream parlor. The vibe is not majestic anymore. It’s dead. The magic is gone. I cannot stand it. Everything is bleak in comparison.

“We just got here.” Ryan points out solemnly, confused. He wouldn’t understand.

“Shut up Ryan. No one asked for stupid words to come out of your stupid mouth, so put a sock in it. Just shut up. Shut it. Stop talking. Stop.” I glare at him darkly, expecting him to understand anyway. He’d better back the hell down. “The ice-cream here sucks.” I mutter, pointing out the facts. If he tries to argue with me, I will end him. I miss Dylan’s store so much.

Speaking of which, Dylan opted out of coming with. He volunteered to keep an eye on Bell’s little ones instead. Fortunately, Dylan is trustworthy and responsible - Bells has no issue in leaving the triplet with him. Simo’s giving him a hand. AJ, being awesome AJ, has also agreed to help Dylan out. She’s keen to talk to Dylan about Bex without Benley being around. She’s insecure and highly strung when it comes to ‘Bex the ex’. No doubt it’s too soon for Dylan and Simo to tag along. They’re both still grieving over their loss. I grieve and mourn with them. Dylan’s ice-cream parlor was the best thing that ever happened to me, no exaggerations intended. I will eternally miss it and rue this very food court’s existence forever.

Ryan licks his ice-cream in a tantalizing way, “It tastes fine to me.” Ryan smirks, as if knowing better than to debate with me, but going ahead and doing it anyway. He’s such an unpleasant human being. “Maybe it’s because you chose bubblegum?” He suggests stupidly. I detest him even more now. I draw the line at him claiming to despise bubblegum ice-cream. He needs to go. He needs to be kicked off earth.

I grit my teeth in fury, choosing to be silent. If I speak, it could lead to violence. Benley shakes his head at Ryan for the slip up. “Do you value life?” He asks Ryan, “’Cause if you do, then do what she says and stop talking.”

Ryan shrugs, “I’ve always been more of a risk taker. I’m an all or nothing kind of guy. I prefer living on the edge.” He grins arrogantly as if proud of himself for being a terrible, soulless human being. Then he does the unthinkable and takes a bite out of his ice-cream, chewing it.

I gasp aloud and take Bell’s closest hand to me, using her small hand to cover my eyes. I’ve seen just about enough. That is not the way one is suppose to devour ice-cream! Who chews ice-cream?! “Help me Bells.” I mumble, in dire need of some patience. I’m this close to killing Ryan…permanently.

Nancy takes charge when she sees that I’m about to lash out at her useless boyfriend. She distracts him by planting her lips to his. It works successfully. However, it stirs up Grey and his own jealousy. Grey glances away from the couple, truly disgusted by their relationship.

“Hang in there. Take reassurance in the fact that we’re all going to die one day, including Ryan.” Bells comforts me - she always has the right words to say, so sweet yet morbid at the same time.

“Where’s your boys at?” I question upon only now noticing their absence. She motions with her eyes toward the entrance of the food court. My eyes widen in alarm as I see it coming. I open my mouth to warn him, but it’s too late. Max walks head first, smack-bang, into the transparent glass doors. Troy, behind him, follows and ends up doing the exact same thing.

Uh oh!

“Why would you walk into the door when you saw what just happened to me?” Max asks Troy in bewilderment as he rubs at his throbbing forehead.

“I thought you were faking!” Troy exclaims in a high pitched tone of voice, now smoothing out his own red forehead.

Max points to the small, red blemish on his forehead as a result, “Why would I fake an injury?!” Max raises his voice in frustration at Troy’s stupidity and at his own discomfort and humiliation. It’s all in spite of his so called injury being nothing but a minor - barely visible - red spot. He’s such a diva sometimes, he’s hanging out with Bells way too much.

“I don’t know!” Troy shouts back to him in agony. He’s in too much of pain to care what Max and the rest of us think. Troy isn’t the type to get embarrassed, ever. It’s just not in his nature.

“Now you two have matching eyes and foreheads!” Of course, as always, Benley is the first to pack out laughing at his own joke. He’s referring to their blue eyes, from when they’d been fighting, to this. Benley loves taunting. It’s his gift. I wouldn’t expect anything less from him.

Not able to hold it in any longer, I throw my head back and fall into a fit of giggles, joining Benley. I lift a hand to my eyes and wipe away the tears whilst slamming my hand on the table before me repeatedly, “Classic Dream Team.” I say through my chuckles, referring to when Max and Troy are both together.

“Bloody brilliant.” Xavier claps in enthusiasm, relishing in their agony, “Smashing, literally.” He jokes, at least cracking a smile unlike Emma, Ryan, Grey, Nancy, Sarah and Landon. The racing crew - excluding Xavier and Dean - are all quite serious, temperamental people.

I grin at Xavier, “I’m sorry, but I can’t take you seriously with that voice.” I laugh even harder, finding Xavier to be just as funny as the Dynamic Duo (Max and Troy).

Xavier rolls his eyes at me, “I always have this voice. It’s my accent.”

“Sssh.” I wave his defense off, “Let me have this.”

“I’ve received numerous noise complaints about this table from several other customers.” The manager, some look-alike of Dylan (but clearly not the real deal - Dylan is flawless), informs us in a curt tone of voice. “Keep it down or I’m going to have to remove you lot.” He warns, discreetly threatening us as if his food court is more worthy than us.

“You Sir, are rude!” Bells hisses at him, unimpressed by his attitude. Woah! He’s just become the enemy of the most terrifying person on the planet. I would not like to be in his shoes right now. It’s scary to be on the receiving end of Bell’s wrath, or so I’ve heard. “Here’s my offer, be politer or we’re taking our services elsewhere.” Bell advises sternly, threatening him back. When in doubt, throttle his neck out. Jay taught me that, or something similar to that. I can’t recall. It had something to do with racing. My version is probably better in any case. I’ve always been more creative than him. Still am. I’m a proud original - limited version style.

