Sunday, December 12, 2010

JaeVon FanFic Chapters 15 thru 17

JaeVon FanFic Chapters 15-17

Chapter 15

Devon wiped a tear. The memories were not serving her well for they were now more bitter than they were sweet. The contrast was too sharp not to sting. Atleast then they got along... Now, things were quite the opposite of getting along. They practically pretend neither existed.
Fate was playing games and James was but a pawn. He searched for hours in vain, but when he gave up and decided to go for a walk to cool his thoughts down, he found her at the beach. She was crying. Defiantly wiping off each tear that dared fall, but crying still... 'Funny, Fate. You are too funny!' he cursed. How does one profess undying love to someone who's too preoccupied with falling apart? There was no way, and only an idiot would try. The timing could not be more wrong. James walked up to her, a scene too similar but entirely too different. This was a purposeful tread compared to the listless wonder it had been before. But he lacked the proper composure, he did not feel confident, and he could not deny that he felt with all his heart that it was one of those now or never things.
There was never gonna be a perfect time and life was too short to dilly-dally.
Devon felt a jolt run through her spine when she heard his voice.
She wiped her eyes off with the back of her hand. 'James.' she thought, wondering why he was there, what he needed, and after another moment of thought, she decided it was more fruitful to plan what she should do, where she should go, what should she say. Such matters were much more valuable. She stood too fast and lost her balance for just a fraction of an instant. She stumbled, and James rushed towards her to help. But she held up a hand to keep him away. “I'm fine.” she said, scorn painted across her face, as she struggled to keep her expression in check while her ankle ached.
“Why did you run?” he asked quietly, hurt. The idiot in him has already made up its mind to confess, but the timing wasn't right, circumstances were not conducive for his purposes, and the ire of the object of his admiration was squarely on him. “I've been looking for you.” he said, with obvious raw emotion.
“I just needed some air.” she said dryly.
“Ofcourse you did.” he said with a low voice, defensive and guarded. He could only handle getting brushed off once in one night whether or not it had been intended. But he surprised himself at how he felt. He was not the least bit bitter despite the turn of events. Despite the circumstances, his resolve was solid. He was decided he would profess his feelings, but he also decided that she deserved better. And though now was not the time, it will come soon enough. He stared off solemnly.
“Eh ano naman kasi ngayon sayo?” she said, with her hand on her hip. She knew that tone and it irked her more. He was being sarcastic and dry, and it pushed her to get cross. “It really is none of your business.”
“Don't you sass at me! Why do you have to make this so hard?” he said, equal parts frustrated at the situation, and upset at Devon despite his resolve. He quickly reprimanded himself and tried to take it back by following up with a slight explanation. “I just wanted to talk.”
“Us?” Devon asked flatly, dismissively. “There is no us, James. There was no us, if you recall.”
James sighed. “You and I, we need to start over.” he breathed.
“James, this isn't some video game. This is real life! You can't just revert to an old save file and carry on. It doesn't work that way.” Devon said, her remorse making her voice crack. She did not want him to see her this way, so she started to walk away, wincing with every step. “I'm not just some NPC you can talk to when it serves your purposes, then forget about as you go gallivanting with your other friends in some whirlwind adventure. Then kung kailan mo gusto, you remember me, tapos gusto mo, I act na parang walang time na lumipas and we start over. Wow, James.” she said without so much as a glance back at James. The final words were said with such scathing intensity.
James followed. “I didn't say it was a game.” he said, keeping up with Devon as he jogged backwards to face her. “What the hell, Devon. You were never like that to me.”
“You're right. You're so right. You didn't say this was a game.” She said with a smile. She was being crass and sarcastic and he knew that behind that sweet smile, she was seething. “That was my bad. Pasensiya na lang taga bundok kasi ako. Begging your pardon, sir. I must have imagined it all.”
