Pause (Book 1)

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Chapter 21: Operation: ‘Bring Bells Back’

“Troy please-“

“I think it’s best you leave.” Troy cuts in with a detached look that he has never ever given me before. It hurts. What hurts more is when the door slams shut in my face.

I glance at the closed door for second or two longer, before deciding it’s best to turn my back on the situation and move on.

“So that went well.” Jay states sarcastically as I approach him and his red Gallardo that got me here in the first place. He knows that it went, in fact, quite the opposite.

He felt bad the entire night that I had slept over. The next morning he forced me into the car and brought me to Bell’s house without her knowledge or mine. He wanted for us to work things out because he saw how upset I was. Unfortunately Bells refuses to even talk to me.

“She will barely even look at me, never mind talk to me.” I inform Jay in a grumpy tone.

“She’ll get over it.” Jay reassures me and crosses his arms over his chest as he leans against the hood of his sweet ride. “I mean it’s not like you and Mason actually did anything.”

With that said I can’t help but try to supress my guilty expression. Jay raises both eyebrows at me questiongly, picking up on my odd behaviour, “And that look?”

“Oh nothing.” I reply, distracted, quickly changing the subject, “So its weekend and we should do something fun. Because I don’t know about you, but I’m bored out of my skull.”

“Aqueela.” Jay replies through gritted teeth in a flat tone, “What happened?”

Dammit! Why can’t he have a short attention span and be distracted easily?

“Masonkissedme.” I mumble quickly, embarrassed that it even happened, even if it was for a mere split second before I shoved him away.

“He what? “Jay asks, mishearing me.

“He kissed me.” I repeat, louder this time as I break eye contact and search for anything else to look at but at Jay’s eyes or his reaction that goes with it.

When a solid fifteen seconds pass, I realize that if he was going to say something, he would have already. I peak back up at him to see him giving me a toothy grin, the last reaction that I had been expecting from him, “I always knew you two had a thing for each other.”

Honestly I would have preferred it if he shouted and threw a tantrum, at least that way I’d know he cares. This is the most awful reaction he could possibly give me.

“No!” I shake my head profusely, “I pushed him away. Besides, you of all people should know that I don’t like him. I like you.” I emphasise the last part of my speech, to make sure Jay understands. It’s like I can tell him a million times, but he will never care. He will always be indifferent to me.

Jay tenses slightly at my confession, but forces himself back into his relaxed position when he sees me staring, “Don’t tell me that.” He says quietly yet sternly that I actually feel a little intimidated. And immensely hurt by his words.

I roll my eyes, “It’s not like you haven’t heard it already and it’s not like I am giving you an ultimatum. Deal with the truth.”

Jay is quick and all too eager to change the subject, “The Aqueela I met in that store about five months ago was more feisty and determined. What happened to that girl? The Aqueela I knew would march right back up to that front porch, knock on that door until her knuckles turn blue and barge right in if no one opens the door. You’re giving up on your friend way too easily.”

The more Jay continued to rant, the more I zoned out and the more I zoned out the more it became clear to me that Jay was wrong.

Because I’m still me and I’m still right here.

Nothing has changed.

And hell if I’d be damned if I gave up on Bells because Troy is a nuisance.

So well Jay continues on in his lengthy lecture, I, being ever so polite, push him out my way and march right back to the front porch. I begin to ring the buzzer and knock countless of times until fifteen minutes later when Troy gives and opens the door yet again.

“Would you quit ringing the bell?! Bells doesn’t want to see you and neither do I. Go home!” Troy shouts, highly irritated.

I hold myself in position, resisting the urge to run because Troy had never spoken to me with such cruelty before. I hate to admit it, but his blatant rudeness unhinges me to the core. I’d always considered him to be a brother, but obviously he’d take his blood’s side before he took some wannabe sister’s side.

“No.” I shake my head defiantly, more determined than ever. “Let me through.”

Troy crosses his arms and blocks my path in entering, “I don’t think so.”

“Well I do!” I all but raise my tone in frustration and shove him forcefully out of my way as I barge into the house. Troy all but loses his balance and stumbles backwards, allowing Jay’s entrance too. I turn back to find Troy giving me an ‘I am going to kill you’ stare.

