THEME SONG: "Murder on the Dancefloor" – Sophie Ellis Bextor
Brock didn't know if the news he and Sarah were about to deliver was good news or bad – undoubtedly Tracey would be ecstatic, wanting to stay near the repeatedly useful supply closet at the end of the hotel corridor. Ignoring the unbelievably annoying lift bidding him farewell and spasing out at Sarah's unidentifiable presence, Brock wandered carelessly into Kobi, and was startled back to reality by angry female screams and a barrage of pillows knocking him out of the door and whacking it shut behind him. Sarah raised her eyebrow at him, before slipping into Tobukeru to relay the news to the girls in there.
Erin (after Michelle showed them the trick to waking her) whooped, and began to sing the theme tune to Pikachu's Vacation as she linked arms with the younger (yet disgruntlingly taller) brunette as she and Sarah made the short distance to Kobi.
"The roads are what?" repeated Jesse, in disbelief as she sat on her bed in the yoga position and waved her wide-spread fingers around to dry her 'Perfidious Puce' nail-varnish.
"The roads are closed till Friday," yawned Sarah, sitting cross-legged on the floor and fiddling with her fingers as her eyelids drooped.
"But th- hey, wait, what day is it?" giggled Trish – the other authors giggled as well – they had totally lost track of time.
"Um. It's Monday," answered Brock, wincing at the rather long time span which they would have to spend in Kiwi Cove. The others looked delighted at the prospect of a 'holiday' smack in the middle of their bizarre pilgrimage. Gary seemed to be the only member of the group aghast at the thought of staying in the hotel for at least four more days…
"Wait a second, you lot can't pretend that this isn't really mysterious in our situation," frowned Michelle from where she leaned against the wall.
"It's not actually that mysterious," murmured Tracey, his voice thick through Karlie's neck. "Mandarin is prone to this sort of thing. Storms that knock over trees, landslides, mudslides, well, you get the picture. The entire centre of the island is a network of dense tropical vegetation and rocky valleys and inclines. There's no way we can get to the side of the island we need to if there's a problem with the Haruna Highway that runs between all four ports." Tracey stopped and gently rocked Karlie backwards and forwards on his lap. "What?"
"That's disgusting," sniped Jesse, swinging her legs and almost knocking Ash flying, while Rachel and Todd stared gloomily at each other.
"What is?" Tracey asked, in a bemused tone. Jesse rolled her eyes.
"How is it you expect us to understand a word you say when your lips are stuck to Karlie's neck?" Jesse asked, folding her arms and glaring icily. Tracey blushed bright red, his cheeks so hot that Karlie felt the human instinct to move away from the heat. She folded her arms stubbornly.
"Yeah, police said it was a landslide," hurriedly continued Brock. "And the highway is blocked. He said that it was too dangerous for a gang of kids to try and make it through the forest alone." Trish clicked her tongue in exasperation, and Pikachu, who was sitting on her lap looked up at her with wide brown eyes.
"Hah! C'mon guys, we've been through tons of forests! Viridian, Ilex, and besides, my Pokémon will protect us!" laughed Ash, snapping into his victory pose. Gary snorted.
"If you have any left, you trade-happy lunatic."
"Shuddup Gareth," Ash scowled.
"Not a tropical forest Ash," Tracey warned, having rediscovered his voice. "Besides, it'd probably take us longer to make our way through there on foot than it would to wait for the road to clear and catch a bus."
"Then it's settled!" James squealed in delight.
"We're staying!" whooped Erin, flipping her bushy brown hair over her shoulder as she leapt up.
"LAST ONE IN THE POOL IS A ROTTEN POKEMON EGG!" cried Trish, managing to pour all her maturity into a single sentence before dashing into the en suite bathroom to retrieve her still damp swimsuit from the bath tub.
"Hey that reminds me," Ash protested, trying to stand up and whimpering when the stampede of Tobukeru girls knocked him back down. "You promised that when I was thirteen you'd tell me how that egg appeared when we left Totodile and Corsola with that man in Goldenrod…" Misty sighed.
"Ash, you're fifteen and I still don't think you're old enough to know."
Erin sat at the vanity mirror in Tobukeru, squinting and pursing up her forehead as she plucked the tiny, newly-emerging hairs from her brow region. It was the only feminine ritual she indulged herself in, reminiscing with a shudder how her older cousin used to tell her that she'd end up like Burt from Sesame Street if she didn't. She put down the tweezers, satisfied, and sat back against the back of the chair; groaning, she tried to brush her sleep-matted hair out.