James wanted to scream at her. He wanted to yell and rant about just how wrong she was. He grabbed her shoulders to keep her in place so he may start, when she yelped in agony. He realized what had happened, and leaned down to find that whatever injury she incurred had already gotten worse. Her ankle was already swelling. “Shit.” James cursed under his breath when he stood back up. Devon tried to push him away, but he angrily made her sit. “Sit down.”
“I don't want to sit.” she said with a glare.
“Sit!” he growled. Suddenly mature, suddenly the bigger man. Suddenly unyielding.
Devon couldn't help but sit from the combined force of his eyes and the pressure he was putting on her shoulders. He sat down infront of her.
“Why were you walking on this?” he asked condescendingly gesturing with both hands at the foot resting on his legs. “Are you stupid?”
No answer.
'Oh yeah? Well two can play at that game.' he thought to himself. He took his shirt off, which made Devon gasp. He tied it tightly on her busted ankle.
“Ow!” Devon yelped in pain.
He smirked. For the first time in a long time, he managed to get the correct reaction from her. “Wow. You can behave and react like a normal human being after all.” came out of his mouth. He cursed at himself at yet another wrong move he could not take back.
Devon scowled, said nothing more, and immediately rose after James finished tying his shirt on her foot. Even when her foot hurt as he put more pressure on it, she kept mum, and even though it ached even more as she walked on it, she kept a straight face. She stormed off in complete gimped fashion, limping and annoyed. They were about half-way to the garden when James finally admitted defeat. He couldn't play at that game after all.
“Okay, what the hell is your problem? I just tried to help.” he asked.
“Why, then thanks for your kindness.” she said, eyes blazing, and he both hated and loved it. Atleast she was looking at him. “Sobrang maraming salamat, ha? Talagang nag-abala ka pa.”
“You're welcome.” he replied smugly. 'Say something else. You fool!' “It really was no trouble...” 'Not that! Something else!'
Devon rolled her eyes and walked on.
“Devon, Wait!” James took two quick strides to reach her and caught her arm. The spark was still there, and it was undeniable to both of them. When their skin touched, without the pretence of an injury, or choreography, or even some dumb photo-op, that spark burned and awakened a raging current so strong, they were both caught off guard. Awkwardly gauging their feelings as one stood before the other in an overwhelming swell of emotion, they stared in shock. At the contact point, at each other, then again at the contact point. Wondering what was happening. Wondering if it had been a shared experience. Wondering what it was.
James dropped Devon's arm like a hot potato. “I'm-- I'm sorry.” he breathed. Still in a heady rush. Devon bit her lower lip and said nothing. She was still reeling in herself. It was no more than a second. No more. And yet, she could feel every fiber of her being awakened. “Are you-- are you alright?” he asked her.
She nodded, her contrary mood has been replaced and flooded by this overwhelming sense of, of... She stared off blankly as she struggled to put into words how she felt. This overwhelming sense of complete awareness.
James took her arm gently this time, measured and precise. “Here, I'll help you to your room.” he said quietly, feeling more alive than ever. Extremely aware of Devon's smooth skin against his palm. He lifted her in his arms.
Devon wanted to protest, but she was focusing on the warmth of his palm on her skin. Then, on his warmth against her. It was not the same feeling as mere moments ago. Something has changed, but she could still feel it. The same warmth. A warmth that seems to have settled at the core of her very being and easily flowed through her as if it was not such a foreign feeling after all. She felt complete, content. And that scared her.
When they got to the door, James let Devon down gently. She nodded at him in appreciation, as he stared intently at her. She grabbed the door knob as if to enter.
“What happened, Devon?” James asked, eyeing the ground, serious, quiet. The James Devon saw then was the James she used to only see on rare occasions, when he would call her to say he was waiting for her somewhere, and when she got there, he would be somber. Upset about something. And the old feelings of her heart breaking at the sight of his misery came alive despite herself.
Devon paused, releasing the door knob. “Saan?” she asked quietly, though she knew.
“To us. What happened to us.” he asked, leaning against the wall, as if being vulnerable like this was draining him. “Where did the entire last year go? What happened?”
