Chapter Twenty-Four: Interrogation


          "Hey Ollie, what should I wear?" Jonathon called from the bathroom.

          "Clothes preferably.  It doesn't really matter, you're not meeting the bloody Pope."  I brushed out my wet locks, staring at a wall, trying to determine if I should dye my hair more red or go back to blonde, I really did enjoy being called ‘Red'.  I was so lost in though that I almost didn't noticed Jonathon exiting the bathroom in the nude.  "I said clothes Jonathon! And your birthday suit does not count."  I smirked.

          "Sorry."  Jonathon shrugged, but I saw the grin that spread across his face as he turned away from me.

          "Ya okay then.  Just put on jeans and a shirt, I don't think they'll really care what you're wearing."  I pulled myself up on the bed.

          "Then birthday suit it is."

          I shook my head, smirking.  "I will care if you go in that, they may not let us in the restaurant."

          "Good, then we'll just come back here."  Jonathon winked.

          I rolled my eyes.  "You little pervert, get dressed quickly, before they get here."

          "You really have to go and ruin all my fun, hm?"
          "Yes I do."  I walked over to the now partially clothed Jonthon and wound my arms around his.  "We can have fun later, after we make it through this supper."

          "You make it sound like we're having dinner with our loan shark or something."   

          I exhaled.  "I swear to God, you do not know my friends.  They are sharks, just waiting for you to get in to the water."  I made a snapping noise. 
          "What kind of sharks?  I think I can take on a few hammer heads."

          I tried not to smile at his sarcasm, but it was nearly impossible.  "Great whites actually."

          "Damn."  Jonathon leaned over and kissed me and continued to search through his stuff for a shirt to wear.



          When I got the first text, it was just after seven, and it was a warning that the large group of people were on their way, but Becca would be up shortly once her shift was done.  She wanted to use our room to clean up and great out of her work uniform.  Not twenty minutes later, she was knocking on our door and looking a little uncomfortable in the front area.  Jonathon was sitting quietly on the couch, flipping through the channels, and doing his best to ignore her staring at him.  I nudged her on towards the little on-suite bathroom.

          "How old is he?"  Becca peaked out of the bathroom as she washed her face.

          "Nineteen."  It did help that he had filled me in on this earlier. 

          "He looks so much older, but I guess that may just be because he's so ... um ... built."  Becca swallowed hard on whatever lump had rose in her throat, and went right back to fixing her hair.   

          "I guess so." I shrugged; I really couldn't say much else without giving a whole lot of stuff away. 

          "That's not Michael though, is it?"  Becca peered around the corner again, working a large, square brush through her auburn hair.  "I saw the pictures you sent to Aly of him and those other people at that carnival.  He was fairer and a lot shorter than - him.  What's his name again?"

          "Jonathon.  Michael and I broke up a while ago."  The conversation was making me feel a little strange.

          "Oh, why?"

          "Just some stuff."

          "That's ridiculous Olivia, if it was just some stuff you could've worked through it.  You don't just break up with people over ‘stuff'."

          "His ex-girlfriend died, and it got really hard not to wonder if he still liked her.  Besides Rebecca, it's only high school, those relationships rarely last for very long."

          Becca rolled her eyes, and came to sit with me on the bed, hoisting her skinny jeans up.  "So Nate and Aly are the exception then?"

          The urge to push her off the side of the bed while she struggled to pull her jeans up was rather strong, so I shuffled off and pretended to be looking for something on the dresser.  "Yes, they would be the exception to a very large rule." 

          "Oh whatever."  She scoffed.  "But seriously, how she die?"

          "Murdered ... or something.  I don't wanna talk about it, kay?"
          "Alright.  Too depressing anyway."  She had managed to get her jeans up around her hips and was fastening the button.  "You two are sharing a bed though, eh?  Pretty serious or something?"

          This time I scoffed, my lips flapping as the sound passed through them.  "Or something."  I glanced over at the alarm clock next to the bed, trying to draw attention off the subject.  It was almost eight, and as if on cue, Rebecca's cell phone beeped and she leaped off the bed with such grace.

          "They're here, let's go!  I am so bloody hungry!" 



