Wednesday, 10 September 2008
01:26:25 AM (GMT)
Okee dokee, I am fully aware that I have not updated in a full month, but
whatever. Sorry about that, it's just that I've had A LOT on my plate lately, cool?
Of course cool! Anyways, on with the chapter!
Chapter Seven~A Chance to Relax
*This chapter is dedicated to the soon-to-be-Niki Ganley. Please, pretty please, get
married here! Not Cuba or Hawaii or Trinidad and Tobago or someplace like that!
Also, please leave St. Andrew's and come and teach at my school, so that future
generations of grade five and seven students will not have to suffer the terror that
is Mme. Esposito! Please, please, pretty please!?!~
Ashley woke up in a cold sweat. She'd been having weird and frightening dreams
almost every night, but last night was so realistic... everyone was dead, everyone
but her. It was terrible... it was torture... it was... pancakes?
She smelled pancakes! Awesome! Her parents had been way to busy so far to make
pancakes for breakfast. And if her nose had detected correctly, they were blueberry
pancakes, too! She leaped out of bed and ran into the kitchen.
"Good morning to you, too, Zash," Harm laughed, grabbing her by the wrist and
tickling her. "And yes, we are having blueberry pancakes."
"Awesome!" Ashley exclaimed. She sat down at the table kitty-corner to Mac, who
was sipping coffee and reading the newspaper. "So, what's on the agenda for today?"
"What, you don't remember?" Mac asked incredulously. "What are we doing today
Oh yeah! How could she have forgotten? Today was photoshoot day! "The
photoshoot!" she exclaimed. "I totally forgot!"
Today the top eight would be heading down to the beach to do a bunch of action and
candid shots. Ashley and Lindsay would get to go too, ehich was going to be awesome.
Apparently, they were going to meet David's sisters and brother, a couple of whom
were in their age bracket. That was pretty cool, too.
"It's going to be so much fun!" she said. "Is it in the morning or the
afternoon?" That would determine if the girls would be studying with their tutor
Niki early in the day or later on. Ashley hoped it was in the afternoon, because she
liked to spend that time outside, and she hated having to do school work during those
"We're starting at 1300 hours, if I'm not mistaken," Mac replied, which means I'd
better go wake up Lindsay. You eat up, school's from 0900 to 1200 today."
Ashley glanced at the clock. It was 8:12 a.m. She cut up her pancake and ate
quickly. Five minutes later, Lindsay came out, rubbing her eyes. Her messy
orange-hair was sticking out all over the place as she sat down. She grumbled
something that resembled a 'good morning,' and began to eat.
"Guess what today is?" Ashley sang.
"What?" Lindsay asked grumpily.
"Today is photoahoot day!" she exclaimed. "Aren't you excited?"
Lindsay stirred her food around a bit. "Not really," she grumbled.
Ashley hated that she was such a morning person and Lindsay was so... not. Her
sister wouldn't even be fully mobile until nine thirty. What a downer!
Twenty minutes later, while she was getting dressed, Ashley overheard what sounded
like a fevered conversation between her parents.
"You know Harm," Mac began, "we should really get started on who's behind all
this. So far we've done all we can to keep everyone safe, but that's not going to be
good enough in the end."
"Do you really think it's a Muslim extremist?" Harm asked.
"I know it is," Mac started. "Who else would it be?"
Ashley could tell Harm was doing that thing where he tilts his head down and
raises his eyebrows when he said, "Well, Mac, I'd love to believe you, but-"
"But what?" Mac spat out angrily.
"I just think we should keep our options open, you know? I mean, eventually one
of us is going to have to go to Leavenworth and check it our fully."
Ashley gasped. Go to Leavenworth? They did it often enough, but now it was so...
so different. She shuffled back a bit, ramming into a shelf and knocking over some
books, most of which managed to find her head on the way down. Damn!
"Why do I have a feeling this conversation is no longer private?" Harm whispered.
Mac laughed. "Cause it isn't," she replied. "Let's just table this conversation
until later for now, okay?"
Ashley leaned back against the bookshelf and sighed. Her parents often bickered
over cases, particularly high profile ones. So why was this one so different? Why
was she so freaked out? And what was that... oh no! That sinking feeling was back
again. She though she'd gotten rid of it once she laid a finger on Sadik Fahd.
