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The Unfortunate Occurence at Shenandoah High 2020 - 26. Chapter 26

It's Friday and Tristan and Keisha get together for some good, old-fashioned middle school fun.

Keisha Alston lived in a much nicer house in a way nicer neighborhood within walking distance.

There was thunder rumbling in the distance as Tristan left his house. By the time he arrived on Keisha’s doorstep, he was soaked to the bone.

"Oh Sweetie, I could've picked you up," she said as she closed and locked the front door.

Tristan kicked off his wet Converse sneakers and placed them next to the other pairs of shoes in the tiled entryway.

"I figured I could make it here before the bottom fell out."

Tristan rubbed his hands up and down his arms and said, "Feels good in here."

Keisha shot him a goofy grin, grabbed his arm and pulled him into the next room.

The first thing Tristan noticed about the family room was the coffee table, which usually sat center stage in the large space, had been pushed into the corner. The next thing he noticed was all of the cushions and pillows had been removed from the sofas and chairs and piled in the middle of the floor. A smile slowly crept across the lower half of his face as he thought about all of the pillow forts he and his dad had made when he was much younger.

"What's going on here?”

"I was thinking this whole being a senior is not really all it's cracked up to be so I thought tonight we'd take it back to middle school again and just have a good old-fashioned slumber party. I've already ordered pizza and it's on the way and before you even ask I got pepperoni and pineapple on your half."

Tristan threw his arms around his best friend and squeezed as hard as he could.

"You know me so well."

“You’re getting me all wet,” Keisha said trying to squirm her way out of his soggy embrace.

“There’s so many jokes I could make right now.”

"I still don't understand why anyone would be so disrespectful to pizza by adding pineapple to it but if it makes you happy."

"It does make me happy," Tristan said, his eyes darting all over the room. "This is just what I needed."

"I figured as much," Keisha said as she slowly pulled herself from their embrace. "Now go upstairs and get changed into your jammies."

Tristan reached for his backpack which had fallen to the floor during their hug and asked, "Where is everyone?"

"Dad won't be back until Monday and Granny went to stay with Aunt Penny for the weekend so we have the place to ourselves."

Keisha lived with her dad, her grandmother (her mom's mom) and her little brother Kristoff who was now in the sixth grade. One of the things Tristan and Keisha had bonded over early on was their absentee mothers. At least Keisha knew where her mother was. Every Christmas and every birthday Keisha received a card with a $500 check from her mother who was now married to some retired investment banker nearly twice her age and living in DC. At first Keisha had relished receiving $1,000 checks every year but by the time high school rolled around, she stopped cashing them.

"How sad is it that my mom would rather spend $1,000 than actually spend time with me?" Keisha had once asked Tristan during one of their weekly sleepovers.

Tristan had often wondered the same thing himself. Some times, late at night when he couldn't sleep, he would lie in bed and wonder where his mother was. Nearly six years had gone by and unlike with Keisha's mom, there were no cards or money. No phone calls, texts or emails. It was like she'd vanished.

There were times where Tristan wished she were dead because at least then he could properly mourn her.

Tristan shook himself out of his thoughts and asked, "Where's Kristoff?"

Upstairs in his room playing one of his ultra-violent video games. I told him not to bother us."

"Aww - you didn't have to do that. He's no bother."

"You're only saying that because he likes you."

"Everyone likes me," Tristan said. "Well almost everyone."

Keisha held up a silencing finger and said, "Nope! Tonight is about pizza and homemade brownies and scary movies. No boy talk allowed."

"I like the sound of that," Tristan said with a grin. "Be right back."

Tristan walked over to the door in the corner of the room leading to the basement where both Keisha and her brother's rooms were. He quickly bounded down the carpeted steps and walked past the laundry room and Kristoff's room until he reached the end of the hallway. Keisha's bedroom was perfect chaos. There were clothes and shoes and hair accessories all over the place but nothing looked out of place. Tristan tossed his backpack onto an old chaise lounge that once belonged to her great-grandmother.

He tugged a pair of clean SpongeBob pajamas free from the main compartment, he noticed something at the bottom of his backpack. He reached inside and pulled out a bent notebook. There were black and white splotches across the cover. He immediately recognized it as the notebook he had taken from Nick's room some nights ago.

