Chapter 4: Usual Spot Warfare
Olette panted as she ran, knowing that she was late, and praying they didn't do something stupid. She pushed her legs as fast as she could; her plan was to show up a few minutes late, not a half hour. She spotted the back alley where the Usual Spot was, then she took a sharp left and entered the alley, narrowly missing running into the mail boy on the skateboard. She spied the gate to the Usual Spot, and pushed herself toward it, lungs burning. She tugged at the gate, and it flew open toward her easily, hinges squeaking. She heard loud arguing, and knew by their voices that it was Hayner and Pence.
She groaned. This is what she got for being so late. If she'd been here earlier, she would've been able to play mediator… but since her twerpy little sister decided to empty a box of uncooked rice on top of her head… It made her late. Olette seethed at the thought. Normally she wouldn't care what her excitable and naughty little sister did, but today was not the day to deal with it.
Since Olette hadn't been there to play mediator, she knew the guys would solve their problem in their own way. Or, not solve it (which, by the noise coming from their hangout, this is what was happening).
She pulled aside the curtain that led into their back-alley hangout, and was appalled at the sight.
Pence and Hayner had set up the room into a makeshift war zone. The three-seat couch was set up in front of Hayner as a barricade, while Pence did the same with their dilapidated loveseat. The boys were hurling insults and random objects at each other- even their dartboard had managed to dislodge from the wall. It was now on the ground, and broken in half.
Olette tried never to swear, but she made an exception for herself just this once. "What. The. HELL? I leave you guys alone for half an hour and you trash the Usual Spot, and turn it into a war zone! Don't you two have any respect?" Her hands balled into fists.
Hayner blinked at her. "Uh. Hi?"
Olette growled at him. "Pick up the couch!" She pointed at it, boring holes into Hayner with her eyes. When he got up and moved, she turned toward Pence. "You too!" She motioned toward his couch.
Pence picked his up right away, putting it back into its proper spot, then sitting on it, obviously trying to keep Olette from getting madder. He had a bit more respect for her feelings than Hayner did, who was leisurely putting the couch back into its proper place.
When Hayner was finally finished putting the couch back against the wall, he lay himself down on the couch and tried to look chill, but even Olette could tell that he was on edge. "Alright, now you two pay attention. You've been acting like middle school drama queens for awhile now, and as your rational best friend, I want to you two to talk about this. You've been friends ever since Pence moved to Twilight Town! What's killing everything now?"
No one spoke for a moment. Hayner placed his hands over his head, and glared Pence's way. "Maybe it's because teacher's pet over there doesn't have time for anyone else besides his precious textbook."
Pence shot Hayner a 'wtf' look. "Are you saying that you're jealous of me studying? That's pathetic Hayner, even for you."
"Pence…" Olette warned.
He mumbled 'sorry.'
"I'm not jealous, you dolt, I just think you should spend a little less time being a dork." Hayner's remark didn't cut through Pence like he'd intended. Pence just snorted in response.
"I'm concerned about my future. I don't want to live in this shithole, raise my kids in this shithole, and smoke shitty crack for the rest of my life, impregnating slutty women, who also couldn't escape this shithole." Pence didn't apologize for his cutting remark, even though it was very uncharacteristic of him. What's more, it was obviously meant to strike Hayner and his new ways. Pence glared at the blonde, waiting for a response.
Olette was stunned. She'd never heard Pence be downright mean before. It left her completely speechless; Hayner was too.
But to get his point across, Hayner didn't use words. He flipped Pence off, glared at him, and then pushed past Olette on his way out of the Usual Spot. When he was gone, the silence deafened Olette so much she just had to say something or she was going to go insane.
"You know, I think my plan to fix everything just took a crap."