“Ewan ko, James.” she said with a sigh. Still warm from his touch. “I was never an expert of these things.”
“You give Fretzie advice.” he challenged weakly.
“I give her advice.” she nodded solemnly, and backed away from the door to lean against the wall opposite James. “But thoughts are a lot different from knowledge.” Something in her voice made James look at her. She was thinking. Digging for the deepest morsels she could find. “Advice... thoughts lang yun.”
“Let's go for coffee.” he blurted out. Now or never.
“What?” Devon asked, brought back from her reverie.
“Sarado na yung shop...” Devon tried to argue, pointing towards the direction of the coffee shop.
“Pag ayaw, maraming dahilan.” James said in nearly perfect Tagalog, and Devon eyed him suspiciously. She used to say that all the time. “It's just coffee, Devon.” he offered her his hand. Looking in his eyes, Devon placed hers in his. He took it and intertwined his fingers in hers like he used to when they were still friends. Devon felt comfortable. They shared knowing looks over a shared memory and how right this felt for them both. “I missed this.” he said, as he slowly led her to the patio facing the lit pool.
He lifted the mosquito netting for one of the patio swings and led her in. He made her sit there. “If I go for five minutes, do you promise you'll still be here?”
Devon said nothing.
“I'll take that as a yes.” James said, as he bolted back to his room.
He took the coffee cups from the kitchenette and a sweater from the room he was supposed to share with Bret, but Bret roomed with his band, so the room was all James' fort he night, then he took some hot water from a dispenser at the nearby cafeteria and made two cups of instant coffee. He walked back to where he left Devon, and in the dim lighting, he saw her silhouette still sitting there, watching the pool water ripple and lightly swirl. Or so he thought. Because when he rounded the corner, naka-tungo ang dalaga. Nakatulog na.
He set the coffee cups on a small table near by and sat by her. He rested her head on his shoulder and sighed contently. He was taking liberties, he knew. But he was preparing for the rockiest, probably most physically dangerous courtship ahead of him, and if this was at all close to what it was gonna be like to be hers officially, he'd gladly put up with the initial abuse. He was aware of how sweet Devon could be. How endearing. How loving. He saw it first hand once upon a time. A time he still remembers fondly despite all his efforts of eradicating it from his thoughts. He leaned his head on Devon's forehead, and Devon sighed and stirred. James froze. Unwilling to let this moment end just yet.
“Dhemy... Wag kang sumama...” she breathed, sleep talking.
“Devon?” James asked, checking if she was awake.
“Where's Dhemy going?”
“Eh, sasama siya kay Dimple.” she mumbled. “Ako nalang matitira...”
“When is Dimple leaving?” James asked stone-faced. She was dreaming and troubled even in her sleep.
“Sabi niya, nadelay daw. Sabi niya matatagalan pa. Pero nakita ko yung plane ticket niya. End of September na yun...”
“So less--” he tried to talk some more. Devon hasn't been this open to him in ages. But Devon cut him off.
“Sayang nga kasi long weekend pa naman ako this week. Out of town sana kaming lahat.”
“Out of town?” he asked, but got no answer.
“Sinabi ko kay Ivan ready na ko for the Ball!” she muttered with a slight giggle. “Pero hindi ako pupunta.”
“What?” James asked, a bit too violently and Devon shuffled, and dozed off in a much deeper sleep. James wondered what she meant. She wasn't going to the Ball? She was excited for it the previous year, and talked about how she was excited for this year's even then. But she was not going?
Devon rested her head comfortably on James' chest as he carried her back to the girls' room. He did not offer anything beyond the customary 'she fell asleep' to the questioning eyes of Shey and April. He did not really care. He was too pre-occupied. He already realized he was gonna be doing some slick sleuthing. He had 5 days till the Ball. Two of those will he booked with work, so he only had 3 days to work with incase his suspicions were true.
The bottom line though, was that he had to take care of this. Devon was going to the Ball if it all came down to him. Even if he had to drag her there.