“Counter-offer, do what you want and leave. I don’t care.” The manager shrugs, his actions and expression matching his words. He really couldn’t care less if he lost our support, and we’re a big crowd. He feels feathers. He’s not threatened by us in the least.

I’m no sore loser, I just get incredibly furious when I lose. I prefer to win in absolutely everything. However, Bells cannot relate. She never loses, hence why she needs me right now - I’m used to being a failure.

“Well counter-counter-offer, you should!” I yell at the manager, interrupting Bells before she can have her piece in saying something more. Instead of being mad, she shoots me a grateful smile for stepping in and intervening on her behalf. It’s easier on her if I take over. She’s had enough stress in the past nine months to last her an entire lifetime. “We are valued consumers and you’d be lucky to have us as regulars.” I tell the idiot manager as I stand up from my seat, just getting started. He’s going to wish he treated us more respectfully.

Sarah nods, backing me up as she also stands, taking her rightful place beside me. “You’d be lucky! So damn lucky!” She repeats what I just said, adamantly, in her own version. She’s basically summing up all I’m saying.

“We will not stand for this incompetent attitude. We have rights.” I declare fiercely as I take lead, annoyed by his nonchalant rudeness.

“You can bet your ass we know our rights!” Sarah growls at him, pissed off too. I’m beginning to like her more and more as I get to know her. She may be quiet, but she has a backbone that we all seem to appreciate. She has guts. She’s definitely not a coward, she has a slight temper to match her boyfriend’s. I just hope she really does know our rights as consumers because I sure as hell don’t know them, I just know that we have them.

The manager glances from me to Sarah wearily, confused as to why she’s even involved in this ongoing, aggressive argument.

“Your service here is poor, and the quality of your ice-cream can compare to that of the trash can outside your store that I happened to purposely kick on the way inside.” I scowl at him, offering him a deadpanned stare in order to scare him out of his wits - I hope it is working.

“She’ll kick more than just your trash can!” Sarah chips in, making an attempt to intimidate him by glowering up at him fiercely. She barely passes. She’s just too pure and innocent to come across as frightening. It’s her facial expression. She looks like a harmless puppy. The manager takes a step back from Sarah, afraid of her unpredictable nature. She nods expectantly as she places her hands on her hips, “Uh huh.” She narrows her eyes at him, “That’s what I thought.”

“Also, your stupid little food court can never match up to the ice-cream store that was here before - the ice-cream store that you replaced with this garbage hole.” I grumble out, seemingly growing more agitated by the second, “The ice-creams used to be perfect, but then you came along and ruined it all for everyone!”

To be fair, it’s Dylan’s fault for running his place down into the ground - yet still, I refuse to acknowledge that fact as of right now.

“She’s right, you ruin everything Dave.” Sarah seconds what I say once again. I owe her big time for doing this. She’s the only one willing to go the extra mile for me.

“My name’s not even Dave.” He corrects her, irritated by us lashing out at him. We’re the kind of consumers he tends to avoid. He shouldn’t have messed with us. We’ll be sure to make him regret it…over and over again.

It’s a slam-dunk assumption, he just has a ‘Dave face’. Sarah has every right to refer to him as Dave. I’m damn sure it’s part of our consumer rights, or so I hope. If it’s not, it should be. We deserve the chance to guess our managers’ names. Fun fun fun for everyone! I love guessing games.

“Well you look like a Dave!” I shout at him, now backing Sarah up. It seems we’re taking turns to help each other out. We make a terrific team. We’re unstoppable together.

“It doesn’t give you the right to call me Dave.” He argues, putting up a useless fight. He’s going to lose.

“Shut up Dave,” I push him aside as I take the center floor of the food court, ready to make an announcement - ready to say yet another one of my famous ‘Legendary Lawson’ speeches. I prep in my head whilst Sarah keeps the manager and the rest of the customers busy for the time being with her constant arguing - music to my ears.

“Yeah Dave, shut up.” Max decides to join in next, Sarah and I sharing a smile as we begin gathering up more supporters. That’s my boy Max. He knows when to play with fire. It’s why we get along so well.

“Gather around everyone.” I order, the rest of the people in the store staring at me with perplexed expressions, wondering who I am and why I’m addressing all of them.

“They are gathered around.” Benley states meekly and quietly when no one else does. He just has to be the one to correct me all the damn time. He can’t resist. He’s a know-it-all.

I glance at the customers, still mulling over who ratted us out and complained about us being too loud in the first place. In the end, it won’t matter. It’s time this business dies. “I’ve summoned you all here today…” I begin dramatically, Grey rolling his eyes at me as I continue, “in the hopes to open your eyes. This place…” I motion to the food court in itself, “is hell.” I conclude easily, “The ice-cream here sucks.” I tell them truthfully, deciding to be point blank. I’ve never been one to beat around the bush; damn bushes always getting in the way of everything - hence why I dive straight through them. There’s no need for obstacles.

“It does suck.” Someone from the audience (I’ve turned all the customers into my own personal audience) notes, agreeing with me. At first I think it’s a man, but on closer inspection, I see that it’s in actual fact a woman. I had to do a double take. The only indication that she’s female is her voice.

Emma grins and points giddily to the stranger who just backed me up, “Smart man!” She exclaims excitedly.

I wince. This can’t be good. Oh Emma…you beautiful chop you.

