"Admit it, Alec," I argued, "You'd miss me!"
"Not even a little bit," Alec replied. I heaved a sigh of frustration.
"You two fight like an old married couple," Sarah interjected. Alec looked at her with disgust, he was appalled by the thought of marrying me.
"I'm pretty sure he'd miss me if I were to leave if we were married," I commented.
"I'd never marry you," Alec stated.
"And I'd never marry you," I agreed.
"Would you two quit that, "Sarah scolded us, "We have to get to the career fair." I stuck out my tongue. Alec returned the gesture. Then he turned around and walked the opposite way we needed to go. Sarah just rolled her eyes and she and I headed to our high school's gym.
It was amazing how two eighteen year olds could come together and act like two six year olds instead. It was always a battle between Alec and I; a battle that neither of us could ever win. There was just something about him that attracts me to him, but all we do is argue. And for some reason I can't get enough of our arguments.
"Can't you guys get along," Sarah sighed.
I shrugged, "Sure we can, but what fun would that be." I smiled at her and reluctantly she smiled back.
We entered the gym. It was filled with different career booths. I noticed one booth in particular immediately. I had been to plenty of career fairs. Our high school had one every other month since freshman year, but I had never seen that particular career before. I doubt my high school even approved of this career path. I wondered how he managed to get here.
"Hello? Jodie?" Sarah waved a hand in front of my face.
"What booth do you wanna look at first?" Sarah asked. I nodded towards the one I had just noticed.
"A magician?" Sarah said. I laughed and made my way through the crowd with Sarah close behind.
"Can I have a volunteer?" the magician asked as Sarah and I ran up, "I will demonstrate how much people are amazed by magic." No one raised volunteered. No one seemed to be taking him seriously.
"Come. Where's your sense of adventure?" the magician asked.
"You go, Jodie," Sarah whispered in my ear. I shrugged and stepped forward, raising my hand.
"Good girl," the magician said, taking my hand, "Now my lovely assistant will step into the box." The magician opened a curtain hanging in on an eight foot box. I stepped in and he closed the curtain behind me.
"Abbra…" and that's all I heard before everything went black and silent. I reached out. The curtain wasn't there anymore. Neither were the walls to the box.
"Where am I," my voice echoed.
"Alec!" Sarah came up to me. I sat against some lockers bored out of my mind. Maybe I should have gone with them. Arguing with Jodie would be more entertaining than sitting here staring at a wall, but I couldn't let her win the argument. Even if I would miss Jodie if she were gone, I would never admit it to her or anyone else.
"What," I asked bored. I expected Jodie to appear behind Sarah. The two were always attached at the hip, but she wasn't.
"Jodie's gone," Sarah said in a panic.
"Seriously," I was not falling for some stupid prank Jodie schemed to make me admit that I'd miss her.
"Where'd she go?" I asked uninterested.
"I don't know. There is a magician at the career fair and Jodie volunteered," Sarah explained, "She got in this magic box thing and the magician close the curtain, said 'Abbra Cadabbra,' opened the curtain again, and she was gone."
"It's just a trick, Sarah," I said, slightly more interested now.
"I know, I know, but," Sarah hesitated for a moment, "But when he tried to bring her back she was still gone. He can't bring her back. She's just gone." I stood up. This sounded suspicious.
"Come on," I said as I stalked my way to the gym. I noticed the magician's booth right away. There was a group of kids around it. Some were circling the box Sarah had told me about. It was empty. I walked up to the magician who looked a little nervous.
"Where's Jodie," I asked a little threateningly.
"Look it's just a trick. She's not even supposed to leave the box. I don't know where she went," the magician said. I got closer to him.
"How do I know you're not some pervert who just kidnapped her" I asked.
"I'm not a pervert," the magician argued.
"Then where the hell is she!" I yelled.
"Alec!" a teacher scolded. She walked up to us.
"Is there a problem here?" she asked.
"He made Jodie disappear and now she's missing," Sarah explained.
"It's just a trick you two," she said.
"He put Jodie in that stupid box and now she's gone. Where is she?" I glared at the magician.
"She must be around here somewhere, Alec. Calm down," the teacher rested a hard hand on my shoulder. I shook it off.
"But it's true," another student interrupted, "She's really gone." Several other students nodded in agreement. The teacher sighed.
"How about we all just go look for Jodie," the teacher suggested. I watched the students disperse from the booth and spread out to through the crowded gym. I glared at the magician.
