Monday, 28 October 2013

The Lighthouse; Part 4, Chapter 6: Forever Friends

"Sooo. Missy. Somethings different. Spill" Sandi said, eyebrow raised, face contorted into a smirk. Darlene looked at Kaci for a few seconds and then she joined in, "Yea, something is different...whats going on Kaci" she said, a curious glint in her eye. Kaci couldn't hold it in any longer. She wanted to tell them she just didn't know how. And she definitely didn't know how Sandi knew something was different, but then again, Sandi would know if one of Kaci's eyelashes fell out before she herself would, Sandi knew her that well. She smiled mysteriously and whispered excitedly, "Okay, okay follow me, but shhh!" The girls ran up the stairs to Kaci's room giggling like teenage kids again.



Kaci covered her ears as the girls let out high pitched screams. "you WHAT!?" Sandi half shouted half whispered "Oh my god Kaci! Your no longer the last virgin alive!" she teased. Kaci stuck her tongue out at her. "Never mind that!" Darlene interrupted, "How was it?" she asked, the room suddenly became silent. Kaci closed her eyes remembering, "Amazing" she sighed. The two girls started screaming again and Sandi dragged Kaci to the bed. Darlene climbed on next to them. "Tell me all about it, I wanna know everything" she winked.

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"So, everyone's agreed? Because once I've pressed confirm that's it, we're going and that's that" Kaci announced matter of factly. Sandi, Darlene and Mortimer all nodded in agreement. They'd decided to go away for two weeks of their summer break. Staying in the country was out of the question, no matter how much the boys pleaded to go to Lucky Palms, in the end they'd agreed to go abroad, as long as it was somewhere no one had been before and it would be a trip to remember. Malcolm was at work so he'd entrusted his vote on where they went to Mortimer. 


"Okay then. Done." Kaci clicked confirm and then let out astonished laugh. "We're going to Shang Simla!" Sandi jumped around on her bed like a five year old and Darlene ran out of the room already worrying about what she was going to wear for a trip that was weeks away. 
Mortimers gaze followed Darlene and he shook his head, amused, then he turned his attention to Sandi and rolled his eyes. "So childish" he sighed at her, and in the same breath he had leaped onto the bed and was jumping around with her repeatedly chanting Simla! like they were at a football game. Kaci jumped off of her chair, laughing but her need for neatness was beginning to kick in. "Oh  my God! Get off! You're ruining my bed! I swear if you break it you owe me a new one!" 

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The weeks flew by and before Kaci knew it, the day of the their flight had rolled around. Kaci sent her mom and Cyran a quick email containing all the flight details. She'd spoken to them on the phone the night before and told them how much she loved them and what she was leaving to whom if something happened to her while she was away. Claire had laughed and then scolded her, telling her to stop being such a worry wart, Cyran had encouraged the idea, and then asked if he could have her laptop. She'd heard him wince as her mom hit him with a pillow. They always made her laugh. Eventually they said their goodbyes and Kaci fell asleep, but before she knew it, it was time to get up.


Half an hour later, everyone was sitting downstairs waiting for their taxi to the airport. Sam and Bella were asleep upstairs. No one wanted to wake them so they'd left a note on the refrigerator. They'd pulled straws a week ago as to who was going to tell them that they were going on vacation. Unfortunately for Malcolm, he pulled the shortest and had the displeasure of having a conversation through Sams closed door with him about when they were leaving and coming back. Kaci had laughed when he'd told her he hadn't even knocked the door. Just shouted through it and Sam had grunted a "whatever" in reply. BEEEEEEEP, BEEEEEEEEP. "Taxiiiii!" Sandi yelled to no one in particular, they were all sitting in the living room together. Everyone jumped up excitedly and began taking their luggage cases out to the cab. "I'm sitting next to Malcolm on the plane!" Darlene announced, Kaci looked at Malcolm and bit back a laugh as he hurriedly checked for something in his bag. The look of relief on his face when he found his head phones was priceless. "Alright! Roll Out!" Sandi ordered as she closed the door to their home behind her.

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"Darlene, are you sure you're okay in those heels?" Mortimer yelled over his shoulder. It shouldn't have surprised him really, but it did. The girl was crazy, it was their last day in China, and they'd decided to hire some bikes and ride down to the Shang Simla Market yet Darlene had insisted on wearing high heels. He'd never understand that girl. The previous six days had been amazing, they'd seen and done so much, visited The Temple of Heaven, skinny dipped at the Hot Springs, wandered around Scholars Garden and seen The Terracotta Army. Suddenly Darlene flew past him, "Never underestimate a girl in heels!" she shouted over her shoulder at him, before he could blink, Sandi, Malcolm and Kaci all blew past him, laughing insanely. "What the..." he stared shocked, and then his competitive streak kicked in and he pedaled fast to catch up with them, "I don't think so!" he shouted after them, pedaling faster than his legs could physically move.