The American Idol tutor, Niki Hart, was arguably one of the best teachers both
Lindsay or Ashley had ever had. Of course, it could have just been the fact that the
over-acheiving sisters loved the lessons because there were no grueling,
thrity-minute long explanations of topics they'd already covered.
For example, just yesterday, Ashley had received a hunk of junk all about the
verbs 'vouloir', 'pouvoir' and 'devoir' from Mme. Blind-as-a-Bat Esposito. She'd
finished it in about twenty minutes. Today she'd be moving on to complex sentence
structure, someting her stupid teacher wasn't going to introduce for three more
As usual, Ashley and Lindsay turned up a few minutes early at the makeshift
classroom. As usual, Niki turned up a few minutes late.
"Good morning girls!" she exclaimed. "Early, as usual. By the way, do either of
you know where David is? He's never on time!"
"Haven't a clue," Ashley said, trying not to laugh at the irony of the situation.
"Not one," Lindsay giggled.
"Well, I suppose you could go on in, then," the young tutor said, gesturing
towards the classroom. "Today we're going to start Lindsay off with some short
division," she bgean. "Ashley, I'm giving you an English handout. I'll be over
there in five minutes to look it voer with you, but sit down and get a head start if
you'd like to."
Ashley took the handout and nodded, sitting at her already over-cluttered office
desk. Being a tag-along on an American Idol investigation had its privileges, and
when you had the folks at American Idol paying for it, you can do those kinds of
She looked it over, semi-interested.
This excercise is all about building vocabulary and sentence structure. Answer
each question as honestly and in the most detail as possible.
1. What is one tHing you absolutely hate?
Hmm, good question. What did she hate? She considered for a moment before
writing down her answer.
1. What is one thing you absolutely hate? I hate it when people think
their problems are the world. What I'm saying is that yes, your parents are
divorced, okay, that sucks. but at least they're both alive, and they both love you.
Okay, your grandfather just died. Mine died six years ago! No need to become emo
or anything! I also hate it when people thin nobdy understands them. Some of the
most annoying things people can say are things like "You're so perfect. You wouldn't
get it," "Nobody understands me," or "Shut up, you don't know anything about me!" and
She studied her answer, then added something quickly.
Oh, and I hate it when my subconcious fights with me.
She was reading over the rest of the questions when she heard footsteps in the
distance. And there were at least two or three peopleapproaching the classroom.
"We get a week of schoo-ol, and you do-on't!" a singsong voice called from
outside. What the heck?
"Oh, would you shut up?" a male voice said. David A. So the other voice was
probably his younger sister. Who was the youngest? Amber, right? Or was it Jazzy?
Well, she'd find out in just a second, wouldn't she?
The voices grew closer as another girl's voice asked, "What's you problem today,
"Look, there's no problem, okay Jazzy? Could you please just drop it?" Gosh, he
sounds mad. What was his problem? When he walked into the room, two girls
were following behind him. One was blonde and looked to be around Lindsay's age, and
the other had brown hair and was evidently a bit younger.
"Sorry I'm late Niki," he said quickly, "but these two had to follow me again."
He pointed first to the elder blonde on his left, then at the younger brunette at his
"That's okay, Niki said. Then, to the girls, "Hi guys. What can we do for you
"Nothing, really," the older one said. "We just thought we'd bug David on his
way, but we'll be going now."
David was blatantly ignoring his sisters. Obviously they had done something...
although it was impossible to tell what, because communications between the siblings
had appeared to have ceased.
"So," Niki said, holding up a finger to indicate she'd be a moment, "have you two
met Ashley Lindsay yet?" The pair waved at David's sisters.
"Actually, we haven't," the older Archuleta said. "Hi."
"Hi," the little one said. "I'm Amber."
"I'm Ashley," the eldest of the fur said, "and this is Lindsay."
"Hey, let me talk!" Lindsay yelled! "I think I know my own-"
"O-kay," Niki said, interrupting the bubbling arguement. "So, you didn't know
Commander Rabb and Colonel MacKenzie had-" She stopped midsentence, noticing that
David was crossing his hands over his throat and mouthing 'shut up.'
