"OKAY, LISTEN UP, YOU criminals."
Clarkson had barely uttered the words before Alex started to boo him, earning him a chastising look from Will.
"That's discouraging, Alex," he said.
"It was meant to be," Alex replied.
Not bothering to look their way, Clarkson continued, his eyebrows knitted in his usual frown. "I've seen a lot of trash around here. This won't stand anymore."
"Are you calling us trash?"
"I came here to have a good time and I'm honestly feeling so attacked right now."
Shushing the shouting kids with a wave of his hand, he glared at the crowd. "Okay, you all know that's not what I mean, so quit it."
"Or do we?" Alex whispered.
"Yes, Farrow," Clarkson said," we do." He ignored Alex' baffled expression, continuing," you're all throwing everything on the grass. I won't tolerate any littering, so your activity for this midday had been scrapped and replaced with cleaning. I want the whole forest to be back to before you hooligans entered it."
He gave them all one last look then, before walking towards the house. A couple tried to follow him, complaining, but his glare got them to stay back.
"Why is his hearing so good?" Alex frowned at them," it's really screwing with my plans of insulting him quietly."
"Hey," Will said, worry coloring his eyes," when he said he wanted the whole forest to return to it's state before we came, do you think he meant the trees we broke along the way too? Because I don't have any glue."
"I don't think you're supposed to use glue," Levi said.
"You don't think at all, Peterson."
"Shut up, Alex."
"Less words, more action," Ella said," I want to get this over with quickly, so let's pick up some trash."
Will seemed to be the only one actually excited to do so, the other two looking like they'd rather be anywhere but here. Still, they each grabbed a garbage bag and started cleaning, Alex complaining the whole time.
"I don't know how you survive with them, new girl."
She looked up at the familiar voice, a smirk tugging at the fuchsia lips of the girl in front of her. Somehow Ava was managing to stand straight in the grass, her black stilettos looking graceful on her, along with her mini skirt and oversized shirt. Her hair was pulled up in a messy bun, locks framing her face.
"I don't know how I do it either," she sighed.
"Hey!" Alex called out, offended.
"Shush, Farrow," Ava said, her voice becoming sickeningly sweet when she spoke to him," let the grown ups talk."
"Then you have no right to speak," he retorted.
They stared at each other for a moment, a look in their eyes Ella couldn't decipher, before both looking away. She didn't need to glance at Alex to know he was tense now, but still, she couldn't help but be glad to talk to Ava. Among all the violence she was something vastly different, so quietly dangerous, sharp lipstick and even sharper words, stolen kisses and bored eyes, as if she had seen everything this world had to offer and it was far from enough.
"No Kübra today?" Ella said as she glanced around her.
It was a surprise really, with how much Kübra had been sticking to Ava, like she was afraid the girl would run if ever given the opportunity to do so. Ella didn't doubt she actually would.
"No Kübra today," Ava repeated.
Not sure if she was in any position to ask for an explanation, but curious anyway, she looked up at Ava. The question was in her eyes, softly, so she knew it didn't need to be answered. In response Ava sighed, beckoning at her to follow her to another place, far from Alex' ears.
"Watch out, babe," Alex called out after her," following witches in a forest is never a good idea."
Ava flashed him a wicked smile, but quickly let the amusement in her eyes die out. Ella wondered how often she suppressed feelings when it came to him, but that was something she wouldn't ask. Though anything regarding to Kübra was probably free terrain, she already knew talking about Alex would be like crossing a minefield.
They were deeper in the forest now, the trees closer together, an umbrella of leaves sheltering their heads from the sunlight. It only broke through in a couple places, rays of gold warming the soft green and the grass beneath their feet. The chatter had mostly died down now, the only words in the air the unspoken ones now.
"So, Ava," Ella mused, picking up a can along the way and dropping it in her bag," are you planning to murder me out here with your witchy ways?"
"If I were a witch," Ava drawled, long nails tapping against a tree," you'd know, because I'd have cursed Alex long ago."
"What kind of curse?" Ella said, amusement glittering in her eyes.
"I'd make him short," Ava said, turning towards her and leaning against a tree," that would do it."
"That is evil."
"That's the whole point."
They both chuckled, lapsing into a comfortable silence then. Ava glanced away, absent-mindedly, but when she looked back she was her usual self, that same bored amusement on her lips, as common to her as the lipstick she wore.
"I moved on from Kübra," she said, before waving a hand," not like there was much moving on to do, we weren't really getting that close."
"Why?" Ella said," did she do something?"
"It's more what she didn't do," Ava said, voice trailing off, before she spoke up again," I think she was more in love with the idea of me than anything else. A lot of them are."
"Honestly," Ella said," you deserve someone who truly sees you, Ava."
"Perhaps dating delinquents just isn't for me," she sighed," it feels like they're gasoline and I'm made of flames; there's always a wildfire when we collide."
She sighed then, hands running through her hair. Ella was almost positive she was mostly talking about Alex now, but instead of questioning it, she changed the subject.
"So, did Kübra cry?"
Ava shook her head, chuckling. "No, I think Nicole is consoling her, so she probably isn't too sad."
"She's in my group," Ava shrugged," not that likeable. Then again, I don't like a lot of people, so who am I to talk." She pushed herself off the tree then, stretching out lazily. "Anyway, just wanted to update you. Let's head back before Clarkson flips out, shall we?"
"Go ahead," Ella said," now we're here anyway I'll quickly pass by my tent, since we're close. I'll grab a jacket."
"It is getting colder," Ava said, scrunching her nose up in displeasure as the wind danced on her skin," alright, I'll see you soon, new girl." She flashed one last smile over her shoulder when she walked away. "Don't get in trouble, now."
Ella wasn't planning on it. The walk towards the tent was peaceful, except for the occasional screams of rowdy teenagers closeby. She hadn't realized how used she had gotten to the boys' presence, a small smile beginning to play on her lips at the thought of them. It was not that far from the tent anymore, the outlines of it just barely visible through the trees.
Before she could even reach it though, her vision went black.
"I've got you now, bitch."