Chapter 7: Plans Gone Amiss

Shawn, Ronny, and Ashley walked into the Starbucks with a sense of uncertainty. Shawn, a muscular black cat, looked around the the shop for any signs of the person that called them. Ashley, a brown cat with a ponytail who also happened to be Shawn's longtime girlfriend, spotted a black wolf and a raccoon sitting at a round table with three other chairs around it, and pointed it out to the other two. Ronny, a yellow cat who had a certain way with the ladies, immediately spotted the two rather hot individuals sitting alone at the table only a few feet away, and quickly made for the table. In a flash, he sat down across from the raccoon and said, "Hey beautiful. You want to ditch this place and go somewhere more private?"

The raccoon laughed, "Awww, look Clarissa. Casanova here thinks that he can pick me up."

Ronny leaned back a little, surprised that his advances had been rejected so easily. After a moment, Ashley and Shawn sat down, ignoring Ronny's confusion. Rather, they sat quietly, and when they did, the raccoon said with a smirk, "Now, I suppose your all wondering why we've called this meeting."

"Yes, I think we are actually. At least I know I am.", Ashley said.

"Well, we'll get to that.", she said, "But first, introductions. I'm Shannon, and the wolf next to me is Clarissa. And we already know who you guys are."

Shawn looked around in a mock uncomfortable way, "Well, that's slightly disturbing."

Clarissa nodded, "Yeah, sorry about that. She has a devious streak a mile wide. That, and she's pretty invasive. I'd be surprised if she didn't know who you guys are."

Ronny, finally having snapped out of his trance, then asked, "So, after that mildly creepy introduction, what exactly are we here for?"

Shannon smiled, "Well, you're all friends with Leo Leonardo the Third and Aeris Cole, right?"

They all nodded slowly, slightly off put by this almost complete stranger. She then said, "Well, we're Aeris's other friends, and we need your help."

Ashley raised an eyebrow, "You're friends with Aeris? Then how come we've never heard of you?"

Shannon shrugged, "I don't know, we've never heard of you either. I only found out about you guys when I went through Aeris's contact's list yesterday."

Clarissa seemed surprised by this, "You went through Aeris's contacts! When did that happen, I don't remember that."

Shannon looked a little embarrassed and said, "Well, I really didn't think this thing through well enough. I needed a few more people to help out with this and so, through means that I really don't want to tell you guys right now, I took Aeris's phone, looked through the contacts to find you guys, and here we are."

They all gave Shannon a weird look before she said, "Anyway, my lack of a good reason for having Aeris's contacts aside, I have called you three here to help out me and my friend here."

Shawn raised an eyebrow, "And what exactly is it that you want our help with?"

Clarissa spoke up, "Well, when was the last time you spoke to them?"

"About a month ago.", Ashley said, "Why?"

Shannon looked around as though she were about to say something really private, and said, "Well, what if I told you that during this past week, Leo and Aeris have been put into some rather awkward situations."

Ronny suddenly became curious, "Awkward situations? This, I like. Now, tell us what happened?"

So, Shannon told them everything that had happened to Leo and Aeris for the past week. As she told the tale, the Shawn and Ashley asked a few questions, but for the most part, they were quiet. Ronny on the other hand would make snide comments and say things like, "Way to go Leo!", when he found out that things like the bathroom fiasco had happened. Near the end of the story, the rest of them gave him a glare, that seemed to make him shut up. After it was clear that he was done, Shannon continued her story, "So, they both called me up. I then told Leo that Aeris hated him, and Aeris that Leo hated her. Ever since, it's been my plan to get those two together."

Ashley was slightly confused, "So, to get them together, you told them that they hate each other?"

"Hey, it works.", Shannon said, trying to rationalize what she did, "Think about it. They think that the other hates them, and this makes them think back to the good times. They look back at these moments and they think, "Wow, those were some great times we were having back then.". Then, they get to thinking. They start thinking that maybe those memories were good because of the other person. Then, slowly but surely, they start to realize that they love the other. See, by making it seem like they hate each other, they grow to realize that they love each other."

