Author: phantom130 5 PM
For as long as the earth has existed there has been good and evil. Temptation surrounds us and lures even some of the best of us. Thousands of years have passed and the characters have changed, but the story stays the same. "Be careful young Adam, you need to stay away from the apple." Characters in this story are shared with CRAZEDbySUGAR. *on hiatus until July*Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Romance - Chapters: 28 - Words: 66,004 - Reviews: 126 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 8 - Updated: 04-28-13 - Published: 08-02-11 - id: 2939188
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 24: Face
"We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future."
~ Steve Maraboli
"What d'ya mean ya don't like the school mascot? He's a chicken! There's nothin' scary 'bout that!" Teresa said.
It was lunch time and she, Max, Toshiro, Anita, Jane, James, Veat, and Curtis sat together at a cafeteria table. Curtis kept his face hidden between his arms as Veat and Teresa talked about the conversation with the principal.
"I don't get it either, but Curtis is absolutely terrified of chickens." Veat explained.
Max looked to Curtis with a look of surprise. "You're chicken of chicken?"
Curtis nodded slowly. "How many times do I have to tell you this?"
"Max is a little slow." Toshiro explained. "But really, chicken? I mean even we're trying to wrap our heads around it. Like how could a fear like this begin?"
Curtis shrugged. "... Not sure ..." He reached over for his carton of chocolate milk, but Max slapped it out of his hands.
"Don't touch that! It might scare you!" Max yelled. "Don't you know milk is made from chickens?"
Toshiro rolled his eyes. "Max, you've got the wrong animal."
"You mean chickens don't go moo?" Max asked wide eyed.
"No ... at least not in this world." Toshiro said. "Cows moo."
"Chickens moo too!" Max interjected.
He turned to his friends, hoping that someone would agree, but the crowd remained silent. Even Jane, who normally backed up Max's crazy theories, didn't talk. Actually Jane seemed particularly quiet today. She kept to herself and ate her lunch in silence without even bothering to look up. She had been like this since Max and the others had return from the woods.
"Anyways Max, it shouldn't matter who moos on not. We need to focus on the task at hand. The principal said if Curtis can't get over his fear in time, then he'll no longer be able to go to this school." Veat explained.
"We'll do our best to help you out Curtis." Anita said. She looked over to James who was reading a chapter book and paying no heed to the ongoing conversation. "You'll help too, won't you?" She asked.
James looked up for a moment seeming dazed. "Huh? Oh, uh ... sure. I would be glad to help."
"Good, how about you Jane?" Anita asked, turning to the other aloof friend. Jane was about to answer, but Toshiro spoke up, before the girl could say anything.
"Darn it, I should have known she'd come over here." Toshiro muttered.
"Who?" Anita asked.
"Regina, she's heading toward our table. We ran into each other earlier today and she hasn't left me alone since. I can't stand her." Toshiro whispered.
"Why don't 'ya just tell her ta buzz off?" Teresa suggested.
"... It's not that simple ..." Toshiro wanted to go on, but Regina was already in ear-shot. She placed his food tray on the table and squeezed in between Toshiro and Anita.
"Toshy, are these your friends that I've heard so much about?" Regina asked, putting up a ridiculous giddy school-girl act that practically made Toshiro want to vomit.
"Um ... yeah." Toshiro replied shyly.
Regina reached her hand across the table toward Teresa for her to shake. "My name is Regina. Toshy and I go way back! We've known each other since grade school actually!" Regina explained, some reason speaking a lot louder than necessary.
Teresa frowned, but took Regina's hand anyway. "I'm Teresa." She said.
At that moment Regina's eyes seemed to lock on James. "What 'cha readin'?" She asked excitedly.
James looked up, almost as if to verify that the new peppy girl was really talking to him. "It is called The Catcher in the Rye. I have to read it for English class."
"Oh I never heard of it." Regina said. "But hey, the Twilight series is reallygood! Have you read it?"
James shook his head. "I read the summary, but that is about it though. I am not a huge fan of romances."
Regina frowned. "How do you not like romances?"
James shrugged. "I do not know. I guess it is just that I have never been in love before. Romances kind of make me envious. I mean I have had a few crushes before, but I have never been in anything that even came close to being something more."