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"Who's losing now?!" Mortimer called over his shoulder, they were walking up the hillside to Dragon's Maw. The locals told them it had some breathtaking views. Sandi was walking behind him, Kaci was behind Malcolm and Darlene, taking pictures. Malcolm himself, was clearly bored to death with Darlene's incessant chatter but she seemed oblivious



Mortimer reached the top and gasped. "Guys, quick! You gotta see this!" he called excitedly. They all hurried to the top. The locals were right, the view was spectacular. Mortimer burned the image into his memory, he never wanted to forget it. It was breathtaking. Kaci came and stood next to him, she slipped her hand into his and rested her head on his shoulder. He kissed her forehead and then rested his head on hers. "This is. . . amazing" she said, clearly taken aback by the beautiful scenery in front of them. "I know" was all he could manage. "Oh... my..." Sandi said as she joined them, Mortimer and Kaci both smiled, that was the first time in all their years of friendship they'd ever seen her speechless. Even Malcolm was too pre-ocuppied with the vision in front of him to notice and Darlene had also fallen silent.



Eventually Mortimer spoke, "Guys?" he said, they all answered him but no one, not even he himself, could tear their eyes away, and then he repeated the immortal words that had sealed their fate as friends when they were teens but had not been uttered since. "Forever friends?" They all smiled, "Forever friends" they repeated. "Awww you guys, group hug!" Malcolm shrieked, his voice high pitched like a girl as he pulled them all in and nearly squeezed them to death. "Dude..." Sandi gasped, "I can't... breathe". They laughed as he let go and she collapsed to the ground. "Ooh I just love a big strong man" Darlene batted her eyelashes at him and stroked one of his biceps. "Err, yea, great" he said uncomfortably, quickly changing the subject, "Anyone hungry? I'm starving?!"


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It was just after midnight when they made it back to their hotel. Darlene kicked her shoes off as soon as she got in and said something about soaking her feet for a hour. Mortimer and Kaci went up to pack and Sandi said she was going to do the same. Just as she was double checking that she had everything, her door knocked, "Hey Sandi, it's Malc, can I come in?" he half whispered, "Yea sure" she said, re-folding her last t shirt and putting it into her Louis Vuitton suitcase. "I kindasortareally have a favor to ask" he mumbled quickly. Sandi laughed, "Whoa, slow down, run that by me again?". Malcolm sighed, "Look, I'm gonna just say it. Can you puhlease sit by me on the plane tomorrow, I just know Darlene thinks we're flight buddies or something and I can't deal with another long flight where she just doesn't shut up" he rushed, eventually taking a breath. Sandi laughed, shaking her head in amusement. "Yea, leave it to me" she smiled. "Sandi you are the best" Malcolm gushed gratefully, "Its fine, but Malc, if you're really not interested in her like that, why don't you just tell her?" she asked. "Because she's crazy" he deadpanned. Not missing a beat. Sandi choked back a laugh, "She's not that bad" she said defending her friend. Malcolm tilted his head to the side and looked at Sandi like she was speaking a foreign language. "Okay you know what, give me a hug before I make you sit next to her" he joked, narrowing his eyes at her.


Sandi closed her door behind him and laughed, shaking her head. Malcolm was playing with fire and he clearly had no clue, but she couldn't shake the feeling that it wasn't him who was going to get burned.

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"Morning baby" Mortimer smiled, he'd been watching Kaci sleep for the last half hour. She'd finally woken up with a smile on her face. "Hey" she whispered stretching slightly, "Back to the valley we go" she groaned. She'd had an amazing time, she really didn't want to go back but she knew reality couldn't stay away forever. "Hey, don't be sad... actually, we have an hour before we need to get up, sooo I'm sure I can think of a way to make you smile again" he said, making her giggle as he pulled the covers back over them and planted a mischievous kiss on her lips.


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"Well, I think we can safely say, that was the vacation of a lifetime" Kaci smiled sadly. "Ugh I know, back to reality" Sandi sighed, she loved her job as a model, she really did, but sometimes she felt as though her life was spinning out of her control. She'd just about managed to get the week off to go away with her friends. Her career was beginning to take off, big brands likes Armani, Chanel and Prada were all requesting to use her fresh unique face for campaigns and she loved it, she really did, but sometimes she wondered what her life would be like if she'd done the normal thing and gone to college like the others. 



