Chapter 7

In all aspects of it I felt like I had declared war on Pia Hampton.

It's the next day after my blow up with Pia. The anger is something that I can't get over. She disrespected me in a way that was so clear. I didn't get it. Pia was losing her cool lately. First she fought with Bambi and that never happened and now she was straight up disrespecting me to my face.

I am in my room later that day and writing in my journal. I hide it up under my bed and start doing an assignment I have after that.

It isn't too long before Kaysha and Jae Jae come walking in. They are laughing about one thing or another but when they see me they just stand there. There is an awkwardness that fills the room at that moment.. I am just beginning to wonder day in and day out if there is really something going on between the two.

“Well look who it is...Mr. Popular. Your girlfriend doesn't have you locked up anymore?” Jae Jae asks me.

I smile at him, “It's nothing like that man.”

“Really? Seems like you kind of forgot about us,” Jae Jae states

I wonder if they have discussed this behind my back. Kaysha and Jae Jae both kind of seem like they are on the same page about this.

“I still consider you guys my friends,” I explain.

“Really? Is that why you don't look at us much anymore? Is that why you stopped talking to us in public?” Jae Jae asks at that moment, “Cause honestly you spend a lot of time with the Dollhouse. And you're starting to look a little plastic man. I'm not mad---or whatever. Just being honest.”

He's saying he's not mad but Jae Jae gets up and walks out of the room leaving Kaysha and me there. I'm standing there in a little bit of shock that Jae Jae is acting like this.

“Did I miss something?” I ask.

“Jae Jae just is having a hard time. He thought he met a friend in you,” Kaysha responds.

“He did.”

“He doesn't feel that way. A lot of his friends just use him for the shit that he has. They just use him for his connections or whatever. No one really gives a fuck about Jae Jae. You know?” Kaysha states at that moment, “They just want him for what he can give them.”

“I didn't know that...”

“Because you haven't been hanging around enough to realize it,” Kaysha responds, “I mean, honestly what's with you and the Dollhouse anyway?”

She's digging. I know Kaysha enough to know when she's digging and that's exactly what she's trying to do right now. Kaysha is looking to find some shit out about the Dollhouse. She's suspicious of the fact that I'm hanging around them right now and truthfully I don't blame her. My behavior is weird.

“It's a long story.”

“I have time,” Kaysha states.

She's being pushy. I'm wondering if I should just come out and tell her now. I'm gay. I'm actually wanting to be with Dre but he's dissing me for his ex girlfriend. I'm pretending to be Bambi's boyfriend so she won't out Dre and I. I could just imagine how pissed off Dre would be about this. It's his worst fear to come out of the closet. I can't do this to him even if we aren't on the same page right now.

So I lie...

“It's nothing. I just got to know Bambi.”

Kaysha states, “And what about Bambi's friends? The LaPerlas. Do you know how the LaPerlas got rich? Do you know how they started financing this little spaceship? Do you know how Pia's family does the blood diamond business with the LaPerla's...”

“Blood diamonds?”

“How do you think they make their millions? They finance warlords to traffick African blood diamonds. These people are good entertainment Mario. Good to watch from a distance. Don't get involved with them. You don't know what you're getting yourself into.”

“Bambi doesn't trust Pia either...”

“You may be right...” Kaysha states, “But you may be wrong too. Just be careful.”

Kaysha leaves at that moment. It's clear there is tension. She isn't as upset as Jae Jae looked but it's clear she doesn't trust Bambi. Right now there is no turning back from Bambi though. I have to make this work and I have to figure out a way to make this work fast.

It's the next day and the tension is a little high. We get back into the lunch room and we see Pia sitting with Greg, Chyna and Jax at the regular Dollhouse table right in the middle of the room. I walk in with Bambi. Bambi always wants to walk in all high and mighty.

We get to the table and I'm reluctant as I see Pia's face.

I make eye contact with Jax. I'm not sure if him and Pia are back together. They are sitting really close. The feeling that they may be back together sends shivers down my spine.

“Why don't we go sit somewhere else today?” I tell Bambi.

Bambi looks at me almost like I have three heads, “What?”

“Why don't we just go sit somewhere else?” I ask, “Like with people we usually don't sit with.”

Bambi raises her head, “Like nerds? Why the fuck would I want to sit with lames?”

“You're arguing with Pia. Look at her...”

Bambi looks over at Pia. We are standing in the middle of the lunch room trying to figure this out. I can go over to Pia and be fake as usual but I don't want to. Pia has it out for me. She knows that I have something for Jax. She doesn't trust me...not one bit.

