Saturday, 2 August 2008
08:17:50 PM (GMT)
Chapter Five~A Dangerous Realization
As the Rabbs got off the plane, they looked for a man in a hoodie holding a sign
that read simply, 'JAG.' They had found out yesterday that it would be Ryan
Seacrest, along with a marine, escorting them to the apartment. The girls had been
warned that screaming was strictly not allowed, but they weren't exactly Ryan fans,
so it wouldn't be too hard.
When Mac spotted him, they all ran over to greet him.
"Captain Harmon Rabb," Harm said, extending his arm out to Ryan, who shook his
hand. "This is my wife, Colonel Sarah MacKenzie, and our daughters, Ashley and
''Hi,'' Lindsay said.
"Hello," Ashley chirped.
Ryan smiled under his hoodie and fake moustache. "I'd introduce myself formally,
but... you know..."
''This misson and all,'' Ashley whispered. "Plus, we already know who you are,
Ryan nodded curtly. ''Outspoken, I see.''
"Very," Ashley said, almost as curtly, if not more.
Once in the cab, Ryan began to explain the situation better. Ashley and Lindsay
were very thankful for this, because despite their excitement, they had no almost no
idea was everything.
"So basically, the producers have tons of bomb threats. Aside from that," Ryan
said, pretending to act shocking cavalier, obviously to seem like he wasn't scared
shitless, "the competitors have been receiving more personal threats via e-mail and
''What kind of e-mails?" Harm asked.
"Well, the girls msotly get rape threats, the guys get death threats. The most
intricate and frightening ones are Carly's and David A.'s.
"David's usually say how young, stupid and naive he is. They say he deserves to
die.'' Ashley drew in her breath sharply.
"Now, Carly's on the other hand,'' Ryan began, "are just sick. They're all aong
the lines of 'you're gorgeous and you're wonderful, and yet you chode to be here.
It's wrong. What you're doing is wrong. But you're lovely, and you should be above
that. You will be killed."
Mac gasped loudly. Her face turned a cold gray. She looked like she about to be
sick. Harm took her hand and squeezed it tightly.
''Mom? Mom, are you okay?'' Lindsay asked.
"Umm, yeah, yeah I'm fine," Mac said, folding her hands in her lap and sighing.
"Umm, go on, Ryan.''
"So basically, you guys do your military thing, whatever that is. You have
permission to do anything you need to get this under control. If you ever need
anything from anybody, just ask.''
"We will," Mac promised. "But while we're on topic, we're going to need as much
information on the contestants as possible.
Ooh, Ashley though, let me get the information on David A. I could do it!
Watch it girl, her subconcious said. Normal, remember?
"Ah, yes," Ryan said. "Your commanding officer told me that, so we're having a
bit of a dinner-buffet type thing this afternoon. Hopefully it'll be helpful.''
"It'll definitely be a start, thanks," Harm said with a smile.
Ashley's head was spinning. This was so cool! It was, wasn't it? Of course it
was! Oh my God, David! David! David! Ahh!
Yeah, you keep doing that. Just go freak out and scare the guy to death, why
don't you? You idiot!
She guessed she was blushing slightly, so she looked down at her hands. They were
fairly small, with long, thin fingers. Piano fingers. Her hands... hands... what
was that important thing about hands again? Oh yeah!
"Mom, shake dad's hand." Mac looked at her kind of funny, but shook Harm's hand
"Was that a good handshake, dad?"
Harm looked perplexed. "Umm, yeah, nice and firm, why?"
"Oh, no reason.'' She grabbed her mom's hand and sized it up against hers. Yes,
it was slightly larger, but they had the same porportions. Long, thin. "Shake mine
Now very confised, Mac did as her daughter asked. It was a good handshake.
Firm, but not tight, and she looked her in the eye while she did it.
"Like this, dad?" She shook his hand again.
"Erm, yeah," Harm said slowly. "Why?"
"Just don't ask!''
