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Jade Amabel and Hillary Tiller.
Jade Amabel and Hillary Tiller were the 'bad girls' of Halend, a small town where everyone knew everyone and they were all 'friends'. Jade and Hillary stuck together and shunned the town sweethearts. The sweethearts spent all of their spare time with orphans and went to church and sang in choir and blah blah blah, but they had nothing on Jade and Hillary's Duo.
“Do you see Mark Danker? He is totally checking you out?” Hillary mumbled, filing her nails, Jade knew that ‘blasé’ tone; on the inside Hillary was squealing ridiculously. With a flick of Jade's middle finger in his general direction - without even looking - she strode throughout the halls, Hillary close by her side. “Did you really just flip off Mark Danker? God, he's SO hot.” She waved her hands, as if fanning herself. Jade blanched, throwing her best friend the universal look for ‘you-have-got-to-be-crazy’. “He’s also the rudest, most pompous, sexist, immature pig in the school. I'm good.” Hillary chuckled with her deep, throaty laugh, the one that had half of Halend High School's male population gathered around her feet. “He wouldn't dare try that with me, I'd make sure he was just as much of a female as you and me, if you know what I mean.” She nudged Jade into a freshman who squeaked, bounding for the opposite side of the hallway. The girls just shook their heads in synchronization. The bell rang and the halls were filled with students, rushing to escape for summer vacation. Jade and Hillary decided to skip the last period of the day, like they did nearly every time a break came. The girls rolled their eyes at the chaos around them, it was stupid really, acting like you had no common sense whatsoever wasn't going to make summer come quicker. Just shut up and leave. “Hey, Jade, wait up!” A guy yelled, the voice was familiar, but a face just didn't click in her mind. Hillary and Jade both whipped their neck in the direction of the voice only to be met with…Mark Danker. “Hey, I wanted to invite you girls to a party tonight, it's at my place. 10:00.”
“Sure, we'll BOTH be there.” Hillary answered as soon as Jade's mouth snapped open with a snarky comeback sitting on her tongue. She swallowed the insult, knowing Hillary would kill her if she did otherwise. “Great! Here's the address, no alcohol, so if you want to drink, don't come. My buddy, Henry, is a recovering alcoholic, so it's an anti-beer party.” He shot the two a smirk that screamed 'you-know-you're-madly-in-love-with-me.' Jade rolled her sea-foam green eyes, snatching the paper from his hands with her manicured fingernails. “Of course, Mark. I wouldn't want to make it too hard on poor Henry. Isn't he single? I'm sure he's a GREAT catch.” She asked in a sultry voice, making Mark stutter out a broken, “Y-yeah. He is.” Hillary laughed quietly at his expression. He shot them a quick wave before walking out the double doors. “Let's head to the mall, I gotta get SOMETHING to wear tonight!” Hillary grinned, patting her purse, indicating to the wad of cash Jade was sure was inside. The girls linked arms, heading to Jade's red convertible. Hillary snatched the keys with a challenging wink, causing Jade to tickle Hillary's weak spot - her upper thigh. She screamed out a laugh/scream, dropping the keys, directly into Jade's hand. “Ugh, your talons are too sharp! I'm not ticklish!” Noooo, of course, Hillary isn't ticklish, Jade thought with a snort. She hopped into the driver's side of the car, sticking her tongue out at Hillary. Hillary feigned a pout all the way to the mall, causing Jade to grin. The mall in Halend was too small for the girls' liking; if someone went to a party they were sure to see duplicate outfits, which is why Jade and Hillary went to the mall the next town over. The stores weren't big, per se, but they were better than Halend's. Two hours later Hillary and Jade finally done shopping and back at Hillary's place, doing hair and make up. Hillary stayed on the sweet side with high waisted mint green shorts, and a flowing black shirt. She topped it all off with wedges identical to the color of her shorts and all black jewelry. Jade, however, went more towards the 'yes, aren't I gorgeous?', in torn dark shorts and a peek-a-boo-bellybutton shirt. She completed the look with studded black sandal heels.
