Chapter 1- The Separate Lives We Lead
I awoke alone and tired in my large bed. I was finally home, though, it was still a little disconcerting to suddenly be back. It seemed as if nothing had happened or changed, when in reality, my whole life had been flipped in those five simple months. We had just gotten back. It was now summer, which meant break for everyone but me. Seeing as though I decided not to leave school to focus on my career, it was crunch time now. I had to audition for at least six different movies, record an album and a few singles, do publicity and photo shoots. On the upside I love this lifestyle. I was born into it and was more than used to it by now. Other than the hectic schedule, I had no right to complain about anything. Continuing to think on the bright side, I got out of bed. It was only eight thirty, but work calls. I got into the shower and smiled at my luck. I had a family and friends to die for. There was always someone there to lean on. Almost everything in my life was good all but one… Hayden. I pushed those thoughts away; I didn't need any pestering questions about that. I had tried to play it off as if it were nothing and we had just broken up lightly, but my friends knew me too well. Jake, Ryan and Brook were there to witness, so they couldn't be fooled. Then with Bree, Kim, Aaron and Blake, well they had to find out one way or another. Whatever, I was done crying, he was back there, and I was here. I had to get on with life. Besides, I had Brook as my somewhat adopted sister, and Ryan the mental case here too. Okay I didn't really mean that. I love him, he makes me laugh, and even thought he's twins with Hayden, I'd never wish him away for his brother; we're friends.
I got out of the shower, threw on the outfit. I sighed as I stomped down the stairs. This whole think positive thing wasn't working. I walked into the kitchen and I was surprised to see everyone there. I hadn't been expecting anyone to be up at this time, but I found all of my gathered around the kitchen table. Yes, it was that big. As I walked in, all of their conversations were halted, and I found myself being scrutinized.
I glanced around at my army of friends. "What's going on?" I demanded crossing my arms around my chest.
"We're having an intervention." Blake grinned winking at me, obviously joking; I think.
"Blake." Bree groaned at his lame joke.
"What? I've always wanted to say that." Blake whined.
"So Anna, what do you want for breakfast?" Aaron said moving to stand by the oven.
"I can make my own breakfast Aaron." I protested looking around at my friends once again. They were acting ridiculous.
"Still like pancakes with fruit?" He grinned genuinely, waving off my protest.
"Of course." I said brightly, taking a seat at the table, smiling to myself that he still remembered.
"So anyways, on with the intervention." Ryan smiled, as I rolled my eyes.
"Yes, please. I want to hear this." Brook said.
"Well at least I'm not the only one out of the loop." I grumbled.
"Here you are Anna, breakfast is served." Aaron said grandly.
"Seriously, what's going on?" I said exasperated.
"Nothing." They all answered immediately.
"Well apparently I have the day off. So, I think I'm just going to go find my friends, and have fun." I walked out angrily on the deck. I heard my friends talking quietly among themselves. A few minutes later, Aaron walked out.
"Hey," He said in a low voice, coming to stand by me, looking out onto the enormous backyard with a beautiful ocean view on the horizon.
"Hi," I said tonelessly as the sun kissed my face gently, and the breeze blew around my face, pulling my hair into different directions.
Aaron sighed. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing really. My friends are all just looking at me like I'm some science experiment, or a piece of glass or – or-something." I said sarcastically.
"Great explanation or something." Aaron mocked me teasingly.
I pushed him lightly to the side, smiling a little. I looked at him and saw a triumphant smirk on his face.
"See? You can't stay mad at me." He stated proudly.
"So seriously, uh we just wanted to get you out to have some fun. Ever since you've been back all you've done is bust your butt working and we figured it's because of him." Aaron looked angry.
"Chill, its okay." I told him soothingly.
"No its not. No one gets away with hurting you like that." He said turning his face to look at me.
I looked back up at him, and saw his concerned expression. I looked at his blue eyes, with his brown hair falling slightly into them. I was suddenly overcome with emotion. I was slightly annoyed about this overprotective act, yet I couldn't help but feel loved, appreciated and feel like I was one of the luckiest people alive to have friends like these. Swallowing the lump that came up in the back of my throat, I pulled Aaron down to hug him. He was surprised for a second, but proceeded to wrap his arms securely around me. He pulled away and searched my eyes for something. Having known him for so long, I knew I couldn't hide things from him, but I tried anyways.
