"Hey there Lisa, long time no see." Jeremy's older sister, Candice, smiled and hugged me. I had always loved Candy. When I was younger, I'd dreamed of her being my older sister. I had always wanted an older sibling to annoy and play with.
I hugged Candy and climbed in the back seat of her green Mazda. "Thanks for the ride Candy," I said, smiling at Jeremy.
"No prob, honey," she replied smiling back at us as she backed out of the driveway. "You're welcome to a ride anytime."
We spent the drive to school singing along with 60's tunes and laughing at how Jeremy sang better than either Candy or me. It was nice to be around them again. They'd been like part of my family when I was younger. Every time our families did something, they'd invite the others. We actually caught a little flack for it. Our neighborhood wasn't really racist, it was just pretty close and they didn't think that the Owens' had a right to join in with the neighborhood activities.
"Here it be ickle froshies," Candy said. "Out of the ride." We smiled and jeered her as we crawled out of the car.
As we walked toward the front doors, Jessica ran up and threw her arms around our shoulders.
"Well hello my fine, young, nerd balls." Her voice was theatrically slurred and a crazy, sideways grin decorated her lips.
"You . . . are . . . nuts," Jeremy said, tickling her side. Jess squealed and jumped away while I laughed at the pair of them.
"Am I the only sane person here?" I asked, assuming a look of mock seriousness. They looked at each other, and dived on me, knocking me flat on my back on the leaf strewn ground. (Just a little aside, I've been wanting to use the word 'strewn' for ages.)
"My, my, this looks like fun."
We all started at the sound of Chase's amused voice. She was standing there with another girl. The other girl had her hand over her mouth to keep from laughing.
"How's tricks, Chase?" Jessica asked, pulling red leaves out of her hair.
"Not bad," Chase answered, looking us over. "Best stop carrying on like that thought, people are liable to take me for bad mentor.
"By the way," she said. "This is Sharilyn, she's a mentor as well."
"Uh oh," Sharilyn said, looking past us. "Chase . . ."
Chase followed her eyes and a slight frown ripped her forehead.
"Don't Chase," Sharilyn said warningly. "You know what she wants . . ."
"See you guys around," Chase said walking away from us.
"Did we do something?" I asked Sharilyn.
She smiled at me. "No kiddo, she just needs to deal with something. Don't worry. I'll see you later. I need to go check on my mentees." As she walked off, we turned and looked at Chase.
She was standing by a large tree in the middle of the lawn. The girl next to her was tall and pale, but it was her clothes that made her the most noticable.
She was wearing a long black dress with chains criss-crossing the front and a long cape that almost touched the ground. It was death black on the outside with a silver embroidered design of a skeleton with bloody eye-sockets and a deep, rich blood red on the inside. Long pewter earrings draped onto her shoulders in the shape of daggers with dangerously real-looking sharp edges.
"Jesus," Jeremy whispered. "What side of the crypt did that wake up on?"
Jess and I snickered. Almost as if she heard us, the girl turned around. She looked really angry, as if her conversation with Chase wasn't going well. She gestured angrily at us and Chase jerked her back around and snapped at her.
After a few more seconds of heated conversation, Chase stepped around the girl and walked to the doors.
"You don't want us as your enemies, Chase," the girl shouted after her. "Your allegience should be to us, not to them, what do they have to offer you?"
Chase stopped, but she didn't turn away. "They don't matter Chase," the girl said, walking up behind her. "Just remember that in the end, we were the first and we'll be the future."
Chase looked at her this time. I wondered if maybe Chase would hit her, but since we really had no idea what was going on, I didn't know how she'd react. "It's in Fate's hands now, Terra. Don't bother me with this again until that decision is made."
Chase glanced back at us, but then went inside as the bell rang to start school.
At lunch, Jessica, Jeremy, and I grabbed a corner of the quad to talk.
"I dunno," Jessica said tearing off a corner of her sandwich. "I don't know what was going on, but that girl might be threatening Chase or something."
"Thick there's actually real meat of some sort in this?" Jeremy muttered, pulling the skin off the chicken patty he'd bought from the cafeteria.
"Jeremy," Jessica said, rolling her eyes. "Can we focus, please?"