          Jonathon and I held hands on our way down to the restaurant, surprising me that I didn't have to drag him along behind me.  Rebecca was utterly silent, which made me think she wasn't quite comfortable, and I was probably right.  When we came around the corner of the high walled restaurant I caught sight of the others, already seated, and waiting for us.  Molly, Connie and Jay had their backs to us, so it was no wonder why Aly - who let out a high-pitched wail - received a few odd looks from her friends at the table.  She practically shoved Nate out of his seat and ran over towards the three of us, pouncing on top of me, breaking my hold on Jonathon. 

          "OHMYGOD! OHMYGOD! OHMYGOD!"  She was bouncing up and down now, taking me with her, dragging me to the table and stopped so that everyone at our table could see me.  "It's Olive!"  She squeeled.

          "Yes, we see her love, now would you please have a seat?"  Nate directed her to the chair she had vacated. 

          Jonathon came up behind me, cast his glance around the table, and went rigid.  I thought at first it was because the amount of people in front of him was so overwhelming, but as I followed his gaze, I saw what had bothered him.  Connie was glaring at him, her eyes locked on his face, nearly peeling his skin back with each time she blinked. 

          "Bout time you showed up, we're all starving."  Jay scoffed.

          "Hm.  O.J. stopped to stretch in the hall."  Nate joked. 

I nudged Jonathon, trying to direct him to his seat, but he was very still.  I reached up on my tiptoes and tapped his shoulder.  "Is everything okay?" 

He blinked a few times, then drew his gaze from Connie, and looked down at me.  "I'm fine, can I sit there though?  Away from the scary ginger?" 

I snorted.  "Sure."  I switched him seats so he sat between Nate and me before I picked up the menu that was before me.  Everything looked delicious. 

          "So, who is this then?"  Natalie's eyes were glittering, bigger and more blue than I remembered them being.

          "Oh, this is Jonathon."  I nudged him, but he didn't even so much as wave or say hi, so I took up the opportunity to jab him with my elbow.  He flinched and very quickly waved and went back to his menu.

          "Looks like he's hungry, have you been starving him?"  Jay snorted, his arm wound around Natalie's shoulders in not so much of an intimate way, more of a way to show that she belonged to him.  But that was how Jay behaved, like everything belonged to him, and everyone was a threat to that dynamic.

          "She has been actually." Jonathon finally spoke, closing his menu and taking my hand in his under the table.  "I mean, today I actually had to rent a car just to get lunch."

          Everyone around the table laughed, which seemed to break the tension slightly.  Connie was still staring at Jonathon, her attention ever-so-often slipping back to Molly who was trying to figure out what to eat, and then to me.  Her gaze wasn't any more hateful than back in junior high, so I just ignored her.   It was the easiest thing I had done in my whole life, ignoring the bully that used to make you and your best friend go home crying every night.  Melissa ... Do they know what happened to her?  Should I tell them?  I squeezed Jonathon's hand, and he gave me a little squeeze back, even though he had no idea what I was thinking.  Would be a good time to have a boyfriend like Alex, one that can read your mind and everyone else's around him. 

          "Well that's Olivia for you."  Aly beamed, "always has to have it her way, but in her defense, her way is usually the less dangerous or scandalous way." 

          The laughter bubbled up around the table again, bouncing off of each other.  "Oh that's right.  You and Melissa used to get in to all sorts of trouble, all usually Melissa's idea, or Aly's."  Natalie smirked.

          "Like that time we decided we were going to try to sneak in to that club.  You wanted to go in the back way, but I was determined that my make-up and skin tight clothes would do it for me."  Aly was glowing; her brown eyes were shimmering as she thought of the past.

          "Yes, and we ended up getting escorted home by the police, if I remember correctly."  I was laughing along with everyone else, it felt nice to be apart of this group again. 

          The waiter came along again asking if we were ready to order, and since everyone had been so hungry, she took our huge order down quickly and went running off.  She probably thought that we'd eat her if we didn't get our food in the next half hour or so, but the conversation was a good distraction from the rumbling stomachs.

          "So, do you still fall asleep in class?"  Natalie was staring at me, her eyes sparkling.