The cats were silent for the most part. Surprisingly, it was Ronny that said something about this, that being, "That actually kinda makes sense."

"See, he gets it." , Shannon said pointing to him.

Shawn was the first to speak after this, "So, convoluted plans aside, why do you need us?"

Shannon became a little embarrassed, "Well, you see, tomorrow is New Years, right?", everyone nodded, "Well, my strategy only really works if we have a week. We have a day."

Ronny spoke up, "So, what does this have to do with us?"

"We need one of them to take the initiative now. If we want them to be together by tomorrow, then we're going to have to speed up the process for at least one of them."

Ashley raised her hand, "Uh, I have a question though. Why does it have to be New Years? Why is it that day?"

"Do you forget the most important tradition of the day, Ashley?", Shannon answered, "The New Year's kiss. Although by that point it'll probably be New Year's sex because of all the sexual tension, but that's to be expected."

Ronny became impatient, "But what does that have to do with us?"

"I'm getting to that.", Shannon said, holding up her hand to stop him, "Like I said, we want this to be over by tomorrow, and to do that, we need to speed up the process for at least one of them. So, I figured that we could confront one of them and try to get them to see that they love each other right now. And who better to convince them than they're best friends?"

"Okay then.", Shawn said, "I get it now. But who are we going to do first?"

"We were discussing that before you came in.", Clarissa informed him, "We were sort of thinking about Aeris."

"Okay then.", Ronny said getting up, "Let's get to it so that they can fall in love."

As the rest of them were about to get up and leave, Ashley had a thought, "Wait, hold on a second."

The rest turned to face the brown cat, their attentions fully focused on her, "Why exactly are we going to talk to Aeris?"

Clarissa and Shannon looked at each other, and Clarissa answered, "Well, we figured that since Aeris was the more serious one, she would be easy to do than Leo."

"Yeah, but Aeris is nothing, if not stubborn.", Ashley pointed out, "She's probably going to deny ever having a thing for Leo."

Shannon looked thoughtful, "Yeah... that does sound pretty much like something Aeris would do, doesn't it?"

Ashley nodded, "Exactly."

"Can't we just get on with this?", Ronny complained in an exasperated voice, "I have a date in a few hours and I don't wanna spend all the time that I could be preparing to work on a lost cause."

Shannon's ear twitched, "Lost cause, you say?"

"Well... maybe not a lost cause, but it's going to be pretty damn hard, won't it?"

Shawn rolled his eyes, "Ronny, you know that you want to see those two get together, so just stop whining will ya?"

Ronny folded his arms and mumbled, "I'm not whining... I'm complaining. There's a difference."

After a few moments of silence on Ronny's part, Ashley continued, "Anyway, I think that it should be Leo that we talk to first. I mean, he's usually pretty honest about these things."

After thinking it over for a moment, Shannon said, "Okay, Leo it is then. But how do we get Aeris out of the apartment? We can't chance her walking in and ruining everything."

There was a moment of silence in the group. None of them had a good answer for how to get Aeris out of the apartment. Then, Shawn snapped his fingers and said, "I got it."

"What?", was the mutual response in the group before Shawn began to speak again, "Why don't you three have a girl's day out with Aeris? I mean, she could probably use a relaxing day after the Hell that you put them through."

Shannon laughed, "Yeah, I guess so. But that leaves Leo all alone. Who'll talk to him?"

"We will of course.", Shawn said as he wrapped an arm around Ronny. Confused, the yellow cat said, "We will?"

"That'll probably work out for the best. Leo probably wouldn't want to talk to so many girls.", Shannon agreed, liking Shawn's plan.

"That, and he trusts us.", Shawn pointed out, "I would honestly be surprised if he didn't tell us anything."

Shannon nodded, "Alright, sounds good to me. Clarissa, make a call. It's time to get those two to admit their love."

