Disclaimer: I don't own anything of G.I. Joe, but I do own Audrey. She is completely mine, if you would like to borrow her as and give credit. This was created from a boot camp prompt, it just happened to turn into something bigger then what I orginally pictured. This is the first in a most likely long line of storys concerning the two. Read and Enjoy!
Brad Armbruster walked into New Hope High School Prep Academy his first day and he was already late for homeroom. Running a hand through is messy black hair he looked down at the sheet of paper that the lady in the office had given him. "Room 210, Mrs. King," he muttered looking up at the tops of the doors for there numbers as he walked down the empty halls with purple lockers filling up the spots between classroom doors. When he reached room 210 he folded the paper and stuffed it into his pocket and readjusted his book bag and opened the door.
The teacher was calling out names and stopped when her door was opened. "I am going to assume that you are Mr. Armbruster?" she said frowning at him and fixing her glasses, "Just have a seat and I'll speak to you about tardiness after the bell." She motioned him to go find a seat and he noted that most were already talking with new friends. Unfortunately for him none of his middle school buddies where in his homeroom. He walked over to an empty desk and sat down tossing his green Jansport book bag on the floor besides his desk. He stared at the desk and tried to ignore Mrs. King until the door opened and he looked up.
He grinned as did everyone in the classroom. Her mousey brown hair as pulled back in a clip, but a few strands escaped framing her face. She had sharp vibrant blue eyes. "Sorry," she said in a soft southern accent, "I got a little lost."
Mrs. King nodded smiling a fake smile. "Yes, you are the new student from Alabama? Well why not just tell us a little bit about yourself?" Mrs. King folded her arms over the podium and leaned against it as the young women turned to her fellow classmates.
She took a breath before speaking, "My name is Audrey Calloway. My father is Victor Calloway, W-4 Chief Warrant Officer and we recently moved to Rhode Island from Mobile, Alabama." Audrey looked over at the teacher who just sighed and told her to go sit down.
Brad grinned when she sat down next to him. Her uniform shirt was ironed and tucked in, her skirt pleats were straight and her school shoes were…. He grinned he had to ask. "Are your shoes polished?"
"Yes," she answered slumping in her chair.
He reached his hand out to her. "My name is Brad Armbruster, nice to meet you," he said as she took his hand and shook it. "So your dad is a military man, that's got to be tough."
"It's not that bad," she responded as they continued to get to know each other till Mrs. King started passing out schedules and locker sheets. Brad took his class schedule from Mrs. King and looked over it and sighed. All his hard classes were first. "This is just great," he grumbled.
Audrey leaned over and looked at his class schedule from over his shoulder. "We have the next class together," she said looking at him. She really didn't want to ask but Brad was being nice, a lot nicer than the jerk she'd met in the hall earlier, "You know your way around this school right? Well, do you think that I could follow you?"
"Yeah," he answered as the bell rang, "Come on." Brad picked up his book bag and Audrey followed with a pile of book in her arms. They were down to the end of the hall before hearing Mrs. King yelling at Brad that she had wanted to talk to him. Both teens ducked and ran down the stairs and didn't stop till they were off the stairs.
"I think you're going to be in trouble," Audrey remarked glancing behind them as they made their way through the throng of people in the halls.
"Probably," he agreed looking back at her. She looked was kind of cute glancing over her shoulder with that big stack of book in her arms. He chuckled and shook his head. "Come on, We'll be late if you don't hurry."
They got to the class on time and through the rest of the day without too much of a hitch. As Brad walked home with his hands in his navy blue pants pockets, his thoughts kept returning to Audrey, she was something else. She was smart and had a quick wit which had gotten her in trouble with their Advanced Biology teacher Mrs. Marinelli. He winced at the memory- thanks to her; Mrs. Marinelli was going to be a pain for the rest of the year.
"Wonder where Audrey has gone off to?" he thought out loud. She had run off right after the last bell had rung. He turned into a neighborhood with nice houses and the lawns where perfectly cut and looked nice. He walked down the sidewalk and then up to his house. He walked into the house and up to his room and sat on his bed looking out the window.
His thoughts once again turned to Audrey and how she had gotten another enemy. He grinned, but then Danny Houser did deserve being chewed out. To bad he was a senior and favorite of the teachers. He shook his head and stared at his book bag and new he should start on his homework. "Home work on the first day, gezz," he muttered, but he didn't start on his homework. Instead he fell asleep.
A few months went by and Brad grew closer to Audrey. School was going well for him even if it was a little boring at times. Although messing with Audrey did provide for endless entertainment. Mrs. Marinelli was as he had predicted and graded Audrey and him with a keen eye and had even placed them as science lab partners. He wasn't complaining since Audrey seemed to go about things with a mechanical precision
"Oh, that can't be good," Brad muttered as he looked at an organ, what he thought was the gallbladder, of the pig they were dissecting.
"You didn't!" she shrieked her gloved hands clenched into a fist and her face growing redder. Brad bared his teeth in a sheepish grin as he turned to look at Audrey. She looked as if she was close to yelling, which wouldn't be good.
"I was just following the packet," he explained putting the scalpel down. Of course he hadn't really read the packet last night and he had just ignored her 'Do not touch anything till I get back' speech. "It'll be fine," he said trying to reassure her, "I'll just pin it back on the pig."
Audrey stood there shaking as she sucked in air through her clenched teeth. "You can't just pin it back on, Bard. It's the gallbladder. She'll notice!" she seethed.