"What a shame." Regina muttered. "You know there are plenty of girls here though. Maybe there's someone special for you at this school and you just don't know it yet!"
James shrugged. "Maybe, but I kind of doubt it."
"... You never know." Regina said after a small moment of silence. James didn't respond though. He had already gone back to reading his book.
Veat finished her lunch and stood up. "Come on Curtis. I'd like to help you a bit before the bell rings." As she said that Max, Teresa, Curtis, Toshiro, and Anita all one by one put their lunch back in their lunch bags and stood up as well.
"Wait, where are you guys going?" Regina asked in surprise.
"We're going to try to help Curtis overcome his fear of chickens." Max said.
Regina snickered. "A fear of chickens? What kind of ridiculous ..." She wanted to go on, but the rest of the group was giving her an evil eye.
"James, ya' comin'" Teresa asked.
James folded up the top page of his book to use as a bookmark, then he stood up and walked over to join the group as they walked together out of the cafeteria. But how about Jane? She sat by herself at the table.
'Weren't they going to ask me if I wanted to come along?' She thought, and then she sighed.
Who was she kidding? Max and the others didn't care whether she hung out with them or not. She was just a nuisance, no more fun to hang out with than an annoying little sister.
It was a shame too. After her and Max had spent that whole night together with the Ouija board she could have sworn that things would go back to the way they were before, no maybe even better, because now Jane would have more friends.
"I thought I'd never be alone again ... Yet, I feel so alone now ..." Jane muttered to no one in particular. "... ever since Teresa came, things haven't been the same ... they'll never be ..."
"Hmm? Things will never be the same as what dear?"
Jane jerked her head up seeming startled. A young girl about her age that she hadn't seen before with long blond hair, freckles, and green eyes stood in front of her holding up an empty lunch tray.
"Oh, uh ... it's nothing." Jane said, her face turning red with embarrassment.
"Didn't sound like nothing." The girl teased, taking a seat beside Jane. "By the way, my name's Melody. What's yours?"
"I'm Jane." Jane said. "By the way, how come I haven't seen you around before?"
"Oh, I'm still pretty new here." Melody explained.
Jane laughed. "It seems like we're getting so many new students. What school are you from?"
"I went to Gulbrandsen." Melody said.
"Gulbrandsen? You don't say? My dad went there, my friend Max's dad went there too, but I thought he'd said that they tore the place down years ago."
Melody giggled. It was a soft, sweet, shy kind of laugh that made Jane want to smile back. "It must be a different school with the same name, because Gulbrandsen's still around."
"Oh yeah, I suppose that makes sense." Jane confessed. "So are you from Canada?"
Melody nodded. "I've spent some time in Germany, however, I was born here, and in my heart, Canada's still my only home."
"I know what you mean. I could never leave this place." Jane said.
"Back to you though, what's got you all worked up? Is it some sort of guy trouble?" Melody asked, a teasing smile forming on her face.
"Kind of ... well no, I mean it sort of is, but there's more to it!" Jane said.
Melody laughed. "I'm afraid you've lost me."
Jane sighed. "Well let's just say there is this one crowd of people that I desperately want to fit into, but no matter what I do, they never seem to acknowledge me. I'm not sure what to do."
"Maybe you need some new friends." Melody suggested. "... Better friends."
"I suppose you're right, but who? I'm really sort of an outcast." Jane said.
Melody reached out her hand and extended it toward Jane. "Melody Wayne at your service!" She said with a wide smile.
"Jane Bracalente." Jane said, extending her hand to shake back.
Melody's eyes widened slightly. "Bracalente? Any relationship to Roger Bracalente?"
Jane nodded. "He's my father actually."
She hated having to admit that fact. Often time's people were so shallow that they'd only hang out with her so that they could have a chance to meet her celebrity father. She hardly even knew her father to begin with. He and her mother were hardly even home, because they had so many different jobs.
Not many people knew it about Jane, but her father Roger was an extremely wealthy man. He was currently the mayor of Town and had bought out several smaller locations within the town such as Bracalente Street, the road that Max and Jane both lived on, and Hodgefork, the new restaurant chain that chapter twelve was named after.
"That's so cool! I've heard about your father, actually I think I might have met him once years ago. I doubt he remembers me though." Melody said.
