‹ Prequel: Zoned
Status: Part Two

Zoned: Waking Up

If You Quit, I Quit

The car was hot and stuffy from sitting in the sun all morning. Richi and I were enjoying a day to ourselves. It has almost been 10 days since the event at Neverland, and the guys still didn't know why we weren't really talking to them. The only people we were okay with were Danny and George. They weren't even in the room when all of the drama went down.
Richi sat in the passenger seat with the window rolled down. Childish Gambino blasted out of our windows, and nothing seemed to bother us that day. We rolled up to a stoplight, and a whistle caught my attention. I looked out my window and saw some douche bag college kids making kissy faces at us. Richi unbuckled her seat belt, leaned over me and put her head out the window and said, "You guys wanna race!" The guys were yelling, "Yeah!" like crazy.
"Great! First person to In N' Out burger wins! Losers have to flash the winners!" Richi yelled and sat back in her seat.
"Excuse me! I am not going to race them!" I said frustrated.

"Relax, they won't get far." she replied.

"We aren't even going to In N' Out Burger. We're turning at the next stoplight."

"Yeah but they don't know that."
We waited for a few more seconds before the light changed colors. As soon as the green light appeared, the college morons were off at light speed. What was even faster, was the flashing of red, white, and blue behind them.

"Did you know the cops were around!?" I yelled. Richi smiled and nodded proudly. We drove slowly as they pulled over, and when we got up to them, Richi leaned over me again and flipped them off.

"OOPS!" She yelled. I saw one guy flip us off, but we were already down the road before I could look at anyone else. Our laughter settled as the music continued. We drove for about 10 minutes without talking, until my phone rang. I didn't look to see who it was before answering, "Hello?"

"Hey bitches, what are we doing today?"

"Is this...is this Harper? " I asked. Richi looked at me with confusion. She mouthed the name "Harper" like it was a question. Harper Leigh was the most bubbly person we knew. Which was odd, considering she called herself goth. I have never met a bubbly goth person before Harper. Harper's voice was high pitched and very loud. She dated Matt a long time ago, but she was so clingy and, like Dillon said, leachy. She always called him and always had to know where he was. It was exhausting trying to get time alone with Matt when he had his own warden. We haven't talked to Harper in months. The last time we actually saw her in person was when Jorel and Vanessa were still together, and we had a girls' night out.

"Who else would it be! Okay so I'm throwing a party this weekend and the attire is Formal Goth. It's this Friday at the Fonda Theatre at 8pm. Everyone will be in ballgowns, cocktail dresses, etc. So do your face all nice and I will meet everyone there! Sound good?" Harper was really excited.

"You know you called A-Rad, right? Richi is with me."

"Yes, I know. I want to invite you two! You guys are basically my sisters."

"Yeah, well we'll see if we can come. We shall get back to you." I wasn't sure what to say. Harper screamed yay and hung up. Richi and I didn't say anything for a few seconds. The silence was interrupted by Richi saying, "Okay what just happened?"

"I think we're going to a party?"

"Harper actually invited us? Like it wasn't a mistake?"

"I asked, and she said we were practically her sisters. Whatever the fuck that means since we haven't talked in ages."

"What exactly are we doing?"

"Going to the Fonda Theatre at 8pm and it's a gothic party or whatever. She said to wear goth clothes."

"I don't fucking own goth clothes! When I shop, I don't usually try to buy things that'll make me look like Morticia Addams." Richi chuckled.

"I understand, but it'll be a good excuse to not be home. It'll be good to get out of the house and dress up."

"You act like we haven't dressed up in a while. We literally were just at a party a few days ago."

"True....Plus it might not even be fun. I mean, last time we went out, we got slapped in the face. I'm tired and kind of just wanna relax."

Richi made a "pfft" noise and said, "Bruh it's okay. We'll have fun and we'll drink. It's all okay."

I didn't say anything and continued looking forward.


Richi stood in front of the tall mirror that leaned against the wall by the bathroom. Her hair was wavy and her entire outfit was perfection. She looked very classy; like with one look, she could kill in seconds. She always made me do her eye makeup because she never bothered to do it herself. It's been like that since we were 15. I walked out of the bathroom and looked at her. We exchanged glances and smiled at each other.

"You look beautiful." I said to her. She smiled and reciprocated the compliment. I ran my hands over my dress to get rid of any wrinkles that I missed.

"So I do look okay?" Richi said as she turned to face me.

"Yes, love. You look great. Are you ready to go?"

Richi nodded and took a deep breath.

"You okay, Rich?"

"I'm kinda bummed that things ended up like this. We were so excited to meet them, and we were living the dream, but then...I don't know, things just kinda fell apart. It makes me sad." She adjusted her choker to where it was facing forward. Her face was sad. I wasn't sure what to do about the situation, but I knew we had to deal with it somehow.

"Tonight will be fun. We'll forget about that night eventually, and we'll move on." I said. Richi looked at me and nodded a little. "You ready to go?"

"Yeah. Just....sad, you know?"

"I know, Rich, but things will get better. They don't even know about it being us. It's whatever. Let's just go." We walked out into the living room, and Jordan and Matt were on the couch playing Mortal Kombat while everyone else routed for one of them.

"Fuck fuck fUCK FUCK FUCK NO GODDAMMIT FUCK YOU JORDAN!" Matt screamed as he lost the round. They all were cheering and yelling until George said something to us,

"Woah where are you guys going?"

"We're going to a party." I answered.

"It looks more like a funeral for Madonna." Jorel joked.

"It's not." I said with a stern voice.

"Okay what is your problem?!" Jordan spoke up as he stood. Everyone was now looking at Richi and I.

