A/N: Wow it's been a while. So much has happened in the few months I haven't updated. Sorry it took so long. Thanks to everyone who reviewed and didn't give up on my story. This is the last chapter of this season. Enjoy…
Blossom was glad to be home. She only had a few hours to get ready for the dance. She sifted through her closet, searching for any dress that might work. She grabbed the three dresses she owned and placed them on the bed. The first two were bright pink sundresses, too casual for a dance. The last was a dress she wore to a wedding a few years ago and was way too small for her now.
She held up the small dress. "Maybe if I make the hem line shorter I could still wear this dress," Blossom said to herself. Of course, just ripping off the bottom of a dress only worked in movies. But she didn't own a sewing machine and even if she had, she had no idea how to sew. Blossom sighed, why did it always seem to come down to the clothes?
"If you want, I can do your hair." Blossom could hear Bubbles' voice on the other side of the door.
"I don't look good in pigtails," Buttercup replied.
"Hey! I can do more than pigtails." Bubbles opened the door for her dark haired sister. They probably wouldn't have noticed Blossom if she didn't sigh loudly from the corner of the room.
"Blossom, you're home early," Bubbles said upon seeing her sister huddled on the corner of their bed.
"No detention today."
"That's great. You have more time to get ready for the dance."
Blossom sighed dramatically and flopped on the bed.
Buttercup crossed her arms. "Ok drama queen, what's wrong?"
"My fairy god mother has yet to come bring me a dress for the dance."
"What's wrong with these?" Buttercup pointed to the dresses laid out on the bed. Blossom just gave Buttercup a look. Apparently it was supposed to be obvious.
"At least you get to go to the dance," Bubbles mumbled so low that no one heard her.
Buttercup went to the closet and pulled out the dress Butch gave her. She threw it to her sister. "Here, wear this."
Blossom caught the dress and was surprised by the soft touch of the material. She regarded the dress with admiration. She may not spend hours in fancy boutiques, but she knew an expensive dress when she saw one. "Where did you get this?" Blossom questioned.
"She got it from her date," Bubbles answered for her sister. "And she's wearing it to the dance so you'll have to find something else," Bubbles finished, taking the dress back.
"You're going to the dance too?" Blossom asked Buttercup.
"You'd know that if you were around more."
"That's not fair Bubbles." Buttercup chided her blue-eyed sister.
"No, she's right," Blossom said, sitting up straight on the bed. "Between this whole red card thing, detention and the science project, I haven't been around much lately. I promise after the dance I'll make it up to you both." She hugged Buttercup, and then warily hugged Bubbles. She could sense that she had other reasons for being upset, but she had no idea what they could be.
Brick paused before knocking on his brother's door. It would be easier to simply ask one of the other employees at the shop, or Butch, or anyone else really, but if he wanted to be 100% sure, he was going to have to ask Boomer himself.
He knew Boomer was in his room getting ready to go to the dance with Blossom. The thought alone sickened him, but this was more important. He needed to find out who his mother was talking about. Kidnapping wasn't her style. Whatever her reasons for wanting to capture someone had to be huge and it bothered Brick to no end that he didn't know why.
Before Brick could knock, Boomer opened the door. "What do you want?" He asked, crossing his arms and leaning across the door frame, clearly he wasn't invited inside.
"How did you…?"
Boomer pointed to the man standing in the corner. "These guys you pay to watch me 24/7 have finally done something useful. Anyway, what is it?"
Brick crossed his arms. "I'll make this quick. You fire anyone recently?"
Boomer furrowed his brows in confusion. "Why do you want to know?"
Brick shrugged, masking the fact that his answer was of extreme importance. "It's no big deal. I just heard you fired someone is all."
"And you just can't stand not knowing who it is." Boomer smirked the tiniest bit. "Well that's just too bad, ain't it?" Boomer moved to close the door.
Brick sighed in frustration. "I could easily find out from anyone else. I just don't understand why you have to make it so difficult to have a conversation with you."
Boomer opened his door again in exasperation. "I make it difficult? What about you? You barely talk to your own brothers and when you do, it's always with that same damn look on your face. That look that says 'I am so much better than you.' I'm sick of it!" Boomer was yelling now, drawing the attention of any nearby maids. Brick just stared at him with a look, no the look. It just set him off. "You're so spoiled! Anytime something doesn't go exactly your way you throw a massive hissy fit about it. The thing with Blossom on the roof? I'm seriously starting to think you have some mental issues."
Brick scowled at Boomer for a moment before turning to leave. Who the hell cared anyway? He could care less about Bubbles, and Blossom seemed to have no qualms about choosing Boomer over him. What did he care what happened to either of them?He stomped into his room and slammed the door.
They all heard the doorbell ring.
"That must be him." Blossom wasn't finished getting ready, Buttercup had just hopped in the shower and the professor had a late night interview for a janitorial job. The only one who had nothing else to do was Bubbles. She sighed, getting up to answer the door.