"Anna. Are you okay?" Aaron asked in that best friend way of his, looking intently at me.
I thought about it for a minute before replying. I had these amazing friends of mine, awesome parents, a very good lifestyle and a career I loved. I really shouldn't be so selfish to expect everything in life. So I didn't get one thing, that shouldn't be that big of a deal. I tried to tell myself that really, I did! Yet, I couldn't help but feel like maybe I didn't care about being selfish. I shook that last traitorous thought out of my head. I took a breath, and told him the truth. "No I'm not, not yet, but I will be."
Aaron looked at me and smiled nodding, and that was the end of that- for now.
"I know you have something to do with this," I mumbled annoyed to Ryan as we sat in the car my father had bought to drive us around. I was talking about the fact that coincidently this summer our dear father had decided to set us off to work.
"Oh crap, you've figured it all out," Ryan muttered sarcastically. "It's not like I told you or anything."
I flushed, and stared ahead. "Shut up."
"Great come back Hayden. I think you've lost your touch," Ryan smirked at me.
I chose to ignore him, glancing around at anything, and tugging on the suit I was wearing.
"So what's your plan?" Ryan spoke up after a moment of silence.
"What plan?" I asked not bothering to even think of what he was suggesting.
"A mastermind, romantic, over the top, sweep-her-off-her-feet plan," Ryan said excitedly, gesturing with his hands. "That plan to get Anna back."
I rolled my eyes. My brother cared way too much about my personal life. "There isn't one."
"Well then, let's get started." He said in a tone that suggested there was no other possible answer.
"No," I said adamantly looking out the window at the fake greenery. California had been home once, but now, I felt out of place.
"No? No? After all the moping you've been doing, your annoying quiet-brooding act… It needs to stop," Ryan said strictly.
I stayed silent once again.
"I thought you said you loved her? I guess they're just words," Ryan said trying to get me worked up.
My eyes flashed. "Don't." I said with my teeth clenched.
"Don't what? Tell you the truth? You cannot expect everything to be handed to you. You want something? Go and get it!" He was baiting me. He knew I hated how everyone thought we were spoiled rich kids, freeloading off of their rich father. I worked for everything I had, every penny.
"I will go out and get it. Get her," I shouted back at him, just to get him to shut up.
He sat back and smiled conspiringly. "That's what I thought."
I sighed, also leaning back. "You suck."
He rolled his eyes and gave me a look that said: are you serious? "That's a great. Now let's get on with this plan."
I looked at him curiously. "What did you have in mind?"
"What? Did you think making sure that we came back here, was a coincidence?" Ryan smirked.
I looked at him appreciatively. "You know? I really don't get you."
He grinned. "You're welcome."
I grinned back, our faces mirror images of each other. "Let's get started, bro."
"Hell yeah! My brother's back in business!"
I shook my head but smiled widely. My confidence was pretty high right now; hopefully it's not misplaced. I followed Ryan out of the car fixing my suit. I looked up at the huge company my father had built. My eyes clouded over at the thought of what it had cost him to build it. I ran a hand through my hair, promising I'd never compromise so much, lose all I love. Love; a small smile touched my lips. I couldn't lose her; I would get her back.
I looked at my brother as we both exited the car and stepped out for our first day at work here in California. He was reluctant to help himself. He'd been caught up in a lot of our silly family problems and hurt. I had not let it bother me. I learned a long time a go that my father was not a family man. To be honest, I think that the only reason he married was to uphold the American standard of the perfect family, and to have sons to carry on the business. He was rarely home, mostly because he was here all the time. My mother was depressed; you could see it clear as day. Her husband didn't love her, and she didn't love him. She had given up trying to connect with him. All she had from him was the money he made. At the beginning she was content with spending it all for revenge, but now she was just tired of it all. Not to mention how my father had ripped her heart out, all of our hearts out a few years back when he kicked out-
"Dude, are you coming or what?" Hayden called, breaking out of his reverie. "Dad will flip if we're as much as a minute late."