She had been planning on getting a well-needed hair cut just before her little trip out of reality. It made her laugh when people suggested that if she grew her hair longer it would thin out. No, her hair didn't grow downwards, it grew outwards. Pretty soon she wouldn't be able to walk next to anyone of her own height without them getting a mouthful of her hair. Her hair was currently almost halfway down her back, reminding her of her Catholic convent school girl days, where plaits were mandatory and nuns told her that if she cut her suffocating hair short she would burn in hell for all eternity.
Erin ran her fingers through her hair, twiddling with the curling split-ends, before laying the hairbrush down on the vanity unit and pulling her hair into a loose bun. Oh well, the quicker she got in the pool, the quicker the demon hair would (appear) thin.
play 'what if'."
Brock's suggestion was met with a mixed reaction. Ash seemed zealously enthused until Todd explained to him what the game entailed, and his eyes grew wider than was healthy with shock; yet Brock carried on regardless.
"What if you had to choose between the girls?" he asked. There was silence.
"Choose em for what?" blinked James. Brock rolled his eyes.
"You know. For it."
"IT!!" bellowed the six others, cowing James immediately.
"I choose Trish."
"I don't think she's the toy-boy type…"
"Does Misty count as a girl?"
"Dude, that's necrophilia."
"Is saying Rachel being like, unfaithful to Richie or what?"
"Mmmmmm Sarah in a few more years."
"Heh, Erin would flip at this conversation."
"Well, Jesse's pretty good in bed."
"Dude, no sharing."
"What's with this dude thing anyway?"
"Dunno; picked it up from Mitch."
"Wonder what she'd be like in the sack…"
"Okay guys this is just sick."
"Yeah can we stop this now before they all come in and sacrifice us to the mighty Oestrogen Deity?"
"Hey, what about Riny?"
"Are you kiddin' me? I'm a sick bloke, but I don't have a Lolita complex thanks very much."
"Hey Gar', what about you? Been noticing a lot of sexual tension with you lately – you've been peeling labels off soda bottles and everything."
"Keep your nose out of my sexual tension," Gary sneered, standing up abruptly and putting an end to the testosterone soaked banter.
"How about Mia?" teased Todd, standing up as well and making fervent, wet kissing motions in the air, with his eyes pinched shut and rubbing his hands up and down an invisible back.
"Shut up stripes or I'll shove your camera where the flash bulb don't illuminate," Gary growled, his cheeks flushing ever so slightly.
"Oh, Mia! MARIA! Mia! Oh Mamma Mia!" Todd continued his sexual harassment on the air, while the other guys fell about laughing as Gary gritted his teeth.
"Si?" came the icy, yet slightly amused voice of the Puerto-Rican American, magically appearing as ever behind the now frozen-with-fear Todd.
"They're practicing for a musical," smirked Gary, exulting in the chance to use one of Mia's snipes against her. She arched her eyebrow at him, and walked past them, making them all cower away from seemingly no reason.
"Gimme, gimme, gimme…" she sang under her breath, giving Gary a searching look with one of her emerald green eyes before strolling out of Akudou. Gary grinned to himself secretly and raked his hand through his auburn hair while Todd and the others dissolved into helpless laughter.
"Lookin'," sang Erin under her breath as she strolled underneath the trees. "Lookin' for somethin' that's not even the-e-ere."
"What is it with these twerps and their infernal singing," Jesse muttered darkly as she strode ahead. Ash was moodily walking along, with his hands shoved in his pockets, still sore about an earlier bout with Gary. Michelle had one earphone in her ear and was dancing down the thin dirt road.
"How come the others got to stay at the hotel?" complained Ash, kicking a rotting branch off into the dense foliage.
"Because Brock's a bastard," Michelle growled, jabbing rewind on her walkman as a disliked song dared to start.
"I'm telling you this is pointless," Tracey moaned. "Why doesn't anyone listen to me?"
"I listen to you sweetie," Karlie soothed, stroking his arm as they picked their way through the forest.
"Brock just thinks that we should check out all possible, well, escape routes," Mia answered simply. Gary shot a look at her; she made him feel nervous – she was being far too meek today. He would have expected her to beat the living tar out of Todd earlier.
"Okay, no escape routes," laughed Karlie, twirling around with her arms outspread a few times. "Tracey. Bush. Come." Mia rolled her eyes and stalked onwards with her arms folded. Gary couldn't hold back an uncharacteristic snigger as Tracey and Karlie disappeared from sight.
"Such an unfortunate choice of words…" he chortled, as he padded after Mia.
