Disclaimer and general WARNING: I do not own the Biker Mice (although
I wish I did), and the only profit I'm making off this story is the enjoyment
of writing it. In other words, I'm not getting paid! This fic is simply
for your reading pleasure (or torture, which ever comes first), and I apologize
for the brief spats of violence, sexual implications,
and bad language for those more sensitive viewers. All characters
in this story are figments of moi's overworked imagination (except
for the ones which are not owned by me, and while we're on it; I
thank everyone for the use of their characters, I hope I did them justice!).
I made a very brave attempt at trying to be completely original, but you
people are so dang influential! To protect the innocent, the names of the
individuals have been changed, otherwise this story has been told exactly
as it occurred. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Have a nice
day, and thank you for your support. [;-b
Warning: This is a very long story, and Chapter I is just
a background on some new characters. I have an unfortunate habit of paying
way too much attention to detail, and I don't want you to get bored.
So, if you want to skip the background and get right into the action, just
skim over the beginning of this chapter so you at least know what the characters
look like. Then, read the last part so you won't be lost by some of the
things they say in the rest of the story. Enjoy!! 8-D
The next day went by very well. Carter was determined not to let her Friday be ruined, so she paid strict attention in class, and avoided Molly like black death. They got home and found a message on the answering machine from their mother. Apparently, the presentation went a little too smoothly, and she wouldn't be back till late that night.
"Man that sucks!!" Carter yelled, resetting the answering machine viciously.
"Don't do that!" Jordan said to his angry sister. "That's how the last machine broke, remember? And it doesn't suck, because this means Mom's doing really good. The better she does, the closer she gets to starting her own business, and then we won't have to go to that school anymore."
"I'll bet the tuition for that sorry excuse for a school is a big chunk out of Mom's paycheck, too. I still can't believe her company requires their employees to enroll their kids at the Academy! What's the point?!"
"High society doesn't need a point, that's what the money is for." Jordan said walking to the huge, living room windows.
"Money!" Carter growled, walking into the kitchen for some water. "That's all that matters to anyone! The bank wants money for a mortgage on a house that burned to the ground 11 years ago, that stupid landlord wants money to fulfill the lease on an apartment over 1000 miles away that we don't even live in anymore, the hospital wants money to pay off a bill that should have been paid by the insurance company, and Mom's boss wants everyone to think we have money so much that they make her drive that Jag 24-7 and force us to go to the school from hell and make her pay for the tuition!! I swear, if they made her pay for the hotel rooms she has to stay in for her presentations, I'd kill `em!"
"I'm just glad that half of that is past tense, now." Jordan said from the living room.
"You're not kidding!! For the first time in 11 years, we're actually starting to make money we can keep! Two more months and she'll only have to worry about our tuition."
"It looks like a storm, you wanna go on a picnic?"
Carter ran to the windows and looked out at the cloudy sky. "You needed to ask?! I'll pack the sandwiches!" She said excitedly, dashing back into the kitchen.
Carter made five sandwiches and put them into plastic bags. Then, she filled a gallon jug with water and grabbed two apples and an orange from the refrigerator. Carter stuffed the food and water into a waterproof picnic basket sitting on the living room coffee table. Jordan walked out of his room wearing a pair of extremely faded cut-off jean shorts, a pair of old combat boots, and a tight, ragged tank top. It used to be black, but it had slowly turned to a dull, gray-brown color over time. The clinging material gave a very good view of how muscular Jordan really was. He was only 14, but he looked like a 20 year old kickboxer.
"You're gonna have to ditch that shirt soon." Carter said, walking into the room next to his. "It's getting too small for you." She opened one of her dresser drawers and pulled out a pair of shorts, just as worn as Jordan's, and an old, blue t-shirt.
"I know, but it's my favorite." She heard him say from the living room.
Carter tore off her uniform and ruthlessly threw it into a corner. She put on the old clothes and slipped on an oversized long sleeved shirt over her t-shirt. Wrapping her braids around her head, she walked back into the living room and found her own boots. Jordan was holding the picnic basket and carrying a tattered backpack nearly identical to Carter's, except his didn't have a stain. Carter shoved on her boots, and they headed out the door. A warm front was coming through, so it was very pleasant outside for October. It started sprinkling lukewarm water almost as soon as they hit the tree-lined sidewalk.
