Chapter 9: Joyride
“JT, when I said let’s get arrested, I never meant it literally. It was more figuratively speaking, if you’ve even heard of that,” I blame him. “Clearly not, seeing as here we are,” I speak my mind as I motion toward the cell that we’re stuck in, and then gesture toward the bars that we just so happen to be behind.
Jay stays slumped up against the wall on the dirty floor of the cell. He is still glancing up at the ceiling, tossing a coin up and down in his left hand as if bored out of his mind. “In my defense, you did ask to get arrested. Who am I to deny you your wishes?”
“That’s the worst defense ever. Do you always just randomly spout out complete trash?” I ask, exasperated with his nonchalance.
“Of course, it’s natural talent. It’s a gift I was born with,” he states casually, not bothering to take his eyes off the forsaken ceiling.
“I hate you so much right now,” I retort, hard-headed.
“I’ve heard worse,” he shrugs. “You’ll get over it eventually.”
“No, I won’t,” I argue. I’ll have to pull off ‘Prison Break’ to get out of here with the way things are looking.
“You do realize that you were also involved, right? I never took the car for a joyride on my own, remember? You’re as much to blame as me, so quit pinning it all on me. I am not your scapegoat,” he protests.
“Yes, you are!” I stomp my foot in dismay, needing to shift the blame so that I don’t have to face the consequences.
He senses my apprehension, “This isn’t the first time I’ve spent a night in jail. Relax a little. There’s no other place on earth where you can truly embrace your inner thoughts like a jail cell,” he says, looking to the nonexistent bright side of things.
I furrow my eyebrows, displeased. “Wow. Aren’t you just charming? You little optimist,” I reply in sarcasm. He’s really not helping despite meaning well.
No one should be optimistic when they’re sitting in a jail cell, even if it gives you time to clear your head. Clearly, your head wasn’t very clear when you landed up in jail in the first place.
“Bells is going to tear me apart when she comes to bail me out. I have never done something this extreme,” I panic as I pace up and down the cell - might as well be stuck in an igloo. “I haven’t even got arrested in ‘Monopoly’ for goodness sake, but here I am, stuck in jail. Jail, dammit!”
Jay sighs and rolls his eyes as if I’m overexaggerating, “In my second defense, you should have run faster when I said so.”
“You don’t get a second defense!” I snap at him, agitated. “And now you know that I am a slow runner for future heads-up.”
“Evidently so,” he retorts, gesturing to the cell.
I glare at him as he stands up to brush the dust off of his hands, indifferent to our situation. He stretches his arms out above his head and catches my stare. He merely grins, unfazed by my anger.
I force my eyes away when his shirt rises.
I distract myself, walking up to the bars to bang my head against them repeatedly once again, still wishing for superpowers to bend the bars apart and make my grand escape.
Jay’s drops the coin and I’m snapped from my cell dreaming.
I glance ahead of me, making out the cell opposite ours. In it, a butch looking woman with tattoos and piercings covering her body.
She notices me staring and flips me the bird.
Jay laughs at this, having seen the exchange whilst my mouth falls open at her blunt rudeness. For once, I didn’t even do anything.
“Oh, you are so lucky I am behind bars!” I yell at her, not in the mood to put up with people like her - Jay’s kind of people.
Jay raises an eyebrow at me for not backing down, impressed, but then erupts in laughter again when the woman raises both her middle fingers to me.
“Are all prisoners this unfriendly?” I ask aloud, stupidly.
Jay sends me a flat stare in turn. “No, most are absolute peaches,” he says in sarcasm. “They’re prisoners, Klutz. What the hell were you expecting? Marshmallows and rainbows?” he mocks my cheery outlook on life.
“No, I was expecting unicorns and rainbows,” I correct him. “Idiot,” I huff under my breath.
Jay shakes his head at my stubbornness, shoving me aside to grin at the woman behind bars. She drops both middle fingers at the sight of him. I crinkle my nose in confusion when she sends him an ugly smile between the few yellow teeth she has.
“Jay Taylor always comes back for more,” she speaks up. “Couldn’t stay away from your cell buds, huh?”