Yes, no one else would dare wear something like that to a Halend party. Jade stroked her single black fishtail braid around her fingertips, waiting for Hillary to finish her beach wave hair. Finally, at nearly 10:30 they were both going to Mark Danker's party. Jade let Hillary drive and the ride was fairly silent.
“Hey, Jade, Hillary, you made it!” Mark yelled over the music when they walked towards him. “You two look great!” Mark smiled, making Jade gag internally. Hillary rolled her eyes at Jade's antics. “Thanks, Mark, you don't look half bad yourself,” Hillary returned honestly, he was sporting dark wash jeans and a black and white striped tee shirt. Matching Jade with unnerving accuracy. He noticed as well. “If people didn't know better they'd think we were together.” He chuckled, with a a wink and a smirk. “Well, it's a good thing they know better.” She shot back. Mark held up his hands in surrender, the smirk never leaving his face. Jade stomped off, Hillary right on her heels. “What is wrong with Mark? I don't get it. He's a nice guy. You used to have the biggest crush on him.” Jade wanted to deny it, but Hillary knew Jade just as well as she knew herself. “I heard that he took advantage of Mandy after her father died and then left her.” Jade admitted, her blood boiling from the memory. The two didn't know Mandy well, but they remembered after her dad passed, she became a shell of a person. She went to multiple therapists, but not even a year later, she killed herself and, supposedly, Mark contributed to that pain. Hillary's eyes grew wide, but then she raised an inquisitive eyebrow. “Who told you that?”
“Carolyn Jenkins,” Jade muttered, knowing her word meant nothing to Hillary. “So the town self-proclaimed news reporter on everything false, that's who you're taking your judgment of him from? Interesting...” Hillary concluded, letting out a loud sigh. Jade knew the conclusion was shallow, after all, Carolyn was about as trustworthy as they come. She sighed in defeat: Hillary was right and now she had to go strike up conversation with Mark; it was an unspoken agreement between the two. “Ugh, fine. But if he does something stupid I reserve the right to kill him.” She smiled sweetly and went to seek out Mark. He was found by the snack bar, talking with Henry. A few seconds after arriving behind him, Jade introduced herself to Henry. “Hey, Jade, I was under the impression you hate me!” Mark joked with a grin. She shrugged her shoulders, feeling slightly ashamed of being so stand-offish. “Sorry, I've had a...miscommunication issue of sorts," She explained with an impish smile. “It's alright, lass, at least he'll finally shut up about you ignoring him.” Henry, who Jade just discovered to have an British accent, chuckled. “Shut up, Henry!” Mark growled playfully, throwing a punch at Henry's arm. He threw his hands up in surrender, pointing to the dance floor. “My girl is over there! I gotta go!” He yelled, making a quick escape. Mark laughed at his friend, turning his full attention onto Jade. “So, what brings you over here?” He joked. Jade just shrugged, her mind still questioning exactly how much she could trust him. “Nothing really, I've just been extremely harsh towards you. I feel like I owe you an apology.” she admitted, even though the words tasted sour on her tongue. Mark just waved it off and launched into a conversation about the school year ending so quickly. Jade and Mark shared laughs, multiple non-alcoholic drinks, and even exchanged phone numbers before 12:30. “Hey, Jade, Mark. Jade, Phillip just called, Abigail is sick and he has to go work a late night shift. Someone called in sick to the hospital.” Mark looked disappointed to say the least: he had enjoyed talking to Jade as much as she enjoyed talking to him. “Okay, I'll be out in a second.” Jade sighed, dismissing her friend. She turned to Mark, waving his number at him. “I had a great time tonight, I'll call you.”