Kaci leaned against  Mortimer and involuntarily yawned, "OH! excuse me! I'm so tired" she laughed embarrassed. Mortimer smiled, she was so cute when she was tired. In fact she was cute when she did anything, he had fallen hard and he knew it. "And on that note, I'm going up" Sandi yawned, "Your tiredness is contagious" she laughed. It had been a long flight, they were all exhausted. "Yea, I'm right behind you" Malcolm agreed, jumping up off of the sofa and following Sandi upstairs.


Mortimer nudged Kaci and she stole a sly glance at Darlene. From the corner of her eye Kaci could see her friend was fuming. "Well, I'm not tired yet, I'm gonna get a drink, you two want anything?" she asked, not bothering to wait for a reply as she stalked into the kitchen and yanked the fridge door open. Before Kaci or Mortimer could blink, she grabbed a can and stormed out of the back door, slamming it hard behind her. "What...the...hell" Mortimer said slowly, dumbfounded. Kaci was speechless for a few seconds, "I think she thinks there's something going on between those two, or she thinks at least one of them likes the other, did you see her face on the plane?" she asked.
Sandi had planned to swap with Darlene as planned, but Mortimer had beaten her to it, switching seats with her at the last minute, which meant Darlene was on her own. She's been fine with that, but a little over two hours into the flight, Kaci had gotten up to use the bathroom, Malcolm had then stolen her seat claiming he wanted more leg room, which would have been okay but there were two empty seats next to Darlene, if he'd really wanted to stretch out, he would have sat there.
It didn't help either that they'd spent the whole flight sharing headphones listening to music and watching the same movies, ending with them engaging in a heated debate about them. Malcolm was Sandi's closest male friend besides Mortimer, Darlene didn't know it but he'd gotten her through some really rough patches in high school, along with Kaci and Mortimer, which was why it sometimes felt like those four were closer to each other.
The others hadn't explained this to Darlene because Sandi didn't want Darlene to know, and with good reason. Darlene never could keep a secret, sometimes she was her own worst enemy. She was so self centered she couldn't see that the person she hurt the most was herself.


"So, you want that drink or not?" Mortimer said trying to lighten the mood, Kaci hit him with a pillow as he followed her into the kitchen. She made a mental note to talk to Sandi about the whole situation later. "Well, like our dear friend Darlene, I'm not tired either, maybe we could, uh, go upstairs and make ourselves tired" he grinned. Kaci grinned back, as she grabbed two cans from the fridge. Before he could stop her she ran past him, laughing as she went, "You'll have to catch me first!" she shouted, "Oh trust me, I will" he called hot on her heels.

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"Ah, Malcolm stop, I cant... I cant..." they burst into a fit of laughter again, both of them remembering how they'd hidden each others clothes when they'd gone skinny dipping, only to find neither of them could get out without the other person seeing them naked. Kaci, Mortimer and Darlene had already run off and hidden behind bushes getting dressed so couldn't hear them shouting for help. They'd agreed to get out on three and run for the clothes. They'd made a mad dash for the bushes where they'd hidden each others clothes and tossed them across simultaneously. They hadn't told the others but they both found it hysterical now, they were as mischievous as each other. 


"So, what's going on with you and Darlene?" Sandi asked seriously as she began to put some of her things away. Malcolm sighed and flopped on to her bed, throwing her small cushion into the air and catching it like a football. "I don't know Sand, she's cool and all but I'm just not into her like that, and I honestly don't know how to tell her. I've never had a problem telling girls I'm not interested, but she's just so intense I don't even know where to start, I mean we went to the movies once and all of a sudden it was like she'd made a claim on me or something" he fell silent. All that could be heard for a few minutes was the rustle of Sandi folding clothes."Besides", he continued , "I've got my eye on someone else". Sandi stopped what she was doing and turned to face him.
"Oooh, is that a hint of actual feelings I hear? Better yet, does she know?" she teased. He threw the pillow at her but she caught it easily, "No no nooo, you don't get out of it that easily, who is she? Do I know her?" she probed. Malcolm laughed, there was no way he was telling Sandi, not yet anyway, not until he was sure. "No she doesn't know, but when she does you'll be the first to know" he smiled catching the pillow as the threw it back at him. He stood up and stretched, yawning loudly as he did.


"Okay, well, I think jet lag is starting to set in" he said yawning again, "I'm gonna hit the hay, I'll see you later, or tomorrow, maybe the day after, depending on how long I sleep", he rubbed his eyes sleepily. "Ugh get out, your making me tired now" she scolded playfully, ushering him out of her room. As he got to the door he stopped and turned to face her, she was already back to sorting out her clothes. He smiled to himself, Sandi the neat freak, some things never changed. "Hey Sandi?" she paused mid fold and looked up at him, "Yea?" she said, "Thank you, you know, for being such a good friend" he smiled gratefully. Sandi smiled back, "Don't worry about it, any time. Now get out, my rooms a mess and its driving me crazy!"



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