“She's trying to get back with Jax,” Bambi states at that moment crossing her arms, “She's trying to upstage me again and be the center of attention. Look how close she's getting to him. Isn't that shit sick?”

Bambi is looking over at them. She's staring them DOWN. I see the weakness now. She is bothered by Pia and Jax. Hell...everyone is. They are like Ken and Barbi. They are perfect. I can tell Bambi hates the idea of attention being on anyone else but her. And truth is I just...don't want to be around Pia. So I have to make use this to my advantage and I have to use it fast.

“Aren't you like the popular one?” I ask.

“Duh. I'm prettier than she is...” Bambi states, “Ok, the LaPerla's have more money but the economy has been bad. My dad's company isn't expanding as usual. The LaPerla's don't have that issue. I'm sure when you're doing illegal...ooops...did I say that?”

Bambi is letting her true colors show. And honestly I have to admit I kind of like it.

“Exactly. She's not as fab as you are. Why follow her trends? Why sit at her table? Why not go sit among the people where you don't have to fight for attention? You'll just...get it...”

Bambi gives me a hard look.

She looks suspicious at that moment.

But then her face relaxes, “Good idea...let's sit somewhere else. Show this bitch that I start the trends...”

I lead Bambi past the Dollhouse table. This is in the midst of Chyna already standing up and beginning to make room for us. Bambi ignores Chyna and continues to walk past.

Faces turn at that moment. More and more faces turn until I could swear I hear a little bit of a gasp when I lead Bambi to the table that Kaysha and Jae Jae are. By the time that Kaysha and Jae Jae sit down even members of the Dollhouse are looking our way.

“Are they looking?” Bambi whispers to me.

I turn back to the Dollhouse table. Pia is shooting bullets with her eyes at Bambi. She is breathing heavy. She looks like a dragon right now. All that pretty shit is right out the window. I don't even care as much about her though. What I notice most of all is Jax. Jax is staring too. Jax's eyes dart onto mine. He's watching me. He's wondering.

I nod at Bambi.

“He---hell---hello,” Kaysha states at that moment.

Kaysha is mumbling like an idiot with Bambi sitting across from her. Bambi just looks at her with lackluster interest.

“Jesus Christ,” Bambi rolls her eyes.

She takes out her contact mirror and begins adjusting her lipstick clearly annoyed by Kaysha's presence. Kaysha all of a sudden is getting red in the face. I should have known that Kaysha would be like this. I just need to try though. I need to try to mend things with my true friends and really try to make a difference here.

“Hey guys this is Bambi,” I tell them.

“You're fucking beautiful,” Jae Jae just up and tells Bambi, “God...damn...”

I kind of feel bad for Kaysha. I think maybe there is something going on between Jae Jae and Kaysha. However seems to be in complete agreement with Jae Jae. Shit she isn't even a litlte bit jealous. She just nods with her mouth open and stares at Bambi as though Bambi was Beyonce or something. She might as well have been Beyonce. I had to admit Bambi definitely had star quality.

Bambi puts down her mirror.

“You think so?” Bambi asks.

She's liking it. Is this shit really working? Is Bambi really entertaining other people?

“You're like...prettier when you get closer,” Kaysha states, “I didn't think that were possible.”

“You know I don't even wear that much make up,” Bambi states and then looks over at me, “Your friends have good taste Mario...”

It has to be literally the most arrogant thing I've ever heard someone say but Bambi is smiling. She is entertained. By the look of Jae Jae and Kaysha they had no trouble giving Bambi compliment after compliment either.

And I just realize that Pia is still looking my way. She has this defeated look on her face. Our eyes connect at that moment and I smile...victorious in my own little way.

Two weeks go by and then three. Bambi and I are sitting at a table with Jae Jae and Kaysha. The first day it's just us, but the next day more people start to join the table. And more people. The table actually starts to EXPAND, people pushing the tables together to join us. It's almost like people are so interested in Bambi and I but felt like we were some exclusive club before. Now that we are talking to Jae Jae and Kaysha, people feel like they are more comfortable actually joining us.

The tides are clearly changing and it just took two weeks.

There is some sort of underlying showdown that is going on. No one says anything but according to Kaysha everyone sees it. There is a huge tension between the old members of the dollhouse and the new members. I only feel like Kaysha has the balls to gossip about it to me until I'm finally confronted.

It happens in Astronomy class two weeks later. Jax is sitting next to me when Peter is talking about Mars.