“Excuse me?!” The lady huffs, “I’m a strong, dignified woman!” The manly woman corrects her, now peeved. She’ll most likely turn against us now and join forces with the evil manager - or as I prefer to call him, the devious Dylan doppelganger. Check them alliterations out. I’m boss! It’s got to be a new record of some sort.

“Sir-” Max quickly corrects himself, “Ma’am,” He emphasizes, “Does it really matter?” He asks her, jumping to Emma’s defense.

Yes!” The woman spits at Max, infuriated. “My gender matters! Of course it matters!”

“Anyway,” I quickly react and divert the attention off of the mad case woman, “the previous ice-cream from Dylan’s franchise had a rich, silky smooth texture, along with a sugary sweet cone and many vibrant colors to pick from. It even tasted fantastic!” I purposely allow my expression to fall, “But alas,” I hold up the cone of the ice-cream I had ordered (and failed to finish eating) to my audience, “this cone is flimsy and tastes like plastic. As you can see, the color of the ice-cream is dull and the texture is all wrong. I don’t want to taste fragments of ice in my ice-cream.” I glance to the manager on impulse as if to send him a direct message, “No one does!” I hiss at him bitterly.

“We might as well all be swallowing shards of glass.” Sarah adds, going all out on this one - perhaps a line-crosser there.

The audience all gasp at Sarah’s words. They’re now taking it to heart as they begin to get invested in the topic. They’re choosing to hear us out and listen to what we have to say. This Dylan doppelganger just messed with the wrong crowd. I can ruin him with the snap of my fingers, in the blink of an eye. I’m a riot leader, I’m gifted in starting chaos and rebellion projects. It comes to me naturally. I can move all these people and convince them to side with me. It’s an effortless task. I just have to ramble about nonsense and get the hype going. That’s all it takes to start a riot. Everyone loves a good riot, or maybe it’s just me.

“We don’t even specialize in ice-cream here.” The manager rages in turn as the people begin to grow antsy, all of them now second-guessing the existence of such a damned local food court.

“Maybe that’s the root of the problem!” I raise my tone as the people begin to chorus a string of ‘yeahs’ and agreements simultaneously. “Did you ever think of that ‘Dylan Doppelganger’?” I query. “Huh Dave? I bet you didn’t.”

“No.” He admits, pulling a face of disbelief. He’s astounded that I’m actually persuading the people to question why they’re currently eating at this dump site. “I didn’t.” He confirms as if believing it not to be necessary to serve decent ice-cream. It’s not that significant to him and that grates me all the more. What has his mother taught him? He’s an inconsiderate human being depriving the world from Simo and Dylan’s magical, perfected and majestic ice-creams.

Boo! Boo Dave, boo!” Troy shouts out, placing his thumb downward to back up his single word. Amazingly enough, the crowd follows his lead, everyone now booing at Dave. Troy smirks as he points to himself in pride, “Natural born leader.” He mouths to me. That’s why he, the natural born leader, followed Max into a glass door…

From there on out, things get crazy and out of hand - just the way I like it. I thrive in chaos.

“I could sue you for the door! In fact, I could you for all you’re worth because of the injures I have succumb due to your inadequate facilities.” Max, among others, are now all having their own individual say. Max points to his spotless forehead, “I could ask you to pay for my medical bills.” Max then points at Troy’s forehead, the redness having faded, “You can pay for his medical bills too. We might need stitches or a face transplant.” He lies, making a massive deal over literally nothing. He just hit his head. Big deal.

The manager frowns as he analyses their foreheads, “That’s ridiculous. There’s nothing on either of you two.” He states in a matter-of-fact way.

“We will be the judge of that Sir!” Troy pipes in before Max’s takes charge yet again.

“Maybe that’s the problem!” Max retorts in response to Dave. He’s copying my previous statement in the hopes that it will work out in his favor. Miraculously, it does. The crowds cheer at Max’s words, taken up by the hype and mass hysteria entirely. They’ll agree to anything we say now. We’ve got this in the bag.

“That doesn’t even make any sense.” Dave sends Max a flat look, seemingly nervous by all the negative attention he’s receiving. He’s realized that he won’t last much longer. They’re all turning on him.

“Neither does this food court’s existence!” Max shouts, raising his hands up to get more praise through the cheers and claps of the audience. He thrives in the spotlight. He enjoys all the extra attention.

Benley slaps his forehead as he and Grey shake their heads at us in disapproval. They’re both aware of where I’m going with this and they’re both dreading the outcome and consequences of my actions. They know me all too well.

“And have you seen the trash lying out front?” Ryan smirks condescendingly at the manager before tearing him apart, “Un-fricken-believable.” He scoffs, already knowing that I was the one who kicked over the trash can in the first place - the audience don’t need to know that minor detail. Ryan has his moments, he’ll join in on the fun when he feels up to it. “The health department needs to oversee this issue at hand.” He decides to add fuel to the fire, ignoring Nancy’s pleas to stop. He throws his fist to the air in an over the top way, “The waste needs to be removed immediately!” Everyone instantly agrees with him, all nodding and shouting murmurs of approval. Ryan begins to fist pump the air, everyone copying him, “Remove the waste! Remove. The. Waste! Remove. The. Waste!” Ryan and his followers chant with fists high in the air. Ryan, seemingly intelligent, slyly changes the words without the audience even realizing what it is they’re now chanting, “Remove the store! Remove. The. Store! Remove. The. Store!”

I hold a thumbs up to him, proud of his accomplishments. Ryan grins as a result and shoots me a prideful wink, Nancy displeased by it all. The only ones refusing to participate, happen to be BoyBand (he’s no fun anymore), Grey (he was never fun to begin with) and Nancy (she’s the female version of Grey). Hell, even Bells is on board with this - that’s really saying something.