"You're welcome to look in the box. Everyone else has," the magician shrugged. I decided to take him up on that offer and made my way to the box. I looked simple. I stepped inside and felt around. There weren't any trap doors as far as I could tell. Suddenly the light was cut off.
"Abbra Cada…" it was the magician's voice. I turned around.
"Hey, you asshole," I yelled, but when I shoved through the curtain, it wasn't there. The whole box was gone. I was standing in darkness.
"Hello?" I called. My voice echoed. Where the hell was I. I took a step forward, but there was no floor. It was like I was walking over nothing, but air.
"Hello!" I called again. I started to run. I wasn't even sure if I was getting anyplace. Soon I saw something. As I got closer I realized it was someone. They were sitting with their legs tightly pulled to their chest.
"Hey," I yelled out, but they didn't move. I got closer. It was Jodie.
"Jodie?" I said. She didn't move. For some reason her clothes were different. This morning she was wearing a blue and pink striped sweater, a blue jeaned skirt, and grey Ug boots. Now every piece of clothing was blue, even her eyes were blue. Her natural eye color was brown.
"That's not Jodie," someone said, "At least not the one you're looking for." I turned to two more Jodies exactly the same as this one except one who spoke was orange while the other was a purple color.
"There you are," The purple Jodie said rushing to the blue Jodie. She kneeled down and hugged her, "Its okay." Tears ran down the blue Jodie's face.
"Three, Jodies? I could barely handle one," I mumbled.
"Oh ha ha," another Jodie walked out from the darkness. This one was red.
"You know, you're not easy to put up with you either, you jerk," red Jodie spat.
"What the hell is wrong with you," I snapped.
"Please calm down," purple Jodie begged.
"Yes, don't let her get under your skin Alec. After all she can't help it. Her only feeling is anger," orange Jodie agreed.
"That doesn't make sense," I said.
"Sure it does," orange Jodie replied, "Just like my only emotion is reason and hers," she pointed to blue Jodie, "is sadness and hers," she pointed to purple Jodie, "is calmness."
"What are you talking about," I asked. This didn't make sense at all.
"Alec?" I heard another Jodie's voice. I sighed not ready to face another one of these Jodie freaks. I looked toward where the voice called from. Another Jodie ran from the darkness. She had all the right colors. It was the real Jodie. She ran hard into me and wrapped her arms around my neck.
"Oh Alec, thank god! I was so scared," she whispered. She had never hugged me before. This contact with her felt weird. The only time we ever came into physical contact was when I'd steal something of hers and hold it above her head. She'd lean against me and she raised herself onto her tip-toes and try to reach her stolen item that I held too high for her to reach. I wrapped my arms around her waist.
"Where are we," I asked. She leaned back slightly to look at my face.
"I have no idea. That magician put me in that box and somehow I got here surrounded by almost a dozen copies of myself in weird colors," she explained.
"You mean there's more than just these four," I said, but then I realized that the purple one was gone. I released Jodie from our embrace and looked around
"Where's…," I started, but orange Jodie cut me off.
"Jodie's feeling of calm and relaxation was reclaimed," she said.
"What," I asked.
"Apparently all my emotions were stripped away when I came here," Jodie explained, "I can't leave here until I reclaim them." Jodie sighed and sat down. I sat down next to her though it felt weird to be sitting on nothing.
"So reclaim them and let's go," I said.
"I don't know how," she replied.
"Jodie must feel each emotion strongly to be able to reclaim them," orange Jodie stated. I didn't know why, but orange Jodie was starting to get annoying.
"How many have you collected so far," I asked. This conversation felt so weird.
"Including the one just now? Two," Jodie sighed. I sighed with her. We sat there in silence for a while.
"What if we never get out of here," blue Jodie cried.
"Stop crying, you baby. It's annoying," red Jodie snapped. Orange Jodie just stared at the real Jodie and me.
"Which one did you collect first?" I asked.
"Fear," she replied.
I was embarrassed. My other selves were making fools of themselves, but they didn't even know it because they don't know what embarrassment is. That emotion was probably off hiding somewhere in this abyss.
"She reclaimed that emotion immediately after she arrived because this place frightens her," orange me said, "And then relaxation and calm was reclaimed after feeling the relief of seeing you." Alec looked at me. I looked away. The silence grew louder. Soon Alec spoke up.
"Okay," Alec stood up, "Let's start." I looked up at him. I reluctantly stood up.