“Soon we'll be coming up to Mars. I've been told that the top students will get to actually take a shuttle down to Mars and go on a rover to explore the terrain. It's important that you guys pay attention. All the tests from now on will go towards this competition...”

Peter continues to talk about Mars at the front of the class and truthfully I'm all into it. It would be a dream to actually go to touch another planet and see the atmosphere. I've been working hard to make that happen.

But as I'm trying to pay attention to Peter I look to my right and I can feel the stares on me.

“You look so funny when you're focusing,” Jax whispers to me.

I look over at him, “I didn't know you know how I look when I'm focusing.”

Jax shrugs, “Man I just pay attention to little things. Like how much you want to go to Mars...and also that you've been avoiding me since we were at our place.”

I look over at Jax, “What? I'm not avoiding you...”

Peter looks over at me, “HEY! Mario. I'm going to need you to pay attention...especially if you want to go to Mars.”

I look over at him. Peter knows how I feel about Mars. He's a good teacher. He's a dream. So far I've been doing the best in class as far as papers but I know that Mars isn't for some time. I have to pay attention and stay on top of all my work if I even want a shot.

Jax however is a real distraction.

I can feel his eyes looking at me even when Peter starts talking.

“It's ok. You don't want to be friends no more,” Jax says, pouting a little bit in the cutest fucking way, “Hurt my feelings that's all.”

“Stop it...I have no problems with you. Your girlfriend is the issue.”

“You talking about the fight Pia and Bambi had. Girls will be girls. They were fighting over something stupid. I think Pia said Bambi looked fat in something she wore. Please...please...please tell me you aren't getting involved in that stupidity.”

“It's not that...” I whisper.

“Then what?” he asks, “Did something happen that night Pia came over? Something happened didn't it. Did she say something to you Mario?”

“I'm not trying to snitch.”

“G`dam it Mario. Tell me!”

Jax says it kind of loud and passionately. He's clearly bothered by it. I should tell him but tensions are already high enough between Pia and I with just me taking Bambi to sit at a different table. Jax clearly is upset and doesn't realize how loud he's become.

Just at that moment Peter is in our faces.

“Since the two of you LOVE to talk during class, why don't you come up to the front of the class,” Peter states at that moment.

He looks over at us.

I'm embarrassed as fuck. My face gets red almost immediatley. Jax doesn't have that problem though. He is the same usual comfortable Jax. He stands at the front of the class and puts his cocky smile on. I have to admit it gives me the confidence to walk up next to him. Hell if I'm going to be embarrassed at least I'm embarrassed with sexy ass Jax.

I can see the girls in the class whispering and blushing as Jax confidently makes eye contact with almost every single person in the class. Nothing can embarrass him.

“Whatever you need us to do sir. We are trying to walk on Mars,” Jax confidently states.

“Well a few weeks ago you guys did a study on one another's zodiac signs and common attributes by the sign. Now that you have had time to get to know each other a little bit tell me. What parts of the zodiac are true and what parts are false?”

Fuck. I don't even remember the assignment.

I just sit there and I'm struggling to think of something, “I um...well...Jax is um...fuck...uh...”

Laughter erupts in the classroom. I've never been good at public speaking. I can take a test all day but I blank out when it comes to public speaking. I just feel fucking embarrassed at that moment. What's worse is that Dre is sitting there in the class staring at me too. He knows that I know my stuff but I'm just blanking out under the pressure.

“Any moment now Mr. Kane,” Peter states.

“Well...” I start off again.

Nothing comes out. NOTHING comes the fuck out. My face is red. I just want to hit my head on the board a couple times. I can't be anymore embarrassed then I am right now.

Almost like an angel come down from heaven to save me I hear Jax open up his voice and start talking.

“Well Mario and I spent a lot of time on our project,” Jax states, “And honestly what comes down to me is how much of a mystery Mario is...”

“Explain,” Peter states.

He's interested and hell I have to admit so am I. Jax looks right into my eyes. He's so confident when he talks. He looks right in my eyes as though he can own them if he wanted to. I have never been that type. Looking into someone's eyes has always been awkward for me. Even now when he stares at me I find myself staring at his lower lip or at his strong collar bone. I'm doing anything to avoid direct eye contact.

Jax eyes never wander off of mine, “You see, Peter...Mario's sun sign is the Aquarius. Clever, friendly, kind and humane, Aquarians are the easiest people to make friends with and probably the hardest to get to know. They are the thinkers of the Zodiac spending a lot of time keeping secrets and lost in their own mind. They have this wit and clever about them that makes you think they know everything that there is to know in this world but I don't know how to explain it...”