Thankfully Jay keeps him distracted as I rush up the stairs and make my way into Bell’s room to find her snuggled deeply in all her blankets with a tub of ice cream and tears brimming at the corner of her eyes.

My heart breaks a little at the sight.

I never wanted this.

“Bells…” I start weakly, trailing off.

“Go away Aqueela.” Bells murmurs hoarsely and quietly, clearly pained.

I don’t listen to her as I plop down onto her bed beside her, pulling her into a hug, one that she doesn’t return, not that I expected her too. “I’m so sorry. I never meant to hurt you-“

Bells cuts me off with a very blunt remark, “I understand that he kissed you for a split second and that you pushed him away. I understand that you never wanted him to kiss you or that you never wanted me to get hurt. I get that. What I don’t get, is why you look at him the way you do. So be straight with me, do you have feelings for him?”

I fall silent at her question because I myself didn’t have the answer.

Every time I tried to analyse that thought, it was pushed to the back of my head.

“Do you?!” Bell’s tone raises an octave higher, making her all the more intimidating and making me feel all the more guilty.

I can only be honest. That’s my option. No more lies.

“I don’t know Bells. I mean I wish I could look you in the eyes and say that I hate him…but…I just don’t know anymore.’’ I admit. She doesn’t reply and merely stares at her bedroom floor. “Bells?”

“Get out.”

“What?” I ask abruptly, hoping I heard wrong.

“Get out! Now!”

With that tone, there’s no need to tell me twice. I’m already out like a bullet because never in all my life has Bells spoken to me with such Animosity. Not that I can complain here. I need to straighten my shiznit out before I lose everyone. I grab Jay by his hand and begin to drag him out while ignoring Troy’s furious protesting. This isn’t about him. It’s about his sister and me. I messed up and now I need to fix up.

“Why do you have to drag all of us into this?” Max asks, trying to sound irritated but failing. Who is he kidding? He was the most joyous from all of us, even me. I don’t answer and merely continue on in my plan. Max looks unto Jay for an answer at my lack of answering.

Jay shrugs absentmindedly as he leans against the wall of his lounge where I had gathered the ultimate team…or the only people I knew…ranging from Blubber The Great to Simo the Semi Tolerant and of course I had to throw Max and Jay into the mix or it just wouldn’t be the same.

“I still don’t get the f*ck why you called me. I barely know you.”

Yeah…um…did I mention I got Grey, Jay’s not friend but acquaintance, involved too.

“Heck if I know. She didn’t even tell me what’s up. One second my house is empty and the next it’s flooded with people.” Jay replies back nonchalantly as if he could care less and I suppose he really couldn’t, that’s how much he didn’t care.

“Yeah but you’re screwing her. I’m not. I have no obligation-“

“Grey.” Jay gives him a look, signifying that he was not screwing me and that Grey’s theory could not be more wrong. “She’s just progressed to friend status, don’t make me knock her down back to enemy.”

I’ll kill Grey if he makes that happen. I will strangle him! Though from his point of view, this might be a little odd to him. Ah well…I’m going to need all the help I can possibly get.

“As I was saying I have gathered you all here today on this fine evening-“

“It’s three AM.” Grey cuts in, checking the time on his cell phone. “And I’m tired and pissed off. And I still don’t know why the hell I have to be here.”

“Because I said so dammit!” I huff, frustrated.

Did I call all of these people and wake them up? Maybe. When they ignored me and hanged up, did I personally track them down and wake them up face to face? Possibly. Did I drag them back to Jay’s house (Jay unaware of it all)? Could be. Are they all incredibly pissed? Hell yes! Do I care? Hell no.

“Anyways as I was saying-“

“Ooh oooh question! Question!” Max interrupts excitedly and all too eagerly as he jumps up and down like a little toddler on crack.

I roll my eyes at his childishness, “What now?”

“Who is he?” Max asks and points at the familiar frown faced man. That very same frown faced man who served me when I went out with Dylan…and Mason…the very same waiter that had no patience, the one that threw a tantrum and quit.