"So, what do you want for your birthday?" Jordan asked as they walked toward the park.
"This is getting very old!" Carter said, frustrated.
"You're birthday is next Saturday, and I'm running out of time to get you what you want, so spill it."
"Jumper cables." She said, then sprinted to a tree and jumped, clearing the ground easily.
"Jumper cables?" Jordan asked, looking up at his sister dangling from a branch almost 12 feet off the ground.
"Yeah." She dropped lightly next to him as he passed by. "I want to hook Molly and her friends up to a generator and watch their eyes glow."
"How about some new clothes instead?"
"What's wrong with my clothes now?!"
"They're not yours! They're mine, and you drown in them! I've been looking all over for that shirt, and you're not getting it all dirty today."
"Baby! Mud comes out easy enough."
"You know, I really do want a motorcycle. They give you so much more freedom than cars. I can't wait till I can get one!"
Jordan looked at her thoughtfully, but didn't respond.
It started to downpour as they reached the large park. The huge, grassy field was still fairly green, while the small wooded area next to it was an array of autumn colors. They each ate a sandwich under a huge tree. Lightening flashed across the sky, followed quickly by a roll of thunder. Neither of them even blinked. Jordan pulled a frisbee out of his backpack, hit Carter on the head with it, and took off running.
"OW!! JERKFACE!! IT'S MY TURN TO START!!!" She shouted, stripping off the long-sleeved shirt and chasing after him.
Jordan was a fast runner, but Carter caught up with him quickly, jumping on his back and dragging him to the ground. He got a face full of grass, water, and mud, and he threw the frisbee away desperately.
"Point!" Carter yelled and ran after the frisbee, laughing.
Jordan picked himself up and sprinted after his sister. Carter had to stand still for three seconds every time she retrieved the frisbee, because she was much faster than him. He caught her just as she started to run again and lifted her off the ground. He received a mud ball in the face. Surprised, he let go, but immediately dove for her ankle when she started to take off. She tripped and landed face-first into a mud puddle, tossing the frisbee up in the air.
"Point-set!" Jordan called over the thunder as he ran after the plastic disk.
Carter had thrown it high, and he managed to dive and catch it before it hit the ground. He was just getting up when she slammed into his side and put him back in the mud. Rolling to the side, he tried to get back up, but she jumped on his back. He slipped on the wet grass as the extra weight threw him off balance, and he got rid of the frisbee quickly.
"Renig!" Carter shouted happily as she buried her brother's face in a puddle and started to run.
Jordan threw out his arm and caught her ankle, tripping her again. He dragged her back to him and gave her a mud pie in the face, then sprinted after the frisbee. Lightening ripped the sky in half with a deafening crack of thunder. They ignored it. He slipped again just before he reached the frisbee, and Carter was on him in an instant, rubbing mud in his hair.
"You're caught! I get a head start!" She yelled, jumping off his back, grabbing the frisbee, and running into the woods.
Jordan closed his eyes and counted to 15, then ran into the woods and started hunting for his sister. Instinct forced him to suddenly dive to the muddy forest floor. The frisbee hit a tree in front of him and dropped harmlessly to the ground.
"Almost got ya, little bro!" Carter shouted from behind him.
"You're dead, sis!!" Jordan yelled, picking up the frisbee and running after her, laughing.
She squealed and quickly climbed a tree, with him hot on her heels. Carter was more agile than he was, so she got to the ground first and ran back out into the field, looking over her shoulder for her brother.
"CARTER PHOENIX DUBAY!!!"
Carter spun around in surprise and promptly fell flat on her back as she slipped on the grass. She looked up into the pouring rain at the source of the angry voice.
"MOM!!" She shouted, jumping up and embracing the tall, hooded figure standing above her.
"Hi, sweetie!" Kaitlyn said, laughing and returning the embrace of her muddy daughter without hesitation.