"Do you hear something?" Jesse mused, gazing warily into the thick curtain of trees. Something was definitely rustling. Rustling ominously.
"Ash you prat," Michelle yelled, noticing the boy's absence, but fear protruding into her voice. "It's not feckin' funny okay? Get out here, now." The rustling continued, and there was a sound like a sword being pulled slowly out of a metal sheath. Erin grabbed hold of Michelle and whimpered.
"It's not funny!" she repeated Michelle's words. "S-s-stop it," she stuttered as the noise came again.
"I… know that sound," Jesse murmured, her fingers tensing. Her cornflower blue eyes widened in full realisation.
"You two…" Erin whispered, as she realised what the noise reminded her of. Something camouflaged green flashed among the leaves.
"OH MY GOD!" shrieked Jesse, as a well-feared Bug Pokémon leapt from the bushes with a high-pitched battle-cry.
Mia kicked skid marks in the mud with her shoes, supported by her arms on the mossy boulder. Gary stood a few metres away from her, his arms crossed around his torso.
"We should go back, Tracey was right. There's no easy way outta this place," she said, anxious to cool off in the pool.
"Nah, we can't go back yet angel-face," Gary sneered, running his tongue across his teeth. "Have to give Tracey and Kaz chance to get past third base." Mia shuddered. "You know, you should be thanking me. If it wasn't for me, those two wouldn't have got together."
"Yeah Oak, you're a real hero," Mia replied, tiredly. She looked up, ad smiled at him. He flinched.
"You're being all demure an' stuff," he murmured lamely.
"Just cos I know you're not as bad and tough as you think you are," she answered, smiling to herself.
It was pretty strange – you fantasise yourself as being the girlfriend of an anime character… you write stories about them, make up a whole alternative universe where you pair yourself with this –whom you assume is- made up character. And then fwap. You're suddenly in a whole other parallel television badly dubbed reality with said animated-hunk. And you find out that yes, he is as big a dick as the creators tried to make him seem in season one. God it was all like a really bad soap opera. A terrible, god-awful soap opera written by Riny or someone.
Well Rachel had got her Richie (sorta) and Karlie had most definitely got her Tracey… would the pattern follow through and deliver an adoring Gary at her feet in due time? But Mia's problem was that she wasn't entirely sure if it was the real Gary who beckoned her so, or was it the Gary that she had fashioned herself, in her fanfiction? She sighed heavily, freaking Gary out even more who had been wondering why she had been staring at him in thoughtful silence for almost three minutes solid.
"Gary, why are you such a jerk?"
"Jesus CHRIST!" Erin shrieked in her typical fashion, latching herself onto Michelle who was not entirely thrilled about having to run for her life and carry Erin at the same time. "Michelle this is all your fault!"
"How the hell is it MY fault?" she spluttered, darting to the left as a severed tree toppled over nearby, keeping focused on Jesse's running heels ahead of her.
"You and your ruddy red hair-dye!" Erin fumed, squeaking as she felt actual wind vibrations from the enraged Scyther ripple the hair on her arm.
"ME!? What about JESSE!?"
"IT'S CERISE!" the older woman yelled back over her shoulder, pausing to swear when she came up against what would be traditionally called: The Dead End.
"Come on Gary, I know that you hate not being included," Mia prodded, insistently, as Gary physically squirmed at the shorter girl's interrogation. Mia of course, took his reluctance to speak as confirmation, and smirked to herself. Gary whirled around to defend himself, and found that Mia had been standing a little closer behind him than he had anticipated. Houston, we have lift-off.
Gary wasn't particularly lanky, and the very top of Mia's head was adjacent to the very tip of his nose. In fact she had been standing so close the two body parts were currently gently grazing each other. Both teens gulped. Gary smirked to himself; perfect situation. He couldn't have planned it better himself. Maybe he had planned it, subconsciously or something. Man he was good. Time to turn on the Gary charm – tried and tested and resulting in a large squad of cheerleaders (he wondered if they were still waiting back at that hotel for him – it had been almost four years…).
"Why don't boys like talking about their feelings, Gary?" Mia asked, needing to break the oppressive silence. Gary smiled, a smile which he had planned to appear wistful.
"I guess guys just really need to talk about these things with a girl they actually like…" As his botched up compliment left his lips, Gary groaned. Mia frowned darkly and menacingly.
Houston, we have a problem…
"Aaaaaaaaaaaaash!" screamed Erin in terror as the Scyther advanced on her; she was the only one still standing, as Jesse had run screaming into a tree and Michelle had tripped on her large and chunky heels. Using all and any skills she had picked up from dancing, Erin threw her slight form backwards, away from the thrusting sickle blade that was the adult Scyther's arm.