"I don't have a problem. I'm fine. We're both fine, dude." I said expressionless.

"Really? Cause it seems like you're mad at us?" Jorel said.

"We're not. Just tired."

"Oh you've been tired for over a week now?"

"I lost my job. I've been kinda depressed about it. A's just here for emotional support." Richi spoke up. I knew she wasn't depressed and knew that that was Grade A bullshit, but they also seemed to know it was bullshit.

"You had a job? How come we never saw you guys leave? You've been with us for days, and never have I seen you guys leave for work." Jordan said.

"She worked at the gym. With me. We do yoga lessons and stuff like that." I lied.

"Oh. Well why didn't you just say that?" Jordan said.

"Yeah, we thought you guys were just being bitches for no reason." Matt added.

"No, Matty, we had reasons to be bummed." I was irritated at this point.

"Guys you can tell us anything. We won't judge you." Danny said as he looked at Richi.

"What would we have to tell you that would make you judge us?" She asked quickly.

"You losing your job? Just being embarrassed about i-why so quick to ask?"

"I wasn't."

"You kinda were." "Yeah," "That was pretty quick." "Yeah," Jordan, Jorel, Danny, and Dylan all said at once.

"Look it's not a big deal, and I don't feel comfortable talking about it, okay."

Danny threw his hands up as if he was surrendering and said nothing else. She looked at me and directed her eyes towards the door like she wanted to leave. I did a small nod and looked at all of them. "Okay well we're leaving. We'll be back soon. See y'all later."

Dylan mumbled in his own amusement, "Y'all." Jordan and Matt both smiled. I rolled my eyes as I followed Richi out. We made our way to my black Ford Escape and were off to Neverland.

"Are you sure you wanna do this, A? I mean just because I quit doesn't mean you have to." Richi looked at me.

"No it's really okay." I smiled at her. "I don't mind. Maybe now we'll finally be free for a little bit and get actual jobs later. I promise it's not a problem."

"I just feel kinda bad. You really like it and I don't want you to quit just because of me."

"Dude it's okay. I'm quitting because I want to."

"Fine whatever. I just feel bad."

"Don't. We'll be there soon so just chill."
We drove for a few minutes in a comfortable silence until we got there. I was actually kind of nervous to quit. Richi sat in the car as I got out. I was too nervous to quit on my own.

"Will you come with me?" I opened the car door.

"Dude it'll take like a few minutes."

"I'm jus-...just please come..?"

Richi sighed and said, "Okay fine." She got out and I locked the car. We both walked down the sidewalk and to the alleyway that led to Neverland. The glow of the cheap Tinkerbell sign was faint. It seemed to have taken forever to get to the big, red door, but we finally did. I opened it, and immediately the music was loud. Youth Gone Wild was playing. I remembered the routine I had to do for that song. The dance was on the pole, and it was really fun and energetic. I was actually kind of sad that I was quitting, but I knew I needed to. Rich and I had a lot of good memories and it just sucked to be getting rid of the huge confidence boost the club gave us. I walked down the hall and pulled back the curtain to see the club full of people.

"Where's Tammy?!" Richi had to yell. We scanned the room and finally saw him by the bar. "Oh there!"
The walk to the bar was intense for me. I had never quit a job before. As soon as Tammy saw us, he took a huge drink of the rest of his Whiskey, and smiled.

"AYE MY GIRLS! How are you, ladies?!" He said happily.

"Look, I don't wanna make this a huge, drawn out deal, so here it goes: I quit!" As soon as I said that, his smile vanished, and a slight scowl appeared.

"I'm sorry, you what? Did you say you quit? "

I wasn't sure what to say and nodded quickly. He sighed through his nose and looked at the floor and shook his head as he looked back up.

"You ladies know I can't let you guys 'just quit'. You're gonna have to do something for me." He said. Richi and I shared a quick look and then looked back at Tammy.

"What do you mean? We're not bound by contract to stay here, Tammy!" Richi spoke up.

"Well you're right, but you made a deal with me when you first started working here! If you two quit, then you do one last dance for free....!"

"That's not too bad!" Richi looked at me and smirked.

"You didn't let me finish!" Tammy grinned and shook his head. We weren't sure what he meant. I was worried that he wanted us to be naked or something. I wasn't about to give a private dance naked. My mind was coming up with all kinds of answers in under .2 seconds and yet the one he gave shocked both Richi and myself. "Do one final dance without the masks!" It was then when it seemed like the entire room was silent. I had tunnel vision. The room was so hot and I couldn't breathe. I'd rather dance naked, I thought.

"We can't do that! The whole reason we wore the masks was because we didn't want anyone to know it was us dancing! We can't do that! No! No, we won't do it!" Richi yelled.

"Richi, he'll give out our secret if we don't do it! Either way our secret is out!" I said to her.

"Smart girl!" Tammy smiled at me.

"I'd like to have a little bit of dignity!" Rich said.

"Don't worry, you don't have to do any private dances. You'll be on the stage together! It's not gonna suck as much as you'd think! I'm not that mean!" He said still smiling. "Now go to wherever it is you're going! Don't wanna let those pretty faces go to waste! Show 'em off!"

Richi and I watched as he walked away to the back room behind the main stage. We were quiet. It felt like was underwater, and I had tunnel vision. What if the guys come the day we dance, I thought. What if someone we're friends with sees us. It was as if I could taste the fear as I swallowed.

"I fucking told you something bad would happen," Richi said as she stormed out. Dammit, I thought.
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Sorry I haven't updated in so long. I've been busy. But I'm gonna try and finish this story as soon as possible.