A/N:Long chapter! Yay! About my use of the crazywriter rule: anyone who wants to read my position in answer to what crazywriter said, it's in my profile. I think she's right. I can't credit her for something she didn't support. I won't use the rule. Okay. Now to author's notes: first: reviews. I would like to thank those that have reviewed, and hope you like this chapter. It's kinda strange, but it's one of the best so far. Plus, it links many untied knots from the past. Hope you enjoy it.
Special Thanks:Steven Sorderbergh. I make a small reference to his "Ocean's Eleven" in this chapter.
Chapter 4: Hargrove's Five
"Hey! Helen! Cheer up... From what you've told me he was a bastard!"
"He was. He was my father." Damn. My voice was cracking again.
"Don't cry. Please." It had been three days since I had gotten the news of my father's death by a car accident. Funny thing is that he caused it. Killed a whole family. They were driving the other way. He lost control, hit them with full force. Killed the boy and the mother instantly. The older son, and his father died shortly after. My father was the only one that could get to the hospital. Died later, in consequence of his injuries. Even in his last time, he was able to fuck someone's else life. Killed four. Damn that bastard. I didn't even know why I was feeling so sad. But I was. And I didn't want her comfort anymore.
It was 9:30, PM. All the other three days Chris was around just to make sure I was all right. She was always asking if I needed something, comforting me or whatever. Incredible girl, she is. She's quite arrogant, okay. But she cares a lot for other people.
"It's nine thirty. Wanna get some sleep?"
"Yeah." I mumbled. "Sleep is good." I sounded like was high on something. She must have caught my thought, 'cause she asked:
"You high on something?"
"No. Leave me, Chris. My life's never been that miserable..." Of course I was lying.. I had friends for the first time in fourteen years...
"But I'm here.... C'mon, girl! Damn you..."
"And you're here... so what?" I spat after her.
"Sorry." She looked hurt. "Just thought that'd make you better."
Funny thing was that she was right, it did.
I couldn't sleep, I was feeling like hell for what I had just told Chris, my back ached a lot and I felt sleepy. But I still couldn't sleep. Damn it, I couldn't. Ever heard of that? You feel sleepy but can't sleep? I looked over. Chris was sleeping, a rather angry look in her face. I reached my hand out. Although we were friends, I had never had any physical contact with her. Which was a real shame... So beautiful...
"What the fuck are you doing?" She whispered. You'd expect this to come out as a shout. But the whisper instilled more fear. Because you didn't see it coming. That happens when you believe a person is going to have a certain reaction and it proves to be exactly the opposite. And that hypothesis proved right in that moment. Twice.
"If you're going to say nothing, cut it. I know you were caressing me. If you're going to do it, do it the right way." She was serious. There was no fun expression in her face.
She deliberately grabbed my hand and forced me to caress her cheek. Not really forced. I just strained a little, so she wouldn't freak out. I was liking that.
"Shut up. You have two problems: you don't talk much, but in the next moment you talk a lot. And you don't allow people to feel for you." She was right. Damn, she was right. I never liked people to show their feelings for me. Not even Meg. Meg. I hadn't thought of her for three days. I was such an idiot. The girl liked me. But the way Chris was making me caress her made me "forget" Meg instantly. But I was still an idiot for thinking of her for three days.
"Come here." She said, pulling me to the ground. She was sleeping in a floor mattress, since I didn't have another bed on my room. "Sleep with me." I blushed. Damn. I never blush. She held me tight, and, for once, my fear of having someone to comfort me vanished.
"Hmm..." I mumbled. If I didn't remember the other night vividly I'd have shouted. I didn't, so I shouted.
"What the fuck's going on?" Chris demanded. "Oh fucking... whatever... You scared me, god damn it. You really scared me... Damn..." She looked at the alarm clock, and realized it wasn't so early in the morning. "Holy... whatever! One twenty eight." I hadn't been her friend for long, but Chris' happiness level could be measured by the number of times she cut a thought with 'whatever...' If she was happy, those were quite frequent.
"And forty four seconds..." I finished.
I rolled my eyes. Damn, when she was happy it was difficult to talk to her. "I have somewhere to go today." I then rolled rather quickly off the bed, what must've upset her at first. Then she realized I was lying on top of her in a suggesting way.
