15 - Cars

"Are you going out on a date?" Tara stood in his doorway, surprised as she watched him dress.

"What?" Dallas asked, distracted as he looked for his After Hours body spray which he'd accidently knocked over to the ground from where it sat on top of his dresser. He leaned over the side of the dresser to grope for it and found a sock instead.

"A date." Tara repeated. "You're going out with someone, aren't you?"

"Yeah, yeah I am."Dallas cursed and tossed the sock over his shoulder before grabbing the small can of body spray. "Stupid shit." he lifted his shirt to spray under his arms quickly before pausing to sniff at his shirt. With a grunt of displeasure he yanked it off, pulling open the bureau before him to leaf through his clothes.

"With that girl Janie?" Tara's voice asked him.

"With--what? What?" He looked at her in disbelief. "No! Not her. My God, no." Dallas shuddered.

Tara moved into his room. "You're not going out with Bailey, are you?" she asked quietly. "Dallas?"

"What?" Dallas impatiently pulled out a light blue Hollister shirt and a gray lifeguard shirt that looked eerily like the same one Bailey wore the other day. He took a second to contemplate before tossing them both over his shoulder. He'd wear some button up shirt. He didn't feel like wearing yellow or gray tonight. And besides, it looked too laid back.

Tara bent over to pick up the shirts.

"This is clean," she said. "Don't just throw it on the ground. This is why you never have anything to wear and always bitch at me or mom to do your godawful laundry."

"Yeah, okay." Dallas pulled a white button-up shirt off the hanger hanging in his closer and began unbuttoning it before pulling it on. The mirror confirmed that he looked a lot better. He looked slightly tan against the white. Dallas felt his cheeks to see if he should shave but decided he didnt need to. He looked at himself closely in the mirror. He wasn't one of those guys who pulled off the scruffy shadow well but decided it would take a few more hours before he started looking like an idiot.

Tara watched him. "You need lip balm."

"No, I don't."

"Yes, you do."

"I don't have any." he said impatiently, fumbling distractedly with the buttons. "Can't find it."

His little sister left to no doubt get hers. "You can have this one." she told him gingerly. "I have two more."

"Thanks," he said, grudgingly using it.

"More on your upper lip." she instructed. "It looks like something's wrong there."

Dallas looked at himself before giving her a dirty look. "I have a cut there. It's healing."

She made a face. "Oh yeah. You got beat up or something."

"You want to get out?" he threatened, glowering.

Tara folded her arms. "Who are you going out with?"

"None of your business." Dallas said, annoyed. "Why do you care?"

"Because I don't think you should be going out with Bailey anymore!" Tara's reproachful eyes followed him as he moved around the room. "I think you should see other people."

Dallas cast an amused glance her way. "Other people?" he said sarcastically. "You mean like Janie?"

Tara shrugged. "I don't see why not."

Dallas scoffed. "Obviously!"

"You're going out with Bailey, aren't you?" his little sister said, aghast. "Why can't you just let her go?"

"Not sure, since I'm not going out with her." Dallas grabbed his cell phone and wallet, slipping it into his jeans before making his way around Tara to exit the room. He clapped her on the shoulder and gave her a sympathetic look before walking out, laughing as she made an attempt to shove his hands off her. He dodged her angry swipe at him easily.

"Who're you going out with?" she yelled as he slammed the front door behind himself.

"Go out with me." Candace had whispered against his ear after she kissed him.

She released her hold on him, smiling.

He had stared at her, mildly dazed, unsure of what just happened. She smile widened at his dumbfounded form and she began touching and fussing about him, tucking his hair behind his ear and petting him like a dog now that she'd disengage her mouth from his. She took advantage of his stupefied silence, turning his face towards her as she studied him critically, running her thumb against his lower lip.

"You've gotta be kidding me." He managed to say, dazed.

Candace leaned over and kissed the corner of his mouth. "Trust me, it'll work this time."

"No," he shook his head.

She patted his cheek. "Yes. You said you would, didn't you? You did."

Dallas shook himsef and pushed her hands away, irritated. "You're insane. I came here to make it stop, not start all over again. No."

Candace withdrew, scowling. "You don't get it, do you? This is it. I've found the one way to make Jordan lose it and come to me. You. You, you, you." she jabbed her finger into his chest. Dallas felt his frustration grow with each jab. "Jordan hates you. Do you know what he's going to do when he sees us? Not screwing around, we have to make it real this time. Don't you see? This is it. I know it. This is it."

Dallas tried not to feel unnerved by her labored breathing and bright, saucy eyes.

Her hands tightened around his. "Get us together." she whispered, urgently. "Jordan and me. Me and Jordan. Get us together and that's it. We'll stop. It'll be over."

Dallas edged away from her. "I dont--" he began cautiously.

"Just do it!" Candace shrieked.

The party besides them who had stolen their seats gawked.

Dallas felt his face grow warm.

Candace ignored the others completely, tugging at his hand and pulling him closer. "Just do it." she said again, pleading now. "I promise it'll go away. Jordan will get jealous and he'll finally admit he likes me and when we're together--we'll leave you alone. We promise. Just do it, Dallas. Please. I'm begging you, I've waited too long. I want him, Dallas. I need him. We need each other! We do, we really do."

Dallas was uncomfortably aware of the people besides them listening. He looked at Candace.

She gazed at him imploringly, her eyes wide and sad. (And obsessive.)

"Fine." Dallas muttered, to get her to shut up more than anything. "Fine."

That was Monday and today was Wednesday. So who was he going out with, Tara asked? Dallas got into his car, slamming the door. She didn't want to know.

"You are not!" Bailey had glared at him when he told them what he was doing at school on Tuesday. Surprisingly they had all sat together for some strange reason; him, Christopher, Aaron, and Al. Then Bailey came and almost timidly sat down amongst them. Aaron had kicked him hard under the table like a stupid girl but Dallas ignored him, acting neutral. Even Christopher had cocked his head at Dallas questioningly but Dallas had ignored him too. Al was the only one who acted like it wasn't strange for Bailey to come back.

