Chapter Six - This Means War
“Where is he?” I muttered, pulling out my blocky phone and once again punching in his phone number.
It rang eighteen times before it connected to voicemail. “Hey, you reached Tristan. I’m either really busy or I’m screening my calls. If I don’t call you back, know that it’s probably the latter. Leave your name and number and let’s see if I get back to you.”
“Tristan,” I shouted into the phone over the pounding music pulsing from the subwoofers in the lounge room. Have I mentioned before that parties are really loud? “Where are you? If it’s cold feet, don’t be nervous. You’re an actor and its guaranteed your performance will be great. Please hurry! I’m going into full-fledged panic mode! And you know that I’m not good like that!”
I ended the call and looked at Aly and Emilie. Emilie was looking at me with a curious expression and Alyra was nervously glancing around, as if afraid something bad was going to happen again. My heart gave a pang for her.
“He’ll be here,” I told them reassuringly. “He promised.”
I took a deep breath and stood on my tippy-toes, peering around. Matt was still keeping Cole occupied—thankfully. He was a big part of this plan. It was Matt’s job to keep him in the same place until Tristan turned up. Right now they both held cups of beer, and Cole was telling some kind of story, gesticulating animatedly with his hands, a smile on his lips.
It was then that my phone vibrated, and I immediately pressed the Start Call button, bringing it to my ear.
“Tristan?” I asked hopefully.
“Hey, Grace. Sorry I didn’t answer; we were in a tunnel and I told Abby everything just so she knew the plan and wouldn’t get the wrong idea. She’s with me right now. Wanna say hi?”
“No, Tris!” I cried. “Don’t—”
“Hey, Grace! How are you?”
“Abby, hi,” I breathed out, resisting the urge to run a hand through my hair. Abby was an alright girl—it was me who set her and Tristan up—but she tended to be a little… over-enthusiastic. Not to mention the fact she was one of the biggest blabbermouths on the East Coast.
“Well, we’re almost there. Anywho, I love the plan. I heard what happened and about the revenge mission and I think that is sweeeeet!!!! Trissy here is an awesome actor, so I’m sure it’ll be just perfect.”
“Thanks, Abby. Glad to know we have you on board.”
“I can’t wait to see it. I’ve seen Cole around at parties before and he’s always flirting with one girl or another. Time for him to get what he deserves.” Her voice was ecstatic and enthusiastic and love-struck, and I smiled. She was just one of those people.
“Yeah, let’s hope the plan goes without a hitch.”
“We’re here!” she squealed. “We’ll be inside in two minutes. Where do you want us to meet you?”
“Near the refreshments table,” I said, looking towards the front door so I could flag them down.
“Be right there.” The dial tone sounded and I put the phone back in my clutch and found them waving frantically at us near the front door, palming their coat off to the guy hosting this party, Blake Welch. Abby shucked off her green peacoat, and Tristan handed Blake his classy brown leather jacket.
They made their way to us and Abby wrapped me in a tight hug, attempting to suffocate me. “Abby, Tristan, this is Emilie and Alyra.’
She let me go and made their introductions to each other while I scoped out the scene. Matt was laughing over something Cole said. Time to do this.
“Good luck, Tristan,” I said, nudging him in Cole’s direction.
“Already?” he asked, looking surprised, and a little disappointed. “We just got here.”
“Late,” I reminded him gently. “We have to start now to get it ready in time.”
Tristan quickly kissed Abby on the cheek. “Love you, babe. See you in a second.”
He weaved his way through the crowd, and I saw Annie go to the stereo and turn the sound down just as Tristan met Cole. She was in on the plan too, and she had to hit that sound button just in time. Too soon and people would get agitated and not listen to the conversation that was about to go down before us. Too late and people would get confused. I took a deep breath and watched the drama unfold.
“How could you do this to me?!” Tristan shouted, pushing Cole’s shoulders and shoving him back with enough force to make Cole stumble ungracefully and knock into a couch where two people had just been intensely making out, and had now stopped to see what was happening.
Everyone turned just in time to see what was going on. Good, we had their attention. Nobody wanted to miss the next confrontation between the Bad Boy and somebody else. Rumours would be flying high as a kite on Monday.
“Whoa, dude,” cried Cole, almost falling over, his cup dropping to the floor and sugary brown liquid oozing out of it. I hoped Blake’s parents had a good dry-cleaning service. Their carpet was gonna need it. “Who the Hell are you?”
The girl next to him, whom he had been flirting with all night, looked between them in confusion, her blue eyes rolling between the two of them.
“Don’t pretend you don’t know me!” he cried, his voice wobbling with emotion. Wow, Tristan was a good actor. “I know you said we should keep the relationship private, but… I really thought you loved me.”
“Wait, wait. What?!” Cole screamed, his eyes growing as wide as saucers.
