5th chapter- enjoy!
I'm sorry if I didn't get this out so soon. But you know how I am, random updates and all. (And special thanks to my bestie who helped me recover from my writer's block with the helpful descriptions she gave me~)
Thanks to DrieSummersDaughterofApollo and xXSamurai-98Xx for reviewing. Stay loving and keep on reading!
Tnx for the Favorites and Alerts. :3
The Boys, the Witch, and the Party
I stood at the steps, waiting patiently as I bit my lower lip nervously. My grip on the twins' gifts became tighter as the door slowly opened.
"Heelllo?" A girl about the age of sixteen poked her raven head out. A silver plastic tiara was balanced on her head. "Oh, hey!"
"Hi," I grinned.
We stared at each other for a moment and I could feel my grin falter with every passing second. I've been to parties, of course, but I was usually with Mom or sometimes with Keisha. I always let them do the talking so I wasn't really sure how this part went. Should I say who I was (assuming she knew who I am)? Tell her why I'm here? Push her aside and just invite myself in? Leave?
"You're here for the party?" The girl asked, giving the door another nudge. This gave me a better view of the party. From behind her, children were running and screaming around with balloon-carrying nannies right on their heels. Other than that, nothing was really happening. Some children's party. "You're not some kind of creepy stalker?" She added, giving me a once-over with her scrutinizing blue eyes.
My mouth popped open and I blinked in confusion and shock. "Stalker...?"
"Yeah, stalker." she nodded, looking solemn. "I heard from Aunt Denise that some girls like to pay my cousin unwanted surprise visits. So she gave me the job of allowing the invited guests to enter. You know, kinda like a bouncer."
"Yeah, I'm Matt and the twins' cousin. The name's Talia, just so you know."
"Cindy, and I'm not a stalker. Just so you know," I replied. "I'm Matt's friend."
"Hmmm, Cindy..." Talia cocked her head to the side, pursing her pale lips. Man, this girl was tough to get around. "Now that you say it, I think Matt mentioned you once."
"Really? What did he say?" I pressed, hoping I didn't sound too eager. It just felt good to know I was worth mentioning.
"He said that a girl named Cindy Herford should be coming today to hangout," Talia paused then eyed the gift I was holding. "So you're really not here for the party?"
"Uh, kinda," I replied, slowly growing impatient. What was up with all the questions? "Matt invited me to come over. He told me I could come early and join the birthday, but I thought it would be better to arrive when it was over. Though I guess I'm too early, huh? I brought a gift, though!" Talia didn't seem entirely convinced so I let out an irritated sigh. "Do you need the invitation to prove that I am the Cindy Herford your cousin talked about and that I'm not a stalker? Because I doubt Matt would invite some creep to—"
"Invitation? Nah," she interrupted, cracking a bemused smile. "Don't worry, I believe you already." She finally pushed the door fully open, and she stepped aside so I could enter.
"What are you two going to do anyway?" Talia questioned as she closed the door.
"Just make sure to keep it down, okay?" she smirked. "There are children in here."
I felt a blush quickly forming to match my hair. "Oh gosh, don't think like that! We've only met," I gasped.
"What? Some people take it too fast," she shrugged, ignoring the wondering stares of the toddlers around us.
I was starting to hate this kid.
"Aright," I cleared my throat, more than happy to change the subject, "so where's Matt?"
"Oh, he's in the third floor. That's where the celebration's happening," Talia chirped lazily, fixing her tiara's position. She obviously had moved on from the awkward topic.
"You mean this isn't the party?"
She shook her head no, laughing. "More like the time-out room. Like when the kids are having too much fun they end up hurting someone or when they have some kind of temper tantrum. This is where we put them till they calm down."
"Smart idea," I commented. "But they're with other kids. Wouldn't it be more chaotic?"
"Their parents manage,"
I rolled my eyes. "So… at the third floor, right? Where is it?"
"At the third floor," Talia said flatly. Like, duh, wouldn't the third floor be at the third floor?
"Of course it is," I muttered through my gritted teeth. "So I just take the stairs to my left, go up two flights, and enter the room. Right?"
