-Time wastes too fast. The days and hours of it are flying over our heads like clouds of a windy day never to return- (Laurence Sterne)
The Playa was the teen's ultimate summer giveaway. Every summer, while a new season of the show was being filmed, all of the campers from the past few seasons stayed at the resort just in case Chris needed them for any challenges or wanted to throw them back in the game against their will.
While everyone enjoyed the luxuries that were provided at their fingertips, one redhead was excluded. For Scarlett, the playa was more of a death sentence than a luxury vacation. Despite all of the luxuries it offered beyond her dreams, Scarlett felt alone. No one wanted to socialize with her and whenever she came near, they would run away, only to whisper awful things behind her back. Even Max abandoned her for Staci, who, to everyone's surprise, had a massive crush on the purple munchkin and Max savored every moment of it.
At first, Scarlett didn't mind the isolation since it allowed her to spend a lot of time reading, but she started to grow lonely after a while. No matter how many attempts she tried, no one wanted to be near an attempted sociopath serial killer. Even the most intellectual campers avoided her like the bubonic plague. This made Scarlett feel isolated and sometimes, she wished thkat she was dead.
But, time was about to change things for Scarlett and would lead her down a road she never knew before.
Scarlett couldn't remember what day it was, except that it was probably going to be like all of the other days that she had so far. While she still maintained her outward appearance, she was dying on the inside. Her self-confidence was going to come crashing down any moment and she was starting to become depressed and melancholy. No one knew that because they never paid attention to her. No knew because they never cared about her.
As usual, Scarlett always went to a private garden that was located little ways from the Playa. Although the Italian garden was a sharp contrast to the tropical resort they were staying at, it was often Scarlett's sanctuary. Hardly any of the campers knew of its existence so she spent most of her days amidst the fountains and shrubs and trees that were spread as far as the eye could see. The one thing that the garden lacked was a diversity of flowers, but that was made up by the overwhelming amount of lilacs found in the garden, which happened to be Scarlett's favorite flower.
Scarlett went to the fountain that was in the center of the garden. She looked at her reflection and expected to see the same image that she always maintained, but the reflection that she saw was different. It was her, but it wasn't her. The woman she was looking at wasn't the proper firm intellectual that she was, but a broken depressed woman who felt alone in the world. Just seeing her appearance made Scarlett hate herself. It made her wish that she was dead.
This proved to be too much as Scarlett broke down and cried her eyes out for quite some time. She wept and wept until it was impossible for tears to come out of her. While she was wiping away her tears, she heard someone go, "Are you alright?"
Hearing someone speak to her nearly made Scarlett fall into the water fountain. After managing not to do so, Scarlett looked up and saw a chestnut-haired boy looking at her.
"Well, considering that my face is red and my eyes are puffy, that should make you assume that I am not alright."
"I'm sorry. I thought that you wanted someone to comfort you, but if not, I'll just go."
"Wait!" Scarlett cried out. "Don't go! I'm sorry. It's just that no one has offered to comfort me before so I'm still a bit shocked."
The guy replied, "I understand what you mean. I've been in your shoes before."
"You have?" Scarlett asked.
"I have. I was heartbroken a few years ago, and a girl comforted me when I felt alone and isolated and I learned to live with myself and the fact that I will always be lonely." He added.
"Now why would you say that?"
"My former crush hates my guts, she always wished that I was dead and the girl that helped me has moved onto Cameron, and he actually likes her so I'm back to where I was before."
"Well, I'm more like friend lonely than crush lonely, but I understand. That wouldn't happen to be the purple haired Amazonian would it?"
"If you mean Sierra than yes."
Scarlett paused when she heard the name Sierra. She faintly remembered hearing about her a few seasons ago and the obsession she had over a boy from that season. Scarlett looked at the guy in front of her and tried to remember where she saw him before. After a moment of deep thinking, her lightbulb went off.
"You're Cody right?" Scarlett asked.
"Yep, the one and only." He replied.
"I knew that I had seen your face somewhere before. I just couldn't remember where, but it's nice to match a name with a face."
"I agree with that Scarlett!"
"You know my name?" She asked. After hearing her name being mentioned, Scarlett felt a little embarrassed. There was no doubt in her mind that Cody had seen the season that she was on, and knew of her attempt to blow up the island while snatching the million for herself. She was afraid that he was going to see her as the psychopath monster that everyone else avoided and she would be lonely again. Sensing defeat, she sighed and turned away from Cody as if she was almost ashamed to look at him. "I guess you think of me as a psychopath as everyone else. Figures."
"Actually, I don't."
Hearing Cody saying that he didn't see Scarlett as a murderous maniac that deserved to be locked up touched a nerve in her. This was the first time in a long time that anyone had told her that. "If you're not afraid of me than what do you think of me?"
"I think that you are a very bright and intellectual woman that is misunderstood by everyone and needs someone who understands her."
"So you're not afraid of me?"
"Not the slightest."
"You're the first person that has told me that in a long time so I appreciate it very much."
"Well, I figured that you would like a friend that is similar to you, misunderstood and shunned by everyone."
Hearing Cody's statement made Scarlett raise an eyebrow. "But I thought that you were one of the most popular campers?"
"That's just an illusion," Cody replied. "Everyone always assumes that I'm some kind of pervert when I'm not, but they label me as that particular stereotype." He paused while tears began to form in his eyes. "They don't understand that people change! They never will!"
This time, it was Cody that started to cry. Scarlett could see the pain all over his face and this time, she was the one comforting him. "There's no need to cry. Just because people assume that you're something that you don't don't mean that you can't be yourself."
"It doesn't?" Cody asked while wiping his tears away.
"No, it doesn't," Scarlett added. " Just look at me, people think I'm a villainous psychopath who plots to kill everyone when in reality, I have gone through years of therapy and I have changed my appearance to that before my madness, that of an intellectual."
"But as an intellectual, what do you like to do?"
"Mostly read. I have a massive library in my room and I spend most of the time either reading, researching, or self-teaching myself various things."
"I like that how you do that. I mostly paint now. Sometimes, I play video games with Harold and Sam, but I mostly stay away and make art to pass the time."
"I never imagined you as a painter."
"I never imagined you as a reader."
Both Cody and Scarlett broke out laughing and kept laughing for quite some time. It was the first legit laugh that either one of them had in their systems in quite some time, and for the both of them, it felt great to have some sort of life return to them after feeling isolated and alone from everyone else. They felt human again, and what a feeling they both were glad to have.
As they both stopped laughing, one of Chris's interns came up and handed Cody a folded paper. He opened the note, only to be distressed moments later. "What's the matter?" Scarlett asked.
"This," Cody replied while handing her the note. "I've been moved to a new room due to some sort of fungus being found in my bathroom by one of the cleaning ladies."
Scarlett frowned at Cody's distress. "How unfortunate. Where's your new room at?"
"I have no idea. I probably need to go and find out. Want to go with me?"
"I have nothing else to do so sure."
Both teens headed to the Playa to sort out the mess that Cody found himself in. It took them ten minutes to find the room keeper, who just threw Cody a pair of room keys before walking off.
"It says that I'm in room B-52."
"Did you say B-52?"
"Well yeah, Scarlett, I just did."
"My apologies Cody. I just wanted to make sure that I heard you correctly, but I believe that B-52 is part of a three room suite since I'm roomed in B-56."
"A three room suite?" Cody asked. "How's that possible?"
"Well, B-52 and B-56 are bedrooms with B-54 being a parlor suite in the middle, connecting the two bedrooms." Scarlett pointed out.
"And how would you know this?"
"I used B-56 as a library for my books and used your new bedroom as my old one. Now I have to move them out and figure out what to do with them."
"Not to mention that they've probably moved all of my stuff and in the process, caused your stuff to be scattered about in the three rooms."
"Well, we should go and see the damage done. If there is a mess, I would much rather clean it up now instead of later."
"I can get behind that."
Cody and Scarlett headed up to the suite, which was located on the second to top floor. After going down the hallway, they ran into a pile of stuff outside the suite. As they got closer, they noticed that both doors to their respected rooms were open and there was stuff piled everywhere. When Cody and Scarlett examined the mess around them, they both just groaned. It was going to take a miracle to get everything organized and put back into their respected places.
Scarlett blurted out, "Oh Christ. Help us."
"Oh Christ is right," Cody added.
They didn't keep track of how much time it took to sort through the mess, but an estimate was a good solid few hours. After moving everything from the hallway into the suite, the two of them went through and organized their stuff into his and her piles respectfully. While putting most of the stuff up was easy, Scarlett had to find two maintenance workers to move the massive cherry bookshelf from her bedroom to the parlor, where luckily, it matched perfectly with the walls.
