XIII - Crazies
The sounds of the morning were usually quiet and calm; my mum usually out or sleeping, my dad sleeping or staring into space in his room. I was often the first person up and awake in the house - but today I was awoken by the sounds of the hum of the kettle downstairs and footsteps in the kitchen area. I frowned slightly and got up, pulling an oversized hoodie over my head before going downstairs. It was mum, dressed in a pair of decent blue jeans, a top and coral hoodie, her hair tied up into a messy bun.
"Guess what, Es," she said with a smile as she looked over at me. "I got the job."
My eyes widened and I raised my brows in surprise. "You did?"
"Yep! Things are looking up, I'm telling you. The staff and manager took to me like a duck to water. Salary's good, environment's good - which hopefully means I'll be able to keep on top of things more."
I smiled and nodded, picking up a breakfast bar and brushing hair out of my face. "That's great!"
I rushed upstairs to get changed properly for school and grabbed my bag. But when I came downstairs again, the front door was open with mum at it, talking to a boy leaning casually on his car.
"Hey, you're one of the new neighbours, right?"
Maddox nodded. "That's me."
"You like it here so far? The area's not bad."
"Yeah, it's great." Maddox's green gaze flicked to behind her, where I was, and he gave me an innocent smile.
"Hey. Okay, we've got to go," I said to mum, edging past her and rolling my eyes, "Bye, mum."
"See you later, Esme. Nice to meet you too, Maddox!"
Maddox nodded at her with a half-smile and mum disappeared back in the house, getting ready for her new job. Maddox watched, then looked back to me with his normal, signature smirk.
"Get in then, weirdo."
I scoffed and rolled my eyes at him, opening the car door. "You're so fake."
"Fake?" Maddox got in the driver's side and closed the door, starting up the engine. "I don't know what you're talking about. As usual."
"You're fake in front of my mum," I clarified, with a slight roll of my eyes, "there's, like, no need for that. She's my mum - not very uptight and stuff."
"Uhuh," he said, a brow raised as he pulled away, "I still don't know what you're talking about. But anyway, what we do need to talk about is this. If you enjoy yourself and have fun with what we do after school today, I'll give you something that'll help with the hobby thing I mentioned before."
"Um, okay. What kind of thing?"
"You'll find out. If you play your cards right."
"Right," I replied, "should I be scared?"
He grinned and shrugged. "Not this time."
I smiled slightly and looked out the window as he drove into the school gates, watching students entering and chatting in their groups. Then I noticed Lavinia, smiling and rolling her eyes - with Leroy.
I gasped and watched them, my eyes wide. Maddox frowned and followed my stare, then broke out in a smug smirk.
"As usual, my deductions were right."
I raised a brow and looked back at him. "Define deductions."
"No. Hey, let's go over to them and be all annoying and interfering."
I rolled my eyes and shook my head. "What? No!"
"Why not? C'mon, Es, this is another way to have fun. Get out, put an arm round Lavinia and be annoying. I'll show you."
He parked his car and got out, with me following as he locked it up and went over to them, falling in step beside Leroy.
I went over to walk alongside Lavinia, giving her a slight smile, which she returned.
"Hi, Esme. Push off, Maddox," she said, her tone changing completely after her greeting me, glaring at him.
"Ah, come on, don't be a hater, Lavvy. What were you guys talking about? You seem to be hanging out a lot more than usual." Then he smirked, nudging Leroy. "Friends, or more?"
Leroy's cheeks reddened and Lavinia's did likewise, half embarrassed and half enraged at Maddox's presence and comments.
"We- I don't... no!"
"You don't know?"
"Oh my gosh," Lavinia snapped, grabbing Leroy's wrist, "let's go. See you, Esme."
I rolled my eyes and glared at Maddox, folding my arms. Maddox looked back at me, his brow raised in bemusement.
I shook my head, continuing making my way into the building. "You're so mean to her."
"I'm no such thing," he insisted with a smirk. Melissa caught up with me with a smile, and Maddox nodded at me with another smirk before going off to Harley and his gang.
"Hi! What were you two doing?"
I smiled and shrugged, watching Maddox jostle and joke with Harley. "I have absolutely no idea."
School flashed by, and when the bell rang for the end of the last period, I caught sight of Maddox standing with Sebastian and Audrey near the gate. Audrey noticed me and grinned, rushing over and hugging me tightly.
"Hi, Esme! How're you doing?!"
"I'm fine," I said with a smile, as she pulled me over to the boys. Sebastian nodded at me with a smile, and Maddox smirked.
"Hey, Esme," Sebastian said, "hope you haven't been completely beyond hope, what with Maddox here torturing you with his company."
"Oh, shut up," Maddox said with a grin, "you sound like Mason."
"Boys, you're both pretty, so stop arguing," Audrey interrupted with a grin. "Okay, Maddox, you start explaining to Esme. I need to clear a space in my car quick." Audrey grabbed her brother's arm, attempting to haul him away.
"You can help me, Sebbie."
Sebastian rolled his eyes but obeyed, leaving me confused with Maddox.
"Uh, explain what?"
"Oh, that," he said with a smile, "Yeah. You're gonna want to pack clothes for school tomorrow and night stuff. We're staying at a beach hotel. We booked the roof area too - it's sick. And another thing - as well as all the partying and fun there, you're gonna ride a motorcycle with us too."
My eyes widened and my mouth opened slightly in shock, as I processed his words. I blinked, looking to the ground, then to him again.
Maddox snorted with laughter at my reaction, leaning against the gates. "Yep. Excited?"
I blinked again, my eyes wide. "Excited?!"
"C'mon, Es," he said with a smile, "it'll be great. Audrey and Sebastian are coming too. And you can't back out, remember? Trust me, you will enjoy yourself!"
"But it's insane!" I exclaimed, finally finding the words. "You want me to ride a motorcycle, then go to some hotel full of partying and alcohol and extros?! On a school night?!"
He snorted with laughter again, nodding. "Yeah! It's all booked up and stuff. You seriously will love it."
Audrey came back over with a hopeful smile, hanging onto my arm. "What do you say, Esme? There are mini campfires on the roof and we can cook marshmallows! I promise I won't let Maddox pressure you into anything stupid while we're there. You're gonna have so much fun! Please?"
I looked from her to Maddox, then rolled my eyes. "This is the fourth crazy decision I've made so far."
"So, you'll come?" Audrey asked in excitement.
"I'm not drinking alcohol," I told Maddox, but he shrugged and shook his head.
"Yeah, sure. I don't drink either, really. No biggie."
"So, you'll come?!" Audrey asked me again, and I nodded, She squealed in excitement and hugged me tightly. Maddox grinned and Sebastian smiled.
"What the heck are you doing to me?!" I questioned Maddox, "This is not me in any way!"
"Sure it is," Maddox responded with a smirk, "it's all you, I'm just helping you discover it."
"You're helping me become... crazy, you mean?!"
"That's us," Sebastian said with a smile, "the Crazies."
"The Crazies," Audrey repeated with a laugh, "come on, Essie, I'll help you pack. We'll meet you boys at the hotel."
I smiled as Audrey linked her arm with mine and went off to her car, to start an afternoon of a lifetime.
"Okay, just tell me which street you live in," Audrey said as we got in and she started up the engine. "I'm so excited! Maddox has been planning this for a good few days, you know."
I raised my brows slightly in interest.
"Yeah! He really wants you to have fun, go all badass and stuff. Which you so will."
I smiled and nodded. "I don't know if it's such a good thing."
"Of course it is!" Audrey insisted. "You're anything but irresponsible. It's just about branching out, enjoying yourself! It's gonna be wild."