Chapter 39: Field Day
“That’s a great plan, Gregory,” I nod at his fantastic suggestion to make use of this potentially sunny day by spending it at the lake.
“I actually prefer ‘Bossman’ to that name,” Greg shakes his head at me, a small smile lingering on his lips. “‘Gregory’ makes me feel ridiculously old.”
I really do adore Greg. I get why Jay idolizes him. He’s awesome.
“You are ridiculously old, from Stone Age era old. I’m surprised you haven’t disintegrated into dust yet,” Landon jokes, Ryan and me being the only two who appreciate his twisted sense of humor.
“We’ve talked about this, Baby. As funny as your jokes are, they are sometimes too harsh,” Sar smiles up at her boyfriend whilst still reprimanding him in the nicest way possible. The girl is a treasure and Landon knows it.
“I’m going to the park, you guys wanna join?” Xavier asks Landon and Sarah, his behavior odd. As far as I know, Landon needs his help with the proposal, and although he is reluctant, he’s doing it for Emma. That, and well, Landon threatened him.
“Sounds like fun,” Sarah answers, not the least bit skeptical. After all, she’s good friends with Xavier, and well, pretty much everyone except Ryan.
The three venture off, disappearing on their own mission. Emma trails behind slowly, murmuring to herself, enjoying her own company for the meantime. She’d rather be isolated than be with us looney tunes. Currently, solitude is her best friend - it’s peaceful for the baby.
“Thanks for the invite!” Bells hisses after them, offended. “How dare that British ass invite only them in front of all of us?!” She draws her eyebrows up with a pinched frown floating across her lips, “Are we invisible now?!”
“Bells-” I try to explain it to her, but she cuts me right off.
“I’m going after them!” she states boldly, her hands clenched into fists. She bites on her bottom lip in sheer determination before she’s walking in the direction they headed, “I’m gonna give him a piece of my mind, show him what-”
“Landon is proposing!” I interrupt her with a raised voice, taking hold of her forearm and tugging her back before she gets the chance to destroy everything he worked so hard to put together.
“Landon’s proposing?!” Bells squeals in delight, excited.
This is exactly why I never told her sooner...
Sarah, some distance away, turns our way upon hearing the shouting match bouncing across the woods with an echo, “What was that?”
“Landon’s dying!” I call back, waving her off as I signify that she should just continue walking.
Everyone stares at me, including Sarah, perplexed by my thoughtless answer.
I shrug back at the others, falling quiet as I lower my voice so that Sar can’t hear, “What?” I huff, folding my arms over my chest as I defend myself from their accusing stares, “I panicked.”
I don’t miss Landon’s wry smile when Sar glances his way, seeking an explanation. He brushes her off. He steps in front of her, his green eyes fleeting from Bells to me, as he draws a line over his neck and then points to the both of us in warning.
Bells gulps, realizing her mistake, as she raises her hands up to him apologetically.
Ryan snickers at our misfortune, “Looks like it won’t be Landon that will be dying today. Maybe you guys can ask Troy and Ramos to get a head start on your graves.”
I shoot him a glare, one that he chooses not to pay any heed to. He was much more fun when he was still attached to his tech. Without it, he’s annoyingly witty.
“Graves for the two people I hate most in life?” Troy questions aloud to himself. He then grins wickedly and flashes Bells and me a thumbs up, “You guys got it.”
Bells rolls her eyes as Jezel jabs Troy in the ribs for being disrespectful toward his family.
I spot Max sticking up for his wife by challenging Landon head on. He narrows his eyes into deathly slits, mouthing ‘come’ to Landon repetitively, daringly motioning him in with his fingers as if prepared to battle.
“What is that even?” Landon asks with an outstretched hand, a confused frown forming on his face as he scans Max’s fighting stance.
Max lours at him and punches his fist against the other hand, “Anytime, anyplace, anywhere, son!”
“Anyplace and anywhere are kind of the same thing,” Laiken points out like the true smartass he is, deliberately irritating Max further.
“Shut it, ‘WhiteBoy’!” Gland shushes him. He uses two fingers to point at his eyes before pointing them back at Benley’s eyes, “I’m still watching you B-Dawg, watch out.”
Benley throws his hands up in exasperation, “What did I do?”
Everytime Laiken steps out of line, Benley suffers for it.
“S’okay Babe, s’okay,” AJ pats his arm in reassurance.
I let out a relieved breath when Landon can no longer contain it, he grins, amused by Max’s short of intimidating threats. He throws an arm around Sarah’s shoulders and spins her back around, forcing her to keep moving in the opposite direction of us.
“Nice one, you idiots almost blew it,” Ryan chuckles, directing his statement at Bells and me.
“I’m seriously going to hurt you today,” I raise a fist at him, satisfied when he jumps back. He’s a monster without his iPad.