While Scarlett was organizing and placing her books back on the shelf, Cody left the room and Scarlett was puzzled as to where he went. Her question was answered momentarily when he came back with a bundle of lilacs. "I figured that you wanted some lilacs to go in the vases on the mantle of the fireplace."
"Aww. You didn't have to do that but I really appreciate it!"
"Well since we've had an agonizing time cleaning that mess up, it was the least that I could do."
"You're too good for your own kind." Scarlett complimented. "And I mean that with every brain cell I have inside of me."
"The same to you." Cody added before asking,"Scarlett, would you mind if I unpacked my art and displayed it in here?"
"I don't mind at all. We need a little color in this room." Scarlett replied, pointing out to the dark cherry wood and dark green fabric that dominated most of the parlor.
Cody happily opened the crate that had his completed canvases and started to set them out. "I see from this that you're influenced by Picasso," Scarlett added.
"I believe that his art is wonderful. Every time I paint in his style, I feel like I'm I side a dream, where there's truth but no logic." Cody pointed out.
"Are there any other artists whose style influences your art?"
"Quite a number. Degas, Monet, Renoir, Manet, Cézanne, Matisse, Cassatt, Seurat, Munch, and of course Van Gogh."
While helping Cody display most of the canvases on the abundant furniture, Scarlett noticed that a lot of the canvases had different paint styles and methods. "I noticed that you have mostly Impressionist and Expressionist artists, with Picasso and possibly Munch being the only two exceptions. Why is that so?"
"It's because I usually decide the style and method of painting when presenting my subject matters." Cody pointed to several canvases that were across the room. "Take the canvases over there. When I paint people, I go for a Degas and Manet influence. Emotions are influenced by Picasso, Cézanne, or Munch. Landscapes come from Van Gogh, Renoir, Seurat, and Monet. Still lifes take a muse from Cassatt and Matisse. I don't like to experiment with just the same style, I like to mix things up and have a variety."
Cody stopped as he picked up a peach tree painting. "See this one. The boldness comes from Van Gogh. The shapes come from Picasso. The colors come from Cézanne. I also combine more than one artist into my work sometimes."
"This is good, very good. I think this is the best painting from the whole batch you have."
"At least you think that. I remember painting one time and Gwen called my artwork finger paintings and said that I wouldn't amount to anything."
"That's nonsense. I believe that you will amount to something she may never have."
"True. While Gwen's the 'main artist' of us all, her drawings always look more like a sack of walnuts instead of a piece of art."
Scarlett couldn't help but slightly laugh at Cody's remark. She never assumed him to be the critique type, but she never assumed that she would make a friend of him so quickly. Cody, meanwhile, was trying to find a place for the peach canvas, but he couldn't since all of the other artworks took up the available space on the abundant furniture. "I'll just put this in my bedroom," Cody commented while he headed off to his room. He placed the painting on a nearby chair that he never sat in.
"Cody, how would you like to have dinner up here with me?" Scarlett asked when he returned a moment later. "I used to eat in my room when I was by myself, and I didn't know if you wanted to join me."
"Sure, I'll join you. I need some time away from everyone else following the past few days." Cody replied.
"Alright. I'll go get dinner and bring it back up here." Scarlett went to the door to leave, but Cody shot up and stopped Scarlett. "But won't the others kill you as soon as you're close enough to their vision?!" Came his reply.
"I have a way of sneaking down to the kitchen and acquiring food." Scarlett pointed out. "Trust me on this. I'll be gone no longer than twenty minutes and I know that you want to look out for me, but I can take care of myself."
After Scarlett left, Cody sat in the parlor waiting for Scarlett to return. The ticking of the clock on the mantel made each second longer than the last. The stillness of the room sunk into him and Cody tried to just sit, but after what felt like an eternity, he got up and looked at the clock expecting ten minutes to pass, when it had been only three. "I need to do something before I go nuts." Cody thought to himself.
He went to Scarlett's bookshelf to see if there was a book or something that he could read to pass the time. Cody normally didn't read much, but it was either read or wait for time to agonize him further so he went with the former option. While scanning through her bookshelf, Cody noticed that Scarlett liked to read very knowledgeable intellectual works. Cody finally stopped when he saw Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Volume One). "This will do." He thought to himself.
Cody sat down and started to read the book. At first, he didn't know if he was going to enjoy it, but as time went on, he was curious as to how important the book was from the introduction and background information on Gibbon and his work that he read in the forward. When he finally made it to the first page, Cody adjusted himself to be more comfortable before reading, "In the second century of the Christian Era, the empire of Rome comprehended the fairest part of the earth, and the most civilized portion of mankind."
Scarlett shook her head as she went to the parlor door. She managed to get dinner from the kitchen, but only after several mishaps had happened. After asking for two different meals, Scarlett just asked for two servings of some teriyaki chicken, fried rice, two teas and a plate of tea cakes. If it hadn't been for the elevator service, Scarlett believed that she wouldn't have made it up the stairs.
After fumbling around in her pocket, Scarlett found the room key and opened the door. She placed the food and teas down on a table next to the door. "Sorry that I'm late Cody. I ran into more technical issues than what I anticipated." She commented.
"Oh, it's quite alright. I placed the lilacs in the vases for you and I decided to read some while waiting so I grabbed a book from your shelf. I hope you didn't mind." He replied.
"Not at all. What book did you decide to read?" Scarlett asked.
"This one," Cody answered as he held up the book for Scarlett to see.
"I'm surprised that you decided to read Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I never thought that you would be interested in that."
"Neither did I, but from what I've read in the first volume, it's quite good. Although Gibbon seems to use way too many footnotes, if I end up liking it, I'll have to read the other five volumes."
"You know, this may surprise you but I never read that book before."
"Really? I figured that you would have read it by now."
"I've always wanted to read it ever since I was a little girl, but I never had enough time to sit down and read it thoroughly."
"I could always let you read it before I do."
"Oh no, I want you to read it. I'm reading Tristram Shandy right now and I have to start on Carlyle's A History of the French Revolution for my upcoming AP class this school year."
"I don't know about you Scarlett, but I am starving. Can we eat now?"
"I was actually waiting to eat also, but I didn't want to disturb the conversation we were having."
"Scarlett, always remember that if you want to speak your mind, you can speak it. I won't stop you."
"Alright, Cody. I'll keep that mind and will do the same to you."
They had a wonderful dinner together. They talked more about Gibbon's work, art, and literature in general. Hours kept rolling by as they kept having passionate discussions and enlightened conversations until it was well past midnight and they decided to continue it at some point. And while they both got a good night's sleep in quite some time, the other one was on both of their minds. For Cody, he kept thinking about how wonderful of a person Scarlett was and that it was a pity he didn't notice her soon. For Scarlett, she still couldn't believe that Cody was the first person that had been nice to her the whole time and she actually enjoyed his company. They both thought that they wouldn't be able to stand each other's presence, but that turned out to be the contrary. There was a connection between them that had already formed, and while they both thought of each other as just close friends, they couldn't help but wonder if their connection was any deeper. Despite them shaking the idea off as mere nonsense, it made both of them question if the other was truly their soul mate.
When morning came, both teens had the biggest smile on their faces, due in part to the best sleep they got last night and due to them getting to know each other and becoming quick friends the day before. "Good morning," Scarlett commented as Cody came out of his room. "Sleep well last night?"
"Good morning, and yes, I slept wonderfully. That was probably the best night of sleep I had in quite some time." Cody added.
"You're not the only one who got good a good night's sleep."
"Ah, I'm glad. Are you ready to go?"
"Down to the dining room for breakfast."
Scarlett's eyes widened after hearing Cody's suggestions. "Are you kidding me? The moment that I walk in, I will be torn to pieces and you'll have to reassemble my body."
"Look, I know that almost everyone wants to put a stake through you, but normally those same people are more focused on food than people during breakfast so you will remain intact."
"I don't know-"
"And I'll be there with you. We can have breakfast with Beth and Zeke."
Scarlett asked, "Will they like me?"
Cody replied, "Are you kidding me? They like just about everyone here so I'm sure they'll enjoy you, but if they appear frightened or uneasy around you, I'll break the ice to make it as comfortable as possible."
"Well, alright. I guess we need to start appearing more often instead of being two hobbits within their holes."
"The fact that you made a Tolkien reference just made my day."
"You're a fan of his work?"
"Yes actually. Me, Beth, Zeke, Harold, Sam, Cameron, Noah, and Dawn have formed some sort of a Tolkien club, but it's also an intellectual club. We'll tell you more about it at breakfast."