"Well what do you want me to do?" he asked crossing his arms, "I mean I wasn't the one who argued with the teacher on the first day."
"Only because you were talking while she was lecturing!" she retorted hands going to her hips. Her accent became pronounced whenever she was angry, it was something he noticed after being in class with her. "I wasn't about to get in trouble for your actions, and if you'd just spoken up in the first place!"
"Is there a problem?" asked the dead dry voice of Mrs. Marnelli. The two students stiffened and Brad could see Audrey biting her lip to keep from crying out. He looked at her in confusion, and then realized she'd knocked her hip into the scissors on the table when Mrs. Marnelli had surprised them.
"No…not at all," Brad supplied quickly trying to come up with something to distract Mrs. Marnelli and hide the removed pig organ. "You know I think Danny needs your assistance. And he was the one who said your labs were easy as playing against a little league football team." That got to her.
Mrs. Marnelli's face bunched and she pursed her lips together with a sideways glance over at Danny, who was in fact playing with his scalpel, "Oh he did, did he?" she muttered and then she was gone from their table and Bard smirked when Danny jumped dropping the scalpel.
Brad turned to Audrey, "Are you okay?" He was hoping that the scissors hadn't broken skin and was pleased to see she wasn't biting her lips anymore but was pursing them instead and leaning against the table. She shook her head in response to his questions.
He watched her take a deep breath, "Let's just get this over with." Brad nodded and picked up the gallbladder and tried to pin it back down on the pig. It didn't go as planned and slipped out of his hand and fell onto the scissors. Reaching forward hand landed on the other side sending the pig organ into the air. It landed in Audrey's hair. He stiffened and closed his eyes. This wasn't going to go well.
"Audrey?" he said opening his eyes to turn and look at her. That was a mistake; he shouldn't have looked at her. Her blue eyes were big and wide in disbelief and now he felt bad. "I'll just get it…yeah," he muttered picking it out of her hair. He looked at her again and she looked ready to cry. "Awww Audrey, now don't do that," he pleaded, getting a paper towel and wiping off the formaldehyde. He glanced at her face again and cringed. I think I liked the almost in tears look better, he thought seeing as how the look she was giving him now promised pain.
"Don't touch anything," she said calmly as she turned and picked up the scalpel and made a forceful cut that went through its rib cage. He gulped, thankful that she hadn't stabbed him with the scalpel like that. Poor pig, he thought as he picked up the pins that looked like miniature flags with pig organs written on the paper and started labeling organs that she pointed out.
After class Audrey was cleaning the utensils while Brad disposed of the pig and cleaned the tray out. After the flying pig organs the dissection went by fairly smoothly and seeing Mrs. Marinelli getting onto Danny had been a sight. He placed the tray out to dry and picked up his book bag. "You ready?" he asked Audrey since it was last period of the day.
She placed the utensils up and walked over to him with her book bag in hand. "Yeah," she responded as they walked out of the classroom. She was about to say something but then knocked into Danny and ended up on the floor. Brad gave Danny a dry stare before helping Audrey off the floor.
"What do you want?" asked Brad after helping Audrey. This wasn't going to be good, he thought waiting to hear what Danny was going to complain about or threaten. He'd already told Audrey off for showing him up in their AP English class. Even thought Danny was a senior and a school favorite, he'd transferred from another school just last year and had already taken some of the senior classes, so he'd been moved into some of the other AP classes.
"You said something to Mrs. Marinelli," he stated frowning at the two, "Thanks to you two I have café duty for a month. I am very unpleased."
"Oohh," Audrey said dryly still brushing off her skirt and fixing her pleats, "So sorry that your highness has to do manual labor without people kissing your ass." Brad glanced over at Audrey and wanted to groan. She was just making things worse with the whole situation but she was right.
"Look I'm sorry that she caught you goofing off and decided to punish you for it," Brad said grabbing Audrey's arm, "But I can't help. It's your own fault and I would really like it if you'd stop threatening Audrey. We've already seen how well you stand up in class against her. I do believe Mrs. Guy couldn't stop laughing for the whole class period." He noted the color on Danny's face and made some effort not to start laughing. That was definitely a sore subject. "Come on Audrey," Brad said pulling on her arm and leading her down the hall to their lockers.
"I can't believe that guy," she said pulling her arm away from him. Brad rolled his eyes and opening his locker to get the books he needed for the weekend, and then waited for Audrey. He looked into her locker and shook his head. It was practically empty since she was taking all of her books home.
"Want some help?" he asked referring to her empty locker. She looked at him and shook her head. "Are you going to come to Ray's Dinner with us?" She looked at him skeptically and he frowned. "Audrey come on," he sighed, "Where do you go all the time? Can't you just go out with us like a normal student just once? Please?"
She looked like she was ready to crumble. She sighed and closed her locker and smiled, "Just this once." She followed him out of the school actually smiling. He nudged her and she started laughing. "You did see his face flare when you mentioned Mrs. Guy laughing at him?"
Brad smirked and nodded. "Yeah, and it was hilarious. So what do you do after school all the time?"
"My little secret," she said in a sing song voice as they walked out the front doors of the school and out into the street.
Brad sat in the booth close to the window trying to decide if he wanted a cheeseburger or a regular burger. He looked up from the menu and to his left where Audrey was looking wistfully as the root beer float advertisement sitting on the table.
"Are you ready to order?" asked the waitress. Brad glanced back to the menu and waited for Lenny and Paul, friends he'd known since fifth grade, to order. When they were done Brad ordered his burger and a coke. The waitress waited for a minute, looking at Audrey who didn't say anything, and placed the pencil and pad into her apron before walking away. Brad frowned.