Aeris's POV

God, this is so boring. Seriously, how many times have I looked at that light patch on the ceiling, just because I had nothing else better to do. I tried playing video games, but the killing wasn't satisfying. I tried writing my yaoi fics, but nothing comes out. I tried going to sleep, but I just can't close my eyes. So, all I'm doing right now is just looking at my ceiling, trying to figure out how best to get rid of my boredom.

Then my cell phone rang, shocking me and causing me to flinch in the sudden fear. Grumbling angrily as I reached for my phone, I got it, pressed the button and said irritably, "Hello?"

"Hi Aeris!", was the cheery reply on the other end. Sighing a little, I almost immediately recognized the voice as Clarissa's. With a sigh I said, "Hey Claire. How're things?

She verbally shrugged, "Eh, alright enough I guess, but I called to ask you a question."

"Shoot.", I said, as I sat on the side of my bed.

"I was wondering if you would join me, Shannon, and Ashley at the mall today. You know, just have our own little girl's day out."

I groaned mentally, flopping down on my bed. I was never one for "girl's day out", sounds like some sort of porno if you ask me. I was about to refuse, but then Clarissa said, "I know what you're thinking, but let me tell you, it'll probably help out with forgetting about everything. Just consider it."

And so I did, and it turned out that she had a pretty good point. The only reason that I'm like this right now is because of everything that's happened with Leo this past week. I mean, we never really had the most stable friendship, but to hear that he hated me kinda just... I don't know, it shook me a little. I mean, we've known each other for so long, and I've never once heard him say that he hated me. I mean, I've done it plenty of times, but him? I sighed, then said, "Fine. I'll go with you guys."

"Great!", Clarissa exclaimed, "Meet us in front of your building, we'll pick you up."

I was about to agree when I just realized something, "Wait, did you say that Ashley was coming too?"

"Um... yeah?", Clarissa said awkwardly.

"I never even introduced you guys, how do you know about each other?", I asked, slightly curious as to how they got to know each other.

"Well...", Clarissa began trying to explain. She then said, "Ohlookatthetimeseeyouthere!"

"Wait, Clarissa!", I said, but I was too late. She hung up before I could get another word in. Groaning, I hang up the phone and rub my temples. So Ashley was coming too huh? I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, I was going to introduce them sometime, and them meeting without me having to do anything just scratched another thing off the to-do list. Getting up off the bed, I leave my bedroom and go into the kitchen, seeing Leo at the refrigerator. We looked at each other, not saying a word as he went back to looking through the fridge. Without saying anything, I check my pocket for my wallet, head to the door and say, "I'm going out."

"Okay.", was all he said. Did the room just get a little colder? Shaking my head, I leave the apartment and go to the lobby. Leaving the lobby, I see that Clarissa, Shannon, and Ashley were waiting for me near Shannon's car. Well, at least I don't have to wait for any of them for once. As soon as Ashley saw me, she came right up to me and said, "Hi Aeris!", then pulled me into one of her trademark hugs. While her hugs usually had the after effect of making anyone in them happy, this was one of the few exceptions. I left her embrace feeling just as grouchy as ever. However, she didn't seem to notice as we both walked back to the car. When I got close enough, Clarissa smiled at me and said, "Hey Aeris. How're you feeling?"

"Lousy." Was my immediate response. Her smile seemed to falter for a moment before Shannon stepped in, "So Aeris. We just told Ashley here what happened this week. We just felt that being out together would help to put this whole thing behind behind you."

Getting slightly annoyed by them telling Ashley something that I wasn't planning on telling her anytime soon. Lord knows I don't want her thinking that Leo and I are together. Oh well, she isn't saying anything about it, so I guess it's okay. Getting in the car with the others, Shannon said, "So, where do you want to go?"

"I don't give a rat's ass.", I mumbled grouchily.