She felt the very tip graze a diagonal line across her chest, and noticed in dismay as a horrendously large amount of hair from one side of her head was severed, and fluttered down to the grassy floor, glinting gold in the patchy sun. The momentum sent her rolling into a swampy ditch, where she lay exhausted.
Michelle had now struggled over to a dazed Jesse, who was still lying on the floor, and tried to shake her fully awake. The Scyther advanced on them.
"Where the FUCK is Todd when I need him?" cursed Michelle, almost on the verge of tears. Primal instincts took control, and as the Sycther raised its arm to attack, Michelle kicked outwards with her large shoe.
She blinked. The Scyther blinked back. In confusion it tried to shake its arm loose from the chunky platform heel which it hadn't quite managed to cut all the way through.
Mia stormed off, blatantly ignoring Gary's moaning plea for medical aid. Fuming, she charged into the vegetation, snapping branches and leaving an innocent Sudowoodo wishing it had run into a rabid Blastoise rather than her.
"Damn sexy idiot!" she screamed, and balled her hands up into fists. Swinging her foot viciously, she attempted to take some anger out on a nearby boulder. The Graveler lumbered away as fast as its stubby legs could carry it, and Mia was left with a lot of forward momentum and a lack of anything in front of her.
"Eep!" she squealed, as she went rolling down the grassy incline - it wasn't exactly steep, and if there were any rocks she thankfully seemed to be missing them - she just couldn't stop or see where she was headed.
"Please God don't let me roll into Kaz and Tracey's bush," she prayed to herself. "I'm too young for that..."
Mia came to a gentle stop, face first in something soft and sweet smelling. She groaned, and out of the corner of her eye saw red - literally - and sat bolt upright, tapping herself all over to see where the blood could be possibly coming from.
"You is okay?" came a worried, accented voice, and Mia sweatdropped and looked up. There was a guy - and judging from his accent a Spanish guy, *Maria* noted to herself - about her age, looking at her with concern in his twinkling blue eyes. "If you wanted some cake, you can just request," the dark-haired teenager grinned, his peculiar English warming the girly side of Mia's heart.
"Me llamo Maria," she murmured bashfully standing up and flicking the strawberry jam out of her hair as she sweatdroppingly surveyed the hunk's totally smushed sponge cake.
"Hola, bonita muchacha," the boy teased, showing his perfectly straight white teeth. "Soy Tony." Mia gasped for a minute, slipping back into English.
"Uh, oh wow really? Really? As in Tony like Tony and Maria from Westside Story?" She caught herself giggling just in time.
"Si, we are - fated to be together," Tony gleamed, running the tip of his unnaturally pink tongue across his lips. "You stay at Pokémon Centre?"
"No, no," she shook her head. "We're staying at the Takai-Ryokan." Tony's ears almost seemed to prick.
"Yo y mis amigos," Mia explained. "Un grupo muy grande." Tony seemed deep in thought momentarily, before looking up and flashing that gorgeous smile again.
"Picnic with me?" he extended his hand to her as she scowled at various grass stains on her *only* outfit. "Por favor, Maria?" Mia melted - normally she opposed to her full name, but no one had ever said 'Maria' like Tony just had. She'd never *known* her name could SOUND so damn sexy…
Ash wandered into the clearing whistling, with Pikachu chittering away lovingly on his shoulder.
"Hey guys," he said, with a little surprise evident in his voice, as he blinked at the scene. Jesse had curled herself into a ball, wailing at the top of her voice and was hugging her long hair protectively into her chest. Erin was screaming her head off as she emerged from the ditch, pulling handful after handful of detached strands of hair from her head and trying in vain to hold her sliced clothes together. Michelle was being dragged around the clearing on her shoulders, and screaming bloody murder as the frustrated Scyther tried to shake its blade free from her thick heel.
"Michelle! Take off the frelling shoe!" Erin yelled, standing up and gesturing stroppily, with hair flying every which way.
"Are you kiddin' me? I LOVE these shoes!" Michelle yelled back, in-between yelps of pain as she was dragged through a thorny plant by the trying to take flight Pokémon. Luckily for her, the shoes were shoddily made, and the lining ripped, sending the Scyther to a screeching halt, the heel and a scrap of leather still stuck obstinately to its shaver. Michelle was lying exhausted on her back, breathing heavily amongst the dust clouds the Scyther had skidded up. Ash beamed.
