We were awakened the next morning by a loud and shrill shriek emitted by Brendon. He threw open the door and stormed into our Bedroom, pointing at his face.
‘What is this?’ He said, indicating to his lips, which were messily painted a bright red. On his cheeks was a fluorescent pink shade of blush, on his head was a pretty bow headband, and in his hand he clutched a pink, fluffy bunny rabbit.
Kate and I burst into laughter. ‘Raspberry kiss’ I snorted.
He stomped off to the bathroom, Kate and I still giggling uncontrollably at him.
‘I’m more excited about Ryan’s reaction’ I said with a grin. We slid out of our beds and she followed me into the guy’s room, where the other two victims were only just wakening.
‘Was Brendon...was Brendon wearing lipstick?’ Spencer asked sleepily, an adorable confused look on his face as he slowly rose from his bed. His face sparkled with glitter.
‘What?’ Ryan grunted with a yawn, stretching his skinny bare arms and ruffling a hand through his hair. At least he tried to, but the tiara got in the way.
‘Why is there a doll in my bed?’ Spencer asked, lifting up the dainty ragdoll by its hand.
‘And why am I wearing a Tiara?’ Ryan questioned, lifting it from his head and looking at it in confusion, causing me and Kate to laugh even more.
‘Dude what is up with your face?’ Said Spencer.
‘What’s up with your face?’ Ryan said.
They simultaneously turned to look at us.
‘See you on MySpace’ I snorted, swinging the camera around my forefinger and slinking back into our bedroom with Kate, the two of us immediately pushing our backs against the door behind as Ryan and Spencer fought to get in. Unfortunately they won when Brendon joined; although they were scrawny boys, we weren’t much better.
I clutched the camera tightly in my hands as I was attacked by the three of them, caused to curl up protectively on the floor. ‘Fine’ I squealed, sticking out my arm. Ryan took the camera from it, I sat up and smiled at the look on his face when he realised the photos were password protected.
‘Tell me the password’ He said.
‘Tell me the password, please?’
‘Fine’ He said simply, handing it back to me. ‘I guess we will have to make some negotiations later on then.’
He smiled; the other two looked at him curiously and followed him out, Brendon sticking his tongue out at us before closing the door.
Kate and I exchanged worried glances. I had a feeling any ‘negotiations’ thought up by Ryan Ross had reason to be feared.
_ _ _
At lunch time, we unanimously decided we’d eat out today in a small cafe that Jane recommended, as an act of politeness towards Rick and Lucy so they didn’t have to supply lunch again for a group of six teenagers, which included Brendon. I ordered the cheapest salad on the menu.
‘Not hungry?’ Ryan questioned.
‘Um’ I said ‘It’s just... I think I should start looking for a Saturday job again.’
‘Hey you should come and work with me.’ Brendon said.
‘What? Down at the smoothie hut?’
‘Yeah, a girl called Rachel just quit so there’s a vacancy open. I could put in a good word for you.’
‘Really you would do that?’ I said ‘Thank you, you’re awesome.’
Brendon smiled as I flung my arms around him. ‘I know’ He said.
‘How fun would it be, me and you working together every Saturday?’ I mused.
‘But the smoothie hut’s like on the other side of town, and you don’t have a car.’ Said Ryan ‘I mean, how would you get there?’
‘I guess I could just take a bus’ I shrugged.
‘No it’s fine, I’ll take you.’ Said Brendon.
‘Really? But I’m not even on route.’
‘So what, it’ll only take an extra couple of minutes--no biggy.’
‘You are so sweet’ I said, briefly placing my hand on his arm.
‘You might not even get the job’ Ryan said, taking a sip of his water and not even looking at me.
‘Oh and why wouldn’t I get the job?’ I challenged, looking across the table at him.
‘I don’t know, I’m just saying, somebody else might get it.’
‘And what would this person have that I don’t’ I said, folding my arms.
‘Nothing it’s just...I mean...no offence but you can be a bit clumsy sometimes.’
‘I am not clumsy!’ I said in an offended tone, pouring my self a drink of water but missing my glass so it spilt onto the table and dripped onto my lap.
My friends collapsed in laughter. Ryan handed me a napkin. I took it with a sharp ‘thank you.’