"Mm-hmm. Try not to get lost!" Talia called out as I headed for the stairs, rolling my eyes yet again. She suddenly burst into a round of laughter and I found myself abruptly stopping. "Okay! Sorry, I was just messing with you! I don't think anyone would be arriving now, so I'll help you find the place."
"Thanks," I sighed in relief. "That'd be great." I think. I didn't want to get lost in a mansion during a children's birthday party but I wasn't sure if I wanted to be accompanied by Talia. There was just something about her that annoyed me. She wasn't as chatty as Matt—he could be pretty annoying at times, as much as I hate to admit it—but the way she talked, indifferent and all that, just got on my nerves.
I let her walk a few paces in front of me, watching her cross her arms behind her head. She turned and shot me a grin. "What are you waiting for? Let's go!"
She was walking faster now. If I didn't move, I'd be lost. Taking a deep breath, I ran after Talia. Funny how I nervous I was of joining a birthday celebration. "Wait up!"
"Weren't you slow," Talia remarked the moment I reached the top.
"Maybe you were too fast," I shot back. I wasn't panting but I definitely was tired. For someone who talked slow, Talia sure did have a lot of energy in her legs. Who was I to think she'd be playing tour guide? She didn't even bother to respond whenever I asked her where the washroom was!
"A compliment, thank you."
I huffed in annoyance. She sounded just like those arrogant jerks you read in books or watch in TV. Actually, she kind of reminded me of Ryan Maxwell.
I shook the thought out of my head and looked around skeptically. "This is it?" It was almost as if I stepped into a completely different house. The first two floors were decorated with family pictures and luxurious furniture, while this floor was what I guess you would call a Plain Jane.
The walls were painted white and the hallway was narrow. All this floor had was a door, some railings that prevented people from taking a shortcut to the second floor, and a window overlooking the neighbor's roof.
"That was the last staircase, so yeah," Talia stated. "Don't worry, the inside is much more impressive. It's the Goodland's party room, after all." She added, reaching for the doorknob. I raised my eyebrows curiously and followed her in.
Excited squeals and the smell of food greeted us as we entered. The room was messy, with stained tablecloths and drinks spilled, which some waiters were hurriedly trying to wipe off. I cringed a little at the sight of a pair of screaming kids chasing each other, almost tripping on a server hell-bent on scrubbing off some kind of residue from the linoleum floor. I'm surprised no one has vomited yet.
Although, as I glanced around the big room once more, I had to agree with Talia; this was more impressive. Just like the outside, the room was painted a plain white but with brighter decorations. There were helium balloons all over the place, with tall roundtables that had cute centerpieces. The buffet table was a bit crowded with dishes of delicious food lined up. What stood out, though, in the whole place were the two cakes at the very front of the party.
One of the cakes was shaped into a building surrounded by a few red trucks. Three small sculptures of firemen were positioned at the very top of it, with the one at the very center being a little bigger than the other two. On the other hand, the second cake was pink in color with designs of roses and leaves all over it. A medium-sized sculpture of a fairy was at the top layer of the cake, with her dress al sparkly and pink—I think she's the fairy from that Barbie movie… Fairytopia, was it?
Overall, the whole party gave that—sort of—kiddie feel to it. And, somehow, it made me feel younger again. For a minute it was as if I could almost forget about The Elites, Matt, and school in general. But it's hard to do that when you're attending the birthday celebration of the said boy's siblings... and needed to go the bathroom badly.
"So where exactly is Matt?"
"Can you at least be patient? We just arrived. Jeez," she replied quickly, her eyes already searching the crowd. "I don't... There he is!"
I glanced at his direction and saw him casually chatting with an elderly woman. I debated whether or not to approach him. I wasn't that fond of waiting, but I didn't want to disrupt their conversation either. Fortunately—or unfortunately—, I had Talia to do that for me.
"Hey, Matt!" She exclaimed. Her cousin immediately looked up at the sound of his name and his ice blue eyes landed on us. "Your special guest has arrived!" Talia jabbed her thumb in my direction, and I shrunk away and did my best to hide behind my curls.