"Right," I answered also fixing my suit, and bracing myself for the day ahead.
"Ryan?" Hayden said as we walked past the security guards and into the glass lobby.
"Yeah?" I said quietly, glancing at him out of the corner of my eye.
"You'd better have one hell of a plan." He grinned.
I rolled my eyes. "Don't worry; my plans are always fool-proof."
He stopped me again, and put a hand on my shoulder. "Hey?"
"What's up?" I asked as I saw sincere emotion in his eyes.
"Thanks." He said very simply, but with so much meaning and emotion behind them.
I just grabbed his shoulder too, and with a nod of my head, we were off. As we made our way, I hoped that this plan indeed way fool-proof. I couldn't see my brother break down again, there's only so much we could take.
"So, its Anna's day off, what should we do?" Blake grinned looking at me conspiringly from one of the lofty chairs in my room. I really liked my room because it was an expression of me. I had posters of bands and singers I liked all over the walls. I had a huge cork board on one wall, which was filled with pictures of my family, friends and people I've met through the industry. Since my return, I've only added to it. My large king-sized bed was at the centre of the room, and definitely the most noticeable object I had in here. It was a white canopy bed, covered in silver and white. I had a few bean bag chairs around it, along with my night tables on either side, a dresser off to the right, next to my closet and washroom. The left side of my room was probably the most interesting part of my room. I had an entertainment section, with all the latest technological products. TVs, DVD players, a music system, all the video game systems (for the boys), computers; you name it. A little way off from that, I had a small recording studio. I would go in at all times of the night to write music, record and test the sound along with the lyrics. Of course, I had my guitar set up, along with a drum set, microphone and a piano. No, it wasn't for a band; I just liked learning how to play several instruments so I could find my own tune.
I glanced around at everyone lounging lazily all over my room, not at all making the most of this beautiful summer day. "Where's Ryan?"
"Work," Bree answered airily from where she was sitting on my bed, flipping through magazines with Kim.
"Oh," Was all I said as I played with the strings on my guitar.
"Such a responsible young man you've brought home," Kim teased, looking at me over a fashion magazine.
"Let's not forget about that nice young lady she brought back too," Jake added, looking up from the video game he and Aaron were playing on my TV.
Blake looked up from the drum set, and laughed, winking at Brook playfully. Brook, not used to Blake's playful antics, blushed.
"Leave her alone," Bree chided, narrowing her eyes at Blake's flirting. I shook my head. Bree sure had it bad for our playboy friend.
"I don't mind; they're just teasing," Brook reasoned. I swear Bree almost growled under her breath.
"Anyways. Let's do something," Kim said, sensing Bree's jealous mood.
"Hey, as long as it's not shopping, I'm in," Aaron spoke out for the first time, pausing the video game for look at us. He was frowning, no doubt thinking back to all the times Bree, Kim and I had dragged him along with us.
"Definitely," Blake and Jake agreed, with horrified expressions on their faces.
"Don't worry I wouldn't put you through so much torture," I said dramatically rolling my eyes at their expressions.
"So, what did you have in mind?" Aaron asked suspiciously. He thought I was up to something.
"I thought we could just hang out here, or something," I said shrugging. I wasn't in the mood to go out.
"Of course, whatever you want Scarlett," Aaron said getting up and coming over to sit next to me.
"Why does it always have to be what I want?" I complained. "I feel like you're all being way too nice, just because I have… problems."
"Don't be silly," Jake brushed off my thought.
"Yeah Anna, why so conceited?" Aaron grinned winking at me.
"Huh, well I say we throw a blastin' party!" Blake called out, sitting up excitedly.
"And who would we invite, idiot?" Jake said supportively.
"We don't need to invite anyone else to have a good time," Brook said thoughtfully.
"Good point, there's already too many of us to begin with," Kim said grinning.
"I say pool party," Aaron grinned, pretending to check me out.
"Dang! I second that!" Jake agreed.
"Definitely in the mood to see you girls in bathing suits," Blake said whistling at us.
Bree hit him gently on the arm, but it was obvious she wanted to have the pool party too. "Pig." She accused him, half-heartedly.
Brook, Kim and I looked at each other, and shrugged our agreement.