Boomer shifted nervously in front of Bubbles. He had come to pick up Blossom for the dance. Bubbles almost wished her dad hadn't gone to that job interview. It was too uncomfortable sitting in front of Boomer. This was her first time seeing him since he fired her.
Boomer looked around the small living room for anything to talk about. His usual go-to was to flirt, but he couldn't exactly do that. Suddenly his eyes widened in recollection. "I almost forgot." He produced a small honey colored bear from his bag and handed it to Bubbles. "Butch asked me to give this to you." He scratched the back of his head. "He says thanks, though I'm not sure what for."
Bubbles smiled at the bear, it certainly was very cute and extremely thoughtful of Butch.
"What is he thanking you for anyway?" Boomer asked, curious.
Bubbles shrugged a bit. "I just gave him a female's opinion."
"Opinion on what?" Boomer asked, a bit frustrated her answer was so vague.
"Oh, you know," Bubbles mumbled, not wanting to reveal too much in case Boomer really didn't know. "Hey, have you cleared the stuff out of my locker yet?"
Boomer was so focused on the previous topic, it took him a second to register what she was talking about.
"You mean your locker at work? No, not yet…why?"
Bubbles blushed a light pink. "There's something in there I wanted you to keep." She glanced at her bedroom door in embarrassment and wondered what was keeping Blossom.
Boomer was about to speak when Blossom emerged from the room. She looked beautiful in an elegant green dress. He had expected her to look terrible. He had a whole crew set aside to change her into something suitable, but she looked fine, great in fact.
"How do I look?" Blossom asked after a few seconds of awed silence from Boomer.
"I was expecting…you look..." Boomer took an extra second to compose himself. "Green looks good in you…I mean…"
Bubbles left the room as Boomer attempted to teach himself how to speak. That should be me, she thought bitterly, entering her room. Buttercup was standing in front of the mirror struggling with her tie. "Here, let me," Bubbles said, walking over to her sister and swiftly tying a perfect double Windsor.
"Where'd you learn to do that?" Buttercup asked, staring at the tie, amazed.
"Boomer taught me," Bubbles replied simply. She could see questions starting to form in Buttercup's mind and pushed her out of the room before she had the chance to ask.
Buttercup looked down the dark street. It was barely 7:00pm, but it looked like the sun had been down for hours. It made the walk to Blossom's school seem all the more lonely. If Butch knew she was a girl, he probably would have picked her up like Blossom's date. That would have been nice, Buttercup thought wistfully. Not really knowing how it worked with two guys, they both decided to meet each other at the dance. Buttercup smiled as she felt her keychain bonce against her leg as she walked. It was attached to a belt loop on her pants, not exactly traditional, but what did she care about impressing these rich snobs?
Buttercup's heart leapt in her chest when she noticed someone watching her from the shadows. The figure leaned against the wall, flipping a coin in his hand. All he was missing was the dastardly mustache. "You know kid," the figure said, looking toward the night sky. "You are very difficult to get alone."
Buttercup looked around, but she was the only one he could be talking to. The figure stepped out of the shadows to reveal the guy who stabbed her a month ago. "Ace?" Buttercup questioned. Butch had told her his name after the fight. She hadn't seen him in so long she had nearly forgotten about him.
Ace smiled. "In the flesh."
Buttercup hated how her heart quickened at the memory of being stabbed. She crossed her arms to keep from trembling. "Where's the rest of your gang?"
"Oh they're keeping your body guards busy. Don't want anyone interrupting our little chat."
"How precious. I guess your little boyfriend didn't tell you about the guards he's paying to protect you."
Buttercup tensed at the word boyfriend. She couldn't tell if Ace was joking, or if he knew something he shouldn't.
"Don't bother lying. I know all about you and Butch's man love." Ace cracked his knuckles. "All the more reason to do this."
Buttercup took a fighting stance. "You bring a knife again?"
"Not this time, I thought we'd do this mano a mano." His grin widened.
Buttercup sighed, partly from relief and partly from exasperation. She began taking off her jacket and tie. "You just had to pick the one day I'm wearing a tux."
Ace rushed her, not even waiting for Buttercup to get the tie over her head. She hit the icy sidewalk hard. It didn't take her long to get up. "Lucky shot," she said, wincing from the pain in her head. Ace only smiled in reply, moving to hit her again. This time she dodged and returned with a kick to his gut. The fight continued with a slew of kicks and punches until both teens were bruised and tired. What lasted only minutes, seemed like hours.
Buttercup backed away from Ace, breathing heavily. She rested her hands on her knees, trying to catch her breath. It wasn't until she prepared herself for another round that she noticed it. Her carefully done chest bindings had come lose and now hung limply around her stomach, inside her shirt.
She had to think of something, anything that would distract Ace long enough for her to fix the problem. Ace had recovered shortly after Buttercup and was walking towards her. "Wait!" Buttercup shouted, the only thing she could think to do. Ace froze in shock, and then slowly smiled. He knew victory was right around the corner. He ran at Buttercup, tackling her to the floor. He hadn't expected her to go down so easily and was surprised to find himself on top of her, his hand in a most…inappropriate position. Buttercup yelped and covered her chest, only confirming Ace's suspicions.