“Try,” Peter pushes Jax.

“It's almost like they know...”

“No. Not they. Speak about Mario,” Peter corrects Jax.

Jax laughs at himself a little bit and bits his lower lip in the most sexy way and looks at me, “Mario it's almost like you know so much about the universe but you want to bottle it up and keep it to yourself. And sometimes I find myself staring at you. And when I'm staring I'm trying to pull back those layers. I'm trying to find out what all your secrets are. I'm trying to figure out your knowledge and speak this hidden language that you won't let anyone know. I'm trying to open up your box. And I stare hoping that somewhere in there is a key. I'm hoping that somewhere in there I can unlock you. And I'll know the universe then. All those secrets you keep inside...they'll be mine. And I hope you open up and I hope you share those secrets of the universe...hidden right behind your eyes...”

I'm breathing heavy at that moment. Jax is staring at me. I'm staring at Jax. Hell there might as well be no one there.

The room is silent people trying to understand exactly where Jax's analysis came from with me. No one is really saying anything and with the silence I'm transported away with Jax. Why is my heart racing like this? Why am I feeling so light on my feet?

For a moment I could swear the gravity isn't working on the space station anymore. Maybe the spinning sphere that created anti-gravity around us isn't spinning any longer. I'm almost feel like I'm floating off the fucking tiles right now.

Peter brings me back to Earth, “Now that is what I call an astrological reading! You see that guys? Do you see what the stars can help you uncover about someone? What grade did you guys get before this on that project?”

Jax and I are still staring at each other.

“A 84...B Minus,” Jax answers.

“Let's bump that up to a 100 for the entire team,” Peter responds, “I'm not trying to jump the gun or anything but that might qualify the two of you for an expedition to Mars...”

The class ends and I'm walking away. Hell I'm floating away. I can't believe Jax said all of those things to me and honestly as I'm walking towards the star bridge I am just staring out. I am realizing it right now. No matter how much I write in my journal and try to get those emotions out I can't. I can't stop them. I'm falling HARD for Jax.

“What the fuck was that about?” a voice says.

I turn at that moment to see Dre. Dre is standing there. I haven't talked to Dre in weeks, mind you but it's interesting that all of a sudden he's here when I have another man on my mind. It's almost like Dre could sense me staring out into the stars thinking about Jax.

I shrug at that moment looking into the constellations from the star bridge, “What are you talking about?”

“You know what I'm talking about.”

“Actually...I really don't.”

“You and Jax boy,” Dre responds at that moment with a slight hiss, “Secrets of the universe bullshit he was talking about. Are ya'll fucking?”

All of a sudden I turn to notice Dre's face. Dre thick eyebrows have lowered and he looks pissed. I didn't notice it at first but then it becomes clear the reason why Dre came over here. He is intimidated.

“What? you think his astrological reading means we are messing around?” I ask.

“That was some odd shit,” Dre responds, “Let's not front and act like that wasn't odd Mario. You're not answering the fucking question. Why the fuck you beating around the bush? I asked you something---didn't I? Didn't I? Are you two fucking man?”

“Are you fucking Daniella?”

“Man that's different. That's a bitch.”

Dre is being aggressive. He's being passionate. It's moments like this that I think he actually cares about me but then why is it that someone else has to come into the picture for him to show me the attention he should be giving me regardless?

“But you spend all your time with this so called bitch,” I respond confused as fuck, “If you don't care about her why do you spend all your time with her?”

“Yo. It's not the same. I don't have feelings for Daniella. None. 0! I'm faking it. I'm playing my part. Remember? We both were going to But that's just 'playing' a part. So why is it I'm looking at you and him and I'm like...dam...why they look at each other so hard? He don't look at me that way. Am I missing something? Am I fucking tripping?”

“Is there a problem here?” a voice states.

I turn at that moment to look at Bambi. She has found me. It's our time to go hang around in public so everyone can tell Bambi how beautiful she is and gas her head up. Clearly Bambi feels like Dre is taking away from her attention-time and she has the catty attitude to fight for it.

“Can you fucking not---right now...” Dre states, “Me and him are talking. So can you just give me my fucking time with him right now?”

Dre is pissed. He is red. I've NEVER seen Dre this upset. I'm not sure how to respond to it. A part of me is coming to the terms that yeah, maybe he really cares but I'm wondering if it's too little too late. I'm so confused. I don't know what to do.