"Yes! Pool time," Blake shouted.
"What the hell is so important that you couldn't wait till we got home to show me?" I said exasperatedly, while Ryan looked through his bag for something.
"There they are!" He exclaimed ignoring me, glad to have found what ever it is he was looking for.
"Great, can we get on with this?" I sat down in the chair behind my desk in the office my father had given Ryan and I. Although we had just begun the job, he was determined to show us exactly what he had to go through everyday. It was not fun. The office was average sized, because according to our father, it was privilege enough to even get an office. There were two desks, one for each of us. There was a huge window covering the entire back wall. We each had a desk along with a laptop and a filing cabinet.
Rolling his eyes at me, Ryan slipped something that looked like a DVD into the computer in front of me. He grabbed a seat next to me, and played the video.
"Seriously Ryan, what is this?" I demanded impatiently. We barely had a half hour for 'lunch', and our father did not play favourites. If we were so much as a minute late, he'd call us out on it.
"Chill man, just watch. This is for your benefit," Ryan said simply, leaning back in his chair. I had to commend his behaviour. I was not a fun person to be around right now.
I mumbled randomly under my breath, but I was silenced, as soon as I saw what came up on the screen.
"Hi my name is Kelly Burt and I am here with Ms. Anna Jones. Miss. Jones, can you tell us about your plans for this summer?" A blonde reporter smiled widely into the camera.
"Just Anna," Anna said placidly to the reporter ignoring the camera. She was sitting across the blonde reporter, Kelly, in the studio. She looked fine, more than fine actually, in a green sundress that matched her eyes. Her hair was tied back, and I found myself annoyed. I had always liked it better down. The reporter nodded for her to continue.
"Well, I have had a very long break, a chance to cool down and write my songs," Anna said fiddling with her hands seeming not to know where to begin. However, she looked very sure of herself, and to anyone just watching, she was simply gathering her thoughts.
Kelly jumped at the opportunity. "What kind of songs?"
Anna seemed surprised, but she covered it up quickly. "Well, about life, friends, love, heartbreak…" She trailed off. I leaned forward in anticipation. Come on, Kelly ask her about it! I thought hungry for the information.
"Really? You talk about it like you've experienced it," Kelly said also leaning forward eager for her response.
"Well we've all had experiences," Anna said cleverly avoiding the topic. I sighed in annoyance; she was not about to tell anyone anything. "I'm seventeen." I snorted; adults, that was enough answer for them.
"I can't wait to get in the studio and record. I honestly think I can have two albums done." Anna rushed on, still not looking at the camera.
"Oh, really? When can we expect to see those?" Kelly said jumping back into her questions, also seeming to sense that she would not get anything out of Anna about that topic.
"I'm definitely finishing them very soon, the end of this week actually. Depending on the editing and the producers it should be out within a few months." Anna was very comfortable with this. She was happy and carefree talking about her music. She clearly had a passion for it.
"You're very efficient." The reporter complimented her looking pleasantly surprised.
Anna laughed shortly. "More like busy. I to finish this movie too, I mean if I want to go back to school."
"Is that so? You're turning into a very successful young lady."
"Thank you." Anna said modestly.
"Not at all. So we've heard about a certain co-star? Tell us a little about that."
"Well, the script is very good, and honestly, that's all I can say about that right now." She smiled at the reporter, and I felt a pang in my chest. "Well, as for my co-star well he's very talented."
"Yes, I believe his name is Aaron Alexander?"
Anna grinned blissfully. "That's right."
"Oh there's that smile! I think there's a story behind this guy!" The reporter gushed. I rolled my eyes, and balled my fists. She said she and Aaron were only friends. But he was so protective over her! He's always holding her somehow, and then there was that kiss at the hospital… I tried to keep it together; I did not need Ryan on my case about this.
"No not really." Anna protested. I could make out a faint blush on her cheeks.
"Nonsense! There are pictures of you two together everywhere!" Kelly pressed on.
"Yes, we're friends."
"Well…yeah." Anna trailed off grinning.
The screen went black, as the interview finished. I rounded on Ryan.
"What the hell man?" I demanded. "Where's the rest?"
