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The Unfortunate Occurence at Shenandoah High 2020 - 25. Chapter 25

Tristan and Jon-Jon bond over cheap Italian food.

"Dinner's on me."

The two of them followed a sour-faced young woman with curly dark hair to a small booth in the back. Benvolio's was a popular Italian restaurant not to far from their school. Tristan had driven past the place more times than he could count but he had eaten there.

"You know what's not necessary." Tristan slid in across from Jon-Jon and accepted the menu the hostess held out for him.

"Your server will be right with you," she told them both before stalking off towards the front of the restaurant.

"I know." Jon-Jon scratched at the stubble growing along his square jaw. "But I appreciate you coming with me."

After rehearsal, Tristan had followed Jon-Jon out to the parking lot where Jon-Jon's hand-me-down Volkswagen Jetta was parked. The two then drove in silence back to Nick's house so that Jon-Jon could drop of Nick's phone. Tristan had held his breath the entire trip and even now sitting across from Jon-Jon in the back of an Italian restaurant, he still couldn't allow himself to exhale.

Tristan looked over Jon-Jon's shoulder and noticed the hostess who had just sat them was glaring at him. He quickly looked away and pretended to look at the menu in front of him.

A concerned look flashed over Jon-Jon's face and he asked, "You good?"

Tristan shrugged his shoulders, his eyes still glued to the two-page, lamented menu in his hands. Using the menu as a partition, he slowly lifted his gaze to see if she was still staring at him. She was.

"Who are you looking at?"

Jon-Jon's peeked over his shoulder and then looked back over at Tristan.

"She keeps staring at me," Tristan said.

"No," Jon-Jon said rubbing his hands together. "She's staring at me."

Tristan lowered the menu and asked, "Why is she staring at you?"

"That's Jackie. I used to date her sister."

Tristan nodded his head and said, "I'm guessing things didn't end well."

Jon-Jon looked down at his hands and said, "Yeah - Jackie wasn't too thrilled when she found out me and Delores were dating."

"Why's that?"

Jon-Jon squirmed in his seat a bit and looked back over his shoulder at Jackie who was now talking to an older couple at the front of the restaurant.

"I was sort of dating Jackie as well."

Tristan's eyes widened as he opened his mouth to laugh. Jon-Jon flushed a deep crimson as he avoided eye contact with Tristan.

"So, let me get this straight. You were dating her and her sister at the same time?"

"I realize it was a dick move on my part but keep in mind this happened last summer. I feel really bad about it."

Tristan shook his head and said, "Well, that certainly explains why she looks like she wants to murder someone."

"Maybe it was a bad idea coming here. We could always go somewhere else."

"Oh that won't be necessary," Tristan said. "Besides, this is the most fun I've had all day."

Jon-Jon gave him a sheepish grin. "Well - I'm glad my pain bring you joy."

The two of them settled into a comfortable conversation halted briefly by another dark-haired woman wearing a similar scowl on her face approaching their table to take their orders. Tristan noticed her name tag said Delores and tried his best not to laugh at Jon-Jon who looked beyond uncomfortable.

After placing their drink and food orders, Tristan looked over at Jon-Jon and said, "Well, our food is definitely getting spit in tonight."

Jon-Jon palmed his face and groaned.

"It's not like I don't deserve it," he said.

Tristan was about to respond with something encouraging when his phone vibrated and made a noise that sounded straight out of a Nintendo game. He picked up his phone which was sitting next to the glass of water Delores had just sat down on the table.

"It's finished."

He held up his phone so Jon-Jon could see the screen.

"What am I looking at?"

Tristan lowered and his voice and said, "I just finished cloning Nick's phone."

Jon-Jon grimaced and reached for the Dr. Pepper he had ordered.

"Why exactly did you clone Nick's phone?" he asked before taking a sip.

"If someone were to call or text Nick, not only would it go to his hone, it would come to my phone, too."

"Wow - that's pretty cool. So, where'd you learn how to clone phones?"

"The dark web."

"Seriously?"

Tristan paused for a few beats and then started laughing.

"No - I'm kidding. I only use the dark web whenever I need vital organs for my yearly ritual sacrifices. I actually watched a YouTube video."

