The Art of Fields

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Seven: "What is it little bird?"

We were riding in two vehicles: Lucas’ SUV and Alexie’s car. I sat shotgun in Alexie’s car with Diane, Chase and Alexie.

While the rest if they were in Lucas’ SUV. Jake nagged about how he was on crutches and didn’t want to participate. I didn’t like the fact that Chase stole his crutches and forced Jake into the vehicle but hey, it was all in good favour.

"Okay you’re pretty, you’re face is a work of art. Your smile could light up New York City after dark. Okay, you’re cover boy pretty stamped with a beauty mark. But it’s such a pity a boy so pretty has an ugly heart!”

The night was darkening with the evening Sun sunsetting against the crimson sky. When I called up the ‘crew’, I wasn’t able to get in touch with Jack. Apparently, he flew to Colorado because his parents had to check up on his family business. Jack claims it to be a last-minute trip when I asked him later about it.

Sliding my phone from my pocket, I dial in Zoey’s number and put it on speaker. “Where’s Lucas driving to?” I ask as she shuffles and there’s whining in the back.

“I don’t know.” She finally says after a million years, “Luke, take the phone.”

Lucas whines loudly, “I’m fricken driving.”

There’s more shuffling and Lucas’ voice comes out more coherent, “We could do the note if everyone’s up for it?”

“Woah,” I say, looking at everyone in the car who knits their eyebrows at me. I speak back into the phone, “Not that I mind, but how does everyone know.”

In sync, I hear one name. “Jake.”

I roll my eyes and shrug, knowing Lucas can’t see it, “Alright, let’s go. Do you know where the--”

“Address is?” Lucas completes, I can sense a smirk on his face. “Yeah, I got the note, no worries.”

I steam, “Remind me to kill you, Jake.”

Jake gasps loudly, “But I’m in crutches.”

“And soon, you’ll be in a coffin.”

“You cut me real deep, Ash.” Jake sighs jokingly, “Real deep.”

I roll my eyes at his dramatical response and cut the call, sliding the phone back into my pocket. The rest of the car ride was silent, save for the occasional humming from Chase to the radio music. I kept changing to the station just to piss him off until Diane leaned forward and slapped my hand from the controls.

“Okay,” Alexie says, parking the car in a driveway in a shanty part of the city. “We’re here.” She pulls the key out and we get out of the car.

The cool night air engulfing us as if we were it's own. My thin jacket wasn’t doing well in protecting me from the blistering breeze. I cross my arms tightly and walk to the pavement as the rest of us gathered around.

The house which we were supposed to go to, laid on our right. It was normal-sized and suited its neighbourhood. The outside looked rustic and abandoned but due to the illuminating light seeping through the windows and doors, it assured us of humans inside. The grass that surrounded the barely standing structure was worn out, turning a mud brown colour and the flowers were wilting on the sides. The maintenance was beyond words, absent.

Lucas tucks his hand in his front pocket jeans and looks between us, “Chase, Ashley and Alexie, let’s go.”

We nod in agreement with no argument because quite frankly, arguing with Lucas is like arguing with a damned wall. Your valid points bounce right off him and hit you right in the face. Lucas claims to be responsible for us, so any injuries our way would somehow pile on him, except Jake’s fracture that’s just due to his idiocy.

Jake scoffs, balancing on his crutches, “Glad to know we came as complete support.”

Lucas looks back at him and rolls his eyes, “Do you want to go into a dealer’s house with crutches, smartass?” I hear Jake grunt before following everyone into the vehicles. They start the cars and drive a little down the road before stopping altogether.

I look back to the house, and we walk closer to it by the second. My eyes widen as I hear a clank of metal from inside the house. Chase smiles mischievously, nudging me from the side, “Awe, don’t be scared.” His voice lacing mockery and I wanted to straight-up punch him.

I knit my eyebrows together and glare at him, “How are we friends?”

“We’re not.” He says with a smirk, “We’re best friends, silly.” He says in the last line in his best valley girl accent, making me roll my eyes to the back of my head.

Moving my attention back to the front, I realise we were standing in front of the door finally. We stop at the brim of the porch and Alexie knocks slightly on the mahogany. We wait a whole two minutes and eventually, there is a soft shuffling noise and the door unlocks.

A middle-aged man around the height of six-foot towers in front of me. He wore a large, old trench coat with causal shirt and pyjamas underneath. The stubble on his chin was inked with traces of juice and oatmeal, whilst his hair was plastered down with, by the looks of it, overly gluey gel. “Ah, no thanks. We don’t want cookies or whatever the fuck you’re selling.”

