'One more' down, and 'who knows how many' more to go!

-Chapter 5: Getting it Done-

Fight with Pokey or fight with the Sharks, Ness was stuck between a rock and a fat place. "Can't you take the back door?" he suggested as he was being egged on to go and fight.

"Do you know what's out back?" Frank said, looking at him over the rims of his sun glasses. He tossed a small throwing knife up in the air and caught it again. "It's the police station. If we go out the back, we're screwed for sure," he pointed the knife at the youth, giving him instructions, "Come hell or high water, we're going out that front door."

Ness huffed, "Fine, I'll do it," he said and left the kitchen. When he got out there he took a look around for his 'psychic buddy', Paula. He saw Pokey across the room. Pokey was flexing his arm for the dazed girl on his arm. The guy put a walnut in the crook of his arm and crushed it. Despite his physical fitness, he was pure muscle beneath all of it. With all the color washing from his face, Ness headed back into the kitchen. "Can any of you crush a nut with your arm?"

Frank looked to his side and (conveniently) found a bowl almonds. He grabbed a handful and turned them into crumbs with a single fist, "You tell me," he said with a snide tone.

"Okay..." he said, quickly abandoned the idea of taking on the whole group of ruffians. He saw Frank hold up the flask again, Ness sighed, "You know I'm only fifteen, right?"

He shrugged, "You know I don't care about breaking the law."

Entertaining the booze for a second, "...I'll pass," he finally declined for good.

"Get out there then!" Frank said and pushed Ness out of the kitchen. He then locked it tight with a rusty creek.

Ness pushed on it, "I'm not ready yet!" he said and saw a straw poke through the center of the swinging doors, "...no, dammit."

"You'll be fine!" Frank lied. Even if Ness couldn't beat Pokey, he'd still create enough of a diversion for them to exit the building. Frank rubbed his hands together and watched on through a tiny slit in the door.

"Whatever," he said and began lurking around the club. Even though Ness had grown up alongside Pokey, he had no idea who he really was. Ness watched him from afar, he was far too nervous to get close yet. If Pokey were that strong, who knew what kind of training he did on his spare time.

'Ness, I can feel you,' said Paula from within his head.

He was shocked to be able to hear her so clearly. "Do I have to talk out loud for you to hear me?" he said, earning himself a couple awkward stares. Embarrassed by the two pretty girls looking at him, he blushed and with some quick thinking, placed his hand to his ear, "So can you hear me?" he began walking away, diffusing the staring with the guise of a 'bluetooth'.

'Haha, I can,' she giggled. 'Now all you have to do is walk twenty feet northeast ,then line up your left fist. You're a south paw, right?' Her explanation was gentle until, 'Then you take that fist and put it in his fat, fucking face!' the end.

"I'm not ready," he said.

'And stop talking out loud, you sound like a retard,' she finally said.

'Great, thanks,' he said internally.

'And what do you mean 'you're not ready'? You have a fist, it works, you're ready,' she said with some fight.

'I'm not ready to fight him...because he's so big. If only I had something to knock him out with...how did you get here with him anyway?' Ness asked as he tried to get closer to Paula, for some reason her voice was sounded like it was getting further away.

'Who cares, I'm here. Now do something about it,', she said with snip.

'I don't like your tone. You know, I don't have to be doing this,' he said, beginning to get carried away. 'Furthermore, I've done nothing but help your ungrateful ass, you better show me damn respect!'

'Where's all this coming from? Just do it,' she said it as if 'how dare he ask'.

'No, and if you don't lighten up, I head for the door.' He was truly fed up with her attitude. 'Maybe Pokey will want to be tender with you later on,' he mocked.

'...Alright, I'm sorry. I'll give you a kiss if you get me out of here,' she said with defeat.

'No, no, no. That's too easy. I'll think of something, then I'll get back to you. Conditions, right?' He was sounding more like he was in control now.

'Fine...how do you know I'll follow through?'

'Swear on the stone. If you swear on the stone, I'll believe you. You wouldn't want to lie to alien technology now, would you?' he laid a cheek on his limp fist and stared at the girl who couldn't stare back.

'...I don't know if doing that will have any effect,' she sounded uncertain.

'Well then, you better not lie when you do it,' he was being smarmy.

'...I promise.'

'Promise what?' he said and watched Pokey touch Paula's face gently. 'Hold that thought,' he said and made a quick line for Pokey. With no hesitation he lined up his fist and punched Pokey in his right cheek, with little effect. He made a dent in the pudge.