"The Local Cemetery."
"Oh. Finally decided that your father is worthy of you respect?"
"No. Today's my brother's death anniversary."
"Oh. Whate-." She stopped in mid-sentence. She was happy, but not that much.
"Let's go. I don't want to be late."
"How many ye-"
I was getting used to see her cut herself in mid-sentence. "Six years."
"Yeah." I barely managed.
"What was his name?"
"Jake. Don't fool yourself. I didn't like him much. But at least he didn't take four people to the grave with him."
I was dying to change the topic. So I did:
"Um... You know Amy girl I told you of?"
"Well. She's got something big in her mind. I can feel it."
"Stop being sensitive. We're going or not?"
I hated that place. I had been there at least once every year, since my brother died. I generally liked the color gray, but that place was the exception. Everything was gray. Sure, it's a cliché. But even the fucking sky seemed to have frozen gray over it. It was always gray. Always.
Jake F. Waters
Loving son, Caring friend and brother.
May he rest in peace.
That's what my brothers tombstone read. How my parents would always find a way to put themselves on front of everyone else. Their "bad luck" was well known around the town. A son died, the daughter turned out to be a freak. They would always pretend to be victims. But I know they always cared more for Jake than for me. Jake was always the best. If Jake turned out queer, it would be a phase. If they found out I did, they'd personally write the pope for my excommunication. At least, when Jake died, they just thought they had no other kids. Good for me. Didn't have anyone policing me. At least my brother pretended to like me. Even if I didn't pretend to like him.
"F. Waters?" She inquired.
"Francis. My mother's maiden name. They only gave it to him."
"Sure you do."
"Do you want to go see your father?"
"My father's grave you mean?"
"Something like that, yeah..."
"No. And don't push it."
"Fine. I won't."
All it was left for this melodramatic scene was some rain. But in this graveyard, the sky was always gray. It never rained.
"when are we going back to school?"
"I don't know, Chris. If you want, I'll push my mother."
"No. Not necessary." I knew she didn't mean that.
"What is it? What do you want, Helen, dear?" Oh damn. I was dying to tell her to stop with the fluffy treatments. Everyone in a three hundred mile radius knew that she didn't like me. And never would.
"I want to go back to the school."
"Fine." She said, only a faint glint of delight in her voice. "I'll take you there. I trust you can spend the other tem days there?"
"Yeah. We can. We'll go upstairs now." The last statement was voiced when I was already climbing the stairs.
I closed the door when Chris entered. "I'm sorry. I didn't want to make this week some kind of hell for you." The polite answer would've been. 'But it has been fun. Don't worry. Spending time with you is always good.' It came out as:
"Yeah, whatever." This last one wasn't of happiness. "Whatever." She repeated. "Let's just get some sleep." As she said that, she started undressing. I looked the other way. Not that she'd mind, you see. But my hormones would. Very much.
"I've got a better idea."
"Oh damn it. Can't we sleep?"
"Why are you so upset?"
"Why? Why!!?" She repeated. "Because I've been trying to be nice to for three days and all you say is 'My life's miserable, leave me alone, I want to suffer alone.' God fucking damn it. And now you want me to play a game?" She voiced it so loudly I had trouble to hear everything properly. "God damn it, Helen. Can't you fucking accept that there are people who actually care for you? Can't you figure out that I've been trying to comfort you for three days and you've pushed me away?"
"You want to comfort me?" She nodded. "Play this game and I'll sleep with you for a whole week." At this point I had turned facing her. I noticed that she was undressed, and that... Well... That wasn't good.
"All Kay." She shifted to a businesslike manner. "What do you want?"
I remember that, before proposing the game for her, I thought 'Hope this doesn't sound foolish...'.
"Ok. Here are the rules: You have the right to ask me a question. I have to answer the truth. You have to judge if I find this a personal question or not. If I do, then I can lie. But I have to tell you that I'm lying, so avoid yes or no questions, otherwise, you will say: No, I'll ask if you're lying, and obviously reach the correct answer if you are. If I do not judge it a personal question I have to answer it properly. No exceptions. You start with the right to deny want question, and so do I. Any question."
