"Where's Chris?" Sara asked worriedly, then looked towards Mom. "You did invite him for dinner, didn't you?"
"That I did." Mom nodded patiently, "But it is his choice whether he wants to come or not, you know."
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes again and accidentally caught Grandma's gaze. She looked knowingly at me and I sighed. "He's with Stubby. They're both coming in a little while. Hopefully the paparazzi won't come and take pictures or videos and show them on national television or something."
"Eee!" Sara screeched excitedly, dragging AJ along as she ran off towards her room.
Grandma shook her head in amusement at the two, then turned to me. "How was bowling, dear?"
I smiled at the recent memory. Beating the two boys at bowling and singing a stupid Christopher Wilde song with the Chris Wilde was more fun than I had anticipated. Being at the bowling alley made me notice how much I really did miss Stubby and- dare I say- Chris. Even better, I hadn't had to pay a cent. Hanging out with a rich rockstar really did have its benefits. The only downside was the very real possibility of a Sara-and-AJ-led disaster when the boys came over for dinner.
Before I could answer, the doorbell rang so she threw me a "we-will-talk-about-this-later-dear" look while she walked to get the door. In a split second, newly-dressed Sara and AJ waltzed in front of her and opened the door, then proceeded to strike ridiculously embarrassing poses which surprised Chris and made Stubby burst out laughing.
"Hello boys!" Sara said, mostly to Chris, in what I presumed was supposed to be a flirtatious voice. AJ stood beside her awkwardly, holding the door with one hand while her other struck a pose on her left hip.
"Uh, hey..." Chris answered, "Um, not to be rude or anything, but could we come in? The paparazzi are on the chase for me and I'm pretty sure they're going to show up at any second."
"We even had to use that doctor's stupid car again!" Stubby cried.
"Ooh, paparazzi?" Sara ignored them, "Where? If I can get my picture taken maybe Tyra will see my beautiful face and ask me to model or be on her reality TV show!"
"And then I can be your handy sidekick that will make her debut appearance alongside you!" AJ said, letting go of the door. Unfortunately for her, the door whammed into the wall and flew back into her and she crumbled to the ground. I held back my laughter as Chris and Stubby stepped over the girl while Sara tried to pull her friend off the ground.
"My boys!" Grandma cooed. She gave each of them a warm hug and a peck on the cheek, throwing Stubby off balance.
"Wow, Grandma!" He replied, "I forgot how awesome you were!"
"I didn't." Chris grinned cheekily at his friend
"Oh, hush, Christopher." Grandma warmly smiled, "Come on everyone! Dinner's almost ready! Spaghetti and meatballs, Chris's favorite." She winked at the blonde boy who in turn beamed back.
"If I didn't know any better," Stubby quipped, "I'd think Chris is Grandma's favorite!" Grandma gave a stern look and reached to hug Stubby. When they let go, the two began to argue about the secret of the spaghetti recipe.
As the two argued, Chris tried to help me set the table. "Careful now," He smirked, "You might cut yourselves with those knives."
"I'm not that clumsy," I retorted back, then decided to prove myself by setting the table faster. Unfortunately, my body proceeded to knock itself into a chair while my brain had no control. Really. It was painfully embarrassing how my body refused to listen to my brain sometimes. Ignoring Chris's growing smirk, I set the rest of the table and slapped his arm painfully, running away into the living room. I rolled my eyes as familiar footsteps followed me and I turned around. "Quit following me!"
"Is it making you feel uncomfortable?" His blue eyes gleamed with amusement.
"Yes." I snapped.
"Aw, but Jess," He replied in a sickly sweet tone, "I'm your best friend, remember?"
"Who didn't mention me a single time in any of his interviews." I pointed out. His eyes hardened and he crossed his arms, looking out the kitchen window. I sighed, suppressing the strange urge to kiss him. Really, what was my subconscious thinking? I opened my mouth again, "I didn't mean it like that. I forgive you, remember? I thought bowling was evidence of that." When he didn't answer, I poked his arm, "Really."
"Okay." He visibly relaxed again. "I really did mean it when I said sorry, you know."
I gave him a small smile, "I know."
The loud, enthusiastic yelp from Stubby informed us that dinner was served. Chris's face automatically lighted up at the thought of my grandma's delicious food and we moved back to the dining room. After plunking myself down in a seat, I patiently waited for Sara and AJ to find themselves a suitable seat for themselves- which of course meant being on either side of a very uncomfortable-looking Chris. Stubby, oblivious to Chris's expression, took the seat next to me and rubbed his hands together greedily.
"Now Stubby," Grandma warned teasingly, "Don't take too much of the spaghetti. We don't want you becoming fat, now do we?"
Chris chuckled, "Nothing you say can stop him from eating, Grandma."
"Now Jessica," Grandma turned to me, "You have to take more food."
