Pandora’s Place: (1) All’s fair in love for the fair.

“And I do declare on all things holy or evil in this world… That must my shaking hand deal that fateful blow to end your quivering heart… I will do so with not a moment’s glance, nor a breath needed in my very lungs, without any thought to the justices of right or wrong. I will do so… for saving her means to save my very self.”

Jaden peered deeply into the eyes of his most notorious enemy. Perhaps waiting for his next move so that he may counter or maybe he was simply searching into his soul to see what kind of impact his words might have held over his voracious opponent. Whatever the case was, he did not waver in his resolve. Not a single blink from his eye or a gasp for air. He held his stoic demeanor until Carlyle released his grasp from Anabelle and raised the tip of his blade to meet Jaden’s.

At that moment a loud clamor of excitement and clapping began to resound through the entire stadium and the lighting fixtures flickered on to illuminate the stage. They lowered their cardboard swords but did not immediately release the resentful gaze they held on each other.

“Bravo!” The shout came from a tall slender man who stood up from his seating and buttoned his overcoat with one hand while pushing up the bridge of his glasses with the other. He began making his way to the young actors while also maintaining his elegant, yet boisterous applause.

“Bravo Jaden, as always you exceed expectations and truly deliver an astonishing performance worthy of the books!” He waved a hand in Jaden’s direction before returning to his clapping motion and three over glance towards the crowd in an attempt for everyone to take note and join in whether they felt obligated or not. His efforts were futile as he soon became the only person still clapping.

Mr. Akles, the thespians coach and teacher of the fine dramatic theatrical arts, not discouraged in the least, continued to praise Jaden to the rest of the class. This happened quite often and quickly became a love hate aspect for Jaden. He loved being admired for his work but hated the feeling of waiting for the next forced feeding of one huge happy helping of “Jaden the Great” to go down the throats of these brimming, jolly go lucky teenage angstwipes. So whenever he felt another session of this about to occur, he simply began ignoring it before it even started. Luckily this time he caught the gaze of Anabelle whom honestly was probably doing the exact same thing he was.

She was the prettiest girl in school, in tow she was also one of the smartest. This made Jaden a lucky man because they were best friends. Ever since middle school when she induced a fountain of chocolate milk from his nose for simply complimenting his drawing of the master chef Easter Bunny, who was making scrambled eggs for his cannibal customer. At first she was very upset that it happened to get all over her new dress but quickly dismissed it after he explained the title of his sketch was “why the chicken crossed the road’. They both laughed so hard that eventually she snorted. That exact point in time is when they knew that a moment like this couldn’t be destroyed by lunch room quarrels. Nope, from that day on they were peanut butter and fluffer nutter, white bread and apple butter, green eggs and ham, muffins and jam, candied and yams. You get the idea.

Anabelle faced him and formed her hand into a cup around her mouth to block the movement of her lips from any unwanted spectators and began mouthing the words “Jade, slowly make your way behind the curtains.” With another heavy emphasis on the “slowly” part while placing her other arm to the side of her body and extending her hand and finger to point in that very direction. Jaden gave a curt nod in response and they inched their way while hearing snickering after every other step. Knowingly seen by their peers but luckily the timing of the laughter was so perfect that Mr. Akles actually believed he was being acknowledged for once. This hilariously enough gave them the perfect cover to slip away unnoticed, at least from their teacher. Meanwhile Carlyle crossed his arms and cocked his head sideways while squinting his eyes at them in a very suspicious looking manner. Almost like a pit bull excitedly wondering to itself where exactly he should poop this time. At least that’s the way Jaden wanted to imagine it.

As soon as they reached the sanctity of their rendezvous point they engaged in a secret hand shake that only these two peas in a pod could ever accomplish. A tap with the back of the hand two times and then once with their own hands together, once on the lap with both hands, once more with their own hands together which then moved into the first two segments of paddy cake and finally a snap with both hands. Usually accompanied by a “more pleased than your average cookie” look at the flawless execution of their uncanny feat.

“Can’t believe we got away unnoticed from him again. Guy probably couldn’t even notice the full color spectrum if he was looking at a rainbow through a kaleidoscope.” He snickered.

After a very short smile and even shorter laugh she immediately switched to a very stern look and leaned in close while pointing at him. “Cut it. You know why we’re here Jade.” She squinted her eyes in a get down to business kind of look. “The Greek Carnival, we’re going and that is final”

Jaden rolled his eyes until they met the ceiling. They had been arguing about this very topic for over a month. “Ana you know I’m still grounded for dressing my cousin up as a princess and telling them he was autistic to try to skip lines for the rides at Disney. That and using the whoopee cushion on my mom afterwards to try and lighten the mood.” He exclaimed.

She sighed. “Man I was so certain that that would work too.”

They shrugged in conjunction for the momentary lack of his mother’s sense of humor.

“Regardless Jade, make it happen. It is the first time this fair has ever made its way to our little hole in the world town. And it is only here for one night. You know how much I love mythology. That and this place is so boring we never get to do anything new. I’m tired of watching your grandma knit yarn into the form of a goldfish, as if that’s even a shape. Like, she really believes goldfish are the only fish that have a fish shape.”

As soon as she finished her sentence she noticed a hand move from the curtain as it ruffled itself back into its normal resting position. She then went to peek through to investigate but Mr. Akles was still droning the class on with his useless babble. All was right in the world.

Just then the bell rang to indicate the end of the period. “Find a way.” She softly muttered before heading through the curtains and on to her next class without so much as a glance back at him.

Jaden knew how important this was to her. The last time she acted this way was at the school sanctioned fund raising dunking booth. Somehow she managed to get in trouble for arguing with the teacher that she should have gotten an A+ on her report of Zeus instead of an A. After cleverly validating her point with the principal she managed to get the A+ she worked so hard for but still had to attend detention. On a crash course for revenge, that very same teacher was her main target in the booth le dunk… though after missing every single time she had eventually run out of money and enlisted Jaden’s grand idea of trying to sell a quarter of a melted snicker bar and the future knowledge of who would win the next “who wants to be a millionaire” which failed entirely too horribly. Once she realized her dreams were crushed she didn’t speak with him for over a week.

Jaden figured this situation would be unfathomably worse. He couldn’t imagine going a month or a year without her company. He would have to befriend the sappy kid in fifth period that blows bubbles and then tries to flick his boogers in their direction an effort to pop them. That wouldn’t do. Anabelle told him to find a way. So find a way he would.

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