Yup…I made it my mission to seek him out and so I did. I found him and apologized. l found out that his girlfriend dumped him that very same day and seeing other couples was difficult for him. So after some brief small talk, I got the chap smiling with my spectacular charm. Next thing he knows, bam slam! He’s Aqueela’s new friend and Aqueela’s friends are all included in her diabolical pans.

Too bad he didn’t see any of it coming.

“His name is Benley. And he’s my new pal. Now shut it Max.” I explain very briefly, earning confused glances but brushing it off. They might as well just talk to each other and get to know one another because we have a long mission ahead of us. “So the plan goes down like this-“

“Let me just get this straight, this plan is for your hot chica friend no?” Blubber interrupt this time.

“No, actually I believe she called it operation ‘Bring Bells Back’.” Benley corrects in a calmer manner than when we first met. Banging alliteration in the op’s name.

I don’t really blame Benley for quitting on me. I mean other than his girlfriend dumping him and then still having to deal with a wacko customer too… I would have felt the same if I had to serve Dylan too.

Speaking of Dylan…he might be a little annoyed when he finds out since I stole his cash manager.

“Sprinkle look fine.” Simo winks at me flirtatiously out of the blue. I furrow my eyebrows in distaste at the suggestive grin he is so not pulling off.

Jay and Max seem to find it hilarious…that is until I shoot them my death stare which results in both of them stepping back with raised hands and sheepish grins as if ashamed.

“Okay so everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing, correct?” I ask, glancing around at all the faces as it suddenly occurs to me that I’m the only rose amongst all the prickly pears…why do I get the feeling like that’s not the saying. Everyone shakes their heads. My eyes widen in shock, “What! Why? I explained it like a billion times.”

“A billion times too little apparently.” Max states with green mischievous fleck in his green eyes. “Oh and by the way, who is he?” he motions to the filthy peasant beside me. I shrug. Max pulls a face, “How can you not know who he is?”

“He had a cardboard box he was living in beneath the local bridge. He started following me one night so I started chatting with him. Apparently his name is Oog.” I reply as Oog grins with his yellow dirty teeth and nods enthusiastically. “He’s agreed to watch Jay’s house while we’re out.”

Jay’s head snaps to me, “The f**ck he is!” he shouts, unaware and offending Oog in the process. “I’m sorry Aqueela, but I’m not having some hobo watch my house.”

Grey backs Jay up, despite the fact that they’re not even friends, “You literally pulled the bugger out from underneath a bridge and you befriend him?!”

Oog, feeling overwhelmed, cowers behind me. I turn around and pat his head, “It’s okay Oog. They’re just being big meanies.”

“Meanies. Is. Mean.” He agrees in a caveman like voice before reaching into his thick beard and taking out a red lollipop, popping it into his mouth. I laugh while everyone around me seems to be disgusted.

“What the hell does he have up all in there?” Benley asks, pulling a repulsed expression.

I roll my eyes at Benley, “Just a comb, breakfast, lunch, snacks etcetera and I think I saw a razor in there somewhere too.”

“Oh the f**king irony!” Grey shouts, frustrated, referring to the razor and the thick grey beard.

Oog whimpers and I can’t help but pat the top of his head again in order to calm him down. “Gosh Aqueela, he’s not a pet.” Max states, watching me with disgust before I rub the grease from Oog’s hair onto an unsuspecting Blubber who yelps and glares up at me much to my amusement. His head was closest to my hand.

“I don’t care. I’m keeping him and I’m keeping him here at Jay’s house.” I retort, defensive over Oog.

“It’s like I get no say in this.” Jay mutters, annoyed. Grey smirks and mouths ‘whipped’ to him.

“Now now Oog. I know you’re a kleptomaniac but you need to promise me you won’t steal anything of Jay’s while we’re gone.” I say gently.

“A f**king what now?! In my goddam house!? Alone?!” Jay shouts, losing his temper. “You’ve gone too far this time Aqueela. He could have diseases. I’m not letting some homeless dude slash caveman slash kleptomaniac stay in my house!”

Oog growls at Jay. “Oog!” I reprimand. “We spoke about hostility.”

