A/N: Alright, so one of my absolute favorite episodes (next to the Valentine's Day episode), was "Taming of the Cube." However, I was kind of disappointed that, once again, the show had to end after only thirty minutes, so we didn't get to see very much of what Jake and Hayley went through during that time period. So, naturally, I just had to write this.
"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." – Toni Morrison
That quote is my writing motto, I guess you could say.
Anyway, I really hope you guys like this. I've been working super hard on this story for a month a half. Seriously, I've watched "Taming of the Cube" a hundred times now (I have it taped on VHS), I have notes written down for it, and I spent way more time than I should have stressing about the timeline and how the pieces of this story fit into the episode.
With that being said, please read and enjoy part one.
Disclaimer: I don't own The Troop. (Isn't that surprising?) Shockingly, I also don't own The Taming of the Shrew either. That would belong to William Shakespeare.
Hayley: Day One
Time: 11:28 A.M., Lunch
Location: School Hallway
"Jake!" Hayley called out when she spotted him in the hallway.
Several people turned and couldn't help but stare as they realized that Jake (who was technically Hayley temporarily) had just shouted out his own name in a crowded hallway.
"Is my name!" Hayley continued after she realized her mistake while making her way over to Jake. "And I need to talk to Hayley!" she finished lamely.
Hayley tried to casually continue walking over to Jake without drawing any more attention to herself. The folded up cheerleading uniform tucked under her arm probably wasn't helping.
She'd taken her spare cheerleading uniform from her locker in the Troop headquarters right after she'd talked to Claudia for Jake and had her slightly traumatic trip to the bathroom.
Roxanne, the head cheerleader, already wanted Hayley off the team, so there was no way that she could miss practice. This unfortunately meant that this was just one more vitally important thing she'd have to trust Jake with. Her big Science exam later, play rehearsal for The Taming of the Shrew, and cheerleading practice.
Then she noticed that Jake was shaking his head back and forth while he had her hands on her face (her actual body's hands and face – confused? So was Hayley). Frowning, she took the three remaining steps and came to a stop in front of him.
She knocked his hands away. "Get my hands off my face. You're never supposed to touch your face with germy hands unless you want your skin to break out."
Jake's eyes rolled as he frowned in irritation at being scolded by Hayley. His expression quickly changed though to one of horror as he gestured to Hayley and the uniform she was holding.
"Then at least stop standing like such a girl." He then proceeded to try to bat away the hand Hayley had on her hip out of habit. "And what is that?" Jake questioned in a distressed tone while pointing at the uniform.
"This is your cheerleading uniform," Hayley said with a proud smile. She handed over the clothes to him.
Jake gaped at her. "What?"
Hayley couldn't help but be slightly offended he'd forgotten that she had practice for cheer every Wednesday afternoon. She was constantly reminding Jake and Felix when she had to skip out early on them.
Shaking it off, she pulled a piece of paper out of her pocket and set it on top of the stack of clothes in his hands. "And take this too," Hayley said in a matter of fact voice.
Jake picked up the sheet of paper and squinted as he studied her writing.
"That's my schedule for the rest of the day that I wrote down for you to follow," she informed in a very business-like tone, pointing her index finger at said schedule. "You have Science in five minutes, then English. Then instead of last period, you have to go to the Auditorium and be there for play rehearsal by 1:30 and just fake it until it's over at 3:25."
Her lips turned down into a small frown. She hoped he could fake his way through rehearsal. Hayley quickly moved on though as she took a breath and proceeded to finish telling him her schedule. "At 3:30 you have to be in Mr. Shezza's Science room for the student council meeting. It'll be over by 4:00, but you have to get out early at 3:55 so you have enough time to get to the football field for cheerleading practice until 5:00."
Jake looked overwhelmed as he transferred his gaze from the paper to Hayley. "No wonder you're always so intense. When do you have time to breathe and blink?"
Hayley rolled her eyes at his remark. Why did everyone always think her schedule was too packed? She personally liked having a full, productive schedule. "Look, just follow the schedule and try to blend in."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Jake replied in a brush-off tone as he carelessly folded up the paper and stuffed it in his pocket.
Hayley quickly felt herself growing more irritated with Jake. She didn't know what it was this week, but so far she hadn't been able to make it through a day without wanting to strangle him, and probably vice versa too.
"I'm serious, Jake. You had better not get me in trouble in any of my classes," she straight out warned him.