"There's no other way." Dallas replied moodily to his ex-girlfriend's outburst. "And I can't back out now or she'll raise hell. This girl is fucking disturbed, I swear to God." he shook his head. "She's really, seriously bent over backwards for Jordan. And you know what? I have a gross feeling Jordan feels the exact same way. That's what started all this stupid shit."

They sat in silence for a minute with a decent amount of repulsion on their faces. Al picked at her food.

"I think it's sad that they had to go through all of this just to be together." she said tentatively.

Aaron rolled his eyes. "You would." he said dismissively. "You feel sorry for everyone."

Al shrugged.

"So she thinks when Jordan sees you two together once and for all, he's going to throw himself into her arms?" Christopher asked dubiously.


Aaron hooted. "Not after he majorly kicks your ass first!"

"That's what I was thinking..." Dallas said, grimacing.

"Don't do it, Dallas." Bailey said again. "We'll just go and talk to Jordan. We'll all go with you."

"Rumble!" Aaron cracked. Dallas didn't know why, but his friend was very happy for some reason. He kept grinning and shaking his head but not like he was really listening. Aaron caught his gaze and raised his eyebrows, fighting a smile.

"What?" Dallas said.

"Nothing. Hey Chris, did you talk to Janie?" Aaron asked, changing the subject.

Christopher made a face. "Yeah. She was freaked out and then overjoyed to find out that we all knew each other. She thinks everything was meant to be or something just as fruity. Honestly, I think she's determined to make all of us best-fucking-friends. It's going to be terrible."

"I like Janie." Both Bailey and Al said at the same time.

"I don't." Aaron announced with a deep disgruntled look. He glanced at Christopher. "No offense."

Christopher smiled grimly. "None taken."

"You don't like anybody." Al told Aaron a little testily.

"Just because I don't like her, doesn't mean I hate everyone." Aaron said irritably.

"Does Jordan even like her?" Christopher wanted to know. "I mean, how do you guys really know? Maybe he's just as grossed out as we are. Which would also explain why he never made a move."

Dallas paused at this. "Trust me," he said slowly. "He likes her."

Aaron and Bailey shuddered. Christopher looked unconvinced and Al studied her cheese burger. "I don't think they're bad people. I think they're just confused." she said sadly.

Yeah, very confused, Dallas thought presently as he sat in his car, trying to remember directions to Candace's house. "1400." He muttered under his breath, scanning the houses. He pulled up into an empty driveway before heaving himself out of the car, practically dragging his feet to the front door. This whole thing was so retarded. He wondered what would happen if he just turned and decided to drop the whole thing. What was Candace going to do? What could Candace too?

"You're late!" Candace threw the front door open, glaring down at where he stood frozen on the driveway. Her hair was spritzed into perfect disarray around her head, a perfect cloud of black to surround the mutinous, displeased face she was now showing him. Dallas thought she looked rather nice too, but he wasn't about to tell her so. He tried not to flush or get angry at her accusing expression and tone. The result just made him feel sulky.

"Why don't you just get in the car so we can get this over with?" Dallas muttered.

Candace's hands fisted at her sides before she stormed towards him. "Can't you at least pretend you like me?" she demanded, sincerely pissed. "Do you want this to work or not?"

Dallas backed up a few steps, trying not to flinch. This was ridiculous. He shouldn't be here taking this abuse. He didn't want to pretend to like Candace. He didn't want anything to do with her or her cousin, in fact. "Candace..." he began in a pained voice.

"Again," she suddenly ordered. "Greet me again like as if we're actually going out. Like as if you actually liked me." Candace shot him a withering look.

How can I? Dallas wanted to burst out. All you do is stand there giving me dirty looks like I fail at everything, you stupid evil b...

"Hi, sweetie." he said dully.

"I'm not your wife!" she threw right back. "Try again."

"Hi... babe?" Dallas could feel himself grow warm in the face because the whole thing was so stupid.

Candace scoffed, unrelenting.

"Baby...doll?" Dallas offered weakly.

She pursed her lips. "Fine."

God, she was a fucking bully. Dallas tried not to give her a hateful look and instead managed to pull what he hoped was a loving expression. She merely wheeled around to lock the front door. Dallas took the opportunity to duck back into his car and start the engine as he waited for her. She tossed another dirty look his way as she made her way to his car. He dearly hoped that she wasn't expecting him to open the door for her too.

Candace slid in beside him without comment but with an air of irritation and her stifling perfume.

Dallas backed out of the driveway looking at everything but at her. "Where are we going?"

Candace gave him a disdainful look. "To shoot some pool."

Al stood with Bailey and Aaron after school. They were all feeling tied up about the whole Candace affair but for some reason Bailey was the most disturbed and seemed to feel that she needed the vent about it to them. Al tried her hardest to focus and concentrate on what Dallas's ex-girlfriend was saying and she could tell by the glazed look on Aaron's face that he wasn't even trying at all. He chewed his lower lip and stared unfocusedly at the wall behind Bailey's head. Al's gaze drifted to the cheerleading glass display. She wondered whether she could pick out Bailey from one of the group shots.

"And you know what I've just realized?" Bailey was saying presently in a trembling voice. "It's Wednesday. I know what they're doing. I know where Candace is taking Dallas!"

"On a date?" Al offered.

"Alex, I know Jordan's schedule." Bailey said a bit hysterically. "On Tuesday's he goes to Billiard's to shoot pool. If not today they go on Thursday. I know they're going there, I know it."

"Okay..." Al said uncertainly.

"We could stop it!" Bailey exclaimed. She turned to round on Aaron who was now frowning and muttering under his breath, talking to himself. "Aaron, we could go to Billiard's and stop all of it."