"Oh wow! A Scyther! Pikachu, ThunderShock!"
The small yellow Pokémon jumped off Ash's shoulder, and exploded into a crackling yellow sphere. It released a bolt that hit the Scyther dead-on, and the air filled with a sickly, smoky tang. Erin and Michelle blinked. Jesse twitched.
"Pokéba-" Ash began to rear back, but then stopped in surprise. "Where did it go?" he asked, in a forlorn tone. There was nothing in the space where the Scyther had been save for the now charred remnants of Michelle's shoe, and a pile of perfectly untouched leaves. Michelle shuddered, and stood up rubbing her grazed shoulders, standing lopsided on the single shoe. The scowl on her face turned to helpless laughter when Erin limped over, still holding her clothes together. The Scyther had slashed at her diagonally, and had not only slashed one half of her hair, but also her clothes from shoulder to waist. Erin whimpered.
"I need new clothes…"
"Not to mention a haircut," sneered Jesse, walking over to them holding her head.
"You know what," Ash began, petting Pikachu on the head whimsically. "I think that Scyther was gonna hurt you lot." The girls ignored him. "I wonder what happened to make a Pokémon attack humans like that…"
"I doubt it was a real Scyther, Ash," Michelle snapped, wincing as she felt the sting that meant that the Pokémon World healing mechanism was kicking in, and the wounds on her upper-back started to disinfect themselves.
"Okay so who had the dream?" Erin asked, irritably, raking her fingers through her hair and dislodging yet more severed strands.
"That would be me," answered Jesse, still in a dazed tone.
"Why didn't you tell us?!" screeched Michelle, and Jesse glared at her.
"Because I ALWAYS have the nightmare that a Scyther is trying to cut my hair off. I didn't think anything of it!" The other three sighed.
"Back to the hotel!" Ash commanded. "Pikachu and I will protec-"
"Oh gimme a break…" Michelle muttered, shoving him out of the way and stomping away in front, making the others giggle at her rise/fall, induced by her lack of a shoe.
"You guys!" came a desperate voice, shocking the people at the poolside into alert. Gary came sprinting from the veranda doors, almost tripping over an inflatable Lapras and came to a panting stop in front of the deckchairs where the others were relaxing.
"Gary, what's wrong?" Erin asked in alarm, her hair now in a conspicuous-looking bun.
"It's Mia," he gasped. "I can't find her anywhere. She got mad at me, and then there was some hitting, and then ran off and, and I can't find her!" Rachel hoisted herself out of the pool, and grabbed Gary by his yin-yang pendant.
"Listen you," she snarled at her partner. "If anything has happened to Mia I'll bloody well kill you." Her tone softened and she let go when she noticed that Gary was too upset to retort.
"Okay, calm down," Todd said, slowly. "Where are Karlie and Tracey?"
"Somewhere between third and fourth base by now I'd expect," Gary still found the compassion to jeer. He swung around when Karlie threw a volleyball at the back of his head.
"We're here you idiot! We have been for the last half an hour!"
"Ah. My bad," Todd grinned, earning a deathly glare from Gary.
"Listen, this is serious. We've gotta go and find her. Now. If she's gotten into trouble I'll, I'll…"
Mia strolled in, humming happily. She stopped when she realised that everyone was staring at her in bewilderment, and that Gary was bordering on a mental breakdown. She blinked.
"Crisis over," Misty sighed, sinking back under the water and resurfacing on her back to do a few laps of backstroke. Gary glared at the brunette, before stalking off into the hotel. Mia shrugged, and made her way over to sit on the end of Erin's deck chair.
"Mia, what happened? You're all grass-stains," Erin clucked disapprovingly. Mia eyed her back.
"You can talk. Why are you wearing Richie's clothes?"
"That's not the half of it!" sniggered Sarah, pulling Erin's hair bobble out, and revealing the lopsided bangs to the world once more. Mia stared in amusement.
"What, did you let Meowth give you a makeover?" she snorted, earning herself a deft swipe of claws from the sun-bathing Scratch Cat lying nearby. "Anyway," she continued, before Erin could explain. "Mia's in luuuuurve!" she squeaked, uncharacteristically. Erin blinked.
"No, there's this guy called Tony-"
"Gary," Sarah repeated, in a disbelieving tone.
"No really, Tony-"
"But Mia! You go with Gary!" Trish whined. Mia grunted.
"Okay do you guys wanna hear this or not?"
"Yes we do," Rachel answered, fwaping the glassy eyed Erin on the head with her palm. "Go on."