"But of course, continue."
"Anyway. I was asking around and I guess this Terra is trouble, real trouble. She thinks that the people who practice the Pagan religion should rise up and rule the world. Scary, huh?"
"Actually, no," Jeremy said. "My sister's Pagan and so's Chase."
"Is she really?" I asked. I didn't really know anything about Pagans, but I couldn't imagine Chase and Candy sharing a religion with Terra.
"Yeah," Jer said. "She talked to my parents about it. They wish that she'd stayed Jewish, but they know Candy'll still live a good life. They believe they'll be together when the Messiah comes."
We were quiet for a second. "Why don't we just do the sensible thing?" I asked. "Let's just ask Chase what's up. Or we could ask Candy, she probably knows-"
"Well, well, if it's not Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys," came an asinine voice.
We all looked up and saw Terra and several people dressed like her standing around us.
Jeremy moved forward on our bench and I could see his body tense up. Jessica sat up a little straighter and flexed her hands slowly. I lifted my head and stared around at them.
A boy on Terra's left snickered. "Look at 'em," he said snidely. "Terror, I think they plan to fight us."
"Always happy to be of service," said a girl on Terra's right. She cracked her knuckles and stepped toward us.
"Nails, Fang, mind your manners," Terra said smoothly. She stepped closer and looked at Jeremy. "Tell your sister and Chase that they shouldn't send you as spies."
"We aren't spies," Jessica snapped. "We're just eating lunch."
Terra didn't even look at her. "Ask Candice how it feels to be in bed with the enemy."
"Is there a problem here?" The voice was deep, but mild and calm. Terra and the others turned quickly to face the tall guy who'd spoken.
He was very tall and thin, but I could see that he was very toned under the faded band t-shirt he was wearing. Dark jeans hung easily around his hips and a wallet chain swung down to his knees. There was an "X" drawn across the tops of both of his hands.
When I said he tall, I meant he was really, really tall. He had to be about 6'5". God but he was gorgeous. He looked kinda like Hayden Christianson actually.
"I aksed you a question, Terra," he rumbled.
Terra glared at him and walked away, the cloud of her black and red followers close behind.
The guy watched them walk off, a look of disgust playing across his face. "Hi," he saaid, turning to look at us. "I'm Jake, Chase's b-, Chase's friend."
We smiled at him and introduced ourselves. "Chase asked me to keep an eye on you lot," he told us. "She doesn't want anyone messing with you."
"What's Terra's problem anyway?" I asked. "What's she got against Chase and Candy?"
"It's not a big deal," Jake said.
"But-" Jessica started.
"I said it's nothing," Jake said again. His tone was final, so we left it alone.
"Hey there. What's up guys?" Chase walked up to us. She leaned over and kissed Jake's cheek before turning her smile on us.
"Wanna come with me? I need the principle's signature on the next isssue of my newspaper."
"Sure," I replied, getting up and grabbing my backpack. We trooped after Jake and Chase as they walked into the cafeteria. Chase walked over to Mr. Cevalaugh, the principle, while the rest of us stood around, waiting for her.
Chelsee was sitting close by at one of the long wooden tables. She looked over at us, then whispered something to the other cheerleader wannabes. They burst into laughter as Chase walked back to us.
"God, I wish that girl would just step off a cliff," Jessica grumbled.
"Right onboard with you," Jeremy muttered.
Chase smirked at us. "Watch this," she said. She gave us a wink and strutted over to Chelsee's group.
"Hey Chelsee," Chase said. "Is that your tube of Estée Lauder under the table?"
Chelsee pushed her chair back and bent forward. Chase hooked her foot around one of the chair legs and jerked her leg back. Chelsee tipped forward and slammed flat on the hard tile floor. The huge room erupted in hysterical laughter.
"Yeah," Chase said as Chelsee rolled over and sat up, a murderous look on her face. "I was right, definitely your color: 'Bitch-Face Pink.'"
"I could live til the end of time," Jeremy said, breathless with awe. "And I'll never do anything that awesome."
"Or look that cool doing it," I added. Jessica nodded in agreement.
When Chase walked back to us, we clapped.
"You have got to teach us that," Jessica insisted. Chase just smirked.