Chapter 16

“My voice is getting more and more high pitched! You DO NOT WANT to keep this up, James.” Devon hissed menacingly by the pool in the mid-afternoon sun. James has been excessively heckling her all morning, and even though the cameras were on them for the afternoon, he did not stop, nor did he really care. “STOP IT!” she screamed in frustration.
“Or what?” he said.
“Or, or, I will push you in!” she threatened, eyeing the pool and already planning her mode of attack. “Ano bang nakain mo at nagkakaganyan ka?” she griped.
“You slept!” James retorted, referring to the previous night. “You owe me.”
“Sabi mo, dun lang ako.” Devon said, gesturing towards the patio swings just beyond the steps. “Hindi naman ako umalis ah!” Devon said, running towards the far end of the pool. The camera crew bristled with excitement. They all expected something juicy to capture.
“Yeah, but you slept!” James argued. “You made me get coffee for nothing!”
“Eh hindi ko naman sinabi na gusto ko ng kape!”
“We were supposed to have coffee!”
“Ikaw lang kaya may gusto ng coffee.”
“Eh ayoko na matulog ka and you slept anyway.”
“Ano ba kasing kailangang pag-usapan at may kape ka pang nalalaman.”
“I don't want to talk about it now.”
“Bakit? Kasi may camera? Takot ka ba na macapture ang tunay mong kulay? HAMBOG KA KASI.”
“What the hell does hambowg mean?”
“Hambowg” she replied mimicking his accent. “Ibig sabihin JACKASS.”
“So, now I'm a jackass. Real nice Devon.”
She turned and gave a sarcastic smiled with a curtsey. James rolled his eyes.
“Come on, Devon. Let's be mature.”
“Let's go back to the not talking business. Mas peaceful, diba?”
“I don't want to. I'd rather we keep fighting like this.”
Devon lost her momentum. It felt as though her train has been derailed and she was sent flying. Walang control, walang direction. One point for James because she had to admit to herself that she did too. Atleast they were together. She shut her eyes tight as she groaned internally.Ayokong maging masokista!
The crew following them scratched their heads in wonder. They've heard something about the previous night's mysterious events referenced in between the other girls' gossiping, but have not gotten any real detail on film. Ngayon, ang JaeVon tandem ay nag-aaway like an old married couple. The subjects have been identified, pero ang object of concern ay still largely a mystery.
“What do you want ba, James?” she asked, her tone significantly changed. “Why are we at each other's throats?”
“I don't remember either.” he answered. “It's your fault. You distracted me.”
Natigilan si Devon, and she was getting tired of his games. Her patience has been thoroughly tried. She stopped dodging to face him. “Fine, I fell asleep, yes! But you didn't wake me up! Hindi ko na kasalanan yon no.”
“Cause you looked so tired...” James said stubbornly, looking at the ground like a guilty little embarassed boy.
“Fine, What do you want then?” Devon asked, slightly guilted by James' mannerism. The camera men held their breath, all eager to capture something great.
“Be my date to the Ball.” James said without an afterthought. The crew released audible gasps collectively. Devon did a double take.
“Uh, no.” she replied. Oh no! Hindi ako pupunta!
“Why not?” he asked. “You're going, right?” he strategically added.
Devon took some time before she finally nodded.
“Well, why not then? Do you have a date booked?” he joked, and added “Pwede pa mag cancel.” He glanced at her as she began briskly walking away again, her eyes darting from one thing to the next in rapid succession. He knew then she was lying. She wasn't going to the Ball, but was keeping it a secret fro some reason. Now he just needed to find out why.
“Kuya,” he said, referring to the crew. “Ihahatid ko muna si Devon sa room nila. She's not feeling well. Shoot muna with the others then later na lang kami ulit. I know you're on schedule din, sayang naman ang time niyo.” Devon looked questioningly up at him, before she got lead away by the elbow. The crew did not even get a word in and James and Devon were already past the hall to the girls' room.