“Yeah, I hope this isn't too straightforward, but maybe we could hang tomorrow? There's this great Mexican restaurant I'm sure you'd love.” He offered, hitting her in what he knew to be her weakness. “Well played, Danker, well played. I'd be crazy to say no. Just text me tomorrow and we'll decide what time.” Jade gave him a quick smile before going to the car. As soon as the two girls were closed into the car, Jade explained the night's event in a rush, her hands moving excitedly. “So is he the ‘rude, most pompous, sexist pig’ you thought he was?” Hillary challenged. “You forgot immature... and no. You were right.” Jade murmured in defeat, but maybe this one time it wasn't so bad to be wrong. Hillary fist pumped the air in victory, her eyes sparkling at her best friend's joy. When they pulled up at Hillary's all lights were on and you could hear the crying from inside. Poor Abigail, they both thought. Hillary was adopted by Phillip Haynes, the most giving man alive, as was Abigail. His wife, Kora, died a mere week after the two entered the family, leaving Phillip distraught, but still just as amazing to his girls. Jade welcomed herself in, doing her best to prepare a small snack for Phillip while he worked. Hillary busied herself on making Abigail feel better. Ten minutes later Phillip was out of the door and to the hospital. Abigail cried out, making Jade look towards Hillary in anxiety. “Abigail, sweetheart, tell me what hurts.” Hillary coaxed, brushing the stray hairs from her face. Abigail pointed to her stomach, her blonde eyebrows furrowed as tears continued. “Jade is gonna get you some pink medicine then you'll feel better." She assured as Jade went to get the Pepto Bismol. The girls spent the night nursing Abigail, eventually all three of them passed out on their third run of one of the million Barbie movies Abigail owned.
“Hey, Hill, have you seen my phone?!" Jade yelled over the roar of the vacuum. She saw Hillary shake her head, Jade growled, ripping the cushions from the couch. She knew it would be a fruitless attempt to call her phone, seeing as how it was sure to be dead. She needed to call her parents. She wasn't giving into the part of her brain that was screaming about calling Mark. “Check your car!" Hillary suggested, maneuvering around the love seat. Jade moved out the door, her feet moving swiftly around the house. She ran outside, clad in her shorts and tank top. The car door was opened quickly, as she resumed her search maniacally. Her fingers grasped the phone in victory once she found it in between the seat. It was dead, just as she suspected. Jade moaned in frustration, dragging herself inside. She collapsed onto the couch, fiddling with the phone in her hands. Hillary had an iPhone, whereas Jade had a Blackberry, so sharing chargers was a no-go. The two knew that from past experience. “Hey, I'm running home! I gotta charge my phone and call the parentals!" Jade called, heading out the door.
It was nearing noon when she finally pried her parents off of the phone, and was able to text Hillary.
Hey, finally home. What's up w/ Abby?
Jade sat her phone on her desk and began gathering toiletries for her shower. Then her phone phone buzzed.
Hey, Jade, it's Mark, just seeing if you were still up for lunch today?
Jade's heart rate tripled in speed. She bounced in excitement, her fingers dialing Hillary's number.
“Omigod!! Mark texted me!! He wants to go to lunch today!" Hillary yelped as well. “What time? What are you wearing?" Jade stopped, her eyes widening in realization. What WOULD she wear?! Oh god! “I have no idea! I haven't even texted him back!” She gasped out. Hillary laughed out loud at her friend, “Well, you should text him back, then call me, I'll tell you what to wear later.” Jade nodded, agreeing instantly, she told Hillary she'd call her back later.
Hey, Mark! Sure, how about at 2:00ish? I'm pretty flexible, but I gotta shower.
Jade waited, as she let the shower warm up.
Yeah, sure, that'll work, I'll come get you around 2, 2;30 at the latest.
Jade swooned, her smile brightening.
See you then!
Her fingers dialing Hillary's numbers at a furious pace.
