Stay learns that the relationship between her and Neil isn't as secure as she had hoped...
Neil and Stacy are walking side by side down the hall one bright morning until they comes to a stop at his locker. As she watches the blond teen model fiddling with the combination lock, Stacy sighs contently. What a kisser he is! Just thinking about it still makes her all giddy inside. Still, she feels slightly perturbed about something. Pouting, she looks down at her textbook, wondering if she should get Neil to hold her hand, if only just for once. For days since their first magical kiss he hadn't made the move to do so. Such a simple thing - to clasp hands, fingers intertwining - it's the most natural thing the lovers do, isn't it? Not to mention doing something more than just kissing, too. What should she do to encourage Neil to get closer to her?
That was when she remembers something her dad had told her this morning.
"Say Neil," Stacy says eagerly and excitedly, "I was wondering if you would like to go with me to see a play this weekend. My dad got tickets for it since he helped produced it. Are you interested? ...Neil?" Stacy looks hopefully over at Neil...only to see him grooming himself ardently in front of his locker mirror.
"Huh...? You were calling me?" Neil says, turning around to look quizzically at her. Stacy's face falls. Apparently he isn't even paying attention to what she was saying!
Realizing that Stacy is looking at him in a slightly annoyed expression, Neil grins sheepishly and tries to remember what she was talking about just a while ago. "A play...with you?" He says, cocking an eyebrow and looking at her for confirmation. Stacy nods rapidly and leans slightly forward toward him, looking at him with high expectation. Neil scratches the back of his head. "Uh, sure...I guess...I need to check my schedule first." He turns back to his mirror and preens himself some more.
Feeling a bit stung, Stacy lowers her eyes. "Oh, ok then." She pauses to think for a moment before returning her gaze to the back of Neil's head. "You know, I couldn't help noticing how you've been 'busy' quite a bit lately," Feeling a sudden lump in her throat, she hesitates before continuing somewhat tentatively, "Is there something you need to tell me, Neil?"
Neil raises his eyebrows in confusion. He turns around, blinks at Stacy for a moment or two and finally gives her a quick shrug, still looking a bit bewildered. "Look, I just have other things to do, ok?" He replies rather bluntly, closing his locker door and slinging his backpack over his shoulder. In doing so, he failed to see a look of hurt on her face.
"Oh, I see...ok then." She sighs, turning halfway away from Neil, fighting the urge to cry. What happened? I thought we were doing so well! She wonders anxiously, have I done something wrong?
The school bell blares loudly, the noise echoing down the hall indicating that the first classes are about to begin.
"Guess it's time for me to go to the geography class now." Stacy murmurs softly.
Neil nods. "Yeah, I better run...Oh! Stacy!" He turns around abruptly and looks at her rather anxiously. "How does my hair look?" He asks her, touching his head.
Stacy blinks curiously at him and then gives him a quick look-over. "It looks perfect." She replies with a smile.
Neil beams with pride. "Great, see you later then."
"Ok," Maybe he's going to give me a kiss? With a hopeful anticipation Stacy closes her eyes, puckers her lips up and leans toward Neil. After a minute or two she frowns slightly, wondering why he hadn't kissed her yet. "Huh?" She opens her eyes. Neil had already turned away from her and was walking away down the hallway without a backward glance. The confused look on her face turns to a sharp disappointment. He didn't even kiss me goodbye! How can he...?
Just then Neil stops in his tracks as if he just remembered something. He quickly turns around, hurries back to her, leans forward, and kisses Stacy on the cheek.
"See you at lunch," he chirps at her with a trademark grin.
Sheer relief floods Stacy, and she smiles happily at him. "You bet. See you then!" She declares brightly. Oh well, it's better than nothing! She muses, rubbing her cheek affectionately. Once again, Stacy watches Neil walk away. She can't help it; she just loves the way that teen model walks.
The six teenagers walk into Hermes' communication room, having been summoned by the messenger of the gods himself. Hermes, adjusting his winged pilot cap, turns around in his swirling chair and greets them cheerfully. "Ah, here you are, just in time to hear this important news report...wait, where's Neil?"