'What's happening? What are you doing?' Paula was sounding frantic.

'I'm digging a hole,' Ness said.

'You're fighting him, great! Now concentrate the heat in your body to your fist, then...and you...keep the distance the...and bam!' she said sounding broken-up.

'I have no idea what you just said,' Ness said to her, but he got no reply. He had lost his connection with Paula. "Shit," he said aloud.

"Ness?" Pokey said, turning his head toward his 'friend', slowly recovering from the hit. "Why did you do that?" Without warning he charged and 'belly bumped' Ness back into a couple tables. They toppled over and upset the patrons occupying it. The group looked at Ness with contempt.

He tried to rekindle their favour, "Get your hands off her," he said and pointed at Paula, shifting their attention to the 'date rapist'.

"What?" Pokey said, rather nervous. He was hoping his strong front would frighten Ness off before he could say anything. "She loves the 'Runaway Five', she wants to be here. Right, Paula?" he asked, earning himself a droned nod. "See?" Ness took another swing at him but missed because he curled up into a ball on the floor. "Don't hurt me, I'm sorry," he bawled.

"Leave the kid alone," said one of the other people from the crowd.

He couldn't believe his ears; could no one else see Paula's condition? She was obviously drugged. "She's coming home," Ness said. "Come on," he touched her arm and heard a loud voice in his head.

'What's fucking going on!' Paula yelled.

Ness cringed at the volume, 'Easy,' he said.

'Take this thing off my neck.' With a quick hand Ness snatched the necklace off of Paula before the other patrons pulled him out of the club. She blinked a few times and finally came to. "Don't come near me you ass," she turned to Pokey.

"Then why'd you agree to go in the first place," he asked, trying to make himself look good.

It worked, everyone seemed to side with Pokey. "Say 'yes' to going to the concert, and then you ditch him for this guy?" one of the others said.

"They're too young to be in here anyway, someone call security," said another.

Paula's eyes widened, "Let's go, before this turns ugly," she said and pulled Ness along. He followed her through the crowd, who was giving them dirty looks the whole way. She didn't get a good look, but she swore she saw Pokey smirking at them and shaking his head. When they finally got outside, she paused for a breather. "Thank you. He showed up at my house and offered me the show tickets."

"I don't know how he got them, but..." he said while catching his breath. Just then, he remembered what Everdread had told him, "They were stolen from me; I got them for you when you ran home, to sorta' cheer you up."

She smiled nicely for a change, "You'd do that?" she snickered, "I appreciate it," she pecked him on the cheek. "We should find out where your friend Picky ran off to?"

Still a bit shaken from the sudden outburst of affection, he managed to gather his whits. "Good idea. He should be nearby," Ness said and looked around the corner and between the two buildings where they started. There was Picky, puffing away. "Dammit dude, would you cut that out? You gotta' drive," and the police station was next door, but he didn't mention that part, not wanting Picky to panic.

Picky flicked the but of his roach away, "I can drive better like this," he said, sounding proud of himself.

"No way," Paula said, "Cops are all over this place; if they smell that, we'll be pulled over for sure. And I'm not getting busted ever again."

Picky raised his hands, "Alright, cool. Give me some time to wind down." And so they did. The three of them arrived in Burglin park and saw a few of the locals had begun a bonfire. They joined in to keep wark for the next hour. "Shame..." Picky said.

"How so?" Paula asked.

"I was kind of hoping to run into someone while we were here. She's not around though," he said and flipped up cell phone up again, "Her phone isn't even on." He could tell because all his calls went right to voice mail and she wasn't responding as she normally did.

Paula looked over his shoulder, "Venus? Is that who you're trying to get a hold of? Good luck."

"How so?" he asked.

"Venus got a gig in Fourside, she's not coming back for a while," Paula hugged her knees, longing for her closest friend. She was the only other girl in Twoson who understood her and excepted her as she was, temper and all. "We won't see her until winter."

Picky laid back on the grass and gazed up to the darkened sky, "Seriously...now I have to go on a road trip. Who's in?" he laughed, "Kidding," he said and closed his eyes.

"Excuse me...are you Paula?" a deep male voice came from behind.

Paula turned around and said, "Yeah, who's asking?" with a snide tone, but that quickly melted away when she saw who it was. It was one of the lead singers from the Runaway Five. "You're asking? By all means, I'm me. I mean, I'm Paula, nice to meet you. Nice for you to come over and talk to me like this too," she was talking fast and becoming flustered.