Tristan flipped it open to the first page and noticed it was completely filled with spidery writing. Upon closer inspection, the whole notebook appeared to be filled with similar writing, front and back.

Tristan lost interest in the pajamas he held in his other hand as he slowly moved towards Keisha's bed on the other side of the room. He sat on the edge of the queen-sized bed which must have had at least twenty pillows piled on top of it, each covered with a lavender pillow case.

He flipped back to the first page and saw that it had been dated July 10. This was clearly more than a notebook. It was a journal. Nick's journal. Reading Nick's text messages was one thing but reading his deepest, most personal thoughts was quite another.
Tristan sighed and closed the notebook. He carefully placed it back in his backpack and made a quick change into his pajamas.

As he was folding the his day clothes, his phone chimed twice. After he stacked his clothes on top of his backpack, he reached for his phone and saw that he had two text messages.

The first message was from Jon-Jon.

at the bowling alley with my mom and my sister and nathan's here i'm guessing that's his girlfriend. i'm freaking out.

The second message was from Colin.

It's Friday night in your part of the country. Please tell me you're doing something fun.

Tristan responded with, Keisha and I are taking it back to middle school and having a sleepover.

Sleepover, eh? Did you go and switch teams on me?

Tristan smirked and replied with, No. Never. This is the kind of sleepover where you lie around and eat junk food while you watch scary movies.

Sounds fun. Well I must say I'm kind of disappointed.

Why is that?

Was hoping you'd be up for some more Golden Girls.

Tristan chewed his bottom lip and his thought about his next response.

I'm sorry but Keisha's my bestie and I've been sort of neglecting her lately.

No worries. I get it. Bros before hos.

Does that make you the ho in this scenario?

Ha! I've been called worst! You go enjoy that sleepover of yours. Make sure you lock all the doors. Just in case there's an escaped convict on the loose or something.

You're evil.

There was a knock on Keisha's bedroom door. Tristan shoved his phone in the pocket of his pajamas bottoms and quickly hopped up from the bed. He walked over and pulled open the door.

Kristoff Alston was only twelve years old and he was nearly Tristan's height. He looked just like his older sister even though Keisha absolutely refused to admit it. They both had the same dark brown, almond-shaped eyes and dimples. Tristan was pleased to see he was wearing the Miles Morales t-shirt he had bought him for his birthday a few months ago. Even though they were nearly six years apart in age, the thing they bonded over was their love of comic books.

"Pizza's here," Kristoff said. His voice had deepened, considerably, since the last time Tristan had seen him.

"Thanks, bud. I'm headed up now."

Tristan closed the bedroom door behind him and followed Kristoff up the stairs. Keisha was in the kitchen pulling out yellow dinner plates from one of the overhead cabinets. Tristan's stomach began to growl as the smell of hot pizza wafted past his nose. His last meal had been the hastily thrown together peanut butter and jelly sandwich he had eaten for lunch.

"Kris, your buffalo wings and garlic knots are right there," Keisha said pointing to two small green and white boxes sitting on the stove. "You can have one Coke and I've counted them so I'll know if you've had more than that."

Kristoff rolled his eyes and grabbed the two boxes. He walked over to the refrigerator and grabbed a canned Coke from the bottom shelf.

"I'm going to my room," he said.

Tristan's phone chirped three times as he was piling three slices of pepperoni and pineapple pizza onto his plate.

"Someone's popular," Keisha said as she plucked a mushroom off of her pizza slice. She popped it into her mouth and reached for a paper towel.

Tristan sat his plate down on the closest surface and reached into his pocket to retrieve his phone. He had three new text messages - all from Jon-Jon.

he keeps staring at me

i think he knows

dude i'm like really freakin out

"Who that?"

Keisha rested her chin in the crook of Tristan's next.

"Jon-Jon," Tristan said as he pressed the lock button on his phone.

Keisha scrunched up her face and asked, "What does he want?"

Tristan grabbed his plate and followed her out of the kitchen and into the living room.

"Apparently he saw Nick's brother at the bowling alley and now he's freaking out."