To hell with Talia, I thought as I watched Matt excuse himself from the grandma. Even without her here, I'd probably embarrass myself in three, two, one...
"Hi, Matt!" I greeted him in an overly-cheerful manner, tucking my hair back behind my ears. "Great party!"
Talia snorted and Matt cracked a smile. "Nice to know you're enjoying it. The magician will be here soon,"
"That's always the best part."
He laughed and gave me a small pat. "Seriously, though, it's nice you were able to make it."
"I needed to get out of the house for a change,"
"Wise choice," Talia mumbled sarcastically.
I only sighed in response. It was all I could do to restrain myself from strangling the girl unconscious.
We stayed like that for a while, the three of us silent and staring amidst the energy around us. I wasn't sure what to do with Talia still present, Matt sensed I was uncomfortable with her around and was trying to figure out how to send his cousin away without making the situation too awkward, and Talia... well, she was being Talia by making us all unsure.
"So, uh, Tals?" Matt cleared his throat slowly. "Aren't you supposed to be by the door?"
"What? Can't bouncers take breaks too?" Talia demanded, looking convincingly hurt.
"What's a bouncer?"
We all turned to the source of the innocent voice, and saw a young brunette to the side of Matt, staring at us wide-eyed.
"Oh, it's nothing really important, Carolyn," Matt said.
Carolyn, obviously not satisfied with the response, gripped Matt's pants. "No, it's something," she insisted. "It's my birthday so you have to tell!"
"Here," I pushed my gift into her hands as an attempt to stop a full-blown outburst. "Your Matt's little sister, right, Carolyn? Happy birthday!"
"Thanks, but you didn't have to that," Matt answered for his sister, who was now squealing in delight at the sight of the sparkly wrapper.
"It's common party courtesy," I shrugged. "Where's the other one, though? I have something for him too."
"I can give it!" Carolyn volunteered, her black ponytail bouncing as she got her brother's present.
"Just make sure not to ruin what's inside," Matt advised.
"That only happened once!"
"Aren't you going to open your gift first?" I tried.
Carolyn made a face. "Mom doesn't like it when we open our gifts in front of people. We leave a mess and sometimes we don't say thank you when we don't like the gift," Matt nudged her foot with his own and she kicked back. "We break each other's toys too. But we don't always do that!" She added sheepishly.
"Oh." I wasn't confident about Carolyn's princess wand and Kevin's superhero cape, but it's the thought that counts. "Well, I hope you'll like them."
"Thank you!" she chirped. "And I like your hair. You kinda look like Merida!" Her pale face breaking into a toothy grin and with that, she ran from our circle to look for her twin.
"Even she agrees you look like Merida," Matt laughed moments after his sister left.
"She's a kid," I grumbled, twisting a strand around my finger. "She doesn't know any better."
"Merida, ha!" Talia blurted out. She stopped snickering when I shot her a look. "I'm going to get some food now. See ya later!"
We both watched in silence as she walked away to the buffet table. "What do you want to do now?" Matt asked. "I mean, you can eat. Uh, meet my parents?"
Whatever you're supposed to do when you hang out, was what I wanted to say. Instead, I said, "I'll go the washroom first, I guess. I need to—"
"Right. Of course," Matt's ear tinged pink. "Go ahead, I'll just be here. The washroom is just over there." He pointed to an area off to the side and I glanced behind the white walls and caught a glimpse of the edge of a wooden door.
"'Kay, thanks." I hurried off to the side and entered the washroom. Just as I was about to take a seat on the toilet, my phone pinged. I felt for the front pockets of my sling bag and practically had a heart attack when I found out one of them was left opened. To my relief, my phone was still in there. I checked the screen and saw Mom had sent me a text. I placed it on the rectangular tank along with my bag, thinking I could read the message once I was done.