I cleaned the table up and scrunched the napkin into a ball. I looked up and saw Ryan watching me with an amused smile. His eyes twinkled, and I had to look away, hoping he wouldn’t notice the random blush on my cheeks.
‘Who ordered the salad?’ said a waitress who had suddenly appeared at the table with a silver tray of plates.
‘Oh, that’s me.’ I said.
She placed the tiniest plate of lettuce leaves and tomatoes I had ever seen in front of me.
‘That’s tiny’ said Jane to me, as the waitress placed a plate twice the size of mine in front of Ryan. It was mainly taken up by a pile of fries.
‘There you go’ the girl said, with a smile that was way too enthusiastic. She lingered her eyes on Ryan, obviously liking what she saw. Ryan was as oblivious as ever to the waitress’ attention though. ‘Would you like some?’ He said to me as I picked up a lettuce leaf from my plate with a grimace.
‘Oh’ I said ‘um, a couple would be nice, thank you.’
He took my plate and shoved half his supply of fries on it. ‘Whoa, are you sure?’
‘Yeah, I wouldn’t be able to eat them all’ Ryan shrugged.
‘Thank you’ I said gratefully as he handed my much fuller plate back to me.
After lunch we headed back to the beach house to collect our beach gear. Rick suggested a game a of beach volleyball, which we all agreed to. We headed out to the beach carrying the net between us, which Rick and Ryan planted into the sand. I was quite excited; I considered myself somewhat good at the game. Back when I lived in California, I’d spend almost every summer playing it on the beach with my old friends. It was odd thinking about them again. Usually when I move I block out those sort of memories from my mind to ease the feeling of nostalgia.
It was nearing sunset by the time we started. The sky was pinker and the sand a darker shade of orange. It reminded me of the backdrop to the dream I’d had about Ryan and I in the car on the way here. A few other things weren’t quite right though. Like Jane’s presence.
We decided the easiest way to sort out the teams would be boys v girls. The boys had a strong team. Ryan was quick, and unsurprisingly good at the game, as he is when it comes to nearly everything he does, of course. Spencer was a little more than moderate. Rick was obviously very competitive in nature, and Brendon...well Brendon was very enthusiastic.
But we girls weren’t too bad ourselves. We were drawing 7 all by the time Brendon decided to call for a team huddle. We thought we might as well have our own too.
‘So what’s the plan?’ Said Lucy.
‘Umm’ I said. ‘Well the strongest player is either Ryan or Rick, so if we do our best to avoid them...’
‘Sounds good.’ Said Jane.
When we restarted playing again it seemed like the boys had similar tactics. They all seemed to be avoiding my direction, at least, when they hit the ball over. I managed to snatch it eventually though, when one of Spencer hits came my way. Ryan hit it back. He had impressive force for such a skinny boy. I managed to gain access to it again though and hit it back over, where Ryan got it again and hit it back. I was determined though. I stretched out my arms, dived left and just managed to hit it—before stumbling on the sand and falling to my knees. I looked up to watch the ball. It made it over the net and Brendon and Spencer immediately reached for it, colliding it the process and managing to whack it some random direction to our right, where it landed at the feet off a guy with sunglasses who was playing a game of Frisbee with a few other friends.
He picked it up and jogged over to us. ‘Whose call is it?’ He asked. He had a very nice body.
‘Ours’ I said, but instead of chucking it to me, he decided he’d walk over to me and hand me the ball personally.
‘Hi’ He said. ‘I’m Ethan’
‘Stephanie’ I said, taking the ball from him as he didn’t seem willing to hand it over just yet. ‘Thank you’ I said. ‘It was nice meeting you but we should probably get on with the game now.’
‘Oh right’ He said ‘Hope to see you around’
And with one last cocky grin, he jogged off back to his friends.
Jane and Kate were giggling.
‘He was cute.’ Kate said.
‘Yeah, but way, too sure of himself.’ I said, rolling my eyes.
‘Look at Spencer.’ Jane whispered to me. ‘He’s staring daggers at him.’
I looked up to see, to my surprise, that this was actually true.
I shrugged it off. ‘I really don’t think you should look too far into it’ I said.
‘I don’t need to, he’s obviously jealous.’ She said.
I sighed, took a few paces back and resisted the temptation to whack the ball into the back of Jane’s head. Instead I aimed it swiftly over the net and onto a patch of sand by Spencer’s feet.