"The mall it is then!", Shannon exclaimed as she started driving. After buckling the seat belt, I crossed my arms and sighed. I knew that I needed to get out of the apartment, but I'm wishing that it wasn't the case. I almost wish that I could be at the apartment, sitting at the couch with Leo, doing nothing productive. Just like how it always was...

Leo's POV

Oh my God, I think the apartment got warmer when she left! Giving up my quest for food, I shut the refrigerator and walk into the living room, turning on the PS3. Checking to see if Skyrim was in, I started the game and continued where I last left off. After a few minutes of wandering around Solitude, I heard a knocking at the door. Groaning at the fact that I had to pause my game to let whoever it was at the door in, I pause my game and let whoever was at the door in. To my surprise, it was my friends Shawn and Ronny. Suddenly feeling a little better, I say, "Hey Shawn, hey Ronny! What're you guys doing here?"

"We just wanted to see you.", Shawn said, entering the apartment with Ronny close behind. Ronny immediately saw the TV and said, "Is that Skyrim?"

I nod, "Yep."

Ronny jumped over the couch and sat down on it, grabbed the controller and said, "Well, I hope you don't mind me playing it then."

I run over to him shouting, "HEY! Give that back!"

Ronny stuck out his tongue, "Make me!"

I immediately tackle him and try to wrestle the controller out of his hand. After a minute, I felt a large paw drag me away from Ronny. Looking up, I saw that it was Shawn, glaring down at us, "Really? You're really doing this?"

"He started it.", I pouted.

"All I wanted to do was play a little Skyrim.", Ronny said in a slightly angered voice.

Shawn let us go, then said, "Can't we just talk?"

I shut off the TV, sit on the couch and cross my arms, "Yeah, sure."

"Cool.", Shawn said as Ronny sat down next to me, "Ya got any beer, soda, anything?"

"Yeah, there's some sodas in the fridge.", I answered him.

As Shawn left to get himself a drink, I looked over to Ronny, groaned and said, "Sorry."

Ronny crossed his arms and sunk into the cushions of the couch, saying, "Yeah, whatever."

When Shawn came back with his soda, he sat down on the couch and said, "Alright. So, what do we talk about?"

There was some silence for a moment before I realized something, "Hey Shawn, where's Ash?"

He seemed almost glad that I asked that question, "Oh, she had to do some things. You know I can't be with her all the time."

"No, but you sure try to be.", Ronny said, "I swear, if you two could be joined together at the hip you would do it."

I laughed a little at the truth of the statement, which caused Shawn to glare at the both of us. He then said, "Speaking of, where's Aeris? I was kinda hoping to talk to her about something.

My slightly happy mood came crashing down when I heard Shawn say that name. I looked away, "She's out."

"Where?"

"No idea.", I answered truthfully. I honestly had no clue where she could've gone when she said that she was going, 'out'. This thought was interrupted when Shawn said, "So, how are you and Aeris anyway?"

"Fine.", I said, trying to be sneaky about how me and Aeris aren't getting along all that well right now.

Shawn shrugged, "Okay. Whatever you say."

After a few moments of just sitting there, Shawn tapped Ronny lightly on the shoulder. After this, Ronny rolled his eyes and said, "So Leo, any stories you got?"

I shook my head rapidly, and said, "Nope, no stories. Nothing about Aeris and I, not a thing."

Ronny smirked, "So, you've got some stories about Aeris and you, huh?"

"Didn't I just tell you that I don't?", I said.

Ronny nudged me with his elbow, "C'mon Leo, we're all friends here. What happened? Did you go to bed with her?"

"No!", I shouted. I then looked down ashamed and said, "Yes..."

I felt Ronny's paw hit hard against my shoulders as he laughed, "Atta boy! So, what didja do to convince her?"

I could feel a blush, "Nothing... it was just a mistake."

"That's what they all say.", Ronny said, smiling evilly, "C'mon, tell us what happened."

I looked to Shawn for help, but he shrugged. I then sighed, "Fine, but it was a total accident."

