Pause (Book 1)

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Chapter 27: Game Over

“Aqueela get the door! I’m gonna head up stairs to shower.” Jay calls from somewhere in the kitchen as the doorbell rings over and over again, the sound echoing around for the entire neighborhood to hear.

“I would Jay, I really would, but I’m very busy with an important project. You get it PackRat!” I shout back, continuing on with my project. I grin to myself as he curses at me for not doing what he’d ask. What did he expect? It’s not like I ever listen.

“What did you just call me?!” he hisses from the other side of the room.

I blink, surprised by his hostile tone, “Oh nothing Deary.” I reply back in an old lady’s voice. There’s no way he can hit an old lady.

The kitchen door slams open as Jay strolls past me with a frown. When he sees me he stops short with a cool glare that sends shivers up my spine, but I don’t let it show. Jay is in actual fact quite intimidating when I disobey him, but hey…he’ll never know that. “This is what you’re important project is?” Jay questions softly and calmly, yet his blue eyes saying otherwise, a complete and utter raging storm.

I nod meekly, aware that his laid back facade was about to blow…

And in three…

Two…

“Aqueela!” he finally yells like a bomb going off, exploding anger in my direction in tumbling waves of fury, a ferocious volcano eruption. I wince at the sound but keep up my confident brave face none the less. He went off right on time. Man I’m good at predicting his mood swings seeing as I’m the cause of them!

“Yes J-Bear?” I answer casually and simply, blinking innocently up at him from my lounged position on his spray painted pink sofas. He gives me a look for the new nickname I invented for him. I shrug teasingly, “What? You won’t let me call you JT so it’s either J-Bear or JayJay. Your choice.”

“How is painting your toe nails important?” Jay asks, annoyed and not even trying to mask it. How rude!

“How is showering important?” I return the question, keeping my legs dangling in the air to wait for my toe nails to dry faster.

“You always make me answer the dam door because you’re always busy with crap that you always claim is important when really it’s just stupid girly rubbish!” Jay complains, clearly needing to get a few things off his chest, “You have no boundaries and you take everything I offer to you for granted. The least you can do is…” he trails off when he realizes I’m not listening anymore. I blow on my fingernails absentmindedly to get them to dry quicker, forgetting that he was speaking to me. “Why do I even bother?” he mutters to himself and I can’t help but wonder why too. If I was him I would have kicked me out a long time ago. I’m a pest or as Mason likes to refer to me as…a leech.

Feeling guilty I completely forget about the neon blue nail polish on my toes as I sit up, planting my feet straight down onto his couch. Jay must have seen what I was about to do as his head snaps up and his eyes widen in alarm, “Aqueela!” he warns but not in time as the blue nail polish smears over the spray painted pink leather couches. He sighs as I give him an apologetic pout. He runs a hand through his hair as the doorbell continues to ring, working at his temper all the more. He glances impatiently from my sheepish expression to the pink couch with blue blotches everywhere before grumbling something to himself. He gives me one final glare, “Just forget about it and answer the f**king door.” He orders as he walks up stairs to finally go take that shower.

Feeling awful about ruining his couches, his property, all over again…I decide to obey and just answer the door and please him for once. I unlock the front door reluctantly, walking like penguin as I waddle across the wooden dinning room floors, almost slipping and bailing on my face in the process. It’s not easy taking steps when you’re trying to keep your wet toe nails off the wooden floors. I must look ridiculously awesome right about now.

Finally I pull the front door open only to be greeted by impatient grey eyes, “Well it took you long enough.” he huffs, frustrated.

“Well well well, if it isn’t the trader who sold me out.” I greet sternly, crossing my arms over my chest to give off a more threatening appeal and vibe.

“You’re the one who left me stranded to face Troy’s wrath with your elaborate plot and scheme to kidnap your best friend. Grey bailed on me and I was kicked in the crotch dammit. You’re the bloody trader.” he replies back rather cheekily…too cheekily for my liking.

“I don’t like your tone Mister.” I retort back, offended by his blatant rudeness when he clearly needed something from me. His audacity is astounding. He’s learned from the best…that’s me if you didn’t get that.

“Grow up Aqueela.” he mumbles in a dejected voice he’s never used on me before, hurting me in the process. I fall silent and blink up at him, puzzled by his off putting behavior. This was not the norm, not for him.

It’s then that I take in his disheveled appearance and immediately realize that something is up. Something’s wrong. So being the considerate friend that I am…I slam the door shut in his face and walk away after yelling and pointing an accusing finger in his face, “Trader! Trader! Trader!.”

He rings the doorbell again and I have half a mind to not answer, it’s only when I hear Jay swear from somewhere upstairs to answer the flippen door that I decide I’m only answering to put Jay out of his misery.

“Now do you want to try that again?” I ask him as I open the door to meet his tired grey eyes, blocking him from entering.