“Guard, she’s crazy!” Grey interjects.

“Fortunately you Jay have no say.” I reply back as Oog nods, agreeing.

“It’s my flippen house and I get no dam say?!” Jay yells again, his voice roaring across the neighbourhood. I nod, clarifying what I meant.

“Oog promises he won’t take anything. Right?” I ask, glancing at Oog.

He nods, “Pwomise.”


“No! I don’t see goddammit Aqueela! All what I see is him holding nix behind his back!” Jay snaps.

“Oog!” I frown, “No nixes.”

“Just get on with the plan so I can forget this all and go back home and sleep dammit all!” Grey mumbles sleepily and angrily.

“Well someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.” I mutter, earning me a sharp glare from Grey himself as he defends his grumpy behaviour, “You f**king woke me up at 3 AM!!”

“Aqueela. Plan.” Max reminds me.

“Ugh!” I stomp my foot and pout at things not going my way. “You two!” I point at Grey and Max, “You two keep Troy preoccupied. That’s your job.” I turn to Simo and Blubber to find Blubber sleeping with blobs of drool flowing down the side of his open mouth as loud snores echo around us. I slam my fist down in front of him as he jumps up in a fright, letting out a loud fart and not being bashful about it in the least.


“Blubber and Sims, you two are on the kidnap Bells and bring her to Benley mission. Benley, you up for keeping Bells busy whilst Jay and I do our bit of the mission?” I ask and before he can answer I say, “Good! Then it’s settled. We all have our part.”

“How come you get to be with cool guy Jay?” Blubber asks with a girly pout, jutting his chubby lips out.

“Because I am leader. That’s why.” I snap.

No one is taking Jay away from me. Not on my watch.

“Fine. But I am not promising that I won’t make a move on Bella. I am definitely taking my chances. The girl is hot.” Blubber insists and I roll my eyes at him, aware of the fact. Bells is one irresistible girl.

’”Touch her and I will personally cut off your fingers and feed them to your toes.” I threaten him menacingly.

“Simo want be with Sprinkle.” Simo insists as he wraps his chubby arms around me, lifting me completely off the floor and spinning me around. When he finally sets me down I heave out a breath. He’d squeezed me so tight that I couldn’t breathe.

“And why do I have to be with scary emo guy?” Max whispers into my ear as he edges closer to me and further away from Grey, whispering rather loudly but unaware of the fact.

“Scary emo guy can hear you.” Grey replies back, crossing his arms over his chest as he towers over Max and I.

“Grey is a softie Max. He’s just an ‘act tough’ kind of guy.” I explain to Maxi, purposely irritating Grey by doing so.

“Why can’t I go with Jay? I know him best.” Grey asks, finding Max to be just as unappealing as Max finds him.

“Because as I recall, you and Jay aren’t even friends.” I point out, reminding Grey of his own words. “And Jay and I are most definitely pals.” I grin, wrapping an arm around Jay’s waist. I take out two black masks that I had made from stockings. “Look we even have the same masks.” I say and give Jay his one to which he simply rolls his eyes before snatching it from my hands. Max insists we put them on and so I force Jay to. I put my head with the black mask on against Jay’s head with the black mask, “Twinzies!” I grin, knowing I was irritating Jay.

I pull a gangster look, leaning back and placing my hands over my shoulders, “What up dawgs?!”

“Make it stop.” Max whines.

“I’m going to kill her. I’m not even joking.” Grey says as Jay simply sighs, knowing that he can’t beat me on anything.

“Let’s just get this over with.” Jay huffs indignantly, grabbing me by my upper arm and pulling me away from the others.

Giddiness builds up in me as I shush the others, “Places! Places! Places! Places everyone! Places!”

“I feel like a paedophile stalker.” Jay mumbles from beside me. I shush him as I peer through my binoculars into Bells room from the tree beside her house. I clap my hands ecstatically and hand him the binoculars to take a look. “There she is!” I yell excitedly.