"Mom! You're back!" Jordan yelled, running up to them and hugging both of them.
"I sweet-talked the boss, and he let me come home early. I have a sur---" She was cut off by a ground shaking clap of thunder. She looked up in annoyance, but not fear.
"Let's get going before someone sees us." Jordan said, running and picking up the picnic basket, his shirt, and his backpack.
"I suppose." Their mother sighed. "Wouldn't want anyone thinking I approve of this abhorrent behavior." She said sarcastically.
They walked back to the car she had parked near the park entrance, and climbed onto the plastic covered seats. When Kaitlyn had walked into their apartment and read the note her children had left her, she had taken precautions to protect the expensive company car.
"I have a little surprise for you guys." Kaitlyn said as she drove the forest-green Jaguar. "Because my presentation went so very well, I get to bring you two with me on my next one."
"YES!!!" Carter and Jordan shouted.
"And" Their mother smiled, parking the car at their apartment and turning to them. "It's going to be next Friday."
"WHAT??!!" The children shouted again.
"Therefore, we not only get to spend an entire day in Chicago on your birthday, Carter, but I actually talked that old coot into letting us stay till Sunday."
"YEAH!!!" Carter yelled and hugged her mother. "Mom, you're the absolute best!!"
"Let's get out of this car." Kaitlyn said as a flash of lightening lit up the darkening sky.
They took the plastic covering off the seats of the car and walked in the back door, climbing the stairs to their apartment.
"Dibbs on the shower!" Carter said, running through the living room.
"You got it first last time!" Jordan protested, grabbing his quick sister around her waist, twisting her around, and beating her to the bathroom.
"CHEAT!!" She shouted, hitting the bathroom door.
"He won't be in there for long, you know that." Kaitlyn said, hanging up her raincoat and shutting the door. "What kind of sandwiches did you make?" She asked, poking through the picnic basket.
"Peanut butter and jelly."
"Classic. I've been craving one all day."
She took out a sandwich and started eating it, leaning against the kitchen doorway. Kaitlyn was 37, but she didn't look it at all. She stood at nearly 6', still able to look her 14 year old son in the eye without having to look up. Her thick, dark auburn hair was cut very short, and feathered to frame her smooth, beautiful face. Her delicate-looking figure hid a surprising strength. Carter had the same fine bone structure as her mother, but where Carter's eyes sparked with her father's fiery spirit, Kaitlyn's deep blue eyes were calm, like Jordan's.
"Any ideas for a costume yet?" She asked her daughter.
"Actually, I was kind of thinking of the sorceress look. Dark, sinister, and definitely scary."
"Molly giving you trouble again?"
"Is it that obvious?"
"You have that glint in your eye."
"She's just horrible, that's all. It'll come back to her one day."
"Did you finally cast a spell?"
"Oh, come on! Just think about it!" Kaitlyn said spookily, walking over to Carter and putting her arm around her filthy daughter. She was getting her good clothes dirty by doing so, but she didn't care. "You were born under a full moon, at midnight, on Halloween. If there is anyone on this planet that should have some kind of magical powers, it's you. So, when the full moon rises, and the clock starts to strike twelve on the night of Samhain, make a wish, and I'll bet it'll come true."
"Mom, you're weird!"
"I'm also desperate. You need to start perking up for your birthday. I've finally found you a gift I think you'll like, but you haven't been giving me a very easy time of it. So, how about it? We get all decked out tomorrow and hit the town to find the perfect costume. I wonder if Jordan's already got one?"
"No, I convinced him to let us get one for him."
"I'm surprised after what happened last time."
"He made me promise to get him a good one. I kind of have an idea, but I don't know if the store will have it."
"Don't worry about it. This store has anything and everything that was ever thought of, and we get our pick."
"I guess having to rub elbows with high society has it's perks."
"Yeah, too bad high society is so stuck on itself."
"Next!" Jordan called, walking out of the bathroom in a robe and going across the hall to his room.
"It's about time! You leave any hot water for me?!" Carter said, walking into the steamy bathroom.
"There's only one way to find out, dear sis." He said, grinning evilly from his doorway.