“2:00!! I have until 2:00!! What do I wear?!” Jade stormed to her closet, scanning it for her best clothes, “Hun, first of all, chill out. You sound way too Sweetheart-ish. That's a no-no. Second of all, go to your top rack in your closet, in about the middle of the rack you'll see that cute teal colored skirt, the one that's short in the front, but gets longer in the back, and wear that with your peach colored- it's on the bottom rack, to the right, then wear your brown flats with the teal flowers! Oh, and don't forget that adorable little headband that came with those shoes!! Doll yourself up with brown jewelry! Send me a pic and I'll give you the okay!” Hillary hung up without another word, leaving Jade with her outfit laid out on her bed. Um, wow. Jade thought with a laugh, jumping in the now warm shower. She washed her hair quickly and put extra time into smelling just like her lavender scented body wash and shampoo. Jade jumped out with haste. She lathered up with her once again lavender scented lotion. After slipping on her clothes she collapsed in front of her vanity table doing her make up, light and natural. Jade let her hair fall in natural waves, capturing it with the 'adorable little headband'. She checked her phone to see what the time was. 1:45. 15 minutes!!! Jade did all she could not to squeal. Her phone buzzed with a text.
Hey, Jade, I'm gonna be a little early, I'm turning onto your road now. Is that okay?
Jade smiled widely grabbing her handbag, her shoes on her feet as she bounded to the living room.
Sure, I'm ready when you are!
Jade contemplated adding a Smiley face, but decided it would be much too Sweetheart-ish of her. Jade texted Hillary, quickly.
Hey! He got here early, so I'm heading out now. I'll text you during all bathroom breaks!
It was a rule: during all dates the girls needed to receive one update every 2 hours, or else the other would call in back up. One too many crazy kidnapper movies.
K, love you, Hun!
Hillary's reply made Jade smile as she wrenched the door open. Mark was standing there, his navy blue T-shirt and khaki shorts making Jade swoon...again. “Hey, Jade, you look great!” Mark complimented as she stepped outside. “Thanks, you don't look half bad yourself,” Jade laughed, locking her front door. “Ready?”
“You tell me. Anything else I might need?“ Jade raised her eyebrows, teasing Mark. “Nope!” He wasn't even phased by her! That was definitely a first for Jade, she liked having someone take her by surprise. He walked her to his small 2-door Sunfire. It was a very modest car and surprisingly Jade liked it. He opened her door for her, causing Jade to smile widely. “Thanks,” she murmured in shock at his old-fashioned mannerism. “No problem.”
They rode in relative silence on the way to the restaurant, aside from the occasional comment on idiot drivers. That made Jade grin. A nice, simple guy. Mark pulled in to the lot with expertise, as if where he was parking now was reserved strictly for him. “I don't know why no one parks here! This is one of the best parking spots here, yet, it's always empty!” Mark exclaimed, motioning around him. Jade laughed at his reaction to the empty spot: you'd think he wouldn't complain about a decent lot being open. “Come on, Mark, time to leave your amazing parking spot; I'm hungry. You can't let your date starve.” She teased as he turned to roll his eyes at her. He jumped out going to open her door for her. Jade thanked him and took the hand he offered her. It was different holding hands with her, he regarded it like a normal boy would regard wrapping his arm around a girl's waist. It was a sign of possession on a normal occasion, but Mark wasn't doing it to show off with someone, Jade realized with a smile, there was no one to impress. “What has you smiling like that?” Mark asked, squeezing her fingers gently. “Nothing, I just felt like smiling.” She explained, although it was only a half truth. “You should feel like smiling more often, you have a beautiful smile.