“You say that like you were expecting her not to be in her own house, in her own room at 4 AM in the morning.” Jay mutters under his breath, refusing to peer through the binoculars into her room. “And what’s with all this war paint…” he trails off an motions to the dark green army lines painted across my face, “And is the camouflage really necessary?” he asks motioning to the leaves in my hair and the leave outfit I had specifically made to blend into the tree so that Bell’s couldn‘t make us out. “You always have to go all out. You can never just be.” Jay states and I can’t say that I disagree.

“And you’re no fun. Ever.” I mumble back distractedly, not really paying attention to what I was saying.

“You think I’m no fun?” Jay queries, sounding a little peeved and a little offended.

Absentmindedly I nod, still focusing on Bell’s form, “You never want to do anything fun. You’re always so boringly grown up and too mature. I mean let loose and go wild every once in a while. Live a little.” I reply back letting out my high pitched bird call ‘Cuckoo Cuckoo’ as a signal for Grey and Max to distract Troy long enough for Blubber and Simo to sneak past and ransack his sister.

“You’re kind of fun just isn’t my definition of fun. Sitting in a tree covered in leaves and paint isn’t exactly appealing in my eyes.” Jay snaps moodily and it’s then that I realize I hurt Mr Bad Boy’s feelings.

“Quick Jay, she’s looking! Jump!” I shout, ignoring his change of mood as I shove him, meaning to rush him to get down and totally not meaning to push him off the entire tree.

There’s a loud clash from somewhere at the bottom of the tree trunk.

Oh crap…

So that didn’t go as planned…

He better be okay for my sake!

“Jay?!” I whisper shout, glancing to the bottom of the tree. “If you’re still alive, be prepared to catch me. I’m jumping!” I say and dive down the tee like a mad woman, just missing Bells’ gaze. I’m expecting to land into Jay’s strong arms but instead my face meets the ground…much more satisfactory…NOT!

I rub at my throbbing face from impact as I lazily sit up to find Jay beside me mirroring the same pained expression. So he landed face first too. Ha in his face! Well in both of our faces! His pained expression quickly turns into a blunt scowl in my direction at the sight of me.

“Why the hell didn’t you catch me?” I moan, rubbing at my swelling forehead. You’d think I’d be used to head pains by now.

“Why the hell did you push me out the tree?” he shoots back in questioning. Touché.

I blink twice, not knowing what to say to that. So I repeat my first question, “Why the hell didn’t you catch me?”

“Because I’m not fun.” He answers blandly, dejectedly, making me feel a sense of guilt for my previous words. It’s not like I meant it. Okay so I did…I just sometimes wish he’d…I don’t know…lighten up and let go for once. He’s always so uptight. That can’t be fun.

“You can’t seriously be mad at me?” I ask, bewildered and puzzled by his offence to my comment. He’s usually not this thin skinned. Usually he brushes it off with a ‘whatever’. But this time he seems to actually give a dam as if my words actually mean something to him.

“Forget it.” Jay mumbles in a broody sulky tone a she gets up and dusts himself off, not bothering to help me up. Still no gentleman…

I glance sideways to see how the others are faring. In the distance I spot Grey glaring at Troy while Max tries to make small talk with Troy in hopes of getting Blubber and Simo past…I should have really though that one through. I should have sent Maxi and Grey to get Bells and Blubber and Simo to distract Troy. After all, Bells actually likes Max. Blubber and Simo are too…well framed to fit through Bell’s door frame if you get what I mean…

I edge closer, eavesdropping on the conversation, “So um Bells tells me you are into cars. My ride isn’t working and I was hoping you could check it out.” Max asks Troy as Troy gives him a sceptical gaze and glances from him to Grey.

“At 4 AM in the morning?” Troy asks, suspicious.

Max is quick to make up a cover, “You just seem fit and the cool chilled dude to get up early and gym. You know what I mean?”

Good one Max! Just compliment Troy and he will blindly follow you unto your death.

Troy flashes Max a grin before flexing, “It’s true. I am fit.” He agrees.

What a liar! Troy never trains and he most certainly doesn’t get up early! His wake up time is at least one in the afternoon minimum.

Troy then nods in Grey’s direction, silently approving of him, “What’s the gist with him?”

