Chapter One: Routine (JJ's POV)
JJ kept to himself. He didn't speak unless spoken to, and then it's usually as short and to the point as he could manage, depending on the situation. He didn't mingle due to his inexperience, and he never overstepped where he wasn't wanted, for fear of being a bother. He especially avoided girls his own age altogether for a simple reason: he understood them even less then he understood people in general… and unexplainable things just caused JJ to mentally sweat, so he avoided them.
JJ liked routine and often counted on things going according to his plan. God forbid if they didn't! The halls were usually empty during this time of day and JJ was counting on that; he really didn't want to get caught doing what he was about to do. He slid pass the abandoned classroom to the side hallway near the east entrance. Freedom was close and JJ could practically smell it as he ran toward the steel door. JJ barely made it before 5th bell rang. JJ sighed with relief before he nearly jumping out of his skin.
"Gay J! You fucking came!" a familiar voice screamed.
"Fucking hell, Cook! You scared the shit out of me!" JJ spoke after he was sure he wasn't going to have a heart attack.
"Sorry, Gay J. I'm just happy you made it!" Cook laughed. "You usually flake out on me." He smiled and pulled JJ into a bear hug.
JJ had to mentally remind himself not to flinch at the unexpected touch. "Who else is coming?" JJ asked, once Cook let go of him.
"Naomi and the Fredster," Cook shrugged happily.
"How the hell you get them to agree?" JJ asked.
"Well, Naomi was easy. All I had to say was booze and girls. She was practically foaming at the mouth and Freddie was a little harder, but the promise of endless drugs was too overwhelming for the man." JJ laughed along with Cook.
Cook became JJ's best mate in middle school after they became science partners, and even though the friendship was unexpected and Cook sometimes annoyed the hell out of JJ, he loved him and he knew Cook loved him too.
JJ became mates with Naomi and Freddie last year during their first year of 6th form. Freddie was easier to get along, with since he was extremely laid back and calm. The boy smoked a lot of weed. This, in turn, kept JJ calm when Cook's escapades got them in trouble.
But Naomi was something else! Naomi was just as wild as Cook, if not more so. She loved the drugs and alcohol, but she loved girls even more. Women were the one thing that Cook and Naomi shared together… sometimes literally! Any chance either of them could get to party, they took it. Didn't no matter how shitty the area or party and somehow made it about themselves and their needs. But JJ could give them one thing: they always made a shitty party legendary.
That wasn't why it took Naomi a little longer to get in JJ's good graces and for him to consider her a true mate. It was because she was incredibly cynical and rude to everyone and that just wasn't JJ's cup of tea. But she ended up proving she actually had a soft spot for him the night she stopped making out with a hot girl from the university to keep him company when Cook ditched him to make out with some blonde bimbo with huge tits and an even bigger smile if that was even humanly possible. JJ hadn't thought the blonde was particularly nice or attractive… well, at least not to JJ anyway. When JJ asked why Naomi ditched her date and was being nice to him, she simply gave him a confused look and said, "You're Cook's best mate… and since Cook's my mate too, that makes you my mate as well." Naomi and JJ stayed silent for the rest of the night, not feeling the need to break the comfortable silence that descended upon them because in it they truly became mates. JJ never questioned Naomi's friendship again and Naomi never felt the need to solidify it; they were mates plain and simple.
"Why are they not here yet?" JJ was becoming fidgety. They still had a high risk of being caught in the window between 5th bell and the beginning of 6th.
"I don't know, mate. Chill. They'll be here," Cook said. JJ's nervousness was killing his high from anticipating the party they were soon going to.
"Don't tell me to chill, Cook! They said they'd be here, they should be here!" JJ's nervousness was turning into anger and that wasn't good because no one wanted JJ to be angry. It was then, almost like magic, that Naomi and Freddie decided to make their appearance. Freddie was doing some type of James bond shit that looked neither suave nor becoming on him. It just looked well extremely stupid. To make things worse, he was even singing the damn theme song! Naomi just look really bored and annoyed.
Once Freddie decided to cut out the stupid crap after Naomi's foot "accidently" almost kicked his groin, JJ asked, "What the hell took you guys so long?"
JJ was on the border between annoyed and angry. I don't even want to be here! He thought angrily.
Naomi simple rolled her eyes at his question. "Freddie decided he wanted to be a damn ass for fifteen minutes with that James Bond shit and we almost got caught! We had to hide in an empty classroom for a few seconds before we could leave."
"Yeah, mate. It was freaky! We had to lock ourselves in this closet filled with animal parts and shit. Smelled real bad…" Freddie and Cook nearly busted a gut at that and JJ and Naomi simply exchanged a look and waited.
"Cook, mate, where we going anyway?" Naomi decided that Cook and Freddie would go on forever if left to their own devices and knew she was going have to get the ball rolling if they were ever going to get anywhere. Cook stopped laughing and gave Naomi his full attention.
"Well, children, why… the greatest party of the year!" Cook screamed.
"Wanna scream a little louder, Cook? I don't think the state sector heard ya!" Naomi said with the same annoyed look JJ was sure he had on his own face.
"Who's throwing it?" Freddie asked.
"Why… the Fitches! Who else?" Cook gave them an incredulous look but JJ chose to ignore that. He was too busy with the name that just popped out of Cook's mouth.