"Let's start with her first," Alec pointed at the red me. By his face I could tell he didn't like her. Neither did I really. Red me just stood there with her arms crossed, glaring at us.
"How do we do this, orange Jodie," Alec asked awkwardly. It must be very odd to have multiple Jodies to talk to.
"She must feel that emotion very strongly," orange me replied. Alec turned back to me.
"Okay, so I'll make you angry," Alec said, "I piss you off all the time."
"Actually no you don't," a voice said. Three more Jodies showed up. One was pink, the other a sea foam green, and the third brown. It was the pink me that spoke.
"I'm never mad at you, Alec," she said. She walked up to him. She got close. It's like she didn't have any concept of personal space.
"Do you get mad at me," she asked in a pouty voice. She stuck out her bottom left. What was she doing?!
"N-no," Alec stuttered. He looked at me, backing away. Each step he took back she took a step forward.
"What is she doing," I asked her companions. Sea foam me seemed nervous. While brown me seemed almost bored.
"Stop her!" Sea foam me said.
"She's right," brown me said, "You'll regret it if you don't."
"Why," I asked.
"Jodie," Alec called. I looked back at him. Pink me had her arms around his neck and was leaning into him.
"Alec," she whispered. Then she kissed him. My mouth dropped and suddenly I felt a knife plunge into my back. I fell to me knees.
The pink Jodie held my face as she kissed me. I heard a scream. I broke the kiss and pushed her away. The real Jodie was on her hands and knees. A sea foam mist showered over her. The brown Jodie just shoot her head behind her.
"I told you," she said. The sea foam Jodie was gone. Jodie was breathing hard. Sweat shined on her forehead.
"Jodie?" I questioned as I stepped forward.
"Stay away from her!" red Jodie snapped. She stepped in front of Jodie who crumbled into herself. Blue Jodie finally moved. She crawled over to the real Jodie and put her head in her lap. She rubbed Jodie's hair.
"It hurt, didn't it," she cried softly.
"What happened," I asked.
"Through necessary, negative emotions can hurt," orange Jodie explained, "When she reclaimed fear it felt like she was having a heart attack, which only frightened her more. Obviously positive emotions have opposite effect."
"What did she reclaim," I asked. Before orange Jodie could speak red Jodie spoke, "Embarrassment!"
"And it's your fault," red Jodie screeched, pointing a finger at pink Jodie.
"What!" pink Jodie demanded, "I've been wanting to do that for a long time." Pink Jodie smiled sheepishly at me.
"It's call restraint," red Jodie spat.
"I was only helping, "pink Jodie argued, "She had to reclaim embarrassment sooner or later."
"That is true," orange Jodie agreed, "Wouldn't it be better for her to feel the pain now rather than later?"
"But why does it have to hurt," blue Jodie whispered.
"It's always going to hurt," brown Jodie said hopelessly.
"This is all you fault," red Jodie glared at me.
"How is it my fault," I demanded. She kissed me. I didn't have any hand in it.
What she means is, you are the reason we split up in the first place," orange Jodie said. I was confused.
"Yeah, Alec," pink Jodie said in a flirty voice, "fix us."
"Stop!" the real Jodie suddenly yelled. She stood.
"Just everyone stop talking!" she screamed. Jodie looked at me, then she turned and ran away from us. She disappeared into the darkness.
"Jodie!" I called after her.
The magician stood by his magic box and smiled. The poor girl was confused. The boy needed to be taught a lesson. He's dealt with teenagers like these before. He had for centuries. He's never failed at making his lesson clear even if the teens weren't aware of the lesson they had been taught. He hoped these two wouldn't be too angry with him once this was all over.
"Jodie!" I called again.
"Should we go look for her," pink Jodie asked.
"We'll never find her," brown Jodie sighed.
"Quit being so pessimistic," red Jodie snapped, "It's annoying."
"Let's find her," orange Jodie said simply, "The faster she reclaims us the faster we can leave this place." Everyone nodded in agreement. One by one each Jodie disappeared into the darkness. I was about to follow, but someone grabbed my sleeve and tugged. Jodie did that, but when I turned it was only blue Jodie. I guess it made sense for blue Jodie to have the same mannerisms as the real Jodie. She was Jodie, at least, a part of Jodie.
"Alec," she whispered.
"What," I answered. Her eyes sparkled with unshed tears.