"You learned how to do that from YouTube?"

Tristan nodded his head and said, "You can learn a lot from YouTube. I actually had to swap out my hard drive earlier this year so instead of paying some dude at the mall 250 bucks to do it, I just ordered the hard drive online and then watched a YouTube video. Took me like 10 minutes to replace the hard drive."

"Maybe I need to start watching YouTube more."

Tristan clicked on a folder on his phone which held all of Nick's test messages, call records and even pictures from his photo gallery. Though he would never admit it to Jon-Jon, Tristan felt super icky having access to all of Nick's private information and even though his friend was dead he was still entitled to his privacy.

Tristan decided right then and there the only information he would view in relation to Nick was his text messages.

Tristan clicked on a folder that contained all the text messages Nick had received over the last 30 days. He quickly noticed the only people Nick communicated with via text were Andy, Nathan and Nick's mom. Since the majority of the recent texts had come from Nathan, Tristan decided to read those messages first.

"Well this is good," Tristan spoke out loud after several minutes had passed.

"What is?" Jon-Jon asked as he dipped a piece of bread into a small bowl of olive oil.

"Nathan texted Nick 13 times but a lot of them are duplicate messages like maybe something weird was going on with his phone. I've had that happen to me a few times."

Jon-Jon looked over his shoulder to make sure no one was within earshot and then leaned forward across the table.

"What do the texts say?"

"The first one was sent on Tuesday, 12:32 PM. Sup bro. Thing I'm gonna hang out here with Hailey for the rest of the week. The house is yours. Enjoy."

"Who's Hailey?"

"Nathan's girlfriend," Tristan said as he scrolled on to the next message "Nick mentioned he was dating some girl at Emory. Apparent she's 23 years old."

"Good for Nathan," Jon-Jon said. "What's next?"

"Next text was also sent on Tuesday, this time at 5:53 PM. Have you talked to Andy? He hit me up a few days ago to ask if I'd heard from you. I told him you didn't want to talk to him. Not sure if that was the right ting to say but I was just following your lead."

"Well that explains why Andy's been actin weird as of late," Jon-Jon said. "I mean before ... you know."

"Next text is from Tuesday, again - 8:56 PM. Just got a text from Mom. Apparently Fad got food poisoning while they were in Budapest so they're gonna stay an additional week and a half."

"Must be nice to be rich."

Tristan shrugged and said, "I dunno. Something tells me having money ain't all it's cracked up to be. Wednesday 2:33 PM. Mom wants to know if you paid Victor. She says the money's in an envelope in the top drawer of her desk. She said to put it under the frog and Victor will be by on Friday to pick it up."

"Well, shit. Maybe we will have to make another trip back to Nick's place."

"Yeah, I think I'm gonna pass," Tristan said.

Delores returned to their table with their food. She carefully sat a hot plate of vegetarian ravioli in front of Tristan and then dropped a cast iron skillet containing a Chicago-style pepperoni and mushroom pizza in front of Jon-Jon.

"Enjoy," she muttered before disappearing into the nearby kitchen.

"What's next?" Jon-Jon asked as he poured a liberal amount of parmesan and red pepper onto his pizza.

"Wednesday - 10:53 PM. Hailey's pregnant."

"Wow - didn't see that one coming."

"Last text from Nathan. Thursday - 1:53 AM. Just got back from Walgreens. Hailey's about to take another test. I'll keep you posted. Hope you're good."

"That was a lot to digest."

"Here's the text from Nick's mom. It's from Wednesday - 8:16 AM. Don't know if you heard but your father and I have decided to stay longer. We're flying to Capri tomorrow morning. If you need money, check the blue vase on the bookcase in my office. Talk soon."

Tristan exited out of the folder and sat his phone down on the table next to his plate. The smell of the ravioli flooded his senses and his stomach growled in response.

"How do you think you'll respond?"

Tristan watched as Jon-Jon pulled a slice of pizza from the skillet. Jon-Jon took a huge bite and then used the back of his hand to wipe away sauce and mozzarella cheese.

"Actually, I don't think I'll have to say much. I get the impression Nick and his family aren't the chatty types."