Jay grins, “You know me, Jenny, could always use a friend.” He stops to spare me a glance, before jutting out his thumb in my direction, “Except for delusional ones like this.”
I throw my fist to the air in victory. “Heck yeah! You accidentally admitted to us being friends,” I throw it in his face, though annoyed that he’s friends with Jenny, the jail witch.
My arch-nemesis throws her head back and cackles, “Yeah, that princess looks like a handful. How many times a day to you have to groom her or take her shopping? Too high maintenance for you,” she agrees with Jay after having observed me thoroughly.
I grit my teeth in fury. She seems to enjoy tormenting me. Somehow I don’t mind it as much when it’s Jay.
How has he made cell mates? How many times has he been arrested exactly?
I force Jay away from the bars as I try to squeeze my head through the bars, ready to attack, on the prowl. “Just you wait ’till I get out of here, you butch witch!” I jeer.
I hate being pampered. She doesn’t know me. She doesn’t know how much milk I put in my cereal.
The woman grits her teeth in frustration and yells aloud at the top of her lungs as she tries to break the bars with her bare hands, reminding me of the Hulk.
I swallow anxiously.
The jailers come running at hearing all the commotion, the other prisoners stirring and becoming rowdy in the process.
“Nice going,” Jay reprimands, shaking his head at me.
“She started it!” I defend myself.
Jay ignores me, quickly lifting me up over his shoulder before throwing me down in the corner of the cell to prevent me worsening the situation. “Let me handle this. You had to call her a witch?”
“She called me a princess,” I remind him.
He scoffs in disbelief. “We should guillotine her. She called you a princess. How do you go on living when insulted like that?” he asks in sarcasm.
“I can’t. That’s the whole point,” I glare up at him, displeased. “Oh, and for future reference, ever pick me up again without my consent and I will personally chop your hands off and feed them to you in a jar of home-made butterscotch cookies.”
“Why butterscotch?” he arches an eyebrow, not bothering to question my motives.
“Seemed appropriate. I like butterscotch. It takes second place after bubblegum,” I nod fervently.
“Noted, though you really didn’t leave me with much options back there,” he now defends himself against my accusations.
“Come forward,” one of the jailers beckons to Jay and me.
We obey - well I do, Jay stays put. Thus, I push him forward that he almost stumbles against the bars. “Stop being difficult, we’re in enough trouble as is!” I whisper-shout at him, forcing him to comply with the cop’s demands.
“Yeah, ’cause I’m the one being difficult,” he scoffs beneath his breath, crossing his arms over his chest in an act of defiance.
“You two youngsters had your one phone call, correct?” the cop asks us.
I nod, annoyed at the fact that calling my mother is no option for me. I don’t rely on my parents, but rather my friends.
I called Bells, but unfortunately, the numb-nut wasn’t answering her phone, so I left her a voicemail instead:
’Hey, Bells. It’s me. Aqueela. Your detested yet bestest friend. The friend that you would do anything and absolutely anything for. We even have a ‘getting rid of the body together’ pact, in case of murdering someone. So let me get straight to the point, I, Aqueela, your amazing friend who has done plenty for you, have been arrested and need someone to bail me out…that someone is you. ‘K, love you, bye.’
Let me tell you, it isn’t such a bright idea to mention ‘burying the body’ pacts in front of police officers…they don’t take to it lightly. As if they didn’t deem us sketchy as is.
The officer turns to the idiot beside me, “Jay, are you sure you don’t want to make a call for bail?”
The officer even knows his name?!
“I’m good,” Jay insists for the third time.
I wonder if he has anyone to bail him out. Bell is going to have to pay the bail for the both of us. There is no way I am leaving this jail cell without Jay right in tow.
“On what grounds are we being arrested? Because I’d like to call my lawyer in. I am underage. I’m still a juvenile,” I tell the officer in a firm tone, not threatened in the slightest by his superior authority.
“On what grounds were you not arrested is the real question? Underage drinking, criminal offenses, charges laid against you for trespassing, damage to personal property - need I go on?” he asks, not bothering to hide his irritation.
Jay and I answer simultaneously:
Jay glares at me in turn.
I cave beneath his gaze and turn back to the officer in submission, “Ugh, fine. No thanks. There is enough evidence there to keep me captive,” I finally admit to the truth.