Ten minutes later, the cab pulled up in front of an awesome building, the American
Idol studio. Ashley was breathing really heavily, and she was sweating, too.
"Oh, God, mom, I'm hyperventilating!"
No, you're not! Shut up, you idiot!
Mac laughed. "Just calm down, sweetie, they're just people. Just regular people
like you and me."
'Easy for you to say!' she thought.
"Now, Ryan will take you two on ahead, we'll just get the luggage," Harm said.
Going through those doors was the most exciting and nerve-wracking thing she'd
ever had to do. They passed what was probably the auditorium and went down s lit
corridor. At the end of the hallway was a door, and there was slight chatter to be
"Well, this is it," Ryan said. "Lindsay, you're the youngest, why don't you open
Ashley gulped. This is it.
This is it. Buck up, girl!
The door was opening. The first thing Ashley saw was dreadlocks.
That's Jason, you dimwit!
'No duh!' she told herself. She bit her lips to keep the scream from coming out.
"Hey, guys!'' Ryan said cheerily.
"Who are the kids?" a male voice asked. David Cook.
"Your military protection is here, and these are their daughters, Ashley and
Ashley waved politely and said hi. Lindsay did the same.
Brooke was the first to come over and greet them, surprise, surprise. "Hi, i'm
Brooke White. How are you?"
"Good, you?" the girls said simoultaneously.
"I'm good, I'm good. So, do you know everybody?''
"Oh, yes," Ashley said.
''Well, go introduce yourselves! I'll come with you.''
Ashley had a polite conversation with Kristy Lee and gave Jason a high-five before
she spotted Carly. She started to run.
She slowed down to a walk and stopped a few feet away from where Carly was
''Hi, Ashley! You are Ashley, right?'' The moment the pretty Irish accent hit
Ashley's brain, her annoying subconcious shut down. She threw her arms around her
and hugged her tightly.
"Huge fan! Huge, huge fan!" She screamed. Who gave a crap what her weirdo
'smarter' half had to say? She's be enduring a mental beating later on, but she
Carly laughed happily. "Thanks, I guess!''
Still holding onto Carly's waist, Ashley exclaimed, "Oh my God, this is so cool!
''It's nice to meet you, too,'' Carly said with a laugh. ''So, what's up?''
''Not too much'', Ashley said, standing up straight again. ''Well, besides
everything with the whole terrorism thing, I mean!'' Carly smiled. ''You?''
''Same, I guess,'' Carly said. She loved how hyper and smiley and fun this girl
seemed to be.
"Umm, Carly... umm... do you by any chance know where I might find-"
"Over there.'' Carly pointed over her left shoulder with a laugh.
"How did you-''
''You turned red tas soon as you said my name, kiddo, and you're like what,
"Almost," Ashley said with a meagre laugh. "Am I still red?''
Carly gazed at her sympathetically. ''A bit. But you'll be okay. Here, I'll
come with you. But you've got to stop giggling first.'' The two girls laughed
loudly. "Now, come on,'' Carly said, grabbing Ashley by the wrist and walking with
her across the room, where Lindsay had already met up with David.
'Lucky kid!' she said to herself. 'Too young to care.'
Each step was more difficult, yet easier at the same time. She though she was
hyperventilating again. He was so damn cute! Why did he have to be so damn
"David!" Carly called when they were about fifteen paces away. "Hey David!''
He looked up from his conversation with Lindsay and said, "Hi Carly! Hi...
''That would be correct,'' she said with a smile. Remembering how much a
handshake ment, she extended her arm and shook his hand firmly, looking him in the
eyes... deep, hazel... She inwardly slapped herself and quickly regained her
"I'm David Archuleta."
''Like I didn't know that." Realizing that that had come out wrong, she quickly
added, "and I didn't mean that the way it came out!''
It's cool! He said it's cool! Oh my God! Ashley quickly tried to regulate her
palpitating heart. Keep cool! That's it... that's it!
"So, what's up?" David asked.