“Stop being so dam difficult-“

I slam the door shut again, highly pissed off with him. I won’t be degraded by him nor will I tolerate him when he’s being an ass, more so than Jay and Grey ever are.

It’s not long after when I hear the door open from the outside as he steps in himself, revealing his agonizing presence that I’d prefer to be rid off. Never thought I’d think that low of him, of Max Mills. I round the corner and raise an eyebrow at him, “Well by all means, invite yourself in.” I retort sarcastically, repaying some of his own medicine to him. He’s been blowing me off for the past month and now he suddenly pitches here at my front doorstep…okay at Jay’s front door step, same difference.

“I just did.” he replies back in a cocky voice, adding to my anger.

I frown at him, my eyebrows furrowing as I pull a face, folding my arms across my chest, “What the hell do you want with that attitude? I sure as hell am not doing you any favours when you’re standing here treating me like garbage.” I say the last part in a confident falsetto voice, but towards the end I let it slip in my tone on just how much he actually hurt me just now with his sharp words. He wasn’t this person. He wasn’t suppose to treat me like this, not him, not Max.

He hears the hurt in my tone and immediately his grey eyes soften a fraction before he steps forward, his grey eyes searching my face for forgiveness. His demeanor and aura changes so swiftly in the blink of an eye and suddenly the Max I know and love is standing before me again, the other replaced. “Aqueela…” he starts as he places a hand on my wrist, “Look I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you. I crossed a line. F**k I’m such an idiot.” his way of apologizing and I instantly forgive him. “I’m just exhausted. That’s all.”

I sense the distress behind his tone as his grey eyes swirl in it’s depths, confusion present as I realize he’s going through somewhat of a storm in his life. “It’s okay.” I say, taking his hand and leading him into Jay’s lounge. I motion for him to sit down. He raises his eyebrows at the sight of the couches inquisitively. I’m sure he’s going to ask, but he decides against it, figuring that I was the answer to the question on how, why, who etc. He sits down as I flop down beside him, “So what’s bothering you Maxipad?” I ask, worried and concerned. I’ve never seen Max so distraught.

He laughs humorlessly and the sound scares me. His usual joy is dead. “Where do I even start?”

“How about from the very very very…end.” I say, messing up the saying as his eyebrows scrunch up together in confusion. I shrug, “What can I say? I don’t do cliche. Besides the end is where it begins right?”

He rolls his eyes at me playfully as l slap his chest, faking hurt. “You never make any sense.” he comments before continuing, “Anyways I’ll do what you ask and jump to the end. My parents are getting a divorce because my mom was cheating on my dad and it’s all my fault.”

I hear the pain behind his now cheery voice so I crack a joke, hoping to lighten his mood a little, “Well at least your mother isn’t in prison.” I say, trying to get him to see the upside as I give him my rare comforting and fleeting smile.

“What?” he sputters, taken aback by that burst of his air balloon.

I wave off the matter, “Get on with your heart to heart hear Max. I’m looking forward to this DMC, deep meaningful conversation or as I prefer, depressing miserable crap.”

He nods, obeying and not asking any further questions, “I caught my mom with this other guy and I told my dad and now he wants a divorce. This is all my fault. My mom isn’t even talking to me right now. She wanted me to side with her because my dad’s always away on business and now it’s all my fault and I-“

Slap!

I watch as his head whips to the side from the impact of my hit.

“Did you just slap me through the face?!” Max hisses, bewildered.

I nod, “Actually I punched you but lets just go with slapped. I thought it would calm you down. Don’t be so melodramatic.”

“How would that calm me down?!” he yells, cradling his now red cheek between the palms of his hands like some sulky little baba.

I shrug innocently, “Well did it work?” I ask, curious at my technique.

“No!” he shouts accusingly.

I lift my fist to his face again, “Well then let me try a second time-“

He stops me from trying again as his hand clasps around my own and lowers my hand back down to my lap, “Don’t try again you hooligan!” I pout at him for being selfish and not letting me slap him again. “I thought you were going to genuinely help me, not resort to physical abuse. I don’t need toughening up, I need a friend and seeing as I’m clique-less like you always remind me, I’m kind of lacking in the friend department.”

I sigh, feeling bad for him, “Max, it’s not your fault your mom and dad are having problems. What’s happening is between them. Your mom is just hurt, she’ll get over it. You’re her son. And as for you telling your dad, I think you did the right thing. Your father deserves the truth. Max…it’s not your fault. If you want to take one thing from what I’ve just said, take that.”

Max nods, shooting me a fleeting smile, “I know it’s not my fault. Believe it or not I can be logical when I want to be. But then why do I feel responsible? Why do I feel guilty when I shouldn’t have to. I guess I’m just feeling lost at this stage.”