“ Mark opened the door, allowing Jade in, a gentle grin playing at the edges of his mouth. The waiter led them to a table underneath a brightly colored fan. “So...you don't hate me. When did that start?” Mark asked, his eyes playful, but true curiosity was inkling into his joking gaze. “Well, sometimes, I tend to be fairly stupid and, as much as I hate to admit it, shallow. Someone told me awhile back that you did some less than honorable things, so since I didn't know anything about you except that you who were always hanging with, I believed them. Hillary told me how stupid it was to believe my source.” Jade admitted, a small frown gracing her mouth. “What happened to your pretty smile?! It's okay, we all have lapses in judgment, besides, conversation is getting way too heavy for a first date if you're frowning already!” Mark laughed, nudging her foot under the table, she couldn't help laughing with him, especially when he took her moment of stupidity with ease. “You and Hillary are thick as thieves, what's your favorite thing about her?” He eased them into conversation, covering where they left off last night. “She isn't a Sweetheart. She's got the same kick that I have. We really aren't Devil Spawns, despite what everybody else says, we just know how to enjoy life and don't mind going against common expectations. What about you and your British buddy, Henry?” Mark knew the two girls rebelled against what the town thought the common behavioral rules should be, but he had to know more about the Sweethearts. “How about a deal? You answer my questions on this part of the date, the next half, you choose where and I'll answer your questions.” Jade furrowed her eyebrows in suspicion, what if he didn't uphold his side of the deal? Jade gave Mark the benefit of the doubt, knowing she wouldn't give away too much at once for the sake of withholding her integrity. She shook his hand, declaring that they had a deal. “What are Sweethearts?” Jade laughed, shaking her head. “Well,-” She started, but the waiter approached. “Hi, I'm Spencer, I'll be your waiter today. What can I get you to drink?” His eyes never left Jade, staring at her intently. “Can I just get an iced water with lemon? And preferably a waiter who doesn't stare at me like I'm something to eat!” Jade snapped, glaring at him through her eyelashes. Mark laughed into his hand, Spencer was one who never got turned down. “S-sorry,”
“I'll have a Pepsi and some cheese dip,” Mark spoke through his chuckles. The waiter walked away and Jade continued, “Well, it seems like there is a group of people in our school who just follow all rules and kiss butt. I just don't think it's real so they are referred to as Sweethearts.” Jade finished with a huff, realizing how much the Sweethearts actually angered her. “Well, I am extremely sorry for their total incompetence at being their own person.” Mark chuckled. The waiter came back, placing the drinks, cheese, chips, and salsa on the table. “Are you ready to order?” He asked, his voice slightly hesitant. “Yep, I'm going to have the Pollo Asado,can you make sure that they actually put onions in it, please?” Mark stayed polite, but he made sure that it was clear he wasn't kidding. “Mm, onions,” Jade made sure the didn't drool all over herself. “What else is good here?”
“Chiles Rellenos, a little on the spicy side, but it's really good, I just douse it in extra cheese sauce.” Jade rolled her eyes at Mark's cheese obsession. “Sure, I'll have that,” She laughed, waving the waiter away. “Me gusta caso!” Mark yelled. Jade ducked her head, laughter spilling from her lips. Nearly everyone in the restaurant turned in his direction, shooting frustrated glances at Mark. “Sweethearts,” Jade spat. That was before she realized that she said it loud enough for a good few people to hear. Mark roared out a laugh, his eyes nearly popping out of his head when she gave a nearby group of teenagers the finger for staring. “Wow, so, hmm, interesting question? Okay, this is a lame one, but what's your favorite kind of music?” As cliché as it was, Jade understood, it says a lot about a person. “My dad used to listen to classic rock a lot and I picked up on it. I love Motley Crew.” Jade smiled broadly at the memory of her dad teaching her the songs and artists. “I've never really listened to classic rock, but I like The Beatles. My favorite music genre is probably alternative, just because it varies in sounds. I hate when I listen to the same instruments played over and over. Same ball, different park. Better than hearing a country song today four times, each one with different lyrics.” Mark ranted. Jade's eyes widened. “What?! No! That's the beauty of music! The fact that so many people can manipulate instruments into whatever they want is amazing!” Faces flew toward their table again. Mark looked stunned by her reaction, to say the least. He leaned closer, as Jade continued ranting. She went on and on, even as the waiter came, eventually she stopped, letting out a deep breath. “Done?” Mark smirked at her and Jade blushed a deep red color at his penetrating stare. “Yes,” she concluded, in her mind that registered as yes, Mark Danker wasn't bad at all. She would give him a chance.