"Stop all of what?" Aaron's frown deepened, tinged briefly with annoyance.

Al scratched her arm, looking more pointedly at the cheerleading display in case either of them started fighting. She didn't know what was up with Aaron but he seemed more edgy lately. And right now Bailey look high strung enough to start shouting. Al didn't think either of them made a good pair for planning anything. She eyed them out of the corner of her eye, hoping she wouldn't have to stop anything. Both Bailey and Aaron were visibly larger than her. She probably wouldn't be able to do much.

Al supposed the boy drinking at the fountain down the hall could help her if it came down to it. He certainly looked big.

"--that's kind of retarded." Aaron was saying.

"Aaron, I don't want Dallas to get hurt!" Bailey said angrily, voice rising.

He smirked. "Yeah, well. It's a little too late for that, isn't it?" Aaron smiled a little scornfully at Bailey.

Al nervously shifted her weight. The big guy had finished drinking and was now walking away.

"What is that supposed to mean?" Bailey said through gritted teeth.

"Oh, I don't know." Aaron said in a tone revealing that he knew very well. "It's just that it's a little too late, isn't it? Seeing as how you broke up with him. Now you want to rush off and save him from getting hurt." Bailey's jaw dropped and her cheeks colored deeply. "Be that as it may, sure I agree. We should go save him." he gave Bailey a bright smile as she stood there flushing.

"Um." Al said, cutting in only because Aaron was being so mean despite the fact that she sort of agreed. "Um, maybe... maybe we could just sort of... watch him?"

They looked at her.

"Um. Like we don't really have to do anything," she said tentatively. "We could just sort of look out in case something does happen."

Aaron frowned. "You mean spy on him?" he asked because Bailey was still red and staring at the ground in a broken sort of way and not about to say anything. Al cast her an anxious look, wondering if she was going to start crying.

"Yes. Yeah, I guess." Al looked back at Aaron. "We don't have to do anything unless Jordan does."

Something flickered in his gaze. Aaron straightened up, glancing at Bailey. "Okay sure, why not? Let's do it. I don't have anything better to do. You still in or what?"

Bailey looked up. "Yes." there was defiance in her tone.

"What time?"

Bailey took a deep breath. "They usually go around seven."

"I have dinner at seven." Al said. "And it's a school night. My parent's might not let me..."

"They let you when you were going out with Mike." Aaron said, suddenly glaring.

Al flinched. "I know, but... but I told my mom I wasn't going to see him anymore. So now she thinks something... something bad happened. She might not let me go."

"Well tell her it's not Mike you're going out with, duh."

"But..." Al started helplessly.

"Tell her you're going out with me." Aaron snapped.

Al didn't want to look at Aaron and opened her mouth wordlessly to think of something to reply.

Bailey stared at them.

"My mom will think..." Al finally started to say.

"It's okay, Alex." Bailey said gently. "I'll vouch for you. Tell her I'm coming too."

Aaron said nothing but took out his cell phone and held it out to her. "Call your mom."

Al took the phone, suddenly feeling a strong rush of resentment towards Bailey and him for ordering her around. She felt like a kid and as if they were her parents. She really hated being short at the moment. Al dialed her mom's cell phone and turned away from the pair of them pointedly.


"Hi mom." Al said quietly, not wanting them to hear much.

"Ally?" Mrs. Kook sounded surprised. "I didn't recognize the number. Where are you?"

"Um, at school. Mom, can I go out tonight? After dinner?"

"With who? Dallas? It's a school night."

"Not Dallas, with--"

"Not Mike?" her mother suddenly cut her off sharply. "Alexandra, I thought we agreed you wouldn't be seeing him any more?"

"No, not him." Al took rapid steps away from Aaron and Bailey. "Mom--it's--it's only Dallas's friend Aaron. It's only Aaron. It's not--"

"Another boy?" now Mrs. Kook sounded worried. "A different boy already? Ally, don't you think you're moving a little too fast?"

"No, Mom, listen. Dallas's ex-girlfriend Bailey is coming with us. It's not like--"

"I mean, I was pretty happy when you wanted to go out with this Mike. But it's only been a few days, sweetie. Now you want to go out with a different boy. Ally, you don't have to rush into these things. You have all the time in the world. And you're so new to this. Look what happened with that Mike. I didn't even get to meet him. Maybe if I met him I would have been able to figure out what kind of person he was."

"He didn't do anything." Al said, although she knew she wouldn't get it through to her mother. "Mom, please. Just this once. It's important. I won't be long."

"Why can't these boys take you out during the weekends like normal boys?" Mrs. Kook demanded, displeased.

"Mom, it's important." Al pleaded.

"What's important?"

"Mom, look." Al said feeling a little desperate now. "It's Dallas's best friend. He's normal."

"Ally." Mrs. Kook said.

"Just this once." Al repeated, more calmly now. "I'll stay home forever after this. I promise, Mom. Really. I'll even do all that laundry I''ve been putting off."

Her mother sighed. "My God, Al. If your father knew..." Al listened to her sigh again and waited. "I want to meet him."

"What? Why?" Al's palms were suddenly sweaty. "Why? Mom. Mom, please, it's not serious. It's not--"

"I don't care. I wan't to meet him. You bring him home first so I can meet him, Alexandra. Understand?"

"Mom." Al tried for the last time.

"I'll see you tonight." Her mom said sternly before hanging up.

Al closed the phone and stared down the hall. Bailey and Aaron were some feet away behind her. She slowly turned around and headed back towards them. Aaron looked tensed but Bailey appeared amused.

"Well?" Aaron asked.

She mumbled something.

"What?" Aaron said impatiently.

Al didn't look at him. "She wants to meet you."

"Huh? Oh." Aaron went very pink.