Several seconds later, I stood and pulled my leggings up and pressed down on the flush handle. As I washed my hands, I looked at the mirror, giving myself a confident smile. Alright. You can do this. It's just hanging out, after all. It's not like some random, bratty kid will ruin today. With that in mind, I grabbed my bag and walked out of the bathroom in assured strides.
However, I almost stumbled back when I saw who Matt was talking to. Oh no, the person definitely wasn't random and not a kid, but certainly a brat. I thought of returning to the bathroom, only it was too late when I made my decision. They've noticed me.
Matt beckoned me and Syrup regarded me with a surprise expression. I swallowed a lump of nervousness before plastering the fakest, most sugary smile I could muster and joined them.
"Sorry I took too long," I told Matt then I turned to Syrup. "Hello, Syrup. Enjoying the celebration?"
"Hello," Syrup replied, her voice a hiss. "My little sister and I have only arrived, so I really can't say for sure." She looked like she wanted to add more but she managed to keep her glossy lips shut.
"Oh. You have a sister."
"Yes. And same goes for you?"
"No," I responded slowly, "not really."
"Oh?" Syrup raised her eyebrows, giving Matt a curious look. "Then why are you here? Project buddies?"
"No," I muttered. "Just hanging out." This was probably my most civil conversation with the girl. Any minute now, though, I was sure it would end up with somebody hurt.
As if hearing my thoughts, Syrup focused all of her attention on an uneasy-looking Matt. "What? But I thought we'd be hanging out!"
Huh? "Don't tell me I came here for nothing," I huffed, speaking more to myself than to him.
"Yeah... Well, guess what! We're all hanging out. Surprise!" Matt blurted out, giving us a weak smile.
A few people looked our way and Matt immediately ushered us out of the room. I looked longingly at the buffet but I allowed Matt to guide me out. Once we were outside, Syrup was instantly hysterical. Matt tried to calm her down and I only leaned against the wall, watching them with my lips pursed. What the hell was Matt planning? Did he actually think this party would be at peace when Syrup and I were together in one room?
"Seriously, Syrup, for once would keep quiet and stop complaining?" The sternness of his tone did the trick. Syrup did as she was told and leaned on the wall across me. "Thank you," Matt sighed, raking his hands through his inky hair. "I know both of you are confused as to why you're both here when—"
"—when from what you to know, it's supposed to be nobody but us here. Aside from the kids, of course, but that's beside the point." Syrup and I both rolled our eyes in exasperation. We were finally agreeing on something: couldn't he get to the point already? "Well, after seeing Cindy be pushed into mud, I thought it would finally be the time for you two to come into terms with each other. It would've been better with the whole Elites present, but I guess it's okay, since the leader is here..."
That's when I started to consider my options.
A) go along with Matt's ingenious idea of the three of us hanging out together then go back to being enemies with Syrup come Monday; B) Lie to their faces and convince them in some way that I have diarrhea that can only be treated by going home and drowning myself with tissues wet with tears; or C) go along with Matt's idea of us hanging out then emerge unscathed and friends with Syrup (which I highly doubt will happen).
"Matt," I started to say, "I am sorry to tell you this but—"
"Why not! I'm tired of fighting, anyways." Syrup suddenly cut off, giving me a look that said to play along unless I wanted my social status to be even more non-existent.
Matt actually sounded relieved by this. "Great! What were you saying, Cindy?"
"Um..." If Syrup was actually willing to play nice even for one day, then what harm would it do? Then again, Syrup always managed to twist a whole story. Without Matt knowing, she'd probably spread how a creep like me attended a children's birthday without a younger sibling or an invitation or something worse. She always had a knack for that. I just couldn't risk it. And I really didn't want to spend a weekend with Syrup constantly giving me death threats behind Matt's back. "I'm sorry," I finally said. "I really can't. I have... I just realized that I need to be somewhere. Like, at this very moment. Bye!" I hurriedly excused myself and left.
"I'll just see you in school on Monday,"
"At least we'll be able to hang out now, Matt. Just you and me..."
I strained to make out the rest of Syrup's sickly sweet words, but I was already too far down to hear. The minute I reached the base, I tried to exit the house as nonchalantly as possible. It would've worked out great, if only Talia wasn't back at her bouncer post.