"Well then, let me ask you something.", Shawn spoke, "Did you like it?"

I started to stutter, "W-well, maybe I did, but it really isn't that big a deal is it?"

"Yes it is.", Ronny said, smirking, "We want to know how you felt about it. Now, tell us."

My blush grew, "Well... I guess it kinda felt good."

Ronny and Shawn chuckled, to which I said, "Shut up."

"Hey man, it's okay.", Shawn said, "I felt the same way when I first slept with Ash."

I then realized something, "NO! We didn't do that!"

"We know, we know.", Shawn said, "Shannon told us the whole thing."

"Shannon!", I shouted, "She told you? I didn't even know you knew her."

Ronny spoke up, "That's not the point Leo. We're here for you."

"Me?", I asked, "What are you talking about?"

Shawn then said, "When I said that Shannon told us everything, we mean everything."

"You mean-"

"Yep." Ronny said, "Naked in the same bed, Aeris touching your junk, you two kissing, you grabbing her boobs, everything."

I blush even harder, "So... why are you guys here?"

"To help.", Shawn said, "We know that you have a huge crush on Aeris."

"W-why do you think that?"

"Like we said, Shannon told us everything.", Ronny said, "Even that little phone call you placed to her yesterday."

"What are you talking about.", I asked nervously.

Shawn spoke again, "Why did you want to make things up to Aeris, Leo? Why would you even try? Usually stuff happens and then you ignore it until it gets better. Why's this so different."

I tried to answer, "Well... I mean if you got Ashley angry, wouldn't you want to make it up to her?"

Shawn nodded, "Yeah, but she's my girlfriend. You and Aeris aren't. Admit it man, you've got feelings for her."

"I do not!"

"Bullshit!", Ronny said, "Just admit it so that we can get this over with. You. Love. Aeris."

"No I don't!", I shouted, "She's just my friend!"

"Look, Leo.", Shawn said, "It's painfully obvious that you do. I mean, you wouldn't have called Shannon in the first place if you didn't."

"Well...", I said, trying to figure out something to say. Ronny rolled his eyes, "This isn't getting us anywhere. Leo, we're your friends here, tell us the truth."

"I... but...", I stuttered. I mean... do I love her? I didn't really know how to answer. I mean, yeah, I had a crush on her years ago, but I figured that I would be over her by now. No, I don't love, I mean, she's my best friend! It would be so weird. And she hates me too, that doesn't help. Although... I have to say that this past week has been pretty... weird. I've been feeling weird about this too. This whole week may have been Hell, but something about it felt... I dunno, good. I mean, when Scott came over with the mistletoe and we kissed that felt pretty good... and everything else... aww, screw it, "I guess... I kinda love her..."

"Knew it.", Ronny said smugly.

I look at the ground and blush, "Shut up. So, now that you know, are you going to make fun of me?"

"No.", Shawn said, "We want to help you."

"Help?", I asked, "Why would you want to help?"

"You know how we tease you about how you and Aeris should be together?", Shawn asked, "Well, we actually kinda meant that."

"I didn't.", Ronny said, leaning back into the couch.

Shawn glared at Ronny for a moment before looking back at me, "Anyway, we want you to get together with Aeris. But I have to ask one thing."

"Okay."

"Are you sure you really love Aeris?"

"Yes. She's been with me ever since we were kids, and... I really want to be more than that. When I found out that she hated me, I couldn't help but think about all the good times that we had. I want her to love me more than anything else."

Shawn smiled,"Good answer.", and pulled out his cell phone. I then ask, "Who're you calling?"

"Not calling, texting", he corrected, "This was just step one."

I was confused, "Wait, you planned this?"

"Yep.", Ronny answered, "Well, that raccoon did anyway."

"You mean Shannon?"

"Yeah, her.", Ronny said, grinning, "Man, what a fine piece of tail she is. I'd like to tap that."

Shawn laughed, "Yeah, right. I don't think she's that into you."