"Ma'am," he called out to the retreating waitress. She stopped with a confused look and walked back to their table.
"Yes?" she asked pulling out her pad and pencil to make corrections to his order.
"I'd like a root beer float too," he replied sitting back and crossing her arms. He sneaked a glance over at Audrey and she was looking unsure at him, unsure of his motives.
"What?" he asked grinning at her. "I owed you for the flying pig organs."
Audrey shook her head rolling her eyes and smiled at him. This however got Lenny and Paul's attention. After telling the two what had happened in Advanced Biology and the little scuffle with Danny after class, both Brad and Audrey had to wait for Lenny and Paul to stop laughing before continuing the conversation.
"I can't believe that," Lenny said after calming down, "You know you really shouldn't provoke Danny like that."
Brad rolled his eyes, "Why are you so scared of him? He's a person not a god."
"Yeah but he's a senior, teachers love him, and he is a football star," Paul explained counting off on his fingers all of Danny's achievements.
Audrey snorted. "Danny's nothing but a bully," she said drumming her fingers on the table. "You shouldn't be scared of anyone."
"You know Audrey, I still cannot get over your accent," said a mesmerized Lenny. Brad pursed his lips and kicked his friend under the table. "Cut it out."
"See I told you," exclaimed Paul crossing his arms. Lenny nodded his head in agreement as he rubbed his shin. "Yeah, I see it now."
Audrey looked at them, confused. "See what?" she asked narrowing her eyes in suspicion. Brad leaned his head back, ignoring Lenny and Paul but unlike him Audrey was waiting not so patiently for an explanation. She seemed not to like being out of the loop when it dealt with her.
"Well…," Paul dragged on looking over at Lenny.
"Get on with it!" Audrey demanded. She was starting to look annoyed. Brad sighed and was thankful when the food arrived. He started eating but listened to Paul and Lenny anyways.
"Alright," Paul said defeated, "People around school are saying you two are dating. And what Brad did kind of proves what they are saying."
Audrey looked surprised and slid a shy glance over at Brad who was choking on his burger. She bit her lip and hit him on the back trying to help.
"What?!?" Brad practically yelled his eyes going wide, "Are you kidding? Me and her, Ha! That's a laugh." He sat back laughing and looked over at Audrey to see if she was laughing. He realized she wasn't. In fact she looked mad and then he realized that he must have sounded like a complete ass and had hurt her feelings in some way.
This confused him because they weren't dating and Oh, he realized when it dawned on him. She always seemed a little touchy on the subject of relationships and considering that she didn't have a mother to teach her how to be 'girly'. Shit, he thought as he felt her leave the seat.
"Well I can nip that rumor in the bud," she replied as she picked up the root beer float and poured it on him. He flinched but sat still as the sticky soda and cold ice cream dripped down his face and neck. Even though he wouldn't say it he felt like he did deserve it. When she walked away he picked up a napkin and wiped his face.
"Why is she talking to Danny?" asked Paul looking over near the door where Audrey had been stopped by Danny. "I thought she didn't like him?"
Brad turned in his seat and looked over at her. He stiffened as he overheard what they were talking about. She wouldn't, he thought growing angry.
"I was just wondering if you'd allow me to escort you to the dance tonight, as an apology," Danny said smiling at her as he flipped his light blonde hair. Brad wanted to punch him. Audrey surely couldn't agree would she? She turned to look him in the eye and gave him a smug expression and turned back to Danny.
She smiled sweetly to Danny and, "Yeah, I'll go with you." Brad's face darkened and he hadn't even realized he'd picked up a spoon and bent it.
"You okay?" asked Paul wary of him.
"I'm fine," he muttered throwing the spoon down. He dug through his back pocket and pulling out enough money to cover his bill and left the dinner.
As Brad walked from the dinner to his house he recieved quite a few stares. Of course he'd stare too if he saw a man walking down the street with ice cream in his hair and a large root beer stain on his white button up shirt. He picked at his uniform shirt, which was now stained light brown, and cursed.
"Mom's going to murder me," he muttered but didn't really care. He walked up the familiar stairs of his house and briefly glanced to the right, spotting Audrey's house only two houses down. He looked at the top floor window on the side of the house, which he knew to be her room. His brows furrowed and his lips pursed and he quickly opened the door and slammed it shut as he walked into the hall.
"Brad?" he heard his mother call. He'd normally answer but instead he continued up the stairs to his room. He dropped his book bag on the floor and shed his pants and slid out of his shirt and undershirt throwing them in his hamper. He fell face first sprawled out on his bed and closed his eyes. The conversation between himself and Audrey earlier that day kept playing over in his mind.
"So are you going to the dance?" he asked as they were walking to lunch. He glanced over at her and saw a flash of sorrow fill her eyes.
"No," she said giving him a disbelieving look. "Why would I want to waste my time dressing up and putting on high heels that were invented by a man so women wouldn't run away from the?."
He winced at her tone of voice. 'Maybe I shouldn't have asked,' he thought as he continued to listen to her rant. He watched her as they sat down at the table and waited for the lunch line to die down. And even though she was protesting wildly about how insignificant the dance was he felt that it did mean something to her and that she did want to go. He knew she didn't have a mother and that might contribute to the fact that she wasn't going. She most likely didn't know how to get ready for a dance. Hell she probably didn't even have a dress. She really did need her mother and she sucked it up and pretended that she didn't. It was then that he realized that Audrey had trouble speaking up about what she wanted.