"Wait a minute," he said, standing up. "You're a girl?"
"You don't have to be nervous," Boomer said as he stepped out of the limo. Blossom was reluctant to leave. She had never been inside a limo before and it felt amazing, a lot better than going to a dance where most everyone there hated her.
Boomer shooed away the driver and held his own hand out to Blossom. She hesitated to ensure her mask fully covered her face. Once she was confident her identity was hidden she grabbed Boomer's hand and stepped out of the limo.
She gasped when she looked around her. "Are we really at school?"
Boomer chuckled. The school's garden was indeed the most beautiful part of the school. The dance was being held in the greenhouse. Even though most the flowers had yet to bloom, it was absolutely breath taking. The lush green of the plants inside the green house made a stark contrast to the white snow covering the ground.
Inside the greenhouse pink and white flowers bloomed. The hors d'oeuvres and decorations were color coordinated to match the theme. Large flower hearts were scattered about the room and cupid ice sculptures decorated the tables. No one danced, everyone just glided around the room, mingling while classical music was being played by a live orchestra. Blossom just stared at the room in wonder.
"Come on Blossom," Boomer urged after she had just stood at the entrance for a full three minutes.
Blossom stiffened as the first group of people came to greet Boomer. They were a particularly cruel group. She flinched at the memory of all the times they had tripped her in the halls. She was sure they would recognize her, even with the mask covering her face, but to her surprise, they paid her little attention. Focusing on Boomer instead, complimenting everything from his choice in clothes to the part in his hair.
"Are you alright?" Boomer asked, noticing Blossom's discomfort.
"I thought they might recognize me," Blossom answered, unable to keep the worry from her voice.
Boomer squeezed her small hand. "Even if they had, I wouldn't let them do anything to hurt you."
Blossom smiled, but couldn't help but think about the past few days and how he had done little to stop anyone at school from hurting her. She tried to push this to the back of her mind as he led her over to the punch bowl. Well bowl was an understatement; it was more like a punch fountain, complete with small ice cubes shaped like hearts.
She spotted Elmer by the punch; he immediately started walking towards her. "Hey Blossom," he greeted cheerily.
"Quiet," Blossom scolded, looking around to make sure no one heard. "How did you recognize me?"
"Besides the fact that I've known you forever, your necklace really stands out."
Boomer looked at Blossom's neck, how had he missed that? An authentic Jenor necklace? Even by his standards it was an expensive piece of jewelry. "Where did you get that?" Boomer asked, curious how a girl who couldn't even afford a cell phone could obtain such a pricey necklace.
"Brick gave it to her," Elmer felt the need to answer for her.
"As a thank you gift," Blossom added.
Boomer furrowed his brows. "That's unusually generous of him."
"My thoughts exactly," Elmer said. Both boys looked over at Brick. He was on the other side of the dance floor, conspicuously staring at Blossom. Either Brick was actually feeling remorse for his actions or Boomer had a problem on his hands.
"So Butch still doesn't know," Ace guessed by the way she was dressed.
Buttercup said nothing as she adjusted her bindings so that they covered her correctly. Ace walked up to her and took her jaw in his hand. "What will you give me to keep quiet about this?"
"Nothing," she said, pushing him away. "I'm going to tell him myself."
"Really now?" Ace smiled, noticing the limo in the distance. "Well here's your chance." The limo rolled to a stop in front of them.
Butch climbed out of the seat, a look of annoyance etched on his face. "What's going on here?"
"I was just having a friendly chat with your little boyfriend," Ace answered casually.
"BC, get in," Butch told Buttercup, holding open the door. She was about to object to being told what to do, but the look on Butch's face said now wasn't the time. She got into the limo and was surprised to be greeted by Bubbles.
"What are you doing here?" Buttercup asked.
"Butch came to the house to get you. He asked me to come along to find you."
"Do you want to come with us to the dance?" Buttercup found herself asking her sister as Butch finally came back into the limo. It was really last minute, but she was sure Butch could get them both in. She looked at him to make sure he was cool with it.
Butch smirked. "Hey, I'm all for a threesome."
Buttercup rolled her eyes while Bubbles stifled a giggle. "As much fun as that sounds, I don't think so. I really don't want to see Blossom and Boomer getting cozy on the dance floor."
"What do you mean?"
"That's right; you were still getting ready when he picked her up."
"You mean Blossom is the girl that Boomer likes?" Buttercup questioned in disbelief. "Does she know you like him?"
"No, and she won't know. It wouldn't change anything." Bubbles avoided eye contact with Butch and her sister; this was a topic she rather not talk about.
Butch could tell Bubbles was feeling down, he wanted to do something for her. "Well you don't have to go inside. The school's garden is awesome at night. You should see it. I'll have James take you home once you've had an eye full."
Buttercup nudged her sister. "Come on, I know you like flowers and colors and all that."
Bubbles smiled. "I guess it wouldn't hurt just to see."
