The Art of Fields

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Ten: "You're going to pay."

We huddle around Nick in front of Chase’s house, across the freshly maintained grass in the front lawn. The evening air was windy, pushing the hair onto my face fiercely. I would usually prefer the cold over the heat any day but the cold breeze almost made me feel frostbitten.

Jake whispers softly into my ear, goosebumps travelling through my body as he does so. “Do you want my jacket?”

I shake my head, rubbing my hands together. “N-No, that’s so cheesy.” I stutter unintentionally making my situation even worse. Before I realise, Jake scoots closer to me, wrapping an arm around me rubbing his arms over my shoulder. I feel my cheeks flush instantly and a rush of warmth consume my body.

Jake and I weren’t anything more than best friends, or we’d tell ourselves that as well as everyone else. No one really believed us but we didn’t claim anything else. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like Jake, in that way but if he doesn’t too, then that’s just embarrassing ain’t it?

As we gather around Nick, he clears his throat and begins. “Alright, so firstly, I made a couple of calls and found a place where we can fake a deal. If the police think all the deals prior are fake as well, you guys are off the hook. The guy’s name is Chris, I need just two people to come with me. Ashley and Jake?”

I squint my eyebrows, sharing a glance with Jake. “I don’t mind, but why us?”

Nick looks at us puzzled, “I need a couple, aren’t you guys..?”

Chase stifles a laugh, “Oh, no-no. They’re just ‘best friends’ right guys?” He air quotes with his fingers holding a mocking grin.

I flip him off and Jake sighs at his best friend. “Can it Chase,” I say, rolling my eyes.

“So are you guys in?” Nick asks, with questioning eyes. Jake and I share a glance and both nod in sync. “Great, I’ll call you guys when I get everything set up.”

We nod in agreement and just in time, Mrs Tyson walks out of the house and invites us in politely. As we enter the cosy interior, she offers us hot chocolate which we gladly accept.

After a while, we part our ways of heading back home. Jack, Jake and I rode with Alexie since our houses were close to each other. I slip through the back with Jake as Jack sits in the front.

Jake was just about to say something when I intercede and glare at Jack who was riding shotgun. I say sarcastically, “Jack darling."

Jack shifts in his seat, a cheery grin on his face, “Ashley darling."

I huff, “Why the hell are you in my seat?”

Jack rolls his eyes dramatically, “Well obviously, Alexie likes me more than you so I obviously get to sit next to her.” He turns to me, “Duh.”

I squint my eyes at him and Alexie snickers, “Oh please Jackie.”

Jack feigns hurt, his hands crossed over his heart, “You cut me real deep, Ally.”

I grin widely, “You quoted Shrek! You are now forgiven.”

They succumb to mild chuckles and the rest of the ride is comfortably silent. I rest my head on Jake’s shoulder and kept a conversation going with Alexie, just to keep her company.

At some point, I remember she was in the middle of a conversation when I dozed off. My slumber was rudely interrupted as the car phone rang loudly. Alexie picked it up and placed it on the speaker.

I lift my head from Jake’s shoulder and he wakes up as well. I rub my eyes groggily and lean forward seeing the ID. Diane.

“Get up sleepyheads.” Diane greets oh-so enthusiastically, “Nick called and said that the Chris guy was going to leave the city tomorrow. Nick is asking whether Jake and Ashley want to do it today or two weeks from now, which is really risky. But your choice, call Nick and tell him. Then call us cause we love you. Wow, that was sappy.”

I hear Emily say from the other line, “Nah, I liked it.”

I almost imagine Diane smirking, “What I said or your make-out session that almost got me to vomit?”

“Diane!” Emily squeals and the line gets cut in a second.

We stifle a peal of laughter before Alexie slows down the car, and Jack and Alexie look at us for a reply to Nick’s question. I glimpse at Jake who shrugs, I nod, “Alright, let’s do it then.”

My heartbeat hitches as Alexie swerves the car around. Jake pulls out his phone and dials in Nick’s number, he says brief words and cuts the phone. He hands the phone to Alexie for directions to the location.

My hands find themselves in my mouth, chipping on my nails. Jake hand slides over my back, “We got this right?”

I nod, feeling a little better, “Hell yeah.”

〰▪〰

When we reached the destination, Jake and I got out of the car bidding short goodbyes to Jack and Alexie. We saw Nick standing a little way. There was a building close by roaring in music and I guess that was where we had to go.

Nick was supporting himself on his heels, his hands tucked in his pants due to the blistering cold. “Don’t mess up guys.” He says and we follow him as we walk in step towards the building.

Nick got us through the bouncers and we slid ourselves past the club. Keeping a firm eye on the two guys in front of me, I follow them as we reach a more secluded place in the building. Pacing up the stairs, we enter a more quiet place with a door in the far end.

I felt Jake’s hand slip into mine, the same warm sensation seeping back into my body. Nick makes us stop just before the door, the windows were tinted preventing any sight of the inside room. He sends us a nervous grin, “Just stall them for ten minutes, alright?”

“Alright,” Jake says softly. Nick pushes the door open and we walk into the white-walled room.

The room was office themed with black leather chairs lying around and a large table in the centre. Two huge guys standing on guard next to a guy who looked like he was in his early twenties. That must be Chris. He was beautiful like he was sculpted by the best sculptors on the planet. His blonde hair was pulled up save for a few stray strands on his face, covering his light green eyes. His jawline could almost cut me as his lips curved into an amused smirk.

Chris walks forward, his hands behind his back. “You must be Nicholas.”

Nick nods, “Yes, and..” He takes out a bag handing it to him. Jake and I weren’t told about this part of the plan as yet, all we had to do was stall time. “How’s that?” Nick smiles charmingly to which Chris nods satirically.

He takes the bag and tosses it to one of the huge guys. He rips it open and starts cutting it to check it was real. I notice Nick fidget with his fingers and with the time I’ve known him, he only does that when he’s nervous.

I glimpse at Jake and his eyes glisten at Nick too. “Nice place you got here, Chris,” I say making conversation, letting go of Jake’s hand and walking around.

I see a pug in the corner of the room chewing on something. I walk to it and rub on his head and he whimpers in return. “What’s its name?” I ask, my eyes fixated on the pug.

Chris walks to me, a genuine grin on his face. For a gangster guy, he seemed pretty friendly. “Blood.”

I take that back, “Blood?” I repeated with a quirked eyebrow.

Jake snickers softly, “How did you name a pug, blood?”

Chris rolls his shoulders, “My sister named it actually and wouldn’t stop hammering me about it.”

I chuckle softly, walking back to Jake and Nick. I hear distant sounds of clanking feet on the stairwell. I flinch slightly and hope Chris doesn’t see me.

That must be the police.

The room door flings open and three cops storm into the room and rush to Chris. “Everyone hands up.” One of them says gruffly.

We raise our hands up high as well. Unfortunately, even after trying to coax the cops saying that we weren’t actually doing drugs, they said they had to take us to the station as protocol.

We wouldn’t be in trouble though once they find out the drugs weren’t real. Jake, Nick and I were escorted rather than hauled into a cop car. Chris’ emerald eyes meet with mine, he was being thrown into the car when he elbows the cop and paces to us.

His eyes pierce into mine, “You’re going to pay.” His abrupt words come out with more venom than I can manage to describe.

The cops knock him out and put him into the car along with his trusted companions. Nick exhales, “That won’t be the last time we see him.”

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