Everyone’s already worked up as is. There’s no bringing this down or stopping it now. These morons have been brainwashed. It’s out of my control. It’s like their in a trance or under a spell. I’ve managed to hypnotize them all to my superior will. They’re no longer individuals. They’ve all been swept up in the mass hysteria - like the story of ‘The Crucible’.

I’m about to say more, thinking of the last straw needed to rile these people up to the brink of no return, when Benley takes to center food court. He shoves me aside roughly, ready to break up the riot for good. “May I say a few words?” He asks courteously, being the loser gentleman he is. It’s not like he’ll take ‘no’ for an answer in any case.

I shake my head at him profusely. He’ll ruing everything. I made a mistake earlier, if anyone is bringing this riot to an end, it will be Benley. He’s so incredibly boring and unenthusiastic in all things. He’ll suck the vigorous life out of everyone. “Nooooooo!” I whine in protest, only for him to ignore me flat.

The manager blows out a breath of relief, thankful to see a normal person ready to put a stop to this. He’s well aware of the fact that he’s fighting a losing battle. He must sure regret picking a fight with us now.

Benley ignores me, the people falling silent at his upright and stern demeanor. They’re intimidated by his stature. He carries himself with confidence. He’s about to talk sense into them and they all know it. He’s capable of ruining everything. He has the potential to kill the riot vibe I’ve got going on up in here. He has a thing for messing up my hard work. He delights in my failures.

I can do nothing but glare at him in defiance.

He smiles slightly as if ready to pop this hype once and for all, to nip it in the bud. I watch him as he visibly relaxes under all the pressure of the stares he’s now receiving. He sucks in a deep breath and closes his eyes for a brief moment. It’s a second later when he releases his breath and opens his eyes again, his dark eyes revealing the wildness and ferocity of an aggressive animal on the loose. No doubt that he’s mad at me. He always has to clean up my messes.

“I’ll start off by saying this,” he meets the crowd’s gaze head-on, pausing (anticipation among us building) before coming straight out with it - taking us all by complete surprise, “let’s burn this mother down!” He suddenly shouts atop his lungs as he lifts his clutched fists to the air, all of us caught off guard by his unusual behavior, his eyes wide and his expression resembling that of someone who’s escaped an asylum.

Apparently he’s been caught up in the hype too…

With that said, all hell breaks loose!

The people fall into shouts and cheers of fury, the riot having truly begun. The final straw has been thrown, the peak having been reached. People begin standing up and smashing plates, glasses - you name it. Shocked, I freeze and take it all in. Everyone’s screaming and moving about rapidly, destroying everything in sight like greedy vultures.

The manager tries to put a stop to it, but to no avail. Even I am useless. They won’t listen to me. They refuse to listen to reason. Benley’s their master now. He’s their leader and he’s gone berserk with power. He’s unreachable, his position over them unattainable. They’re all too far gone. I never intended for it to get to this extent of extreme chaos. I just wanted to stir the pot a little, I never wanted the pot to damn well overflow in an outrageous explosion of madness. I’m definitely not out of practice when it comes to riots, that’s for sure…

“What have you done, Aqueela?” Grey asks me slowly as he processes it all, the reference to my first name a clear indication that he’s in over his head, just as am I. He, himself, has no idea how to end this. Neither of us have a clue. For the first time ever, Grey looks panicked and unnerved. He’s ill at ease.

Our eyes widen when we see Troy pick up an entire table and lift it above over his head like some wild, crazy, deluded madman. Influenced by the hype and mass hysteria, he lets out a deafening warrior cry. He doesn’t hesitate before throwing the enormous table through the glass doors he and Max had walked into earlier. I wince at the sight. The vindictive bastard! The glass door shatters into mere fragments before us.

I try to cover my eyes in order to block the chaotic sight, but Grey’s quick to act, slapping my hands away from my face.”This is all on you. Watch.” Grey scolds me, choosing to reprimand me and put me in my place, now of all times. He tends to think he’s an authoritative figure over me. Newsflash to him, he’s only got one year on me.

Immersed in the riot itself, I have no choice but to watch this place be torn down piece by piece, shred by shred. Grey’s right. I’ve landed myself in some deep trouble. This is going to go down as a major criminal act. Bell’s is going to lose it when her squeaky clean record becomes embedded with filth. I was dead wrong when thinking that there will be no consequences to this:

Dave calls the police.

To make matters worse, Bells (taken up in the riot), attacks the first cop she sees on sight. She jumps on his back, releasing a high-pitched warrior cry of her own as she begins pounding her little fists against him. She’s literally assaulting a police officer. Shiznit just got serious.

Dammit Benley! Why does he always insist on taking everything from me?! He should be held responsible, not me. Credit is due where credit is due. I blame him for this…and Grey.

Grey claps his hands mockingly as he spares me a glance, “Way to be wannabe warlord,” he scowls at me, “way to be.” He ends his words on a sarcastic note.

An officer fires a warning shot over our heads to gain our (the suspects) attention, Grey going on about how he wishes they’d just shoot me instead. When asked who is responsible, the hoards of people all point to me. Grey smirks in satisfaction as the cops come for me. Thinking on my toes, I deny their accusations and speedily point to Grey. Grey’s face drops as the cops change direction and head for him instead.

That’s how the blame game starts. We all end up turning on each other and confusing the cops as a result. Just as we’re about to get out of it, Troy panics and gives us all away. He tries to make a run for it whilst shouting loudly in sheer determination, “You’ll never take me alive!”

He’s tackled to the floor shortly after that, him still going on about how he’ll never last in prison because of his how good looking he is, “No, please!” Troy begs the arresting officers handcuffing him to a silent Benley (he’s still recovering), “The other convicts will all make moves on me when they see me.” He informs them before raising his tone an octave higher, “Curse my perfect genes! I have the damn physique of an action figure! You hear me?! An action figure!” Troy purposely flexes as he struggles to get free.

