OK you guys I am not going to degrade my fanfiction, I love the chapter I just wrote so if you have been following along, have fun with this chapter, if you haven’t been following along then you can find all subsequent chapters at the following link (scroll to the bottom): https://odysseynerds.wordpress.com/category/in-the-shadows/
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Jules sighed, pulling herself onto Connie’s old blue street bike. The paint was chipping off, Connie had never been much of a bike person. Jules felt lucky to have found it in the garage, it would make her task that much easier.
She tripped over unnamed junk in the dark garage, trying to find the button to open the door. It was hard to balance the bike and feel her way around. There it was- next to the shelf of boxes. She paused, knowing the button was still on the wall, patting her pocket to make sure her delivery was still contained within the plastic bag. Feeling sick to her stomach, she hit the garage door button, and took a rocky start on the bike into the night.
Jules met the curb on her bike with a jolt. Nearly falling off, she almost had to wonder if it would be worth it. Vance’s crony had kept pestering her at school for days. Bullying her emotionally. Jules had tried her best to hide it, especially from Connie. It had been so hard not to crack at dinner the other night. But she hadn’t- so now she would carry out the bully’s orders. Just to get him off her back.
It was a small plastic sandwich bag. Vance’s crony had ordered her not to open it- but she hadn’t lived in California all her life to be ignorant about such things. It was some kind of drug, she could tell without opening the packet and smelling the white powder. If it was cocaine or something of that nature, it would be scentless, tasteless, and highly dangerous. She knew that Vance’s buddy was a recent addict, why he would want to plant some on Buck she had no idea.
Buck. Jules tossed her hair out of her face as she rode faster in the dark. She couldn’t do this to him. Not really. And yet here she was, going to the Meltsner’s house, intent on fulfilling the deed. Spotting Maple street, she turned down it, knowing that in a few minutes it would all be over, and she could go home.
Buck yawned, long and very harshly. There was nothing like a good magazine to read at night, especially one that interested him. Eugene was a subscriber to the Popular Science magazine, but he always called it “light stimulation.” He refused to admit it, but anyone could see he enjoyed the magazine.
Buck, on the other hand, hadn’t read it until last week when Eugene had gotten and issue in the mail and flipped through it, then handed it to Buck. Finding it fascinating, Buck had pilfered a stack and brought it up to his room to read, and get his mind off the fact that he was worried about Eugene. So was Katrina. Eugene had been in Chicago, had promised to call when he got there, and yet it was midnight and still no word. He should have called many hours ago. Not only that, but Katrina had tried to call him several times, but the automated phone service had answered saying that “the person you are trying to reach is currently unavailable. Please try again later.” Eugene’s phone was off, that’s what it meant.
Buck squinted, no longer reading the magazine article. His unloved father had done the same thing so long ago. A bartender had finally called after two days to say that Randy Oliver was killed in a drunken bar fight, vehemently arguing about football teams to the last. What a stupid way to die. The Green Bay Packers lost the next game, and Buck was never the same. His dad hadn’t even been right in his choice of a football team to give his life for. His mom left not long after that, dumping Buck with Mr. Skint, the man who had shot his dad, as a form of “revenge” at Skint. At that point in his very young life, Buck had almost seemed to lose all awareness to pain, it was just too much. But oh, Mr. Skint seemed to know how to love, and to always win, at life and at cheering for the right football team. And then… that fake love was gone. It was all fake. And here he was, the last person he felt he could look up to, Eugene, was missing in the city that had stripped him of his first father all those years ago.
Lip curled, Buck tried to return to his magazine. He had never been allowed to cry or shed a tear under Mr. Skint, only to pout in a selfish pity when something didn’t go his way. This was different, he was worried for someone else. But at this point it didn’t matter if he wanted to let that tear fall or not, he had forgotten how. So, he sniffed, and made the third attempt to be absorbed in a magazine article like he was a few minutes before. Electric cars didn’t interest him on the third try, though, so he started to turn the page.
Started, Buck looked up. Katrina was standing at the door in her pajamas, a hand on the apparently silent doorknob. “Miss Katrina!” He lowered the magazine, but realized it was way too late at this point. “Uh… I couldn’t sleep.”
“How could you? You’re reading magazines.” Her eyes behind those pretty glasses betrayed that she felt an understanding, though her face was stern. “You know you’re supposed to be asleep by nine.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He glanced at the clock and lowered his gaze to the bed. It was one in the morning. Time had slipped fast. He would put everything away, but he definitely couldn’t sleep.
Katrina glided over to his bed and sat down. “Are you worried about Eugene?” Her voice said that she was worried about him regardless if Buck was or not.
“Yeah,” he admitted. “No word from him, I guess?” That was a stupid question, of course there was no word. He didn’t wait for her to answer. “At least Richard is with him…” Man, could he not say anything intelligent?