"Okay well, I kinda klutzed into him…" she smiled. "He's Spanish, staying at the Pokémon Centre, and he's just so totally BISHIE!" Michelle arched her eyebrow.
"Uh, Mia? How the hell can he be Spanish? Where the hell is Spain in the Pokémon world?" Mia had no reply.
"Maybe he came from our world," Rachel mused. "You should ask him."
"Oh yeah," Karlie scoffed. "Oh excuse me Hunk, but do you come from the Real World? Yeah. Great chat-up line."
"Anyway," Mia continued, impatiently. "There's this sorta party thing at the docks tonight, and I promised I'd come with you lot. NOT as his date," she stressed, when she saw Rachel's eyes light up. "I said I'd have ONE dance with him."
"I still don't like this Mia," Michelle muttered, folding her arms.
"But you're supposed to love Gary…" Erin murmured, broken-hearted at the imaginary break-up.
"Gary's pig-headed, rude and conceited," was Mia's snapped reply.
"Never stopped you before," snorted Karlie. Mia smiled slightly.
"Besides, he practically told me today that he didn't like me…" There was a silence before…
"What… kind of a party?" Sarah asked hesitantly. Mia grinned.
"It's a luau."
"Luau. You know. Hula dancing, grass skirts, coconut bikinis, all that jazz." Rachel squealed at the image.
"WOW! How fun!"
"Did you mean that sincerely or sarcastically?" Trish teased the blonde. "It's hard to tell with you rude teenagers." Sarah squirted suntan lotion over the dark-haired woman, who yelped at the cold.
"Yeah, like you're much better!"
"You're lucky Trish, you'll be the only one of us with a coconut bikini that actually fits," Erin sighed.
"Ah I dunno. I think Tracey would fit one perfectly," Trish grinned back, earning a livid howl from Karlie, and a lilo to the head.
"Incidentally," continued Michelle, regardless of the carnage. "What coconut bikinis? I dunno about you but I don't carry one around with my emergency tissues and plasters."
"Yeah we'll have to go shopping," Sarah mused. "We'd have to anyway. Mitch needs new shoes, Riny needs new clothes…"
"YES!" Rachel cried in delight. "I haven't been shopping in aaaaages!" Erin and Mia looked at each other and whimpered.
"Rina… I dun wanna goooo…" Mia whined.
"I hate girly shopping," Erin stated, obstinately. "Me and Mia'll stay here with the guys."
"Oh no you won't," Karlie said, matter-of-factly. "You're gonna pick out your luau costumes." Erin stared at her.
"It's a skirt made of hay and a fruit cut in half. I think I trust you to pick one out for me."
"Oh doooo you," Karlie smirkingly repeated, arching her eyebrow. Erin sighed.
"Okay fine, I'll come. But I won't like it. I won't!! And you lot aren't going anywhere until you sort out my bloody hair!"
The scissors in her friend's hand glinted ominously. Erin gulped. It wasn't like she was particularly vain when it came to her hair…
But having her friends arguing over who got to butcher her hair even further was quite bizarre.
"You take that side," Trish instructed Michelle and Karlie, handing them both complimentary scissors supplied by the hotel. "Sarah-"
"Uh-uh, no way!" the youngest girl waved her hands. "I don't wanna be one of the ones she kills." Trish smiled.
"Okay then… you watch from the front and tell us when it goes wrong." Erin began to feel sick to her stomach. "Mia and Rachel take the other side," Trish continued. "And I'll take her fringe."
"There's nothing wrong with her fringe," Misty pointed out from where she sat on Michelle's bed watching with growing amusement.
"We're giving her a whole new 'do," Rachel explained, from where she was gently combing sections of Erin's hair, and Mia was manically hacking into them. Erin's eyes fluttered closed.
Getting on to half an hour later, Sarah's mouth was practically on the floor, and all sides declared themselves officially finished. Erin peeked out at them from one eye, and her heart fell when she realised they were all staring at her in bewilderment.
"We… did THAT!?" Michelle murmured, in disbelief. Erin wailed.
"Jesus, how bad is it?" she asked.
"It's not bad," Karlie answered, in the same tone as Michelle.
"It's… it's brilliant!" Trish gaped. Mia whooped and slapped a high-five with Rachel. Erin dashed to a mirror. They had cut her hair into a bob, but as the Scyther had cut so high up, her hair was layered and flicky. Gorgeous – maybe too so for Erin. She blushingly hugged all her friends.
"You should go into business together," she remarked, pulling her hair into the familiar low ponytail. "Now I never thought I'd say this, but let's shop."