At that moment, everything in the room changed. Ashley and Lindsay were extremely
surprised; why hadn't the Archuleta's told the other kids? Did Claudia and Daniel
even know? Niki was shocked and embarassed. Now what was she going to say? David
felt totally messed up. Aside from the fact that he'd virtually just told his
teacher to shut up, it was going to wind up being his obligation to tell Jazzy and
Amber everything in the heat of the moment. The young Archuleta sisters were just
too confused. What was Niki talking about? What weren't they being let in on?
"What are you guys talking about?" Jazzy asked suspiciously. "What don't we
Niki looked around, as though wondering if someone was watching them. She took a
deep breath and said, "Why don't you guys go sit with Lindsay and Ashley? I've just
got to talk to your brother about a few things."
Amber and Jazzy, evidently angry, walked over to Ashley and Lindsay's
front-to-front desks. They were both quiet and reserved. Lindsay, fortunately, was
the exact opposite.
"What's up, guys?" she asked cheerily.
"Nothing, really," Amber said.
"Yeah, same here," Jazzy replied, glancing over her shoulder. "What do you think
they're talking about?"
"I can't be sure," Ashley started to explain, "but whatever it is, I'm sure
they'll tell you soon enough."
Lindsay, Amber and Jazzy continued to talked animatedly, but Ashley focused her
attention to the corner of the room, where Niki and David whispered back and forth.
"Do Claudia and Daniel know?" Niki asked.
"Yeah," David replied. "We just didn't think they needed to know because they're
going back the Friday after Idol Gives Back, anyway. They're still little and all."
See, he think eleven is little. And thirteen's hardly a step up.
'Oh, shut up!' she thought to herself. 'He's just being protective.'
"Well, looks like you've got to tell them now," Nik said, sounding very sorry
she'd said anything in the first place.
Ashley glanced back down at her paper. Question 15 popped out at her then.
15. If you could have any question answered right now, what would it be?
She quickly scribbled her answer down:
If somebody is standing next to you, having a conversation that you can fully
hear and already know everything about, does it count as eavesdropping to listen in?
And what if you wouldn't even be paying attention if the topiv didn't intrigue you,
but you didn't exactly have to strain to hear? Is that okay?
Ashley and Lindsay scampered down the hallway ahead of their parents. Earlier,
when they had been talking to Jazzy and Amber, the photoshoot had come up and Jazzy
said she'd wanted to go, but didn't know if her parents would let them. According to
them, though, Amber could David to do whatever she wanted. So Harm and Mac said
they'd stop by the Archuleta's apartment and see if Jazzy and Amber could come.
They knocked on the door at twelve thirty-nine. Jazzy answered.
"Hi Jazzy!" Lindsay exclaimed. The girls were the same age and were already good
friends with each other.
"Hi guys," she replied. "You can come in. I'll go get Amber. Like we said,
she's David's favourite."
All three of them laughed and walked into the room. Amber, David's older sister
Claudia and younger brother Daniel were watching T.V.
"Where's David gone to now?" Jazzy asked.
"He's in his room being a loser," Daniel said.
"Just because some people have better things to do than sit around watching T.V.
does not make them a loser," Claudia spat.
Jazzy roller her eyes. Obviously, this was nothing new. She gestured to Amber to
come over and they went into David's room. The three older girls stood in the
doorway while little Amber walked up behind where David was sitting in a rolling
chair, listening to his iPod.
"David..." she said in a voice that was cute yet whiny, "can we go with you?"
"Where? To the photoshoot?" he asked, turning around to face his little sister.
"Yeah. It looks really fun, and since Jazzy and Lindsay are already like best
friends..." That was the same thing Jimmy Roberts could do to Ashley back home. She
smiled at the memory of her little 'cousin,' who she was so attached to.
David looked like he was in a tough spot. How could he saw no to his adorable
little sister? "I don't know, Amber..."
Amber stuck out her bottom lip and made puppy-dog eyes. "Please?" she asked
softly, batting her eyelashes.
David sighed. Amber had won this one. "Go ask mom," he said, with a forfeiting
smile. A cute forfeiting smile.
"Yes!" Amber exclaimed, running out to ask her mom.
In the kitchen, Lupe Archuleta was clearly surprised to see Ashley and Lindsay.
"Hi, girls!" she said warmly, putting down her newspaper. "What rings you here
today? Aren't you guys going to the photoshoot with your parents?"
"That's just it, mom," Jazzy began. ''Can me and Amber-"
"Amber and I."
