So, for the last twelve hours of so I’ve found myself wondering, “Why has no one liked Chapter 16?” I mean, I didn’t expect to see a whole lot of responses, considering the five month break in between chapters, but I expected at least one like, or something. After investigating to see what the problem was I figured it out: I never actually posted it. I scheduled it for the twenty-eighth instead of the twenty-seventh. I guess I’m just not that good at this whole “math” thing.
Sorry about that. Here is chapter 16. Enjoy.
“So, do you think I could beat up James?” I asked. “I think I can. I mean, he’s like, real spooky and all, but he’s got no muscles whatsoever.”
“Nope,” said Kathy.
“Seriously? You’ve seen me in a sleeveless shirt before. I am a sight to behold.” This brought a smile from her, which I took as confirmation that I should keep going. “Did you know how I was kicked off the football team last year?”
“Because during the halftime you stole the opposing team’s school flag?”
That actually did happen. Except this was during the Varsity team’s game, so I wasn’t playing. This was at our rival school, however, (Diesel went there) and I was dared by my Senior friends to steal the schools’ flag during the game. Maybe it was because I was partially drunk at the time, but I decided what the hell. Kathy was still in her ultra-rebellious mode at this time, so she agreed to provide me a getaway car, and it worked out great. Sure, I got kicked off the football team and accidentally started a brawl, and I had to drop the flag because it couldn’t fit through the car door, but at this point the upperclassmen had started to know me not as Kathy’s little brother but as the Great Wyatt Mellonsky himself. Good times.
“Not just because of that. Turns out I was so intimidating that all the other players were afraid to go near me, and the coach had to let me go. It just wasn’t fair to the other teams.”
“Oh, I believe you.” Kathy kept on driving.
I took a deep breath, looking out the window as the silence swallowed everything. I tried looking ahead to find Diesel’s car, but I couldn’t see anything.
The group had split into two cars, with Kathy, Sean and I in one and Diesel and Adrien in the other. Kathy had reluctantly agreed to the whole thing, not before telling off the both of us first. “You two need to get your shit together, okay? No more complaining, no breaking things, no shooting people in the chest. The moment you start to get all emotional, or pull some spur-of-the-moment crap on me, I will call Mom and Dad and I will bring you straight home. Understand?” We had both understood.
Basically, the plan was: Diesel and Adrien would walk into Fiona’s house, and then Diesel would text me to come in at the right time. With me pointing a gun at them, Adrien would light the money on fire while they watched. Fiona didn’t know it was counterfeit, supposedly, so she’d be pissed. This was all Adrien’s plan, and I was actually sort of impressed.
Sean and Kathy would wait in the car for back-up. If they didn’t hear from either of us in ten minutes, first Sean would call Fiona in the hopes of figuring out what was going on, and if that didn’t work the two of them would swoop in, SWAT team-style, and rescue us. But hopefully they wouldn’t have to resort to such methods.
Diesel turned right onto one street while Kathy turned right on the next one, where we stopped halfway down and pulled over to the side. “That’s her house.” I pointed at the back of a large white house with a porch and an in-ground pool in the backyard. I couldn’t see any movement inside.
I held the BB gun in my hand (Sean had reluctantly given it back), waiting for Diesel’s text. We waited, and waited, until at least two minutes had gone by, and finally my phone vibrated.
Wyatt, I am not going to ask again, please answer back—
I deleted it without reading the rest. “Just mom,” I said, and everyone went back into waiting position. At least a minute went by before I got another message, this one from Diesel.
I opened the door and stepped out. “Wish me luck, guys.”
“Don’t die or anything,” said Kathy.
“I’ll try not to.” I was about to leave, but then I decided to add one more thing. “And Kathy?”
“Thank you. For everything.”
She was a little taken back, which I expected, but she also smiled, for what might have been the first time since she picked me up from school that morning. “Give ‘em hell Wyatt.”
And with that I started running across one yard and jumped the fence into Fiona’s. I looked up at the windows for any signs of movement, and saw nothing.
Underneath Fiona’s back porch was an old door that led into the basement. I knew this because I’d had to sneak out of this door on more than one occasion, last summer.
I opened it, slowly pointing the gun ahead like I was some sort of secret agent. This was the storage room; the real basement was just outside the next door, some five feet away. I could see the light beneath the cracks on the other side. Knowing I’d be blinded once I opened the door, I went ahead and did it anyway, opening it quietly in case everyone was upstairs.