Jake gave her a similar look and stood up straighter. "And don't act like a girl in any of my classes."
They were locked in a stare down for a few seconds until the three minute warning bell abruptly ran, interrupting them.
She tore her gaze away from Jake and started down the hall to go to his Math class.
"Oh, wait," Jake suddenly shouted from behind her.
Hayley stopped and turned around with an expectant look on her face.
"You have to remember to pick up Phoebe at her bus stop after school. Our parents are having dinner and spending the night at a hotel for their anniversary tonight."
Oh, right. How could Hayley have forgotten about Jake's younger sister Phoebe? And his parents would be gone? Great; that just meant she'd somehow have to spend the whole evening with someone she barely knew and act "normal."
"Okay, got it," Hayley responded with a nod. She turned back around and headed for Mrs. Mason's classroom.
Time: 12:05 P.M., 4th Period
Location: Classroom D-4
Compared to all of the extracurricular activities and advanced classes Hayley usually had, following Jake's schedule was a breeze so far.
At the front of the room, Jake's Algebra I teacher was going over something that Hayley had learned last year, and she already knew that whatever the assignment was, it would be super easy.
She took the free moment to flip through Jake's notebook to see what kind of notes he took. It was the only notebook she'd been able to find in his messy locker and backpack, and she'd been lucky just to find this. But instead of finding notes written in it, all there really was were hundreds of drawings sketched onto the pages. Occasionally there'd be a vocabulary word and definition thrown in or a formula for something in Science but that was about it.
Hayley's mouth popped open in shock. It was no wonder he made a C average. He took next to no notes.
She continued flipping through it in vain, wondering if maybe the actual notes were in the back or something. Nope; just page after page after page of drawings and comics. Was this all he did all day?
"So much room for improvement," Hayley muttered under her breath.
A folded up paper suddenly fell out of the pages and landed on the desk. Hayley set down his notebook and curiously unfolded the paper. On it was a rough sketch of some female comic book character with long curly hair.
Wait a second.
Hayley studied the drawing closer and shook her head slowly in disbelief. "No way is that me," she murmured.
And yet, there it was in black and white, her face. The rest of her body had more muscle and a bigger chest, but other than that, it was undeniably Hayley in comic book form.
A thought crossed her mind that made her blush. Was this how Jake saw her? Strong, super-powerful, hair-blown-back-in-the-wind like she was some kind of Superwoman?
"This is unbelievable…" Hayley whispered to herself.
"Mr. Collins," the teacher repeated.
"Jake," the person sitting next to Hayley whispered.
Hayley jerked her head up, only then remembering that she was supposed to be Jake. "What?" she asked.
A few of the guys snickered, already used to Jake while two girls on the cheerleading squad with Hayley rolled their eyes.
The teacher sighed, crossing her arms over her chest. "Mr. Collins, do you know the answer?"
Hayley cringed, unused to being the unprepared student in class who didn't even know what the teacher had been talking about five seconds ago. "Uh, I'm sorry, Mrs. Mason, what was the question?"
More giggling came from the rest of the class and Hayley shrunk down lower in her seat.
Mrs. Mason gave Hayley a disappointed look and walked over to stand right in front of her desk. "Well perhaps if you weren't drawing pictures of…" she trailed off, cocking her head to the side and picked up the paper Hayley had been looking at. Her expression changed to one of curiosity as she lowered the paper and looked at Hayley. "…Is this Hayley Steele?"
Apparently Mrs. Mason saw the similarities as well.
"Psh… no. Hayley's like, way prettier than that," Hayley said nervously, talking herself up a little.
But as this response got even more laughter out of the class and Hayley caught the two cheerleaders exchanging amused looks, she realized what she'd just implied.
Hayley cringed, shutting her eyes and wrinkling her eyebrows at the flub. Oops.
When she opened her eyes, Mrs. Mason was smiling slightly apologetically at her as she set down the drawing back on top of Jake's notebook. "Alright, Jake," she finally said. "Can you tell me what the answer to question number two on the board is?"
Hayley quickly looked to the board at the front of the room, praying her embarrassment wouldn't make her get the problem wrong. Scanning the problem quickly, she did the math in her head. "X equals 12," she answered.
Mrs. Mason looked surprised at how quick the answer came and she even glanced back at the board to make sure she had the right problem in mind and that Jake (Hayley) had the right answer. "That's correct. Very good, Mr. Collins," she said before turning back and walking to the front of the room and moving on.