Pence gave her a confused look, and she just waved it off. She wasn't exactly in the mood to tell him that her master plan to make everyone friends again did exactly the opposite of what she wanted. She was upset this hadn't worked- but she planned to get right back to thinking about what to do next. There was no way she was going to let this problem simmer and let the boys grow apart. Besides her, they were the only real friends each other had. Maybe they didn't realize it, but she did- and she was going to fix it, whether it killed her or not.
Olette ignored the mindless chatter around her: she was on a mission. Last night after the Usual Spot War (she'd officially dubbed it that) she was upset, but now she was just determined. Roxas had been a big help before, even though she'd screwed up the entire plan (more correctly, her sister). She planned to talk to him again and rope him into mending the friendship whether he wanted to or not.
Roxas was a nice guy; she was positive he'd want to help out anyway.
She spotted Roxas with a boy that had sandy brown hair. She'd seen him before, and knew he was new. But she'd never noticed that he was Roxas's brother: Their resemblance was striking: Same face, same eyes. Apparently Roxas had a twin that he hadn't told her about.
She shook the thought away. It didn't matter; she'd never actually inquired towards Roxas's home life anyway. She approached the two boys, and Roxas greeted her with a warm smile.
"Hey Olette." He gave Sora a sidelong glance. "This is my twin, Sora. Have you two ever met?"
Olette shook her head no. "We haven't, but I can tell that you two are twins from a mile away." She smiled at Sora, who was grinning goofily at her. Right from the get go, she could tell he was a fun, easy going guy.
"Yeah, we get that a lot." Sora moved the math textbook he was holding onto his other arm. "But hey, I'm going to go find my peeps. Cya Rox. Bye Olette." He gave them both a wave, and then took off toward the old brick building.
"So how did plan fix the friendship work? Successful?" He looked hopeful.
"Plan equals epic fail. I was late because my little sister," Olette rolled her eyes, "and I got there and one of them initiated warfare into the Usual Spot. They're like little kids, I tell ya."
"No casualties, I'm assuming?"
Olette shook her head. "No. I tried to make them talk it out, but that worked just as well as leaving them alone together." Her original plan had been to draft Roxas into helping her, but another thought struck her mind. "What if I keep trying to make them friends again, but I end up just pushing them apart farther? What do I do then, Roxas? And if I leave them alone, that could also widen the gap!" Olette walked over to a nearby bench and plopped down on it. "I can't stand this. My two best friends are fighting, and I'm not even stuck in the middle so I don't know what the heck is going on!" Olette felt on the verge of tears; it saddened her to see a lifelong friendship ruined so quickly and easily. As friends, they'd all made plans for after high school. They talked about being together forever.
Without warning, tears sprung into her eyes as she thought of all their plans unraveling.
Roxas sat next to her, then reached out and started rubbing her back for comfort. "Hey, don't cry. I know everything will work out. You guys have the strongest friendship I've ever seen; you're just hitting a roadblock, ok? You're smart; you'll figure out the solution to this problem."
Olette wiped the small droplets of tears from her eyes, and gave Roxas an easy smile. "Thanks, Rox. Did anyone ever tell you that you're the sweetest person ever? I've only known you for a few days and I feel like we've been friends for years."
Roxas laughed, and pulled her into a quick, half-hug. "Yeah I'm just a big cuddly bear, I know."
Hayner loved the summer heat, especially in the evening. The sky was dark, and the temperature was perfect. The streets were silent, but it wasn't a creepy dead silence; it was a live silence. Even thought he'd never admit it out loud, Hayner loved taking walks at this time. Usually he had no purpose, but tonight he did. He ignored the butterflies in his stomach, and kept walking. His feet slapped against the pavement as he walked, making him remember when Olette called him 'elephant feet' once because he practically stomped when he walked. He laughed. It was true; he'd just learned to tune out the noise.
His phone chirped, and he pulled it out, recognizing the noise as a text.
Where r u?
It was from Rikku. He glanced at the time: it was 9:30.
