A study session. At the library. That's all it was. Just some time spent poring over an old book with Phineas for their English class. Perhaps, in an earlier time, Isabella would have felt a joy of some sort. Butterflies in her stomach. A warmth and a quickening of her own heartbeat, a fantasy of romance and pastel colors.
Of course, that would have been in an earlier time.
Now. She was in the now. Where Phineas' warmest smile was directed at his phone for the moment, where later on that evening it would be directed at another girl. A girl who Phineas was sure he was in love with. A girl who wasn't Isabella.
The phone buzzed for the twenty-fourth time that evening and Phineas quickly read the message and sent back a message. A warm smile and foggy eyes settled on his face and he, for the twenty-third time, returned his attention to the pack of worksheets.
"Number twenty-three right?" Phineas flipped through the book, trying to find the answers.
Isabella nodded, "Right. The symbolism of the cat."
Phineas read the passage with mumbling lips before he closed the small, musty book, "The cat is all about how Zeena is an ever present presence in Ethan's and Mattie's life-"
The phone buzzed again. Twenty-five times.
Isabella tried really hard not to look at Phineas again. Tried really hard to put pencil to paper and write down the answer. Ignore the feeling of bile rising, the roiling of her stomach and the headache and the tunneling vision and the wicked thoughts about a girl she did not really know and the guilt that came with it and the possessive, lustful thoughts...
Isabella stood up and closed the book, "Why don't we work on this later, Phineas?" Picking up her purple jacket and shrugging it on, She walked out of the room at a brisk pace, flipping her phone out of the pocket of her jacket. A group message was sent out to the older members of the Fireside Girls, if anyone could come pick her up and could they please hurry.
Phineas jogged to catch up with the quick girl, "Are you sure? We have to turn it in before winter break and that's in three days."
Isabella pushed the double doors open and stepped out into the cold evening air. Small snowflakes were beginning to fall in the gray twilight, piling on top of the slush blanket that had settled the night before. The clouds were a solid mass of wet concrete in the sky. Isabella's phone buzzed in the pocket of her jacket. Once. Someone had agreed to pick her up and the others did not respond now that the situation was taken care of.
Isabella stopped on the curb of the sidewalk leading into the parking lot of the library. There were only a handful of cars. Nobody wanted to be out in such dreadful weather.
"I'm sure. The absolute worst thing that could happen would be me copying Adyson's answers. She has a knack for all the useless things. Like thematic studies."
Phineas grinned, "And she copies your history homework and you both copy Gretchen's programming work, and then the three of you copy Holly's Trig homework. Is there any work you Fireside Girls don't copy from each other?"
Isabella smiled, her earlier symptoms disappearing, "Ceramics. We just make Milly do all of our work in there. And she, in turn, gets the answers to Civics from Ginger. We work as unit."
Phineas rolled his eyes in a good-natured way and smiled, "My best friend and her Girl Scouts. Master criminals. Do you need a ride? Ferb will be here soon, I'm sure he wouldn't-"
Buzz number twenty-six. Isabella's previous symptoms returned.
Jealousy is an overpowering emotion. It takes over the affected person in a way that overrides common sense, destroys whatever emotional filter is usually in place. A temporary fit of madness, if you will.
At least that what Isabella would tell herself later that night, when she was curled up in her bed trying to forget her actions. But that would be later that night.
In this moment, she grabbed Phineas by the collar of his blue sweater and brought their faces together, separated by mere centimeters. Her conscience kicked in then, reminded her that Phineas was not hers and was with someone else. Later that night, she would both thank and curse her conscience. Thank it for stopping her from making a mistake. Curse it for making a very awkward situation arise.
Thankfully, a car that looked as if though it was only held together by the will of God and duct tape, but mostly duct tape, screamed and puttered down the street only to slide into place in front of Phineas and Isabella, who quickly let go of the redhead and slid over the rusted hood of the car to jump into the front passenger seat. She knew it would be empty.
Isabella always rode shotgun. It was her right as the leader.
She nodded in greeting to the three girls, Adyson, the only person insane, some would say idiotic, to slide into a parking spot in the middle of winter, Gretchen, who looked slightly green shared the backseat with a stack of comic books and a rather blue-tinted Katie.