"To reclaim her sadness you're going to have to break her heart," blue Jodie said quietly. My heart skipped. I've argued with Jodie, but I don't think I've ever hurt her. I remember when she came to school crying once. She wouldn't talk to me. I didn't know what to do. I want to punch whoever made her cry.
"I just thought that I should tell you that," blue Jodie said.
"Why," I asked.
"I figured she wouldn't be the only one hurt," she replied.
"Oh," was all I could say. Blue Jodie walked close to me as we too entered the darkness. The real Jodie did that too. There was a guy in our class that made it very clear that he didn't like her and wanted her gone every day. At first she just laughed it off, then she tried standing up for herself, but eventually it got to her. She hated going to that class. Every day she walked close to me on the way to class. She would even go as far to grab hold of my backpack strap as if that would help give her the courage to stand up to that guy. One day we didn't walk together. She got to class before I did. When I entered the guy was blocking the path to her seat. He was blocking her way on purpose glaring down on at her.
"Why are you even here? No one wants you," he told her. She avoided eye contact and patiently waited for him to get bored and let her by. That's when something in my head clicked. She needed me to rescues her. That's why she was always so close, though she would never admit it. She was subconsciously asking for help. I walked up behind her. I was a full head taller than her so I could easily look at him in the eye.
"Hey," I said. He looked at me, but that was his only acknowledgement. He didn't bother moving even though he was blocking my path as well. I sat right behind Jodie.
"Fuck off," I finally said. Somehow that worked and he sat down in his seat, clearing the way. I pushed Jodie forward. She looked back at me. Her eyes were wet. She was on the verge of crying. She didn't thank me, but she made cookies that night and gave them to Sarah and me the next day. Her cookies were better than any thanks.
We caught up with the others.
"What is this place anyway," I asked orange Jodie.
"I'm not quite sure," she replied.
"Never thought I'd hear those words," red Jodie said sarcastically. Orange Jodie ignored her.
"Anyways. Obviously it has something to do with that magician's box," she replied.
"It feels like we're in the ultimate time out," pink Jodie said.
"Kind of," orange Jodie agreed, "We're not allowed to leave until we all come together and play nice."
"I'm not playing nice," red Jodie interjected.
"Then we'll never get home," brown Jodie sighed.
"It's okay, she'll play nice," orange Jodie assured. I nodded. Red Jodie ignored us and walked ahead of us. I glanced down at blue Jodie walking close beside me. A tear slid down her cheek. I wiped the tear away. She looked up in surprise. I looked away awkwardly.
Yellow me sat in front of me.
"She kissed him?" she squealed. I nodded with my cheeks a flame.
"Why are you embarrassed," she asked, "We've always wanted to do that. You should be happy!"
"I haven't ever wanted to kiss, Alec," I exclaimed. Yellow me giggled. She pointed behind me. I looked over my shoulder. Red me appeared from the shadows. Brown me, pink me, and orange me appeared next. Then Alec and blue me appeared last. I glanced at Alec. I blushed and looked away when his eyes met mine.
Yellow me jumped up.
"Hi Alec," she sang.
"Hi," he said simply. Suddenly he appears standing next to me. This place really did suck. You weren't walking on anything so footsteps didn't make noise here. I still avoided looking at Alec.
"That kiss was disgusting," he said.
"What!" the Jodies said in unison.
"Don't ever do that again," he said ignoring them. I stood up.
"I didn't do anything," I said, a little annoyed, "Tell her that." I nodded towards pink me.
"She is you so you did kiss me," Alec replied.
"I did not," I argued.
"You wanted to," Alec said.
"I did not. I did not," I repeated.
"Are you two now? Don't throw a tantrum," Alec said, "I can see why you'd want to kiss me, but show some restraint."
"You conceited ass!" I yelled, "I did not kiss you. I don't ever want to kiss you!"
"Whatever helps you sleep at night, Just try to control your slutty self over there," Alec shrugged. My hand swung out. I slapped him.
That stung. I refrained from rubbing my cheek. Red mist settled around her. I had never seen Jodie mad before, at least not at me.
"You should apologize," yellow Jodie suggested. The real Jodie shut her eyes and took a few deep breaths.
"It's fine," she said, "I know what he was doing, now." She opened her eyes again, but she still glared. She turned her back on me and sat back down with a huff.
"If you know what I was doing, then why are you still mad?" I asked.
"I'm not mad," she said angrily.
"You are," I argued. She heaved a frustrated sigh. Blue Jodie walked past me and sat next to her angry counterpart. Yellow Jodie did the same.