Tristan settled onto the hardwood floor and reclined against one of the sofa cushions. Keisha took a seat next to him. She reached for the remote which was sitting on top of a pillow and used it to turn on the 60" flat-screen TV which was positioned over the wood-burning fireplace.

"And why is he freaking out over that?"

Tristan shrugged and took a bite of his pizza. He closed his eyes and savored the sweetness of the pineapple and saltiness of the pepperoni as the two flavors mingled over his palate.

"I have no clue. I just think he's being paranoid."

Tristan's phone chimed and then vibrated inside of the pocket of his pajamas.

Keisha rolled her eyes and dapped at her mouth with a crumpled paper towel.

"Just tell him you're busy."

Tristan looked down at his phone and saw that his latest text message wasn't from Jon-Jon - rather it was from Finn.

Tristan's features fell as he opened the new message.

Hey - can we talk?

"What's he saying?"

Tristan shook his head and looked up from his phone and over at Keisha.

"It's Finn," he said.

Keisha's eyes widened.

"Why is Finn texting you?" she asked. "I could have sworn he had a girlfriend."

"He says he wants to talk."

Keisha reached out her hand and said, "Give me your phone."

"What? Why?"

"Give me your phone so I can tell him to fuck off."

Tristan placed his hand to his heart and said, "Why Keisha, your language. I do declare."

"Seriously, what the hell could he possibly have to say to you? This time last week he was all over you and then he kicks you to the curb for Leah of all people?"

Tristan looked down at his phone and then back over at Keisha.

"Tristan, please don't tell me you're thinking about talking to him."

"Maybe hearing his explanation will give me some closure."

Keisha sat her plate down and said, "Oh Sweetie - you don't need closure."

Tristan sighed and said, "Maybe I do."

"I think it'll do more harm than good. I mean you've been dreaming about being with Finn since freshman year and let's face it - the dream turned out to be a nightmare."

Tristan closed his eyes and thought about everything that had transpired since that fateful night on the dock behind Finn's house. In the brief time they'd been together, things had been nothing short of fantastic. Finn Montgomery liked him, that he knew for sure. He'd seen Finn on stage and there was no way he could've faked the things that happened between them. Something that real couldn't just go away overnight. Perhaps Finn was having a change of heart.

"I know what you're thinking," Keisha said.

Tristan opened his eyes and looked over at his best friend.

"What am I thinking?"

"You're wondering if Finn still has feelings for you."

Tristan grinned and said, "Damn, you're good."

"Even if he still has feelings for you, Tristan, it doesn't change the fact that what he did to you was beyond effed up."

Tristan breathed in through his nose and let the air escape from between his lips.

"You're right," he said.

"I know. It's such a burden being right all the time."

Tristan reached for the nearest pillow and tossed it in her direction. Keisha easily dodged it.

"Now kindly tell Finn Montgomery he can go to hell and we can start the movie."

"Fine," Tristan said. "What are we watching?"

"Two classic late-90's slasher films," Keisha said. "Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Which do you wanna watch first?"

"Let's watch Scream first."

Keisha jumped up and ran over to a nearby shelf containing her family's entire DVD and Blu-Ray collection.

Tristan looked back down at his phone. Keisha was absolutely right. What Finn did to him was pretty cruel and his feelings were still very much hurt over it.

Then there was the part of him who wanted to hear what Finn had to say. Maybe, after a week of trying to play it straight with Leah, Finn was having a change of heart.

Tristan chewed on his bottom lip as he stared down at the illuminated screen on his phone. His thumb hovered over the keyboard. He looked up and saw that Keisha was fiddling with the Blu-Ray player. He looked back down at his phone and pecked out a reply.

Sure - where would you like to meet?

Feel free to leave comments! Thank you for reading!!

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

Jon Jon is freaking out like in The Telltale Heart and Tristan actually ignores the poor guys texts and answers POS Finn. Sigh...

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I just binged on the most recent four chapters, and will be looking forward for the next.  I still think they should have called the EMT's at the time of the accident, It might have prevented considerable consequences.  I'm wondering if maybe Jon Jon has a secret interest in Tristan?

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