Mia and the guys lounged lazily in the central room, Kobi. The adjoining doors were open, and girls ran throughout the three rooms, struggling into the itchy skirts and applying body-glitter all over. The boys were already wearing Hawaiian style shirts with shorts, but Mia was still in her grassy clothes from earlier.
"Put them into wash while we're at the Luau Mia," Tracey advised. "There's a laundry downstairs."
"Bring 'em down now," Brock said, standing up. "I've got to put a load in anyway."
Mia padded after Brock, holding her recently purchased grass skirt and trying to figure out a way to turn it into trousers. It was also painfully obvious that this was one of those occasions where a girl really has to wear knickers, rather than tartan boxers.
"Okay," Brock began, as they entered the dimly lit laundry room, and he walked over to a large machine and began fiddling with the dials. He froze when he turned around to see Mia holding out her stained clothes, clad in a sports-bra and a pair of (Todd's) boxer shorts.
"Hey Brock, you forg-" called Tracey, bursting into the room carrying one of James' questionable disguises. He too froze, and began to babble, not knowing where to look. Mia sighed in exasperation.
"Oh please, you're pathetic. I've just spent the last two days in a frelling bikini, that showed a lot more flesh than this!" Tracey and Brock continued to freak out, and Mia threw her clothes over Brock's head, and stormed out into the corridor regardless. Tracey shrank back from her as she approached him. "At least I have underwear," she sniped, before strolling purposely down the hallway.
"Just bribing the DJ," Mia told her friends when she returned. The large room was full of dancing people – the music was loud, the lights flashy, the boys perverts and Erin was going around confiscating cigarettes and putting coasters underneath cups. It was definitely a party.
"So where's this Tony guy then?" Rachel teased, sipping her punch delicately.
"He here," came the broken accented voice, and Mia's heart leapt up and banged against her tonsils. "Hola Maria," he murmured. The others watched and sweatdropped as the two had a rapid conversation in Spanish.
"Hell, I take that for GCSE and I didn't get a word," Karlie sighed, swigging down the rest of her punch and resuming her search for Tracey. Michelle laughed.
"Viva forever!" she teased, before anticipating Erin charging over to give Tony the mandatory 'boyfriend check', which scared off more suitors of her friends than anything else, and grabbed her younger friend before spinning her on to the dance floor, where the DJ had just begun to play Mia's Grease soundtrack. The population of the Pokémon world had never heard it before obviously, but by now they were either too into the swing of things or too drunk to realise, and carried on dancing.
Mia tore herself away from Tony to join Erin and Michelle on the dance floor, where they launched themselves into a full on version of Grease Lightning. As she did the compulsory arm movements, Mia was terribly aware of Tony's piercing eyes watching her every move from where he leant up against the wall.
Meanwhile, Gary was resorting to desperate measures…
"Chat-up lines?" he repeated dubiously, too anxious to realise that (a) Brock was totally and utterly the wrong person to be asking advice on love and (b) Brock was totally and utterly sloshed. In the alcoholic sense of the word. Brock mumbled a few illegible words of encouragement, before lurching off to find a corner to sit down/throw up/die.
James was currently trying to court a coconut-clad young woman, who was sweatdropping from both the attentions of James and a dashing blonde man, who looked like he had more muscles than anything else.
"Why don't you just settle this like a man?" Jesse snapped when James came whining to her.
"Because men are prone to violence…" he whimpered.
Gary danced up to where Mia was currently shaking her funky thing to You're The One That I Want. He blushed hotly, for one of the first times in his life.
"Hey Gary," she smiled, obviously having too much fun to remember that she wasn't talking to him. Gary burned even hotter, and leant over to say something into her ear. Mia stopped dancing. "What?" He tried again. "Sorry I really can't hear you!" she yelled back. Gary took a deep breath.
"IS IT HOT IN HERE OR IS IT JUST YOU?!" he yelled. At the precise moment Olivia Newton John ceased her singing. The entire hall stopped and stared at him, while Erin, Michelle and the others fell about laughing.
"Oh I dunno, I'm pretty warm myself," cracked the DJ, before switching the track to Hopelessly Devoted. Mia's mouth was open in a silent O, and was startled when Tony came up behind her and put his hand on her shoulder.
"We dance now, Maria?" he asked, and she wordlessly nodded. Gary watched her being twirled away, mortification still evident on his face. Michelle came up behind him and slapped him on the back, still giggling.
"Oh that was so good it just HAD to be FATTENING," she teased, stopping abruptly when Gary whirled around and stormed towards where Tony was dancing with Mia.
