A/N: If anyone is offended by foul language, now's the time to stop reading this. This is how kids talk. Sorry. But it is. At least the ones I know.

Chapter Five

Fresh Mornin' Air



"She's in there."


"Laurel," Cody hissed. "Who else?"

He had pressed his back against the wall of the Dunkin Donuts and was distinctly aware of the dirt covering the knees of his blue jeans, the tightness of the Woodstock t-shirt and the sweet beach smell of his grey sweatshirt.

"Any of ours in there?" Barry asked.

Cody shook his head, curls flopping out from under his hood. "Not yet."

Two girls walked by, laughing. Barry eyed them nastily.

"Renters," he hissed. "What they want over here?"

The two girls had the harsh tan lines of women who spent all their time at the beach, hoping for a tan. They wore shorts and spaghetti strap tank tops. Cody tucked his hands into the pockets of his sweatshirt. "Idiots. It's cool out. Maybe we should offer them a sweatshirt?"

"Funny. Hey, look, they want our donuts." The girls pushed open the glass doors to the Dunkin Donuts. Cody could hear them gasp as the air conditioner hit them full blast. He harshly gestured to the door with his head. "Let's go in."

"Aye, chief," Barry said wryly, tucking his hands into the pockets of his zip up black hoodie.

The air hit them full blast. Cody tucked his head further back into his hood as Barry strode next to him towards the counter.


Cody didn't turn his head, but he recognized Leigh's voice.

"Leigh," Barry said by way of greeting, inclining his head. "Laurel. Amber. Rosie."

They reached the counter, and Cody withdrew his hands from his pockets and lifted his hood off of his hair, ruffling it back into curly messiness. Barry grinned and withdrew a five-dollar bill. Cody took out a bunch of quarters.

"Two jelly donuts, please," he said gruffly. The kid at the counter looked at him, nodded to show that he knew who Cody was, and handed them the donuts. As he did so, he leaned over the counter.

"Hey," he said softly, jerking his chin towards the four girls. "What them chicks doin' round these parts?"

"No clue."

"Aye. Change." The kid dropped a dime into Barry's hands.

Cody turned, and saw the girls in full for the first time that morning. Leigh's skateboard had disappeared, but her hair was still windblown. Laurel had changed clothes and had tied her hair up in a ponytail, practical beach style. Rosie was licking powder from her donut off of her fingers. Cody grimaced.

Barry headed over to a table not far from the girls. Cody drew out two chairs, sat on one, and leaned his legs on the other. He put his hood back up.

"So," Rosie said in her high pitched voice, "heard ya'll chickened out this morning."

"Cops," Barry said shortly.

"Who cares?" Rosie flicked a crumb over at them with a long fingernail.

"Your boy sure did. Kenny started runnin' before anyone else," Barry said bitterly. "Thought his pistol would give him some balls, aye? Where is he now, anyway, Rosie?" Barry nodded to Laurel. "If she's here, he could be anywhere."

Laurel looked at him wanly and stirred her coffee with a straw. Leigh wiped her mouth on the back of her hand and crossed her arms over her chest. Rosie laughed.

"Yeah, whatever. Why isn't Rogue talking?"

"Got nothin' to say," Cody answered her, looking straight at Laurel before returning to his donut.

"Why're you here this early?" Leigh said.

"Rendezvous," Cody answered, giving her a small grin.

"With who?" Laurel said, interested for some piece of gossip.

"The gang."

"Oh," she said, disappointed.

Barry jerked his head towards to door. "So ya'll might wanna be leavin' soon. 'Cept you, Leigh. You got permission to sit in on the combat assembly."

"Flattered." Leigh pushed her hair off of her shoulders and cast a gaze over at the two renter girls. They were looking over at Kenny and Barry and giggling. Cody noticed her gaze and turned to see what she was looking at. At his glance, the girls dissolved into fresh waves of laughter. Cody looked back at his donut and rubbed the back of his neck under his hood.

"Why're you guys here this early, then?" Barry challenged.

"Hungry," Laurel answered, raising her eyebrows. Barry snorted something about watching their figures. Amber cocked her head at him and raised her eyebrows.

"Vinny's real upset," she said.

"No fucking kidding." Barry leaned back in his chair. "Ain't his house."

"I know," Amber answered softly.

"Yeah, you know," Barry said sarcastically.

"Well, if my eyes don't deceive me, here comes Jay," Cody said, legs still stretched out on his chair, hood still flopped over his eyes. The bell on the door tinkled as Jay let out a whoop.

"Don't ya love that fresh mornin' air? Hey, lookie here. Ladies." Jay took off his ratty Choppers baseball cap and bowed. He turned to Cody. "They clearin' out?"

Laurel snorted. Jay pointed to her, a mock-stern look on his face. "Wasn't talkin' to you, bitch."

"Leigh's cleared," Barry said, finishing his donut and reaching over to grab the quarter remaining of Cody's. Cody knocked his sneaker against the table near Barry's napkin, and flecks of dirt sprinkled onto the clean surface of the table.

Cody jerked his chin up into the hair. "Where's Raka and Robbie?"

"Probl'y makin' out somewhere nasty and sandy." Jay smiled and raised his eyebrows at Leigh. "Perhaps we should do the same?"

Leigh smiled softly and glanced at Cody.

Cody nodded back to her and stood. "Well, we better find 'em. The day's gettin' old fast." He looked out to the horizon, where the sun had peaked over the cresting waves. "See ya all later, Leigh. Laurel." He focused on the later before shoving his hands deep into his pockets and striding purposefully out the door. Barry followed, and Jay did a little kick as he left.

"Cute," Laurel said sarcastically. Amber shrugged.

"How do you put up with those losers, Leigh?" Rosie said, her voice high pitched and obnoxious.

Leigh tossed her hair over her shoulder and looked at Rosie. "How do you put up with Kenny, Rosie?"

She picked up her skateboard and her bag, in which her pencils, pens and papers lay quiet. There was a half finished sketch in there, and she wanted to finish it.

"Well, I have to hit the boardwalk," she said, directing her words to Laurel and Amber.

"See you," Amber called after Leigh as she left before turning to Rosie. "You know," she said in a measured tone, "I love Vinny with all my heart. He's from the West Side, you know that?"

Rosie snorted. "How could I not, with his brother trotting around picking fights?"

Amber sighed. Laurel drew out her mirror and began to draw around her eyes with a black pencil.

"Surfing today, Laurel?" she asked.

Laurel gave her a catty smile. In front of Rosie, that smile only meant one thing.

"Let's hope so," Laurel said.