“But where’s my BroJay?” Troy asks Greg aloud, voicing some of our current thoughts - Blubber is probably just thinking of food.
I was disappointed at waking up alone in Jay’s tent. He disappeared on me again without so much as an explanation. I put it down to jogging, but if so, he should have been back by now.
Blubber, as if reading my mind, proves me wrong, “Yeah, where my man ‘CoolGuyJay’ at?”
“Why do you talk like that? Why? Why do you insist on it?” Susie scolds him, annoyed with his wannabe gangster way of talk. He’s clearly spending way too much time with Gland. He’s been taken under ‘The Dung Beatle’s’ wing.
“No, really, where is he?” Troy asks, concerned.
“Busy getting down with Aqueela,” Ryan jokes before his eyes fall on me, a cunning grin spreading across his lips, “oh right, didn’t see you there, midget.”
We spoke like a second ago...
I glower at him, throwing an accusing finger in his direction, “Liar-Face!”
Ryan laughs in mockery, “How old are you? Two?”
′Shut up’, I mouth silently to him, annoyed.
He nods in confirmation, “Two it is.”
I really wish his iPad never broke. Without his tech, he teases people to pass the time. I blame Landon for all of this, and of course Grey - it’s always Grey’s fault. Speaking of which, where is he this morning?
“He didn’t say where he’s going,” Leban interrupts, returning back to the subject of Jay. He’s pessimistic in nature, at least from the little I’ve seen of him. I could be wrong, but I highly doubt that I am.
“But he did say he was coming back,” Goku, the optimistic one, informs us before any of us get the wrong idea. In a sense, he’s outright lying to their faces. There will come a time when he won’t be coming back.
“I should hope so,” Mia laughs, finding it strange that he’d even have to say that.
If only she knew...
“Alrighty, I’m keen, let’s head down to the lake so long, shall we?” Keagen suggests, always more formal than the average human being. He’s a little extraordinary, but that’s okay. We love him anyway.
“But where’s Grey?” Nancy asks, noticing his absence too. “Did he go with Jay?”
Greg shakes his head in response to her question, “No. He’s brooding in his tent and refuses to wake up.”
“That sounds more like Zac,” I say loudly at hearing the news.
Zac shrugs, unoffended, before agreeing with me, “True, very true. I’ll take it.”
Greg continues to elaborate, “I tried getting him to join, but he’s determined to spend the day in his tent. He’s being extra grumpy today.”
I feign a shudder, “That’s a terrifying thought.”
I didn’t realize that he could be more grumpy than he already is on a daily basis. It’s a pity Jay’s not here. He’d know what to do.
“What’s wrong with him?” Nancy prods, seemingly worried.
“He’s miserable and he won’t say why,” Greg shrugs, the answer lost on him as well.
“I’ll fetch him,” I state adamantly as I make my way over to his tent, ignoring their calls to stop. I don’t hesitate to crouch down and unzip his tent before crawling inside, uninvited.
I’m more than shocked to find him hiding under his many covers of blankets. I mean, even his face is covered completely.
How is he even breathing right now?
I guess it’s a ‘creature of darkness’ thing.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing, Lawson?” Grey asks, peeking out from underneath his many layers as if having a knack for knowing when it’s me.
I take a seat beside him, dodging his question as I ask him one of my own, “Talk to Aqueela. What’s up with you? Why you being such a Grumpot today, huh?” I elbow him playfully, not used to seeing him dismantled like this. He’s usually the strong one, all the time. He never breaks apart, his surface never cracks.
“Get out,” he says through clenched teeth as if I’m the last person he wants to deal with right now.
“Are you sick?” I place my hand against his forehead. Before I can even feel his temperature, he’s already slapping my hand away, grouching on about how I just intrude whenever I feel like it - he’s not wrong.
“Would you just leave already?” he frowns up at me mopily as if willing me to drop dead and die - cold and incredibly rude, but true. ”Please,” he actually begs, trying to reason with me despite his depressing attitude.
“No,” I conclude with sheer conviction.
I’m not going anywhere until he tells me why he’s acting like this. His behavior is unusual, especially for him. He needs a friend, and that’s what I’m here for.
He groans before sinking deeper into his inflatable mattress, covering up his face again as he turns his back on me, hoping to somehow escape me.
I pull the blanket away slightly, exposing his face. “Tell me what’s wrong,” I press, serious about the matter. I’m a little concerned. “You can speak freely without judgment,” I coax.
He stares up at me blankly before caving in with a miserable sigh, “You’re stupid, you’ve gained weight, and I don’t like you.”
I swallow back a smile and slowly cover up his face for him again, “You’re clearly not ready to talk yet. That’s okay.”
“Get out,” he complains in a muffled grumble, not up to arguing like we usually do. It’s odd in every possible way. It’s not like him. It’s just not.