Hayley sighed gratefully and quickly refolded the drawing Jake had done of her and slipped it back into the pages of the notebook. She'd have to remember to ask Jake about that later.
Time: 12:32 P.M.
Location: Outside of Locker Room Doors
Next up was one of the things that Hayley had been dreading ever since the switch had happened. Having to go into the boys' locker room and then have P.E.
Maybe she should just ditch. Since really, shouldn't doing something like this be… illegal or something? Of course, it wasn't going to be since the country's laws didn't include teenage monster hunters who'd accidentally switched bodies. But, it wasn't like she could just walk in there wearing a blindfold without looking like an idiot.
Hayley groaned, biting her lip as she continued to pace outside the boys' locker room door. Several boys, including some she knew personally, filed past her, giving her odd looks but asking no questions. She supposed that was one good thing about having a low social status. If you're doing something weird or out of character no one would even really care. At least they wouldn't to your face.
If she ditched P.E. though, Jake might get in trouble and get detention, which she would probably end up serving at the rate the Cube was healing.
Well... it wasn't like she would really see anything but a lot of guys in their boxers anyway. Hayley took a deep breath and finally pushed open the door to the locker room.
She lasted for about five seconds surrounded by the awful smell of sweat, old food, and everything else that was so characteristically teenaged male before she ran back out gasping for air.
Forget detention risks; there was no way on Earth that she was ever going back in there again. So instead of going to P.E., Hayley decided she'd make a quick stop at Jake's locker and then hide out in Troop headquarters for an hour.
Time: 12:34 P.M.
Location: Jake's Locker
Hayley opened up the locker easily and wondered once again how Jake could function with the chaotic mess that was his locker and backpack. She couldn't see anything that even remotely looked like a History book in there - a book that she would be in need for, for Jake's next class.
"Hey, Jake," someone suddenly said from behind her.
Hayley spun around in surprise and narrowed her eyes slightly as she tried to put a name to the face in front of her.
He frowned, looking crushed at Jake's (Hayley's) confusion. "It's me, Cuddy."
Oh, right, Cuddy. One of Jake's other friends outside the Troop. He hardly talked about him and this was the first time she'd ever actually seen him before. Still, Hayley felt bad that she hadn't known who he was.
"I know that. I was just messing with you," Hayley said, punching him weakly on the shoulder in an attempt to seem more like a teenage boy.
"Right," Cuddy said slowly. "Anyway, so what was up with that sketch of Hayley?"
Hayley blinked in surprise. How did he know about that? She struggled to recall whether or not he had been in Math with her but couldn't remember seeing him. Apparently, he'd been there though. "What do you mean?" she asked carefully.
"The one Mrs. Mason saw in Algebra?" Cuddy repeated. "I mean, you're not crushing on Hayley Steele, are you?"
Hayley gave Cuddy a (hopefully) convincing look of disbelief. "What? Are you crazy? Of course I'm not." All the while, Hayley was beginning to wonder the same thing.
"Well, that's a relief, since you know that'll never work out," Cuddy said with a knowing look on his face.
Hayley frowned. "Why not?"
Cuddy chuckled a little and clapped a hand on her shoulder. "Dude, she's one of the most popular girls in school. She's a cheerleader, makes straight A's, and has so far dated only other popular jocks."
Hayley bit back a sigh. When was he going to get to the point to why she and Jake would "never work"?
"And?" Hayley asked aloud.
Cuddy gave her an "are you serious?" look. "And, she barely knows you exist. I mean, other than mime club – which, by the way, I still think is kind of weird even for you – when else do you even talk to her? And besides that, girls like her don't date guys like us. It's sad, but true."
Hayley was silent as she processed that. Was that true? She supposed it was true that she'd never really dated outside of her social circle but it hadn't been on purpose. Or had it?
She tried to picture telling her friends she was going on a date with Jake Collins. Their reactions would most likely be a mix of "who," "him," "why," and "have you lost your mind."
"But that's not fair," Hayley blurted out loud.
"You're telling me," Cuddy said with a wistful sigh. "Shelly still hasn't stopped laughing at me after I asked her out last year."
Hayley's eyes widened. Shelly was one of her friends who always liked to retell the story of "some nerd who asked me out a year ago" and Hayley had actually laughed along with her. She felt like such a terrible person now. Was she really any better than someone like Roxanne who she'd always thought was the meanest girl in school?