"And how will I know if you're lying about the question being personal or not?"
"You won't know."
"Then I don't see the point. Obviously, there are too much obstacles to the truth in this game."
Of course I had made the game up. And I was quite reluctant to admit flaws in it, although it had several. And bad ones. Chris agreed on playing, anyway. In the condition she'd start. This better be good. And fast, 'cause I needed to sleep.
"Hmmm. Ok. Let's see... First question: Are you straight?"
"Definitely not." She knew that. It was probably a test. "Bet you couldn't figure that out." I finished, ironically. "Okay." I said. "My turn. Are you straight?"
"I don't know." Sure...
"What do you tend to?" I asked, tentatively.
"It's my turn." She cut in. "What a stupid game, anyway... Ok. Do you find me attractive?"
Oh no. Not good. I could always lie, though. Nah, something like that? No. She'd see... I decided for the truth.
"Yeah. You're beautiful..." Damn it. "My turn." I was about to ask and she answered:
"You already wasted your question. I'm straight. I tend to straight. I can't imagine myself kissing a girl." Oh damn. She was telling the truth. We were both so dizzy, needing to sleep, that, the next mourning, all we remembered of that game was some strange memory. That neither touched again, and would not, for a long time. Even if some of the things there would be proved untrue, later.
"Bye sweetie." I scowled inwardly. I couldn't believe my mother treating me so nicely, even after four and a half days. "Take care, ok? And phone me, every week, will you?"
Oh. Sure I will.
"Let's go to the room." I told Chris.
"Look. Despite what you think, I liked the trip, ok?" She gave me a little peck in the cheek, and smiled. "Thanks. And don't blush." I did.
Meg was in the main hall. She greeted Chris with a strange smile, that said: 'You didn't try to steal my girlfriend, did you?' Chris returned a nice one, not revealing if she had or not. Meg made a strange face and greeted me with a kiss.
"Hey." She said, when we parted. I slapped myself a hundred times for not thinking of her in the trip. Gillian came closer and greeted me and Chris.
"So, you didn't travel after all?" Chris asked.
Amy Hargrove was seating in a step located in the fourth flight of a nearby staircase that led us to the garden and some of the classrooms. I noticed she hadn't reacted at all. But she was watching us intently. I saw her getting up quickly, and then coming down the stairs to greet us all, which she did, with a nod of her head.
"Talked to them yet, Waters?"
"Only to Chris." I motioned to show her who Chris was. She seemed to know, so I didn't really mind. Chris looked back at me, and mouthed 'we have to talk'. I acknowledged.
"Well. I see you got yourself with Redstone and Seymour. Five's enough for what I plan to do." Damn. She talked like a fucking army general. Referring to everyone in their last names and all... "All right. This group will do. Come to talk in the library. Later." She walked away, in direction of the west dorm wing.
"Anybody got something of what she said?" I started. As they all shook her heads, I gave up. Chris looked very much uncomfortable. I though it was some sickness. "Meg."
"Can I take care of Chris." I whispered in her ear, then finished: "She doesn't seem to be feeling very good."
"Okay." She whispered back. "But come to my room later. We'll be careful with Gillian's guitar." I smiled. That was our password. Kind of, but I caught the hook anyway.
As we entered our room, I noticed Chris was acting a way I never saw her in before. She had her head down, kept shaking it to the sides, as if she was waiting for someone to come out of the shadows, or something.
I closed the door, breathed deep and spoke: "What the fuck is going on, spill it."
"Amy. Oh my god, Helen. Amy. I dated her."
"What the fuck? Wait a second, I got to clean my ears, I'm not hearing properly." Of course it was all pretend. But it had caught me off guard.
"I'm sorry." She said softly, then added: "She's got her eyes on you. She's a devil. Addicted me to smoking."
"That's all? Addicted you to smoking and broke your heart? You loved her?" Then, I re-winded something in my head, and voiced it, although it didn't come out as planned. "Fucking damn it, Chris. Don't you trust me? Why didn't you fucking tell, damn it!" I was swearing so much. It was laughable. If it hadn't been for the situation, of course.