"No,” I repeat, emphasizing the word to get it through his head that I’m not going anywhere until he talks.
“I hate you.”
I grin in delight and immediately yank the blankets right off of him, “C’mon, Ferrot, time to get up and at it! Out of those PJ’s!”
He sits up and only glares daggers at me, “What if I had nothing on, you idiot?”
“Nothing I haven’t seen before,” I joke, urging me to leave the tent already.
“Oh please,” he scoffs in disbelief, “I don’t believe it for a second. There’s no way you’ve...” he falters off in thought.
“I take offense to that,” I scowl at him, hitting him upside the head as I feign anger, “even if it is true,” I admit, grabbing his upper arm and trying to force him to get a move on as everybody is waiting on him.
He shoves me away from him before giving me a menacing stare from the depths of hell, “I will kill you today, Aqueela.”
“Good thing that I’m willing to die today, Grey.”
“He is staying put in that damn tent,” I inform the others as I return back to them, “he even endured my horrendous singing for a full ten minutes.”
“He is strong,” Benley acknowledges, aware of how absolutely brilliant I am in the vocals department, “one powerful guy through and through.”
“Maybe we just call it a day and set his tent up in flames?” Troy suggests, a serious expression on his face, giving away no traces of humor.
“You scare me because I know that you’re not joking,” Max shakes his head at Troy, putting a pin in his plan to create another disastrous fire.
I pedal back to the point of this conversation, “Either way, Grey’s coming out of that tent, whether it’s dead or alive-”
“Preferably alive, Aqueela,” Bells scolds me reprimandingly.
I wave her off and continue as I take it up with the others, “You guys, just think of all the times Grey’s had our backs.” At seeing their blank expressions and at hearing the crickets chirping, I take the liberty to refresh their memories with lies, “For instance, remember that time when Grey treated us all to an ice-cream after he first saved us from that burning building?”
“That never happened,” Bells corrects me with a frown on her cherry colored lips, “like ever.”
“Yeah it did,” Troy grins lazily as if reminiscing back on a fond memory.
Bells merely rolls her eyes at her brother, paying him no attention as the wheels in his brain begin to turn with emptiness.
“What about that time when Grey started Apple in order to make millions for charity work?” I remind them all with a narrowed stare to express my solemn attitude. “Or that time when he became the first person to walk the moon in order to see if it’s habitable for humans? Or when-”
“Wasn’t him,” Benley cuts me off with sternness, “none of that was him.”
“Agree to disagree,” AJ backs me up, always incredibly loyal to whatever it is I might say.
“Like that one time when Grey helped get your parents back together, Max,” I cheerfully tell him in the hopes that he’ll recall it.
“I don’t remember that,” Max points out, refusing to oblige me this time ’round, “do you know why, Aqueela?” I don’t get time to answer before he’s talking again, “Because my parents are still divorced!”
I wince and raise an eyebrow, “You sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure!” Max hisses at me. ”Of course I am sure, Aqueela!”
I awkwardly continue on with the defenses in order to steer clear of Max’s venomous glares, “Well at least Grey was there when Benley got dumped by Bex-”
“No, he wasn’t,” Benley interrupts fiercely.
I make a final attempt, “But he was there when Bells and Troy were fighting, and he helped them-”
“He helped nothing,” Bells stares down at me flatly, hands on hips as she awaits for where I will take this next.
“Ah yes!” Troy erupts into laughter as if he actually remembers Grey helping him and Bells with their sibling feuds, “Good times!” He wipes away a tear from his eye after he’s finished cackling his head off like a madman, “That was a weird day.”
It was a bizarre day because it never happened.
I bring it all to a close by summing it up, “Looking back, Grey has always been there for every single one of us and it’s only fair that we are there for him too, so-”
“What are you smoking, Aqueela?” Benley asks me point-blank. “We just discovered that, if anything, Grey is a useless friend. He’s never had any of our backs. He just tolerates us. Most of the time, he’s cussing us all out. He hates us. He’s never been there for any of us.”
That is not the point I was trying to bring across to them. I just enlightened them with the cold hard truth. My attempt to create a veil of lies has failed me. They’ve seen through it. Where did I go wrong?
Nonetheless, I continue onward with my speech of greatness, “We owe Grey-”
“We really don’t,” Bells argues, persistent.
“...our lives,” I finalize casually.
Before I can get another word out, I’m being attacked by all of them:
“Way over the line, Aqueela!” Benley remarks, raising his voice slightly - a very rare occurrence indeed. He never raises his voice, ever.
“You’re pushing it,” Max sides with BoyBand, much more mature than he used to be. If it were high school, he’d be backing me up all the way to the bank.
“I’d ask what’s wrong with you, but the world will never know,” Bells teases in good nature, disagreeing with the ‘owe him our lives’ part.