“Okay lang naman ako ah!” Devon hissed at James, still having her wits about her. She knew James could end up in the wringer if she outright yelled at him. Unfortunately James also knew and took advantage of this.
“We need to talk!” James hissed right back.
“Ano ba! Kawawa naman sila kuya, walang magandang footage. All that time wasted dahil nakakainis ka!” she scowled as they argued quietly.
“Fine. You wanna play like that, I'll lay it out for you.” he egged her on, daring her to press matters further.
Devon gulped as he dragged her aside to some corner for a bit of privacy. She did not know why he was behaving the way he was, and she was past the point where she knew what to expect. James grabbed both her arms and held them against her sides as he pinned her to the spot she was in. Devon's eyes went wild as she eyed his hands one after the other, then his face. His eyes were blazing.
“Why are you lying about the Ball?”
“Anong lying ka diyan?” she asked with a nervous smile and a failed attempt at a contemptuous tone.
“I know you're not going!”
Devon's eyes bugged out for an instant and James noticed. “What made you think that? Why would I miss it?”
“Quit lying! Quit playing everyone for a fool!” he yelled. He was frustrated with Devon, and he was frustrated with himself because he was letting her get the better of him again. “Quit playing me.”
“James, I'm going!”
“How many times do you have to tell the same lie till you finally feel bad about it?” he spat accusingly.
“I am going!” she retorted, chin held high, as her spine slowly curled in upon itself.
“You're lying.” he declared.
Devon glared at him, “I am? Whatever James. Believe whatever you want.” she said, and walked away wringing her hands in a nervous bout. She's been caught, and wondered how it happened. She still wasn't just gonna lay down and take it though. She was gonna go, but she was also gonna get 'sick' the day of the Ball. That was the plan and she did not have to 'not go' on purpose at all. He just didn't need to know about the other part of the plan. The part where she actually wasn't gonna be there.
Devon marched right up to the girl's room and slammed the door at James who was right behind her. He knocked, but Devon yelled back at him that she was not feeling well after all with a smug smile.
Dinner time was a group affair luau, and the crew were scattered amongst them all. Devon was conveniently away from James at all times, which irritated him. The crew were also concentrating on the the two of them as well, which only irked James more. Tonight was the night and he needed to touch base with Devon, and he vowed not to let this long awaited talk end in another skirmish.
The beauty of it all was the fact that Louise and the band already drove back to the city, and in their place was a former housemates galore! There was too many housemates around to keep track of. The crew had their hands full, and eventually, James knew they were gonna have to stop tailing him. If James could manage to shy away somewhere, it would be easy enough to sequester some much needed and wanted Devon time.
He spotted Tricia gregariously horsing around with Jack, Eslove and Joe when inspiration hit.
“Tricia!” he yelled. There was too many people in such a limited space, all walking around and doing their own loud things. It was much too chaotic for her to identify his voice. “Volleyball!” he urged, as he snuck off to the side. The idea only needed to be planted after all. He knew it would take root and encourage a fun night of games and merriment for all. Sure enough, Tricia started rallying everyone else with a “Huy! Volleyball daw!!!!!” tossing a beach ball around happily. The cameras trained on her and panned around as everyone else started to congregate for the game. Tricia's reliably competitive. James thought as he smiled to himself. Pleased at the success of his clever rouse.
The game was in full swing, everyone was having a good time. Devon floundering here and there, bubbly as ever, was skillfully avoiding James, as James sulked. It did not take him long to realize there was gonna be no privacy for him and her. She has made it her mission to ensure the absolute impossibility of it. He was gonna have to switch gears. Again.
Devon was not dense. She knew he's been tailing her. She knew he's been waiting for an opportunity to get to talk and maybe continue whatever it was that happened a few hours ago. What was the big deal with talking anyway? Devon wanted none of it. She did not want another dish of heartache. She was all too aware that it was a dish best served cold, and she was not a fan of that too.
So she cleverly hid in plain sight.
“Here.” Ivan crept by beside Devon and handed her a bottle of water.