"Uh, so what exactly are you doing out of class anyway?" Hayley questioned as a distraction. She turned to Jake's open locker and tried to sort through all of the random papers and food wrappers to find his History book.
"Well, I saw you run out of the locker room, so I figured we could ditch together," Cuddy said with a smile.
That hadn't been part of her plan. But she supposed it would be good practice acting more like Jake in case she had to –ugh – go on a date with Claudia for him.
"Uh, yeah, sure, sounds good," Hayley responded somewhat distractedly. "Where's my stupid History book?" she muttered.
"You lost it a week ago, remember?" Cuddy reminded her. "You said something about it being trashed in an accident in mime club."
Of course; last week one of the monsters had tried to eat Jake's backpack when they were putting it in its holding cell. The book must've been monster food long before they wrestled it away from the monster.
"Perfect," Hayley said in frustration, closing the locker as quietly as she could manage. "So where do people go when they ditch class?" she asked him.
"I don't know." Cuddy shrugged helplessly.
Hayley couldn't help but be glad that, that meant Jake didn't ever skip classes for recreational purposes. She didn't know why that made her happy though. If Jake wanted to be stupid like that, it was none of her business. Why should she care?
"Oh, hey, I know where we could go," Cuddy said suddenly, snapping his fingers and interrupting Hayley's confusing thoughts.
Time: 1:18 P.M., 5th Period
Location: Boys' Restroom
"…X, Y, Z," Cuddy finished burping.
Hayley looked at him, impressed. "How do you do that?"
"Practice," Cuddy answered smugly. "Just try again."
She took a long sip of her soda and tried her hand at burping the alphabet again.
Cuddy's idea had been that they hide out in the boys' bathroom until P.E. was over. And although the boys' bathroom was probably the last place Hayley wanted to be, she didn't have any better ideas. She just had to be careful to not lean against anything so she didn't get the bathroom odor stuck to her clothes. It was bad enough having to have the nauseating aroma of cheese curls follow her around all day. It had taken her two hours to figure out that, that was her (well, technically Jake) that smelled that way.
She got part way through the alphabet before she had to stop at the letter G. "Ha, two letters closer," Hayley said proudly.
"Not bad," Cuddy agreed. "You know this is way better than P.E."
"Yeah, no kidding," Hayley said with a short laugh.
"Especially since it's pretty much sucked ever since Alejandro figured out how to make a rat's tail really sting," he added with a grimace.
"Rat's tail?" Hayley repeated.
Cuddy gave her a curious look but continued anyway. "When you roll up a towel and then snap it at someone."
"Oh, right." If that was what the boys were doing to each other and getting away with in the locker room, then Hayley had never been gladder to be a girl and to have skipped P.E. "So, how do you make it sting?"
"Dip it in water first," Cuddy replied simply. "You should know better than me though. Is that bruise from two weeks ago gone yet?"
"Bruise?" Hayley looked down instinctively and started checking for bruises, finding one fairly quickly on her (Jake's) left arm. She'd noticed this a few days ago before the switch had happened and assumed it was from the Huggy Bear monster hugging him too tightly. "This was from a rat's tail?" she accidentally blurted out. Granted, it hadn't looked like a serious bruise even when she saw it a week ago, but still. Getting some minor verbal abuse from head cheerleader Roxanne was starting to look a lot better than what boys apparently did to each other.
"Dude, you don't remember?" Cuddy asked, taking a long drink of soda from his bottle.
"Uh… it was all just a painful blur…" Hayley excused in a mock wistful voice, hoping he would drop it. She wasn't sure how many more slip ups she could afford with Cuddy.
Cuddy laughed before starting to burp the alphabet again.
Hayley mostly tuned him out and took another thoughtful, smaller sip as she let her mind drift back to the drawing Jake had done of her and all of the questions that surrounded that. Particularly, what did it mean?
As he finished, making it all the way to Z again, Hayley decided to do some investigating on the matter. Cuddy had known Jake for a while, right? So he must have known something more about whether or not Jake had been harboring any possible feelings for her. Wouldn't he?
"So, uh, about Hayley Steele…" Hayley began saying a few seconds after he finished, shifting her weight to her left foot in a way that was very girly. "Do you really think that I like her, like her?"
"Huh?" Cuddy asked, looking at Hayley.