"I have enough." I said, motioning to my plate in what I thought was a very convincing way.
Apparently I wasn't convincing enough, because Grandma muttered to herself about how I was a growing girl, oblivious to Chris and Stubby's snickers, and began loading my plate with another roll, more salad, and three more meatballs.
I sighed, but smiled. "Thanks, I guess."
Dinner went by smoothly. Surprisingly, Sara and AJ were too hungry to bombard Chris with flirtatious questions and Stubby kept the table laughing with entertaining stories. My mom and Grandma threw knowing glances at each other every once in a while (oddly whenever Chris began to talk), but Grandma kept things light too by teasing her favorite boys. Dinner did become slightly awkward, however, when my Dad turned to Chris and asked him why he hadn't mentioned our family to any reporters.
"Dad," I quickly said, embarrassed. It wasn't our place to ask something like that.
"No," He said, "I'd really like to know. I mean, the boy used to come here every night and throw spaghetti at Sara!" At this, Sara turned bright red. "It just seems a bit strange for him not to mention his strong relationship with our family."
His tone was alarmingly clipped. Like he was angry. I remembered that one night when I'd wailed to my parents about Chris and his fame. Dad had been very sympathetic, very understanding. It only now occurred to me that he was wary of the rockstar because Chris had hurt me.
"It's a bit complicated." Chris answered after another long pause.
"Do explain." Dad interrupted.
"Dad, it's okay." I cut in. "Let it go."
"But you were crying to us about-"
Dad's shoulders dropped in defeat. "Okay."
"Well then," Grandma piped up cheerily, "Why don't the kids go and watch a movie? I'll clean up."
"I'll help!" I volunteered, then glared at Chris and Stubby as the two stood up to help.
Mom grinned and clapped her hands, "Let's go upstairs," She suggested to Grandma and Dad, "Give these three some time to catch up."
"What about us?" Sara whined.
"We can help with the dishes too!" AJ shouted, as if it were the most brilliant thing she'd ever come up with. Unfortunately for her, I thought sarcastically, that was probably the smartest thing she'd ever thought of.
"That won't be necessary," Chris smiled his heartwarming grin. "We'll come up and chill with you after we're done."
Sara's eyes brightened like a little girl who received an ice cream cone. "Promise!"
He bit back a laugh, "Promise."
Stubby outwardly groaned and slapped his hand to his forehead. "You and your stupid promises!"
My sister and AJ scampered off upstairs and the grownups were nowhere to be seen. "Great," I mockingly said, "Alone with you two."
"You sure seemed to like it this afternoon," Chris replied, raising an eyebrow. Stubby stood beside him grinning a bit too widely.
I threw two towels at them, "Get to work you losers."
Another groan from the dining room was heard. "How messy does your sister eat?" Stubby shouted. Then came the loud crash and the very audible curses. My lips twitched and I snuck a glance at Jess. She seemed to be on the verge of laughter too and when her eyes met mine, we both burst out laughing.
"Laughing at my misery?" Stubby acknowledged the two of us as he strolled in, holding his arm. We didn't stop laughing, and he walked to the fridge and pulled out an ice pack, muttering to himself. "Sadists. I knew I shouldn't have stood up with Chris. That stupid goody-goody."
"You're a goody-goody?" Jess asked me, her eyes twinkling.
I had to pull my own eyes away from her brown eyes. "Of course I am." I answered teasingly, "You know me, Christopher Wilde, the good boy."
"A little too good."
"What do you mean? I'm just good enough."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Stubby skidded to a stop in the kitchen. "What were you two weasels talking about this time?"
"Weasel?" Jess asked.
"Whatever." Stubby said, waving her challenge off, "I'm just saying. You guys are a little too young, in my opinion, to be talking about being good." He waggled his eyebrows, "If you know what I mean." Barely avoiding my punch, he wiggled his fingers and dashed off back to the still-messy table.
The conversation drifted away and Jess and I spent time talking about lives without each other. When it got to another pause, Jess spoke again. "I wasn't kidding about you being too good."
My brow furrowed, "What are you talking about?"
"I heard you're doing a movie."
"That..." My mind tried to comprehend what she was saying, "Doesn't clarify anything."
"Do you even want to do that movie?" She asked me, looking up from the pile of dishes she was drying. "I mean, ever since you were little, you weren't interested in acting or anything. It was all about music and singing. And having a good time." She looked pointedly at me, "Sometimes in interviews, you just sound plain tired and miserable."
I shifted uncomfortably. She'd hit it spot on. "How could you tell I was miserable?" When she gave me a look that clearly said I'm-your-best-friend-remember?, I put down my rag, ready to talk in all seriousness with her.
"I..." I began, then paused.
"Well?" She asked, "If you can't tell me, who can you tell?"