"I get that impression, too. Seems like Nick and Nathan do their own thing ... which is pretty cool. My mom's constantly blowing up my phone asking where I am and when I'll be home and if I'll stop by the grocery store to pick up orange juice before I come home."

"My dad keeps tabs on me, too," Tristan said.

"It's hella annoying."

Tristan shrugged and said "I dunno. I kind of like that someone cares enough about me to want to know about my whereabouts."

"Really? You don't find it suffocating?"

Tristan shook his head and said, "Not really."

"Ever since my parents split, my mom's been super overprotective. I can't go anywhere without her wanting to know what time I plan on getting there and what time I plan on leaving. She actually grounded me for a week because I was 15 minutes later getting in from Finn's party. It's super frustrating because she wasn't like that with my sister. I get that she loves me but sometimes I wish she'd back off a bit."

"I watched my dad go through hell with my older brother," Tristan said. "I imagine being a parent has got to be one of the hardest things ever. It's like you do your best and things can still go wrong."

Jon-Jon sighed and plucked several napkins from the dispenser on their table. He used the wad of napkins to wipe the lower half of his face and then slumped against his seat. Tristan noticed half of his pizza was gone. Tristan had barely touched his ravioli.

Jon-Jon reached for his Dr. Pepper and held it up.

"Here's to your boy not going to prison," he said in a mock toast.

Tristan rolled his eyes and took a bite of his food.

"You are not going to prison,"

Jon-Jon gulped his drink until there was nothing but ice left and sat the glass down.

"You don't know that."

Tristan sighed and said, "Yeah - you're right but if you keep thinking that, you're going to drive yourself crazy."

"Maybe I should just confess."

"And what exactly would you be confessing?"

"I pushed Nick."

Tristan lowered his voice and said, "You both pushed Nick. It was an accident."

"All the more reason for me to just confess," Jon-Jon said.

Tristan frowned and asked, "Why should you have to be the one to take the fall?"

Jon-Jon smirked and said. "Don't get me wrong. It feels nice to have someone on Team Jon-Jon but are you sure you're not just on my side because you're pissed at Finn?"

"No," Tristan said. "I'm on your side because I don't want to see you fall on your sword for something that's not your fault."

Jon-Jon shot Tristan a knowing look.

"So this has absolutely nothing to do with Finn being with Leah?"

Tristan chewed on his thumbnail and looked down at his plate.

"Hey - I'm pissed, too. I thought me and Leah were ... you know."

Tristan thought back to being at the dock behind Finn's house. He thought about Jon-Jon naked and scrambling to put his clothes on. A warm, tingly feeling traveled the length of his spine and spread throughout his body.

Tristan cleared his throat and said, "Regardless of how I feel about Finn right now it doesn't change the fact that I think you're going about this all wrong?"

"I don't know what else to do," Jon-Jon said. "Every moment is like I'm holding my breath."

"Is there anything I can do?"

"You've done enough. Too much."

"Can you do me a favor?" Tristan asked.

"Sure."

"Don't turn yourself in," Tristan said. "At least not right now. I'm sure if we all put our heads together, we could figure something out. Maybe something where we don't all end up wearing orange jumpsuits."

"I doubt anyone wants to help me."

"I'll see what I can do," Tristan said. "You just try to keep it together."

Please leave comments below! Thanks for reading!!

Copyright © 2020 imperfect _pisces; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Well Tristan has really involved himself now by cloning Nick's phone. They are definitely getting in deeper and deeper.

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Great. They ditch the phone and Tristan clones it which means he's still carrying around the stupid phone.

Never eat at places where people hate you.

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I keep screaming at them NOT to do the things that they're doing but they just don't listen to me!!!  What is Tristan's cell phone number so I can send him a text of warning and get them on the right track.  I've got experience dealing with these situations that they've gotten themselves into and I can help them get away scott-free like I've always done if I can just exchange a few text messages with them on their hot 🔥cloned phone and they promise NOT to tell anyone about me or where they got their advice.  My e-mail address is jbaxterjr86@gmail.com.  Get in touch with me before it's TOO LATE!!!

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