It didn't take them long to reach the lobby. As they headed toward the dining room, however, Scarlett became a little bit more reluctant with each step. To help her, Cody grabbed her hand and helped her get to the edge of the dining room. When she felt her hand being held by Cody, Scarlett turned as red as her namesake. She felt embarrassed that not only was her hand being held, but by a guy, and yet, she liked it Cody was also embarrassed since this was the first time that he got to hold a girl's hand and she hadn't called him a pervert. This excitement for the both of them created some sort of spark that came together when hands interlocked with one another. It felt unique and made them ponder whether or not they had fallen in love with the other person and that it was more than their body hormones acting up. Before they went in for breakfast, they let go of each other and, unknown to either one, allowed the massive redness of blush to disappear from their cheeks.
When they first stepped into the dining room, they found Beth and Ezekiel near the buffet that was toward the back of the room. It didn't help matters that almost all of the other teens were in the dining room having breakfast. "Oh, Christ," Scarlett mumbled out.
"Just relax Scarlett. We have each other and that's all we need." Cody pointed out.
At first, when they entered the dining room, things were normal, but as Scarlett and Cody passed each table while heading toward the back, the campers had several different expressions. Some were surprised that Cody and Scarlett were hanging out. Some were puzzled by how two polar opposite people were going to have breakfast together. Some didn't have any emotions at all but looked in silence, and some wanted to leap out and tear one of them, particularly Scarlett, to shreds but were held back by other campers. Both of them noticed several campers from last season starting to head toward them, but cooler heads prevailed and prevented all hell from breaking loose.
Once when they made it to the buffet, Cody and Scarlett grabbed some food before heading to Beth and Ezekiel's table. "Good morning guys!" Cody told them as he sat next to Ezekiel.
"Good morning Cody. How are you, eh?" Ezekiel asked.
"I'm good. I had the most wonderful night of sleep last night and now, it's being added onto by this wonderful breakfast."
"Who's the girl with you?" Beth asked. "I don't think I've met her before."
"Well, allow me to introduce myself since I don't think I've met you two either. I'm Scarlett and from what Cody told me, you must be Ezekiel and Beth, respectfully."
"Correct." Both of them said at once.
While Scarlett ate her breakfast, Beth and Ezekiel were trying to remember what was so controversial about her, based on the conversations they overheard from the other teens. It took a moment for the answer to dawn on them, but when it did, both sets of their eyes nearly popped out of their heads.
"You wouldn't happen to be the Scarlett that tried to blow up an island and everyone on it?" Beth asked. Scarlett abruptly stopped eating since she had no idea what was going to happen next.
"Is she going to kill us, eh?" Ezekiel replied. "I don't wanna die ya know, eh."
"Guys. Scarlett is not like that anymore. We talked yesterday and she told me about her recovery and how she's very stabilized now. Trust me, if she wasn't, we wouldn't have hung out yesterday and be here right now. No offense."
Scarlett cooly said, "None taken."
"So just talk to her and get to know her." Cody pointed out.
"But how do we start?" Beth asked.
"Well, I don't where you guys are going to start, but did I mention that she was a huge Tolkien fan?"
After having to help Beth and Ezekiel break the ice several times, the two of them got to know Scarlett and it turned out that Cody was right, Scarlett was a well-read intellectual who actually spoke in a simple language that they both could understand. They spent most of the breakfast talking about Tolkien and how his work has inspired writers, artists, and intellectuals alike. They also talked about farming and both Beth and Ezekiel asked Scarlett for her opinion over what kind of crops they should grow that wouldn't drain the soil. Scarlett said that at some point during the summer, they could experiment with different plants and see how the results go if they wanted to. Beth and Ezekiel kept that in mind, along with getting Scarlett inducted into their Tolkien club the next time they meet. As far as they were concerned, Scarlett was part of the club, but they still had their work cut out for convincing the other four members. So it was decided that while Beth and Ezekiel would talk to Cameron, Noah, and Dawn while Scarlett and Cody would talk to Harold and Sam.
It didn't take long to find Harold and Sam since Cody knew where they would be at, in the game room. It wasn't hard to locate since they could hear theme music coming from the other side of the resort. By the time the both of them had made it, they knew that as soon as they left, they were going to have their hearing checked out since they believed their eardrums had all but been shattered.
Cody and Scarlett stood in the doorway as Harold and Sam played Halo. Scarlett, in particular, was quite surprised that someone like Harold or Sam would play a game that had a lot of violence in it, but as she learned from yesterday, everyone has their own illusions and the image underneath always surprised everyone.
"Hey, guys?" Cody asked, trying to get Harold and Sam's attention. They didn't hear Cody and kept shooting.
Again, no response.
After trying three times, Cody decided to do the one thing he didn't want to do. He reached into his pants pockets and after fumbling around trying to find it, pulled out an air horn. Scarlett knew what he was going to do and quickly covered her ears. Cody mentally counted to three before pushing down on the button as hard as he could. The noise was so defending that Harold and Sam dropped their gaming consoles and fell onto the floor.
"What was that for?" Sam asked.
"Didn't you know that we were about to get to the final level of the game? Gosh." Harold added.
"Well, if you hadn't had the noise up so loud, I wouldn't have done that," Cody replied. "Now that I got your attention, I'll say what I came here for. I've found a new member for our Tolkien intellectual club."
"And pray tell who is it?"
"Yeah, I want to find out."
Cody stepped off to the side and done a greeting gesture as Scarlett came to face with Harold and Sam. The moment that both boys saw her, however, the breath left their lungs and they couldn't breathe for a moment until Sam finally broke the silence. "Her? You want her to join our club? Have you lost your mind?!"
"This woman is nuts, literally nuts! I'm surprised that you are with her Cody! Did you lose some brain cells or something? I wouldn't even be near her with a samurai sword."
"For your information, I am a normalized intellectual woman now." Scarlett hissed. "And Cody is around me because he trusts me and I have proven that I have been cured enough to return to normal society."
"But how can we prove that you're not lying? It's just your word against everyone else's." Sam pointed out.
"I'll prove it to you in any way, but you can ask Cody. I am not lying! We spent almost all of yesterday together and we realized that we share more in common than what anyone thought."
"Scarlett's right guys. She's trying to find people that will accept her as who she is, but most of the people here have shunned her, including both of your girlfriends. So before you get high and mighty on her, think back to the time people shunned you both."
Harold and Sam thought of Cody's words and remembered the times during their first seasons where they were shunned by most of the campers and felt lonely until things changed and some of them slowly accepted each of them as who they were, with some of them developing close friendships with them, and with both guys scoring a girlfriend in terms of Leshawna and Dakota respectfully. It didn't seem real that it took place two summers ago, and now during their third one at the Playa, another camper was experiencing the same thing that both guys went through. They realized that Cody was right.
"Now that you've said that, I might've been a bit rational. I remember when Leshawna was able to help me not feel lonely."
"And plus, I have no idea what I would have done if it hadn't been for Dakota. Can you forgive us Scarlett and allow us to start on a fresh note?"
"Naturally," Scarlett commented. "Cody has taught me so much about human nature and kindness that I wonder why I hadn't attempted it sooner."
"So, Harold and Sam, can Scarlett join the Tolkien club?" Cody asked, eager to get to the point of their visit.
"Well, I don't see why not as long as she's an intelligent person and has read Tolkien," Sam added.
"I've been intellectual my whole life, Samuel. I entered High School when I was eight and was accepted into college at thirteen. I got my masters in English Literature this year and I'm now working on my doctorate."
"Woah, that's pretty impressive," Harold said. "You must be the smartest person here so you have to be in our club!"
"And plus, I have read everything by Tolkien, from his books to letters and notes. Not to mention that I have a relative who was his next door neighbor for the last few years of his life, and he gave me a box of stuff that Tolkien himself left him when he died and I won't reveal what it is, but it's something that's never been seen before."
"Okay, I didn't know that," Cody told Scarlett. "That's why I want you to join the club. I believe the guys are on board with this."
"As far as I'm concerned, I'm down for it, but you'll still have to persuade Cameron, Noah, and Dawn in order to have Scarlett join," Harold replied.
"Actually, Beth and Ezekiel went to talk with them and we're going to go find them and see how that went." Scarlett pointed out.
"We should let you guys go do that, but if you ever want to play video games with us, Scarlett, feel free to do so," Sam added.
"And we also do Dungeons and Dragons, so if that's more up your alley, you can do that instead."
As Cody and Scarlett started to leave, Scarlett told Harold and Sam that she would keep their offers in mind. Before, she wouldn't have considered doing something like that since it would've been sacrilege by her standards and personality, but those qualities had changed and Scarlett was starting to wonder about things outside her box that interested her and wanted to see if she could enjoy them, such as board games and video games.
Luckily for them, Cody and Scarlett didn't have to walk far since they saw Beth and Ezekiel heading their way, and from the facial expressions they had, it didn't look too good. "Well guys, I got good news and bad eh. Which one do ya wanna hear first?"
They both replied, "The good news."
"Well, the good news is that we talked to Cameron and he loved the idea of you joining."