"I mean, does it seem like I like Hayley?" she repeated, waiting anxiously.
"I don't know," he responded with a shrug. "I guess."
"Well, like, do I like, talk about her a lot or stare at her or laugh at her super funny jokes or anything?" Hayley pressed while screwing and unscrewing the cap on her soda.
Cuddy shrugged again, leaning back against the bathroom wall next to the sinks. "Yeah, I guess you do…"
"So then you do think that I like Hayley?" she questioned intensely.
"Well, it would explain why you joined mime club and why you're so into it," Cuddy said with the roll of his eyes. "Seriously dude, how many obligations could mime club possibly have? It's mime club. And you keep blowing me off to hang out with Felix and Hayley."
All Hayley could focus on was the first part of Cuddy's reply. It certainly would make sense as to why Jake was so quick to accept the responsibility of joining the Troop. And when he was so happy she hadn't permanently become a statue on his first mission and he'd nearly attacked her with a hug.
Hayley nodded thoughtfully. "You know, you're right. That would explain a lot. Because he – I mean I – was so eager to join mime club. Huh. Now it all makes sense."
Cuddy opened his mouth to respond but was cut off by the bell ringing.
"Oh, I guess P.E.'s over." Hayley turned to Cuddy. "This was good; this was a good talk," she said, nodding. "We should totally hang out more since you are one of my best friends." Hayley lightly punched him on the shoulder again.
"Uh, sure," he agreed despite his puzzled expression. Jake certainly hadn't been acting like they were "best friends" lately.
Hayley started for the bathroom exit when she remembered that she had no textbook to take to History. And she certainly couldn't take her own since she was in an advanced class. Turning back around on her heel, she faced Cuddy again. "Hey, since you're not using it next period could I borrow your History book?"
Cuddy looked doubly confused and even more hurt. "Uh, no."
Hayley wrinkled her eyebrows in confusion. Had she said something wrong? Did guys not borrow each other's books when they needed them?
"I need it. We're in the same History class," Cuddy continued saying while nodding slowly.
Hayley froze. Oops. That was a big mistake on her part. But how was she supposed to know Cuddy and Jake had the same History class? Jake hardly ever talked about Cuddy because they were usually too busy hunting down monsters for chitchat.
She chuckled nervously and began slowly backing up towards the bathroom exit door. "Well, of course we are. And I knew that. I was just messing with you… again," Hayley finished lamely.
Cuddy looked unconvinced as he stared at Hayley.
"I gotta go," Hayley finally rushed out, completely turning around and bolting out of the bathroom and into the hallway.
Time: 1:34 P.M.
Location: Classroom C-1
Despite Hayley's brief search, she hadn't been able to find Jake before she had to go to last period History for him, completely bookless. She'd wanted to talk to him before he went to the play rehearsal in her place, but no such luck. Hayley would have to trust him to not make a complete fool out of her.
She walked into the classroom, thankfully not spotting Cuddy yet. She still felt guilty about telling him he was one of her best friends and then slipping up by not remembering what classes they had together.
However, although she really did feel guilty, she couldn't help but still be thinking about Jake and what Cuddy had said. Had he been telling the truth? Did Jake talk about her a lot, stare at her, and laugh at her jokes like Cuddy said he apparently did? Or did Cuddy really not know enough to say since Jake had been spending a lot of time with the Troop lately?
"Uh, hi, Jake," someone greeted her suddenly.
Hayley broke out of her concentrated thought process and looked up from her desk. "Oh, hey, Claudia," she said with a smile.
Her smile gradually faded though as she remembered the Claudia factor. The fact that Jake liked Claudia and had liked Claudia since Kindergarten certainly did throw a wrench in Hayley's theories. How was she supposed to compete with that when Hayley had barely been able to remember she'd known Jake since second grade?
Before Hayley could ask herself why she was trying to compete with Claudia for Jake, Claudia smiled at her, exposing her teeth, braces and all.
Brace face, Hayley couldn't help snapping in her head.
"So, I'm actually really excited about our date tomorrow night," Claudia told her genuinely.
"Oh, yeah, me too," Hayley replied, agreeing halfheartedly. The Cube had better be healed by tomorrow night or Hayley was going to be thoroughly sick.
"Thanks for asking me. And you know, I'm actually really glad that you finally asked me out," Claudia said with a nervous giggle.
"Well…" Hayley started.