I understand from where Max is coming, having been through my own familiar experience. Jay made it clear that I shouldn’t have to feel guilty that my mother has been sentenced to prison, yet I still feel responsible and guilty. I now it’s not my fault but the feeling is still there. “Max, I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason, so I’m telling you now to hang in there and see for yourself how things will work themselves out, it happened for me and it can happen for you too if you just let it.”

Max sends a ghostly smile my way, trying to convey his gratitude even though I couldn’t really help him much, “Thank you Aqueela. And again, I’m sorry for the attitude earlier.”

“Meh, I’m used to it.” I brush the matter off in order to reassure him that I was fine. Suddenly an idea comes to mind in order to soothe Max’s tensenessnessness, “Hey Maxi, you want a drink?” I ask as I hop off the couch and drag him along after to me into the kitchen.

Max chuckles, “Are you trying to get me hammered?”

I shake my head with a frown, “Is it always alcohol with you?” I tease, “I meant do you want Pepsi, water, milk, or Granadilla Twist?”

“Hit me up with some GT.” he answers as I listen and pour him a glass of the orange coloured juice before graciously handing it to him. “And now for something that cheers up everyone…” I clap my hands excitedly before taking out the precious gift I call my own. I place it in his drink as he lifts both eyebrows before bursting out in laughter. “A bendy straw?” he asks in disbelief.

I nod enthusiastically at his question, “I made Jay buy packets of them. Bendy straws are the bestest thing ever since the Mars landing!” I exaggerate, fist pumping the air as Max follows my actions with amused grey eyes.

“What Mars landing?” Max questions with scrunched up nose.

“Exactly!”

Max merely laughs at me before a taking a sip of his drink through his bendy straw, “You’re such a child at heart Aqueela.” he breathes as he swallows the mouthful of juice. “And that’s a good trait to have.” He adds in admiration, saving himself from his own destruction by my hand.

I’m about to answer when another voice interrupts our little talk, “And what’s going on down here?” I glance up to see Jay fully dressed, having finally finished his beloved shower. The clean freak. It’s not even a hyperbole. If I so much as mess on the kitchen counter he’ll bite my head off.

The only difference from before the shower and now is that his hair is now damp and spiky, darker in colour and completely disheveled. Absentmindedly I watch in fascination as water droplets run slowly down the side of his face from the tips of his wet hair before brushing gently over his dark eyelashes. “Hello?” Jay snaps his fingers in front of my face to capture my attention. “Anything in there?” he questions as he knocks on my skull repeatedly as if hollow inside.

I forgot about his question entirely…he distracted me with his godlike beauty.

I search his seemingly never ending blue eyes that resemble the ocean with a playful grin as I motion to Max with my head, “Guess who came to pay us a little visit.”

Max must have caught onto my infatuated staring at Jay. He glances at me playfully and waggles his eyebrows suggestively as his gaze flickers to Jay all while he’s slurping his juice out the rainbow bendy straw I’d given him like some caveman. I narrow my eyes at him to get him to stop taunting me.

Jay glances Max’s way with a friendly smile as he greets him, “Oh hey. Sup Max. Long time.” Max smiles, nodding and agreeing with Jay’s friendly words. “I missed having dumb and dumber around.” Jay adds teasingly as he refers to Max and me when we’re together.

We’re not dumb together…the MMAs were reasonable…okay so maybe we’re a little dumb…

“Hey!” Max and I both raise our voices simultaneously, feigning offence as we both simultaneously place our hands over our hearts. It would seem planned but that’s only because Max and I function on the same brain wave.

Jay simply rolls his eyes at our childish and immature fanatics, “You’re both proving my point here.” he points out. Max pulls a face while I on the other hand am relieved that Jay is no longer pissed at me. That shower must’ve made him forget completely.

“So what I miss?” Max suddenly asks from out of the blue, being the random lovable doofus that he always is.

I take the liberty to fill him in in one solid breath, “Jay got drunk and he’s crazy flirty when he’s drunk. We dove off a cliff. I prank called Grey seventeen times and he got really mad. Jay actually defended me and they had this huge fight. Jay adopted Oog and we built him a tree house in the backyard. He now lives here as a permanent resident just like me even though Jay refuses to admit it. I met all Oog’s friends, they’re all cool. I locked Benley up in a makeshift prison for being rude. Blubber got really burnt. Mason confessed that he loves me. My mom got arrested. We’re searching for my dad. Troy left the country for good so you don’t got to worry about him anymore when you perv over his sister. As you seem to know already I’ve moved in with Jay against his will. I practically own this house now. I saw Dylan again and pretended that Grey was my fiance to get even seeing as he’s now dating Benley’s ex, Bex. Grey still hates me but I mended his friendship with Jay and well Jay…he’s still ill mannered, temperamental, hostile and hot headed.” I finish quickly, needing to catch my breath after that long tiring mouthful.