Grey should speak up and speak for himself, but unfortunately Max has to do all the work because Grey is a silent stubborn emo jerk twat face! Similar words I used to describe Jay at one stage. Mhmmm…

“He’s um…shy.” Max mumbles nervously as Grey shoots him a look, but still he says nothing.

Troy pulls a face, but nevertheless nods and obeys as he follows after Max into the driveway, leaving the front door to house completely open.

I whistle, giving away the next scene as Blubber and Simo sprint as fast as their stubby legs can carry them into the mansion. They move upstairs and ten minutes later (much slower than the average human speed) they finally make it outside Bell’s room panting and trying to regain their breathing.

I sigh. This might just take longer than expected. I’m just glad that Bell’s parents are away for the weekend, that and the fact that from where I stand in their backyard I can see everyone and everything.

My eyes move back to Maxi, Troy and Grey. Grey remains silent whilst Max tries to explain what went wrong with his car in his apparent accident. I vaguely hear Troy say, “Well here. Let me try it out.” He offers, hopping into the car and about to start the engine. Of course that would result in us getting caught out because Max’s car would start up perfectly fine.

Max shoves Troy aside violently in a panic, “No!” he shouts and then coughs awkwardly to cover up his mistake as Troy raises auspicious eyebrows, “I mean rather not because if something is wrong with the engine it might just burst into flames and kill you-“

“It won’t burst into flames.” Troy replies back persistently.

“But are you willing to take that risk?” Max asks, trying to convince him otherwise.

“There’s no risk so yes I am…” I tune out for the rest of the conversation, knowing that it was only a matter of time before even the dumbfounded Troy would catch on. I watch in anticipation from Bell’s window as Blubber sneaks in and blindfolds her. When she opens her mouth to yell, he sticks a dirty sock in her mouth (not my idea) to improvise. It doesn’t stop there. The crazy Bells is unleashed as she begins bitch slapping the two, absolutely furious. Fortunately she can’t see them in the dark.

Eventually Simo throw her small delicate frame into a large black bag and zips her closed. Blubber ties knots around her hands and feet before winking at her despite her not being able to see him and blowing her a kiss with a call me gesture.

I roll my eyes. He’s just lucky that I’m not up there in the room with them. Simo quickly lifts Bells into his arms effortlessly. This is where Jay comes in. Crap! I turn to find where Jay had walked off to minutes before but he’s nowhere in sight. Shizbit! “Jay!” I whisper shout but no one answers.

Simo, like the giant idiot he is, drops Bells out the window without warning and without even checking to see if Jay is there to catch her. He just assumes Jay would be here. So as Bell’s body comes flying out the window I cannot help but begin to panic. Her death will be on my hands. I sprint forward, trying to catch her in time, hoping that I’d at least break her fall but it was obvious my velocity wasn’t as fast as hers.

I wasn’t going to make it.

But my feet stop on their own accord as another person comes into view, Jay. Well it’s about time. I let out a breath of relief as he extends his hands, catching Bells just in time. He glances down at Bells who is trying to scream but cannot because of the sock in her mouth and the bag. He shakes his head before unzipping her so that she at leats has some air. I swear Blubber and Simo don’t think. Jay then turns to me and motions that it’s go time. He hands Bells to Benley who takes her effortlessly, admiring her beauty quiet openly.

Meanwhile Simo and Blubber, like morons, try to climb down the side of the two story house instead of just taking the front door. No, they insisted on being actual spies. Blubber loses his footing and ends up clambering down onto the floor screaming to me to catch him.

Uh no!

Simo happens to glance down to see what the commotion is and in his distracted state he lets go and comes falling down right on top of Blubber.

I glance back to Troy and them to see Max performing some ritual moon dance around Troy as a distraction method. Grey yawns and kicks at the car’s tyre in boredom.

It’s official, I am surrounded by idiots.

“I was inside you!” Blubber yells at Simo, smacking him upside the head as Simo finally lifts himself off Blubber, laughing hysterically.

I end up pushing the both of them to our getaway car where Jay is patiently waiting. I open the back door for Benley and motion for him to get inside with Bells in his arms. Next I shove Blubber and Sims in with them and lastly I climb into the passenger seat beside our getaway driver, Jay of course. I barely make it into the car before Jay sets foot down on the accelerator and like the getaway car drive he is, he does his part and races away.