Carter threw a towel at him, but he shut his door before it hit him. Carter took a short shower, scrubbing the mud off quickly and washing her hair.
"It's all yours, Mom!" Carter said, coming out in her own robe. She walked to her room and threw on her nightshirt, picking up her uniform and tossing it into a drawer. After their mother got out of the shower, all three of them sat and talked while playing a `friendly' game of Monopoly.
The next day, they got up early. Kaitlyn dropped Jordan off at the Academy with a healthy glare, and took Carter shopping for costumes. It took them all day, but they managed to find two very good costumes, which Carter refused to show her brother till Halloween. That week went by relatively uneventfully. Every night after school, Jordan would braid sections of Carter's hair. By Friday, he was done, and Carter's whole head was covered with little braids.
A taxi picked them up after school on Friday, and took them to the Drake Hotel in Chicago. The manager greeted them at the door and showed them to their lavish, three bedroom room personally. There was a note by the phone from their mother, saying she wouldn't be back till late, and they were to order room service immediately. Jordan picked up the phone and dialed room service.
"Hello, this is room 1746, and we'dOh, it is? No! No complaints. Thank you. Bye." He turned to Carter with a confused expression. "He said it's on its way."
"But we didn't order anything yet."
There was a soft knock at the door.
"Room service." A voice called.
"Freaky!" Carter whispered as Jordan looked out the peephole and opened the door.
A brightly dressed man pushed a cart into the room, gave a little bow and left. Carter walked over to the cart and lifted the silver platter cover, while Jordan read the little note that had been sitting next to it. A delicious-smelling pan of lasagna was underneath it.
"MOM'S LASAGNA!!!" Carter shouted.
"She made it when she got here, and had them hold it for us." Jordan said, passing Carter the note and dishing out plates for them.
"It's been weeks since we had this!" She said, taking a big bite of the hot pasta. "Mmmmmmm! Deeee-lish!!"
"Man, I've missed this stuff!" He exclaimed, taking a more cautious bite than his sister.
They watched an old horror movie after eating and putting the leftovers in a little refrigerator, then went to their rooms to unpack and go to bed. Carter tossed and turned for an hour before finally giving up on sleep. The room was bigger than her own room at their apartment, and it was very, very quiet. The place was too unfamiliar, and she just couldn't relax. She threw off her comforter and stopped short as she started to walk out of the room. Jordan was asleep on the floor in front of her door. Slipping under his blanket, she curled up next to him, resting her head on his shoulder. He stirred a little and wrapped his arm around her protectively. In five minutes, Carter was asleep as well. Kaitlyn walked in the hotel room two hours later, and sighed at the sight of her two children sleeping soundly on the floor. She shook her head, went to her room, put on her pajamas, grabbed a blanket and pillow, and laid down on the plush carpet next to her little family. She fell asleep trying not to remember the countless times she had come home to this familiar scene; her kids, curled up in each others arms on the floor, in the corner of an apartment that, with any luck, had been condemned by now.
A horrible screeching noise brought all three of them instantly awake the next morning. They looked blankly at each other. The noise had stopped. It started again, and Kaitlyn dashed for the ringing phone.
"Hello?" She asked. "Oh, yes. Thank you. Good-bye."
"Who was that?!" Carter asked irritably, yawning.
"Wake-up call." Kaitlyn said, turning around. "Now what are you two doing on the floor? You have beds."
"I didn't see you in yours this morning!" Carter said mischievously.
"That's not the point."
"My room smelled like old flowers, and the bed was too big." Jordan said, standing up and stretching.
"Mine was too quiet." Carter said, walking over to the refrigerator and picking at the cold lasagna. "He was already sleeping there when I came out. So, what are we gonna do today?"
"That's up to you." Kaitlyn said.
"It's your birthday, bean-brain." Jordan said, knocking Carter on the head and taking a bite of the leftovers.
"Oh yeah! I'm 16 today!" She paused. "I want to go to the museum and see the lions!"
"In a museum?" Kaitlyn asked.
"You know, those two man-eating lions from the movie `The Ghost and the Darkness'. They keep them in the museum here."