"That's it dude. Seriously no one has the time to talk about her whole life!" Ryan said defensively throwing his hands up in surrender.
I looked away guilty. "Sorry."
"Oh." Was all I managed to say.
Ryan smiled, and shook his head. "You've got it bad man."
I nodded in agreement, no longer caring to deny it.
"Ryan, Hayden," Our father's secretary came in, files in hand. "It's time to get back to work."
"Of course," I said.
Ryan grimaced, and we both got down to it. However, I couldn't possibly stop thinking about Anna and her relationship with Aaron. I decided I couldn't just wait around for things to happen on their own. From here on, I was taking charge.
"Come with me," Ryan insisted. It was three o'clock and our long day of work was finally over. It had gone by quite slowly, my thoughts plagued by that interview I had seen. I couldn't wait to get out of the office to do something productive with my time. Ryan's oh-so-amazing plan was to get me to go with him to some pool party Anna was having in her backyard. Personally, I thought it was way too soon to be doing any of this. I needed to think, I wasn't even sure if I should be doing anything to get her back. I mean there was a reason we broke up in the first place. I rubbed my temple with one hand. Besides, I don't think walking into a room filled with ten of her closest friends, who probably hated my guts twice as much as she did, was really the best idea.
"I don't think so. Why are they okay with you anyways?" I demanded a little jealous that Ryan was on their good side while I was left out in the dust. I mean I obviously didn't expect them to become best friends with me just based on the fact that Anna and I were no longer together, but still.
"Because I have renounced all connections to you," Ryan grinned pretending to be serious.
"I've been trying to do that to you for years, trust me bro, it doesn't work." I shot back at him, getting up to gather all my things so we could get out of this tense, stress-filled work zone.
"You haven't tried hard enough. You've been going about it in all the wrong ways." He informed triumphantly.
I rolled my eyes. "Just get your things so we can go."
"So you've changed your mind? You're coming with me?" Ryan spoke up hopefully.
"No," I hesitated for a second, not sure about what is was I should say. "I've been thinking…"
"Oh no, that's never a good sign," Ryan inserted snidely.
"Whatever," I replied, walking out of the office and making my way towards the elevator.
"Oh come on, wait up!" Ryan called, as I climbed into the elevator. I debated letting it shut on him for a second, but I relented, and kept it open for him. The ride down, and out of the company, was silent. I had decided I didn't want someone driving me around all through Beverly Hills, so I had rented a car. Ryan and I walked through the parking lot and got into the rental.
"You're going back on your word," Ryan accused, after contemplating the silence.
"What makes you say that?" I asked curiously, as I pulled out of the lot, and began to drive away.
"I knew it! And I was hoping you'd finally regained your senses." He remarked dryly, raising an eyebrow.
I didn't answer as I continued to drive, not knowing the destination. Ryan remained quiet for a little while, thinking calmly.
"Fine, it's your choice. You do what you want. Just drop me off at Anna's house." Ryan stated.
"I don't know where that is." I said stubbornly, not sure why I was acting this way.
"That's why they invented the GPS," Ryan mumbled sarcastically.
I sighed and dropped Ryan off, and decided to think a little about the predicament I was in. I had mixed feelings about what I should do. I saw Anna open the door for him. He hugged her, pulling her too close in my opinion. She was wearing a long purple shirt that was completely see-through, with her bathing suit underneath. I stared at her my eyes wide. She looked- different. She had a sort of hardness in her eyes, but at the same time carefree. The way she held herself was so much more confident here than back home, well my home anyways. She knew she looked good, and it showed from her stance. I continued watch her exchange with Ryan, until her eyes suddenly flicked towards me. I sucked in a deep breath as I felt that she was almost penetrating through my soul. I felt like she could read my every thought and emotion. Before I would completely lose it, and go up to her door step begging for forgiveness, for her to take me back, I put my car into gear and left.
I drove out of her long, expensive driveway, the whole time thinking about what it was I wanted. The only answer I was sure of, was that I wasn't sure about anything at all.