Bambi isn't the type to be talked to that way, “Excuse me. Remember. That's my boyfriend. Not yours. Unless you guys wanted to...change that...I don't know...”

She's poking at the gay thing. Dre is clear.

Dre looks over at me wanting me to save him from her at that moment, “Mario...”

“I'm actually going to spend some time with my girlfriend. You know. Play my part---like you said.”

Dre reaches over and punches the glass so hard that I almost swear he's going to create a vacuum in the spaceship. Of course the glass is way too thick for that though and he ends up walking off with bruised knuckles. Dre is damn near steaming at this moment and I can tell this isn't something that he's happy about.

Bambi and I end up in her dormitory. It's a two bedroom suite but she shares it with Chyna. It almost becomes very clear that Pia has her own suite and it makes so much sense because Pia is the captain's daughter.

“This tastes like shit...”

Bambi laughs, “Listen, Chyna usually does all the cooking around here. She does everything I fucking tell her to do. I don't need to learn how to cook. Be lucky that I'm doing this for you.”

I smile trying my best to be nice about the shitty meal Bambi just made me from her kitchen. Even though she says it snapping her neck and rolling her eyes I can take this is taking a lot for Bambi to actually be nice to me. This place isn't nearly as clean and tidy as Jax's room. There is makeup and clothes everywhere. I honestly assumed Bambi would take a lot better care of her room. None-the-less she is inviting me into this place. I can tell Bambi is getting more comfortable with me.

“Let me find out you are actually being nice.”

“Listen you're my partner for a while,” Bambi states at that moment, “We aren't friends. Don't get that twisted...but you know...we have to be around each whatever.”

She rolls her eyes at me and shrugs.

I smile a little bit, “Ok if you say so.”

“Besides you're pissing off Pia,” she responds, “And I love it. The enemy of my enemy is my...fake friend. We can use each other. But you need to be more careful with your little boyfriend.”

“Dre's not my boyfriend.”

“Whatever. Pia has it out for you darling,” Bambi states, “You done crossed her and we are on her target lists now.”

“She's so fuckin' petty. We are sititng at a different lunch table.”

This was high school...for real. Petty bullshit.

“And the Jax thing.”

“What Jax thing?”

“Oh c`mon let's not play those games. When I thought you were straight it was one thing but I know you're gay. I see how you look at him. I looked at him the same way.”

“Wait what?”

“Yeah. I had the BIGGEST crush on Jax. For years,” Bambi confides in me, “And the only person I told is my best friend in the world. Pia Laperla. And you know what Pia does. She sleeps with him, behind my back.”

“Holy shit.”

“It's ok. I had the nanny that raised her deported a month later. She never found out it was because of me,” Bambi responds.


Bambi smiles, “'re playing with the big dogs now. So be very careful with Pia. Watch Dre's little tamper tantrums and that journal...make sure you don't keep anything in that journal.”

Bambi was helping me but I find myself freaking out right now.


“You didn't...” Bambi states, “Please tell me you didn't write anything in that journal...”

“Shit I have to go...”

I'm panicking at that moment as I make my way out of Bambi's suite. My heart is racing. I was so dumb. I wrote everything in that journal. I had to. I just figured it was safe. I figured that I needed to find a way to let all my feelings about Jax out. I needed to write them down on a piece of paper. I wrote everything I felt about him. I wrote down every feeling. I wrote down every emotion.

My heart is pounding as I run to the room. I open the door and I see Jae Jae standing there.

Jae Jae looks surprised to see me. He jumps up at that moment.

There is a fragrance in the air.

“Please...tell me you had a girl over...” I say, “Please tell me Kaysha all of a sudden changed her perfume or something?”

Jae Jae looks over at me, “Well actually Pia and her little sidekick Chyna came to speak to me.”

“You let them in the room?”

“I mean yeah. Do you see those girls. FUCK yes I let them in the room.”

“Oh my god. OH MY GOD!”

I couldn't stand it. I go to my bed all of a sudden. I'm checking under the bed. It's too late. It's way too late. I can't even blame Jae Jae. This is all my fault.

The book is gone.

Jae Jae looks at me with confusion, “Are you ok? Talk to me...what's wrong?”


All of a sudden there is a knock on my door.

I open the door to see Jax standing there.

Jax doesn't seem amused, “Is this some kind of joke or something? Someone left this in my room...”

This isn't happening right now. He has a look of confusion on his face and Jax has my journal. There is a note on the journal that reads “Read Me”.