"Oh, those lions." Kaitlyn looked at the clock on the wall. "Well, they don't open for a little while, so let's grab some breakfast first."
They all got dressed and ate breakfast at a little café across from the museum. They spent all morning at the museum, then drove to Wrigley Field in time for a tour. They wandered Chicago the whole day, having a fantastic time. Two hours before the dance, they returned to the hotel.
"Okay, it's time for presents!" Kaitlyn said excitedly as they walked through the door of their hotel room.
Jordan dashed into his room and came out with his hands behind his back, grinning from ear to ear. Kaitlyn walked quickly to her room and came out the same way. Her mother and brother were very good at finding out what she wanted every year, but this year she really hadn't wanted anything. So, she was dying to know what they had come up with to get her that had them so ecstatic. Jordan walked up to her first and handed her a large, flat box wrapped in silver paper. She tore it open and just gawked at the contents.
"You can remove the lining for the summer, when it's hot." He said.
Carter carefully lifted the leather jacket from its box and caressed the exquisitely embroidered phoenix on the left side. It would cover her heart when she wore the jacket. She flew into Jordan's arms and hugged him tightly.
"It's beautiful, Jordan!!! I love it!!" She said, kissing his cheek. She let go of him and put the coat on. It fit a little big, giving her room to grow into it, and the spongy lining was soft and warm.
"Well, you're going to need a jacket if you get a motorcycle." He said shyly as Carter hugged him again.
"But how did you afford it?!"
"It's amazing how much people will pay to have their homework done for them." He said, grinning wickedly.
"Okay, okay, it's my turn!" Kaitlyn said, handing Carter a small box.
"What is it?" Carter asked, taking off the white wrapping paper.
She opened the little box and picked up a small, black velvet satchel. Carefully, she poured the contents into her hand, and stared at it in speechless wonder. Laying on the palm of her hand was a tiny gold cage hanging from a thick, gold hoop with a latch on it. Inside the cage was a flawless, black pearl a full inch in diameter. It had been a family heirloom for countless generations, and it was one of the precious few things that had been left after the fire that destroyed their house 11 years ago.
"I was going to wait for your 18th birthday, but" Kaitlyn trailed off as Carter embraced her mother tightly, kissing her on the cheek.
"How can I take this, Mom?!" Carter said, letting her go and examining the pendant. "It should be in a safe at Fort Knox, or something!"
Kaitlyn lifted the charm out of her daughter's hands, and latched it onto the chain around Carter's neck. Sorrow's tags made a light `tinking' noise as they bumped against the golden cage containing one of the rarest objects ever created by that planet.
"How do you think heirlooms work?!" Kaitlyn said, taking Carter's shoulders. "They get passed down from generation" She pointed to herself. "to generation." She stroked Carter's forehead, tears starting to darken her eyes. "When you have a daughter, you'll give it to her. An heirloom is a symbol of life. It needs to be cherished and loved, not locked away."
She embraced her daughter fiercely. Jordan walked over and wrapped his arms around both of them, resting his head on Carter's braids. Kaitlyn looped her arm around her son's waist thankfully and squeezed them both.
"All right, that's enough of that." Kaitlyn said, stepping back and wiping her eyes. "We need to get ready."
Kaitlyn and Jordan cheered up almost immediately as Carter's face lit up, and she ran into her room excitedly, coming out with a garment bag. The slender redhead's passionate spirit was infectious to her family. No matter how much they tried, they couldn't be anything but happy when she was smiling.
"This better be a decent costume, Carter." Jordan grumbled as his sister handed him a bag.
"Don't be such a ninny!" Carter said. "You're gonna love it! Now go change!"
Carter quickly went back into her room and changed. Jordan had his back turned to her as she came out of her room, and she gave him a scrutinous look. The black leather boots stopped just below his knees, with three thick buckles holding them on. His leggings were black with a blue stripe up the side to match his sleeveless blue shirt. On his upper left arm was a black leather band with silver studs encircling it. Over the shirt he wore a black leather vest that looked like it had come out of the 12th century. It was long, brushing his legs just below the wide belt buckled over it at his waist. The blue in his shirt brought out his eyes perfectly, and Carter smiled in satisfaction.