Twin sisters, Emily and Katie Finch belonged to the most popular clique at Roundview, called The Beauties. The Beauties were known for three things: Their beauty (obviously), their promiscuous behavior (they pretty much slept with anyone that caught their eye), and their legendary parties. They really did put Naomi's and Cook's to shame. It was an honor to be invited to their parties since they were both exclusive and secret.
"Goddamn it, Cook!" Naomi yelled, "Why didn't you tell me it was a godforsaken Fitch party?" Naomi looked more than pissed; she looked downright, well… livid.
"Because I knew you wouldn't come," Cook said with a cheeky grin. It was a known fact around Roundview that Naomi despised Emily Fitch. No one knew exactly why, but JJ's guess was that it had something to do with sex. It always did with Naomi, plus Emily was the only lesbian member of the Beauties. Emily and Naomi always had these intense competitions going on. It could be about anything… from who could eat the most chili peppers to who could stare at each other the longest. Emily always won and that just pissed off Naomi even more than their baser problem…whatever that was. Naomi hated to lose at anything.
JJ's problem with the Beauties had nothing to do with Emily. In fact, he quite liked Emily; she was nice enough and always said hi to him in the halls. It was the other Fitch that had JJ in a cold sweat. Katie Fitch had become the personification of JJ's idea of hell. Katie was going to be the death of him… and he believed that almost quite literally. Katie wasn't only the devil in JJ's eyes, but the other kind you only fantasized about when those slutty girls at Halloween wore those damn sexy devil outfits at Halloween. Only Katie's wasn't a costume and she was a slutty devil 24/7. Like all the other guys, JJ wasn't immune to fantasizing about her or her sultry demeanor.
"How did you get invited to that?" JJ asked Cook. JJ needed a distraction from his own thoughts about that certain devil.
"I'm fucking Effy." Effy was another member of the Beauties. Actually, she was the leader. Not only did she rule Roundview, but she decided who was cool enough to get invited to their parties.
"How did you get us invited? We ain't exactly 'cool' by their standards." Freddie was right; we weren't outcasts, but we weren't most popular table at the cafeteria 'cool' either.
"Oh, I threatened to withhold sex if she didn't invite you guys and, surprisingly, it worked. Princess loves her wily waggles with the Cookie monster." Cook laughed loudly and started making doggy-style gestures with his hands.
"I don't know what's more surprising… that you of all people threatened to withhold or that you're fucking Effy Stonem," Naomi stated with a roll of her eyes.
Freddie laughed and JJ didn't quite know how to react to that.
"Fuck off; you know if you weren't a muff monkey you'd fuck me too," Cook said in an insulted tone.
"When hell freezes over," Naomi said, simply taking a drag of her cigarette.
"Whatever," Cook answered back.
"Is the party now or something?" JJ was clearly annoyed as he thought, This was getting us nowhere. "Was that why you dragged me out of class to go to this party?"
"Hell no! The party don't start till midnight!" Cook exclaimed.
"What!?" JJ tried to keep his boiling anger in check. "What'd you just say?"
"Party don't start till midnight, Gay J," Cook didn't even know he was walking into a danger zone.
"That's just great!" JJ yelled, his anger finally spilling over. "You pulled me out of class for something that doesn't start until fucking midnight?" JJ only got locked on when he was aggravated or angry and now he was a bit of both…a bad combination. There was a reason that JJ needed routine. It was the only thing that kept him sane and kept him from getting locked on.
"Calm down, JJ, man. It's all cool. We can change and hang at Keith's until it's time." Freddie's attempt to defuse the situation only made him angrier.
"It's your mum, isn't it, mate?" Naomi asked softly.
JJ simply nodded his head, it always was JJ's mom. Barbra Jones was the epitome of a ball buster. She was the main reason his father left and the reason that, once JJ graduated, he was moving as far away as possible and never returning.
"Isn't she out of town this month?" Cook asked.
JJ nodded his head again.
"That's good. Roundview will call about you skipping school while she's away and you can delete the message when you get home. She'll never know," Freddie said with a smile.
That made sense. While Barbara Jones might care about his education, she didn't care enough to actually go to the school if they called again after he deleted the main message. She never did. She was a goddamn walking contradiction.
"Okay." JJ was more himself now. "I'll be okay. Just talk about something else." JJ began breathing in and out, trying to get his breathing under control.
"One thing JJ said made sense. Why'd you drag us out of class if the party doesn't start 'till later?" Freddie asked.
"I wanted to hang with my mates." Cook had an innocent puppy dog look on his face. "Besides, Effy wants to meet us at Keith's."
"You got to kidding me!" Naomi exclaimed. "You want us to meet her so she can sum us up and judge us with 'I'm better then you look.'"
JJ agreed with that.
"Come on; she ain't like that. She's really cool," Cook said defensively.
"Only because she's sucking your dick. For the rest of us, she's a bitch," Naomi said.
Freddie laughed again at that. Cook looked angry, but JJ was still a bit lost.
"Fuck this! Want to go back to my place?" Cook asked curtly. "I've got this killer new weed!" Cook was jumping up and down at the thought of it. The thing JJ loved most about Cook was that he was never down for long. It truly was infectious and JJ needed that in his life.