TOYS ON THE SHELF

01:06 LOOSE SCREWS

                "How exactly am I to undertake this fricking bet of yours, smart-ass?" Seth raised an eyebrow, Locke still in his peripheral vision.

                Isaac shrugged, rolling his eyes. "Like you always do. Seduce them."

                "Seduce Locke? You're the one that told me she's smarter than the average bimbo that I screw." He didn't like this, not at all. The fifteen thousand dollars at stake would be of use to him and his burgeoning business, but if he lost—he just cannot lose!

                "She said so herself that the mere thought of you makes the screws on her head go loose." Isaac quoted, smiling. "Needless to say if you turn the charm on she'll be all over you, no matter how much money she spent electroshocking herself."

                Everyone who knew of her outburst, who in actuality were only Isaac and Seth, and of course Scott, made light of her several attempts to rid herself of her unhealthy Seth obsession.

                "That was then." Seth replied dimly, playing with sand. By then, they were all swimming, the inseparable Scott and Charis included. "Y'know what, we should go for a swim too."

                "Right, turn some more screws loose from poor Locke's head." Isaac chided. Isaac was such a fake, pretending to be nice to Locke and to everyone, especially the conductor, who was allowed to make chair changes.

                So they headed to the calmly rolling beach, the winds blowing only occasionally, the weather being more humid than anything else. Isaac spent most of his time flirting with random girls and receiving slaps, while Seth pondered how he was to go about with his mission.

                Locke was surrounded by her usual bunch, plus Scott, Charis, and Adam. Rumors flew about ever since they were on the plane that he was asking out Evelyn. Apparently, they were true, since he was now draped shamelessly on her like Scott on Charis. Nichole, of course, was announcing the couple to the world and barking loudly like a seal.

                She seemed a little crestfallen, jealous perhaps of the match. It was also common rumor that she fancied Scott, although she never attempted to do anything crazy for his sake or break his relationship with Charis.

                Soon enough they were all wading off shore, the moon-less sky illuminating the stars in their full glory. Locke was perched upon an inflation device, reading another paperback while the rest were involved in a full-fledged water-fight.

                Isaac nowhere in sight, he switched to his predator mode, sneaking behind her purple inflatable raft.

                "Hi Locke." He resurfaced, jet black hair drooping all over his face in a disorganized fashion.

                She seemed shocked, but then quickly returned to her book, Theory of General Relativity and Quantum Physics: Search for Compatibility.

                "Quantum physics? We're supposed to be on vacation." He commented carefully, fearing her wrath.

                "Astrophysics is my vocation, as neurosurgery is yours. Therefore, it is necessary—"

                Seth raised a speculative eyebrow. "You know I'm in neurosurgery too?"

                "I know everything still, although I refuse to remember." She gave him a dismissing look.

                It was clear; she didn't want anything to do with him either. He scrambled for something to say. "I accept your apology, Locke."

                Confusion, relief, slight smile. "That's nice to know. I didn't mean anything that I said."

                He felt almost sorry for her. Did he really mean what he said, that it was all okay?

                "Perhaps this was all I needed to bury it all." She muttered to herself, flipping a page, not at all paying attention to the fact that he was there. "Good night, Seth."

                "Why do you dismiss me? Do you not want me here? Do I still make you crazy, Locke?" Seth smiled inwardly.

                "Y..no"

                Her eyes, her brown bloodshot eyes eerily similar to his, betrayed the truth.

                "Are you sure?" It was fun to annoy her, although she seemed as passive and stoic as a doll, the aged porcelain kinds.

                "What do you want to hear, Seth? Yes? If it makes you happy then yes I am still crazy over you. Now go away." She screamed, face contorted in rage, eyes seemingly aflame. "Go away! That's what you told me to do, and now that's what I'm telling you. Is this all some sick twisted scheme to torture the insane one? I swear, if you don't get away from me I'm going to gut you like a fish."

                If one knew not of her psychiatric history, she wouldn't be taken seriously. A five-foot nine, seemingly anorexic woman most obviously can't assault someone with a stiletto and gut them effectively. But it was Locke, the crazy one. Institutionalized five times since she was eleven, even mauled an orderly once. There was reason to be scared.

                "Okay, fine, I'll go away Locke, if that's what you really want."

                "No."