"Masculine enough for ya?" Carter asked.
"It's great!" Jordan said, looking in the mirror and adjusting his belt.
"I figured you might like it." She said. "Simple, but nice."
He turned around and his mouth dropped at the sight of Carter.
"What do you think?" She asked, stepping in front of the mirror. "Mom convinced me to get it."
She wore short, soft, black leather boots. The silky fabric of her long sleeved, smoky green dress brushed the tops of her boots. A thin, black belt was clasped at her waist with a gold dragon for a buckle. Her crimson braids brought out the ruby eyes of the matching dragon on the front of the tiara at her forehead. The black lipstick she was wearing and the color of the dress made the green in her eyes practically glow.
"Earth to Jordan!" She said, turning around.
"Wow!!" He said, shaking his head. He had never seen her dressed up before! "You look fabulous!"
"You certainly do, Carter!" Kaitlyn said. "I knew that color would look great on you." She looked at her watch. "Well, it's a quarter to ten, so we better get going."
"Can't wait." Carter said blandly.
They drove to the enormous ballroom downtown and reluctantly walked in. A large group of students were there, and the band was already playing music. Orange and black decorations covered almost every inch of the walls. A large table was in a corner with refreshments on it, and on the other side of the expansive floor, there were a couple booths set up for games. Carter walked over to the refreshment table for something to drink, while Jordan fixed a little plate of food for them.
"Carter, dear!" A high voice said from behind Carter as she reached the table, and she closed her eyes in frustration. She could almost feel them turning green. "I'm so glad you made it!"
Carter opened her darkening, greenish-blue eyes and turned to face Molly. She was wearing a low-cut, tight, sleeveless white dress. A long slit up the right side of the long dress stopped at her upper thigh. Her white gloves went above her elbows, and she held a beautiful, feathery mask attached to the end of a silver stick.
"I was getting worried about you." Molly said. "I thought maybe you had gotten sick."
"You shouldn't concern yourself over me, Molly." Carter said angrily.
"I know. Where's your brother?"
"Where's your boyfriend?"
"Tisk, tisk, Carter. You're getting above yourself."
"So's that slit up your dress."
"At least I have legs to show." Molly said, getting angry.
"And you certainly are showing them tonight, aren't you?" Carter said, smiling.
Molly closed her eyes and laughed softly. "I'm not going to let you get to me, Jinx." She said, looking at Carter with an air of confidence. "I'm going to be nice, because it's your birthday today." She looked up with a sultry smile as Jordan walked over. "That color looks good on you, Jordan. You will save me a dance tonight, won't you?"
"Um, sure." He said, giving her a courteous, plastic smile.
"You're so sweet. I'll see you later, then." She winked at Jordan, then turned sweetly to his smaller sister. "Bye, Carter." She said and walked away.
"Here!" He hissed, handing Carter an apple. "Put a spell on this fast so we can kill that evil `Snow White'!"
"You're crazy!" Carter laughed.
"Please!" He pleaded dramatically. "I don't want to dance with her!"
"Then why did you say you would?!"
"I panicked! She probably wouldn't have left if I had said `no', anyway. Maybe I can get someone to switch costumes with me." He started looking around desperately. "You see anyone dressed as the invisible man?"
"Come on, nutso, I'll win a toy for ya!" She said, taking his arm and leading him across the floor to the game booths.
"What?!" Jordan laughed.
"Here, turn around. I don't want you seeing what I win." She said as they arrived, handing him her apple, turning him around, and pushing him to the side of the little booth. "How many tries do I get?" She asked the vendor.
"Three per token." The vendor said.
Everyone was given a complimentary token at the door, but if you wanted more tokens, you had to buy them for $15 each. Carter handed her token to the vendor, and he handed her three baseballs. She was about to throw one at the stack of plastic milk bottles seven feet away when a voice stopped her.
"You're joking, right?"
Carter turned around to the familiar voice. Sara was dressed up like a sexy Alice in Wonderland. The tall boy next to her was an Armani Mad Hatter.