          "All the time in English. I tend to use Michael as my pillow."  I said flatly, hoping Jonathon caught the disinterest in my tone.

          "So not much has changed then?  Do you have any other friends back in Morden?"

          "A few. Most are strange people."  The more I spoke, the better I felt so I just kept going.  "Um, Skylar and A.J. are sisters and Alex, Vivian and Kat are all siblings, Jonathon here and his friend, Celone.  And I guess you could say Michael, although we're not really so much on speaking terms right now."

          "You haven't told me about any of these people!  Go on!  Who's Alex?  Is he cute?"   She shot an apologetic glance from Jonathon to Nate, "And why are so many of them related?  Is that what Manitoba is like?" Aly just kept rambling on.

          "I know, but e-mail is just so hard to explain things."  I flashed her a smile.  "Alex is actually an old friend of Melissa's."

          The table went quiet.  Jonathon looked down at me, understanding finally blossoming on his face, and I glanced around the rest of the table.  Trying to find one face that wasn't completely in shock that I had just mentioned her name.  Or the fact that I had met the imaginary boyfriend she had once claimed to have.  Everyone was silent, faces directed away from the center of the table.

"The police came to our school to tell us she'd died in a car accident."  Molly spoke, breaking through the silence. 

          I swallowed the lump that was building up in my throat, threatening to produce tears.  The table was quiet long enough for the waiter to bring our meals and drinks, and when I looked away from Molly, I found Connie glaring at me again.  She was making me feel very uncomfortable, but telling her to bugger off over dinner didn't seem very nice.

          "So, who was Alex to her?"  Rebecca looked at me across the table of food.

          "Remember that boyfriend she said she had back in Ireland?"  I looked around the tables at the bobbing heads. "Well that's who Alex was to her.  He existed, I just feel bad that I never believed her."

          "I think we all do."  Aly held her iced tea glass inches from her lips, her face far away in thought, before she gulped down a mouthful and went back to eating.

          "Well this conversation is depressing, I think we should get back to the real question at hand."  Nate's face flickered into something that would frighten the devil.

          "And what exactly would that be, Nathaniel?"  Rebecca eyed him wearily from her seat next to Connie. 

          Nathaniel's evil look only widenedincreasing the depth of his dimples.  "The fact that Olivia is staying at a hotel, three provinces away from her Mother, with a guy that is at least three years older than us.  You aren't running away from home, are you?" 

          "No I'm not running away from home!  My mother paid for the hotel room, and yes before you get any wild ideas, she knows Jonathon came with me."

          Connie folded her arms over her chest and snorted.  "Of course she does, but does Jonathon's Mommy know who he's playing with these days?"

          Everyone at the table shot Connie an irritated look, Natalie looked absolutely appalled.  Connie and I had a history, one where she would torment and tease me until I would cry, but she was going to be quite disappointed at my lack of interest in her today.  I didn't even give her a second glance, even though Jonathon had a death grip on my free hand now. 

          "I really don't think that is a very nice thing to say.  You don't need to go picking a fight with Olivia just because you can."  Rebecca's eyes slit, a venomous look blotching her face.

          "I'm just curious is all."  Connie's lips twitched up into a disfigured grin and it was the first time I realized why Jonathon was so on edge.  Connie was a demon, one with a very good disguise, and she knew exactly what we were. 

          "Okay, back to me."  Nate clapped his hands.  Back in the old days, my Mother had thought Nate was gay, but he had definitely proved us all wrong when he had asked Aly to one of our dances.  "So Jonathon, tell us about yourself."

          I shot a glance over the table at Connie, who actually looked quite hopeful, and then quickly looked away and up at Jonathon who was concentrating very hard on his food.  He was probably going to have to lie through his teeth to make this story convincing. 

          "I grew up not far from Nepal, until I was sixteen when my Father died and my Mother took off.  I didn't care for the person they left me in the custody of, so I came here to start over.  Since I had to drop out of high school, I'm going back to school now, and that's how I met Olivia.  Not really too exciting of a background if you ask me."  Jonathon shrugged.