Through the rear-view mirror I can spot Troy running after us as Max lies on the floor cradling his crotch. I can only guess what happened. Sorry Maxi Pad.

The jig is up and I’ve left both Max and Grey at the mercy of Troy’s hands. Or should I say I’ve left Max at the mercy of Grey and Troy’s hands.

Speaking of Grey…he’s nowhere in sight. I can only guess he got too bored and stormed off. It’s not like he was much help in any case. I just felt like including the poor sap and he seemed to appreciate it. He deserves some fun…besides he may not know it yet…but his part in this is far from over. I will have many more adventures with Mr Grumpy Pot sooner or later. He’ll come round. They all do.

I motion to Blubber and Simo to zip it. If they spoke Bells would recognize their voices and catch on. She keeps squirming in agitation and fear but Benley keeps his grip on her tight, patting her hair gently as if to sooth her and somehow it works.

I raise a curious eyebrow at him to which he simply shrugs and mouths ‘magic touch’. I roll my eyes. If Max finds out about this ‘magic touch’ he won’t be very happy.

Next thing I know, we’re at Jay’s house again and it’s now officially five AM in the morning. Benley carries Bell into the house and plops her gently down on Jay’s lounge sofa. The rest of them join and watch over her for the meantime as I go prepare my big set that I had put so much effort and time into. I am an original creative monk! Awe yeah!

Okay fine!

So it was Jay’s idea.

Sue me.

I switch the lights off so that it wouldn’t interfere with the transparency I had created. I motion to Benley to take off her blindfold and the sock out her mouth, but not to untie her or she will no doubt leave angrily.

Benley obeys and when the blindfold is removed from her eyes she immediately casts her gaze around the room to find out where she is, but obviously she doesn’t know that this is in Jay’s house because she’s never been here before.

Her blue green eyes finally find mine and burn in fury, the childlike innocence behind her eyes leaving her. Instead her eyes visibly darken to a cold blue and that’s when I know that she is really really really pissed. I hold up my hands in a surrendering motion, “Kay so before you can-“

“What the hell Aqueela? You were behind this?! I have been panicking for the past hour and you didn’t think to tell me that it’s just you!? If this is your way of apologizing, you can forget it! Untie me goddammit!” she shouts, her thunderous voice echoing around for all of us to hear.

My eyes widen in surprise and fear as I flinch back, gulping, genuinely intimidated and definitely not expecting this reaction. Before I can say anything, Blubber’s already gone on with the plan and begun the slide show of the semi-vid I made, playing ‘Best Friends’ in the background. Talk about bad timing!

Bell’s eyes move of mine and onto the screen in a puzzled manner. When the first picture of us when we were younger comes up, her eyes soften a fraction ever so slightly as her green mellow shade seeps back into her eyes, replacing the cold blue.

I let out a breath of relief. This might work after all.

And so the show goes on as pictures of our incredibly long past and history continues to flash across the screen with goofy captions underneath. I glance to Bell’s to find her eyes watering at the very last picture as the slideshow comes to an end.

The last picture being me giving her a friendship bracelet just last year as we both embrace each other with giddy grins.

One of our best memories so far…

Clearly Bells feels the same way.

The show eventually comes to a close and the screen turns black as everyone remains silent, waiting for Bells to break the tense atmosphere. Eventually she clears her throat and turns to me, “Can we talk?” she asks and I nod all too eagerly, shoving the others into the kitchen so Bells and I could have one on one talk. “What you did, kidnapping me was not so great and I almost had a heart attack, but this…what you’ve done now, is great.”

I smile at her words, “Thanks.” I reply shyly, as my friend reconnects with me. I feel like I might have just got her back after all.