Their conversation was cut short as the bell signaling the start of class rang and their teacher took her place at the front of the room.
Claudia waved as she retreated back to her desk and Hayley gave her a fake smile, rolling her eyes as soon as Claudia's back was turned.
"Okay, class. I hope you're not all on cruise control just yet, because I have a surprise for you." Their teacher turned around and came back with a stack of papers while she smiled widely at her class. "Pop quiz!"
Everyone except for Hayley groaned loudly as the History teacher began passing them out.
"Oh, and don't forget to write your name on the signup sheet at the front of the room if you're interested in volunteering at the senior center for a few weekends," she reminded them all, handing Hayley her quiz.
Hayley raised her eyebrows, intrigued. The words she'd spoken a few hours earlier came back to her. So much room for improvement. Well, maybe she could help Jake out by signing him up for a few extracurricular activities. It certainly couldn't hurt.
After quickly going over the general "no cheating" rules, the teacher let them start the test, telling them that when they were finished they could bring their tests to her and read, write, or draw quietly until the end of class.
Hayley took one look at the three pages of questions and smiled. These questions were all so easy, there was no way she'd get even one wrong. She hoped Jake appreciated all the good she was doing him.
Her pencil paused for a moment on her paper as she remembered what he'd be doing at this moment. Play rehearsal. Biting back a groan, she continued filling in the answers. Just as long as he didn't get her kicked out of the play or ruin her good reputation she had with the teachers and basically the whole school, then she'd be fine.
However, shock didn't even begin to describe the poor History teacher's feelings when Jake (technically, Hayley) was the first to finish the pop quiz. And when she graded it right then and there only to find that even the spelling and grammar was perfect, she'd nearly had a heart attack, but sent Hayley back to her seat with a cheery smile anyway.
Hayley took out Jake's notebook full of sketches and started randomly drawing lines on an empty page so the teacher didn't get too suspicious she had an imposter Jake in her class.
But as Hayley started drawing a lazy curlicue border around the page, another thought occurred to her and made her wonder if perhaps she should've warned Jake about the kiss between her character and Etienne's character.
Time: 2:32 P.M.
Location: Jake's Locker
Hayley opened up Jake's locker and this time, Jake's skateboard tumbled out and landed on the floor by her feet along with a slew of loose papers. It must've come loose the last time she slammed the locker door shut. Only a couple of people turned at the loud bang the skateboard made. The rest were too busy getting their own things together to get the heck out of school now that the day was finally over.
With a sigh, she gathered up all of the papers and the skateboard, tucking it awkwardly under one arm. But when she used her free hand to stuff in the loose papers, the papers she'd just put away all slid out again, along with even more papers. This elicited a tired groan from Hayley as she reluctantly picked up the papers all over again and jammed them into the locker. They started to slip out once more but this time Hayley slammed the door shut so that they were forced to stay in.
Satisfied, Hayley readjusted the skateboard under her arm and breathed out in relief. After a moment passed though, Hayley realized that she'd forgotten to take Jake's backpack out.
"Ugh!" she groaned in frustration and banged her fist against the metal door, seconds later having to shake her pained hand out.
"Hey, Collins," a voice said from behind her.
She turned around and there was Alejandro towering over her.
"Oh, hi, Alejandro," Hayley said casually.
He frowned slightly at Jake's (really Hayley's) nonchalance. Usually he got a stuttering reply from Jake, and even cowering on some of his better days. Nevertheless, Alejandro pressed on. "Where's Garcia?"
Hayley felt herself tense up as she crossed her arms defensively. "You mean Felix?"
"Yeah, where is he?" he asked gruffly.
Right, like she was really going to tell him where Felix was. The only reason he would want to know was so that he could bully Felix.
"He went home already," Hayley lied, knowing almost for a fact that he was really down in Troop headquarters.
"Oh, really?" Alejandro asked toughly, glowering at Hayley.
"Yes," Hayley responded confidently.
He paused, surveying her face for any wavering but saw none. Alejandro scowled even more while speculating where all of this sudden confidence had come from. However, without saying another word he gave Hayley one last look before turning and stalking away down the hall.
Hayley then was able to return to struggling with Jake's locker.
But as she shut his locker for the last time that day and now had his backpack in hand, Hayley started doubting whether or not Felix was safely below the school in their headquarters. She bit her lip as she realized there was a small possibility that Felix was still somewhere in the school hallways where Alejandro could find him.