          "You lived in France?  That's so romantic!"  Aly squealed, wrapping her arms around Nate and nuzzling her head against his shoulders.  "Could you imagine a movie of his life?  A wide shot of a meadow in France, the little orphan boy finding his way across the world, only to be united with a very strange girl, who's hair color is just not working for her."  Aly smirked.

          "Thanks Aly.  I quite like the red hair."  I shot a glance at Connie, but she was submerged in conversation with Molly.

          As the table hushed from the conversation and the sounds of utensils tapping plates, and cups returning to the table gathered in the air, I found myself catching the odd glimpse of Connie and Molly.  They were quiet, eating, just like everyone else.  Molly however didn't look up once from her plate, just continued to fill her face, but Connie would glance up through her eyelashes here and there, her gaze flickering back and forth from Jonathon and I.  I cleared my throat, plastered a fake smile on my lips and glanced over the table at Connie. 

          "So Molly, you've been awfully quiet.  Anything new with you?" 

          Molly's head snapped up, she looked startled, not expecting someone to speak with her at all.  I hadn't actually, I had planned on separating Connie from the table to talk to her, but I was sure after supper I'd had plenty of time.  Molly looked over at Connie, as if she were looking for some sort of approval.  "Um ... not really.  Just school, and that's pretty much it." 

          I bobbed my head in a nod and then peeled my gaze and found Jonathon staring at me, his mouth partially open.  I shrugged, kissed his cheek and leaned back in my chair, finally full and done with my plate.  The waitress was quick, coming back to the table several times, clearing plates, refilling drinks, until we were all finished and then she brought us our bills.  We left her a huge tip, and I'm pretty sure she loved us. 



          After supper we had decided to go down to the pool for a swim, and with Rebecca's connections, everyone was allowed in.  The girls changed in to their bathing suits in our room, while the boys changed out in the living room. Rebecca and Natalie were gossiping about some people at school that I had never known, while Aly pulled her fingers through my red hair, trying to make herself love it.  She pulled it back in to a French braid, and then fussed over her little blue bikini top.  Comparing it to the lavender color of mine, and the style, she purposefully double-knotted the string on the top of my bathing suit. 

          "Thanks."  I sighed.

          "What's wrong?"  Aly played with a loose curl of red that fell by my ear.            "Nothing.  I think I'm just getting tired."  I looked up at her from where I sat at the foot of the bed, on the floor, while she sat on the end of the mattress.

          "That's no good.  Well we'll all go down to the pool and relax, maybe even sit in the hot tub for a while.  I wouldn't mind seeing that boy of yours in a pair of trunks, he seems to be very fit.     

          Natalie burst into a giggle fit, while Becca just rolled her eyes, and tied up the string at her waist of her suit.  Molly and Connie finally came out of the bathroom; they were wearing almost identical suits, black, low cut one pieces with a gold chain around the waist.  The only difference was that Molly's clasped around her neck with a thick, black rope and Connie's was held up only by a small clasp. 

          "Well, don't you two look adorable."  Natalie teased, brushing her gold hair off her shoulders. 

"OH don't tease."  Rebecca nudged her, sitting down on the dresser top.

"I'm not teasing, I honestly think they look cute."  Natalie said defensively.

"Okay.  So, shall we see if the boys are ready to go?"  Aly smirked, pushing up off the bed and bouncing towards the door.

The door flew open, the boys were laughing like a pack of hyenas, while Jay and Nate pretended to wrestle.  They had towels thrown over their shoulders, their t-shirts up on their heads, horsing around like a bunch of monkeys.  "What are you boys doing?"  Aly squealed, pouncing up in the air and jumping on Nate's back. 

"Ah!  Girl attack!"  Nate spun around, his hands closing around Aly's calves, and they galloped out of the room and down the hall.  The rest of the group followed, holding little white, hotel towels, and chattering wildly.  Jonathon and I held up the rear, his arm wrapping around my bare waist, pulling me to him.  His skin was hotter than ever, flushed with a tint of red, which wasn't surprising since they boys had been horsing around.  He smiled down at me, winked, and then pulled me along faster behind the group that had disappeared in to the stairwell.  


The End

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