Unfortunately, I breathe in his alcohol breath. He proceeds to close the door when Lucas slams his foot in between. The man pulls open the door and glares at Lucas, “Boy, what the fuck do you want?”

I tilt my head to the side, trying to look inside out of curiosity when he notices me and blocks the view. His grin widens into a sickly one. “Are you Philippe?” I ask, quirking an eyebrow.

“Who’s asking?”

Chase scoffs, “Us, you dumb--”

Alexie thumps him in the chest causing him to duck over, “We just wanted to buy some...”

“Drugs?” Lucas says as Alexie trails off. The man was eyeing me cautiously, the sick grin still on his face. Lucas looks at the man and at me, his brotherly instincts raise up and he clears his throat, “I’m asking you a question.”

Philippe glares at Lucas and sighs, “Come on in, kids.”

Lucas enters first with me in tow and Alexie and Chase after. The house was no less groggy and smelly than the outside portrayed it to be. I cringe at the sight of several pieces of taking out contaminating the floor. Philippe’s voice surprises me from the back, “What is it little bird?” I spin on my heel and face him, moving back at the close proximity. “My home ain’t dainty enough for you?”

I shake my head nervously, “Nah, it’s great.”

Fucking amazing.

I lie through my grinding teeth. I hear the clanking of shoes from the stairs and snap my head to the noise. I notice Lucas, Alexie and Chase do the same. When you hear unfamiliar sounds from a very unconventional place, it sends shivers running down your spine faster than the roadrunner.

In our line of sight, two men walk downstairs creaking the stairs every step they take. They hold huge smirks on their faces as they look at us, crossing their arms in synchronization. Phillipe pats the less robust guy, “These guys are just my reassurance scheme, I’m sure you understand.”

We nod quickly and slightly terrified by the size of their arms, which could easily squash us in a heartbeat. Philippe gives a smile before heading into the corridor and into one of the rooms, “Let me get the shit.” He says and it echoes through the corridor of his house.

I stand close to the three who were tensing up just as I was. Maybe this wasn’t such a great idea. Darting my mind over the room’s contents, it occupied enough time till Philippe walks back into the living room or whatever ‘room’ we were in. “Here.” He says placing a packet onto my hand and curling my fists as if the packet would fall. He lifts my head with his callused fingers and questions, “Now, where’s my money?”

My heart sinks to the bottom of my stomach as I realise that I hadn’t thought about that as yet. What idiot doesn’t think about paying for the drugs? That’s right, this kind of idiot. His grey eyes pierce through mine, impatience floating in his orbs. “I-I..” I stammer and trail off, my palms getting sweaty.

“Got it.” Lucas claims and walks to Philippe, patting his shoulder.

Philippe’s hand lets go of my chin and he looks at Lucas, with a genuine drunk grin on his chapped lips. “And here I was, planning to shoot you four.” He says in a joking tone which freezes my body. “Good thing that didn’t happen, would have to clean it up.” He winks at the two giants who resort into laughter with their ringleader.

I clasp onto the packet and walk towards the door, trailing Chase who was in front of me. He pulls the door open and allows Alexie and I to go. The cold breeze at the beginning of this night manages to calm down my shaking nerves as we slowly walk to the cars parked a little down the street.

I sigh, blowing warm air into my palms, “Fuck Tracy.”

Alexie nods, shivering, “No doubt.”

We reach the vehicles in a short time and fill in the rest of them about the encounter with Philippe. We slide back into the warm interior of the vehicles riding back home.

Luckily for me, Diane opted to stay over at my place. This saved me from getting in trouble with my parents and suddenly overprotective brothers.

When Alexie dropped us home, with quick and brief goodbyes, we walk up the lawn. I pull on the knob knowing it was unlocked cause the household was awake.

My mom rose to her feet up in seeing me, her face drenched in horror and anger. When Diane came into the picture, her facial expressions dampened into a calmer tone of rage. “Honey.” She says and I almost pop my eyes at the word. “Why are you so late?”

“Jake was really upset about his leg,” Diane answers for me and I cheer inside my head. “So, I just thought we could cheer him up. I hope it’s okay that I stay here for the night, Mrs Kendrick.”

Mom forces a smile to Diane, her eyes still glaring at me, “You know you’re always welcome here, Diane.”

“So..” I trail off, kicking off my shoes and motioning Diane to follow my lead before my mom started the questionnaire of our whereabouts. “We’re going to hit the hay.”

Mom slits her eyes at me and sighs, “You, are not off the hook. But, goodnight!”

I give her a bright, toothy smile and haul Diane up the stairs and into my room. As we roll into bed, fairly late, I hear Diane murmur, “Ashley?”

“Hmm?” I ask, almost dazing off into a deep slumber.

“Do you like Jake?”

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