Hayley quickly took off down the hallway to go check the headquarters and see if Felix really was there. She had to elbow her way through the crowded hallways on her way to the Janitor's closet.
And she was almost there when she tripped over someone else's backpack left out in the hall. The skateboard flew out of her hands and almost immediately disappeared into the mob of people.
This wouldn't end well.
Hayley scrambled to run after it as it got kicked and tripped over all the way down the hall until one last person stumbled over it and sent it shooting down the remainder of the hallway. And it was just her luck that at that moment someone opened up the Gym door, allowing the skateboard to roll right into the Gym where the school's basketball team was practicing.
Shortly after the skateboard entered the Gym, there was a loud crashing sound followed by a girly shriek.
"Uh-oh," Hayley said anxiously before she hurried towards the source of the noise, silently begging she hadn't just injured one of the basketball players.
The scene before her was definitely not the best scenario.
Time: 2:43 P.M.
"Collins!" Coach Harper barked.
Hayley cringed. The expression on Coach Harper's face – and the fact that he was a foot and a half taller than her – made it hard to look him in the eye.
"Skateboards in my Gym are strictly prohibited!" he shouted angrily. Unfortunately, he wasn't done yet. "And they are banned for a reason! Do you know what that reason is, Collins?"
"They are banned because people can get hurt! People like the only halfway decent player on my basketball team!" He pointed harshly in the direction of the player Jake's skateboard had injured.
Said player was sitting on the bleachers with one icepack resting on his knee and another one held to his head.
Hayley had no idea what Coach Harper was going to do to punish her. All she could think about was how she'd never been so anxious to get away from the Gym before in her life.
"So what do you think, huh?" he asked, not really wanting an answer.
Hayley wouldn't have been able to get any words to come out of her mouth anyway.
"What should your punishment be?" Coach Harper paused for a second while he dramatically rubbed his chin in faux concentration. "Oh, I know. How about I give you a spot on the JV basketball team?"
Hayley waited for a minute, expecting him to say that he was kidding. He never did. "Um… sir…?"
"That's right. Men," Coach Harper called out to get the rest of his team's attention. "Meet the newest part of the team. Jake Collins: water boy."
Great, this was another nice improvement for Jake that Hayley could say she…
Wait. Water boy?
Jake was going to be so ticked if she'd really just made him the basketball team's water boy for the rest of the year.
Hayley looked once again to the coach, hoping this was some kind of a joke. It still wasn't.
Time: 3:00 P.M.
Location: Troop Headquarters
Hayley and Jake jogged the short distance to the elevator and stepped in to stand side by side, as far apart as the space allowed.
"I hope you know that I'm not actually doing any of those things you signed me up for," Jake stated, looking over at her.
Hayley glanced at him and then looked straight ahead once more. And, unfortunately, before the doors closed she was able to catch a glimpse of the Cube shrinking again despite Felix's claims that the water would heal it.
She shook her head and moved on anyway.
"The only thing I signed you up for was volunteer work down at the senior center," Hayley said defensively. And that was true. Getting him on the basketball team was an accident.
She heard him make a sound of disgust.
"It looks good on college applications," Hayley exclaimed, defending her actions.
"Then why don't you sign yourself up for it?"
"I did." Hayley looked at him, wounded. "I'm just trying to help."
"Well I'm fine on my own. I don't need to be on any basketball team or volunteering at any center," Jake told her, crossing his arms.
"Fine," Hayley replied shortly.
He could be so annoying and stubborn sometimes.
"I didn't know you even played basketball," Jake commented, breaking the silence as the elevator stopped and opened up again.
Hayley was immediately wary as she quickly stepped out of the elevator and into the supply closet. "Right, about that…"
Jake followed behind her.
"You see, you're not actually on the team," Hayley explained with a small laugh.
Jake quirked an eyebrow as the elevator closed behind them and returned to normal. "What are you talking about?"
"Well, it's kind of a long story, but I sort of accidentally lost your skateboard in a crowd and it ended up in the Gym where it injured the JV basketball team's best player. So, obviously, Coach Harper was really mad, and said that your punishment was going to be that you'll be the team's water boy for the rest of the year."
Jake's eyes widened before he glared angrily at Hayley. "What?"
Hayley looked at her watchcom and laughed anxiously. "Oh, gee, look at the time. I better go. Have to pick up Phoebe on time. Bye." She gave him a quick wave and turned to hurry away, leaving him behind in the hallway.