"Cheer up," yellow Jodie said.
"Does it hurt," blue Jodie asked.
Jodie shook her head, "I just feel like I need to scream or break something. But what good would screaming do? And there's nothing around to break. I just feel stuck." Blue Jodie rubbed her back.
"Four down," orange Jodie announced, "Six to go."
"Six? Don't you mean five," I corrected.
"We're still missing Jodie's envy," orange Jodie replied.
"Well where is it… she… whatever?" I asked.
"How should we know," brown Jodie shrugged. I sighed and sat down.
"How do you know there aren't other emotions out there," I asked.
"We don't, sweetheart," pink Jodie replied. She went and sat in front of the real Jodie. I couldn't see her expression, but I was guessing it wasn't very kind.
"Envy is most likely the last one," orange Jodie assured me. I sighed with relief. Ten was too much Jodies. I want my Jodie back. I looked at her. Pink Jodie smiled and gave her hug. Apparently she was forgiven, but was I?
"Maybe you should take a nap?" orange Jodie suggested.
"A nap?" Jodie repeated as if she hadn't heard.
"Sleeping always make me feel better… you feel better," pink Jodie agreed. The others nodded. Orange and brown Jodie joined the others. They all laid down.
"You've got to be kidding," I said. Jodie ignored me.
"Join us," yellow Jodie waved me over. I sat down where I was. It wasn't long until they all fell asleep. I had only seen Jodie sleep once. It was senior skip day a couple of weeks ago. She didn't want to leave Sarah behind. Sarah was a junior therefore wasn't allowed to skip. Instead she laid out a picnic blanket on the soccer field. During her breaks Sarah joined her, but most of the time she was alone bathing in the sun. I drove past the soccer field a little after lunch time and noticed her. I parked on the street and went up to her. Her eyes were closed. She was lying on her side. The breeze blew her hair in her face. I kneeled down and moved her hair back behind her ear. She made a little noise turned on her back. Her hand landed in my lap. I moved it onto her stomach and laid next to her. The sun felt good. An hour later Sarah showed up. She was surprised to see me. I made her promise not to tell Jodie I had been there, and then I got in my car and drove away.
I sighed. I lay down. Lying on nothing, but air was pretty comfortable. I closed my eyes. Maybe a nap wasn't such a bad idea. It was quiet. I wonder how long we have been here.
"I wish I could sleep so soundly," a voice spoke. I opened my eyes to see a green Jodie standing over me. She stared longingly at the group of Jodies sleeping soundly. I sat up. She must be envy. I stood up besides her.
"Go sleep then," I suggested.
She shook her head, "Not lucky enough to be tired." She stuck out her bottom lip and pouted. I smiled. Jodie always did that when she compared her grades to Sarah's. Sarah always beat her in every class even though Sarah was a grade lower. Green Jodie glanced at me.
"What," she asked. I looked away.
"Nothing," I replied.
"What are you two talking about?" pink Jodie asked. She quietly stood up and walked over to us.
"We're not talking about anything," green Jodie replied.
"Where have you been? You've missed all the action," pink Jodie pointed out. Green Jodie sighed.
"Of course I did," she said. Pink Jodie looked down awkwardly not knowing what else to say. I sat down. Green Jodie followed my lead still staring at the remaining Jodies sleeping a few yards away. Pink Jodie sat down unnecessarily close to me. She leaned her head on her shoulder.
"I'm not stupid Alec," she said suddenly.
"What," I said confused.
"She ignores me. Fear gets the better of her," she replied.
"What are you talking about?" I asked.
"Jodie loves you," green Jodie suddenly said. I swallowed my gasp.
"Yeah so," I said nonchalantly.
"You love her too," pink Jodie pointed out. I didn't say anything. I didn't know what to say. I wanted to deny it, but my voice wouldn't let me.
"You shouldn't hide your feelings from her. Because of that she ignores me and listens to her fear. Her emotions are conflicted," pink Jodie continued.
"She gets jealous every time she sees you and Sarah talking together without her. She feels left out," green Jodie said.
"Sarah's her friend. She and Sarah talk about everything. I rarely talk to Sarah without her anyway," I argued. Green Jodie just shrugged.
"She's happy whenever you're protective of her," pink Jodie said.
"I've never protected her," I denied.