Besides from Troy, none of us cooperate. We stubbornly refuse, Troy still adamant that he’d rather be handcuffed to Grey instead so that Grey can scare off the other prisoners with his ugliness.

In the end, we’re all thrown into prison.

Looking on the bright side, this could be worse…I think.

Third time’s the charm I suppose. I’ve been detained in jail with Jay - many moons ago - for trespassing, among other things. I’ll admit, jail is much more fun when with Jay. I’ve also been detained in a mall jail with Benley. Speaking of which, Benley’s peeved that I’ve singlehandedly managed to land him up in jail for realzies this time. This, this will be my third time trapped behind bars. I can’t say I enjoy the feeling. I feel caged.

“I’ll ask you one last time Miss Lawson, who started the riot?” The officer interrogates me, willing for me to confess and rat out the person responsible for all of it - in other words, me. Ha! Like I’d rat myself out. I’m not that dumb. However, they think it’s me seeing as I had the nerve to threaten and bribe and officer earlier today. I’m not exactly innocent in their eyes. It’s a good thing Dave’s store is fairly new. He hasn’t had time to install security cameras. There’s no evidence, except for word of mouth.

“I’ll never talk. You’ll have to torture me first.” I protest, choosing to be stubborn. It’s not like I’m going to fess up and say that it was all me. They can only temporarily detain us if they don’t have evidence. We can get away with this if none of us speak. In fact, it’s exactly why we all made a pact to not say anything.

“Then you’ll all be going away for a long time.” He lies, threatening me in order to get me to talk. He thinks I don’t know my rights. He’s wrong, I know a few of them.

“All I can say, your majesty, is that things were tense back there.” I get serious when it comes down to bubblegum ice-cream. “In our defense, somehow we were brainwashed into this riot proceeding. I demand for a hearing.” I say adamantly before adding, “And a lawyer! I demand for that too.” I breathe out airily, insistent, “And some pizza. I’m starving.” I conclude defiantly. They need a confession and they ain’t gonna stop until they get one. I might as well pull in the big guns whilst I’m here. I take the gap when I see one.

Next time, I’ll hold up a officer for ransom…

“You drive a hard bargain, Lawson.” The cop shakes his head at me in aggravation due to my persistence in not speaking. He’s playing the ‘bad cop’ game, too bad he’s lacking a good cop. I could do with a good cop right about now. Who am I kidding? I prefer bad cops hands down. They’re so much more fun.

“Okay, okay fine.” I sigh, giving in way too easily, “Grey Ferrot did it. Everything that happened is because of Grey. He is the ringleader. Grey is solely responsible for everything. It was all Ferrot.” I lie smoothly, making the most of this little trip to jail. Someway or another, we’re all getting out of here. Uncle Jeffrey’s a cop. If I really need a way out, I’ll just call him. Dean’s dad is apparently a chief officer, hence why Dean is detained longer than legally permitted. His father likes to teach him a lesson every now and again. It doesn’t seem to be helping.

Skeptical, the cop returns me back to the cell where the others are all still being detained. I’m shoved back into the prison cell as the officers go to their conference room to discuss among themselves. I end up being shackled down in the jail cell that includes Max, Bells, Benley, Nancy and myself. The cell directly beside us has Grey, Emma, Xavier, Landon, Sarah and Ryan. After much, much, much, muuuccchhh complaining and whining, Troy scored his own cell on the far side. Our cell is in the middle of Grey’s and Troy’s cells.

I turn to see all my friends blinking up at me from their slouched positions in the cell. They’re all waiting in anticipation to hear how my interrogation went down, theirs having already been over. The only one still in the interrogation room happens to be Troy. “Well,” I pause dramatically to keep them all in suspense, “I blamed Grey.” I conclude in a single clap of my hands as I spring the truth on them all too quickly.

Grey’s eyes visibly widen in alarm.

“Naturally, I did too.” Max nods along to what I’m saying, agreeing. “It seemed like the best and most safest option to go with at the time.” He grins, winking at Grey from our cell. He’s well aware of the fact that so long as we’re behind bars, we’re virtually untouchable. It’s a good thing Grey’s not in our cell or we’d be dead already.

“Same.” Bells has her input, having slightly managed to calm the hell down after her earlier episode. She would never survive prison. She’s too much of a good girl. I’m the rule bender between us. I can take anything that anyone throws at me. Bells, on the other hand, can’t handle a chipped nail. Nevertheless, I love the girl.

“Ditto.” Benley grins, having too taken the easy route out. Grey’s our scapegoat in pretty much everything. “This is beyond childish, I feel like I’m in high school again.” Benley yawns, his head in his hands as he continues to silently brood and blame me. It’s rich coming from the so called mature guy who just blamed innocent Grey. He’s just as childish as the rest of us. He’s in denial. He wants to grow up, but at heart, he’s still a kid.

Grey growls in anger, furious with us for breaking the code of silence and fessing up during the interrogation. It wasn’t exactly ‘fessing up’ per say, it was more so shifting the blame to the innocent. We blame him because we know he can take it. He doesn’t know it, but hell we all love him. Grey may be a grouch, but he’s the best. He truly is. I consider him to be one of my best friends. I know it’s one-sided, but I don’t give a damn. I know that I don’t often give him much reason to like me, so his hatred for me is understandable to a certain extent. Oh well…

“What a coincidence, so did I.” Ryan smirks, shooting a wink at Nancy when she frowns at him for blaming Grey. She knows Grey played no part in any of it. In fact, he was against it. It was only the two of them who played no part in any of it whatsoever. Everyone else had their respected roles. Grey and Nancy are the only two innocent ones - apparently they have morals and common sense. Lame.