Adyson leaned out the window and waved quickly to Phineas before peeling out, shouting something which sounded suspiciously like 'Chow Time!'. Phineas hesitantly waved back, trying to process what had just happened. Phineas...girls confused him.
Isabella rested her head against the cool window of the car and tried to ignore the ridiculous sugary rock song blasting out of the car's radio. Something about not saying they're crazy. Closing her eyes, she tried to calm down her mind.
Katie tapped Adyson's shoulder, "Could you please turn on the heater? It's freezing in here!"
Adyson rolled her eyes, "No way. It's, like, the perfect amount of cool in here. In fact, I bet we can go twenty percent more. Maybe if you didn't wear that Catholic Schoolgirl Outfit and wore decent clothing, you wouldn't be freezing."
Katie blushed, "You know that it's the suggested outfit for school."
Gretchen snorted, "Suggested doesn't mean it's right, no one else wears the 'suggested outfit'. That outfit you so demurely wear has to be one of the most fetishized out there. Adyson should still turn on the heat because it's, in her vernacular, 'cold as balls'."
Adyson slowed down at a red light, tapping her fingers on the wheel, she hummed, "Y'know, Gretch is right."
"About it being cold?" Katie asked with hope in her voice.
Adyson gunned the car through the intersection the moment the light turned green, "What? No! About the outfit. Now that I've thought about it-"
"All of two seconds," snarked Gretchen.
"Now that I've thought about it, you should totally wear that all the time." Adyson shot an, what she thought was, award-winning smile through the rearview mirror at Katie.
"I assume that is why Adyson doesn't need heat," Gretchen massaged her temples. Beside her, Katie was thoroughly intrigued by her hands.
Isabella, coming out of her stupor, quickly turned on the heat and slumped back in her whispered a thanks and Isabella grunted in response. The rest of the ride was heavy with silence. In that moment, Isabella had shown her more angry nature. A nature which had a tendency of saying some rather mean things if handled incorrectly.
So the rest of the ride was done in silence.
A tray of sandwiches and fries plopped down on the plastic table and the four teenaged girls sat down with it.
"So," Adyson popped a fry into her mouth, "You done emo'ing all over the group?"
Gretchen unwrapped her sandwich, lettuce on a bun, "You have absolutely no tact." She poked the lettuce, it didn't seem fresh.
Katie kicked Adyson lightly under the table. "Gee, Katie, this is not the time to be playing footsi-OW! My shins!"
Katie smiled at Isabella, "What Adyson means is, are you okay? You know we're here for you."
Gretchen re-wrapped the lettuce sandwich, "If you're worried about Phineas, you shouldn't be."
Adyson bit into her sandwich, a triple-decker with cheese, bacon, and chili, "Yeah, she's not a succubi, or anything. We background checked her."
Gretchen interjected, "Morally she checks out. Not even a detention."
"She can also pull off a leotard very we-OW! What did I do?" Adyson winced in pain.
"What do you mean, leotard?" Katie glared at the self-proclaimed ace.
"It was background checking!"
"Overall, this girl, Anna,has no major flaws. No vices. Nothing. I mean, she's also extremely boring. She's not great at anything," Gretchen popped a fry into her mouth, "She just is."
Adyson ignored her shin pain and asked, "Do you want us to do something about her? Three heavy stones will keep it from floating. Weigh it down to the bottom. Food for the fishes. And I know it won't be discovered, because I will be careful. So very careful."
"What if it doesn't rain for days and the river is reduced to its muddy bed?" Asked Gretchen.
"With the corpse exposed I would work in haste and I might bury the bones in a shallow grave." Answered Adyson, with a cadence that suggested she wasn't serious.
"And the rain comes and moves rocks and the stones, washes away all the dirt and the mud flows. Bones are exposed and, well, you know how that goes!" Retorted Gretchen in the same cadence.
Isabella chuckled. She appreciated the attempt at comedy, dark as it was. She would try to enjoy it, because something told her that later that night she wouldn't be up for laughing.
Well, here is my once a year update. I really wanted to write something, and it came out angsty and emolike. I am so obviously in the holiday season. That last part about the corpse was a direct ripoff from Voltaire's Ex-lover's Lover. Go hear it. Now.