They all stood around staring, six pairs of eyes focused upon the pale, nervous boy standing in their livingroom. Mr. Kook was there this time too and Al felt anxious as to what he was thinking. She cast a glance Aaron's way. Poor Aaron. He look intimidated. He suddenly looked small and less cocky and full of himself in the presence of her parents. Al smiled, pleased, despite the situation they were in.

"I know you, I've seen you before." Mrs. Kook broke the silence, extending a tentative smile.

Aaron looked relieved. "Yes ma'am. I'm with Dallas a lot. Maybe you've seen me with him..." He swallowed, eyes wide.

"We're eating french fries and Hot Pockets." Al's youngest sister Emily told him diplomatically. "Want one?"

"Um, no, no it's okay, thanks. We're kind of in a hurry..." Aaron gave her a pained, pointed smile. Al knew at that moment he was furious at her for not helping out.

"Where are you guys going? You know it's a school night?" Mr. Kook asked, but not meanly.

"Yes, sir. We weren't planning on staying out long. Maybe an hour at the most. We're going to play pool at... uh..." Aaron suddenly looked nervous.

"Billiard's." Al said, surprised that she remembered. She moved towards the front door to make a show of slipping her shoes on in effort to speed things up. "Give them your cell phone number." she told Aaron.

Mr. Kook whipped out his cell phone and energetically punched the numbers in as Aaron told him. Her dad loved gadgets. He never turned down a chance to use them. "Well that's great! We'll call you every ten minutes, eh, Al? Eh, Sherry?" he said happily to his wife.

"Dad." Al didn't look at him. "That's not funny."

"I won't let him." her mother promised, looking slightly mollified now that they had Aaron's number. "No longer than an hour and thirty minutes." she told Aaron sternly who swallowed again. "Try to keep it at an hour."

"Sure, of course." Aaron said hurriedly. He edged his way to the door. "Um, nice meeting all of you."

Al's little siblings had already drifted back to their dinner, deeming Aaron uninteresting.

"Call if you think you'll be late." Mrs. Kook called after them.

"'Kay, bye mom." Al let Aaron hurry past her before following, closing the door behind her. Aaron was already in the car by the time she made her way down the driveyway, a new feeling of apprehension coming over her. She just realized that Bailey wasn't there. She wondered whether Aaron would start yelling at her in the car. The thought helped a bit; it made her mad. Anger always helped kicked her nervousness out of her system.

"Where's Bailey?" Al asked as she slid in beside him almost gingerly.

"We're picking her up." Aaron made a face which said, duh. "Your family freaks me out." he told her, right off the bat.

Al shrugged, unsure of what she was supposed to say. She looked out the window hating Aaron for acting weird lately and making her uncomfortable around him. She liked it better when he acted carefree and stupid. It was so much easier to tolerate. She thought of what they had recently come to. Spying on Dallas. Was she really doing this?

"Why are we doing this?" she found herself asking.

"To save Dallas." Aaron spoke a bit mockingly. He scoffed. "Dallas can take care of himself."

Al turned to look at him. "Then why are we going?"

Aaron kept his eyes on the road and shrugged casually, but Al didnt miss the gleam in his eyes. "For Bailey," he explained tragically before smiling to himself smugly. "She probably thinks if she saves him or protects him or some shit, he'll go back to her. I knew she'd come back. I told Dallas."

"She does not." Al said, feeling some need to defend Bailey who couldn't defend herself because she wasn't there.

Aaron cast an amused look at her. "Why do you think then?"

Al opened her mouth, thinking. "She feels bad she got Dallas mixed into all of this." she told Aaron. "If he gets hurt or something because of her she'll think it's her fault."

"It is her fault." Aaron said disdainfully. Suddenly his cell phone rang, relieving Al of having to think of a response. "Chris? What. Yes. Yeah, right now. What? No! I said no, man. You stay your home and do your homework today. I'm not kidding, Chris. Really. You'd better not. Bye. I'm not talking to you anymore. You're stupid. Yeah, you are. No, I'm not. Not as stupid as you. No. No. Stay home. Bye. I'll kill you. I will. Really. BYE."

"How come your friend isn't coming?" Al asked, surmising as much.

"Like I'd invite him when his little cousin would only invite herself." Aaron said furiously. "Do you know what a disaster it would be if Janie came along? She'd screw everything up."

"She would not."

"Quit defending everybody!" Aaron said irritably. "What is it with you and feeling sorry for every damn sucker?"

"Leave me alone." Al said, giving him a mutinous look.

There was a frosty, uncomfortable silence from then on and it ensued when Bailey slid into the backseat. She opened her mouth to greet them but after taking a look from Aaron's to Al's face, she thought better of it.

Billiard's was a dingy, cheap place in a large rundown plaza. Dallas surveyed the area warily. He'd passed by a lot before but had never really thought of stopping; everything was so grimy looking. Candace was sitting erect, tensed, beside him. Dallas glanced over at the entrance and saw only two Asian kids smoking. His eyes wandered to the parking lot as he searched for a place to park and was surprised that for a rundown place, the parking lot was full of sleek cars.

Candace did a sharp intake. "He's here." her eyes were faintly nervous as she looked over at him. She looked kind of human.

Dallas followed her gaze to a gleaming red firebird. It made him feel kind of shitty sitting in his Accord. Dallas turned into a parking spot and cut the engine.

"We can always drop this if you want." he offered, keeping his tone from being too hopeful.

Candace shook her head. "No. No, no. Let's go. You've played pool before, right?" her voice was sharp.

"Sure." Dallas didnt look at her. A few years ago he had, over at some kid's place named Eddie. But he had played before even if he might not remember everything. He gave her a bright smile before getting out the car. Candace followed suit and went to stand beside him as they both surveyed the looming Billiard's

"Come on," Candace said under her breath and they both moved to hold each other's hand simultaneously. They clasped hands as they made their way towards Billiard's. "Don't worry about anybody else. Don't pay attention to anybody else. Everything will be okay as long as you make it believable, okay?"