What was up? Damn, what was up? Why was she even standing there? Oh yeah!
''Well, you know, terrorist threats and stuff. Nothing out of the ordinary!'' Was
sarcasm good? Yes, she decided, yes it was.
Davis laughed. Score! "You don't exactly mince words, do you?"
''Never!" Everyone laughed out loud.
"So Lindsay and I were just talking, and-"
"Oh, there you are!" Mac exclaimed, startling Ashley, thus making her
jump. "We were looking everywhere for you!''
"Well, here we are!" Ashley said. "What's up?''
''We gotta go unpack and stuff,'' Mac said. "Do you expect us to carry those bags
around all day?''
"Can't you see we're having a conversation?''
Oh, nice one! Now he thinks you're a spoiled brat! Just wait till he finds
out you're a spoiled navy brat!
Damn, it was back!
"Yeah well," Mac said, "unless you want to stay in your room for the rest of the
next two months, you can continue that conversation later. Come on girls, help us
Shoot, girl. What kind of mature, grown-up person gets kicked around by their
'The kind whose mothers are marines,' she reminded herself with a sigh.
Ashley and Lindsay waved goodbye and began to walk away. After abot ten seconds,
Carly called out Ashley's name.
"Hey Ashley," she asked, ''do you act?"
"Mmm, not really, shy?''
Carly smiled. "Oh, no reason. I just have a feeling you'd be good at it." There
was a twinkle in her smiling Irish eyes as she said that. The grin that spread across
Ashley's face was ear-to-ear.
Whoever had the idea that doing a buffet-type thing was a good idea deserved to be
shot. Ashley couldn't stand it one bit. Everyone was talking and laughing and
"getting to know each other", while it was all she could do not to stop staring at
He seemed so shy and sweet, and he was totally mature enough to handle this
situation. 'Like me,' she thought with a smile.
Oh, you're so mature, crushing on him like that.
She chose to ignore that. She knew nothing could happen between them... for
another five years, at least.
There you go again! Getting your hopes up! It'll NEVER happen.
Whatever. She tried to focus on the conversation at hand. Her dad was talking to
Jason about the kind of e-mails he's been getting, while her mom was talking to David
Cook about what went on backstage on performance. She had to be going somewhere with
"Umm, Captain? Colonel?" David's shy voice asked hesitantly. "I kind of have
"Shoot,'' Harm said politely.
"What exactly is going on? I mean, I know we've all been getting e-mails and
calls and stuff, but what's really happening? Unless, of course, you don't know
yet?..." He suddenly looked as though he wished he hadn't asked, but most of the
contestants nodded their heads in agreement.
Ashley felt the exact same way. She opened her mouth to say something, but her
subconcious got the better of her.
Speak now, and forever wish you didn't, girl! For once, both sides of her
brain were in agreement.
"Well," Mac began, "I'm going to be frank here What we're facing is an
intelligent, determined enemy, and a hater of the American ideals. Probably a Muslim
extremist." How did she know that? The sinking feeling came back in full force.
"Our commanding officer tells us that the CIA has traced the calls and e-mails
you've been getting to Fort Leavenworth, the military prison in Kansas.
"That's about all we know that you didn't, but let me tell you something you
probably don't want to know; I've been down this path before. Carly and David, Ryan
told us about some of the e-mails that you two, in particular, have been getting."
Carly and David nodded to show that they knew and understood what she meant.
"I've seen this kind of racial and sexual abuse before. A few years ago, a Muslim
extremist tried to kill me." That was it! Sadik Fahd! The girls knew the story,
just not all of the details. She was reminded of the many hours she'd spent, at the
age of nine, with her ear pressed against her parents door, listening to them talk
about the man who tried to kill her mother. She suddenly felt 100 percent better, yet
100 percent worse at the same time. "If this person is anything like him, he hates
strong, beautiful, independant women and strong, independant, American children.