"And the bad news?"
Beth and Ezekiel looked at each other nervously before mumbling out, "Noah and Dawn refused to listen to us and want you both to talk to them by the poolside."
If the roof of the resort hadn't been solid, it would have come off when Cody and Scarlett released a screaming, "What?!"
"I told them that was the reaction you both were going to have, but Noah didn't believe me."
"Did Dawn say anything?" Cody asked.
"She only said a few things here and there, but she spent most of the time meditating. Well, Zeke and I are going to go and we'll catch up with you guys later."
"Good luck guys. You'll need it eh."
After they left, Scarlett sighed in frustration. "Well, that's great. We'll have to go talk to Noah and I'm sure that he and Dawn will be the hardest ones to convince."
"Noah has a heart of an artichoke so convincing him to do anything is almost a labor of Hercules. However, Dawn has a great influence over him so she might be able to help us out." Cody pointed out.
"You do have a point, and she might be able to see that I've truly changed, based on the rumors I've heard of her having supernatural powers, which I've been interested in seeing in person."
"Well, before we can do both things, we have to do one thing first."
"And what would that be?"
"Change into our swimsuits. We'll probably be out there for a while and I don't want us to end up becoming fried eggs, and plus, we can have lunch out there. How does that sound?"
"Sounds good to me, but I've never owned a bathing suit, so I'll have to improvise a little within my wardrobe if that's alright."
"No complaints from me."
Ten minutes later, Cody and Scarlett made it out to the poolside. While Cody wore his regular swim trunks, Scarlett improvised and wore a very thin linen dress that allowed the cool air to flow through. As they made their way toward Noah and Dawn, Scarlett had a good look at Cody and he was fairly built despite his size. He wasn't muscular or fat like most of the guys but was in between. What impressed Scarlett the most was the fact that Cody had some muscle on him and she was surprised that his body had been so well hidden underneath the clothes he wore on daily basis. Scarlett had to look away since she didn't want to obsess over Cody's body, but she couldn't help it. Although she was a prim and proper feminine, with the dress she wore designed to provide the maximum coverage while keeping her cool, everything had changed for her since yesterday and she was starting to embrace this change, but at the same time, she kept her head out of the clouds since she wanted to keep everything realistic and didn't want to end up making another illusion with Cody.
Unknown to Scarlett, Cody was doing the same thing that she was doing. Although Scarlett's outfit was fairly modest, when the wind blew a certain direction, it allowed more than what she anticipated to be revealed due to the fabric almost clinging to her figure. When it came to Scarlett's figure, Cody was impressed with how she maintained a well proportional body. Sure, Scarlett wasn't like the gorgeous model girls who had a thin body, but she wasn't chubby either. In Cody's eyes, Scarlett had maintained the ideal proportions that a woman should have. He tried not to eye Scarlett to the point that he almost acted like a pervert, but he couldn't help but wonder if he was falling for her. He paused before shaking that thought out of his head since he didn't want to jump to conclusions too quickly. He was just thankful that he found a girl that didn't shut him down as soon he spoke, but rather listened to him and wanted to do things with him. He hadn't had a feeling like that since his crush on Gwen.
Gwen. Just thinking about her name caused him to feel a small pain within his heart, but a quick look at Scarlett caused that pain to go away.
As they got closer to Noah and Dawn, Scarlett asked, "Do you think this will go well?"
"Honestly I have no idea. It'll either end really well or really badly. There's no in between when talking to Noah." Cody replied.
"Geez. That makes me feel better." She added.
"I know Scarlett, but we'll never know until we try." He told her.
"I hope you know that I was being sarcastic."
"I did. I was just adding onto it."
When they finally made it to the poolside, they found Noah and Dawn sitting together while they were reading and meditating respectfully. Cody and Scarlett made their way over, but before they could even greet themselves, Noah saw them come over and put down his book. "About time you guys showed up. I've been wanting to get behind this case whether or not the psycho woman is putting on a show or has truly changed."
"Noah, please," Dawn replied. "That's not the way you said you would greet Cody and Scarlett."
"I know, but I'm having a hard time trying to see that she's changed and even if you think so, I wouldn't want her in our club since I don't trust her," Noah added while pointing to Scarlett.
"Is that a way to greet a person? To throw their name under the bus before they have a chance to say one syllable?" Scarlett asked.
"No it isn't but when a person who tried to kill everyone on an island for a million dollars, you can't help but be suspicious." Noah pointed out.
"Look, Noah, you may not believe that Scarlett has changed, but she has. We came over here to discuss her membership into our Tolkien club, but since you aren't convinced, we'll have to make you change your mind." Cody told his best friend.
"And how are you going to do that?"
"We'll use Dawn. If anyone knows the absolute truth, it's her. We can have the girls relax and Dawn can read Scarlett's auras. Will that convince you otherwise?"
"Perhaps, but I still think that even when Dawn does her aura reading, Scarlett is going to be a psycho nut that you shouldn't hang around with?"
"You know about that?"
"Of course. Ever since breakfast, that's been the one thing that's been talked about all around here. Everyone has believed that you two have lost your senses."
"As much as I would love to disagree with you right now, can we start on the aura reading?" Scarlett asked. "I may not believe in that stuff, but if it clears the air, I'll do it."
"Yes, we can start. And I've been wanting to read your aura for quite some time so I'm quite pleased that you'll be finally doing it." Dawn added.
Dawn and Scarlett sat down and faced each other. "Just close your eyes, hold out your hands, and relax," Dawn told Scarlett as the former done the same. When Scarlett felt Dawn's hands touch her, it almost sent a shock through her body since she never felt hands like that before, but she shook it off and relaxed. The girls spent several minutes with their eyes closed, holding each other's hands. Even Noah and Cody were quiet, as they never saw an aura reading before, despite the fact that Noah had dated Dawn for quite some time, but he always either didn't pay attention by reading or was elsewhere when these reading occurred.
Finally, Dawn broke the silence. "Scarlett's aura has had a long history. When I first saw it, it was dominated by red, orange-yellow, black, and dirty brown colors. This meant that although Scarlett was an intellectual who was obsessed with details, scientific facts, and a perfectionist appearance, she was full of anger, had negativity toward everyone, was unforgiving and ruthless."
"Told you that she hasn't changed," Noah told Cody.
"However, her aura has changed. Although it still has orange-yellow, her aura is dominated by bright pink, deep red, light blue, silver, and white colors. Scarlett possesses the same traits that are associated with orange-yellow, but now, she is a strong-willed person who has nurtured herself, found peace and truth, is looking for purity and is even in love."
Hearing the word love made Scarlett's eyes shoot open. She looked at Dawn and the guys while in shock that what Dawn said was the truth. "Was what I said the truth, Scarlett?" Dawn asked.
"Dawn is right. What she revealed was the truth." Scarlett added. With this in mind, the three of them turned their eyes to Noah. He didn't say anything until the six eyes looked at him like owls, which started to creep him out. "Alright, alright. Perhaps I was in the wrong."
"Alright, I was in the wrong. It's obvious that based on my girlfriend's readings that Scarlett has changed, so I owe you an apology. I hope you'll forgive me for coming off as arrogant and rude, plus Dawn and I would like to get to know you." Noah said as he extended his hand out toward Scarlett.
"Apology accepted," Scarlett replied as she shook Noah's hand.
"Now, let's get to business shall we?" Cody asked as the other released a few laughs. "What?"
"Before we can do business, let's have lunch. I'm sure we're all ready to eat." Dawn added.
The four of them had lunch and Scarlett and Cody ended up spending close to three hours with Noah and Dawn. While they mostly discussed intellectual topics, they learned a little bit about each other, and Noah wanted to induct Scarlett into the club on the spot but decided to wait until the next meeting after hearing that she had some never before seen Tolkien papers that she would like to show to everyone. Scarlett was impressed to find out that Dawn was very much like Beren since one of her family members had also meet Tolkien and ended up being the influence of the character immortalized within the legends of The Silmarillion. All of them were fascinated to learn that Noah was in the works of learning the Elvish language so that they could learn how to write and speak in Elvish, particularly Tengwar. Noah estimated that by next summer, they would be able to learn how to speak and write it since he wanted to master it before teaching the others.
For the next few days afterward, neither one of them did much and mostly stay in their suite. They often talked most of the time when they both weren't reading, sleeping, or showering. Most of the time, Cody would be painting something so while Scarlett would talk to him, he would show her how he made a work of art. As the days dwindled on, both of them kept growing closer and closer, and they both came to realize that they had to feel for the other one, but they were afraid of making things awkward, so they tried their best to ignore the thoughts in their head, but each day saw more and more thoughts about the other stay in their heads to the point that they often spend their nights awake, staring at the ceiling, trying to figure out what to do.