I saw him, and since then I hadn't been okay. I had prided myself on being able to go on normally, as if nothing had happened. Yet, I couldn't help but feel shaken. Ryan had finally gotten off of work, and to be honest, he hadn't missed much. Despite the fact that we had risen early, nothing too productive had been accomplished. It was only just now that we had come to the decision to hang out by the pool. Jake had called Ryan to let him know of our plans, and invited him to come as soon as he could.
I was aware that Ryan would be working for his father this summer, here in Beverly Hills, yet I had never thought about his brother. But then again, to be completely honest, that was a lie. I had told myself that he wouldn't be here, but underneath, I had always known that he had to have come. It was inevitable that I would see Hayden again, but I'd never thought about my reaction. As an actress, I could always cover it up, and he's had loads of practice masking his emotions. We had a game going; I wasn't ready to let him know about my feelings before I was sure of his, and vice versa. The only time this wasn't the case, was when he took the risk and asked me out. We were both afraid of rejection, most likely for different reasons. I wished I knew more about him to be able to come to some sort of conclusion, though sadly, I didn't. I knew the basics of course, but nothing on a deeper, more personal level. So, when I saw him, I didn't really see him. The car windows were tinted, but I just knew it was him. I could imagine him there, looking at me with an identical expression on his face; surprise and confusion. I could almost see his grey blue eyes with flecks of green, complimented with his dark auburn hair. I had always felt safe and protected when he was around.
My head was spinning with a million thoughts all at once. Ryan without a doubt knew of my predicament, and was some what smug about it. He kept his mouth shut, but I could see his smirk. I wasn't stupid, I knew that he was plotting for a way to make things 'right'. As quickly as I could, I put on a mask of indifference and polite curiosity.
"Anna, are you good there?" Ryan asked, while I led him upstairs, so that he could change into something more casual than that suit.
"Well, you don't seem to think so." I answered without bothering to play games. I scanned through my closet and found him a pair of blue swimming trunks, and a white t-shirt.
"You're right, I don't." He said walking into the washroom to change.
"Why's that?" I asked lying down on my bed, curious about his answer.
"You were shaken about seeing my brother back there; don't even try to deny it." He said walking out, throwing his suit down on one of the chairs. I had noticed he didn't say Hayden, in fact none of my friends had mentioned the name.
"Well, that's expected. I haven't seen him since I left." I said diplomatically as we made our way to the backyard.
He was gracious enough to let that slide as we came into hearing distance of our friends. However, the look on face let me know that the subject wasn't closed just yet.
"Anna, I hope you don't mind, but I invited a few people." Blake said as soon as Ryan and I reached the pool chairs.
My back yard was huge, to put it simply. There was about every kind of outdoor activity you could imagine. We had a pool, hot tubs, barbeque area, a racing track, a soccer/football field, just to name a few. My mom and dad certainly didn't leave anything out. They made it so I had whatever I wanted right there. They were a little worried about me, and growing up in this crazed town, they'd rather bring everything to me rather than I go out into the 'danger'. Overprotective much?
I gave Blake a calculating look, "How many is a few?"
He grinned and waved his hand airily. I sighed, great, a party with a million of your closest friends. I didn't mind, as long as no paparazzi showed up. Let my friends have their fun.
A little bit after that, some people started to show up, and soon the party was in full swing. I talked with Aaron and Bree for the most part. Kim had gotten a call. She was offered an opportunity to go to UCLA for the summer. She was excited about that because it meant she could visit the University of her Choice, and be with that guy she was seeing. She felt bad about leaving us for the summer, but we told her it was alright; I mean I did it for five months. I really needed to start being a little more independent.
I glanced around, searching for Brook. I felt a little protective of her; she wasn't used to this town just yet. I saw her a little way off, and she walked over to talk to me.
"Having fun?" I asked her hopefully.
"Brook?" A male voice came from behind us.
We both turned around and I saw a teenage boy walking towards us with a look of surprise on his face.
"Mike!" Brook shouted and went over to hug him. I was curious, but it looked like they wanted their privacy, so I went over to Bree.
"Hey." I said, taking note of her annoyed expression.
"Look at him over there," She complained sipping on her drink. I looked to where she was pointing and saw Blake in the hot tub with three girls. They looked like they were having fun.
"Oh no," I commented sympathetically.
"Story of my life," She said bitterly.