"One day she and her sister's boyfriend at that got into an argument. He said hurtful things and they made her cry. She came to school crying. Do you remember that day?" pink Jodie asked. I nodded. A jolt of anger ran through me. That's why she was crying? Because of some douche bag's comments?
"Do you remember what you did for that day?" pink Jodie asked. I shook my head.
"You carried her books and stayed close to her. You bought her lunch even though she didn't feel like eating. You told that boy who was always mean to her to 'fuck off.' She appreciated you very much that day." Pink Jodie explained. I thought back. I had forgotten that those two events were on the same time. She and I didn't walk together because I told her to go on ahead while I threw away our lunches. I ate all of mine. She barely touched hers. A teacher stopped me in the hall to inquire about her mood. I shrugged, but told her I was handling it. The last thing she would want is to be pulled into the counseling office.
"I hate seeing girls cry," I shrugged.
"You hate seeing Jodie cry," pink Jodie whispered.
I opened my eyes. I stared up at darkness and remembered where I was. I frowned, but the nap had made me feel a little better. I sat up and looked around me. No one was there. I glared at the emptiness. Where was everyone? I thought they were sleeping with me. I glanced to where I had last saw Alec. He was there. All the me's were around him. He was talking with them. He was smiling. They were all smiling. Why couldn't I smile? I noticed pink Jodie clinging to him. He'd kill me if I had ever done that to him. Why did this have to happen to me? Suddenly green mist fell over me. A headache suddenly sprung in my temples The others stopped talking. They knew I just reclaimed my envy. I sighed. I was tired of having my emotion put on parade in front of the one person I was trying to hide them from. I stood up and turned my back on him.
"Jodie?" one of me said. I ignored her. This was useless. I didn't care if I never got out of here. I just wanted to be alone. A brown mist fell over me, but I didn't care. I felt hopeless. I just didn't care what Alec thought of me anymore. It shouldn't matter what he thinks of me. All that should matter is what I think of myself. I think I'm a great person. I'll get out of here eventually. An orange mist surrounded me. I smiled briefly. At least I've reclaimed my reason.
Alec ran in front out me. I was really starting to hate the fact that I couldn't hear footsteps in this place of darkness.
"What is wrong with you?" Alec asked. The remaining three me's appeared next to him.
"Alec, why are you here," I sighed. Alec looked taken aback.
"That damned magician sent me here," Alec said. I just looked at him.
"Sarah was worried about you," Alec explained, "I had to help her look for you."
I nodded, "Right."
"Alec!" pink me scolded, "What did I just tell you not too long ago." Alec frowned.
"What that I love her?" Alec suddenly burst, "Well I don't. She's annoying and whiny. I deal with her every day for God knows why. I almost hate her. I don't care if she loves me and I don't care about her feelings. She doesn't mean anything to me!" The yellow me looked shocked while pink me glared at him. Blue me was gone. I knew why. I sunk to me knees. I couldn't breathe. My heart stopped beating and ripped out of my chest. This couldn't be happening. I shut my eyes as tight as I could. I wrapped my arms around myself to keep from exploding into a million pieces. Then suddenly I inhaled a deep breath and let out my frustration and pain in the most pathetic cry I had ever heard.
I didn't want to make her cry. She didn't deserve to have tears falling from her eyes, but I had to do it. Jodie was crumbled on her knees. Her hair fanned over her shoulder shielding her face, but I could see tears fall. They fell into nothing. I watched them fall and fall until they were too far away to see.
"Jodie," I whispered. My voice made her cry harder. My heart was breaking in my chest. I got down on my knees. I placed my hand on her shoulder.
"Don't touch me," she cried. She shrugged away. Two hands rested on my own shoulders. I looked up at yellow and pink Jodie.
"Help her," pink Jodie ordered. Yellow Jodie nodded in agreement. I nodded and turned back to the real Jodie.
"Jodie, don't cry," I told her.
"Just go away," She whimpered. I pushed her hair behind her shoulder. She turned her face away. I cupped her cheek in my palm and pulled her face back. She looked at me and more tears flooded her eyes. I grabbed her arms and pulled her to me. I wrapped her in a hug. She resisted at first, but then just cried into my chest. I rubbed her hair and her back. It seemed like she would never stop crying, but finally her cries turned into soft sobbing then to hiccups and them calmness. I rocked her in my lap.
"Good job," pink Jodie whispered as she turned into mist around us. Suddenly my heart felt better. I looked down at Jodie. There was a blush on her cheeks, but her eyes were closed.