“I’m beginning to see a pattern here.” Grey mutters beneath his breath, infuriated with all of us. His anger is well placed.

“I blamed Landon.” Xavier pipes up. I’m surprised that he didn’t blame me, seeing as it really is all my fault. Nothing new. However, Xavier seems to have a soft spot for me at times. It’s often noticeable. I appreciate it. At least there’s someone on my side.

“I forgive you, seeing as I said it was you.” Lan retorts back, unoffended in the least. Xavier’s face drops in disappointment. Typical of them two. Xavier and Landon are more alike than what they both realize.

Max can’t help himself and ends up snickering at Xavier’s expense. His taunting chuckling must rub Grey up the wrong way, because now Grey’s sending him death stares. Max smirks when he spots Grey’s rising temper, “What’s the matter GreysFace?” Max provokes, referring to him by the name Simo always used to call him. “Scared, you reservoir of deep seeded anger you?” He takes it a step further and teases him.

“You’re very brave when you’re behind bars, you know that?” Grey points out coldly in a low growl, irritated. He hates Max, Troy and me the most. I can’t possibly understand why. We make for fantastic company.

“Yeah but at least I have a shot of getting out of these bars. You’re most likely going to serve your time in here.” Max jokes, close to the very bars separating our cell from Grey’s. He’s taking chances and he knows it.

“I’ll kill you!” Grey snaps as he reaches through the bars to get a hold of Max.

Max laughs and takes a step back, just out of Grey’s reach, “Tut tut. Not today my friend.” Max wags his finger in Grey’s face condescendingly, “Don’t be such a hothead like Landon.”

Landon shoots Max a dangerous glare, “Watch it.”

Xavier, with his good sense of humor, sends Max a thumbs up. Max is extremely fortunate that both Grey and Landon are in the opposite cell from us. He’s messing with the wrong people and he doesn’t care in the moment, so long as he gets to piss Grey off.

“Dude.” Benley lifts his head from his hands to send Max a look filled with warning, “Cool it. We’re all getting out of here sometime and when we do, they’re not going to take it easy on you.” Benley makes a valid point. He’s always so wise seeing as he thinks ahead of time before doing something. He’s not impulsive like Max and me. I prefer to go with my gut and cause as much chaos as I can before facing the repercussions.

Max turns his back to Grey in order to face BoyBand, “Nah. The little cry babies will forget, I’m sure of it.” Max brushes Benley off as he unintentionally steps in Grey’s line of attack again, his back turned to Grey. Benley opens his mouth to warn him, but it’s too late. Grey takes the opportunity to take Max by the back of his neck and yank him backwards. Max, through his chocking and coughing, calls out to me in desperation, “Aqueela save me!” He yelps as his face begins to turn blue.

Why does he always have to resort to calling me when in trouble? It’s like I’m forced to get involved. I guess I am the only reliable one seeing as I go to extreme measures to help a friend in need. Plus, I’d prefer it if Max didn’t die and Grey didn’t get arrested (not that it makes a difference currently) for murder.

I sigh, rolling my eyes before stepping in to intervene on Max’s behalf. When Grey refuses to let Max go, I have no choice but to punch him…in the face. Everyone gasps and grows silent at my bold actions. It was precautionary measures - if I didn’t punch him, in the face, Max would have suffocated.

“Oh Aqueela.” Benley groans in despair and shakes his head at me, “Why? Just why?” He asks rhetorically, definitely not expecting a legitimate answer from me.

I didn’t see anyone else pitching in to save Max, not even Bells. She’s still chalking a tally of the minutes she’s been in here on the prison wall. She’s dramatic like that. She’s intent on planning a prison break. She’s slowly losing her mind and we’ve barely been in here. If we were in here for life, I’d be very afraid.

Grey immediately releases Max to touch his bruised cheek where I’d just fisted him, “What the hell Aqueela?!” He roars as Max drops to the floor in order to regain his breath once again.

I shrug, wincing when I see his nose starts to bleed, “You’d have killed Max otherwise. I had to step in. I saved you from a life in prison, you’re welcome.” I end it with a bow. He’s in jail because of me to begin with.

I’ve now officially punched Jay, Max and Grey in the face. Who knows who will be next. I am an unpredictable ticking time bomb ready to explode at any given second.

“Flip!” Grey rubs the blood from his nose with the back of his hand, “Sh*t.” He swears, “Are you fists weapons or something?!” He shouts at me in uproar, “Jay was not kidding when he said you could pack a punch of steel.” He complains further, “That actually hurt.” He moans, glowering at me with those unruly dark eyes of his.

“Oh stop being such a baby.” I shatter his world with that statement, him quickly toughening up once again as a result of my words. I knew that would work. Never take a shot at his pride.

“I didn’t think it was possible to hate you more so than I already do.” Grey remarks bitterly, severely annoyed.

“Well you should know better. I manage to do the impossible.” I joke, adding to his anger.

“I was wrong. It’s possible. I hate you even more now than what I did a few seconds ago.” He replies in turn, frowning at me.

I motion to his bruised cheek and bloodied nose, “I am sorry about that, for realz. It was nothing personal.” I apologize, genuine, before whispering so that only he hears, “You left me with no choice, it was either that or force Nancy to make out with you.” I take the liberty to tease him a little more. Nancy definitely would have distracted him from Max.

“You like raising hell, don’t you?” Grey mutters, shaking his head at me.

“Love it.” I break out into a grin.

He narrows his dark eyes at me, “Hate you more, so much more.” He emphasizes, making his point as clear as crystal.