“Yes, he has to watch out for Richard as well.” Katrina voiced Buck’s thoughts exactly. Richard didn’t exactly come off as the responsible type. If anything it was going to make Eugene’s life worse.
“Huh.” Buck didn’t want to admit that he had nothing to say. “Well-” Nope, stop being an idiot. “Yeah. OK.”
Katrina raised an eyebrow, but said nothing, finally understanding teenager fashion of thought. Buck loved her for it. It was as if she was able to read his mind, and his reasons for not saying this or that. If only Eugene were that way.
She sighed, standing up slowly. This situation weighed heavily on her, Buck could tell. “I’ll wake you up if he calls, OK?” She said gently, “Goodnight.”
“Sure. G’night.” Buck slipped the stack of magazines off his bed, on the way out Katrina turned the light off. He knew that Katrina was looking for solace in Buck’s company, but was finding none.
Buck twisted his lip in the dark, remembering how his mother had done the same thing when his dad died. She had tried to get comfort from the young toddler, and had found none. Maybe that was part of the reason she had put him with Mr. Skint. It was all so sick. He didn’t really ever hate Skint for killing his dad, but he had never forgiven him either. Ughhh I need to stop thinking and go to sleep…
Someone tapped on his window. Definitely someone, the noise was too intelligent to be an animal or a bug. He didn’t move. The last time it happened, it was Mr. Skint. He pulled the covers over his head, determined not to get in trouble again.
Dang, he’d recognize that voice anywhere. Leaping out of bed, he switched on the light. Yep, there was Jules, stretched out rather awkwardly on the tree limb leading up to his window. He didn’t want to let her in, but he had better find out what she wanted.
Opening the window just a crack, he put his mouth to it. “What do you want, Jules?” He meant to be unfriendly, but his voice came across as rather the opposite, due to the fact that he tried to whisper.
Rather than answering, Jules yanked the screen off the window and dropped it to the ground a story below. She forced open the window, though Buck didn’t think to stop her. He almost froze, realizing as she climbed into his room that he was going to be in huge trouble. Not even that, he would be dead meat.
Jules sighed with relief as she stood on solid ground again, tossing her hair to make it less frazzled.
Buck felt his face turn red. Or pale. He had no idea. “Jules, I am going to get in so much-”
“Trouble, I know.” Jules finished for him. “I’m not here for- that. I need some school books.” Well, at least Buck was honorable, even if she wasn’t.
“Sch-” Buck couldn’t decide if he was angry or relieved. “School books? Jules, if Miss Katrina finds you here, I am going to die! You could have just called Miss Katrina, I could have brought them to school! In the daytime! When people are normally awake!”
Jules inwardly was trying to make the decision if she really wanted to go through with it or not. She wanted to test Buck… see how he would deal with a situation that was forced upon him. “Well, just give me your backpack and I’ll go home. I need all of the ones you have, I left my backpack at school, I can’t get it til’ Monday. You already studied for Monday’s test, right? Do me a favor and I’ll get all your books back Sunday afternoon, you can study again.” She knew that Buck would offer to walk her home, partially the reason she was being bullied into this.
Buck bit his lip. Anything to get her off his back for the night. “Fine. I’ll walk you home, too.” As much as he didn’t want to get into trouble, he didn’t like the idea of her being out alone. He crept over to his closet, and opened the wood sliding door as quietly as possible. He hooked a finger on his backpack and pulled it out, knowing all his books were in there already. His green fishing pole slid from its position leaned against the pack, and clattered to the floor. He silently cursed his carelessness, but it was too late now. “Here, Jules, take this.” He handed her the backpack and then poked his head back into the closet to get a decent pair of pants to put over his pajamas. “Head out, I’ll be down in a minute.”
Jules looked out the window, to the ground a story below. She couldn’t barely see it. Well, at least things were going as planned. She slipped the plastic bag of cocaine into the left zipper pocket of the bag, zipped it closed, and tossed it out the window, wishing it safe landings. There was no way she could climb with that heavy bag, otherwise she’d have to wish herself safe landings.
“So.” Buck was feeling more comfortable now that they were outside, walking down the street. It was a couple miles to Connie’s house. “You’re trying to keep your grades up now?” He shouldered the heavy pack, it wasn’t like he was going to let Jules carry it.
“Yeah.” Jules really wasn’t listening, she was watching the movements in the shadows. The rendezvous point wasn’t far, just far enough. “Listen, Buck, I really appreciate you walking me home. I get so jittery at night.” The last part wasn’t true. She was perfectly comfortable prowling about.
“Oh, sure. Just don’t make me do it again.”
“Buck…” She almost confessed, but wasn’t going to. “There’s something over there.” She pointed in the dim light to an alleyway, illuminated by an orange glow.