Why couldn’t we have been arrested for something awesome? Say espionage.
“And you haven’t been arrested. You’re just being detained for investigation purposes,” the officer corrects me. “Lucky for you, you’re still a minor.”
I watch him walk away after that, the racket having died down ever since Jay tugged me away from the bars.
“How do you usually get out?” I immediately ask Jay, aware that he’s no longer considered to be a minor. He’s eighteen.
He knows exactly what I am referring to. He glances down at me with a frown, “I know people who know other people.”
“I thought friends are overrated,” I prod, curiosity getting the better of the rhinos.
“They are. I am not referring to friends, I’m referring to connections,” he clarifies, adamant that friends are insignificant. “People are inherently bad. I don’t just believe it, I know it. I’ve experienced it. I’m better off on my own.”
“That’s a lonely life you lead,” I argue, trying to figure him out.
“Friends only lead to moments of hesitation. Moments of hesitation make us weak,” he debates.
“No,” I shake my head, “moments of hesitation make us human.”
“Then I don’t want to be human.”
“You have a visitor,” a different officer tells us a while later, squinting in our direction. “Your friend is here to bail you out.”
We’re not entirely sure who he is talking to. His eyes are all over the place. I glance at Jay who just shrugs helplessly.
It’s got to be me. Jay supposedly doesn’t have friends.
In comes a familiar mop of brown hair and brown eyes - Mason.
My eyes widen at the sight. I lean my head against the wall of the cell and gaze up at the ceiling in despair, “Here we go. Surely I’m in purgatory.”
And here we go we did go…
“Nah, can’t be, I’m here,” Jay grins in the hopes of consoling me.
Mason storms up to the cell, not waiting another second to blow up on me, “What is wrong with you? Arrested?! Really? You’re pathetic, but not this pathetic. Even you are above this.”
I can’t say that I never saw this lecture coming. If I think this is bad then just wait until Bell enters through those doors. She is gonna flip out.
Jay narrows his eyes at Mason, taking an intimidating stance. “Back off.”
I voice my own thoughts when she doesn’t pitch, “Where is Bells?”
Mason begins to explain, “In the shower. I-“
“Gah, spare me the details, Mason!” I cut him short from continuing with that thought.
He rolls his eyes at me and clarifies, “I got the message you sent.”
“You are so nosey. Leave her phone,” I shake my head at him, unimpressed.
“Let’s face it, Bell’s would have gone crazy if she heard. I deleted the voicemail. I went home and scavenged some football winnings to bail you out without her knowledge, and here I am, utterly infuriated,” he elaborates briefly, not going into any details.
True friends literally bail you out…
I pick at my nails, averting my gaze in shame, “So I know you’re probably a teeny-weeny bit mad-“
“A teeny-weeny bit?!” he all but raises his voice. He then sighs, “I can’t believe you just got me to say those two words.” He shakes his head after, “Did you not just hear me? Utterly infuriated!” He glowers down at me in disapproval, “You’re in jail.”
I roll my eyes at him, “You make it sound so much worse than what it really is.”
“Oh, I am so sorry that I don’t know how to sugar-coat the fact that you went against the law and got yourself imprisoned!” he snaps, sarcasm evident in his tone.
What is up with everyone and sarcasm today?
I glance up at him in innocence from behind the bars, pushing him further with my next words, “Well, hold your breath, you’re forgiven.”
He closes his eyes, angry, as if holding himself back from strangling me. “You’re so downright frustrating.”
I place a hand up to my heart. “Thank you, Mason.”
I hear Jay chuckle from the background, clearly amused.
“You owe me big. I bailed you out,” Mason informs me, hanging the keys to his car - my way to freedom - in front of my cell. He waves it agonizingly slow passed my face. I reach through the bars to snatch it, but he takes a step back and waves a finger at me scoldingly, “Tut tut. First, you make me a deal before I take you home.”
I glare at him coldly, my extended arm falling limp at my side in defeat. “Name your price.”
“You pay back every penny. Then you’re off the hook for good. Bell will never know of this,” he makes his terms clear.