Surprised, the teenagers crane their heads around looking for the missing seventh teammate. Odie sighs and shakes his head. "Looks like Neil is late...and probably not for the first time!" He remarks grumpily.
Finally, after a few minutes, Neil arrives at last, strolling in through the set of double doors and holding his cell phone to his ear.
"Yes, I know about the play this weekend...no, I still need to check my agenda book. There may be a chance I'm working on a photo shoot that day." Neil pauses, look up, and realizes his friends are all glaring at him. Even Hermes stands there tapping his foot impatiently on the floor with the same disapproving expression on his face as the other six heroes. "What...?" The blond teen whispers in a confused manner.
Jay clears his throat and taps on his wristwatch. "You're late." He says simply, raising one eyebrow.
With an exasperated sigh Neil rolls his eyes skyward. "Look Stacy, I gotta go...Yeah, I'll call you back later...bye." Thus done, he closes his flip-phone and put it away in his pocket.
Now that all his teammates are accounted for, Jay turns back to the skinny, caduceus-wielding god. "What do you have for us, Hermes?"
"Alright. A few of Cronus' giants have been spotted near the cliffs," Hermes explains, nodding seriously, "The very spot where you stopped Cronus from charging his Sundial capsule and using it to change time without having his own powers being drained."
"What do you suppose they are doing there?" Herry scratches his head in puzzlement.
Jay frowns and looks down in a deep thought. At once he comes to a conclusion. "Probably to find the broken remains of the brass sundial we broke from our last battle!" The young leader declares. He instinctively pulled out his xiphos and with the squeeze of the handle the blade pops out.
"Sure took them long enough to try and grab that thing!" Atlanta snorts.
"Come on, let's go!" The team leader calls out. Quickly he heads for the door with the others following close behind.
Just like dÃ©jÃ vu, the teen heroes jump out of Herry's truck and runs straight up the hill. There they see four giants scoping the area where the sundial was last seen.
Deciding to take the charge, Archie cries out determinedly, "Let's do this!" The other six teammates follow suit, running after the giants.
"Huh...?" Agnon looks up in time to see the heroes rush at them in a fighting stance. He gives a shout, and all the giants stop what they were doing to face the young teenagers.
Just then a familiar ringing tone blares out suddenly, coming from Neil's pocket. This distracts the young blond teen from the ensuring battle. "Not again," he groans as he slows down to a stop and pulls his phone out from his pocket, flips it open, and places it to his ear. "Yeah, Stacy, what is it?" He listens for a moment and grimaces. "No, I told you I'm busy and I haven't had time to check my agenda...Yeah, I'll let you know as soon as I do...Of course, the play sounds interesting..."
As Neil is busy engaging in the conversation with Stacy, totally oblivious to what is going on around him, he happens to take a few steps off to his right. It is a good thing he did, for one of the giants has just come lunging at him. The giant misses him by mere inches, falls off the cliff and tumbles all the way down to the trees below.
Odie, busy types on his laptop computer in an effort to find a way to defeat the giants, looks over his shoulder just in time to see the giant miss Neil as he is talking on the phone. Annoyed, he storms over to his blond teammate. "Neil! Come on man, what are you doing?" The small teen shouts furiously.
Neil puts his hand on the speaking end of the phone and glares down at the young genius. "Do you mind, I'm on the phone." He hisses at him.
"Do you mind, we are in the middle of a battle here!" Odie points out. "And here you are, yakking away on the phone!"
With a heavy sigh, Neil puts the phone back up to his ear.
"Look Stacy, I gotta go. I'll call you back later...ok...bye." With that said Neil flips his phone close and places it into his pocket. He turns to his dark skinned teammate and gives him an annoyed glare.
Odie lets out an exasperated sigh. When will Neil ever learn to be responsible when it comes to this hero business? He thought, shaking his head in despair.