One morning, they both decided that it was either confess their feelings or die. They both headed toward the parlor, with the intent of speaking to one another, when they ran into each other in the middle.
"Well Scarlett, I was actually on my way to see you when I bumped into you," Cody commented.
"How ironic. I was going to do the same." Scarlett added.
"I call that a good thing since there is something important I need to tell you," Cody added.
"I also need to tell you something important that I want to get off of my chest," Scarlett said.
"Why don't we sit down?" Cody asked.
"I believe we both will need to." Scarlett pointed out as they both made their way to a sofa and sat down next to each other. For a few moments, they didn't say much and the atmosphere was rather awkward for them. Both of them wanted to start but was afraid to start. After a few minutes of nothing but silence, Scarlett broke it by saying, "Oh Christ, I'll go first!"
Cody huddled in fear from Scarlett's sudden outburst. "Sorry about that Cody. I didn't mean to get verminous toward you. I was just wanting to open up."
"It's alright Scarlett, I understand. You can start." Cody replied.
Scarlett took a deep breath before diving in. "Well, here's the thing. I've been happy ever since you started to hang out with me and that contained when we became roommates. I never expected to find someone that understood me and appreciates me as the person I am now and not the person that I was. I was also happy that we shared a lot of the same tastes in common. I had no idea that you had a deep fascination for art and plus, you've started to get interested in literature and other passionate subjects that I like. However, that's not what I want to talk to you about."
"Oh. What is it then?"
"That's the thing. I feel so awkward trying to admit it, so just bear with me. At first, I didn't know how to act when I was around you, but as we kept hanging out more and more, I felt a bond between us, a spark from our atoms. The bond kept developing over a matter of a few days and I started to realize that I was in love with you. I don't want to be like a crazed schoolgirl who has her first crush. That's not who I am. However, I've had this feeling for a long time now. I can't stop thinking about you and the more time I spend around you, the more I realize that you're the first guy that I've developed feelings toward. I really like you Cody, but I don't want things to be awkward for us if you don't share those feelings. If you don't and want to be close friends, I can live with that. I really can."
After Scarlett finished speaking, Cody didn't say a thing for a few moments, which almost felt like a lifetime for Scarlett. Finally, he spoke. "Hmm, that was quite a lot to take in Scarlett, but I'm sure you'll be just as understandable. See, when we first meet, I was afraid that your psycho side was going to come on someone like me, that's been known as the pervert around here. I'm not that kind of person anymore. I haven't been in quite some time. I had changed a long while ago, and while most of my friends saw that, everyone else refused to acknowledge that I was a new creature. However, when we first hung out, it gave me a chance to shine with someone I hadn't ever meet and in the process, be able to get to know you as well. The more time that we've spent together, the more that I came to know you, and the more that I fell in love with you. At first, I didn't want to rush to any judgments and have them explode in my face, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I've never liked a girl the way I do you. Not even Gwen ever got that much attention. I remember when Dawn said that you were in love and I didn't think much about it until last night and it hit me that you were in love with me. I was actually on my way to your room since I was wondering if you would like to go out with me?"
"As in terms of a relationship or a date?"
Without thinking, Scarlett grabbed Cody and gave him a kiss. As they both embraced each other, they found each other's lips to taste like strawberries and cherries; both sweet and savory to the soul and leaving a fruitful taste on each other's lips. It was an experience neither one of them had went through before and although it was awkward at first, they quickly accepted it, almost not wanting to stop. Time wasn't a factor and they kept kissing, wanting to start their declaration of love toward one another.
They finally broke the kiss in order to get some air back into their bodies since neither one of them had breathed the whole time. After catching her breath, Scarlett remarked, "Yes! Of course, I'll go out with you."
"I thought that kiss was the answer," Cody replied, "but either way, you've just made me the happiest man alive."
"And you've made me the happiest woman alive."
"So now, we need to decide what to do for our first date. Any suggestions?"
"How about an early morning picnic where after we eat a hearty breakfast, you can paint if you want and I'll start on Carlyle's A History of the French Revolution unless you want to do something different."
"No, that actually sounds perfect. While you go and get ready, I can head down to the kitchen and ask them to make us some stuff to put in a picnic basket."
"Do you even have a picnic basket?"
"No, but I think Owen has a picnic basket set that includes utensils, plates, and a huge blanket. I'm sure he won't mind me asking to borrow it."
"Sounds like a plan to me except how are we going to get out without the rest of the players seeing us?"
"Oh, there's a backdoor hardly anyone knows about. We can go out that way."
"Alright, I guess everything's settled then. I better go and get ready while you gather the picnic basket and food. And while you're getting ready, I'll get your art supplies and Carlyle's book together."
"That'll work, but before I go, do you want me to carry the picnic basket or you?"
"I'll carry it since you'll be having a canvas, your brushes, paints, and an easel while I'll only have a book so it'll be easier on you. Alright?"
"Alright. That works for me."
"'Mais', said poor Louis, 'c'est une révolte, Why, this is a revolt!' — Sire', answered, Liancourt, 'it's not a revolt,— it is a revolution.'"
"I think that's good enough Scarlett. You're read almost the first 140 pages so you can rest your vocals." Cody told his girlfriend as he looked up from his canvas.
"Sorry about that Cody. I guess I got so absorbed in reading this to you aloud that I lost track of the pages, but what do you think of it?" Scarlett asked.
"Well, Carlyle's no Gibbon, but his history of the French is well written. Say, since I've not gotten far into the first volume of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, how would like for me to restart and read it aloud to you. I may struggle a bit, but I like it when you read aloud and I want to return the favor."
"We can figure out a reading schedule later on once when we get back."
To say that Cody and Scarlett's first date was ordinary was an understatement. They both had the best time of their lives.
After gathering all of the stuff, Cody and Scarlett managed to sneak out of the back way without anyone noticing them. For their first date, instead of wearing their normal attire, they dressed up a little. Cody wore khakis with a nice polo while Scarlett wore a simple brown sundress with a large hat. They found a hill that suited their needs quite well. It allowed a good spot to be able to picnic while supporting a view of the nearby landscape along with a cool breeze that blew in their favor.
The breakfast they had was mostly fruits, with sides of various meats, pastries, and loaves of bread. After they ate their hearts out and starred at the morning sky above them, Scarlett read aloud while Cody did a painting. He told Scarlett that it was going to be a surprise when he got finished. It had been two hours since Scarlett started to read Carlyle's work. Mid-morning was about to start.
"How's the painting coming along?" Scarlett asked.
"I'm about done. I'm working on the clouds now so you can come and see it." Cody replied.
Scarlett placed her book down and headed to where Cody was painting. She was impressed by it. It looked similar to a Monet inspired painting called, Two Girls with Parasols at Fladbury. She noticed that in the middle of the painting, there was a woman with a large hat reading a book and next to him was a guy with a buret and a long scarf painting on a canvas. After looking at canvas closely, Scarlett realized who it was. "You painted us?" She asked.
"I did. I was going to do a landscape, but I got inspired when I saw you reading that I decided to change the focus. The image of me comes from a sketch a friend of mine done before I left for the summer that I have on my phone so I used it to indicate our relationship." He acknowledged.
"This is awesome. I love this painting so much!" Scarlett exclaimed.
"Well, I'm glad that you think highly of it since I want you to have it," Cody added.
"This has to be the nicest gift anyone has given me. Thank you so much!"
"Oh, it's not a problem. I wanted to do it because I love you, Scarlett. You're the first woman that I've truly loved."
"I want to be able to repay you back Cody and I think I know how."
"Alright. I'm listening."
"Well, as you know, we don't live that far apart from each other. I live in Montreal while you're in Quebec and I want you to have a reminder of me whenever we're apart so that we can still be within each other's lives when we can't see each other. You painted me a picture that I will have to remind me of you. I want you to paint my portrait so that you can have a reminder of me."
"Do you have any idea of how you want to be painted in, how to be painted, and what style?"
"I believe these can answer that for you," Scarlett answered as she handed Cody some photographs. "This is Bette Davis in Mr. Skeffington, made in 1944 by Warner Brothers. In the film, she plays a socialite named Fanny Trellis who marries a well-known banker named Job Skeffington. Well, he commissions a portrait of Fanny and that's what I want my portrait to be based on, that of Fanny's portrait."
"So you want the painting done in a traditional way as shown in these photographs but with your face on the painting correct?" Cody asked.
"That's right. Scarlett said.
"You have this well thought out. You have pictures of the painting in detail, the size of the painting, and the colors of the outfit she wore." Cody replied. "The only issue is where am I going to get the costume at Scarlett?"
"I actually have a full reproduction of the costume I brought with me that we can use," Scarlett added. Hearing Scarlett's answer caused Cody to give her a questionable look. "What? I thought Chris would've done something with costumes so I bought it. Best to be safe than sorry right?"
