Chapter Eight

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The shrill ringing of the doorbell sounded through our apartment, and I peeked from around the kitchen counter to see our white wooden door rattle as a knock followed shortly after. I quickly dried my hands on the towel I kept on the counter and stalked towards the front door, as Ariel's gaze remained fixed on the TV, unbothered.

I didn't even have to check through the peekhole, Noah's "casual" visits have become a routine. I unlocked my door and pulled it open, revealing a grinning Noah clutching onto a fully packed paper bag.

"Hey, Noah," I greeted, stepping to the side to let him in.

"Morning, Princess." He set the bag on my kitchen counter, standing tall and stretching his arm out. "Brought y'all some groceries for tonight."

I closed the door and immediately locked it behind; Noah's orders. "Tonight?" I asked, confused.

"You didn't get my text?"

I shook my head. "No, I forgot to pay this month's phone bill. It was due two days ago," I chuckled. Oh how much we've begun to rely on our phones. I hadn't checked my texts in two days and I already feel like I've missed a month's worth of news.

Our conversation caught Ariel's interest, and her gaze moved from the show playing on TV to our position by the open-kitchen. Her eyes widened in sudden realization.

"Oh! I forgot to tell you, we're having a movie marathon tonight."

"We are?" Well, that was news to me.

"Well, Noah invited himself - and Elliot and Bella - for a movie night at our place." Ariel rolled her eyes, getting back to the show on TV.

I turned to glower at Noah; the nerve this guy has.

Noah chuckled nervously, his hand coming up to rub the back of his neck sheepishly. "To be fair, I did consider my own apartment first. But yours is bigger and... cleaner."

I walked over to the brown bag and peeked inside, seeing all kinds of random grocery. "And what is up with all these random foods?" I wondered, rummaging through the boxes.

"Well, I got some spaghetti and tomato sauce for dinner, and the snacks are for during the movie," Noah explained. I rummaged some more through the groceries to find several bags of salted chips, marshmallow, and pretzels.

"Well, how sweet of you."

"That's me. Ever the sweetest," Noah sighed as he flopped down on a couch. "How've y'all been?" He asked.

"Good."

"Great."

He eyed Ariel and I suspisciously, and I rolled my eyes. "Of course, other than the fact that we're being babysat every single day."

He clicked his tongue in disapproval. "Nora, you know we have to take-" I had to cut him off before he trailed any further.

"Precautions. Yeah, I know." I unintentionally snapped a bit too harshly. His eyes widened with his mouth still open and frozen mid-sentence. I sighed and ran a hand through my untied hair - a nervous habit I'd grown. "It's been an entire week, Noah. If anything was going to happen, it would've happened by now. We can't live the rest of our lives on guard because we spent a single day with a possible gang member."

His jaw ticked as he bit back whatever response he had in mind.

Ariel clicked her tongue, "she's right, you know." Noah snapped his head towards her disapprovingly. "I'm bored out of my mind and I will certainly not spend the rest of my vacation huddled up in my apartment, watching TV all day, just because you guys are too paranoid to let us out."

"No, we won't." I agreed with Ariel. Noah's jaw ticked as he eyed the both of us disapprovingly.

"Just give it some more time."

Ariel groaned loudly in annoyance. "How much longer? It's already been one Hell of a depressing week!"

His fists were clenched into fists by his sides as he stood from the couch. His eyes snapped to mine, as if silently communicating a message with me.

"I'll leave you now to rest," he suddenly spoke. "It's going to be a long night." He forced a tight smile.

I sighed but nodded anyway, watching Noah walk towards the door and unlock it. He glanced behind his shoulder before leaving, "lock up behind me," he demanded.

**

Hours later, I was surfing through the newest movies available on Netflix, suggesting some every once in a while and receiving differing votes each time.

I sighed, "well we need to decide on something."

"Anything but romance," Ariel groaned. "I've watched them all." Of course she has.

"What if we go with a classic?" I suggested. Bella nodded, agreeing. I shrieked when I came across one of my all time favorites. "Homefront?!" Although not exactly a classic, I'd never grow tired of Jason Statham's heart-touching fatherly love in that movie.

"Yes!" Noah exclaimed from the kitchen. I turned to the rest. Elliot shrugged and Ariel mumbled an "I guess."

I grinned cheerfully. "Homefront, it is."

Noah then walked into the living room with a big tray carrying five bowls of his special Spaghetti recipe. "And dinner's ready." He announced.

Noah went around handing a bowl with a fork to each person in the room, before settling beside me on the couch. Bella got comfortable snuggling into Elliot's side, while Ariel clutched onto her blanket as she draped herself over one entire couch.

"Start the damn movie." Ariel grumbled. She was extra grumpy tonight.

"Hit the lights," I ordered Noah, who got up to switch the lights off then returned to his seat.

The lights dimmed and I reached out for my bowl, wasting no time and digging into the savory goods.

Around an hour in, Ariel's phone chimmed and Noah aggressively shushed her, to which she flipped him off. I chuckled as I watched her unlock her phone, reading whatever had popped up on her screen.

Her glassy eyes suddenly widened as she frantically read over the screen over and over again. I frowned, her reaction unusual. Her head snapped up and her eyes locked on mine; she stared for a couple seconds, an odd emotion swirling behind her eyes.

What? I mouthed.

She looked around the room, noticing that everyone was engrossed with the action displayed on the screen. She motioned with her head towards my bedroom and I nodded.

Ariel got up from her seat gradually, walking towards my bedroom. No one noticed her movements. When the gunshots sounded through the speakers, I took the distraction as my cue to get up and follow her.

"What's the matter?" I walked in on Ariel pacing around my room, her phone clutched in her hands.

"I forgot! I completely forgot that I messed up!" She exclaimed. I shushed her and grabbed her tense shoulders, telling her to breathe and tell me what happened.

Instead of replying, she turned her phone screen so I could see what was on it. It was a text message.

Hey, Ariel. Whats up? :)
-V.

"Vee?" I asked. "Who's Vee?" I looked up at Ariel with a questioning gaze, her eyes were wide as saucers. I gulped, it couldn't be. "No.."

She nodded her head. "I gave Vincent my number when you were out of the kitchen. I totally forgot about that!"

I gasped, "Ariel!" I scolded. "He could easily track your phone!"

"You don't think I realize that?!" She exclaimed, her chest heaving up and down.

I pressed my lips together, thinking of a solution when my door was suddenly agressively shoved open, and a seething Elliot stepped inside.

"You did what?!" He yelled, fuming.

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