Dallas's chest felt tight. He had an uneasy feeling that he was walking right into the lion's den. Maybe this was even stupider than he had originally thought...

The Asian kids nodded a greeting to them. "Hey Candace." The taller of the two said, almost blankly.

"Hi Anthony. Jordan's here right?" she gave him a quick smile.

He merely nodded, jerking his head inside.

"Hey," Dallas said, giving them a friendly smile, hoping to make some allies.

But they only nodded again, faces set. They continued smoking in silence as Candace and Dallas walked past them and entered the pool place. Inside was cool and dark, lit only by green lights above and the tiny bar at the far end of the room. He felt as if he were in a Jackie Chan movie for some dumb reason. He felt his dread rise when he realized there was about only 10-15 people in the large room, and he felt as if all eyes were on them even though they probably weren't. Dallas swallowed.

"Relax," Candace whispered, smiling up at him as if she was saying something loving. "Just play along and you'll do fine."

Dallas didn't have time to feel comforted. All of a sudden Nick was in his face, expression twisted into an ugly scowl. "What the fuck is he doing here, Candace?"

Candace didn't look the least perturbed and merely pushed him aside. "Get away from me." she said coldly, nothing remotely forgiving in her voice.

"What the fuck are you doing here?" Nick directed his question to Dallas this time, anger hardening in his eyes.

Dallas shrugged. "I'm on a date with my girlfriend, even if it's really not any of your business." he said coolly, still holding Candace's hand even though his hand had begun to sweat. Nick didn't need to know that.

Nick gave a short unpleasant laugh. "Girlfriend? This is new. So how long have you been going out? Two weeks?" he threw Candace a scathing look. "She's quick to latch on but trust me, this one doesn't last long."

"Just because you were a fucking lousy boyfriend doesn't mean he'll be." Candace told him sweetly.

Nick watched them hatefully as they moved past him.

Dallas felt the guy's eyes on the back of his head. He moved closer behind Candace and wrapped his arms around her waist as she led the way to the back of the room. Now he could feel gazes penetrating his skull. At the back were about five people. They had been playing, but now stood back motionless watching them make their way over to them.

"Hey guys." Candace said cheerfully.

They were close enought to see faces under the dim light. Dallas recognized one of them, the blonde girl; she had been at the party Candace invited him too. Patty or Liz or something. The rest were guys. He knew none of them. Jordan...?

"Candace." Blonde girl cocked her head. She looked at Dallas, expression blank, similar to the Asian guys outside. "You guys wanna play?"

"We're in the middle of a game." One of the guys reminded her. He looked at Dallas. "Can you play?"

"Not that well." Dallas shrugged. "It's okay, let me watch for awhile."

He nodded. "Your shot, Joe."

The blonde girl had lowered her voice and was talking to Candace urgently.

Candace made a show of brushing hair out of her face with the hand holding his. She nodded with a smile at whatever the girl was saying but making it obvious that she didn't really care.

"Candy." blonde girl bit her lip.

Dallas's eyes scanned the room.

Jordan. Where the hell was Jordan?

"Here." someone said from behind him, as if reading his mind.

Dallas turned sharply to find Jordan grinning at him. "Looking for me?" Jordan asked softly, still smiling. But Dallas could see the strain. Almost immediately Jordan's cold eyes turned its' gaze upon the symbol which was Candace and Dallas's hand holding. The smile on his face turned distinctively ugly. Looking for me? abruptly turned into "What are you doing here?"

Dallas forced himself to sound casual. "Playing pool?"

"I don't think so." Jordan's eyes caught one of the four guys and the kid headed for them. Dallas warily watched him, wondering if he was about to get kicked out.

"What's your name?" the kid asked, actually friendly.

"Dallas." Dallas was growing increasingly uneasy.

"You play pool?"


"How come I've never seen you here before?"

Dallas regarded the boy and decided it was better not to lie because he was Asian. These joints were always owned by Asians. His dad or something probably owned the place, so he was probably always there. Jordan watched him closely. Dallas had the feeling he was just waiting for an excuse to punch him. "I dunno. Guess I just never really bothered to play besides at friends and stuff."

"You here with Candace?" the kid asked.

Dallas nodded. "Yeah." he could feel Jordan's eyes heavy against his head.

"No." Jordan suddenly said.

"Excuse me?" Dallas asked coolly but was actually thinking oh god oh god oh god im really gonna get my ass kicked.

Jordan smiled, none too nicely. "When you're at Billiard's, you play pool." He clapped a hand on Dallas's shoulder, his angry blue eyes the only thing belying his smiling face. "And you, my friend, are going to play some pool."

"Um," Dallas said, trying to stall for time as the Asian disappeared to get the cue sticks or whatever. "But--"

"Me and you," Jordan's smile was feral. "One on one."

Dallas decided then that he liked Janie's feral smile a lot better.

"Hey. Jordan!" Candace had finished talking to the blonde and was now squealing in animation at seeing her loving, favorite cousin. Jordan's expression softened and Candace moved to hug him. Dallas jerked her hand back, deciding also that the look on Jordan's face sickened him. Come on, man. She's your cousin. Dallas stared at Jordan disgustedly.

Apparently this was the right move however, because no one could deny the rage and jealousy that sparked in Jordan's eyes.

"Hey..." Candace mewed at first until she, like Dallas, saw the result. Then she immediately switched tactics, murmuring and cooing at him. "Baby, don't worry he's just my cousin." Dallas didn't dare take a look at Jordan as Candace reached for him and he lowered his head silmultaneously to meet her seeking, parted mouth.

"So, how are we supposed to do this again without being seen?" Aaron asked cheerfully as he parked. The pool place was absolutely dead outside. "Everything goes on in there. So if Dallas get's his ass kicked or not, whoop de do, we won't be able to do shit. Cool plan, Bail." He shook his head disdainfully before reclining his seat back and putting his hands behind his head. He grinned at the pair of girls who stared at him before looking at each other.