"I don't want to go either," he said cutting her off. He looked at her knowingly and she gave him a slight smile.
"Brad!" boomed the voice of his father. He was startled awake so quickly that he fell off his bed.
His room was now darker and he looked at the clock sitting on his bed side table and it read six p.m. "Must have fallen asleep," he yawned, picking himself off the floor to pull on some pants and a shirt. "What?" he yelled opening the door and looking down the stairs.
"Come take out the trash," replied his father. Brad sighed as he walked down the stairs. Of course his father couldn't do it he was most likely sitting in his recliner and drinking a beer watching T.V. He was proved right when he heard the T.V come on with an audience clapping at the sit com.
Audrey looked in the mirror and bit her lip as she looked over the dress her mother had made her before she'd died. Audrey wiped at her eyes and refused to cry again. When she'd pulled the dress out of the back of her closet she'd shed tears as she remembered her mother. The dress was a simple elegant navy blue satin dress with a matching satin shawl.
The dress had one strap on her right shoulder and swooped down and tightened around her torso and flowed out at the bottom. She wiped at the dress one more time before fixing up her hair into a clip and curling the bands to frame her face. She pulled out a box that held silver high heel shoes and laced them on her feet and looked in the full length mirror, still worried.
"Maybe I shouldn't have done that," she thought aloud, "This was a bad idea." Then she remembered what Brad had said and she steeled her features and marched down stairs.
Her father was waiting in the living room. "You look just like your mother," he said smiling at her. Audrey smiled at him for an awkward moment and her father coughed and Audrey noticed that he had something in his hands.
"What's that?" she asked pointing to his hands.
"This was your mother/s," he said opening the black velvet box, "I think you should wear them." He showed her what was in the box and she almost started crying again. It was her mother's favorite necklace and earrings. Her father placed the necklace around her neck and Audrey put the ear rings into her ears. "You looked beautiful," remarked her father as he stepped back.
"Thanks dad," she said smiling at him. There moment was shattered when a car horn honked from outside. "That's my ride," she said picking up a small black purse and heading out the door. "
Audrey," he said before she left the house, "Don't forget to get a picture, we can put it on your mother's grave when we visit." Audrey nodded and checked herself in the hall mirror, making sure everything was perfect before she walked out onto the porch.
Audrey walked towards the sidewalk and saw Danny's car a little further down. She stopped thinking he'd come by to pick her up and smiled when the car started to drive towards her slowly. She wasn't expecting three guys to pop out of different windows and throw what looked like balloons at her. They burst was they hit her, covering her with gooey substances.
She pulled her hands up and covered her face as tears welled at her eyes. She saw flashes of light, meaning that they had a camera. She heard tires squeal, and the laughter soon died down and she held her hands out and looked at her mother's dress. She let out a choked cry and looked back towards the house. She knew she couldn't go back in there looking like this. Instead she hid in the bushes on the side of the house. She sniffed at the goo, made a disgusted face, and continued to cry.
That was how Brad found her when he took out the trash. He'd walked out to the end of the drive way and dumped the trash into the garbage can and had looked over at Audrey's house and spotting her in the bushes.
"Serves her right," he muttered. He turned to go back into the house and leave her there; he knew he should but he just couldn't do it to her. He sighed and walked over to her house and squatted down in front of her.
"What is that smell?" he asked making a gagging sound, "I hope that isn't your perfume." He dodged a punch and grinned. "Come on," he said, helping her up and taking her over to his mother.
"I don't want her to see me like this!" she exclaimed trying to break free from his hold. Brad tightened his grip on her arm and brought her to the back door and into the kitchen. His mother was busy making dinner and hadn't turned to look at them. Audrey gave him a pleading look but he just shook his head and cleared his throat.
"Mom," he said, "Audrey needs your help." His mother turned from the stove where she was making spaghetti and gasped.
"Awww, honey what happened?" she asked, going over the girl and sweeping her off to her bathroom to help fix her up. "Brad, watch the supper." Brad looked at the pot of noodles.
A while later his mother came out to fix plates and set only two of them on the table. "Mom?" he asked, looking at the plates.
"You have to have dinner before you go, and you should go get dressed," his mother said fixing the table up for them. Brad looked at his mother in disbelief, but gave in when his mother gave him 'that' look.
Sighing, he went up stairs and pulled on a nice shirt, pants and a navy blue tie to match Audrey's dress. He came back down and Audrey still wasn't out. "She okay in there?" he asked as he sat down at the table.
"She's almost ready," his mother said putting the sauce on the noodles. Brad felt someone staring at him as his mother left the kitchen. He turned, glad that he was sitting down.
"You look better," he said smiling at her. She wiped at the dress, which was now dry and cleaned from the nasty smelling goo that had been on it earlier.
"Thanks," she muttered sitting down next to him. She had gotten cleaned up and her hair was fixed. He sniffed and looked at her.
"You smell like sugar cookies, I like sugar cookies," he said giving her a wolfish grin, "Definitely smells better than what you were wearing earlier."
She sat down at the table and folded her hands over her lap, "Your mom used vanilla extract as a perfume after I nearly died when she tried to spray me with her perfume," she said looking down at her plate.
Brad waited for her to tell him what happened and sighed when she didn't volunteer that information, "Are you going to tell me what happened?"