We were still laughing as we traipsed out of the caf. "Oh yes, that was very amusing."
Terra was back again, Nails and Fang still in tow. "Why don't you join up with us and make a bit more mischief, and this with reason?"
Chase got right up in Terra's face. "If Fate has something to say about it, let the message come from there, not you." She stepped back. "Leave me alone Terra, you don't want to mess with this."
Terra gave Chase a cruel smile. "You're much more tough when you've got your squeeze behind you."
Chase glared at Terra and pushed her away. "Get out of my sight," Chase spat.
Terra drew herself up and shoved Chase back against me. "You aren't in control anymore, traitor," Terra hissed. Her hands were balled tightly into fist and I could see Nails and Fang coming closer, their eyes glittering like jackals on the prowl.
Jake stepped forward. "Leave it the both of you," he said, glancing around for teachers. "This isn't the place for insults and challenges."
Terra backed away and leered at us. "I can't wait to see what He does to you." She turned and walked away. Nails spat at Chase.
"You cocky bitch," Nails breathed. "It's no wonder He's so glad to get shot of you."
The bell rang, but none of us moved to go to class until Nails took a few steps back and then walked out of the quad. Chase still didn't move. She just stared at the place where Terra and her pals had been standing.
"Uh, Chase?" I said quietly. Chase jerked immediately back to the present.
"You'll be late for class," she said. "You've got science now, don't you?"
Jessica started to say something, but Chase just pointed toward the science wing. "Get going," she said. "I'll see you on Friday. I'll be busy the next few days, so I might not see you." She walked away, Jake trailing along behind her.
After gasping apologies to Mrs. Levitts and dropping into our seats, I pulled out a piece of paper and scribble: "What do you think?" on the top line. I pushed it over to Jessica. She wrote something and pushed it back.
I don't know.
Jeremy prodded my arm and I pushed the paper to him. He frowned and scribbled, "ME NEITHER."
Jer, has your sister ever talked about Fate? It's strange the way they say it, almost like it's a person, not a thing. After reading that, Jessica nodded. Jeremy shook his head.
NEVER HEARD OF HIM, AND I HEAR MOST OF WHAT SHE TALKS ABOUT.
Jessica pulled the paper to her. Do you think you could get her to talk about it? Maybe ask her a few questions?
SHE WON'T ANSWER. I KNOW THAT SOMETHING BAD HAPPENED AFTER SHE BECAME PAGAN, SOMETHING SHE AND CHASE WERE BOTH IN ON, BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS.
What was wrong?
SHE WAS ACTING FUNNY, WITHDRAWN I GUESS, FOR A FEW MONTHS. SHE DIDN'T TALK TO MY PARENTS OR TO ME, SHE ONLY WORE BLACK. DRESSED LIKE TERRA ACTUALLY.
Jessica looked suddenly excited. She ripped the paper and she jerked it onto her desk. I know what the deal was!
Jer and I had to squint to read the messy writing, but we both smiled when we realized what she'd written.
Well?! I wrote quickly.
It's called the Clockwork Cave. It's like a cult. You have to take another name and you have to dress funny and stuff. They claim to be true witches to get people to join, but after they get you in deep, you find out that they're dangerous. That's got to be what happened. Chase and Candy left the cult, but for some reason, Terra and her brood are only pissed at Chase.
HOW'D YOU FIND OUT ABOUT IT? Jeremy wrote.
My brother was almost brought into it, but he tweaked. He told me all about it before school started. He says that they try to recruit as many freshmen as they can, he didn't want them to get to me.
Sounds dodgy, think we could–
Before I could finish my thought, the paper was ripped off my desk. I looked up at the very close, very angry, Mrs. Levitts standing in front of me.
"How dare you!" she snapped. "Passing notes in my class? I told you that such tomfoolery would not be tolerated and here you are ignoring me!" She crumpled the paper up and got right up in my face. "I should think your mentor would have instilled a little more respect in you. And you can be sure Chase will hear about this!" She turned and stalked back to the front of the class and continued with the lesson, only now she was concentrating solely on me.