Minutes later they pulled up to the entrance of the dance. Bubbles couldn't believe her eyes when she stepped out of the car. It was even nicer than the first two parties she had been to. Butch and Buttercup made their way to the doors, but Bubbles stopped.
"You guys go ahead. I'm going to walk around here for a while," Bubbles said, noticing the soft light of paper lamps surrounding the building.
Buttercup looked unsure. She didn't want to leave her sister all alone. "I'll be fine. I'm not five years old anymore," Bubbles insisted. "Besides, the whole building is one big window; you'll be able to see me the whole time."
Butch took Bubbles' phone. "Here's James' number. Call him when you're done." Bubbles nodded. Buttercup still looked unsure, but left with Butch anyway.
Finally alone, Bubbles could drop her cheery attitude. Her cheeks hurt from her fake smiles. She slowly walked toward the back of the green house. From there she could just make out Boomer dancing with Blossom. She looked perfect in her green dress and red glittery mask. Like a fairy, floating above the ground without the need for wings.
Bubbles hated feeling this way. She didn't want to be jealous of her sister. She found herself calling Boomer's phone, just to pull them apart.
It didn't work. He looked at his phone then simply ignored it. It was the first time he had not answered her call. She sighed, hanging up before she heard the answering machine.
"Turning into a stalker are we?"
Bubbles yelped in surprise at the voice behind her. She turned to see Ace smirking at her. "I'm not stalking anyone. I'm just admiring the beauty of the greenhouse."
"Sure you are doll, same as me." Ace pulled out a cigarette and took a long drag.
"So what's the real reason you're here?" Bubbles asked.
Ace blew the smoke into the air before answering. "Look at them," he said, staring at one person in particular. "Prancing around without a care in the world. What do you think the difference is between us and them?"
"Money?" Bubbles guessed, not sure where he was going with this.
"No, they're all such good liars. They tell us they're better than us and we just believe them. It's high time someone kicks them off the pedestal they've build for themselves and expose them for what they really are."
"What's this about Ace?" Bubbles wondered, but Ace was already walking away.
Brick's eyes hadn't left Blossom since she arrived. She was wearing the necklace he had giving her. That was a good sign, right? She would have looked better in a petal pink dress that showed off her long legs, but her green dress wasn't bad. Brick wondered where she had gotten it. They were dancing again. He hated how close they were. Couldn't the orchestra play anything faster?
"Bricky, let's get some punch," Princess whined next to him.
"Not thirsty," Brick replied, still not taking his eyes off Blossom.
"Then get me some punch."
"Don't feel like it."
"At least stop staring at her. People are starting to notice," Princess whispered harshly to Brick.
Brick simply ignored her.
"Ugh," Princess growled in frustration, walking away.
She noticed Elmer right away. He was one of the only guys wearing a full mask. "You shouldn't let him treat you like that." Elmer handed her a cup of punch.
"He wouldn't treat me this way if it wasn't for her. Is everything set up?"
"Yes, but I'm starting to have doubts about this. She doesn't seem to like him very much. Why make her hate him more?"
"She's wearing that necklace isn't she? Brick is the type of guy who always gets what he wants. This way, we can be sure they never end up together."
Bubbles ducked, face red. Boomer had seen her.
"Excuse me miss, do you have an invitation?"
Bubbles slowly stood and turned to face a man in a red mask and suit. He crossed his arms, waiting for a reply.
Boomer stopped laughing at Blossom's joke. He thought he saw something or someone moving outside. He danced them closer to the glass wall of the greenhouse to get a better view.
Blossom hadn't noticed his strange movement until Boomer stopped dancing completely. "What's wrong?" Blossom asked, feeling awkward just standing in the middle of the dance floor.
Boomer had locked eyes with Bubbles. It had only been for a moment, but he was sure it was her. He could see the back of her head as she talked to a man outside. Blossom turned to look at what he was staring at, but Boomer stopped her. "Nothing is wrong," he answered, searching his mind for any excuse to leave and find out why Bubbles was here.
Blossom looked like she wanted to ask more questions, but Elmer came out of nowhere and handed her a small folded piece of paper. "What's this?" Blossom asked, holding the note Elmer just handed her.
"It's from Brick, I thought about throwing it away, but I hate to think of what would happen if I did." Elmer stood close by, apparently waiting to hear what the note said.
"He wants to meet me by the school pool…alone." Blossom finished reading the note and started to crumple it up. There was no way she was going to interrupt a perfect night with Boomer for the person she hated most.
"You should go," Boomer said quickly, seizing the opportunity.
"I know he's a jerk sometimes, but he's still my brother. He probably wants to apologize. Go," Boomer urged.
"But I'm having so much fun with you," Blossom said, confused at Boomer's behavior.
Boomer placed his hands on Blossom's shoulders to reassure her. "And I'll be right here when you get back, I promise."
Blossom was left with no other option than to go. She glanced at Brick who was finally doing something other than staring at her. She had pretended not to notice, but it was getting increasingly more difficult. At the very least this meeting would let her find out why Brick was staring at her like a lion stalking his prey.