"I'll bet you $100 that you can't hit those bottles." Sara said smugly.
"I don't want your money, Sara." Carter said, turning back to the game.
"I knew you'd be afraid." Sara said, laughing.
Carter smiled to herself and looked back at Sara. "I'll do your math homework for a month if I miss." Carter said.
"Deal!" Sara said quickly and pulled a $100 bill out of her little purse, putting it on the counter.
Carter picked up two of the baseballs and tossed them lightly over the counter. The vendor looked at her with a very shocked expression. She smiled at him and picked up the last ball. The plastic pyramid exploded as the baseball hit the center of it with deadly accuracy.
"You are such a barbarian, Jinx!!" Sara said furiously and walked off.
"Can I have that one, in the corner?" Carter asked the vendor, ignoring Sara and pointing to one of the many stuffed animals lining the wall.
"This one?" He asked, smiling and taking down a little black kitten with tiny bat's wings when she nodded.
She looked at the $100 bill laying on the counter, not wanting to touch it, when the vendor picked it up and put it in her hand with the kitten.
"You won it fair and square, young lady." He said, smiling. "You have a happy Halloween, okay?"
"Thanks!" Carter said, smiling back and feeling much better about taking the money.
She turned to get Jordan, but he had come around from the side of the booth and was shaking his head at her, grinning.
"What?!" Carter asked innocently. "She started it! Here." She handed him the fluffy little animal with the money and took her apple. "I'll trade ya."
"He's cute, I wonder what I should name him." Jordan said, smiling at the stuffed kitten and putting the money in his boot.
"Well, that's 15 minutes down, and only 165 to go." Carter said, taking a bite of her apple.
"They'll go slower if you count `em down like that."
"I know." She sighed, looking out into the crowd of people fearfully, then started to grin. "Let's go test their social skills."
They walked into the crowd and started `mingling'. High society had a certain set of rules for public behavior, and Carter was having a wonderful time watching all her classmates grit their teeth and follow them. The rules of public social interaction required everyone to act completely civil toward everyone else. All the girls had no trouble acting very civil to Jordan, but they had to act it to Carter as well, and it drove them up the wall.
Near 11:30 pm, Jordan finally got cornered, and he had to leave Carter to dance with Molly. He had left his sister at the refreshment table, but she was gone when he returned after the song. Sara and Jaimie walked up to him and started talking to him. Something about the way they were just babbling on made him uneasy. It felt like they were stalling. After a few minutes, he lost his patience and told them their boyfriends were looking for them. When they turned around to see, he slipped away and started searching for Carter. He found her on the outside balcony with Molly, just in time to hear the tail end of a very dangerous conversation.
"Because you're nothing but an ugly street rat." Molly said calmly and coldly. "You should thank me, my sweet little Jinx. I'm trying to save your poor brother from the horrible fate of becoming what you already are. An insignificant piece of trash, just like your mother. I'm doing him a favor by taking him from you."
Carter's world turned red, blinding her, and a deafening ringing noise made her skin tingle and buzz. She wasn't aware of anything that was going on till she heard Jordan shout her name in her ear, piercing the sound blaring in her head. She blinked, surprised at hearing her brother's voice, and looked around with rage burning in her veins. Her feet were dangling off the ground because Jordan was behind her, hugging her tightly and keeping her arms pinned to her sides. She was holding a scrap of white cloth and the tips of her fingers on both hands were stained red. Her eyes flashed like bright emeralds, blazing with an uncontained fury.
"WHERE IS SHE!!!!???!!!! I'LL KILL HER!!!!" She shouted, struggling against Jordan's grasp.
"Carter, stop it!!" He yelled, keeping a desperate grip on his irate sister. If she got away, there was no telling what she might do.
"LET ME GO!!!! NOBODY TALKS ABOUT MY MOTHER LIKE THAT!!!! I WON'T LET HER TAKE YOU FROM ME!!!! DAMN IT, YOU LET ME GO!!!"
"No, Carter!! Stop it! She's gone!"
"NO!!! I WANT THAT BITCH DEAD!!!!"