Al looked out the window. "He's right, Bailey. We can't even look into the windows. They're like blackened out." she felt a small bubble of relief. She wanted to go home.

Bailey shook her head. "They're not black. They're just tinted."

"What are we supposed to do, pressed up our faces against the glass and look inside?" Aaron asked mirthlessly.

"If you're just going to be an ass, you can stay right here." Bailey snapped. "Al? Will you come with me?"

"You don't even know if they're here!" Aaron cut in, exasperated.

"They're here." Bailey said, turning her gaze to the parking lot. "Jordan's Firebird is right there and so's Dallas's Accord."

"Where?" Aaron whipped around his seat. "That's his car? That's Jordan's car?"

"Your car is pretty okay, too." Al offered.

"That's not--I don't care--" Aaron started impatiently then stopped. "Okay, thanks." He kept staring at the red, gleaming Firebird.

"Al?" Bailey tried again. "Come with me, please?"

"Okay." Al pushed open her door and got out. "We'll be right back." she told Aaron but he wasn't listening. He was staring avidly at Jordan's sports car. Bailey shook her head and tugged at Al's arm and the both of them made their way towards Billiard's.

"How futile is this plan?" Al asked once they were out of earshot.

"Pretty futile." Bailey admitted, worry across her eyes. "But we have to do something don't we?" she grabbed Al's arm again and hurried her across the parking lot. Two cars away from Billiard's and all of a sudden the doors opened and a pretty Asian girl walked out.

"Shit!" Bailey pushed Al behind a white Tahoe. "That's Patricia!"

"Who?" Al asked, rubbing her hands against her jeans after scraping it sightly agaist the ground.

"Her aunt and uncle own Billiard's." Bailey hissed, peeking around the SUV. " She was always there when Jordan and I came. I think she liked Jordan."

"Why does everybody like Jordan?" Al wondered distastefully.

Bailey looked at her. "Are you serious?

Al watched Patricia use a keypad and seconds later a white Audi beeped. "Yeah. He's not that good. And he's not very nice either."

Bailey opened her mouth but shook her head, changing her mind. "Is she leaving?"

"I don't know. She's looking for something." Al inched over the Tahoe to see better. Half of the girl's body was leaning into the car through the driver's seat. "I really like her boots." she whispered to Bailey.

"Where?" Bailey demanded, both of them forgetting their positions for a second. "Whoa. Seriously. I hate her. She always had the coolest shoes--"

Suddenly a van pulled into the parking lot, headlights briefly flashing over them just as Patricia looked up to see who had come. Bailey uttered a small scream and dragged Al back down. "Did she see us? Did Patricia see us?"

Al gingerly pulled her arm out of Bailey's grip to peek. "I don't think so. Um, Bailey? Maybe we should move? My knees are hurting."

"You're right." Bailey muttered feverishly. "Someone might see us. C'mon." they both edged their way around the Tahoe and made it safely behind a bright orange 07' Mustang.

"Bailey, she's leaving!" Al said, catching sight of the Audi backing out smoothly and noiselessly. The white Audi drove right past them, Patricia looking straight ahead. They watched silently as it turned out of Billiard's parking lot and drove away. They looked back each other before Bailey beckoned and both of them made a run towards Billiard's.
"What if they can see us?" Al asked.

"They can." Bailey admitted. "But usually no one's looking, I swear. We're always too busy playing or talking. No one really ever looks at the window. No one."

Dallas wanted nothing more than to break the kiss. He had a ridiculous urge to push Candace away and go, "We're not really dating." to Jordan. Which was insane. The whole time he kissed Candace, Dallas was bracing himself for some sort of attack. But Jordan just stood there. Dallas wanted to tell Candace to get on with it because people didn't normally stand kissing for five minutes in front of their cousin. It wasn't polite. Like Candace cared.

She finally moved her mouth from taking possession of his and as he looked away something caught his eye.

There were two people pressed up against the dark windows, peering inside.

Dallas started, but no one else seemed to notice or give a shit.


Jordan grabbed Dallas away from Candace and shoved him towards a pool table. "Let's play." he said menacingly.

"But--" Dallas turned his head to look back at the window. Both figures were still looking inside, and he could have sworn they were staring at him.

"Alex, I want to go." Bailey's voice was shrill and high pitched.

"Huh? What? I thought you said they couldn't see us." Al backpedaled just incase.

"No, I just want to go. Let's go."

"Why?" Al didn't budge, confused.

"Didn't you see him?" Bailey said, face pale. "Didn't you see what he was doing?"

"Dallas?" Al said, bewildered. "He was just... I mean... oh." She paused. "Are you sure that was Dallas kissing Candace?"

Bailey let out a high sardonic laugh.

"But he's just playing along, remember?" Al said reasonably. "He has to or Jordan will see through it. He doesn't really mean it."

"I don't care!" Bailey glared, grabbing her arm. "We're leaving."

Al hurried beside her. "But what if something happens to him? I thought we were supposed to--"

"I'm sure Dallas can take care of himself." Bailey stalked towards the parking lot, head held high. This time they didn't seem to care if any one saw them.

"But Bailey." Al looked back, unsure.

"Alex, please. Did it look like Jordan was going to do anything? He didn't even care when they were kissing! Maybe Dallas made this whole thing up, I don't know. Maybe he just lied because he liked Candace." Bailey was breathing noisily. "I don't care. This is a waste of time, we're going home. Who the fuck is that?!"

Al turned away from the dark building to look. The passenger and drivers' doors of Aaron's black Ford Taurus were open. Three people stood around shouting at each other.

"Oh my gosh." Al breathed, worried. "What happened?"

"AL!" Aaron's voice sudden howled.

Al pushed Bailey out of her way and ran towards the car. "Aaron? Aaron! Are you okay? What happened?"