As soon as Blossom was out of sight, Boomer dashed through the back doors of the greenhouse. He couldn't believe Bubbles would come all the way here just to spy on him. He spotted her talking to a large man in suit and familiar looking mask. She looked so small compared to the man that Boomer almost forgot that he was going over there to yell at her.
"You're trespassing on private property." Boomer could hear the man saying to her. "You're coming with me."
"What's going on here?" Boomer asked just as the man grabbed Bubbles' arm. The man turned to face Boomer. He immediately remembered why the mask was so familiar. It was the one Brick had forced all of their bodyguards to wear to the dance. This man was his personal bodyguard, although he still couldn't remember his name.
"This girl is stalking you."
"I am not!" Bubbles shouted, annoyed at being accused of stalking for the second time.
"It's ok, she's with me," Boomer said, grabbing Bubbles' hand. "I'll see to it that she gets home."
"It would be better if she comes with me," the guard said, taking Bubbles away from Boomer.
Boomer looked at the man, confused. "Let her go, that's an order," Boomer said, unsure why he had to spell it out like this.
"I don't take orders from you."
"You're my bodyguard. You're under my employment," Boomer said like he was talking to a three year old.
"Actually, I'm under your family's employment."
All at once it clicked in Boomer's mind. He wasn't taking Bubbles because he believed that she was stalking him, he was ordered to take Bubbles. Unfortunately the guard seemed to read Boomer's mind.
"Grab him," he yelled. Boomer hadn't realized that there were other men surrounding them in the darkness. He quickly moved to dodge the first one, but the man behind him knocked him to the ground.
"Boomer!" Bubbles shouted, struggling to escape from the man holding her. He immediately muffled her screams and started dragging her off.
Boomer tried to fight against the men holding him down, pressing his face into the floor as they tied his arms and legs. When they were done they pulled him up to his knees.
"Where are you taking her?" Boomer asked calmly. It didn't make sense to struggle anymore. He was sure the school guards could hear them, yet they didn't come, only more evidence that this was set up by his family, more specifically his mother.
Boomer's bodyguard ignored him, speaking instead to the man who had just finished tying him up. "You sure that'll hold."
"It will be weeks before he works his way out of that, but what do we do with him sir? He's already seen us take the girl."
The man thought for a moment. "We have no choice…take him too."
Buttercup grabbed another little cake and popped it into her mouth. "What are these things called again?" she asked Butch with her mouth full.
"Petit fours and you usually don't eat so many," Butch laughed looking at BC's messy face.
"What? I've only had twelve."
"Let's go over there, away from the snack table."
"Why? This is the best part," Buttercup complained, grabbing another petit four before Butch dragged her away.
They neared the dance floor and saw someone running through the crowd, security guards on his heels. As he passed them he grabbed Buttercup's hand and headed toward the stage.
"Let go," Buttercup said to the head of greasy black hair restraining her. As soon as he reached the stage the guy turned, revealing a gun. He zip-tied Buttercup's hands behind her back, holding her hostage.
"Everyone down!" Ace yelled. He pointed his gun at anyone who dared to move close to the door. A girl near the stage screamed, followed by another, in no time everyone was screaming and panicking. "Shut up!" Ace yelled into a microphone that had been left on the stage. The room fell silent. "As much pleasure as it would bring me to just shoot all of you, I came here for a reason…" he paused for dramatic effect. "Revenge."
Butch stared at Ace as he pointed his gun at some kid's head. He held both his arms behind him, Ace's long spindly fingers allowing for a solid grip.
"Butch, why don't you come up here on stage?" Ace said into the mic.
Butch didn't move. What was Ace planning? He wasn't about to go up on that stage and get himself killed. Ace called out for Butch again this time taking the mask off his hostage. Butch whirled around, with all the commotion he hadn't realized BC wasn't by his side. He was on the stage before he realized he took a step , practically growling at Ace.
"Give it up for the man of the hour." Ace clapped, followed by the scared and obedient students.
"Let him go," Butch said in a low, menacing voice.
"Not before you and everyone else hears what I have to say." Ace cleared his throat "Five years ago I used to be just like all of yous. I had a big house, nice clothes, there was nothing I wanted that I didn't already have. My parents were business minded people and they were good at it." Aced paused for a bit, as if recalling it took a lot of concentration. "Not everything they did was 100% legal and that didn't bother nobody. Not until it started affecting Jojo Corporation's profits. One of the pills we sold underground was a competitor to the drug your company developed. As soon as your sales dropped, the underground part of my family's company was busted and my parents were arrested. But you didn't stop there did you?" Ace was angry now, he paced back and forth, much to the annoyance of Buttercup who was forced to pace with him. "You didn't stop until my whole family was destroyed, papers constantly running the story, my parents' faces all over the news. I was too young to take over and you paid all our investors to pull out, you even paid off the lawyers to make sure my parents lost their case. They're going to be in jail for another 20 years because of your company."