"I can't argue with that. We better start heading back if we want to start on that portrait soon."
"How long do you think it will take to paint it?"
"Normally, I can do a painting in a few hours without much trouble, but since I'll be doing a lot of detail and painting in a more traditional way, it may take up to several days to complete this if that's fine with you."
"It won't matter to me about the time it takes. It matters that I'm giving you something as a sign of my appreciation for you."
"Well, you're already giving me your time to do this so I appreciate that. I really do. You'll be the first major portrait that I've ever done."
"It's nothing and I am honored to be your first."
"Oh, would you mind if I do it in oil instead of watercolor or acrylic since oil will allow more details to be painted."
"I won't mind. Whatever works best for you, I'll go with it."
Once when they got back to the Playa, both Scarlett and Cody was relieved to find that it was only ten in the morning so they would have plenty of time to get the portrait done. While Scarlett was getting ready, with some help from Beth, Cody was trying to figure out how to set up for the portrait. After surveying the room for a few minutes, he decided to alter the painting just a bit. Since the room had no chairs that matched the one Fanny sat in her portrait, Cody decided that one of the couches would work better. Luckily, the couch near Scarlett's bedroom was in an area where there was plenty of sunlight, but there were paintings on the couch. So Cody moved the paintings off to the side and dragged the couch out a little so that there would be some light hitting it. After that, he got his drawing tools and paints gathered up, waiting for Scarlett to come out.
An hour later, he heard Scarlett's bedroom door close which meant that Beth must've left. Moments later, he heard the door to the parlor open and out came Scarlett. Cody was taken back by Scarlett's outfit. It was faithfully accurate to the photograph of the outfit he had, even down to the feathers in her hair. "How do I look?" She asked.
"Amazing." Cody blurted out. "I've never seen beauty like this before."
"Well, I hope you haven't, but I know what you mean."
"Oh Scarlett, I hope you didn't mind but I had to improvise on the sitting arrangement. I pulled out the couch that had the major canvases on it for you to sit on. I didn't know if you wanted any of them on it or no."
"That's alright Cody. I mean, as long as the pose is accurate, the sitting arrangement won't matter to me. Neither will the background."
"Well, let's get started shall we?"
"Yes. Let's get this started. You have no idea how excited I am about this."
Scarlett went to the couch and sat the same pose Fanny did in her portrait. Cody looked at Scarlett to make sure that the pose matched the photographs when he noticed a small detail was off. "Wait." He commented. He went and took one of Scarlett's curls and moved it to her neck. As he went back, he thought of something and decided to remove Scarlett's glasses. "Can you see alright?" He asked her. Scarlett nodded yes, so he replied,"Now we're ready."
"Just relax," Cody mumbled while he went to his canvas while picking up a paint brush and dipped it into one of the oil paints. He then applied the paint onto the canvas. The portrait had begun.
Scarlett's heart was pounding out of her chest the whole time as Cody would occasionally look at her before diverting his eyes back to the canvas. She didn't move or say anything, except to blink. She was told that if needed, she could have a break, but she didn't want one. She didn't want to mess this up for the guy that she really liked so she kept sitting on the couch, in the same pose, for most of the day.
The afternoon had come and went. The sun was starting to set, which meant that evening would be on them in a matter of hours. Cody looked at the clock on the mantel. "I think that's enough for one day." He sighed as he put his paintbrush down. "Would you like to see it so far? Or do you want me to wait until it's finished?"
"I will wait until it's finished. I don't want to see it until then." She replied. "Well, I'll let you put your supplies away while I get out of this costume."
Scarlett went to her room to change, with the notion that it would take less time to get out of the costume than in it. While she was doing that, Cody was putting his paint supplies away when he heard a knock on the door. "Odd." He thought to himself. He opened the door to find Noah and Beth standing there. "Hi, guys this is a surprise. Come in."
"We won't be long," Noah commented. "Where's Scarlett at?"
"She's getting out of her costume. I've been painting her portrait all day." Cody added while he pointed to the canvas. "What do you guys think?"
"I think it looks wonderful. How long did it take you to do this?" Beth asked.
"Well it took most of the day to do the background, with the cherry wall paneling, gold leaf details, and the green couch she's sitting on, so I only had time to do her head and hair, including the feathers, before calling it quits."
"Is that for her?" Noah added.
"No, it's for me. She's posing for a portrait for me to have so that I can always look at her when we're not together. I've never painted a portrait in detail or done oil before so it's fun."
Cody took a sheet and covered the canvas, making sure that it wouldn't touch the paint and smear it. He took the rest of his art supplies and placed them on the table next to the canvas so that it would be easy for him to start whenever he painted the next time. He went and changed into some sleeping shorts and a t-shirt, after noticing that both Noah and Beth were in their nightclothes.
Scarlett came back out sometime later, wearing her plum floral kimono. "Noah, Beth. What brings you guys up here?"
"Well, we wanted to wait until you both were together, so now Noah can tell you why."
"Beth, I'll be thanking you for years to come."
"Was that sarcasm or not?"
"I'm not going to respond to that."
"Uh, guys, the point?"Cody and Scarlett asked.
"Hold on, I was about to get to it. So, Bridgette and Geoff decided to have a huge sleepover feast tonight, with Geoff housing the boys and Bridgette housing the girls."
"How does this involve us?"
"And why are they having this?"
"To put it in frankness, they want a night of supposed fun so that the guys and girls can get to know one another and they are making it mandatory for every one of us to be at the respected sleepover party, including you two."
Fear came onto the both of them. "Is this a sick joke?" Cody asked.
"I'm afraid not," Noah added.
"Oh Christ, have they lost their minds? The moment I get in there, they'll tear me to pieces like lions in the den." Scarlett pointed out. "They won't stop until they taste my blood!"
"I promise you, Scarlett, Bridgette assured me that no one will be harming anybody," Beth said.
"I still feel like I'll be facing a firing squad."
"As much as I would like to discuss that, we'll need to head on soon before they send Duncan and Courtney after us. And you know they are." Noah duly pointed out while everyone just shivered at the thoughts that came to their heads.
"The last thing we need is to have the door chopped down again."
"You wasn't here last summer, and needless to say, Courtney went nuts after Duncan cheated on her with Gwen, and in the process, made all of our lives miserable."
"At least she got accepted back after Duncan dated her again."
"The fact that she got accepted after being a psychopath, but not me, really frustrates me to a level that I'd rather not talk about. Agreed?"
"Agreed." Everyone replied.
After locking up the rooms and switching out the lights, so that no one would get the idea of breaking into Cody and Scarlett's suite of rooms during the middle of the night, the four of them headed toward Geoff and Bridgette's rooms respectfully, which were on the second floor. They walked down the stairs, with Cody and Scarlett each feeling like they had entered their own infernos. Each step was closer to the gates of hell they had to enter, which neither one wanted to, but had no choice but to.
When they made it down to the second floor, Cody and Noah stopped in front of a door that had a lot of yelling coming from it. "Bridgette's room is at the end of the hallway," Noah commented. He went to knock on the door, but Cody grabbed his hand.
"Wait." He replied. Cody went up to Scarlett and gave her a hug, before kissing her. "Good luck." He told her.
"You too." She added before starting to walk down the hallway. She turned and gave Cody a look that said, "Help me" before disappearing toward Bridgette's room.
"Well, here goes nothing," Cody commented moments later, breaking the silence. Noah nodded and knocked on the door. After it was opened, Cody and Noah stepped in, only to be greeted by the sight of DJ and Rodney wrestling on the floor. Some of the guys were shouting and arguing amongst each other, others were eating and drinking and some were even just talking.
"Come on DJ! You can beat him!"
"Rodney, you got this!"
That was all that could be heard until moments later, Rodney gained the upper hand and pinned DJ down. Some of the guys cheered as money was headed their way. They had been betting.
"Hey Cody, glad ya finally made it bro!" Geoff commented after realizing that Cody made it. All of the other guys looked at Cody, with different motions. At this, Cody groaned. It was going to be one hell of a night, maybe even a night to remember.
"Oh, Christ." He mumbled.
He wondered how Scarlett was doing.
When Scarlett and Beth arrived at Bridgette's door, the former tried to run back to her room, but the later managed to get a good grip and stopped her. "I know that you don't want to face the girls. I wouldn't either if I were in your shoes, but you don't have to be afraid. You have me and Dawn. We can be your support system and divert the conversation if it starts to make you angry."
"I really appreciate that Beth. I do. We might as well get the dreaded thing over with."
Beth knocked on the door and just like with Noah and Cody, the door opened, but they didn't see who opened it. The girls stepped into the room and unlike the barbaric episode in the guy's room, the girls were mostly eating and sitting around, talking or watching something on the tv screen.