Aaron came storming into view, looking perfectly unharmed. Al exhaled a sigh of relief.

"Look who decided to show up! Look!" Aaron howled, furiously jabbing a hand in the direction behind him. Al looked, uncertain.

Janie and Christopher waved.

"What are you looking at?" Candace whispered as she came up behind him, mouth tickling his ear.

Both faces disappeared, one pausing. There was something eerily familiar about them, even if he could barely see because the tint and green lights distorted their appearance.

"I thought I saw..." Dallas muttered, distracted as Candace hung onto him and teased his ear with her tongue. The faces didn't come back. "Never mind..."

"Here." The Asian guy gave Dallas a friendly smile and Candace reluctantly pulled away, eyes watching Jordan triumphantly from beneath her lashes. "I picked out a cue stick for you but you might want to go get your own and see which one feels better. I'm Tony."

"Dallas." He tested the cue stick, but had no idea exactly what he was supposed to be feeling.

Jordan smiled mirthlessly, gaze zeroed to where Candace's hand still rested against Dallas's arm.

"Let's play."

Aaron was furious. "I told him not to come. I said his dumb cousin would want to come, but does he listen?"

"I'm not dumb!" Janie said indignantly, waving energetically at Al still. "I just wanted to help Dallas, you big stupid shithead!"

"You're in love with Dallas!" Aaron shot back nastily. Bailey's eyes widened in alarm.

"You shut up!" Janie cried, bright red. "You don't know everything! He doesn't know everything!" she told her cousin.

Christopher leaned back against the car, nodding obediently. He glanced at Bailey and Al before meeting Al's eyes and smiling. "Hi." he said, friendly.

"Hi, Robin." Al said. Christopher blinked, surprised. Al turned to the fuming blonde kid. "Aaron? Aaron, maybe you're overreacting. Everyone's being so loud. You guys know you're being loud, right? They'll hear us and come out and everything will pretty much sink. Aaron, it's okay if they're here. It doesn't matter."

"I don't want her here." Aaron said stubbornly, giving Janie a dirty look. "She ruins everything. She just had to be related to Christopher."

Janie stuck her tongue out and gave Aaron a mean look before walking towards Christopher and hugging him. He impatiently pushed her away.

"What's the plan?" he asked, tossing a pair of keys in the air and catching them. "Oh yeah, you're dropping us off. My Uncle doesn't want to come back and I told him you would."

"I drive!" Janie offered brightly. "But I don't have a car yet." she looked at Aaron's car. She looked at Jordan's car. "Cool car. Did your mom let you borrow it?"

"What's the plan?" Christopher repeated as everyone ignored Janie.

"There's no plan. We're going home." Bailey said coldly.

Christopher raised his eyebrows at her tone. "Why not?" he asked, indifferent. "You're the ex-girlfriend, right?"

She ignored this and stalked towards the car. "No point. Let's go home, Aaron." Bailey got into the passenger seat and slammed the door.

"We're leaving?" Aaron demanded. "We didn't even do anything! We didn't even get revenge!"

"We're not here to get revenge!" Bailey snapped from inside the car, having heard.

"Well yeah, I know but--but c'mon. C'mon Bailey, we gotta do something. Right? Right, Al?" Bailey ignored him. Aaron narrowed his eyes at the back of her head. "We're not going anywhere. I don't want to leave yet! I'm not going to! I'm going to go get revenge! You watch." Aaron suddenly turned around sharply and walked away. "No way. No way. You guys are crazy."

"Aaron!" Al called after him helplessly.

Janie made a face. "What's up with him? He's so weird. Is he always like that?"

"What's going on in there?" Christopher asked Al, jerking his head towards the dark building.

"Dallas is kissing Candace." Al told them.

Christopher blinked and Janie looked horrified.

"And Jordan's watching them." Al added as an afterthought.

"Is Dallas stupid?" Christopher muttered, shaking his head. "We should go in there and pull the plug. Get this shit over with. Tell Jordan games up."

"Jordan didn't seem to care." Al informed them.

"Yeah, I bet he's thrilled." Chrsitopher said sarcastically.

"I think you guys are totally overlooking the fact that Dallas is sacrificing so much." Janie spoke loudly. "He's the one risking himself trying to bring us some peace. He's the one suffering. He's the one doing something--"

"Just because you love him doesn't mean the rest of us have to." Christopher said, bored.

Janie screamed and hit him.

Christopher ducked, rubbing his shoulder. "Jesus, Janie--"

"I DONT! I DONT!" she screeched in his ear.

"Okay! Sorry!"

Janie paused and deflated. "You don't mean it." she said mournfully. "If you meant it, you'd give me a hug."

Christopher rolled his eyes and hugged her.

Al watched at them, fascinated.

Janie let him hug her before shoving him away from her and causing him to fall over. "Al, let's go inside." she said brightly, turning away. Christopher protested from the ground.

"Inside?" Al said, startled.

"We could play pool!" Janie offered enthusiastically.

"Um." Al uncertainly looked at Christopher, extending a hand to help him up. "I don't think that's a very good idea, Janie." Christopher got to his feet, grumbling.

"It is!" Janie insisted. "We could be all on the DL, playing pool and secretly watching him at the same time. It's genius."

"DL?" Al repeated dubiously.

"The down low!" Janie explained smugly.

"I want to go see a movie." Christopher said dolefully. "I want to see that new movie--"

"I don't!" Janie said. "I'm right where I want to be!"

"Well, I'm not." Christopher said darkly. "I want to have a life, please. I don't want to do stakeouts for the rest of my life. I love you Dallas, but seriously."

Al silently agreed. "Let's just get Aaron? I'm pretty sure Dallas knows what he's getting into."

"No! No!" Janie cried. "I'm not going anywhere! No, please! This is my first stakeout ever. Please, please, let's stay. Please, guys. Come on. That's not fair. This is so exciting!"