I looked around once more and saw an actor I knew. Suddenly, an idea came to me. I saw that Blake had gotten out of the hot tub to grab a drink, and I pulled Brook there immediately. I told her to strike up a conversation to keep him there for a second, while I went and grabbed my friend.
"Hey, Jesse!" I called walking towards the dark haired actor. "Can you do me a huge favour?"
He grinned and agreed immediately. I told him about what I needed him to do, and we went over to the drink table. When we reached it, Bree and Blake were still talking, and now Aaron and Ryan joined them.
"Oh beautiful, blonde, not to mention single, friend of mine!" I said to Bree, making sure Blake turned to look.
"Anna! I never knew you felt that way." Ryan said smirking, coming close.
I pushed him to the side. "I was talking about Bree." I explained before Blake could suggest that it was him I was referring to.
She looked at me curiously, but more importantly, she looked at Jesse curiously.
"Bree this is my friend, uh, Luc. He's French, and totally into you." I lied as I looked at Blake for a reaction.
"Huh?" Was Bree's brilliant response. Blake looked a little surprised, Bree hadn't gone on any dates for a while now. You could probably gather why. Poor Blake, he was in for a wake up call.
"Bonjour," Jesse said, playing the part. His accent was flawless.
"Oh, uh, it's nice to meet you." Bree said blushing, but sticking her hand out to shake his none the less.
Instead of shaking it, he tipped it upwards, and brushed his lips against it.
"It's wonderful to make your acquaintance." He murmured intimately, gesturing to a few chairs off to the side. Bree happily agreed, and they walked off to the side to talk a little. I gauged Blake's reaction; he was livid. I grinned, okay, this could work.
"Anna! How could you just leave her like that?" Blake accused, turning to face me. "He could be a murderer or something."
I hid a grin. "Maybe you should go check on her then," I said innocently.
"I will!" He stormed off, and I started laughing.
"You need to stop medalling, Anna," Aaron chided.
"Oh whatever," I said watching as the scene unfolded in front of us.
"Nice going, it seems like your plan worked," Ryan complimented.
"Yup, you need lessons." I said snidely, knowing he'd get exactly what it was I was referring to.
"Whatever do you mean?" Ryan said playing innocent, but I saw his amused smile come up.
"You know exactly what I mean," I said in an indifferent tone.
"Anna!" Brook cried running over to talk to me.
"Looks like you're saved, man," Aaron commented, seeming really amused.
"For, now," He replied mockingly in a hushed voice.
"You'll never believe it!" Brook said panting, as soon as she was in front of us.
"That was Mike. He and I were kind of together, until he moved."
"Yup. I had never really gotten over him, and he told me the same thing."
"So, are you two together?"
"Yeah! But…" She broke off and looked a little uncomfortable.
"Yes?" I urged her on.
"He wants me to go back with him."
My mouth dropped open as soon as the words were out of her mouth. I tried to be calm, really, I did. "You're leaving?" But it came out more like a shrill accusation.
She looked at me silently, pleading that I understand.
I sighed in defeat; she'd already done so much for me, I couldn't be so selfish. Meekly I said, "It's your choice."
She squealed happily pulling me into a hug. "Thank you! You don't understand how much he means to me."
I sighed once more, hugging her, and bidding her to go talk to her love interest.
"I love how you're so eager to leave me- us!" I said very dramatically, putting my hand to my chest, over my heart, to add to the affect.
She rolled her eyes at my antics, and skipped away, (yes literally skipped) to Mike.
"That was very nice of you, Anna," Aaron commented speaking up after a few minutes, smiling.
"It's not my choice to make. I don't want her to regret not going, or wondering what could have been," I explained to him as I looked around at my friends. Bree and Blake were both beaming, talking, hand in hand. Almost identically, Brook and Mike were sitting down on a beach chair, blissfully happy.
Jake walked over to us looking confused. "Huh, I was gone for half an hour and this is what happens?"
Ryan grinned and clapped him on the back. "It was actually quite entertaining. You missed a good show."
"So, which one of you, is next?" I said turning around to face them my tone full of humour.
They glanced at each other bewildered, obviously not having paid any thought to the idea before.