I wink at him, “Love you too my brother from another mother.”

Grey pulls a face at the thought of us ever being siblings, “Gross.”

“Help.” Max breathes weakly from his position on the floor, still very much in pain. I can’t say he wasn’t asking for it.

“Am I the only one who said it was Aqueela who caused the riot?” Nancy questions in mild irritation as she casually steps over Max’s wriggling form on the floor. Changing the subject, we all ignore Max’s agonizing pleas as well as all his wheezing. Meh, he’ll survive and pull through…hopefully.

I gasp and feign offense as I place a hand to my heart, “How dare you?” I joke before clarifying, “I’m just messing with you, I knew you’d be the first to rat me out.” I tell her straightforwardly. Nancy is not exactly my biggest fan. I can’t blame her.

If AJ were here, she’d undoubtedly have kept to the pact of silence. She wouldn’t have outed anyone. She’s incredibly loyal like that, or maybe I just give her too much credit…

Bells interrupts, as always (it’s kind of her thing now), “So I’m thinking we kill one of us off, perhaps someone insignificant, someone no one will miss much, someone no one really likes, someone like Benley-“

“Hey!” Benley interjects grumpily. He’s putting Grey to shame with his grumpy attitude today. It reminds me of the time we first met. He quit his job because of me. Damn waiters, you can never win with them.

“No offense.” Bells smiles sheepishly at him as if innocent. Ha! She wishes.

Benley rolls his eyes at her, “None taken.” He retorts sarcastically. She just staked a claim on his life, obviously he’s going to take offense.

Bells nods and continues, not picking up on his sarcasm, “Then the guards will come and see his dead form. When the cop enters, we all attack him and bust the hell out of this place. No, we distract him and someone sneaks the keys off him. We’ll watch and learn their (the cops’) habits and then break out when given the perfect chance.” Bells really has this plan down to the finest detail. “If that doesn’t work, we’ll go with plan B. I’ve devised from A through to Z. The less casualties and deaths involved, the better. If all else fails, we sneak through the vents.”

Landon, perplexed by the lengths to which Bells has gone with this prison break plan, takes the initiative to remind her, “We’ve only been in here for an hour and a little bit, you get that right?” He asks her, unsure.

“It’s called improvising for the future you silly scoundrel.” Bells answers him nonchalantly as if she isn’t out of her damn mind. “A woman’s intuition is always right, so don’t misinterpret what I’m saying, got it?” Bells concludes firmly, Landon falling silent. Even he, of all people, is cowardly when it comes to her.

“What about my body?” Benley asks Bells glumly, inquisitive to see just exactly how insensitive she is. I’m starting to see why Jay was always so afraid of her. She’s ruthless.

“You’re dead man, why do you care?” I joke as I take a seat beside him in the hopes of cheering him up. I don’t like seeing him down. I much prefer jovial BoyBand.

“Sacrifices Benley, sacrifices.” Bells answers him spitefully, “Not everyone is privileged enough to get funerals.” Bells states casually as if there’s nothing wrong in killing BoyBand off. You’d think him dying was sacrifice enough, but now we don’t go back for his body or even give him a funeral either? Bells is truly merciless in times of desperation.

“Whatever, I don’t care anymore.” Benley brushes her rudeness off, unfazed. He knows Bells all too well by now. He knows how her twisted mind operates. She acts out when things get intense.

“I took the fall and said it was my fault.” Emma, being sweet scary Emma, randomly informs us from out of the blue. She’s good at making all of us feel guilty about ourselves. I can bet that the rest of us blamed someone else, we have no humility.

“I said it was Lawson.” Grey eventually jumps to Nancy’s defense, responding to when she’d asked if she were the only one who said it was all me. Of course the two nerds would tell the truth. Lame x2. It’s bad enough having one Grey as is…

“I said it was Benley seeing as he did let go that last straw.” Sarah offers Benley an apologetic expression in turn for her confession. It seems we all blamed each other during our interrogations. Fortunately, most of us confessed to it being Grey. It’s probable he’ll take the hit for us all.

“So everyone broke the pack/oath of silence we all took?” Ryan questions, noting that we all spoke out in our individual interrogations in spite of us taking the code of silence. “You all resort to turning on each other and blaming one another?” Before any of us can answer him and justify our actions, a grin finds its way onto his lips, “I like it.” He decides there and then, satisfied with the outcome of our friendships. “Deception is key.”

It’s then Troy enters into his private cell with a tear stained face. He’s wrapped in a blanket up to his chin and he’s trembling and shivering immensely. You’d think he was the victim by the way he’s acting. It’s all a facade to get what he wants. He’s a damn good actor. Stupid naive police officers, they should know better.

“Would you stop crying already?” The officer scoffs as if fed up with Troy. “We didn’t even bring out ‘bad cop’ with you. We kept to ‘good cop’.”

“I’m inclined to say differently.” Troy gives cheek through his tears.

“Grow up and aspire to be an adult you insolent youth.” The officer shakes his head at Troy before leaving us be once again. The cops aren’t taking us seriously. They’re well aware of the fact that we’re all pretty much harmless - everyone except for Landon that is.

Once the cop is out of sight, Troy grins and puts off his fake tears. He jumps up and throws his blanket aside. He’s such a drama queen, it isn’t even funny. “They were tough in there,” is his excuse for being a baby. “At first, I said it might be Grey,” Grey scoffs at this, muttering something on the lines of ‘unbelievable’ (everyone is blaming him), “but then I came to my senses, took full responsibility, and said that it was definitely Grey.” I stifle a laugh behind my fist, Grey shooting me a glare for it. Troy confesses adamantly, “I broke the pact of silence. I was weak. Do with me with what you will. They got the truth out of me.”