"Janie, no. Everything to you is exciting." Christopher said impatiently.

"I'M NOT LEAVING!" Janie screeched. "I got Dallas's back! Just because you guys don't want to be here for him in case he gets his ass kicked doesn't mean we all feel the same way. I'm staying!" Janie pushed past her cousin and ran off towards Billiard's. Al gaped after her. She was just like Aaron.

"Janie, stop. JANIE!" Christopher shouted as his cousin yanked open the door and darted inside the dark building. "Holy shit! She is so fucking stupid!" He started walking towards Billiards when Al grabbed him back. The doors had opened again and two guys walked out, talking and laughing, repeatedly looking back over their shoulders. Al had an unpleasant feeling they were talking about Janie.

"Get in the car or they'll see us!" Al said, pushing him.

Christopher's eyes were bright with worry. "But Janie--"

"--can take care of herself--"

"Aaron? Aaron what the hell are you doing?" Bailey's voice suddenly cut through the dark in a shriek and Christopher and Al jumped, startled. She had gotten out of the car completely unaware of the audience and was staring at something farther down the parking lot. The two guys had frozen at the door, struck by Bailey's scream and were now staring at them.

"Aaron? Aaron!" Al shouted, an image of Aaron getting beat up while they hadn't been looking flashing through her head. Her eyes scanned the parking lot but couldn't find him. Everything was over for sure. There was no way the two guys would let this go unnoticed.

And then suddenly Aaron was running towards them. Running so fast Al thought he was being chased. He looked excited and scared shitless at the same time.

"Are you fucking crazy?" Bailey screamed. Al didn't understand what the heck was going on.

Aaron's gaze flickered to the two guys who were watching, stupedfied. At least he had the decency to notice that their little escapade wasn't going to go unseen and that they had to get out of there. "Get in the car!" he yelled. "Go, go, go!"

"What the--" Al started before Bailey grabbed her intending to push her into the car. Al managed to catch Christopher's sleeve and yank him towards the Taurus because he had started heading for Billiard's again. They all crammed into the backseat, Bailey pulling and Al shoving Christopher inside.

"But Janie!" Christopher howled.

Al slammed the door shut as Aaron got the key into the ignition, hitting the gas before the car even started properly. He exited onto the main street, swerving for no reason and driving crazily. Al wondered at the back of her head if it would have made a difference if they had acted normal. It was too late for that, however. They had acted like they'd done something wrong. This was definitely going back to Jordan. So much for helping Dallas...

"I did it," Aaron finally spoke into the thick silence, breathing fast, excitedly. "I did it, I fuckin' did it!"

They said nothing, breathing hard, Christopher craning his neck to look behind at the disappearing Billiard's, a look of uncertain horror across his face.

The silence swelled and Al could feel the resentment growing.

And Aaron suddenly burst into laughter.

"I keyed his car." Aaron said laughing, delirious with glee. "I keyed Jordan's fuckin' car!"

A/N: it's weird getting back to this story. i'm freakin anxious now because i really dont feel that this chapter is up to par. the long period of nonexistent updates is because I've been so busy ): i feel terrible. the good thing is; i still love this story (even if I need to rewrite a bit) which is a surprise. Because I'm weird and I usually lose interest in my stories after a period of time. I'm gonna try my hardest to finish off the story in due time, so I beg you to be patient. thxthx i srsly love you guys.

another day another drama;
Sincerely S : endo.schism : serako : Sitting Squanto : Creased : that g i r l x : trmpetplaya1 : HotKitty : juLez : Black Diamond : Bleeding Air : emoting-again : Artemis1000 : Liviana : Rabi : zsiddiq : literallygone : karina : Mizshii : Emidot : Crazy Dude II : soojinyeh : findmuhway : c00kiemon : lay low : OneGirlAlone : quaebah24 : suiggle-line : Charity F : loki's fire : Emoting-again : daretobe-dIfErEnT : clooless : Grim : Hopeless Romantic : Agent Raindrop : Typesour : lbbabey : Mellowdy : No Ordinary Girl : Keeper0fSouls : purecrystaltears : Creative Destruction : Zephyr-wings : jekodama : Ewen Lythrum : xXReader.Desu.YoXx : vintagehulahoops : thegreenincucumbers : Being Myself : its never too late : awaiting.rain

zsiddiq: LMAO. Loyal reader, huh? hahahahaha yr so retarded. wb.

endo.schism: thnks bby(:

Sincerely S: i knew it was you even though you changed yr sn. -fluffs- ahah. yayayy thnksess im glad you liked the chapter. i thought it was going to flop.

serako: ahah dude im texas, too. which was why i wrote it. heee (: lmao im so fkin defensive ova tx k.

HotKitty: i hvnt updated since you left. oh haha. hahahhaeiha. i suck, huh. i dnt know what i've been so AWOL on fp. i rly dont. rly. i misses yous D:

Sitting Squanto: Hahah shut uppp I love playing gaiaonline. Most of the time I mean. (:!

Bleeding Air: i miss ur stankass for serious. and i got ur review, man. i got it. peace.

Artemis1000: My god, thanks so muchhh. I loved your review! & You're right about the whole summary thing. It's one of the few things I dislike. I can't seem to think of anything better at the moment ): Any suggestions?

Liviana: HOLY CRAPPPPPPPPP YOU LIVE WHERE I LIVE. babyyy I hate the Parks too. its too full and their sales are shittyyyy. omgomg dangg this is so funny for some reason. dude, arlington is gonna be off tha chainnnn in a few years. this place is gonna kick absolute freakin ass ;D hahhaha.

Rabi: yay you like it! i didn't even know you'd read this. ily bbyface.

Mizshii: Darling, thank you. You're really too kind.

squiggle-line: thxthx for pointing out the typo 3

Wafa: ilylyly sry i took so long ):

clooless: hahahah thxthx & i srsly love your name !