Attempting to ignore the seven teens attacking him and his fellow giants, Agnon hurriedly gathers parts of the old brass sundial and solar equipment for his master. Suddenly Archie's Hephaestus whip comes screaming through the air. It wraps tightly around the green giant's wrist. With a mighty tug, Archie manages to get Agnon to release his grip on Cronus' time machine. As though on a cue, Atlanta jumps in. With her Wrist Laser Crossbow she quickly stuns the giant, causing him to lose his balance and falling backward.
At once Jay and Theresa rush in and grab the machine away from Agnon before he has another chance to re-take it. Meanwhile, Herry lifts a large heavy boulder and tosses it at the two remaining giants standing at the edge of the cliff. The impact of the boulder sends the two giants hurtling over and straight down to the bottom, crashing into the ground not far from where the first giant had land just a short while ago.
Recovering from the stun effect, Agnon looks around him and realizes that he's all alone and surrounded by the seven brave, determined heroes. With a whimper he decides to make good his escape, scurrying away as fast as he can before the teens could put him down for good.
"Well, looks like he won't be coming around here again," Neil laughs. Odie gives him a sour look.
"Yeah, no thanks to you," Odie growls.
Neil looks quickly at his short friend, stung by Odie's comment. "What's that suppose to mean?" The blond boy asks, pouting. Archie, overhearing them, decides to rip into Neil.
"He means that phone call from your girlfriend. It could have cost us this battle if Odie hadn't confronted you over it!" Archie lambastes him, giving him a look of disapproval.
"Guys, what is your issue?" Neil says defensively, stepping back and holding up his hands, "Stacy was just calling to remind me about this play she wants me to go with her to see."
"They're right Neil,' Jay says seriously, turning around to confront Neil, "Stacy has been distracting you quite a bit lately with her phone calls. She's called during our training with the gods this past week and half, and now from our battle with Cronus' giants. Next time it may be a more serious situation. We need you to stay focus in order to defeat Cronus!" The young leader points out.
Feeling hurt, Neil frowns and crosses his arms. "Well! You guys are just jealous that someone in my life that actually pays attention to me." The model teen huffs, turning his nose up in the air.
"No, that's not the point," Theresa shakes her head, looking just as exasperated as the rest of her teammates. "Honestly Neil, sometimes I wonder if you actually care about this team...even just a little?" She sneers at him.
"Yeah, you bring a whole new meaning to the word 'self-absorbed'!" Atlanta adds disdainfully.
Eyebrows knitting in confusion, Neil looks down at her as though to ask what she meant by that.
"Oh, forget about it!" The fiery red-head growled in frustration, throwing her arms up in the air and walking towards Herry's truck.
"Never mind now," Jay sighs loudly, holding up his hand to quell any more quarrel that is starting to raise between the teammates and Neil, "Come on; let's get this thing back to the school so Chiron can have a look at this sundial." With that order, he and Herry begin picking up the solar panels and brass sundial. The rest of the teammates pitch in and assist them in carrying the damaged machine back to the truck.
Neil glares at his friends, watching them walk away from him. The confrontation with them has left him shaking. He is beside himself with total disbelief that they would talk down at him like that. It's not like he's done anything wrong! What's the big deal in getting a few phone calls now and then anyhow? With a sigh he figures that he should hurry and catch up with his teammates before they decide to drive off without him.
On their way back to the campus a few minutes later, however, Neil starts to see why his teammates made such a big fuss over the intrusive phone calls. What's really annoying about all of this is that the guys are right, he admits resignedly to himself. Stacy is becoming very distracting and taking his time away from what is important to him. Over the past couple of weeks since dating this girl, Neil hardly had much time for Neil. With a heavy sigh, he mulls over what to do and finally makes a decision. He just HAVE to do something drastic about her. One good thing is that Stacy is a very understanding person. Neil nods to himself. Oh yes, Stacy will surely understand why he is doing this to her. That's one of the qualities Neil likes about her.
THE NEXT DAY...
Stacy is thunderstruck.
"You're breaking up with me...?" She gasps in shock, barely able breath as she stares in sheer disbelief at Neil. "I've never been dumped before..."