He's particularly hooked on you, Carly, because you chose to come to the States,
where this person blieves we're doing everything wrong. Do you understand?"
Everyone nodded grimly. It was then that the reality of it all sunk into
everyone, Harm included. Harm realized that this wasn't just another combat mission.
This one was emotional, close to home. Especially for Mac. Lindsay was all of a
sudden scared our of her mind. Ashley, well, Ashley just felt lonely, depressed and
worried. She knew no one was going to die on her parents' watch. But she realized
now that it wasn't just about that. There were other, bigger things you could lose
in these games, too.
"How come they haven't particularly targeted me? I'm from Australia," Michael
"Simple," replied Harm. "You're an adult man.''
With that, everything seemed to end. People looked down at their plates and
played with their food, not really in the mood for eating anymore. It was silent for
five whole minutes, until a cell phone rang.
"Mine,'' Carly said, walking away a bit and answering it. "Hello, Carly
Smithson,'' she said.
A jeering voice on the other end said, ''You're beautiful, Carly. I want you.''
"Who is this?" she spat out indignantly.
"I love you. You are so perfect. Can you not see the faults of your ways?''
"I have no idea what you're talking about. Please stop contacting me.''
''You will die, Carly Smithson. If you don't change, I'll kill you.'' Then the
line went dead.
Carly returned to her chair indignantly, as though nothing had happened.
''Who was that, Carly?" Harm asked. "What did they say?''
"I'd rather not say." Man, that girl had pride!
"Carly, we need to know."
She closed her eyes and gulped. "He said I was beautiful. He wanted me. He said
he loved me, but if I didn't change, he was going to kill me. I don't know who it
"Alright, Harm said with a sigh. "I really didn't want to have to do this. Give
me the phone." Carly passed it to him hesitanty, wondering what he was going to do
He smashed it. First he crushed it with his fist, then he threw it on the ground
and stepped on it. Carly gasped, but she guessed it had to be done.
Reluctantly, everyone handed Harm their cell phones. He gave half to Mac, and
they smashed them all into little bits until all that was left was a heap of cellular
junk. Ashley resisted the urge to laugh out loud. She knew it wasn't funny. People
could be tracked down and killed by cell phones. But still, seeing everybody's faces
as their phones got smashed was priceless.
The phone smashing seemed to have lightened the mood in the room a bit, and
everyone began chatting again. Ashley began staring at David again. Oh, he was so
Watch it, girl! You can't get caught staring at him.
So what if I do?, she though. What's the worst that could happen?
People could see! He could see!
Good point! But still... soooo cute!
"Umm, Ashley, could I see you outside for a moment?" I've got something to show
you. Lindsay, why don't you come too?" Carly said. Great, so much for those
wonderful acting abilities!
Out in the hallway, Carly grabbed Ashley's wrists. "What are you doing in there?
"You're totally staring at Archuleta!" Lindsay exclaimed.
Ashley sighed. "I know, but he's just so cute! Even cuter in person!" she said,
leaning back against the wall. "Isn't he, Linds?"
"If you say so, Zash. If you say so," Lindsay said, rolling her eyes.
"Look," Carly said nicely, "unlike most adults, I remember what it was like to be
twelve. You have all these weird, wacked-out emotions and messed up crushes. And
that's okay. It's normal. But imagine the embarassment if people found out! I'm
doing this for your own good!"
"Like remember the time you guys thought I liked Mary-Catherine's brother?
You guys were horrible!" Lindsay exclaimed.
Ashley let out a long sigh. "I suppose you guys are right. But it's so hard."
'I know, I know," Carly said, wrapping her arms around Ashley quietly. Lindsay
joined them. "And just to let you know," she whispered coyly, "he's quiet and sweet
and shy and helpful and chilled out and pretty cool. He's every tween girl's dream.
In case you had expectations or anything!"
With her first taste of fear, as well as her first full-blown confession about
her feelings for David, Ashley Rabb was ready to do one thing; sleep!
Last edited: 25 September 2008