Jane nodded slowly. "Yeah, just please don't expect that being my friend will mean you get to see my father. He's never met any of my friends. He has never asked to."
Melody's expression changed as she noted Jane's change in mood too. "No, it's not like that!" She said. "I mean it would be cool to meet your father, but I'm not going to be your friend just so I could meet your father either."
"Really?" Jane asked in surprise.
"Yeah." Melody said.
"So how are we goin' to go 'bout this?" Teresa asked as soon as she and the group were out in the hall.
Veat smiled and gave a playful wink to her friends. "You'll see. I've got a plan. Any minute now."
Anita, being the observant one in the group turned to Max and asked, "Hey where's Jane?"
Max looked around the room and shrugged. "Not sure. Why are you asking me though?"
"It's obviously 'cause you're Jane's lover." Teresa teased while slugging Max in the arm.
"She's not my girlfriend!" Max yelled. "Besides Teresa, you're the only one for me."
Teresa rolled her eyes. "Come on hun, you're way outta m'league."
"No I'm not!" Max exclaimed. "I don't have a league. I don't even play baseball!"
"I wonder where James is too." Toshiro said.
"Did he leave again?" Regina asked looking around.
Toshiro smiled inwardly at Regina's comment. That was the first thing she said since the two were reunited that didn't sound completely phony. It seemed like the girl was finally beginning to let her guard down, even if it would be just for a moment. He briefly thought about doing the same, but quickly decided against it. If he were to re-involve his feelings for Regina, then his emotions would only stand in the way of thinking rationally, especially if or when Regina remembered that he was no more than trash compared to the wonderful Straton.
At that moment James stepped out of a nearby washroom. He was wearing the bottom half of the Clucky costume and carried Clucky's head in his hand.
"This is ridiculous." James muttered as Curtis quickly took cover by hiding behind Veat.
"Just put on the head. I promise it'll work." Veat said. She turned to Toshiro and the others who were looking at James with a look of utter bafflement. "I told James to ask the principal if he could borrow the Clucky costume." She explained.
"He kept trying to convince me that Clucky was a real chicken, but after a while I managed to prove to him that I was not that gullible." James explained, now fully concealed within the chicken costume.
Anita took Curtis by the hand and gently coaxed him out from behind Veat. "Come on, Clucky's a nice chicken. Try shaking his hand ... or uh ... wing." Anita said in a soothing voice.
Curtis slowly extended his hand at the same time that James did. Their hands were just about to touch when a girlish shriek was heard from behind them, causing both James and Curtis to jump up in surprise. Kristen was fast approaching the group, followed close behind by Kanis and Alice.
"Clucky, what are you doing with these losers?" Kristen asked in surprise. "Don't you know that a chicken of your status should only be seen with the most popular children?"
"A chicken of his status ..." Alice repeated. "What does that even mean?"
"You know, Clucky he's just ... smart and stuff! Look, I don't need a reason for what I say!" Kristen said. She put her arm around Clucky/James and tried to escort him away from the group. "Come on Clucky, you can hang out with the cool kids, not these wannabes."
"Excuse me, but we're not loser wannabes." Regina snapped, shooting an angry glare in Kristen's direction.
Kristen turned around and scowled at Regina, but started walking away without saying anything. Toshiro seemed to take notice of how Kristen seemed to hate Regina just as much, if not more than he did. Actually when he thought back on it hadn't both Regina and Kristen gone to his grade school before? He wondered if Regina had done something to get on Kristen's nerves before this too.
"What, you're not going to talk to me huh?" Regina scolded, before Kristen was out of ear-shot.
Kristen's face turned red. "Shut up!"
"Fight me." Regina challenged.
Kristen charged at Regina, pushing James to the ground in the process. She tried to throw a punch at Regina, but Regina stepped back and twisted Kristen's arm, until the girl fell to the ground. It was a short fight, but as it played out Toshiro found himself reliving his earlier fight with Straton. The same moves that Regina used now were Straton's attacks. Kristen, as much as she may have deserved it was in the same situation that Toshiro had been in years ago and Toshiro couldn't help feeling just the tiniest bit sorry for her.
Phantom130 5 (February 2012)