"Mi-" he began, before being knocked forward by a lunatic dancing couple (Ash and Misty). Flailing, he grabbed hold of the nearest thing to keep himself up, but his chin still hit the floor with a thud. He peered upwards through the coloured blurs now infiltrating his vision. Mia gaped down at him in horror. He'd grabbed hold of her skirt and pulled it straight down.
Fuming and wordless, Mia kicked him in the face and stormed out of the bay doors into the gardens, hoisting up her skirt as she went. Tony followed her, calling her name, and Gary just stood there desolately.
"Wow folks, what an exciting night! Never a dull moment with that couple!" the DJ cracked again, before the CD was changed all together, and the goth band The Spinarak Sisters' new single started to pump from the oversized speakers.
"You know who's here tonight," babbled the woman behind Trish in the queue for the toilets. "Drake, the famous Orange League Master." Ex-master Trish initially subconsciously corrected, before the realisation hit her, and she grabbed the startled woman by the garland of island flowers around her neck.
"WHO WHAT WHEN HOW WHERE?!" she demanded.
Mia sat on the broad tree branch, looking out towards the night-lit, and very stereotypical calm blue ocean. She wanted to cry, but she was too angry to allow herself. The tropical breeze ruffled her skirt, and her hair, and the body glitter on her arm glinted in the starlight as she raised her arm to push her hair back.
All at once, she became aware of a voice below her perch, and peered down through the leaves. Tony was leaning against the trunk, singing sweetly.
""The most beautiful sound I ever heard:
Maria, Maria, Maria, Maria.
All the beautiful sounds of the world in a single word:
Maria, Maria, Maria, Maria, Maria, Maria.
Maria, I've just met a girl named Maria,
and suddenly the name will never be the same to me…"
Mia quietly slipped down the tree, and Tony immediately took her hands.
"That was bea-" she began, but he shushed her by putting his index finger gently on her lips.
"Meet, the Cantaloupe Café, tomorrow?" he pleaded. Mia felt uneasy.
"Oh, I don't know Tony…"
"Por favour, Maria?" Mia squirmed under his intense gaze.
"Sure. Why not…"
"Drake, Drake, Drake, Drake…" Trish sang happily to herself as she locked up the doors adjoining the rooms for the night. So involved in her fantasy was she, that she forgot to give Karlie her nightly lecture about The Cupboard. The girls in Tobukeru were asleep almost instantly, totally exhausted from their evening. Meanwhile, in Kobi, Karlie and Mia stayed awake, talking in hushed tones.
"Well, g'night," Karlie said finally.
"I wish sweet, if not lurid, dreams of Tracey upon thee Kaz," Mia yawned, stretching out on her bed.
"Bet you dream of Tony," Karlie teased back.
And Mia did…
Mia hesitantly waked up to the café doors. It was bustling with people, in the midst of which was a smiling and waving Tony. Mia smiled back, and slipped into the seat opposite him. He greeted her with a gentlemanly kiss on the back of her hand, and she blushed lightly.
Gary slipped into the café, scowling at the couple gabbering on in Spanish. He sat in a booth behind Mia's back, and peered over the top of his menu at them.
"Hello sir, can I take your-" began the waitress.
"Get lost!" Gary hissed, before returning to glaring at the back of Mia's head. The twinkie waitress blinked and then trotted off.
Mia and Tony were leaning in to each other on their elbows, deeply in conversation. Tony reached up with one hand, keeping one firmly under the table, and gently touched the side of Mia's face, driving Gary wild. Mia coloured immediately, so red that Gary could tell from sitting behind her. Tony leaned forwards and the two met in a kiss, making Gary rise from his seat.
His breath caught in his throat as he noticed that Tony's other hand had risen in the air, and a sharp knife blade was protruding from his palm. Sickeningly, the knife seemed to push its way out of Tony's hand, and he fingered it's blade while he continued to kiss the oblivious Mia.
"Jacqueline," hissed Author, rising from her desk in a rage. "Why is Soul's partner there?"
Jacqui smiled sweetly at the angry apparition.
(Because my stories always have a Prince Charming.)
Gary stood, stricken in horror as a form of dark violet blood poured from the wound in Tony's hand, and he stroked the back of Mia's hair with the side of the blade.
Still she didn't notice. Her pendant began to feel uncomfortable under her top, as if it were digging into her skin, but she ignored it. And for a brief instant she felt as if she could hear Duplica's voice whispering in her ear. But she ignored that too.
She continued to kiss Tony, while he slid the flat side of the curved knife down her back.