"Hey, Scarlett! We're so glad you made it. The real fun can start now."
Scarlett quickly moved to the bed and sat next to Bridgette and Dawn. She looked around and knew that this evening was going to end badly for someone. She just hoped that someone wouldn't be her. She knew that some of the girls wanted to lash out and psychically harm her, but Scarlett was determined not to let that happen. She wasn't going to give them that advantage. She was going to stick to her guns and blast them no matter what happened.
Scarlett looked around and saw all of the eyes divert to her. Most of the eyes were that of anxious evil glares, that directed to a person that was shunned or isolated by everyone else. Luckily, she found a sympathetic look in Dawn, Beth, and Bridgette's eyes. Unlike the other girls, they were filled with warmth and kindness, something that she wanted from everyone but knew it wasn't going to be a godsend.
"Oh, Christ." She mumbled.
She wondered how Cody was doing.
With Cody, he sat next to Noah and Harold and for a while, didn't say anything while the guys just ate and chilled around. He became lost in his thoughts. He didn't want to be here. He wanted to be back in his room, relaxing away from everyone, being within his own world and having Scarlett next to him.
Just thinking about Scarlett made him miss her, despite the fact that she was just down the hall. He wished that she was next to him. Although he had a few friends with the guys, he felt isolated from most of them. They never understood him or wanted to know him despite the fact that he was part of the first group of people that had been on the show. He looked around and saw Shawn, Topher, and Dave talking to themselves. He knew that out of all of the Pahkitew males, these two located Scarlett the most. Max didn't even seem to care anymore since he kept making kissing faces at a photo of Staci. Rodney, Leonardo, and Beardo never interacted with her but went with the opinion of the others.
Cody was snapped out of his thoughts when he heard a question. "I'm sorry. Could you repeat that?"
"I said what's the deal with you and psychopath?" Justin asked.
"Well, for one, she's not a psychopath. She has an actual name-" Cody tired to point out before being interrupted by Dave. "We all know what her name but she's still a psychopath!"
"This is coming from the guy that tried to kill Sky during the finale. You go nuts and everyone thinks is alright but when Scarlett goes nuts, everyone thinks it's a crime. Have you lost your fucking mind?"
"Dave is right. She tried to blow up an island and take the million!" Shawn pointed out.
"Yet, Dave tired to kill Sky and take her million. I don't see any difference in that, which means that you guys have a double standard against Scarlett." Cody replied.
"It's not that we have a double standard," Topher added, "but we just don't want to associate with her since we don't want to be killed."
"You don't get it, do you?" Cody asked. "Scarlett is cured! She has tried to get acceptance back and to ask for forgiveness from almost every one of you, but none of you guys give her the chance! You shoot her down and make a scapegoat without giving her chance to explain herself! She was hurting until we found each other by accident and I had been her cure. You can ask Harold and Zeke and Cameron and Noah and they will tell you that she has changed and is a different Scarlett now. She's not what she used to be. The old Scarlett is dead."
"And how do we know this?" Dave asked.
Before Cody could answer, they heard a phone go off and looked to see Geoff answer. "Hey babe, what's up?"
None of the guys knew what Bridgette said, but Geoff went, "WHAT?!" before quickly sighing, "Alright, we're on our way" before hanging up.
"What was that about?" Owen asked.
"We need to head to Bridgette's room now. Apparently, Sky decided to fight Scarlett and things are starting to get bad." Geoff replied.
Cody's eyes widened when he heard that Scarlett was about to beat up. His protector instincts went into overdrive and he leaped to the door. He threw it opened and ran down the hallway toward Bridgette's room, with all of the guys right behind him.
Things started pretty civilly for Scarlett while in Bridgette's room. Most of the girls watched a chick flick or were eating so Scarlett stayed in her thoughts, though she regretted not bring her book to read.
While the girls were watching a movie, that in her opinion was of lower quality and horrible plot, Scarlett felt isolated. All of the girls were in their own groups, and even with the small relevant number she had, they were within their own huddles. How she felt agonizing being shunned by the women when she wanted nothing more than acceptance and to show that she wasn't the same person that she used to be. She wished that Cody was next to her so that she could talk to him.
She wondered how he was doing. Although he was just down the hall from her, it felt like they were worlds apart. How she was isolated within the kingdom of beauty and vanity, and what she wouldn't do to get out of there. She looked around and noticed the girls from her season, mainly Sugar, Sky, and Jasmine, were eyeing her evilly. Gwen was also giving her a dirty look as if she didn't trust her despite only knowing parts of her from Cody.
She was snapped out of her thoughts when Dawn tapped on her shoulder and pointed to Courtney. "I'm sorry. Could you repeat that?"
"I said that I'm surprised to see you here Scarlett, with the notable reputation that you have."
"Well, Bridgette wanted all of the girls here and since I'm one of the girls, I'm here-" Scarlett tried to reply, it was interrupted by Sky's outburst. "I didn't want you here and I still don't!"
"Look, I know that what I did was a horrible thing and-"
"Horrible? HORRIBLE?! Of course, it was horrible! You tried to kill all of us for a million dollars and blow up an island in the process."
"You make a big deal over me going psycho?" Scarlett asked. "May I remind you that Dave also went psycho during the finale and tried to kill you for the million also? Or have you forgotten about that?"
"I haven't forgotten about that, but Dave is normal now so I'm not afraid of him." Sky pointed out.
"Wait a moment. Did I just hear that correctly? You accept Dave being normal after being cured of his madness, but yet, when I get cured, you and everyone shuns me and still think of me as dangerous?! That's clearly a double standard."
"Why should we trust you?"
"As I have said it before, I am cured now. My sanity's been restored and I am finding out things about myself before, but if you only got that through you that thick skull of yours, we might be on the same page."
Sky just breathed heavily as she stood up and walked up to Scarlett. Before Scarlett knew what was coming, Sky swung a fist around, but Scarlett managed to duck. Sky than grabbed Scarlett's hair and dragged her onto the ground. Realizing what was going on, Scarlett started to fight back while yelling, "Crazy bitch! Get off of me!"
Cody ran to Bridgette's room and started knocking on the door. When there was no answer, he knocked again. After the second time, he started to beat on the door. "If you don't open this door! I will knock it off of its hedges!" He yelled.
Moments later, the door opened and he ran in. He looked and saw Sky beating Scarlett's head while trying to rip her hair off. Cody stood there speechless for a moment before realizing that his symbol of beauty and love that he was painting was going to be destroyed. Without realizing it, he ran up to the girls, grabbed Sky and threw her off Scarlett. "Lay your fucking hands off my girlfriend!" He roared.
Everyone was taken back by either Cody's outburst or the fact that he called Scarlett his girlfriend. A few moments went by and no one said anything. They were all too afraid of what would happen next. The silence lasted until they heard someone laughing. Everyone looked and saw Gwen, of all people, laughing. "Ooh, this has to be a joke." She pointed out.
"Well, it's not a joke," Cody replied. "Scarlett and I are truly dating."
"Like I believe that, coming from the little pervert that you are," Gwen said. "The perverted guy who claims to be an artist, but isn't talented. Just admit it, Cody, this is all a publicity stunt."
"It's not a public stunt Gwen! Scarlett and I really like each something and she shows me respect and kindness two things which you've never shown me."
"Do you really want to go there with me? I still believe that you are a pervert and taking advantage of Scarlett, you little bast-"
"Now wait just a minute! Cody is not a pervert and I can prove it." Scarlett added.
"Oh, you can? How so?"
"Simple. We found each other when we needed comfort and acceptance and we both realized that we had some sort of bond that grew into a relationship. And as far as the talent is, Cody's a wonderful artist. His art is good, it shows a sign of realism and emotion. And you call yourself an artist? An artist is supposed to have a heart, which is something that you'll never have."
"So you know my life? How about the fact that you are just making a fool of yourself? Let's face it, you two have hardly any connections."
"I will only say this one more time. We have a connection, a deep one that has allowed us to grow closer and we love each other. Besides, you were the reason why Cody was so broken-hearted and I helped him fix that. He has no heart for you now. That's gone. And for Cody and Trent being friends, you treat him like dirt. Hell, even Heather and Courtney show him the right amount of respect and decency. So that makes you a stuck up bitch-"
Scarlett didn't get to finish her sentence as Gwen slapped her face. The force was strong enough to send Scarlett onto the ground. She stood up and looked at Gwen in shock. This, however, was too much for Cody. He went up to Gwen and threw a punch at her face, causing her to fall over a table.
"What the hell man!" Trent yelled. "You just don't go up and punch my girlfriend!"