I don’t have much of a choice but to submit. He is my only ticket out of this hellhole. Then again, Jay makes for good company. Still, I’d prefer not to grow old with him behind bars in a rut like this.
I am about to agree to his terms, definitely not commend him for them, when a voice interrupts us:
“Bell will never know of what exactly?”
“And the plot thickens,” Jay grins, hanging back to watch the chaos play out.
I run both hands down my face and let out a loud groan at her impeccable timing. There’s no doubt about it - I’m dead.
She stands with her hands on her hips in front of our cell - foot tapping impatiently for an answer - besides a terrified Mason as she stares me down for an explanation. “Ahem,” she coughs, seeking my full attention.
Please, no one can handle my full attention. It will kill you.
“You kids better hurry up. You’re not even supposed to be back here. I only allowed it because her uncle,” the squint officer points to me, “is a fellow cop and friend of mine. He’s convinced the farmer to drop all charges.”
I wasn’t aware that he knew Jeffster personally. My uncle is the best. Even when he’s not here, he’s helping me.
I clap my hands together and force a smile her way, “’Sup, Bells. How’s it going?” I ask, casually giving a nod.
She doesn’t answer.
I can see that she’s a ticking time bomb and will blow any second now. If that happens, she’ll destroy the planet after first unleashing her wrath entirely on me.
“So I suppose you’re wondering how I landed myself up in jail?” I question and then continue speaking before she can interrupt, “Anyway, as you can see I am just chilling…and stuff…” I trail off when I see that there is no saving me today.
And in 3,2-
“How?!” she blows up like a volcano, and right on time too. “How the hell do you always manage to get yourself wrapped up in these situations?!”
“A gift,” I bow down in pride. “I warp my mind into it.”
“Do you think? Do you ever think for yourself?! You’re in jail. Jail! Do you even get that? J.A.I.L! Jail!” she hisses, more venomous than a snake.
“In my defense…” I falter, deciding to copy Jay’s earlier words, “I wanted to get arrested. Now I can scratch it off my bucket list.”
“Getting arrested was on your bucket list?” Mason asks, skeptical.
“That’s by far the worst defense I have ever heard in all my existence on this planet!” Bell yells in a fit of rage. She gives me a second to recover, suddenly turning to Mason with accusation behind her eyes, “And you! I’ll get to you later! I had to follow you here when you acted all suspicious! I can’t even look at you right now!”
I hop on that train, immediately taking Bell’s side, hoping to get in her good graces again, “Neither can I,” I shake my head as if disappointed, as if innocent. “I mean, who lies right out to their own girlfriend?”
“He does,” Jay interrupts, jutting his thumb out in Mason’s direction, answering my rhetorical question in order to get to Mason.
He really despises Mason.
“That is just sick. Lying to your beloved is just sick. I don’t blame you. I can’t look at him either, Bells,” I tell her, sucking up to her in the hopes of forgiveness.
Mason shoots me a death glare for my audacity after he came here to rescue me.
I shrug apologetically and mouth to him, ‘Every man for himself’.
Yeah, he’s never going to help me ever again…
“Don’t play the innocent card. I am looking at you through bars, not Mason,” she points out, reminding me that I’m in more trouble than Mason.
The officer sighs in impatience and unlocks the cell, gesturing to us to leave already.
“C’mon! Get out so we can leave this place,” Bells urges, practically dragging me out by my forearm with her claws for nails.
The stupid jail witch seems to find it funny and cackles loudly.
I hate her.
At hearing him snicker, I suddenly remember another presence in the cell. I halt from following after Bells.
She glances back at me questioningly.
I motion to the corner of the cell where Jay sits, keeping to himself as he continues to carelessly toss the coin up and down in his hand.
Here’s where he will see just how handy it is to have a friend.
“Him? Him too? No wonder you’re in jail! He’s a terrible influence on you! We are not bailing him out too,” Bells tells me sternly.
I pout and glance toward my second option, Mason, who also shakes his head at me, “I am with Bells on this one. If it was anyone else then maybe, but not him. He deserves to be locked away forever.”
I close the cell gate much to the officer’s surprise.
“You’re very brave when you know that I’m behind bars,” Jay scowls at Mason.