Ronny scoffed, "Please. No woman can resist my charms."

"Apparently she can.", Shawn said as he finished his text.

Having enough of being ignored, I said, "Uh, can we get back to me please?"

"Yeah, yeah, sorry.", Shawn said as he put away his phone, "I just texted Ashley that you told us that you love Aeris. Right about now she'll be getting the message, and she'll start up the next part of the plan."

"Oh. Cool.", I said. After a long pause, I then asked, "So... you really think that this'll help get me and Aeris together?"

"How should we know?", Ronny said, rolling his eyes, "For all we know, she's going punch you in the face when she comes back."

"It'll be better then it was before if that's the case.", I said truthfully.

"Well, we won't know until they get back.", Shawn pointed out.

I nodded, and then there was even more silence. After a few minutes like this, Ronny said, "So... wanna hear about this one time where I banged this waitress?"

"No.", Shawn and I said at the same time.

Aeris's POV

"Oh, look at this skirt! It looks so cute!"

"Good eye Ash. It does look cute. What do you think Aeris?"

"Wha?", I said, breaking out of my daze, "Oh, yeah, that's nice."

I then went back to just standing around, doing nothing. It was like this for a while, the other three dragging me from store to store, me just standing around while they all did whatever it is what they were doing, rinse, repeat. It was mind-numbing yes, but at least it was better than being in an apartment with Leo. Looking up at the ceiling, all I can do is think about everything that happened again. What's going on between us? Why is it that we just can't be the way we were? I don't like it. Leo... why does he hate me? I just feel so confused...

I vaguely hear a cellphone tone. A few moments after, Ashley said, "Well, that's it for this store. I think that we should go an sit somewhere."

I agreed wholeheartedly, as did Shannon and Clarissa. After leaving the shop and going to the food court, we find some seats. After a moment, Shannon said, "Aeris, are you okay? You seem pretty distant."

"I'm fine.", I lied, "It's just Leo, you know?"

"What about him?", Clarissa asked.

"He...", I started, "I don't know. I just don't..."

"It's okay Aeris.", Ashley told me, "Just admit your feelings, you'll feel better."

"What's that supposed to mean?", I asked, suspicious.

"Look Aeris, it's pretty clear that you love Leo.", Shannon said.

"No I don't!", I protested.

Clarissa spoke up, "Aeris, please. You'll feel better."

"I don't even know why you keep saying that. Besides, why would you care? You were the one who told me that Leo hates me."

"I lied.", She said, nonchalantly shrugging her shoulders, "He loves you Aeris, he really does."

I blush, "How do you even know that?"

"You know that it's true.", Shannon said, "Think back to everything. Why would he try to make it up to you? Why did you want to know if he loved you?"

And I do think back to those times. That kiss. Him doing my laundry... but that was about the extent of it. He... he was probably just doing the laundry to get a favor. Yeah, that sounds about right for him. And that kiss? It was totally coincidental! I mean, it may have felt enjoyable for a split second, but that's about it. And he's been avoiding me too! People who love each other don't avoid each other! And he... got his S all over the place! He doesn't love me! He just wants to have sex with me! I hear a small voice in my head telling it isn't true, but it's quickly shut out by all the anger. Getting out of my chair, I say, "See you on New Year's.", and stormed out of the mall for my apartment.

General POV

30 Minutes Later

The door flew open as Aeris entered, startling the other people inside. Looking at the couch, she say Leo, Shawn, and Ronny, sitting on it, but her eyes were only focused on the grey cat. Looking at him with hate-filled eyes, she said, "After New Year's, you can forget about ever seeing me ever again, you fucker!"

She then stormed off into her room, slamming the door behind her. In the living room, Leo couldn't believe what he had just heard. All he could do was sit there motionless as Shawn begrudgingly gave Ronny ten dollars.

Oh my GOD this was painful! I am so sorry if this at all feels rushed, or if anything was bad. This is my least favorite chapter so far. What do you guys think? Read and Review!