Audrey bit her lip and picked up her fork, pushing the noodles around on her plate as Brad started to eat. "It was just a big prank," she explained in a deflated voice, "I shouldn't have said yes anyways." She dropped her fork on the plate and looked over at him. "You don't have to go," she said softly. Brad looked over at her with a fork in his mouth and he shook his head.
"Not getting out of this that easily," he replied and nudged her with his elbow. "Hurry up, we'll be late." Audrey nudged him back and started eating as well. And even though neither had said 'sorry' it was understood. Brad knew more about Audrey then he'd thought. She was easily embarrassed and was touchy about not being like the other girls; he on the other hand happened to like her like that. She wasn't falling over anyone's feet and didn't beat around the bush on the problem.
Brad's dad drove them to the dance with little argument from his wife. It was either take them to the dance or no alone time with his wife tonight. That wasn't something he was willing to give up so here he was dropping his son and his date off at the school. "Bye, have fun and don't do anything I wouldn't do," Brad's father called out as the door was shut and he drove back to the house. Brad held out his arm for Audrey, who took it as they walked into the school gym.
"Brad," she said uncertainly straightening her dress for what he'd counted for the fifteenth time since they'd left the house. "Are you sure this is a good idea? I think they might have taken pictures of the 'accident'."
Brad tugged at her arm, "Not chickening out on me are you?" She scowled at him and held her head high as they walked into the gym. The theme of the homecoming dance was 'Under the Sea.' The gym was decorated in dark blues and sea foam greens with banners strewn about in support of the football team. "Art classes did a pretty good job," Brad said as he looked around at the gym newly turned into a magical underwater world.
"You sound surprised," she replied as she looked around as well, but she wasn't looking at the decorations, she was spotting out people. Brad followed her gaze and landed on Danny sitting at a table surrounded by a few people.
"Don't let him get to you," he muttered leading her towards where Lenny and Paul were standing. He stopped short when she stood her ground and almost toppled over until he had he let go.
"Brad, he took pictures," she said, her accent more pronounced. He looked over at the table then at her pleading face. His brain kept telling him, no, it wouldn't be that bad if people saw the picture. He looked at Audrey again and knew he had to do something. She was definitely the type of person who would be extremely upset over people seeing that picture. She looked at things like a mechanic, controlling every part in her projects just like she had taken taking control of the dissection. Not that he had minded, but she was definitely a strange girl and was counting on him. Damn, he thought, knowing a doomed man when he saw one- unfortunately the doomed man was… him.
"Alright," he sighed, letting go of her arm and strolling over to where Danny sat. Danny looked up grinning as Brad approached; his grin fell however when he saw Audrey with her head high and perfectly spotless calmly stroll up behind him. "Just give me the camera," Brad said highly annoyed at the situation. And Danny was a senior; you'd think childish things were beneath him….
"What camera?" asked Danny feigning innocence, "And if I did have embarrassing pictures I'd post them up all around school."
…..apparently not, he thought sighing. "Look, you've had your fun so why not do the mature grown up thing and give me the camera?" It looked like Danny was going to follow reason and hive him the camera but some moron from the back decided to speak up and said, "Why not play him for it?"
Brad wanted to strangle whoever it was, because Danny seemed to like that idea better. Brad looked back at Audrey and she looked as if she was either A. going to have a heart attack or B. murder someone. If Brad hadn't been so sure that Audrey's murderous eyes would turn on him he'd make a comment on how her mood swings were off the scale.
"What game?" asked Brad after debating the merit of just punching Danny out and taking the camera by force.
"Poker," replied Danny, smirking and rightly should since Brad had never played the game. This could turn out bad but he figured he had nothing to lose and Danny didn't know he'd never played before.
"Poker it is," he replied in a confident and easy going voice. He caught Audrey's eyes and she looked at him skeptically before sitting at the table next to him.
"Do you even know how to play poker?" Audrey whispered in his ear. That was a loaded question and he wasn't sure if he should tell her or not, so he stayed quiet. She must have figured it out because he heard her suck in her breath and her facial expression was a mix of annoyance and horror. But she scooted closer to him, which he found to be odd behavior for her. He was brought out of his thoughts when Danny spoke again.
"You've got something of value, don't you?" asked Danny. Brad begrudgingly pulled out his wallet and the money his father had given him so he wouldn't come home to early; his dad apparently wanted some extra time with his mother. He empted his wallet and didn't quite make a hundred dollars. Danny grinned and was about to say something, Brad figured it to be something smug by the look of his face, but Audrey put something on the table and looked Brad in the eyes.
"You'd better win," she said removing her hand and revealing her mother's diamond necklace. Brad let out a steady breath as he now had something very big to lose and nodded at Audrey's smirk.
"Ready, Danny boy?" Brad asked in confidently even though his stomach was filled with butterflies. A deck of cards were produced and a senior named Morgan sat at the table in between Danny and Brad. Morgan shuffled the deck and let Brad cut it before he dealt out the cards to each player.
"This is regular poker," said Danny picking up the cards that were dealt to him. Brad picked up his cards as well. Well this has to be good, he thought as Audrey peered at them and leaned in closer to him.
"Poker is easy once you pick it up," she whispered, "Don't look at him. Keep your eyes on the cards and I'll try to help any way I can." Brad looked down at his cards and then at the dealer who was asking Danny to start the bet.
"How do you know how to play?" he whispered, quickly glancing at her. This was definitely something new- and if she knew how to play then why the hell was he sitting here with the cards?
"I don't," she replied, "I've only seen my dad and a few of his buddies play. I have an idea on what beats what and that's it. Plus I don't like games of chance or gambling." He snorted at her and was drawn back to the game when Danny threw in some money along with the camera.