“Oh, don’t lie to everyone. You said eventually you’d tell everyone! How could you do this to me? You said that we’d always be together. But now you’re here with someone else… with a girl. After everything you promised me!”
Whispers were beginning to snake through the room now like sneaky little serpents, and everyone was turning to each other.
“Is that, like, his boyfriend, or something?”
“No wonder he’s with so many girls. Obviously he’s intimidated.”
“I can’t believe he’s really gay!”
“Dude, I don’t know who you are, or what you want, but you obviously have the wrong guy,” Cole told Tristan.
“Oh, please. Don’t play this off now. You always said you were going to tell people. Why can’t you tell them now?”
“Because I’m not freaking gay!” But he didn’t say freaking, if you know what I mean. Everyone stilled at the sound of his shout.
Tristan’s lip trembled. He should get an Oscar for this performance. He really had everyone hanging on his words. Even I was leant forward in anticipation. We hadn’t agreed on a script, so I was just allowing Tristan to go with whatever he wanted to say. So far, he hadn’t disappointed.
“After all the times you said that you loved me. How could you do this to me?” Tristan shoved him one last time. “Lose my number. Don’t ever call me again.”
And with that he whirled around and stormed out, slamming the door behind him. I looked over at Abby, who was trying to hide her snickers in her hand, and then over at Emilie, who was giggling. Aly looked stoked beyond human capacity.
My phone beeped, and I fished it out of my clutch, looking at Tristan’s text. Good?
Perfect, I texted back. It’s dead silent in here. I knew you could do it!
Finally all Hell broke loose. Cole stood there as everyone began shouting at him, and people backed away. Matt stayed stock-still as I grinned at him.
And that, my friend, is what you call REVENGE.
“I can’t believe we did it,” I said as I stared up at the stars that were glittering in the pitch-dark night sky above us.
Matt and I had left the party half-an-hour ago, and now we were lying on the roof of his car, staring up at the stars. I had broken one of my rules; I had decided to have a beer that Matt had sneaked from the party. Well, he had stolen a six-pack, and I was now halfway through my third. I never drank, so now all of the alcohol had gone to my head and I was a clumsy, giggly teenage girl. I felt like one of the ditzy blonde cheerleaders that I always found obnoxious.
“It was awesome. Do you feel better now?” Matt asked.
“I don’t know if I will in the morning,” I admitted, giggling. “He’s gonna want revenge. If he figures out what I’ve done.” If I was sober, that would’ve scared me into reality, but now I faced the possibility with a giggle.
“Your friend did good,” he appraised, nudging my shoulder and taking a long pull of his beer.
“Yeah. Tristan really pulled through.”
“What do you think it will be like on Monday?”
“Crazy. There’s no way he can dismiss all the rumours, so there will probably be two teams. People who will be defensive over Cole—his minions—and then the people who believe it’s true. Emilie and I will probably try to fuel the fire if we can.”
“Good luck, Gracie. Let’s hope he doesn’t kill you when he finds out.”
“I can take him.’”I laughed at the absurdity of the picture in my mind. Me and Cole. Little images of us danced around my mind. “Oh, it was fun, though. Worth the trouble. Did you see his face?”
“Oh, yeah. It was pretty funny,” Matt agreed, trying to placate me.
“I hope some people filmed it. I would love for his humiliation to be leaked through the Internet. That would be so much better.”
He was quiet for a second. I studied some constellations, trying to pick out any familiar ones, before he spoke again. “Hey, Grace?”
“Yeah?” I matched his quiet tone.
“Do you remember once when I was half-drunk when I told you that I really liked this girl?”
I giggled. “Yeah, Mystery Girl. You still in love with her?”
“Oh, yeah. If anything, its worse. I was wondering… if I finally wanted to tell this girl how I felt… how do you think I would, you know, do it?” He gave me an uncertain look, nibbling on his lower lip.
“Well, I guess you should do something to tell her how you feel that you know she’ll love. Like, if she likes poems or songs, write her one. If she loves sport, I don’t know, get cheerleaders to cheer it out. Something that will show that you really mean it, that you care about what she likes.”
Just then my phone chimed, the bell going through the air. I murmured quietly, “Oh, I thought I turned it off.”
I pulled it out and glanced at the ID. Private Number. Opening it and expecting it to be some chain mail or person informing me I had won millions of dollars in the lottery, my finger was already poised for the delete button.
But what I saw made me almost fall off the car in surprise. I knew immediately who it was from, though it took me several times of reading it over and over again to finally understand the message.
You have no idea what you just started.
This means war.
Matt was shaking my shoulders softly, his voice concerned. “Grace? Grace, what is it? What happened?”
I raised my eyes to his. He was my rock, the person I came to for advice. The concern in his eyes ran deeper than I expected. I took in several deep breaths, before I whispered, “It’s Cole. Cole figured it out.”