“Which one is Grey again?” Troy asks absentmindedly, eyebrows furrowed, a puzzled expression on his face.
Benley sighs in irritation as if he doesn’t, with every fiber in his being, want to say it, “Better known by you as BroGrey?”
“BroGrey!” Troy grins in delight upon suddenly remembering who he is.
“Your take on this, TroyStory?” I ask.
“I like it,” Troy nods at me, adamant in his conclusion, “I do owe BroGrey my life, for realz.”
Bells turns to him with a puzzled face, ”How? How so?”
“I just do, Bell, don’t question it,” Troy lectures his sister, giving her an earful of pure stupid, “it’s called mob mentality.”
Benley groans aloud, severely annoyed, as he juts his thumb in Troy’s direction “Can someone just kill him off already?”
Max waves his hands through the air eagerly, “I volunteer!”
Benley grins at Max knowingly, “Yeah, I could see you having a field day with that one.”
Max nods in agreement, “For sure. It’s called ‘Max mentality’.”
I laugh aloud at his words, “If that becomes an actual thing, the world is screwed.”
“And what do you suggest?” Max offers, arching an eyebrow in my direction as if waiting for me to one-up him yet again with my raw talent.
“Aqueela’s modus operandi,” I say in awe, flashing my hands through the air as if it is a true wonder that no one can fathom nor comprehend.
“What? Annoying the hell out of everyone?” Max challenges me.
I nod eagerly, “Exactly. Yes.”
“So she’s swinging with Emma, right,” Landon, oddly cheery, tells us the story of how the proposal went, “and Xavier’s pushing them. I give Xavier the signal like we’d planned and-”
“So romantic!” Bells gushes, interrupting him.
He shoots her a glare for cutting him off. She immediately falls quiet again, pretending to zip her mouth shut so that we can hear the rest of the story.
I speak my mind despite his irritation, “I still don’t get why you have a blue eye.”
Landon sighs and continues, “That’s because of Xavier. Instead of stopping Sarah’s swing like we’d planned, he pushed her, so much so, that by the time I had knelt down, she couldn’t stop herself in time and ended up kicking me in the face.”
Xavier bursts out laughing at the reminder before explaining the rest to us, “He fell flat on his back and the ring knocked out of his hand.”
I giggle and nod along in the fun of it, “Now I get the blue eye.”
Landon scowls at Xavier in turn, “It’s not funny, asshole.”
“It’s hilarious!” Xavier replies through his evil snickering, wiping a stray tear from his eyes whilst Emma even shares a wicked grin at her brother’s misfortune.
"Anyway," Sarah glances up at Landon lovingly, feeling guilty about his eye, before bringing the subject to a rapid close, “I said yes.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah!” I clap my hands over ecstatically before wrapping the two of them into a jovial embrace, refusing to let either go.
Oog and Gland join in on the hug too as they jump up and down excitedly with me. They’re not even that close to Landon, but that small fact doesn’t deter them.
“This is really uncomfortable for me,” Landon coughs awkwardly, impatiently waiting for me and the others to release him and Sarah from bondage.
“You’re ruining my kodak moment,” I shush him, only hugging the two of them tighter as I relish in their newfound happiness.
“It’s our kodak moment,” Landon corrects as he gestures from him to Sarah. “You’re not remotely involved in this, at all.”
“Why aren’t you jumping with us, Landon?” I question only for him to blatantly ignore me as if the answer is obvious.
I let go of them, stepping back to admire them as a couple, ignoring Landon’s usual meanness. “I gotta say, Lan, it amazes me that you’ve found a girl to settle with. I really thought that there’d be no hope for you.”
“Nice, Lawson,” Landon says in sarcasm, shaking his head at me before cracking a small smile as if he just can’t help himself.
“Oi, look who it is!” Xavier mocks as Grey finally makes his appearance, gracing us with his unwanted presence.
Sarah smiles warmly as she joins in on the teasing, “There he is!”
Nancy emerges from the tent after him, making it obvious that they’d talked and that she’d somehow used her powers of persuasion over him in order to get him out. It seems it has worked successfully seeing as he’s here now.
“Be careful there,” I warn Grey at seeing him stretch out his arm to shield his face from the blazing sun, “you might just burn and turn into ash.”
“I can only hope,” he glowers at me, “if it means I will finally have peace from you.”
“Slightly harsh, bro,” Laiken chuckles, not actually at all amused.
I wave Laiken’s evident concern off, “No worries, that’s just how Grey is. I’m ambiguous and ambitious enough to handle all of him.”
“You act like you’re invincible,” Zac teases mockingly.
“No,” I shake my head, clarifying, “even the great I will die some day...” I pause, hesitating, now doubtful of the fact, “probably.”
Grey glares at me as if to ensure it, “I’ll make do on that.”