"Can Amber and I go, too?" She paused briefly, then said, "We already
asked David, and he's cool with it."
Lupe smiled widely. "Did we ask Davdi, or did Amber ask David?"
"Can we just go?" Jazzy whined, exasperated.
"I don't see why not."
The four girls high-fived, smiling broadly. Ashley and Lindsay had begun to
realize that the photoshoot wouldn't be all that fun if it was just the two of them.
When the Rabbs, Amber and Jazzy got down to the beach, they saw that the Idols
were already there. There was a whole gazebo-type thing set up, where everyone was
getting made-up. Ashley wondered why they couldn't just have done that inside. As
they passed, Carly and one of the make-up artists were loudly exchanging words.
"Carly, darling, stop putting on sunscreen!" the make-up artist said. "You're way
"I'm sorry Derek," Carly stated bluntly, "but I need it. I'll burn.
The guy named Derek laughed. 'Our foundation has SPF 15. You'll be fine."
Carly scoffed at him. "15? I need SPF 30 just to stay alive."
Ashley laughed. Make-up people were really like that? Wow, that was funny. She
thought that was just a stereotype!
As Harm and Mac started talking tto the make-up artists and camera people, the
four girls spread out their beach towels and sat down. Ashley didn't really know why
she'd wanted to come, she just did, They could just swim and whatnot, the beach was
"Wanna swim?" Lindsay asked.
"Why not?" replied Jazzy.
Amber and Ashley nodded. They got up and were just about to dive into the warm
waters of the Pacific, something none of them had ever done before, when the loud and
shrill voice of the head photographer caught their attention.
"Okay, people, listen up!" the short man with spiky hair and sunglasses demanded.
"This is how it's gonna worl. We're gonna take pictures by yourselves, all together,
just the guys, just the girls, and in groups of two. There's gonna be both action
and candid shots.
"We've got two hours to be packed up and out of here. We'll start with the girls.
And people, just don't get wet, don't get dirty, and for God's sake, don't screw up
your make-up." Wow, what was that dude's problem? "Kristy, get over here.
Everybody ekse, do whatever, just be careful. Brooke's next after Kristy."
Glad that nothing applied to them, the girls went right into the water. It was so
blissfully warm. It was only the third of April, so it was still relatively cool in
D.C. Ashley suddenly felt no real need to be rambunctious, or even at all active.
She just waded into chest-deep water and stayed there. She laid on her back and let
the waves break over her shoulders. She watched as the photographers directed Kristy
Lee, who was wearing a turqouise halter-top bikini, a lot of gold jewellery, big
Dolce and Gabana sunglasses and a wide-brimmed straw hat. She scanned the area;
Carly and David Cook leaned up against the gazebo, talking animatedly. Brooke and
Jason were sitting in the sand, were Brooke currently seemed to be very interested in
Jason's dreadlocks. Admittedly, dreadlocks were a pretty... erm... interesting hair
style choice. Syesha, David A. and Michael were laying on towels a few yards away
from the girls. They appeared to be either sleeping or tanning, cause they sure as
hell weren't doing much else.
"Hey! Zash!" Lindsay's yell interrupted her peace, and boy, she was not happy!
"What?" she demanded shortly.
She tried to dive, but it was too late. She couldn't even scream. She was hit
before she knew what was coming to her.
A mudball. Actually, the wet sand was more of a mud splatter by the time it hit
her. And did it ever hit her. Square in the face! Amber also managed to get her
arm full of mud. She jumped out of the way before Jazzy could nail her in the
stomach and quickly swam ashore, flinging mud behind her as she went. She'd fight
back harder us it wasn't evidently a losing battle. A good marine knows when she's
She was about to start wiping the ten pounds of mud of her body when she noticed
the hysterical laughter. She snapped around quickly. There was David, Syesha and
Michael, sitting there laughing at her.
"You think that's funny?" she demanded. They just laaughed.
"Actually," Michael said, "I don't. I've been on this earth for nearly thirty
years. I know what's funny. And I don't think that's funny. I know that's
funny!" They roared with laughter.
"Hmmm... really?" Ashley said, nodding her head as she wiped mud off her skin.
"You knowm I, umm, I guess you're right. I suppose it is sort of funny. But you
know what else is funny?" A grin that was a mile
Last edited: 10 September 2008