"You know," Butch said, taking advantage of a pause. "Even if I had any say in what my family's company does, I was twelve when all that happened."
"I know, that's why I tried to remain friends with you, but what did you do?"
Butch stared at him blankly. What did he do?
Ace impatiently tapped his gun against BC's head. "I suggest you try your best to remember."
Butch frantically searched his brain for the very last time he and Ace had hung out as friends. Butch smiled as it finally clicked in his mind, and then he immediately frowned. "My thirteenth birthday party," Butch practically whispered.
"I can't believe he showed up," Boomer said to Butch when they saw Ace walk through the doors. They were supposed to greet all the party guests, but this one was not invited.
"You need to end this friendship, tonight," Brick said, crossing his arms as Ace approached.
He was wearing a suit that was a bit too small for him. "Sup Butch," Ace greeted enthusiastically. "Fellas," he acknowledged Brick and Boomer. "I had to sneak out of my aunt's house to get here. Badass huh?"
"Real badass," Butch agreed, lightly shoving his best friend.
Brick gave Butch a stern look. "That's great and all, but we have more guests to greet," Brick said, gesturing to the people who waited behind him.
"Right," Ace said, making his way to the food table.
After almost two hours of avoiding his friend, Butch joined his brothers on stage for the cake cutting. He took the microphone and spoke into it. "Before I cut into this cake I want to bring someone special up on stage. Ladies and gentlemen, Ace Copular."
Ace was shocked to hear his name. He thought Butch was trying to avoid him. He hastily made his way onto the stage, feeling very important. Ever since his parents got arrested Butch had been his only friend. It felt great that he was doing something like inviting him up on stage with his brothers.
"Ace had been my best friend since before I can remember," Butch stated. He clapped Ace on the back and smiled. "He's been like another brother, we've been through everything together. I even know all his little secrets. Like the time he peed his pants at the fair a few years ago."
Ace turned sharply to Butch, no one was supposed to know that.
"And that time we got slingshots and he shot Mrs. Finn's cat in the eye. Sorry about that Mrs. Finn."
Ace looked wildly from Butch to the crowd. What was he doing? All his secrets were being exposed.
"I'll never forget that time when Ace locked Princess in the shed. I guess we can't blame the wind for that one anymore."
Ace grabbed Butch by the shoulders before he could say anymore. "Why are you telling everyone this?"
"Because," Butch said, still talking into the microphone. "You're just like your parents. You need to be exposed for who you really are. You're a bad person and you're no friend of mine."
Ace had heard enough, he stormed off stage and out of the party, embarrassed and alone.
"So you remember," Ace said, handing Butch the microphone. "Then you should know what I want. Why don't you tell everyone here your little secret?" He pointed to BC with his gun.
Brick cursed. He had to get to Butch before he said anything. Brick had been closest to the door of the greenhouse, but he had to find his way to the center stage. He began pushing through people to get to his brother.
"Everyone, this is BC." Buttercup was shaking her head frantically, but Butch kept going. "He's my boyfriend."
There was a collective gasp from the audience. Brick hadn't made it time. He should have told Butch BC was a girl in the first place. Now, half the student body thought he was gay.
"But that's not all folks." Ace took the microphone back from Butch, leaving him puzzled. What more could there be? "BC has a secret of his own or should I say her own. Care to explain?" Ace held the microphone to Buttercups lips, but she refused to speak. "A case of stage fright? That's okay, the evidence will speak for you."
He shoved the gun down Buttercup's shirt and forced it open, popping all the buttons in the process. Buttercup's arms were pinned behind her back so she could cover herself up. There, for everyone to see, was her tightly wrapped chest.
Ace poked at her with his gun. "I've never heard of a guy having breasts."
The look of anger on Butch's face was now mixed with a look of disappointment. Somewhere in the back of his mind he knew BC was girl. He just couldn't accept that she would lie to him all this time.
"That's enough Ace," Brick said, finally reaching the stage. "You've done what you've come to do, now put the gun down."
"Oh I'm not done yet," Ace said, raising the gun and pointing it at Brick. "You think I don't know your role in what happened that night. I know you were the one who convinced him to do it. This is actually more your fault that it is Butch's."
Brick slowly backed away. Ace was crazy enough to actually shot him. He really didn't have much to lose.
"Come on Ace that was a long time ago. Tell you what, put the gun down and walk away, and I won't press charges." Brick was at the edge of the stage now. He knew he couldn't step off and risk Ace shooting into the crowd of students.
"You don't bring a gun unless you plan to shoot it," Ace said, finger on the trigger.
Ace was so focused on Brick; he hadn't noticed Buttercup slipping from his grasp. She took the opportunity to elbow him in the stomach and disarm him, hands still tied together. As soon as the gun was out of his hands the guards pounced on Ace. He fought back with all the force of a rampaging buffalo, but he was overwhelmed.
The police walked Ace out in handcuffs to the cheers of the students. The dance was ruined, but the day was saved, thanks to…the powerpu…uh sorry I mean Buttercup.