Neil avoids eye contact. Instead, he concentrates on adjusting the strap on his backpack. "Look I'm sorry, but this is just how it's going to be...You understand, don't you?" Neil says with a tone of hope, as if his decision made complete sense to everyone as much it did to him.
Stack shakes her head vehemently. "No, I don't understand," she barks back, still quite upset. "Did I do something wrong? Was I being smothering to you?" Stacy slaps a hand onto her cheek with the look of mortification in her tear-brimmed eyes. "Oh, God, I was smothering, wasn't I? I'm so sorry!"
Neil grimaces and shifts his feet uncomfortably. Oh no, now she's going to cry. Why does this always happen? He thought to himself in dismay. It's so simple to understand. How come she has to make a big deal out of it...?
Letting out an exasperated sigh, Neil claps his hand to his face and drags it down as though he is trying to rub away the frustration he is feeling.
"Stacy listen," he tries to explain as patiently as possible, "You weren't smothering me..." the blond teen ponders for a bit before continuing. "Ok, maybe you were a little, but that's alright I didn't mind the attention...most of the time." Neil concludes, feeling quite pleased that he covered that well.
Down the hall the door opens and Archie and Atlanta comes out of gym class, laughing lightly over a joke Archie had just told her. The sound of someone crying out in an aggravated voice grabs the two young warriors' attention. Surprised and puzzled, they stop laughing and look curiously down the hall to see where the voice came from. At once they notice an obviously upset Stacy fuming at a very flustered Neil.
"Why didn't you say something then? I could have eased off a bit!" The amber-haired girl is shouting at the bleach blond teen. Neil visibly cringes at her sharp words. If there's anything Neil hates the most, it is someone yelling at him for any reason.
Neil tries to compose himself and takes a deep breath. "Ok, I'm going to try and explain this simply," he replies in a frustrated tone, smacking his hand to his forehead and dragging it down his face for the second time, "It has nothing to do with you, or the way you behaved towards me. I just feel it's time for us to move on. Get it?"
"There's another girl, isn't there? Oh, I'm such an idiot!" Stacy cries, clapping her hands over her eyes. Of course! I should have known it! No wonder he was so aloof toward me lately! She could have mentally slapped herself again for not seeing the obvious. Even with her eyes covered she can't hide the fact she is starting to cry.
"What?" Neil is now confused. Another girl? Where did that come from? He shakes his head and waves his hands wildly. "No! There's no other girl!" The blond teen shouts, hoping to get her to calm down and to talk rationally to him.
"Sure there are!" Stacy retorts, wiping her tears away angrily, "I bet there's dozens of them that you've kept secret from me. That could explain why you were 'busy', and had to keep hanging up on me during our chats on the phone!"
Neil is getting all wounded up. He turns to face Stacy. "Look! I was busy with other things, ok! I can't explain why, but I was!" He shouts back defensively.
"Oh sure you were...with your other /floozy girlfriends!/" She yells up at him.
Neil decides he have had enough. "Ok, you know what! I was trying to be nice about this, but now you leave me no choice. It's over! Done! Kaput! Welcome to Dumpsvile, population.../you!/" He spits out angrily. "As I said before, I'm sorry, but that's just how the cookie crumbles! Get over it, ALREADY!" As soon as he finished his speech, Neil spins around on his heels and storms off down the hall. He is so upset over the seemingly unreasonable situation that he doesn't even notice Archie and Atlanta as he passed them by.
"You'll be /sorry/, Neil! Nobody dumps me! You hear me? NOBODY!" Stacy shrieks after him. She begins to break out in sobbing fits of tears but catches herself in time, quickly turns around and runs down the hall in the opposite direction.
Soon the hall is quiet. Baffled by what they had just witnessed, Archie and Atlanta look at each other.
"What was that all about?" Atlanta asks, blinking her eyes.
"I don't know," Archie answers, scratching his head with a befuddled expression on his face, "But, somehow, I had a feeling something had only begun to get worse. Much worse."