We’ll leave out the part that we all broke the pact of silence. Let him feel guilty alone, he needs the downgrade to his gigantic ego in any case.

“That’s not the truth though!” Nancy hisses from her cell, backing Grey up, “They got nothing but lies out of you.” She bravely argues with Troy, even I wouldn’t dare - he’ll beat you down with stupidity until you’re mentally exhausted of trying to insert some intelligence into his thick skull.

“We’ll let the jury decide Diddle Squat, we’ll let the jury decide.” Troy assures her confidently as if truly believing it all to be Grey’s fault. We’ve all just grown so accustomed to blaming everything on him that it feels as everything really is Grey’s fault.

“Oooh!” Max, having finally recovered, waves his hand across the air enthusiastically, “Pick me, pick me! I want to be jury!”

I think I preferred him being in out and of consciousness…

I shake my head at him, “Kids these days, so childish.” On second thought, I change my mind, “I should be the judge. I want to be the judge!” I protest, up in arms at whoever is deciding on such important matters.

“You’re both as childish as each other. We’ve been over this.” Bells, a lot more sane, remarks warmly as if having recovered from her second prison meltdown. Who knows when the next one will be? I’m frightened as is. Who will she fake kill off next?!

Max and I ignore her her mean comments. “Up top sister!” Max high fives me, “We are intelligent life forms.”

Benley rolls his eyes at us, “Said only you two, ever.”

“It’s ridiculous,” Grey yawns as if tired, before pointing at me and some others, “you guys will blame me for anything. Next, I will probably be blamed for the earth standing still or for the sun having stopped shining.”

“That’s a bit dramatic.” I shake my head at him, choosing to evade his glare.

“Why is it so dark and cold in these cells?” Troy asks absentmindedly. He hadn’t been paying attention to our discussion at all. Once again, he’s onto his own problems. He’s so self-absorbed. He suddenly lifts his head and glowers directly at Grey as if on instinct, “What did you do? Thanks a lot, thanks a real lot BroGrey. Whatever you did, my cell is now freezing because of it. You’re so selfish sometimes, dude.”

I slap my forehead. Well done Troy Story. He scored a blanket and his own cell out of the cops, yet he still finds something to whine about! He’s just never satisfied - plus, he’s given Grey ground to stand on. Why can’t he ever just shut the hell up?

Grey sighs and turns his attention back to me, offering me a deadpanned stare in turn, “Not too dramatic after all, huh?” He argues, referring to what he said earlier about us always finding something to blame him for.

If anyone is at fault, it has to be her. Perhaps it’s not Grey’s entire fault after all. I think it through before giving life to my thoughts, “If I’m being honest, Bells…” I glance at her with a sheepish look to my eye, “It is all your fault.” I come straight out with it, “You started the debate with Dave, I had no choice but to step in and save you.” Actually, it’s all Dave’s fault for being an ass. He was asking for his store to be wrecked.

“I’m still losing baby weight.” Bells pouts up at me in dismay, “I’ll look like a bloated, fat baby penguin in prison uniform.” Yup, she will never survive in prison. I totally called it.

You girl?” Troy raises an eyebrow her way, “What about me?” He queries frantically, “Then again, I do wear stuff better than you. I think I’ll be able to pull stripes off.” He insists, coming to his own conclusion, “I’ll look like a fierce tiger.”

“Relax.” I smile in peace, unfazed by all of their comments, “If anyone’s going to be stuck in here, it’s Grey.” I reassure the Bensten siblings like the nice person I’ve never claimed to be.

“Thanks for throwing me under the bus, you retards.” Grey growls venomously at all of us, beyond angry.

I turn my gaze unto him, “Don’t be mad. You blamed me too.” I remind him, pointing out the facts and bringing it to his attention should he try to forget it.

“The difference is, you’re actually guilty. I did nothing.” Grey persists, annoyed at my audacity to try and pin it all on him. As if I’d ever let him rot in jail, I’d make a plan and bust him out. After all, this started because of Dean - a guy I barely know. If I’m willing to help Dean out, then Grey should know just how much more willing I will be to help him. I’d go to great lengths for him. He can deny it all he likes, but he’s my friend. I’d rather land up in jail than let it be him. I’d take his place. I’m just teasing him. Somehow, we’re all going to get out of this mess unscathed. We always do. I just have faith, hence why I’m not freaking out…not yet in any case.

“You have a criminal track record anyway,” I joke, merely assuming that he does, “what are you so worried about? You should be used to spending the night in prison.” I tease him, fond of our back and forth banter. It keeps me on my toes.

Grey rolls his eyes at my judgement before clarifying, “Actually, for your information, I have a very clean track record. I’ve never done anything illegal, except street racing.” He corrects himself after, “I’ve never been caught doing anything illegal.” He reveals, clearing it up for me. Now I get why he’s so pissed off. I’ve messed up his perfect track record.

“What?” I sputter out in shock upon hearing this. Grey has a cleaner track record than me, than Jay, than Bells and Benley of all people? This is just plain shocking. How is this even possible?

“Did I stutter?” He asks flatly, giving me attitude.

“I don’t know,” I shrug, “did you, Grey?” I ask him, feeling betrayed at not knowing how innocent he really is, “If that’s even your real name.” I end in distaste.

“Don’t you now be so dramatic!” He snaps at me as we fall back into the same argument.

All of our heads turn in his direction when we hear his voice. My heart automatically begins to thump faster upon seeing him. He’s somehow always around when I need him.

“Help someone in trouble,” he says from across the bars, his blue eyes set solely on me as if relaying a private message to me, “and they will remember it when in trouble again.”

Jay Taylor, always playing the hero.

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