"Chill, kay? Something weird happened and I wanted to make sure you were alright," he said and pulled his sun glasses down to look at her. "You were pretty zoned at the show."

She blushed furiously, "I know, I'm okay now...thank you for the concern."

The red singer straightened his hat and nodded, "No problem...but...I can't help but mention...nah, it's crazy. Sorry to bug you," he said and began to turn around to leave.

"Oh, it's not crazy, and if it is, I love crazy, I love 'crazy' like crazy, like your song 'Love crazy'," again she babbled. Ness and Picky gave each other a knowing glance; even Paula had a 'fan girl' side to her, and they got to see it.

"You see," he hesitated some, "I could hear your voice...calling for help...see, like I said, crazy."

"...Yeah," she said, calming down, "Crazy..."

"I thought it may have been a sign to go and help you...you seemed really dazed and confused. Now, I wouldn't have said anything, but my band mates heard it too, it's like you were psychic or something. No one else heard," he said and looked at Ness, "Except for this guy, he had it going on! I was gonna go down there myself and help after the song if not for him." He gave her a photo signed by the band, "Here, you didn't get to see the end of the show, and those were one-hundred dollars a pop." He walked off, but not before being thanked a million times.

When the van pulled away she whipped her head around and gave Ness a death glare. "You!" she said with rage.

"What did I do?" Ness asked with a whine.

"You dumb shit, I almost had one of the Runaway Five come and help me! Why did you come when you did? My life sucks! Fuck!" she said and threw her hands up in the air, being careful to hold on to the priceless photograph. "At least this'll always bring back the fondest of memories."

Ness raised an eyebrow, "What memories, you were a zombie?" This earned him a quick boot to the head. Later, after recovering from the thrown weapon, they made their way back to Onett in the car. This time they had some cargo with them; it was a rather large box that occupied the front seat. Orange Kid asked Picky to deliver a package back in Onett. Seeing as how they were going that way anyway, he figured it wasn't a problem. At least not for Picky, Paula was another story.

Paula sat in the back seat, next to Ness. "This place is shit," she was referring to her mental state.

"It's not so bad...you got the photograph," he winced, expecting a tirade again, but got a sad expression instead.

"I know...I just know I won't get another chance like that ever again. I'm so screwed when I get home." Again, she rested her head on her knees.

Ness finally could tell she wasn't really mad at him for saving her, she was just aware of the implications of disappearing again. And so soon after she got back too. This was her venting that anger. It wasn't a healthy way of doing it, but at least it was getting done. He wanted to say something to cheer her up, but nothing really came to mind. In a last ditch effort to heighten her mood, he looked down at the seat, right next to Paula. With an unsteady hand he gently took hold of her closest hand. "...your parents are mad because they thought they lost you, forcing you to stay in was the only way they thought they could help you. I'm sure if they had another way to understand you, they would."

She squeezed his palm in hers, "It's not that...it's the timing. We need to go now, and I'll be grounded for weeks."

"Why not tell them the truth?" he said optimistically.

"I did...that's why I was kept in the first time." Her tone suggested she was telling the truth, but something didn't add up.

Ness remembered what she had said earlier, "I thought you got caught at a 'Vensu Sparks' concert."

"I did," she began, "I was smoking with my friends from school and all of a sudden my head is filled with voices. I called my mother, thinking I took a bad hit of something...but then it didn't go away. I kept on hearing them. My mom flipped out and sent me to a shrink who tried to pump me full of pills. One of them even made my vision blur." She poured out her heart to Ness, for she was drowning in herself.

"Pills? Like anti-depressants?" he saw her nod, "I see."

"Yes. I never took them for long, they made the voices stop." Paula knew it didn't make them 'stop', she just couldn't hear them because the drugs were blocking her perception of those images. "I know I didn't really like the voices at first, but then I saw physical proof that I wasn't crazy. A month later, I find you," she said, once again, with that warm, nice smile.

"I help and hurt all at the same time, don't I? Next time we go, I'll be sure to get you in to see the band," Ness said with determination.

Paula looked at him in the darkness of the car, mostly only his silhouette was visible, but she could still see the smile on his face. She looked at his smile and thought it was really nice. "Does that make it a date then?" she snickered when Ness blushed; he almost illuminated the whole back seat in red.

There you go, what do you think? :)