"She exhausted," yellow Jodie said, "She's probably going to sleep for a week after we get out of here." I nodded up at her as she smiled down at me. I looked back down at the real Jodie just as she opened her eyes.
"I'm sorry," she whispered.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because you're here in this gawd awful place because of me," she replied.
"I'm here because of that ass of a magician. Same as you. I'm here to help you get out of here," I said slowly.
"Why?" she asked, "Wait, that's right. You were helping Sarah." Jodie frowned a bit and looked away, but she didn't make a move to get out of my arms.
"I'm sorry, I made you cry," I apologized. She shook her head.
"I don't like to see you cry," I admitted.
"You don't. I didn't think you care either way," she replied looking up at me. I took in a deep breath and looked into her eyes. I blushed. This was hard. I took another deep breath.
"When Sarah told me you were gone, I got worried. I tried to threaten the magician into telling me where you were, but he wouldn't tell me and then a teacher suggested we split up and look for you. I was worried that that magician was a pervert who just pulled a trick to steal you away." I explained.
"Thank you for finding me," she murmured, "And for worrying." We sat in silence for a while. It was nicely quiet. More than one Jodie really was too many. I looked up. Yellow Jodie was a few yards away smiling at us. It was comfortable with Jodie here in my arms. She was warm. She fit against my body perfectly.
"Jodie," I whispered.
"Hmm?" she looked up at me.
"You were right. I admit it. I would miss you if you were gone," I said. She stared at me for a few seconds before her lips curved into a smile. He face was tear-stained and her hair was no longer in place. Her eyes were red and puffy, as well as her nose, but she never looked so beautiful. Yellow mist covered us.
Our black surrounding slowly turned to grey and then white.
"We're going home," Jodie said excitedly. I smiled down at her, but she was no longer in my arms. I looked up trying to find her, but I was at school again. I stared at lockers across from me. Did I fall asleep. Was that a dream?
"Abbra Cadabra!" Light blinded my eyes as a curtain was yanked back. I stood in a box looking out onto all my peers who clapped. The magician assisted me out of the box.
"Remember now," he said, "My lovely assistant will not reveal the secrets behind my magic, right?" He turned to me a winked. I walked back to Sarah.
"That was cool," she said, "You were totally gone."
"You weren't worried?" I asked. Where was Alec?
"It was just a trick," Sarah said. Was it? I walked away in a daze. Sarah called after me. I was back in the school gym. Dozens of booths were surrounded by students. I walked out into the hallway. I had to find Alec. I need proof that this was real.
"Jodie, where are you going?" Sarah caught up to me.
"Where's Alec," I mumbled.
"How should I know," Sarah replied. I started down the hall. I walked quickly. Sarah had to trot to keep up.
"Are you okay," she asked concerned. I nodded, vaguely hearing her. Then I saw him. Alec was standing was at the end of the hall. His back was to me.
"Alec!" I called. He turned toward me. I stopped walking. Sarah looked from Alec to me in confusion. I didn't move. He started to walk toward me. Sarah walked forward to meet him, but stopped when she realized I still stood there. Alec walked all the way up to me.
"Are you okay?" he asked. I nodded.
"Jodie," Sarah said, "You should tell him how that magician made you disappear into that big box." Alec and I nodded.
"I know," Alec told her.
"How," she asked, but he ignored her question.
"I meant what I said," Alec said to me.
"Really," I questioned. He nodded. I smiled. Alec leaned down and kissed me. When he broke it I hugged him. He hugged me back.
"What has gotten into you two," Sarah demanded.
"He'd miss me if I were gone," I replied simply. Sarah just stared at me. I couldn't help, but giggle.
"Let's go back to the career fair," I suggested. I looped my arm through her and started to walk. I stopped and looked behind me where Alec still stood. I held out my hand.
"You coming?" I asked. I half expected him to decline my invitation, but instead he took my hand without a word. He laced his fingers with mine and walked with Sarah and I back to the gym.
"The magician is gone," Sarah pointed out surprised. I gasped.
"His job was done," Alec shrugged.
"Alec do you think I'm pretty?" I suddenly asked. Alec blushed.
"Hell no!" he said.
"You're so mean!" I complained.
"That's more like it," she said with relief of the normalcy. I stuck out my tongue.
"Now that's lovely," Alec said sarcastically.
"Jerk," I scowled at him. He squeezed my hand. I smiled. Maybe the magician's job was done.