When the bell rang, I started to pack up with everyone else. "Don't you leave this room!" Mrs. Levitts snapped. She walked over to the phone and punched the keypad savagely. "Mr. Banks? Levitts . . . has Chase left yet? . . . . Can you please send her to my class room? . . . Yes, immediately . . . . thank you Mr. Banks." She looked at Jessica and Jeremy. "You two will go." They didn't need telling twice, my friends were gone in an instant.
I half-expected Chase to be angry when she arrived, but she came in and smiled at me and Mrs. Levitts as if nothing was wrong at all.
"Hello Mrs. Levitts," she said. "What can I do for you?"
"Chase, this young lady has completely shamed you," Mrs. Levitts said loudly. Chase glanced at me and then dropped back onto a desk.
"Tell me what she's done," Chase said.
Mrs. Levitts shot off on a thrilling tale of everything I'd done wrong, from the note to being late to laughing when she was trying to explain how serious it was that we not mess around with our first assignment. Chase looked from the teacher to me throughout the tirade. I could see her forcing herself not to smile.
When Mrs. Levitts finished her shouting, Chase stood up. "Well," she said. "I can see that you and Lisa didn't get off to the best start, but I'm sure that everything will balance out when everyone gets used to school and your class."
"Chase," Mrs. Levitts said. "This young lady is ignoring everything you try to teach those younger than you."
"Mrs. Levitts," Chase said firmly, but sweetly. "You can hardly expect her to be a clone me after only talking to me twice." Mrs. Levitts started to say something, but Chase kept talking. "However, since you feel that something must be done, I'll keep a closer eye on her. If you have any more problems with Lisa or any of the others, please feel free to let me know." With a winning smile, she steered me out of the room.
"Go home," she said, smiling at me as Jessica and Jer ran up to me. "Go have a little fun for a change."
That night, I sat on my computer trying to concentrate on my first essay. A window popped up in the middle of my screen.
jerdanerd wants you to join
his online conference with littlepixiesneeze"
I clicked on "Accept."
(A/N: I'm just going to start the conversation like a regular thing. Since we can't reverse indent on fictionpress, I'm just going to use caps for the screen names and show what's on the screen by using these "" There isn't going to be any asides, just the IM.)
"JERDANERD: hey lis
LITTLEPIXIESNEEZE: we jus missed u so much tht we had to get u on here
LISABCOOL: ya rite
LITTLEPIXIESNEEZE: ne-wayz, jer found something
JERDENERD: I found out about fate
LISABCOOL: congrats, u found the secret of our purpose
JERDANERD: wil u 2 plez focus?
JERDANERD: they don't mean reg. fate, they mean a person
LITTLEPIXIESNEEZE: a prsn?
JERDANERD: ya, name's madison brown
JERDANERD: he gradu. last yr
LISABCOOL: wats he like
JERDANERD: jerk 'corrding 2 candy
LISABCOOL: thnk hes after chase
JERDANERD: who else could it b
LITTLEPIXIESNEEZE: found him in my bros ol yrbook
LITTLEPIXIESNEEZE: creepy lookin
JERDANERD: thnk we should tlk 2 chase?
LISABCOOL: I don't thnk so
LISABCOOL: I thnk she'd b mad tht we snooped
LITTLEPIXIESNEEZE: thnk lis's right
JERDANERD: we won't say anythin"
"Lisa," my mother called through the door. "Time for bed sweetie."
"Okay Mom," I shouted.
"LISABCOOL: I gotta go
LISABCOOL: c u 2mrrw
JERDANERD: c ya 7
LITTLEPIXIESNEEZE: meet ya n front of skool
LITTLEPIXIESNEEZE: peace :-) -
LITTLEPIXIESNEEZE HAS SIGNED OFF flashed across the message box.
JERDANERD: nite lis
LISABCOOL: nite jer"
I signed off and turned off my monitor. Strange, this person, Fate, seemed like a really dangerous person to be messing with, but I still got the feeling that Chase wasn't afraid of him.
Maybe we should talk to her, I thought as I pulled on an old nightgown and crawled into bed. Maybe she would tell us why he doesn't worry her.
So here it is, the nest chapter. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA I used those annoying little abbreviations that we all hate to find in stories, but I wanted it to be real. Anyway, here it be, please review.