The first thing I saw was Adrien sitting down against the wall, barely moving. I thought he’d been in bad shape after the kidnapping, but this was so much worse. Both eyes were swollen and black, his nose was bleeding furiously, down his chin down his shirt to the floor. His upper lip was swollen and upon further inspection, at least one of his front teeth was missing. The sight made me sick to my stomach.
Fiona was kneeling next to him with a first aid kit, blabbering nonstop. “I am so sorry he did this to you, I never planned for any of this to happen, I just—”
She looked at me, and immediately stood up and backed against the wall. “Wyatt, please. This was all James and Diesel’s work. Okay? I didn’t want them to do this.”
Except she was lying, because Diesel obviously wouldn’t have done it; he just wanted to go home, like everyone else. I told her this, but Fiona just shook her head, confused.
“Diesel started this whole thing. He threw the first punch. No one asked him too.”
“Shut up.” I looked to the right, where the staircase was. “Where’s James?”
Someone kicked the door behind me, the one I just walked through, and it slammed shut. I spun around and shot the gun blindly in that direction. I either missed James or the BB just wasn’t painful enough to bother him.
He tackled me to the floor, my head landing on the side of the couch. If it had landed on the wooden floor I might’ve died. James took the gun away from me and smacked me across the face with it, all while Fiona was screaming at us to stop.
I kicked him in the stomach, then kept kicking until he backed off, then I somehow managed to get back to my feet.
The rest of the room was unfocused, unimportant. The only thing that mattered was James, that lying backstabbing piece of trash that I had somehow thought would make a good employee. He was still backing up uncertainty when I slammed his body against the wall, punching wildly. The gun fell somewhere, I didn’t care. I just wanted to give James a broken nose, two black eyes and a missing tooth. Maybe even a splinted shin while I was at it.
“WYATT!” Fiona’s shout was just loud enough to snap me out of it. I looked over to find her standing there, with the BB gun pointed at me. Her hands were shaking. “Walk slowly towards your brother and sit down.” Or I will shoot you, her eyes said.
“Just shoot him anyway!” said James. His face wasn’t nearly as messed up as it should’ve been.
“Shut up, James,” she said, keeping her eyes on me. She looked about five years older than she did this morning.
James, unfortunately, was one of those people who did not like to be told what to do.
“What did you just say to me?” In a tone that meant he knew perfectly well what she just said to him.
“Please, James, just go get Diesel.”
He looked like he was about to argue further, and despite my anger at Fiona I didn’t want to see that happen. “Yeah James,” I said between heavy breaths. “Scurry off.”
“Shut your mouth, Mellonsky, before I kick your ass again.” I had a really obvious comeback in mind, but I decided to hold it in. With that, James stormed up the stairs.
“So. . . what is Diesel doing, anyway?” I was trying to sound casual and perfectly calm here.
“He’s keeping a lookout upstairs, just in case you decided to come in through the other door.”
“How’d you know I was coming?”
She looked at me like I was crazy. “He told us.” Then she seemed to remember the circumstances, because she yelled at me to sit down next to Adrien. I looked over at him as I sat down, mostly just to make sure he wasn’t dead.
Adrien just shrugged, looking straight ahead with an almost bored expression.
I turned back to Fiona. “So what exactly did Diesel say when he got here?”
“He said. . .” she hesitated, then went on. “That on the way over, he found out that you were following them, and that Adrien had no intention of actually letting this whole thing go. And then he punched Adrien in the face, knocked away his crutches, and James brought him down here and did the rest. I didn’t want either of them to do that, okay?”
She nodded. “And then Diesel told us that Wyatt would probably be coming through the basement door any moment now.”
I sighed, banging my head back against the wall. “Diesel too.” Of course. He was willing to help them kidnap my brother; he wouldn’t just randomly switch sides after that. I am an idiot.
Was anything he said true? James having creepy romantic feelings towards Fiona? The counterfeit money? I wasn’t sure how to feel if the money turned out to be legitimate after all. Proud that my ten thousand dollar gum business was real or upset that I’d probably never get it back? I’d have time to ponder that later.
A loud noise, the sound of furniture being knocked over, came from upstairs, startling the both of us. James came running downstairs, his face furious.
“Diesel’s car is gone,” he said.
“What?” Fiona and I said at the same time. Fiona gave me a look, then kept talking. “Why would he do that?”
Instead of answering, James punched the wall, which struck me as a very pointless gesture. Finally he managed to regain some semblance of composure. “He took all the money with him too.”