Brad picked up the cards as they were dealt and tilted them so Audrey could have a peek. He felt her hand on his leg and almost jumped out of his seat. What the hell is she trying to do? he thought as he looked over at her. She wasn't even looking at him but was tapping three fingers on his thigh. He looked back at his cards. He gave her a confused look and she glared back at him. He looked at her fingers on his thigh then at his cards. He had a three of Clubs, six of Spades, nine of Hearts, Ace of Spades and Ace of Clubs in his hand. He had five…Oh! Her fingers represented the cards in his hand. He glanced back down at her hand and saw she was tapping her pinky, ring, and fore finger. So what did the tapping mean?
He looked back up at Danny, who was concentrating on his cards. The tapping on his leg became harder. Scowling he glanced over at her. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Danny lay down two cards and the dealer deal out two to replace Danny's cards. Her tapping increased and he nodded his head. Taking the three cards from the left- the three of Clubs, six of Spades and, nine of Hearts- he sent them face down and waited. Audrey's tapping stopped.
The dealer put Brad's discarded cards in a pile with Danny's and dealt out one card at a time. Brad picked it up and then showed it to Audrey. Placing the two of Clubs with his two other Aces he then picked up the next card. It was an Ace of Diamonds. He again showed it to Audrey. Her eyes widened before she masked her face. Brad's eyebrows scrunched together as he tried to figure out what made her change so quickly. Shaking his head he picked up the last card and put it in his hand. He might not know all the rules of poker but he had a good feeling about the card he just picked up. He glanced up at Danny, who was grinning like a Cheshire cat.
"Ready?" asked Danny who put the camera in the middle of the table.
"By all means, you first," Brad answered nonchalantly and pushed the money and necklace to the center as well. He still hadn't shown Audrey what the last card was and could feel her pinching his leg.
Danny took his time to lay his cards down. Brad supposed Danny was trying to make them anxious and nervous. Audrey must have felt it because her whole hand was now squeezing his thigh and her fingernails were digging into his muscle. He winced and looked at the table where Danny's cards were being laid down. He had a six of Spades, seven of Spades, eight of Spades, nine of Spades, and a ten of Spades. Around the table breaths were indrawn and a few chuckles were heard. One of Danny's friends clapped him on the back in a congratulating manner. Danny how ever was staring straight at Brad daring him to even try to beat him.
Brad yawned, unfazed by Danny's stare, and felt Audrey tighten her hold on his leg. She obviously didn't like waiting or maybe she didn't like how he seemed unaffected by it all. Whatever the case he was pretty sure there were going to be bruises there tomorrow.
"Well?" promoted Danny with a smug face.
Brad laid down the two then the other four cards one at a time. The crowd tensed as he laid down the Ace of Clubs. Then the Ace of Spades, there were a few uneasy shuffles. An Ace of Diamonds, Danny's grin was starting to fade along with Audrey's death grip. Brad grinned mockingly at Danny as he held the last card in his hand and slowly put it on the table. Brad leaned back with a half grin as Danny looked in disbelief. There was silence around the table.
"Can't believe it," muttered someone in an awe filled voice.
"I've never seen this before," another said from behind Brad.
"He must be extremely lucky."
Brad glanced at Audrey. She couldn't speak; her eyes were wide as her mouth opened slowly. Brad nudged her and reached over the table, picking up the camera and necklace. Audrey still hadn't moved. Shaking his head Brad placed the camera in his pants pocket and stood up. He placed the necklace around Audrey's neck and clasped it back on before helping her stand. She rose slowly still staring in shock at the last card- the Ace of Hearts.
"Nice doing business with you," he said as he placed Audrey's arm in his. "See you in class. Come on Audrey." Audrey followed him and absentmindedly fingered her mother's necklace. "So should we dance?" he asked when a slow song started to play.
Audrey smiled and threw her arms around him. "Thanks," she whispered before pulling away.
"Should I take that as a yes?" he grinned. She laughed as he lead her out to the dance floor and placed his hands on his hips as hers wrapped around his neck.
"You don't know how much all this means…"
"I think I do," he said cutting her off. "So now you're safe from embarrassment." He patted his pant pocket where the camera was. "And we're going to have to watch out for Danny because he'll most likely want revenge. And I've saved you…humm…I don't know at least four times. So do I get a kiss or what?"
She took a minute to think about it before answering "maybe." Brad groaned and wondered if he could play the pity card since he was sure he had bruises on his thigh from her fingernails.
"Brad," she sighed and looked back up at him. "I know this sounds petty, but I want to embarrass Danny like he did me. Make him pay."
Brad nodded, "Understandable." He was just going to remember never to get on her bad side. They continued to dance and Brad noticed Danny leaving along with several seniors and a few other lowerclassmen. Most likely going to a party, he thought as his eyes shifted around the room.
Audrey looked up when she felt Brad stiffen. "What's wrong?"
He gulped and moved them more towards the opposite side of the gym. "Mrs. Marinelli," he replied as he began dancing again.
"Oh," Audrey nodded and smiled shyly. "You don't think she found out about the pig, do you?"
"No, I'm sure she didn't. I just didn't want her staring at us the whole night."
"Scared?" she asked with amusement ringing in her voice.
Brad looked down at Audrey who was grinning. "No." She giggled and he frowned and looked around the gym once again. His eyes fell on Lenny. He was pouring himself some punch and the paper cup must have had a hole in it. Brad chuckled as Lenny's shirt was stained with blue punch. Brad stopped in mid laugh and smirked.