The students slowly filed out, each leaving a statement for the police. They wanted to get Buttercup, Brick and Butch's statements last, making them wait at a table near the stage. They all sat in silence as Brick scanned the room for Blossom.
"Where is she?" He asked Buttercup when he couldn't find the redhead he was looking for.
"I was thinking more along the lines of Thanks for saving my life, but I guess that will do," Buttercup said sarcastically, no one had said a word since Ace got arrested and she was feeling irritated.
"Appreciation can come later. Blossom, you remember your sister? I can't find her."
"She's fine, she left before everything happened," Buttercup answered.
"So she and Boomer are safe." Brick relaxed a bit in his chair.
"Well, she didn't leave with Boomer," Buttercup said, recalling what happened.
"What do you mean?" Brick tensed again.
"I saw Elmer hand her a note. She left through the front door and then Boomer left through the back."
Brick was on his feet. "Why didn't you say something earlier?"
"After having a gun pointed in my face and my shirt ripped off, I wasn't really thinking about it."
Brick walked off, looking for Elmer.
Blossom was shivering by the time she arrived at the indoor pool. The school's campus was huge and it was a nearly twenty minute walk to the gym. The door to the gym was open and she simply pushed her way inside. Needless to say she was disappointed to find that the school didn't waste energy on heating when no one was there.
Blossom walked across the basketball court. The pool was just on the other side. This better be worth it, she thought as she opened the door to the pool area. Beside the large Olympic sized pool she saw a small table with a candle flickering on it. She walked to the table, her dress rustling and her heels clicking the only sounds she heard.
On the table was another note written by Brick. "Blossom, if you're reading this than you've arrived before I have. Please enjoy this hot chocolate while you wait," Blossom read out loud. There was a mug next to the note with hot chocolate complete with whipped cream and marshmallows. She knew the last thing she should trust was anything Brick left for her, but it was so warm and she was so cold. One sip couldn't hurt. She took a seat and breathed in the aroma of the chocolate, taking a long sip. It was perfect drinking temperature. Before she knew it, half the drink was gone.
A noise echoed around the room. Blossom looked up to see the door open. Brick walked into the pool area with his mask still on. She put the drink down and stood up. Immediately she felt light headed and numb all over. "What's this about?" She asked Brick. "And what was in that…" She was interrupted by Brick shoving her into the freezing cold pool. Before she hit the water she heard him mumble, "Sorry Blossom," then turn and run away.
Blossom's first instinct was to swim, but she wasn't just numb from the cold water, she couldn't move her body. As hard as she tried she couldn't even wiggle her big toe. Blossom was losing air. She could feel her brain screaming at her to breathe. If she couldn't figure out a way to make her body move, she'd drown in the school pool.
Brick couldn't find Elmer anywhere.
"What are you doing?" Princess asked Brick, familiar with that look of frustration.
"Looking for someone," Brick answered barely paying attention to the curly headed girl.
"Blossom?" Princess guessed.
"No, Blossom's friend, Elmer," Brick said while scanning the room.
Princess fidgeted with her clutch. "Why are you looking for him?"
Brick sighed, it didn't seem like Princess was going to leave him alone. "He knows where Blossom is."
"So this is about her."
Brick turned to face Princess. "Unless you can tell me where he is, go away." He didn't bother to lower his voice. Every student still left in the greenhouse turned to face him.
Princess turned pink with shame. "Why should I know?" She said, stomping her foot and turning so quickly she dropped her clutch. The contents spilled onto the floor. Princess stared at the mess, too embarrassed to stoop down and pick it up.
Brick waited before picking up Princess' items. He noticed one thing in particular. Princess rushed to get it before Brick, but it was too late. "What's this?" Brick asked, unfolding the piece of paper.
"Nothing," Princess said, wanting to run away.
Brick looked at the paper. It was a note written in his handwriting. It was addressed to Blossom and said to meet him at the school's pool. Whoever wrote it even managed to pull off a perfect replica of his signature. "Did you write this?"
"I found it," Princess lied. "I thought you wrote it."
Brick opened his mouth to say something, but thought better of it. He could do that later. Finding Blossom was more important. He handed Princess her clutch and left.
It was snowing outside. He looked toward where the car was parked. It would take longer to take the car around the school than it would to run there.
Brick was breathing heavy by the time he was close to the door to the gym. He noticed a figure leaving the gym and running toward him in the dark.
"Elmer? Where's Blossom? And why are you dressed like me?"
"She...she's not at the dance?"
Brick grabbed his collar and slammed him into the wall. "Don't get smart with me. Where is she? I won't ask again."
Elmer could barely breathe. He clutched at Brick's hands, but he couldn't loosen them. "She's in there," Elmer said in a strained voice. Brick let him go and rushed inside.
When Brick arrived at the pool area he didn't see anyone. Brick cursed under his breath. Elmer had lied to him. He was about to leave when he saw a glint of something green in the water. He slowly walked to the edge, unsure of what it might be. The closer he got the more he could see that is was a green dress…wait not just a dress but a girl wearing a green dress. It was Blossom!