"It's just hard." I said stubbornly, "I've never told anyone this before."
Her eyes softened, "Come on. I'm your best friend, remember?"
Her words hit me like a rock. It was the first time she'd spoken those wonderful words since we'd bumped into each other. If she said it, I knew she meant it. I sat down on a stool and she followed suit. "It's not that I don't want to do the movie." I began again. "It's just... I don't really have a choice."
"Everyone has a choice."
"Not me." I replied, looking at the floor. "My parents- managers think this movie's my next big career move."
"Well, what do you think?"
"I don't know." I answered truthfully, "I haven't really had the chance to think about it. But if I get the offer, then I'll have to take it."
"What about your tour?" She looked almost concerned. I had no idea why.
"How are you planning to do your tour along with a movie? You're going to be dead by the end of it!"
I smiled, "Calm down."
"I'm serious, Chris." She replied, "I don't want to go my best friend's funeral and have reporters in my face wondering if I killed him or something." Her humor was getting to me. I almost laughed in spite of the serious topic. "What do you want to do?"
Her words, for the second time, hit me like a rock. I'd never been asked that question since the fame began. It was like my parents-managers made all the decisions for me. "Well I know what I don't want to do." I answered. "I don't want to disappoint anybody. Especially my fans."
She didn't say anything.
"So I don't really ever say no." I continued, "Or... say anything."
She didn't say anything again. I slung an arm around her, then smiled in her face. "Jess? You didn't turn into a mute, did you?"
"Maybe I don't understand." She said quietly. "I don't understand your life. I thought I had it all figured out and I thought everything was all fine and dandy, but I was wrong." She took a deep breath, "And I'm sorry."
Her words hit me for the third time. She never apologized unless it was absolutely necessary. And now, I knew for sure that she'd forgiven me and understood my position. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
I put on a smile and stood up. "Come on," I said, holding my hand out to help Jess up. "Let's go do something."
She wrinkled her nose. Adorably, I might add. "Now?"
"No, at midnight." I said sarcastically, "Yes, now. Your Grandma said you guys had movies right?"
She nodded, "Lots."
"Well lets go pop in a few."
"I thought you promised Sara we'd go 'chill' with them." She reminded me.
"You and your stupid promises!" We heard Stubby groan again.
I laughed. "Alright, alright. Well then, let's do something tomorrow."
"What about the paparazzi?"
"Are you purposely trying to avoid hanging out with me?" I challenged, poking her arm.
She poked back. "No, I'm just saying, if the paparazzi took pictures of anything, people would start asking questions."
I winked at her, ignoring the pointed look on her face. "Don't worry, Jessica." Paparazzi or not, my best friend and I were spending another day tomorrow together. Even if it took a little lying and disguising to go along with it. I'd missed her too much for her to say no. We were going to have fun, and that was that. I smiled at my plan. "I think I've got it covered."
And her words hit me again, for the fourth time, when she smiled back, "Alright, Christopher Wilde. I'll go. You win."
a/n: hm... it's been a while, huh?
i know, i know, it's been too long in between updates and i'll spare you long explanations about why, but hey- i said i'd finish this sucker and i will. in fact, i'm even in the process of planning the next chapter out already.
anyway, hope this chapter was enjoyable, and i will hopefully update sooner and quicker for you guys :)
thank you to all my readers and reviewers for supporting me... even when i'm off doing something other than updating this: trustxbelieve. xxHeadInTheStarsxx. kitsune jewel. Ilovemydad. Number 8.0. li' miss sunshine. Julia Sonshine. bookworm1256. lily. Luna. DancingintheRayne. hello. ILove2Write13. gotta let go. LoveTheNight. CauseImFearless. Hellkat53. Annastacia Foster. oxlifexo. L 94. [blank anonymous reviewer]. Twilight Obsessed Twilight. Hotgirlow. CoolColorOfPurple. hi. me. cameron. xXHEaVeN-CaN-WaITXx. Miz636. Sullyranger. channyLover777. the yellow submarine. alphaladywolf. loveanglemusicbaby. squirtlee16. spwarkle. Anita. Read 2 Believe. Lily. Mason and Alex.
you guys are amazing!
avada kedavra!: I MISSED YOU SO VERY MUCH ADN YOU'RE SO FREAKING AMAZING AND I ENJOYED THIS CHAPTER VERY, VERY MUCH. 3 (hehehe. just a boost of self esteem for myself there)
ron weasley: okay chapter, will look forward to reading more
neville longbottom: okay chapter, may or may not read more.
he-who-shall-not-be-named: terrible, girl, terrible. stick to reading harry potter
BY THE WAY WHO LOVES HARRY POTTER LIKE ME AND WISHES IT WEREN'T OVER? did you guys enjoy the last movie? did you go to the midnight premiere and applauded and cheered like crazy like i did? ;D