She started crying. I was so angry, that, instead of comforting her, I asked: "I take that you aren't coming with us, wherever we're going?" She cried harder. I should have thought on what I was asking. But then again, I've always been a selfish bastard. Her reply came soon:
"I don't like her, and you're soft as an elephant sometimes. But, yet, this thing might be my only plan in this place. I don't look forward to anything, but this thing, well. It And you're my friend." She had stopped crying, as she realized something: It could be something good, as making some hideout inside the school, to smoke and do whatever we wanted or it could be bullshit. But she was right. This thing might actually be something to look forward to. Just might. And just might isn't big chance.
"Hi." She greeted us, without looking up. Meg and Gillian arrived seconds later. We all sat in a round table reserved for group works. Well. You could call this group work, couldn't you?
"Since we're all here, I will start. I start with a question: do you want to live the rest of your high school life here?"
General no. And I told her to keep it low. Although I didn't think I could do it myself, when I connected the papers she was looking at with what she just said. School blueprints. You finish the thought.
"Let's run away, then." Everyone cheered wildly. For the situation, wildly could be described as very small jumps in the chairs. It was the only thing that attracted no attention. She went on: "Ok." She brushed her palms one against another, as if saying, let's work. "This school is more than fifty years old. Twenty three years ago, it underwent a major fix. The sewer pipes that connect the school pipe system to the treatment plant were deactivated. New ones were built."
"I see where this is going." Meg perked in, from my lap. "I'm not crawling through any pipe, sister."
Amy cut in magnificently: "I didn't say we were going through the pipes, girl. And they're big enough for someone your size walking through them. And, besides, this 'pipe escape' is way too well known. Don't assume I'm the only one who knows the school blueprints well." She stopped a little, for air, and went on: "We'll make them think we're going through the pipes." She paused, looking to us, and went on, as she saw signs that we were listening intently, and agreeing with the plan so far. "Another characteristic of this building, is the incinerator ramp, which will have an entrance on all floors. The exit of the ramp is ri-" She paused. "Don't worry. The incinerator was deactivated on the same remodeling that retired the old pipes." She said, lifting a hundred ton weights out of everyone's mind. She started again: "We will use decoys on the incinerator, also. You see, the ramp is large enough for one of us to pass, and it has small iron hook-like handles, in it's top. Those were used to tie the security ropes the janitors would use when cleaning the ramp." She stopped momentarily, then continued: "One of us will go down the ramp, tying a rope at the fist hook. The school staff will probably descend to the incinerator, to wait us there. Then, the others will grab the decoy, and pull her up." She stopped and sat down. "Any questions, I'll answer now after the last briefing. Five minutes to go drink something." Everyone got up, and left, without any word.
I stopped myself, turned to Amy, and asked: "Your father's a fucking General?"
Her tone was simple: "Colonel."
Damn. I'll repeat: I had friends. They were all crazy... What good was it?
I met Chris over at the cafeteria.
"So. I had told you of her before... Why didn't you tell me?"
"I never will." She never did.
Final briefing. Amy talked strange. But she was so beautiful... Damn. I'm losing myself here.
Amy sighed. "Okay. Everyone's in?" Nods of approval came from the "operation group" as she insisted in calling us. But then she started laughing. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I like to talk this funny way. And this is the only opportunity I've had so far."
Chris mouthed to me: "She's like that." Good. Our mastermind is a crazy girl. A crazy beautiful lesbian girl. I'm a crazy beautiful lesbian girl. Sounded good.