"Shit." He whispered, picking up his pace. He was going too slow: He was already half an hour late for Rikku's party. He quickly slammed a reply into his phone, shoved it in his pocket, and hurried. He wouldn't want to keep Rikku waiting, now would he?
He ran a few blocks, and soon heard the pulsing music coming from a house down the street. He followed the noise, and soon found himself in front of a modest size home, with white siding and red shutters: Rikku's home.
He took a deep breath, trying to abate his nervousness that had resurfaced at the sight of the house. He'd never been to a party before, and he'd sure as hell never snuck out. Pence and Olette had always talked him out of doing things like that.
He scowled, and gave himself a firm declaration. 'You've only got two years of high school left: It's time to live a little.' He walked up the front sidewalk, feeling the bass of the techno music in his body every step he got closer. His heart began to pump in time with the music. Hayner set his hand on the doorknob, paused, and then opened the door. He was immediately greeted by a familiar scent: weed. He'd never used the stuff in his life, but the people at school did; they smelled like it all time.
The smell hit him like a tidal wave; he struggled to breathe for a moment. Woah Hayner, you didn't sign on for this… He didn't expect his first party experience to be so… illegal.
Well, what were you expecting? Hayner mentally told himself to shut up. The back and forth in his brain was going to give him a headache. He scuffled into the house quickly, not wanting to stand in the doorway anymore like an idiot. He took in the scene around him. It was just like the movies: the house was crowded, people were drinking and smoking, and a few of the more open couples were making out (practically having sex) while on the steps. One guy managed to smoke a joint and make out with two girls at the same time. Hayner whistled to himself, slightly impressed. Is that what I'll be like one day? Hayner shook his head; he'd never be like that guy, no matter what.
Hayner wandered around a bit, looking for a familiar face. He saw a few people he kind-of knew from school and gave them a nod, but he didn't know or care about them enough to stop and chat. He hugged his jacket tight around him, feeling out of place. Everyone here was partying and having a good time. Why couldn't he feel like he belonged?
Hayner looked around for Rikku, and spotted her. She was bending over (since she was wearing a leather mini her butt was practically showing) and getting something from the fridge.
Hayner knew it was her; he'd spent plenty of time looking at the goods on her. He walked over to her, and leaned on a counter next to the fridge.
"Boo!" He poked her in the side.
She jumped, almost dropping the can of beer she held. "Hayner!" She greeted him with a quick kiss on the lips. She'd never kissed him before, so Hayner was caught off guard, until he tasted alcohol on her lips. "It's about time you got here!" She giggled. "The party's poppin!" She did a little dance, swaggered slightly, then steadied herself, giggling some more. "Want a beer?" She held out the can she was holding to him.
He wanted to decline. Beer tasted like shit. But he didn't want to seem like a loser. "Um, sure." He accepted the beer Rikku held out to him. She reached down into the fridge, grabbing another can for herself.
Hayner pulled the tab and opened the beer. He took a sip, testing it. The last time he'd tasted beer was when his dad offered him a sip over a year ago, and he'd ended up spitting it out onto Pence's foot on accident then. He resisted the urge to smile at the memory.
Beer was still as gross as ever. He wanted to dump out the can into the sink.
"So what do you think?" Rikku asked. She took a large chug of her beer, like she was a pro at drinking.
Hayner shrugged, taking a large gulp to make himself look cool. "I don't know, I just got here. Looks like fun." Fun? More like overwhelming. You're in over your head, Hayner.
He ignored his nagging brain. It didn't understand that he wanted to fit in.
After a short pause, Rikku spoke. "Want to have a chugging contest?" Rikku smiled wickedly at him.
"Chugging contest?" He felt lame for not knowing what it was.
Rikku nodded enthusiastically. "We have a contest to see who can chug three cans of beer the fastest!" She pulled four more cans out of the fridge and set them on the counter.
"Sounds like fun. I'll kick your butt." Hayner smiled at her, wondering if he could handle that much alcohol.