Without thinking, Brick took off his clothes and jumped into the ice cold water. He easily pulled out the unconscious girl. Brick put his ear to her mouth. She wasn't breathing and her pulse was weak. He quickly pressed her chest.
Blossom coughed a few times as she regained consciousness. Brick looked on, relived she was alright, but also a bit disappointed he didn't get to the mouth-to-mouth part.
"What were you thinking?" Brick yelled exasperated, angry she had gotten herself in this situation; she was too smart for this.
"I guess my curiosity got the best of me. And the stupid poisoned hot chocolate was just so warm I ended up drinking it without thinking. And could you please put on some clothes." Not that I mind, Blossom added in her thoughts.
Brick realized he was nearly naked and grabbed his shirt and pants. "So you came here to meet someone you claim hates you and decide to drink the chocolate left out because it was warm? What are you, five years old?"
Blossom finally regained some feeling in her body. She struggled to sit up, taking a minute to breathe, her lungs feeling dry and ragged from coughing up all that water. How dare he yell at her? What right did he have after all he'd done? She gave him so many chances to prove he wasn't as evil as she thought and he just blew his last one.
"You sound upset," Blossom finally said.
"Of course I am. You nearly got yourself killed." Brick grabbed his jacket from the table and placed it over Blossom's shivering shoulders. She resisted the urge to pull it tighter around her, instead wrapping her arms around her knees for warmth.
Blossom was angry, but not all of it directed toward Brick. She was mostly angry at herself. Although Boomer was the one who told her to come to this meeting, she actually believed Brick had wanted to apologize, or at least show some form of remorse for the terrible things he has done. Why had it taken her almost getting killed again to figure out that he was truly evil? How was it possible that just a few days of working in a treehouse together could cloud her judgment to this extent?
"Isn't this what you wanted?" Blossom asked.
"If I wanted this I would have left you in that pool to drown."
"No you wouldn't," Blossom answered calmly. "It wouldn't look good, the school's image is too important to you."
She was right. Even if he had wanted her dead, he wouldn't let it happen on school property. "How do you know what's important to me?"
"I did some research on you and your company. It didn't turn up anything useful."
"What kind of research?" Brick asked, curious.
Blossom glanced at Brick, and then looked away. It was embarrassing to admit. "I found out that there are many branches to the Jojo Corporation. Some of those branches do research that have improved the lives of many. New technology, medicine, even art, a lot of it is due to your labs' research, but not all of it is going to the good of man." Brick crossed his arms prepared for a lecture. "You sell to weapons manufacturers and you have notable involvement in the black market. That's not all. The company helped to get the mayor elected, the school has almost every official's child in it and the company has helped to establish most of the business in town. Even if you and your brothers weren't already the richest family in town, you definitely have the most power."
Brick smiled. This was exactly the kind of information anyone doing extensive research on his company should find. Against his mother's wishes, he allowed for small leaks of some of the more innocent dealings he had with weapons merchants and especially the black market. He wanted his enemies to know that they stood no chance against him. He was pleased it had worked so well. But Blossom wasn't his enemy anymore. He had to make he believe that.
"You've said much about my family's company, but I am no more my company than you are the school you go to."
"I thought of that at first," Blossom said. "But that's not entirely true, is it? Only recently did the company take on these darker projects. Two years ago in fact, the same time your mother started letting you make some of the more important decisions."
How could she know that? Brick thought. He had only advised his mother from home. Not even the board members knew that most of those decisions had been his. If there was one thing Brick hated more than tarnishing his image, it was being surprised.
"Assuming any of that is true, what does this have to do with you?" Brick asked, trying his best to ignore the burning questions in his head. He didn't want to bring too much attention to fact that she had unsettled him.
"Like I said, the information wasn't very useful, except that now I know what kind of person you are and why you're targeting me."
She paused, making sure she had Brick's full attention. This is what she had come to this meeting to say. "You're ambitious, clever, tactful, brave, but also ruthless, stubborn and just a bit diabolical."
Brick chuckled at the last adjective. What was he, a 90's villain with downright dastardly plans? Brick noticed Blossom had stopped talking at his outburst. "Uh sorry, so why do you think I'm targeting you?" Brick asked trying to get the conversation going again.
"Every student in this school wants to stay on your good side for one reason or another. Either their parents work for your company, they want to work for your company, or they need your support to run their company. Everyone except me, what do I care if you're mad at me, it's not like you could affect anything but my school life. I present a new kind of challenge to you. That's why you're so obsessed with getting me to give up."
Brick raised a brow, "Interesting theory, but there's more than one reason a man would give all his attention to a woman." Brick got close to her face, even closer than he had been during the CPR. Blossom's heart lurched in her chest. She cursed in her mind for still being so attracted to him.
She pushed him away. "You are not going to trick me like that again." Blossom stood up, letting Brick's jacket fall to the floor. She stood there a moment before briskly walking/wobbling away.
A/N: Thanks so much for reading my story.