Amy continued, cutting my thoughts. Actually, what cut them was the fact that Meg was on my lap, purposely licking my neck. But Amy continued, anyway: "Well. It'll be tonight. Everyone will be on watch. Remember, attentions double nearing the monthly inspection, which is tomorrow" I groaned. She didn't want an escape, she wanted a fucking show... Try that near the monthly inspection, when every janitor was trying to find something illicit? We suspected they kept the goods for them, or earned extra money, for every apprehension made. It was fucking suicide. We were going to be expelled, then sent to an institution. As in reformatory. Damn. Amy was so crazy. She carried on: "At eight o' clock, we'll meet in the south dorm wing corridors. From there, we'll split in three different groups. Helen, you're one." I nodded. "Gillian, you're two. Meg and Chris come with me. We form three." At least she started calling us by our give names. Some progress. "At three fifteen, we'll be at the cafeteria, where Meg will buy a piece of the chocolate cake. She'll eat half of it and simulate stomachache. As the janitors, and medical staff scramble to help, I'll leave the group. I'll say that I'm going to the counselor. I will get there, and call her. I will fake an excuse to stay behind and grab her car keys." Everyone perked their eyes up. We could see where she was going. "I've studied the counselors schedule, and, every Monday, she leaves the school, and goes to the city, where she takes a train to her home town. Her car's got black windows, so the man who stays at the gate will open up to us. I can drive. So I will." She paused. "Okay. To the rest of the plan. I will grab the keys, and hide them. Meanwhile, Gillian will be grabbing our belongings. We will write a list of what to take. Any money has to be taken. We will write that list soon. Gillian will carry a backpack, with three pounds of everyone's stuff. Food should be good, smokes too. Gillian, I'm sorry. You can't carry your guitar."
"I understand." The other girl said. I knew she was sad, but as any of us, greatly excited by the prospect of leaving that place. We all knew that sacrifices have to be made.
"Helen, Meg and Chris will be helping the fake on the cafeteria. When the counselor arrives, keep her as busy as possible."
I cut in. "Won't they check who's inside the car if the counselor is inside the school?"
"I've thought on that." Damn. She had thought on everything. If she stayed behind, we had no driver, as well as no brain."
"Gillian will proceed to this room, where the entrance to the sewer cleaning is located. Be sure to attract as much attention as possible. Open the hatch that leads to the sewers and find somewhere to hide." As she said that, she pointed a room in the blueprint. It wasn't far of our dorms, where Gillian would collect the stuff. Amy went on: "They will probably split the group that'll look for you in two. A part will go down the sewers, the other will stand guard, In the room, to make sure you can't escape, if you come back. So be sure to hide in a place both well hidden and close to the door."
"I should manage." Gillian mumbled. We all hoped so.
"Fine. When you escape that room, Helen will enter the ramp. You will take a rope, and tie it to one of the hooks in the ramp. That way, the staff who was mounting guard in the sewers and looking for Gillian in them will be diverted to look for you. But they are too big to slide through the opening. Hmph... Men..." As the group was formed mostly by lesbians, we all allowed ourselves a small laugh. "The only choice for them will be to wait for Helen in the ramp exit. As there is no way of her coming out of the ramp the way she came in, they'll send the whole staff to the base of the ramp. So it's of total importance that no one suspect's that you are carrying a rope with yourself. As that happens, Meg will pretend to get better. Be sure you do that before you're taken to the infirmary, or you'll be lost." It was obvious why Meg was the one for the job. She was the actress. She had proven that by faking an infatuation the first time we met. Not really faking. But she could pull it. I thought something that almost made me laugh... We were Hargrove's five. Our plan was sure as good as the one in the movie. We would manage it. We had to. "When that finishes, Meg and Chris will head to the garden, with the excuse of grabbing some air. Meg will wait, and Chris will get to the other side of the building, in order to distract the janitors at the incinerator. You will distract the screaming. When you hear that, Gillian, it's your cue. You'll slide down the ramp, and before the janitors notice it, run to the front gate. Before you slide, retrieve Helen from the ramp. Helen runs away, and meets me at the counselors office. Be careful not to be seen, especially by the counselor. We will run away and get the car. Meg will get into it. Then Gillian. And Chris will be the last. Be sure to avoid the staff's visual contact. If they see you enter the car, it's blown." She paused for confirmation that everyone had understood. "The count will be on board the car. The ones who are there will go. The others will not. As you see, this plan is extremely complicated. But we can pull the job. I know it. But there's one important thing: these happenings cannot be linked. If the staff links them, our moves will be predicted. We fail. Good luck. Meeting at eight, in the dorm corridors."
Everyone acknowledged, and signed a small list, which was handed to Gillian. We had pooled more than four hundred dollars, and some food. I chose my CD player and my CDs. There wasn't space for my drawing sheets. But then again, everyone made sacrifices. In our minds, one thing was right. These were the kind of plans who would take crazy girls to perform. Definitely. Suddenly, I liked having only crazy friends.
To Be Continued