"Leaving already?" She wondered, smirking a little at another comment that was sure to come. "Syrup and her sis just came in. You're gonna miss the fun!"
I allowed myself to smile a little. It was no surprise that Talia knew who Syrup once. The girl always made sure to make her presence known. "I probably won't. She and I don't have great history."
"Really?" Her eyes widened. "Because to me it looked like you two would make great BFFs," she added sarcastically. She then gestured to the door. "Go ahead and spare yourself the drama. Leave."
"Thanks," I said, looking over my shoulder. "Bye."
"See you, wouldn't wanna be you!" She sang, giving me a toodles wave. It sounded like she meant it.
The door slammed from behind me and I took a seat down on the porch steps. What now? Mom wasn't supposed to pick me up till six and I had no mode of transportation to go to the house. This was not one of my smartest moves. Although... I could always go to the mall. Wasn't there a mall near here? It probably won't be a walking distance but hey, I could use the exercise. It was also better than sitting on somebody's front steps, waiting for six to come. And, honestly, my patience was already wearing thin.
It took a while for the coldness to settle in, and when it did, boy did it feel so good.
I located a bench beside the map of the mall and I tiredly made my way. My hair was a mess, my leggings were clinging to me uncomfortably, and I was pretty sure I smelled odd. I needed a break and some food, maybe. As I released my hair from its bun, I studied the map. Let's see... the nearest food place was either McDonald's or some French restaurant I can't even pronounce. Walking a far distance wasn't an option for my weak legs and I didn't have enough money—or even class—to step in that other restaurant, so McDonald's it was.
First things first, though, I had to call Mom. I unclasped the front pocket that contained my phone, but when I reached in, nothing was there. Strange. I check my other pocket. No luck—only some coins and a melted lollipop. Okaaaayyyy, maybe it's here, I thought as I unzipped the bag. It should be. I shuffled my belongings around. Why wasn't it there? I grumbled and decided to check the entire bag. Even after rechecking, I came up empty-handed.
I cursed under my breath, trying to think. Mom would kill me if she found out I lost it! So where was it? Think... think... Bingo! An image of me leaving my phone in the Goodland's bathroom flashed through my mind. Now that sucked. Did that mean I had to go back there? No. That would mean enduring another walk and having to properly explain myself to Matt. I can always use the payphone. Then hope Matt returns my cellphone to me on Monday.
Yes, now that's what I call a plan.
I forced myself to stand up and staggered towards the payphone, getting my wallet from the depths of my bag. I waited in line, counting my coins, when a familiar voice asked me, "Library Friend?"
I whirled around and my mouth popped open. "...Ryan?"
"Well, look who knows my name."
"Look who doesn't."
He shrugged coolly. "Cindy, right?"
"Congrats! Now what do you want as a prize?"
He cocked his head. "No need to be bitter."
I blinked. "Sorry... I just... I'm not in a good mood,"
"I can smell—I mean tell,"
I rolled my eyes, hoping my hair would cover up my blush. "So what brings you here?"
"Can't everybody enjoy the mall?"
"No. I mean, yes! I mean... ugh. I won't bother anymore,"
Ryan's lips twitched. "Hey, I was just messing with you. I'm here because I my phone's dead and I need to make an important call. You?"
"Same... sort of," I sighed. I glanced behind me, where the man was just finishing up his call. "Look, I need to go now—"
"You're not really going anywhere because—"
"You know what I mean!" I interrupted. I shook my head annoyingly and he just smirked back. Finally, the man was done and I took my place inside the booth. As I fed the machine my coins and dialed my mom's number, I could still feel Ryan's piercing stare behind my back.
I'm done! *collapses into chair* Longest chapter I've wrote so far, I think. This was supposed to be longer, since in my original plan, Cindy was supposed to meet Matt's parents and the other twin and she was supposed to have a longer conversation with Ryan in McDo. I assure you, though, there'll be time for that in the later chapters!
Any comments, suggestions, or violent reactions? If so, you know what to do.