It seemed that no matter what bad and illegal things Rikku did, he always felt drawn to her. Her energy, her smile, and how nice she was. He liked her, he'd admit it. All he wanted was to impress her.
Rikku reached over and pinched his butt. "No, I think I'll kick yours." She poked him in the shoulder flirtatiously. "I've never lost a contest yet!" She turned to face the party, and cupped her hands around her mouth. "Hey, stoners! Chugging contest!" She yelled at the mob of dancing people, and they let out a cry. Apparently this was a popular thing. They pushed and shoved, surrounding Hayner and Rikku.
Hayner gulped. There was going to be audience now? What if he puked? It's too late to back down now…
People began to chant Rikku's name, and she smiled at him. "Ready or not?"
"Ready," Or not. He held his beer up to his mouth and waited for the call.
He didn't even stop to think of the people watching him, or the bad taste. He just chugged the beers like he'd done it a thousand times in his lifetime. He was surprised at how well he was holding it down, even after two and a half beers. He felt nauseous, but never actually threw up. He quickly chugged the last half of the beer he was holding, and swaggered slightly, his stomach feeling over full.
Paine finished her last gulp right after Hayner. She wiped the stray beer of her mouth and smiled at him, looking a little pie-eyed. "Did you just beat me?" She let out a hiccup and a giggle. "I do believe you're the first person!" She let out a 'whoop, whoop!'
The crowd cheered on Hayner (they didn't really know his name so they chanted 'blonde boy!'), and a few people came up to clap him on the back. He couldn't really make out faces; his vision was whirling, and his body had an intense, warm tingle feeling. Is this what it's like to be drunk?
"I thought you said you were going to kick my ass!" Hayner smacked her butt and laughed. "I just kicked yours!"
Rikku stuck her tongue out at him, and tripped forward into his arms. "You suck."
Hayner struggled to hold her up. It's not that she weighed much; he was getting hit hard and fast by the alcohol. When Hayner got a hold on her, he lifted her up and set her down on the counter. She was slightly shorter than him, so now they were face-to-face. Rikku grabbed his face, and pulled him into a mind-bending kiss. He knew he wasn't thinking clearly, but this is what he wanted.
And you thought you couldn't handle the party. His mind gave him a wicked grin.
Olette hung up her house phone again, angry because Hayner still hadn't answered. She glanced at the clock, and her anger rose slightly. It was already 10:00; she'd been calling the blonde for practically fifteen minutes now. All she wanted to do was talk about what had happened yesterday.
Olette's breath hitched. What if he was mad at her? Hayner hadn't talked to her all day at school. All he'd done was hang out with them, laughing and joking like they were old friends with an inside joke.
Olette's mp3 player switched songs, to 'Just a Dream' by Carrie Underwood. Listening to the song (which was depressing, to say the least), her anger simmered into sadness. If he was truly mad at her, she didn't even know where to start to fix the situation. She'd thought about Hayner and Pence losing each other, but she'd never thought that she'd also lose Hayner completely.
Olette sighed, completely forgetting her homework. She laid down on her bed, and put both headphones in her ears. She closed her eyes, listening to the music, trying not to think.
Soon, she fell asleep. Her clothes were still on, her homework was scattered around her, and her mp3 player was still going. Her mom slowly opened the door while carrying a blanket, suspecting that Olette was asleep. She picked up all of Olette's homework, then pulled out her headphones. She didn't want to disturb Olette by pulling the covers out from underneath her, so she set the blanket she'd brought on top of her sleeping daughter.
When she was done, she clicked off Olette's lamp. She crossed her arms and frowned sadly. As a mom, she knew when her daughter was upset. Olette was normally a happy, loving person, but something had obviously changed. She'd never seen Olette so upset in her life. But Olette wouldn't tell her what was going on. Not being able to help was making her feel useless and like a bad mom.
She walked out of the room, closing the door quietly behind her.