"You can't kill her!! Now, stop it!"
Carter knew he was right, and she knew her brother would never let go of her. She stopped struggling, closed her eyes, and screamed in helpless, frustrated rage.
"GGRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!! I HATE THIS LIFE!!!! I WANT TO BE SOMEWHERE ELSE!!!!! I JUST WANT US TO BE SOMEWHERE ELSE!!!!"
"I know, sis. I know." Jordan said softly as his sister hung her head and went limp in his arms. He paused, listening to something beyond Carter's ragged breathing. "Happy birthday, sis." He said, giving her a squeeze.
"Huh?" She asked, lifting her head a little.
She looked up at the full moon, concentrating on the sounds of the quiet night. Two faint `bonging' noises penetrated her still ringing ears.
"It's midnight, happy birthday." He said, setting her down and keeping his arms around her as she leaned wearily against him.
A sudden thought made Carter's shoulders move in a semblance of laughter. "It didn't work." She said, tears starting to run down her cheeks.
"Mom told me to make a wish at midnight and it would come true, but we're still here. It didn't work!" She turned and buried her face in her brother's shoulder, sobbing.
"It's okay, sis." He said, holding her and stroking her hair. "It's gonna be okay."
"Is everything all right out here?" A woman asked, walking up to the doorway.
"No." Jordan said. "We'd like to go home, please. My sister doesn't feel good."
"Hold on, I'll get you a phone so you can call your parents." The woman said and walked quickly away.
"There, see?" He said to Carter. "It did work, we get to leave an hour early. We'll be somewhere else soon."
The woman came back with a cordless phone and Jordan dialed their hotel room, keeping an arm around his sister. Kaitlyn picked it up on the first ring.
"What's wrong?" She asked instead of saying `hello'.
"Can you pick us up, please?" Jordan asked.
"Be there in five minutes." She said and hung up.
He handed the phone back to the woman. "We're outa here!" He said after the woman left.
He picked Carter up and quickly jumped off the second story terrace. He landed softly on the grass below and looked back at the high balcony. It's been a long time since I had to do that. He walked to the front of the building, still carrying his crying sister. Kaitlyn was good on her word, and picked them up in five minutes, even though it was a ten minute drive. She knew both of them still needed a little time to cool down, so she drove them back in silence, focusing on the road. None of them spoke till they were in the hotel room, sitting on the large couch in their nightclothes, and drinking hot chocolate.
"All right, what happened?!" Kaitlyn asked.
"Molly went all out tonight." Jordan growled. "She told Carter that you were trash, and that she was going take me away from her. I got there in time, but Molly's going to have some nasty little scars on her shoulder from Carter's nails. I'm still kind of surprised the vindictive little snob didn't call the cops!"
"I'm tired of it." Carter said angrily. "They hold all the cards all the time and it makes me sick! No matter what they do or what they say, we can't retaliate! It goes beyond infuriating knowing that I have to sit there and take everything they dish out because I've been rendered completely helpless by their checkbooks!! I'd give anything to be able to fight back, just once! To have them on the same playing field as me, no `high society', no bank accounts, no rules!!"
"You said it! I don't like outright fighting, but this being helpless is getting way out of hand! Of course, it doesn't help that the only friends we have are the school custodian and a half insane hacker. Man, why are friends so hard to come by?!"
"I wish I knew." Kaitlyn said. "It's what makes them so special, I guess. Did you win that, Jordan?" She asked, pointing to the cute, winged, black kitten sitting on his lap.
"Carter won him for me." He said, grinning. "Along with a hundred bucks."
"Sara bet me $100 that I couldn't win a toy," Carter said, smiling. "She lost."
"You are terrible!" Kaitlyn laughed and turned to Jordan. "What did you name him?"
"Samhain." Jordan said, smiling at the stuffed animal.
"It's definitely Halloween. Okay, it's about time to hit the hay." Kaitlyn said, yawning. "You two are crashing with me tonight. I'm not going to wake up and find you on the floor again."
They all climbed into their mother's king sized bed and slept like they used to so many times before they came to Chicago.