"So how badly do you want that revenge?"
"Lenny just gave me an idea for that revenge you want."
"What?" she asked clearly not getting what he was telling her.
Brad looked around and lowered his head. "Do you remember what Mrs. Marinelli was teaching about last Monday?"
"Yeah, it was about skin pigiments. It's what makes us our skin color," she answered, looking at him as if he'd lost his mind. "What does this have to do with anything?"
"How do you think Danny would look in blue skin?"
"Oh!" she exclaimed then began laughing. "I like the idea but how will we dye his skin?"
Brad pursed his lips in a sideways frown. "Didn't actually think about that part yet." Both fell silent as the though about what do to next.
"I have an idea," Audrey whispered. "We might get in big trouble though."
"Well where's the fun without the trouble?" Brad asked as he followed Audrey out of the gym and into the street. One quick supermarket stop later and they were standing outside of a small air field with a few crop dusters along with small personal planes.
Brad couldn't believe his eyes. "So this is where you've been going after school?"
She looked away shyly. "Yeah, well not all the time. It's just a hobby but I like mechanic work, and Mr. Joseph lets me help out and teaches me things along the way."
"And this is how we're going to spray Danny with the dye?"
"Yeap, we'll just borrow one of the crop dusters."
"Won't that spray everyone at Danny's party?" Brad asked.
"Well, I said we'd get into some trouble, but you should be able to center it on one spot."
Brad looked over at Audrey who was glancing around as if someone was going to spot them. He caught her eye and smirked. "Who wants to be popular anyways?"
Audrey's lips twitched before she took a calming breath and started to climb up the chain link fence in her dress.
"Are you going to be able to get over in that?" he asked as he followed up after her.
"I'll manage," she huffed as she started to lift herself over the top of the fence being careful not to rip her dress. When they'd gotten over the fence Brad followed Audrey to a small hanger where an old beat up crop duster was sitting. She turned on a few lights in the hanger and Brad got a good look at it.
"Well, that doesn't look foreboding," he muttered dryly as he walked around taking note of the rust and a few small holes in the body of the planes.
"It'll be fine," Audrey assured him as she rummaged through a drawer. "Just need to find the keys and check the gas tank. You've still go the dye right?"
Brad held up the grocery bag and shook it. "All here, but this still looks a little iffy."
Audrey paused. "We don't have…"
"Nope, we aren't backing out of this. We're already here anyways."
Audrey nodded and held up the keys. "I don't want to start it till we are on the runway."
Brad agreed and stood there watching her check the plane. "Anything I can do?" he asked.
"Umm," she muttered looking around. "You can pour the dye into the sprayer."
Brad rolled his eyes and took the dye out of the bag and started pouring it into the vat where the pesticide normally went. Then a thought occurred to him. "Audrey, you know how to fly don't you?"
"Yeah, I've been up a few times." He continued to watch her then shook his head as he began to help her push the small plane out onto the runway. Ace looked around the inside as Audrey messed with the dashboard and answered the occasional question Brad asked about what she was doing. He couldn't help it, this was interesting to him.
"Ready?" she asked as she buckled in and started the plane. It didn't start at once but slowly after the third try the engine rumbled to life. Ace gripped the dashboard as his stomach came to life with doubts and unease. Take off was easily done, although his stomach felt like it had been flipped and he felt like he was going to throw up. Once the plane had leveled out and his stomach settled he looked out the window and began to enjoy the feeling, the excitement and the view. It was more peaceful and easy going up here than down on the ground.
"The view up here is amazing!" he exclaimed as he pressed his face against the glass looking down at all the lights.
"Yeah." Audrey's voice came out weakly. Brad kept looking from the front window to the one on his side.
"Brad," her voice sounded strained. "Could you stop moving like that?" He was making the plain wobble slightly. He huffed and sat back in his seat. "Also, we don't know where Danny lives."
"I do," he replied grinning. "I picked up a flyer when we left the dance. Someone dropped it."
Audrey snorted. "More like you sweet talked it from some girl's hand."
"You break my heart," he fake pouted.
"Someone has to, your ego is already too inflated and it's only the beginning of high school."
He cracked a smile. "He lives about four blocks from us, in the Grey Stone neighborhood."
"Those are the mansion-like houses, right?"
"Yeap. This is going to be great."
"I'm going to be in so much trouble. How did I let you talk me into this?" She whined.
"Too little too late."
"Alright, go ahead and get ready. I'll fly over once so you can spot him then again so you can dump it on him."
Brad nodded, thinking that Audrey was acting a little peculiar. She looked a bit pale as well and had a death grip on the control stick. "Get ready," she shouted over the roar of the engines.
"Right," he said springing into action. He moved to the back of the small plan and looked out of the small square shaped opening in the floor. The sprayer was attached to the floor in front of the hole and the nozzle was sticking out of the opening. Leaning down he spotted the party and lucky for them it was outside. Brad grinned wickedly as he spotted Danny.
"I see him, Audrey," he yelled over the noise.
"Okay, I'll get as close as I can."
Brad grabbed onto the side of the pane as Audrey took a sharp turn. When he gob his balance back he manually turned on the sprayer. Pointing the nozzle down at Danny he pulled the release button and all hell broke loose. People started screaming and running for the house. Decorations were ripped and tables were turned over in the pandemonium. Brad smirked and waved to Danny, who was now tinted blue.
