The Art of Fields

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Eight: "Called in sick."

I shuffle about in bed as my alarm clock starts a frenzy. I grumble about, not wanting to leave the warm, comfort of my bed and the thick blankets. The light flickers on and my parents shout loudly into my poor ears to get to my feet. “Why is it so hard to get sleep?” I mumble to myself but I don’t think it came out as a sentence as it got muffled under my pillow. I stretch my hands out and smack the alarm clock, sending it on the floor. It still didn’t shut up so I pulled its batteries out. I grin sleepily and close my eyes one more time before I feel a cold sensation on my face.

“Water?” I exclaim getting up immediately. Not caring, I use the blankets to wipe the freezing water from my face.

Mom sighs, “You have fifteen minutes till the bus gets here.”

“What!” I jump out of bed and head straight into the shower, taking one of the quickest I ever have, I slip on the uniform and head downstairs, stuffing some books into my backpack. I grab toast that was lying on the dining table and bid goodbye to my parents, Ricky and Alan, who were setting out to college.

I almost throw a tantrum when I see the bus skid off just as I approach the stop. I grumble my way back home and wait for the two royal princes to get ready so they could drop me to school.

The ride was uncomfortably silent, I still hadn’t had a proper conversation to the two ever since the note. I wanted to keep it that way, to prevent any form of the argument from erupting again. Getting off the car, I slip into the back entrance of the school sneakily. Luckily, I don’t get noticed. The back entrance was an entrance that the students made to exit school whenever we wanted.

I rush to my first class, French and walk-in. The teacher scowls at me then waves me off, not giving a rats ass about my presence. I slide in the empty seat next to Diane. Knitting my eyebrows together, I look at her, “You slept at my place, how’d you even get to school?”

Diane shrugs, “Dad called and said he wanted me to drop Sniffles (her dog) at the groomer, so I left. I tried walking you up and you almost punched me in the face.”

I roll my shoulders, “You had to go to the groomer early in the morning?”

Diane widens her eyes, agreeing with me, “I know, my dad doesn’t make sense sometimes.” She clicks her pen as we pay attention to what the teacher was writing on the board. She sets her pen on the table and twists her head to me, “By the way, do you know why everyone called in sick?”

“Who?” I furrow my eyebrows together, folding my arms onto the table, “As in Jake, Alexie--”

“Yes, Ash, everyone.” She sighs and I deadpan her. “They all called in sick for some reason.”

Unable to come to a reasonable explanation over why they were absent, we decided to try to focus on the conjugations, our french teacher was so hell-bent that we learned. A soft knock came on the door, and I managed to identify the forest of curly brown hair from the transparent glass in the door. Emily pops her head in and walks in, speaking a few words with the teacher. After a few minutes, the teacher tells us to go with Emily.

Dumping the books into our bags, we follow Emily outside. “I’m guessing something happened since no one is in school,” I say, tilting my head confused.

Emily fidgets with her fingers and looks back to our puzzled faces, “Apparently, someone ratted us out. They complained to the police that they saw us, and by that I mean, you, Chase, Lucas and Alexie, at Philippe’s house.”

“W-Wha.” I stammer and my pupils dilate, “Who?” I clench my fists and bang my head on the wall, “Tracy!”

Emily nods, “Yeah, just follow me so I can get you guys out of school for today.”

Diane snickers, not finding anything funny though, “See there is a reason, I get paranoid about doing things we aren’t supposed to do. Eventually, everyone gets caught.”

I clamp Diane’s mouth shut as she really wasn’t helping my shaking, adrenaline-filled body. A quiet ring played in the corridors dissipating from Emily’s pocket. She wriggles and finally, takes it out. “I’m getting them now.” She replies to whoever was on the opposite line. She mumbles a few yes’s before yelling in frustration, “Luke, stop shouting! I can yell too!” She grins and continues at a normal tone, “Good boy, now send me the note. Love you too babe.” She pockets the phone and a permanent grin retains on her face.

Emily starts walking with us in tow until she gets to the principal’s office where she enters before giving us a thumbs up. A few moments of exhilarating breathing pass by and Emily walks out cheerily.

We slide into her Chrysler which was parked in the school parking lot. On the way, Emily filled us in on what happened overnight, which for some reason no one told us about. At the moment, no one had any form of plan to absolve the situation so we had to wait. Wait until we conjured a plan, to absolve the situation.

I wrap my hands around my head, “I’m sorry guys, I should’ve known Tracy would’ve--”

“Oh come on.” Diane says, squeezing my shoulder lightly, “Don’t start that apologising shit. Who would’ve known Tracy would rat us out that cheaply?”

“I don’t agree with that, she’s Tracy.” I mutter under my breath but regain my composure, “Where are we headed?”

Emily’s hazel eyes were trained on the road as she says, “Jake’s.”

Diane asks before I can, almost reading my thoughts, “Why Jake’s?”

“Well,” Emily says with a mocking grin, “Cause he’s too lazy to move his ass, and since he’s on crutches, we actually have to listen to him.”

“Of course,” I say, sarcasm rolling off my tongue. I turn my head to the scenery around us in the bright, early morning sun. The wind whistling in the air, blowing the trees in its rhythm and creating its own rustling sound.

Emily parks in the driveway of Jake’s abode and pulls the key from the ignition. We step out of the car and walk towards the porch. As we do so, I notice a figure standing slightly afar from us. I snap my head to the figure in the corner of my eye and spot a man. My breath hitches in my throat, “Tomlin?” I breathe out through exasperation but my voice comes out low as the girls don’t hear me. I pull my hand forward to tap Emily and Diane, but when my eyes look back to where the figure was once standing, there was no one but the still air.

I shake my head off the thought, it couldn’t have been Tomlin. He left us a long time ago and my hopes were the only thing craving his return. I follow behind Emily and Diane into the warm, beautifully interior of the Field’s household.

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