“Thanks!” Devon said, with overt amounts of enthusiasm. Ivan cocked a brow in response, and wondered why Devon was pulling something they've all grown to call 'a Tricia' when he spied the sulking figure of James just several meters away. No words were needed. That was all it took and he knew.
“It'll be easier if you just get it over with once and for all, you know.” Ivan said, leaning his back towards Devon.
“What?” Devon said absently as she twiddled with the screw-on lid of her water bottle.
“What do you mean what? Don't act dumb.” he accused.
“Eh hindi ko nga alam. What do you mean ba?”
“O sige. I'll bite. 2 o'clock.” Ivan sighed.
Devon turned towards the specified direction, and inadvertently met James' eyes. It was only for a moment and she turned away quickly, but it was enough to leave her feeling flustered. “Shit.” His eyes burned through her and it hurt.
“I figured.” Ivan muttered into Devon's hair as he hugged her for comfort. “And I stand by what I said. Get this over with. One time, big time. Gets?”
“Pero kuya...” she said, with a pained pout.
“Pero what? It's inevitable naman diba? Might as well do it on your own terms. You know? Kesa saman it comes when you least expect it then you'll be ill prepared.”
“I don't want him to rub it in my face. You know how much he hurt me.” Devon said, brows furrowed. “He wants to talk, tapos aawayin niya lang ako. He wants to talk, tapos wala din namang magbabago.”
“I doubt it.” Ivan said with a sagely tone. “Why'd he hound you for that? There's gotta be something else, diba?”
“To torment me? Para mahirapan ako lalo?” she scoffed. “Kasi may pagka-sadista siya? Kasi he's bored with life and he wants more drama? Kasi--”
“Pano kung mahal ka niya?” anang binata. Natigilan si Devon. Paano nga ba? Matutuwa ba siya? Kasi alam niya, love is a double edged sword.
“Paano kung hindi?” she asked, staring at the sand between her toes.
Ivan kissed her hair as he held her. “You'll never know if you keep running.” he said. And Devon replied with a sigh. She knew he was right and decided it was now or never. But she didn't know how to get around to it. Paano nga ba?
James seethed as he watched Ivan and Devon quietly talking as if in their own little universe despite the chaos of their friends around them. He was positively fuming. Raging whenever Ivan kissed Devon tenderly. Who cares if Devon looked upset about something and Ivan was just comforting her? James' mind understood the circumstances. But to his heart, all that was irrelevant. And it hurt and angered him.
He was never the patient type, and the whole ordeal of waiting and hounding after somebody who seemed disinterested at best was trying the last strands of what little patience he had. His back ached as he pushed hard against the tree, but he did not care as he kicked against the dirt beneath his feet to ease the tension.
“Ivan.” Ann called as she approached the two, casually gesturing towards James. Ivan nodded in response to the gesture, “Devs.” she added, acknowledging Devon.
Devon nooded at Ann, though she missed the exchange between her friends. She smiled.
“Yan. Smile, girly. Wag mong ipagdamot ang iyong pearly whites.” Ann teased, which did not work, though she expected it to fall flat. She sat beside Devon and they all sat quietly for a while as Ivan and Ann exchanged knowing looks and meaningful glances. Ivan noticed that James had left, and after a few minutes, Devon stood as well though still purposefully avoiding the spot where James had been.
“What's up?” Ivan asked, seeing the determined look on Devon's face.
“I'll do it.” Devon said. “You're right. Wala namang ibang tatapos nito kundi kami rin.” Ann eyed Ivan questioningly, and Ivan nodded in response. “So... What's the plan?” Ann asked, not needing further information to understand.
“I just need to sort my thoughts out... I need to know where I stand... Where we stand...” Devon answered, thoughts already riled up.
“That's, um, fair. Devvy.” Ann said, as she stood to hug her friend. “We're just here if you need us. I'm just one call or text away. Anytime.”
“Thanks...” Devon offered a small smile. “Really. Pero I gotta deal with this alone.” Devon sighed. “Marami pang dapat pag-isipan.”