"I'll get you both for this!" Danny yelled trying to wipe the blue substance off. Brad laughed and carefully climbed his way back to the front of the plane and smiled as the engines droned out the shrieks from the party below them. He sat down in the passenger seat and buckled himself back in.
"Mission accomplished," he said, grinning as he leaned back and placed his arms behind his head. Audrey didn't say anything. She had both hands on the control stick and she was breaking heavily. Brad tensed as his grin slowly fell away along with his arms, which dropped to clutch the seat. Fear started to build in the pit of his stomach. Something was wrong.
"Audrey?" he asked doing his beast not to panic.
"Brad, this was a bad idea." Her voice was barely a whispered and tears were filling her eyes. "I shouldn't have let us do this."
"What's wrong? Is it the plane?"
"No," she said, her voice now strained and high pitched. "The plane is fine…it's me."
"What do you mean you?" he asked confused. He noticed the landing strip out of the corner of his eye. Good, this way they wouldn't plummet to death; they could land. He was starting to become less panicked.
"Brad," Audrey said taking a deep breath as she stared at the runway eye wide with fear. "I can't land."
"What do you mean-" he yelled.
"I mean I can't land, can not land. My father has always taken over because…" she yelled cutting him off.
"Because what, Audrey!!"
"I'm scared of heights, okay. Happy now?"
"Hell no!" he bellowed, panic clearly in his voice. "What are we going to do?"
"Just stop yelling!" she shouted back at him. "Sorry, Brad. I shouldn't have let us do this."
"Yeah, you think?" he expelled in a harsh breath. Dead man walking took on a new meaning at the moment. His mind was filled with images of what could happen and he didn't like the one where they were pancakes.
The landing strip was approaching fast. Brad wildly looked around the small plane for anything that could help. "Parachutes?" he asked the moment the thought came into his mind.
"There aren't any," Audrey gulped and her hands started to shake violently.
Brad looked out at the landing strip that they were going to crash into unless something happened. Without thinking he shoved Audrey's hands away and grabbed the stick.
"Audrey, listen to me," he said more calmly then he felt. "I need you to tell me how to do this. Just close your eyes and tell me how your dad does it."
Audrey let out a low shriek as her hands clutched the seat. "You…you have to push the control stick slowly and try to keep…" she chocked on a sob. "Keep the plane level."
Brad nodded and started to push down on the stick. His eyes focused on the runway below them. He could definitely see why she'd be afraid of doing this. Seeing yourself crash down below was not a pretty sight. He tightened his grip on the control stick as the plane wobbled. Steeling his face he gritted his teeth in determination.
Not going to end like this, was his only thought as the plane bumped against the ground. He was so focused on what he was doing he never heard Audrey scream. The plane bumped a few more times till they were just rolling on the ground, but they weren't stopping. He looked over the dashboard and didn't see anything that would help. His mind was racing as he pulled back on the control stick a little. The plane began to slow.
When the plane stopped Brad let go of the control stick in a mixture of shock and excitement. Audrey looked like she was going to throw up as her shaky hand grabbed onto Brad's arm. They sat there for a few minutes before rushing to get out of the plane in case it decided to move again. Once touching ground both collapsed next to each other neither one said anything. Brad had leaned back against the wheel of the plane and Audrey, not being able to hold herself up, had fallen against him.
Brad's mind was still reeling over what had happened and in between the fear and shock, there was excitement and pleasure. He liked flying, he loved the rush of adrenaline it was better then anything he'd ever done before. "That was…. incredible," he whispered.
Audrey looked up at him sharply as if she couldn't believe what he'd just said. She studied his face before breaking out into nervous laughter. "Damn me if you aren't an Ace."
"What?" he asked smiling at her as she leaned back against his side. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and stretched his legs out next to hers.
"An Ace," she repeated taking steady breaths. "First you win at a game you'd never played before and now you're flying like you were born to do it. Your landing wasn't as smooth as my dad's but, you got us down in one piece. You're a natural, not only because of what you did but hell, Brad, you even liked it." She looked away from him. "I think I'm going to be sick."
"Ace," he muttered grinning, "I like that. And please do not throw up; I don't think I could stand seeing that."
"You're an ass," she mumbled leaning her head back on his arm.
"So what about you, Movie Star?" he asked smirking.
"Movie Star?" she asked an eyebrow rising.
"Yeah, not only because of your first name but hell anything like this ever happen in real life before?"
"Well…no, I mean I happen to get into accidents all the time," she explained, but frankly she agreed with him. This whole thing was too unreal and she wasn't sure if she'd be able to keep up with him. If stunts of this magnitude kept happening they wouldn't even have to worry about Danny's threats.
"My point exactly," he said smugly. He looked down at her and noticed she was biting her lip worriedly. "What now?"
"My dad wanted pictures for my mother's grave," she said sighing. Brad's lips pursed, then he remembered something. He reached into his pants pocket and pulled out the camera and held it out at arms length.
"Say cheese," he said, pulling her closer to him and pressing the side of his face against hers. She snorted but smiled as he snapped the picture.
"We are going to be in big trouble at school on Monday," she said, resting her head on his shoulder. Brad jostled her as he put the camera back into his pants pocket before looking back over at her.
"How much you want to bet we get detention?" he asked with a sideways smile.
Audrey rolled her eyes. "There ain't any betting about it. I know we are."
"That's alright, Movie Star," he said squeezing her. "It was well worth it and plus you won't be in detention alone."
Definitely worth it," Audrey agreed, and they both started laughing, neither really caring. Since they hadn't died that night, detention was definitely the lesser of the two evils.