“But…” my face falls at the word, knowing that this might have just taken a turn for the worst. “Despite our ancient friendship and long history…I just feel like you’ve betrayed me in a sense. Again, I know you never kissed Mason and that he kissed you. I know you pushed him away and I know you never had any intentions of taking him away from me, but the fact of the matter is that you did. I understand that you never wanted to feel anything for him, but the fact of the matter is that you do.“ Bells replies and it stings to hear her words. No matter how gentle they are, there is still a fierce force behind them. A tears escapes and rolls down from her watery eyes, “I’m sorry Aqueela. I love you and I always will, but I just can’t be friends with you right now. I need some time to adjust and figure out who I am without you and Mason and where it is that I’m at in life.”

Join the club!

I nod, trying to understand. Even now she’s still too nice, too sweet. She deserves a better friend than me. I really messed up this time. “I’m sorry.” I mumble, waiting anxiously for her to leave.

She nods and then motions with her head to the rope.

Oh right…

I give her a sheepish smile through my own tears as I untie her, knowing that from here on out we were no longer what we use to be, we were no longer friends, no longer sisters. I knew this day would come and here it is.

I’ve officially lost Bells.

The door shuts closed gently after her and I suppose you’re wondering why this is such a huge deal for me…well first of all she made it official and crystal clear that for the meantime she didn’t want to be friends any longer.

Many don’t understand the love we have for each other and not some whacky lesbian love like Jay first thought, but love like a sister. Our love for each runs deeper than just best friends…it has always been more than that…like soul sisters, family. She was my family. I just lost family.

I fall into the couch and stare up at the ceiling, wondering how everything would change. School would suck. No cliché and overly lovey dovey Mason and Bells to lift my spirits. No Bells to stand up for me against Melinda and the other cheerleaders. No Mason to set the jocks straight. None of that.

I would be alone.

‘But there’s still Jay and Max’ my brain reminds me.

But Max will be comforting Bells. Sooner or later he’ll leave too. They all eventually eave. Even Jay will when he gets fed up with me for the billionth time. And he will!

The others creep back into the room after hearing Bells leave and I can guess that they had all been eavesdropping…all except Blubber because he’s sleeping on Jay’s kitchen counter again and drooling everywhere.

I can feel a pair of eyes watching me. I turn to see Jay. He can see that I’m hurting. He’s not use to my silence. He is use to my overly jabbing and non-shutting upness. He gets Simo to wake up blubber and gestures to all of them to leave until it’s just us two again.

Jay sits beside me, but he’s not acting sympathetic nor has his eyes softened. In fact if anything he looks mad, angry almost. Usually he’s a softie when I’m upset and all broody. But now he’s giving me the cold shoulder as if I’ve done something wrong. I can’t help myself when I ask him half an hour later, “What’s wrong?”

“You!” he snaps, agitated and clearly frustrated.

“What did I do?” I squeak helplessly, afraid of his temper all of a sudden.

“Just…everything!” he snaps, exasperated, before standing up as he paces back and forth from in front of me. I watch him quietly, wondering what has gotten into him. He stops and turns to me with a deadly glower, “I overheard your conversation with Bells. I thought you said you didn’t like Mason?” he asks a little softer this time and less violent. I don’t answer, because I still don’t have the answer. Why is this affecting him, bothering him? “You keep saying you want me to react, to stop being so…indifferent. Well fine, here it is. I don’t like Mason! And I don’t like Dylan! I don’t want you to go out with Mason, Dylan or even Simo or anyone for that matter!” he breathes, blinking as if realizing what he just implied.

It’s as if he only realizes what he’s just said or confessed because immediately his mouth snaps shut closed when I respond with raised eyebrows, my mouth slightly agape, “What are you trying to say Jay?” I ask hesitantly as hope builds up within me.

Surely jealousy is a good sign…

Jay open his moth to answer but changes his mind and closes his mouth again, shaking his head as if to get rid of his thoughts. “Nothing.” He mumbles, “I need a drink.” He insists and leaves me alone in the lounge.

I hear the fridge open and I already know that he’s drinking alcohol. Probably in some idle attempt to get drunk and forget, at least that’s why I drink. But what is it exactly that he wants to forget?

It’s an hour later when Jay returns to the lounge, completely drunk off his toes. Oh and they say I suck at handling my alcohol. Either he drank too much or he is also a lightweight.

And I find myself eating my own words for breakfast, lunch, supper and even tea time.

Jay is a lot more fun than I realized…

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