Time: 3:43 P.M.
Location: Phoebe's Bus Stop
"Hey, Phoebe," Hayley said with a smile as Phoebe stepped off the school bus.
"Hey," Phoebe answered with a small nod.
The school bus closed its doors and roared off as Hayley and Phoebe started for the Collins' house.
"So, how was school?" Hayley asked her.
"Fine," Phoebe sighed, readjusting the straps of her backpack on her shoulders.
Reading her tone, Hayley looked at her questioningly.
Phoebe sighed again, but elaborated anyway. "Mrs. Johnson moved Owen Trivers so now he's sitting right by me."
Hayley didn't know what Phoebe's relationship with Owen was like, but she did know Owen's older brother, Nathan, and he was a real pain to try and work with.
"Wow, I'm sorry," Hayley said sympathetically.
Phoebe looked at Hayley suspiciously after the sudden sympathies. That was when she noticed something else odd as she was looking over her alleged older brother.
"When did you change your clothes?" Phoebe probed while her brown eyes raked over Hayley's current outfit.
"What?" Hayley asked, surprised. She instinctually looked down at her clothes.
Oh, right. Jake and Hayley had both had to change after the Cube got green goo all over them. Hayley appeared calm as she looked back at the twelve year old.
"Oh, uh… I spilled some food on myself at lunch," Hayley excused, struggling at first for something to tell her.
Phoebe's eyes narrowed and her eyebrows pulled together. "What'd you spill?"
"Pie," Hayley replied.
"The cafeteria doesn't serve pie on Wednesdays."
Hayley sighed inwardly. It would appear that Phoebe was well-informed from Jake when pie day at the high school was.
"Someone else had pie and they gave it to me," she answered back quickly.
"Someone brought a piece of pie to school?" Phoebe interrogated skeptically.
Hayley was surprised that Phoebe was so suspicious of her, especially since they'd only been together for a few minutes. She certainly was a perceptive little girl. Hayley was starting to see the family resemblance.
"Yeah," Hayley said evenly with a shrug.
"Really?" she shot back doubtfully.
Phoebe seemed satisfied for the moment with Hayley's explanation, so the rest of their walk was in silence.
When they were finally inside the house, Hayley double-locked the front door and bolted it before turning to Phoebe. She was slightly wary of Phoebe and messing up in front of her now. Hayley would just have to try and stay away from Phoebe as much as she could manage under the circumstances. "Okay. Mom and Dad are gone and I'm in charge."
This earned an eye roll from Phoebe.
"So stay inside and don't go outside in the front yard or the back yard by yourself ever. Okay? You have to stay inside," Hayley told her sternly. She had a pretty good feeling that Jake would kill her if she wasn't sure to take good care of his baby sister.
"Fine," Phoebe agreed sulkily.
"Good," Hayley said with a nod. "I'll uh, make us dinner later, okay? So just stay out of trouble and remember to do your homework."
She turned away and started walking towards the staircase. It would be a relief to finally get away and have some alone time when she didn't have to act like a boy.
"Wait," Phoebe called from behind her.
Hayley stopped on the third step to look back at Phoebe.
"Where's my apple? I mean, Mom and Dad did give you a snack budget, didn't they?" she asked, testing her again.
"Oh…" Hayley said dully while her mind reeled. What apple? What snack budget? "Check the fridge."
Please let there be an apple in the fridge, Hayley begged in her head.
"Alright," Phoebe agreed. She gave Hayley another onceover before she finally left to go to the kitchen, somewhat reluctantly. She knew something was up with Jake and she was determined to find out what.
Hayley quietly sighed. This was turning out to be a very long day. And babysitting Phoebe for the rest of the night just made her day even longer.
A/N: Wow, so could this have been any longer? The answer to that question is that yes, yes it could have. Originally, I was going to include the rest of Hayley's day in the first part as well, but it was getting to be too long and I've been dying to post this.
Now I have no idea when I'm going to be able to finish the second part which is, Jake: Day One, but I'll try to get it out as quickly as possible. I'm still in school and I have finals coming up really soon, so I'll be pretty busy on that count. It should be out sometime in June though.
Also, just so you know, this is a seven part story.
So thank you for reading. Please, please review. And unfortunately, I can't guarantee that the rest of my author's notes won't be as long as these. ;-)
Have a great day. :-)