The rest of the summer flew past and before she knew it CJ was getting ready for the first day of her Junior year. Compared to last year things were looking up, she would have lunch scheduled at the same time as her friends and she was registered in more advanced mathematics and science courses. It didn't take more than a week to get into the swing of the day to day routine. Go to school, come home and do assignments and school work with Steven until supper time and after if necessary. On Friday's CJ would head to the NCIS headquarters as she had begun the year before. Spending time with both Tim and Abby alternating with whoever had time to teach her new mathematics or computer skills.
Week three and CJ was ready to start to have some fun. It was easy to get everyone quickly on board and they were all trying to coming up with ideas. As it was the beginning of the year they decided to start out "slow" and work up to something more interesting. What they didn't realize is that by sneaking to the AV room and reprogrammed all the remote controls for the projectors, TV's, and DVD players they created havoc for well over a week as the equipment was signed out and no one was able to get things to work properly. At lunch Owen described how frustrated Mr. Etches got fighting with the DVD player to run the clip he wanted that he ended up banging the remote on the edge of the desk in hopes of coaxing it into working. In the end Owen "fixed" the problem and looked like a savior to the rest of the class as they would rather watch a "stupid" movie clip then do seat work. The gang decided that although it was funny to watch the teachers flounder that they were really punishing the students because no matter how bad the AV presentation was it was always better than the alternative. So now the AV department and science labs were off limits for pranks.
CJ being the last of the gang to finally turn 16 hadn't put much thought into getting her driver's license. The family only owned one car and the likelihood that she would get a chance to drive it was quite low. But by the end of September the rest of 'The gang' had convinced her she needed to go and get her learners permit, it was what every self respecting 16 year old did. The problem was the department of transportation office was only open during school hours, which meant CJ had to "miss" classes to achieve this particular goal. Cutting class had NEVER worked out for her and so she was rightfully hesitant. She even considered asking her mother if she could get a signed note giving her permission to leave class early for "an appointment".
Over the next week several discussions were had amongst the group and in the end CJ was convinced that leaving early Friday afternoon allowed her the weekend to alter the attendance files. And because it was just 1 class and just 1 time that no one would find out about it. Friday loomed and for the first time in her life CJ considered on not following through on a plan, but peer pressure won out and she found herself sitting at a small desk with sides writing the mandatory test to receive her beginner's license. Until she held that little piece of paper in her hand she did not understand the full impact of what that document let her do. She could now DRIVE a car. A CAR. Elated she headed towards headquarters. As she approached the front entrance area full of pride and enthusiasm it occurred to her that she couldn't tell anyone because if she did they would wonder how she had managed while she should have been at school. How was she going to drive a car if she couldn't tell anyone she had a license? Clearly they had missed a few steps in their lunchroom discussions! Only momentarily dissuaded she concluded that in a while, when it didn't look so shiny new, she would convey to them she had gotten it a LONG time ago, implying she'd acquired it in the summer.
That weekend she had found it more difficult than expected to alter the school attendance records not only because they had changed all their protocols and passwords but because she was finding it hard to have enough time in front of the computer without an audience. By late Sunday afternoon she started to panic until the brainwave hit her. She would go over to Steven's and do it from there. Quickly coming up with a plausible reason to need to go to Steven's CJ left and headed over to her boyfriend's house. Steven was more than happy to lend a hand and as expected no one paid any attention to what the teens were working on. By supper CJ truancy problem was rectified and she had been invited to stay and eat with the Arnott's. CJ was one of the only members of 'the gang' that felt comfortable at the Arnott's because Steven's father was in the military and many of the other's found his demeanor disconcerting. CJ laughed at them all because really Gibbs and her father were far scarier than Commander Arnott well at least as far as she was concerned.
Now that they all had licenses the lunch time discussion returned to practical jokes. Halloween was a mere 3 weeks away and they needed time to plan, organize and execute whatever they were going to do. In the meantime they had a short list of "mini" pranks that the decided to try out.
The first of which was to switch the technical posters used for teaching health to the grade 9's. So when the girls entered their locker room instructional area for health class they found diagrams of the male reproductive system and when the guys sat down for their class they were staring at diagrams meant for the female class. Avery got to hear the laughs and embarrassed tittering because his gym class was using the change room at the time. It was a bonus if one of them actually got to be witness, which didn't always happen because they chose activities that would not be easily pointed at them.
Since super glue was particular favourite of CJ's they had to use it at some point each year. This year they super glued all the music stands in either the tallest or shortest position. When the Mr. Cherry entered his classroom he found the band that instead of warming up was fighting to readjust raise or lower their stands. In the end it was sheer brute force that freed them from their sticky position and not acetone. Unfortunately none of them were witness to the comical scene.
Each lunch hour had at least 10 minutes devoted to the very important Halloween prank. Since most of them were graduating at the end of the year and it would be their last Halloween together as 'the gang'. Little did they know the prank would be the farthest thing from their minds come Halloween morning.