Jay and Max both shoot me a glare for telling them the truth and sparing them lies.

“I’m not hostile.” Jay retorts stubbornly at the same time Max shouts in pure denial, “I do not perv over Bells!”

I give them both dead panned looks as I narrow my eyes at them resulting in the both of them turning to each other for confirmation, “You are a little hostile.” Max admits at the same time Jay says, “You’re tongue is practically sweeping the floor whenever you see Troy’s sister.”

I nod, agreeing with both of them, “Exactly.”

Both of their heads snap back to me as death glowers are sent my way, “Shut up Lawson!” they both hiss my way just because I’m right.

“Make me!” I stupidly challenge…if only I knew it would end up with me being thrown into the filthy fishpond just below Oog’s tree house.


“I will make you two rue the day you did this to me. Rue it!” I scream up at the two laughing figures above me as I stand dripping wet below the tree house and beside the stinky pond that I now smell of. “Come down here and face me like men!” I shout wrathfully, waving my fist in the air at them.

After Jay and Max had tackled me to the floor, they continued their evil plot by taking me outside and throwing me into the pond. They could see the fire behind my eyes as soon as I surfaced so they made a jump for Oog’s tree house where they now take shelter and laugh at my misfortune. Unfortunately Oog’s not here to kick them out…something about bailing Gland out of prison…beats me…

When it comes to Oog, not knowing is better than knowing.

“Awe come on Aqueela, you can’t seriously still be mad at us.” Max says from above.

I send him a look of pure fury, “Well I seriously am! I smell like a sewer!”

“That can be seen as an improvement from some perspectives.” Jay comments much to my temper rising as Max whacks him upside the head and mouths ’not helping’.

I’d be up there by now, tearing them both limb for limb but they’d taken the ladder up with them, leaving me with no way to get up the tree house.

“I will avenge me!” I shout, “In fact I’m going to stuff up your room Jay for revenge and maybe I’ll get my hands on your new leather jacket and dye it pink all over again!” I then train my eyes onto Max, “And you!” I point an accusing finger at him, “You…you…okay so I got nothing on you, but you will pay too when I come up with something!”

“Don’t you dare Aqueela!” Jay shouts, his laughter having suddenly dying down at the seriousness behind my tone. Clearly he’s threatened by my obvious superiority.

“Watch me! Game on!” I shout back as I head for the entrance of the house. I happen to glance back to see if they’re coming after me, unfortunately they both gaining on me. I watch in horror as Max scrambles down the ladder and in even more horror as Jay gets impatient and jumps down the tree, landing on the floor like some kind of highly trained spy. My mouth falls agape in fear as he stands up, straightening his spine, having not being injured by the landing because he knew exactly how to land. My eyes widen as he starts coming after me, “What?!” I sputter in shock before shaking my head and yelling ’Secret Robot Ninja Chasing Me!’ at the top of my lungs.

“Shut the hell up!” the old cranky neighbour across from Jay’s house snaps at me, reprimanding us for the increasing noise levels.

“No you shut up! Stick it to the max Old Man!” I shout back, ignoring his demands as I continue screaming in fear at the top of my lungs.

He’s obviously pissed at my comeback and takes of his slop before chucking it my way. Too bad the timing and his aim are all off. I dodge the object easily. Poor Oog for deciding to return back home at that very time, the slop hitting him straight in the forehead, knocking him unconscious to the floor.

“Oog!” I yell in concern, aware of Jay catching up to me all too quickly.

Gland’s eyes flare up in hatred as he turns to the old man in Oog’s honour, “Oh you did not just hit my man Oog in the head you old sandbag!” The old man’s eyes widen as he begins running, sensing the threat in the form of Gland and with good reason too.

At this rate Gland’s going to be revisiting his prison cell very soon.

“Mercy! Mercy!” the old man yells as Gland tackles him to the floor.

I, on the other hand, am shouting out in my own mission, “Leave no man behind!” I scream in a warrior tone before taking hold of one of Oog’s limbs and dragging him after me, needing to save him from this chaotic war at hand.

Fortunately I reach the house, quickly turning the doorknob and entering along with Oog. I’d lock the door after me but Jay would overpower me and catch me. I wouldn’t make it on time, especially not with the extra weight. With that thought racing through my brain I sprint upstairs and head straight for Jay’s room, blocking out the sound of Oog’s head knocking against each step. He’d wake up with a headache but hey he’d live through it…I hope.

I make it in the room with an unconscious Oog successfully and just as I turn to shut his door a foot wedges it’s way in the door’s path, pushing the door wide open.

I watch in terror as Jay steps forward with a menacing growl, “Game over.”

Now how the hell did he catch up so dam fast?

I’m covinced…#JayTheNinja…it’s going to be trending very soon but not as much as #AqueelaGameOver…

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