“Good luck kiddo.” Ivan said as Devon walked away towards their bunkers.

Chapter 17

With the whole resort closed off for their group, and the whole group - the camera crew included all being at the beach, Devon had the pool area to herself. Everyone else hung out where the food and fun was. But Devon, she needed some time alone to think.
Knowing too well that romance was not the answer to everything, she was questioning the merits of pursuing something with James that may not even be there. With her sisters leaving one by one, and her mother's health still her constant worry, everything else seems so unnecessary. Things like romantic feelings and the up and coming ball become mere frivolities. Things that she may want for herself for the plain and simple enjoyment of them, she easily decided to be things she could do without. Always the last on her list, always stepping aside, she was content to set aside her own happiness for everyone else. There was always someone else to put first...
A pang of angst hit her then, which she quickly castigated herself for. She loved her family, and whatever sacrifice that love demanded, she would freely give. Everyone's said before that she was mature for her age. Those people know that she's still too young to fully understand that life isn't only about sacrifice, and family was not synonymous with sacrifice either. But she doesn't. She was still too young. At 18 she's carried the weight of her entire world on her shoulders refusing to be a burden to anyone... And as much as she's hated herself for it, she could not deny that she wishes her life went differently. She wishes that she could be taken care of, she could be frivolous every so often, that she could be afford to be whimsical, spontaneous, young and free.
“The world is your oyster. You are your own destiny.” she reassured herself. “You gotta do what you gotta do. Your happiness...” she added, then faltered. “Your happiness is just ahead. It's up to you to reach out for it. It's up to you. Grab life by the horns and live it. Live it up!” She rallied on, in a trail of empowering epiphanies that were ironically still a ways away from her. Even in her promises to herself. She's still unaware that she could have it then. Right at that moment. If only she would allow herself to.
“Hey.” Ivan called James's attention, who was sitting by the garden porch.
James did not reply but turned away and looked at the far off distance.
“Have you seen Devon?” Ivan asked cooly. “I thought she'd have found you by now.”
“What the hell do you want, Ivan?” James scoffed at the mention of Devon. He felt bad, but he was too angry to care. “You can't find her, so you come searching for her here? Well, she isn't here.” he said with a gesture towards his otherwise empty surroundings.
Ivan stifled a laugh.
“What's so funny?” James glared.
“I thought you wanted to talk to her.” Ivan answered, ignoring the animosity, and James said nothing in response. “We've convinced her to talk to you.”
“She hasn't talked to me.” James said, his tone significantly calmer. More subdued but still irate.
“But that was two hours ago, man.” Ivan rallied, concerned.
James stared ahead, lost in his own thoughts and did not say anything. That far-off distance seemed such a riveting pile of nothing, indeed.
“I wasn't planning on checking on her. I was just gonna grab Ann's cardigan from the room, so don't get any ideas.”
“Why? Should I be having ideas?” James said, egging Ivan on.
“We're not dating.” Ivan said flatly, and James' breath hitched at his throat. He did not expect those words to come from Ivan so plainly. “I'm not saying there was never an interest. She's amazing. She's smart, strong, really caring...” he said, as he paced. “Silly... She laughs at everything, and hits like a man! Damn!”
“What's your point? Just get to the damn point, Ivan.” James said, fuming. As far as he was concerned, Ivan didn't need to reiterate every single thing he loves about his girlie.
“My point? The point is, James, if you hurt her,” Ivan – the gentle sweet Ivan, spoke with menace oozing from every possible orifice. “we will be on your case so hard, you will wish you were dead.”
James smiled.
“I'm serious James. You know we will.”
“I know.” James answered, as he got up. “I feel the same way.”
“I know.” Ivan said with a clap on his friend's shoulder. “You beat yourself up with no help from any of us.” they shared a small laugh at this.
“I'm sure you knew.” James said before he determinedly sprinted away in search of Devon. A wide grin plastered on his face.

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