Aaron shook his head, brushing my question off. "Well, Blake's finally settled down, so Ryan you're promoted."
"Playboy extraordinaire?" Jake laughed.
"Oh, yeah," Ryan shouted grinning, not at all offended. "In that case, excuse me while I go chat up those girls."
Jake watched him go with a frown on his face. "He's up to something." Jake was talking about the fact that Ryan kept trying to make it so Hayden and I would talk, get back together.
"Thank you, Jake for stating the obvious." Aaron said lightly. It was unclear whether he opposed the idea or not. Being the good friend he was, I bet he was torn about whether to hate the guy for hurting me, or to want us back together because it would make me happy.
"Well, let's have some fun for tonight." I said trying to be diplomatic about the topic. Aaron and Jake both looked at me with concerned expressions on their faces. I gave them a small smile, that was meant to be reassuring, but I can assure you, it wasn't one of my better acting works.
"You both still avoided the question," I said in further attempt to change the subject.
Aaron looked at me as if I was completely crazy, while Jake gave himself away by blushing a little. I immediately jumped at the opportunity to ask him about it. It was a little weird; he hadn't dated anyone since our little thing, so I was happy that he had moved on.
"Jake," I began, singing his name while smiling.
He groaned, knowing he'd given himself away, and was about to be interrogated.
"So, who is it?" I asked, completely ignoring the fact that he was a little embarrassed, okay, maybe a little more then embarrassed.
"What happened to 'just have fun'?" He shot back a fait tint of red still apparent on his cheeks.
"Anna, just leave him," Aaron said interrupting what was soon to be a playful argument.
Jake looked at him gratefully, while I stuck my tongue out.
"Traitor," I commented, not meaning it at all.
He rolled his eyes, and draped his arm around my shoulders. "Try and have some fun, okay?"
I nodded, thinking that this was probably as much fun as I could have hoped for in this state. I was a little saddened by the division of my friends. Bree was going to return to Toronto shortly, Kim was off at a university program and Ryan had to be at work a lot. On the upside, Bree and Blake were together, Aaron and I were going to be working together, and Jake, well, and he hadn't mentioned anything, so he was probably going to be around as well.
After talking and dancing a little, I sat down in a lofty beach chair and sipped on my drink contently. The sun was setting, and people were already beginning to leave. Soon, it was just Ryan, Jake, Aaron and me. The couples had all disappeared, but we all saw that coming.
"Did you have fun tonight?" Aaron said softly, as we watched the sky turn into different hues of purple and pink.
"Yeah, it was nice; normal," I assured him, conjuring up a real smile.
"That's good to hear." Jake murmured with his eyes closed.
"Well, I had a good time today, but I think it's time for me to be off." Ryan said, slowly rising out of his chair. "Uh, Jake could you maybe show me the way out? I totally don't remember."
Jake opened his eyes confused, but shrugged, getting up to show Ryan the way out. Aaron and I both bid him goodnight.
I sighed. "Are you ready for work tomorrow?"
"Well, considering that I get to hang out with you, I wouldn't consider it work." He complimented easily letting his eyes shut.
I blushed slightly at his words, but said nothing. We sat in silence for a few minutes, until my phone beeped. I glanced at it and saw a text message from Jake. Gonna get a ride with Ryan, bye A x 2
"Who was that?" Aaron asked, his voice breaking the quiet silence.
"Jake, he said he left." I answered, getting up off the chair and looking around at the mess of discarded cups, straws, plates and other items.
"Sit down, Scarlett." Aaron mumbled, knowing fully well about my cleaning intentions. "Some one can get it tomorrow."
"But it was our party, so it's our mess." I argued, not thrilled with the idea of a maid cleaning up, when I fully could.
Aaron sighed and opened his eyes. "You're going to make me help aren't you?"
I smiled innocently at him. "Well, since you're offering…"
He rolled his eyes and dramatically got up off the chair. He looked at me and held my gaze. I swallowed, not knowing what it was he was searching for. Finally, he sighed and pulled me into a hug. Surprised, I hugged him back.
When he pulled away, I looked at him questioningly. He smiled slightly and began to pick up the trash. I sighed confused, but helped him pick things up none the less.
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