It’s really all Mason’s fault for making his deal with Jay so personal.
Maggot, as if weary, takes a cautious step back from the cell bars, choosing to wedge himself in between the officer and his terrifying girlfriend instead.
Bells huffs and opens the gate once again, gesturing for me to leave.
I glance from her to Jay before making up my mind.
It’s no difficult choice.
I close the gate yet again and step further back into the cell, separating myself from Bells and Mason as I saddle up beside Jay with determination in my veins.
Bell gives me a look of disbelief, “You can’t be serious?” When I don’t answer she loses it, speaking through clenched teeth, “Get out the cell. Now.”
I blatantly refuse and stay put. I will not be swayed.
I motion over to Jay, “It’s my fault we’re in here. Not his. If he stays, I stay.”
“Fine!” she snaps at me.
“Fine!” I retort back, just as mad.
“Have it your way!” she shouts before attempting to walk away, but Mason, of all people, is the one who stops her.
“Be reasonable, Babe,” he says, taking chances on his life for my sake.
“This is getting ridiculous,” the officer sighs. “I’ve never seen someone willing choose to stay in jail.”
“Don’t ‘babe’ me,” Bell sasses Mason, ignoring the officer, anger blinding her perspective for the moment.
Hopeless, I watch as she turns her back on all of us and walks away. She’s always had a short temper - or I just cause her a lot of grief - either way, I understand that her emotions are valid. She is just worried about me and is acting on her concerns alone.
She’ll cool down eventually.
Mason sighs and reaches up to scratch the back of his neck, clearly torn. Eventually, as if fighting a losing battle with himself, he sighs. “I’ll pay his bail,” he tells the officer before facing Jay, “you owe me one.”
“I owe you nothing,” Jay says quietly, leering at Mason in hatred.
Mason and Jay have a stare-down as if conveying secret messages to one another.
Mason is the one that gives in, “Fair enough.” He sends me one last look before going to pay Jay’s bail too.
I glance at Jay in bewilderment, “What was that all about?”
“Nothing,” he answers calmly, having already consoled himself. “I don’t get why you put up with that,” he gestures after Mason’s retreating form.
“Barely surviving,” I admit, “though you’re not that much of an upgrade from him. At least, with Mason, I don’t land up in jail,” I joke. “Plus, I don’t know how you put up with that!” I motion to my arch-nemesis glaring at me from inside her cell.
I purposely leave the cell and stick my tongue out at her as I pass her by, on my way to freedom.
Jay argues, “She is still cooler than Montry. Mason-“
“Maggot,” I correct him.
He chuckles. “Maggot,” he emphasizes, “is not as nearly as much fun as me.”
I laugh in agreement, “True that, my friend, true that.”
There’s a brief moment of silence between us as we exit the jail cell section. Jay takes the initiative to break it with a cruel reminder, “We’re not friends.”
“Yet,” I correct him a second time.
“There is no ‘yet’,” he argues, adamant.
He’s a tough nut to crack. I’ve just been arrested with him and yet we’re still not classified as friends. Do we need to first kill someone together to be friends?
“Oh, but there is, JT, there is,” I protest.
“Stop calling me that.”
“Stop calling you what?”
“You know ‘what’.”
“Do I?” I blink up at him, feigning innocence.
“I am not doing this with you right now,” he confirms, trying to avoid getting sucked up into another argument with me - little does he know that it’s inevitable.
“Suit yourself, JT, my friend,” I pause dramatically, “suit yourself.”
“I know what you’re doing,” he says, “and it won’t work.”
“Are you annoyed?” I ask.
“Then it’s working!” I reply all too happily.
“That’s the last time I get wasted and trespass with you,” he teases, in a good mood.
“Admit it,” I grin at the memory, “it was fun. We even got shot at when we went for that joyride around the farm in the owner’s truck.”
“Been there, done that,” he says all too seriously. “Believe it or not, but I prefer not to be shot at.”
I giggle, joyful, “How boring.”
“Right you are,” he nods, a smile overtaking his features.
“I know right,” I joke, pestering him some more.
He shakes his head at me as he stares down at me in confusion, “I will never get you.”
I grin at his words, pleased with myself because no one ever does.