“Huh.” The hero in kicked in. “Think someone’s in trouble?” he said, hearing a noise like a cry.
“Maybe.” Jules knew that it was a trap, but she encouraged the thought along. “Maybe someone’s getting beat up- you know, when that happened to you, you sure wished someone would come along and help.”
“Yeah…” Now Buck’s mentality was set. Sure, someone needed help, he would come along and be someone’s hero. It made perfect sense. “I’ll be right back. Stay here.”
And just as the plan was supposed to go, Buck tiptoed towards the alleyway, and Jules took off towards Connie’s house, her mission being fulfilled.
The alley was just between a cedar fence, and the first small store in that area of town. It was secluded enough for someone to be up to no good. The orange glow, he could see was actually a fire in an oil barrel, fueled by trash. He could smell the burning odor of plastic bottles as they burned- probably Coke, since the alley looked devoid of the plastic Coke bottles that had littered it earlier that week.
Huh. No one was there. He sensed a trap, but couldn’t remember any dumpsters or places someone could hide. It was just… abandoned. He crept closer to the rusty barrel, its contents putting out a fair amount of smoke. It was warm, especially on that chilly night.
Suddenly, a bright white light behind him flooded the area, casting Buck’s shadow almost down to the other end of the alleyway. “Don’t move!”
Detective Polehaus. Ohhhh, no. Buck didn’t move, having been trained by Mr. Skint to stay as calm as possible. He kept his hands in his pockets, though he knew it would make Polehaus nervous. Any policeman knew what to watch out for, and hidden hands was a telltale sign of a ready weapon.
“It’s just me, sir.” He watched the second giant shadow grow as Detective Polehaus came up behind him.
“Well, let’s just make sure-” Polehaus firmly took both of Buck’s wrists and pulled his hands out of his pockets- “that we don’t have any trouble.” He patted Buck’s pockets, shirt, and any other places that might have a weapon, and then called back to someone further behind. “He’s clean, Martin!”
Buck turned around, intent on facing down his opponent. Detective Polehaus was larger in stature, but about equal to Buck in ruggedness experienced. I can take you on, Detective.
Polehaus began to stare down Buck, knowing exactly the thought behind that handsome young face. Wanna play, boy? All right. He smirked slightly, knowing he had been right. “Let’s see what’s in that backpack, Buck.”
Fine. “Yes, sir.” He had done nothing wrong, he reflected as he pulled the straps off his shoulder, nothing illegal. That said, he wouldn’t want to face Katrina when he got home, knowing that Polehaus would bring him back personally and he would have to explain in front of both parties what he was doing out. It would be embarrassing, but it was really Jules’ fault.
Buck watched as Detective Polehaus knelt down and unzipped the backpack with difficulty, the math books straining against the zipper. He felt a gleam of triumph as Polehaus pulled out his math, science, history, and health books, notebooks, pencils, and a sealed Styrofoam cup with the dried remnants of worms from when he went fishing last. “Do you have a warrant, Detective?”
“Don’t need one,” The Detective replied. All right, you little imp. He unzipped the left side pocket of the backpack. As he had been told, there was a small plastic bag filled with white powder. He held stood up and held it at arm’s length, the firelight reflecting off of it. “Tell me about this, Buck.” The Detective’s voice was collected, he had done his duty.
Blinking, Buck stared at the white powder. “Th-that’s cocaine, isn’t it?” What…?
“Well, I didn’t need you to tell me that part of the story.” Unmoving, Polehaus tried a different tack. “How did it get into your backpack, Buck?”
Buck murmured the question to himself. “How did it get… in my backpack? Wait- how did you know that it was there?” Probably the wrong way to phrase the question, but he was incredibly confused at that point.
“Uh-huh.” Polehaus finally moved again, beckoning Martin over to him from the entrance of the alley. Buck had as good as confessed, it was just procedure from now on. “Let’s bring him to the police station, Martin, and call up Eugene, will you? And put that fire out!”
“Yes, sir!” Martin scrambled for a gallon water bottle from the squad car.
“Wait,” Buck backed up to the brick wall, “wait! I didn’t put that in my backpack!” Martin brought back a gallon bottle of water and was tossing it on the fire, sending out smoke that made Buck teary-eyed.
“Resisting arrest is not legal, neither is the possession of cocaine. If you are going to be innocent of both, I guess you should come down to the station and tell us why.” The Detective raised his eyebrows, watching hard in case Buck did some kind of disappearing trick in the fading light of the fire.
Buck felt his mouth go dry, though he didn’t do anything. Well- besides let Jules…in…
No. There is no way she did this to me.
“I’ll go.” It was too much to think about at once. Someone was playing dirty, and he didn’t want to believe it was Jules. He piled into the back of the squad car, feeling abysmal as they pulled out from the curb, the fire barrel still smoldering in the alleyway.