"I do comic-strips."
"Oh, that's neat!"
I let out a sigh of relief. The tension seemed to be dissipating into the air. Then Lacey turned to look at me. "Oh, I forgot to mention...Sadee is coming tomorrow."
I was in the process of tilting my head to the side, then my brains fully understood what her words were. An audible crack filled the room.
It hurt, too.
Trying to right my head, I ended up falling backwards. "She. Was. Just. Here."
"She wants to come here for college."
"What, this shitty little town?" Asked Johnny incredulously.
Lacey shrugged. "Hey, she wants to come here. She even payed for my trip." Then she pouted. "I wanted to go on the private jet..."
"She's...taking the jet," I repeated, sitting up.
"Yep. Apparently, the helicopter Thorton let her use...kind of crashed."
"Why now..it's mid-semester..."
"I dunno, ask her."
He watched the girls bicker back and forth. For some reason, Lacey seemed to intimidate Laura. Johnny could not yet understand why. She seemed irritating at first, then she became almost more tolerable than Laura.
Granted, that wasn't too difficult to accomplish.
He found himself thinking about the painting back at his house. He'd put on so many layers, so many colours, and yet he still felt that it was unfinished. And it was odd. The design was off; he'd never painted anything quite like it. It looked familiar, yet he was sure he'd never been to a place like that depicted in the painting. For one, it was a little to fantastical, something from out of a stereotypical dream. Something simultaneously abstract and concrete.
It was unnerving, almost.
Then he realized the girls had gone quiet and were both staring at him.
Well, that was quite unnerving.
"What?" he stated.
"You were mumbling something about purple skies and rivers and stuff," said Laura.
"Is that what your painting is?" Asked Lacey. She seemed to be the perceptive one.
"Kind of..." he replied. "I'm not sure, really; it's not finished yet."
"I'd really like to see it sometime," murmured Laura, almost too quiet to hear.
She was odd; she could be too loud one second, then go into a quiet little mouse mode the next.
Johnny really wanted to show her, too. Being an artist unafraid to share her opinion, she might be able to help him get over his little road block.
But he didn't think it was all too safe to bring her There.
There was too much that she could see and fear. Too many things that could go wrong.
"Yeah, I kind of want to see it, too," said Lacey. "Sadee would prolly wanna see it, too," added Laura.
That gave Johnny an idea. Something reminded him...that old saying: There's strength in numbers,.
Maybe he could let them see...Just for a little bit.
"You three could come over tomorrow, maybe," he found himself saying. "It's too big to carry, even with a car. Plus, I used oil paints."
Laura nodded, but Lacey looked a little confused. "Oils take forever to dry," Laura informed her.
"That sounds like a good idea, anywho," said Laura.
Johnny nodded in agreement, but he still had a few misgivings.
Let's just hope nothing terribly terrible happens...
So we chatted for a good couple of hours, Lacey wielding her pretend question-stick with ease, asking question without tensioning up the air again.
She's good at that.
I actually learned a bit about Johnny: like how he thinks it's funny if a person gets abducted by aliens (if it really happens) and has a phobia of aliens abducting him.
An interesting tid-bit.
Somewhen around 8:30, Johnny left and I realized I was a tad hungry, so I ordered pizza.
It was yummy.
Afterwards, a thought suddenly occurred to me. "Lace...when is Sadee supposed to be here again?"
She shrugged. "I dunno; she said anytime between midnight tonight and noon tomorrow."
"Our time or her time?"
She shrugged again. "She didn't say."
We heard a plane fly overhead.
"Where is she supposed to be staying...?" I asked.
"I have no idea."
I sighed. "You're supposed to beat the answers out of people, Lace..."
She laughed. "The thought hadn't occurred to me then, but I'll be sure to do that next time."
*One hour later...*
I got up from my cushy chair. "I sure am popular tonight..." I muttered.
I opened the door...
and fell over onto my back.
Curled up like some sort of spider.
The two girls out in the hallway laughed.
"Well, that was amusing," said the taller, blonde-ish girl standing behind Mercedes. She stuck out a hand to help me up. "This reminds me of when you and your brother came over on my birthday," she said as she pulled my up.
Then, I let out a squeal.
And uber-glomped her.
"Well, I take it you're both surprised and happy," commented Mercedes. "Laura...you're...can't breath..."
I quickly let go of one of my bestest, bestest friends. Lacey walked over. "Leah!!! Hey! I didn't know you were coming, too!"
As opposite from me, Lacey, and Mercedes as you can get without making her a cheer-leader.
"Well," I said with a smile on my face. "Looks like the Three Ls have finally reunited."
For the first time in 4 years.
There was another one there. ANOTHER ONE.
How many damn people was that NOW?
Five, he thought. Something grumbled. He was not pleased.
The creature that ate at his soul, on the other hand, was very pleased.
It said to him, *The more, the merrier!*
He didn't quite understand what the thing inside him wanted.
Something was uncertain. He had signed himself into this without quite understanding what it would entail.
The creature within him writhed and squirmed.
It was growing ever impatient.
Sometimes he let it take over. He enjoyed the escape from himself, the reprieve from reality, the quiet he gained for himself.
Something would have to reveal himself soon, though.
Otherwise, the creature, the monster, within in him would take over forever.
And he would be no more.