"I'm sorry but I can't handle this anymore!" Cody yelled back. He looked at Gwen. "You shameless baggage! I thought that by leaving you alone and ending up with a girl of my own would please you, but even that's not enough for me! You want to make my life as miserable, even going as far as to wish that I was dead! I don't understand. I've done nothing but treat you nicely and you've thrown me under the bus so many times! You and everyone have shunned us for reasons none of you explained and all we want was to enjoy the same things you guys get to! Although me and Scarlett, are denied this by almost everyone here, we get the last fucking word! You won't take that away from either one us!"
Cody breathed heavily and walked out of the room. Scarlett coldly glanced at everyone and remarked, "You guys always win. Now you won't have to worry about dealing with us again."
She left the room, looking for Cody since she wanted to be with him and not everyone else. She found Cody crying in the hallway and sat down next to him, allowing him to cry into her shoulder. "I made a fool of myself Scarlett and I made a fool of you."
"No, you didn't." She replied while handing him a tissue. "You revealed the truth. If anyone has blood on their hands, it's them."
"You're right. I've just been overwhelmed these past few days."He added while wiping away the tears. "I'm so sorry. I just ruined your kimono, Scarlett."
"It's alright Cody. I'm sure the worst of the damage came from what happened earlier."
"So now that's over, what do we do?"
"I say that we just head to bed. I think we need a good sleep."
Both Cody and Scarlett got up off of the ground and embraced each other in a deep hug for a few moments, before grabbing each other's hands and started back upstairs to their parlor suite.
A week passed and except for their friends, Cody and Scarlett allowed no one access to their rooms. They didn't leave so some of their friends brought meals to them. During that time, they found comfort in each other and either read or paint to pass the time. Although it felt like a cell being confined to three rooms, it was their choice. They decided to self-exile themselves from everyone due to the backlash they received and closed the doors to the outside world. Even when the days were perfect, and one could smell the lilacs from the garden, they remained inside. They barred the world from coming into their sanctuary. It made them feel somewhat melancholy, but they'd rather had that than to be scorned or humiliated behind their backs.
Cody was working on the portrait. During the past week, he had plenty of time to work on it and was about finished with it. He loved the painting and was excited that it was going home with him. He planned on having hung within his bedroom so that every morning when he woke up, he could see Scarlett and remind himself of how much he loved her.
"Done." He finally commented. I believe this is the longest I've ever worked on a painting. Want to see it, Scarlett?"
"Sure," Scarlett replied while standing up. She walked up to the painting and was finally able to see it for herself. She was blown away by how excursive the painting looked. "Cody this looks better than Fanny's portrait! I love it!"
"I'm glad you like it, Scarlett. Thank you for posing for me."
"Thank you for painting this. I like it so much that I'm almost tempted to ask for a copy."
"Hey now! We never said anything about copies!"
"I'm just messing with you Cody. I'm glad that you'll be taking it home since I think you deserved this more than anyone else."
"Now that we've finished the painting, the question is what do we do now?"
"I don't know about you, but I'm going to get out of this costume and wash all of is makeup off."
"I guess while you're doing that, I'll clean my brushes and put everything back in the room."
Cody gathered the brushes and went to work cleaning them, which would take a while due to the paints being oily. It reminded him why he didn't like oil paints- although they allowed more details to be painted, it took forever to clean up. Luckily, he had done this before so this final time wouldn't be as bad.
After he cleaned the brushes, he gathered the paints and placed them in his bedroom. He grabbed the easel and was putting it up when he heard a knock on the door. He took Scarlett's painting and placed it on the couch. "Coming!" He said as he went and looked through the peephole. He saw Courtney standing there. "Oh, Christ." He thought to himself while unlocking the door.
"Hello, Cody. I know that you're not seeing anyone except your friends after what happened last week, but can I come in?"
"Normally, I'd turn you away Courtney, but since you're here by yourself, come on in."
Courtney stepped in as Cody closed the door. "I apologize for the mess, but I just finished painting Scarlett's portrait so I'm working on cleaning and returning things back to normal."
"I see that you like her from how you painted her," Courtney commented as she examined the portrait. "I had no idea that you were a talented painter. This is good, very good."
Cody commented, "If you want to see more of my work just look around the room."
He left to go use the bathroom for a moment. As he went, he couldn't help but wonder why Courtney came to their rooms. It didn't make sense to him, but nothing made sense following the long week so he shrugged it off as he finished up. When he returned to the parlor, he found Courtney looking at the paintings. "All of these are wonderful. Have you thought about selling some of these since I'd like to buy some."
"Well, I hadn't before, but selling some of these would give me room for some of the recent, and plus, would allow more room in the crate," Cody replied. "So I'll tell you what. You pick out the ones you want and how much you think they're worth, will be how much I'll sell them to you."
"I'll have to go back and get my purse later on."
"Why can't you go back and get it now?"
"Well-" Courtney tried to answer, but heard the door open and out came Scarlett, bun and all. "-I need you guys to come with me."
"How come?" Scarlett asked. "And what are you doing in here?"
"Cody let me in so that I could wait and tell you both that you need to come with me," Courtney replied.
"How come we have to go with you?" Cody asked.
"I can't tell you that. You have to trust me."
"Well, I don't know what to think. Do you Cody?"
"I have no idea either Scarlett."
"Just come with me. It will take only five minutes at the most and then, I'll let you guys be on your way."
"Alright. I see why not. Let's go."
So the three of them took the elevator down to the lobby. When the elevator doors opened, they saw all of the teens standing or sitting around. Cody and Scarlett's eyes widened. It was a trick! A repeat of last week was going to happen they believed so they started to head back to the elevator when they heard someone cry out, "Wait!"
Both of them turned around to see Sky headed toward them. "Don't leave! We have something to say."
"There's nothing to say. I think we've exchanged enough words to last a lifetime." Scarlett replied. She headed toward the elevator but felt someone's hand grab her arm. "Please, don't leave. We want to speak with you both."
"Alright, but if anyone throws an insult our way, we're gone," Cody added.
Sky walked up to Scarlett first. "I owe you an apology. After you left, I thought that I would feel glad, but I felt miserable. I spent the next few days talking to a few people and watching footage from the cameras and I now realize that you've changed. I feel so bad that we shunned you and not give you a chance, but done it to Dave. You both were right. We did a double standard without realizing it. So I and everyone else wants to apologize for shunning you, Scarlett. I hope you can forgive us and allow all of a chance to get to know you."
"Well, it'll take time to heal all of the wounds, but I'll eventually forgive you guys and I'll be more than glad to give you guys a chance to know me better."
Gwen walked up to Cody next. "I should be mad at you punching me in the face, but I deserved it. I hadn't treated you like the friend that I was supposed to be. I didn't accept your artistic talent, your new personality, or anything, and I am so sorry. I never meant to hurt you as bad as I did. I didn't realize that I caused you so much pain. And I'm sorry that I doubted you and Scarlett. It didn't seem to make sense at first, but after talking with several people, I realize that you two are a perfect match each other. You compliment each other really well. And I'm sorry for calling you a pervert when you clearly aren't one. So Cody, do you have it in your heart to forgive all of us that wronged you and allow us the chance to see the real person that you are."
"I've been hurting so long and it's going to take a while to heal, but I'll allow you all the chance, and I forgive you, Gwen. We both forgive all of you that ever wronged us."
All of the campers clapped together and walked up to them while hugging, shaking their hands, or talking to them. Cody and Scarlett looked at each other and smiled. It was a new beginning and the future had never looked brighter.
Weeks passed and Cody and Scarlet finally felt accepted by everyone. Things had gone great for them. Not only did Scarlett get inducted into the Tolkien club, but Cody was able to sell some of his artwork to a few campers and even showed Gwen how to paint, and Scarlett ended up becoming one of the most popular girls at the resort by the end of that summer.
Even when the campers went back home, the books and paintings were packed away, and the goodbyes were said, Cody and Scarlett decided to stay in touch and visit each other as much as they could. Although the summer was great for themselves and their relationship, the future looked bleak as they had two different family types and noticeable differences that could cause problems for them down the road.
Neither one of them was worried though. They were going to stick through and stay with each other no matter what happened. They couldn't know or tell if their families approved of their relationship, but as long as they had each other, neither one cared what their families would think.
Someday, the universe would tell if their views changed and everyone came together in harmony.
Only time would tell them everything.
I thought I was never going to make it to the end of the story! This idea was originally meant to be no more than a few thousand words, and now with this, it'll be over 16,000 words long, making it the largest single piece that I've written at one time. I have no idea if I'll be able to ever accomplish this feat ever again, but only time will tell if that'll happen.
Before I close off, I want to make a note. Some of you may question as to why I made Cody an artist if he's never canonly ever had a connection to art. The answer came from another writer on here by the name of FountainPenguin. This author has made Cody an artistic person within their stories and when I discovered that, it made me wonder what if I could attempt that while trying to not make him out of character. Hopefully, you guys are pleased with this, and tell me in the reviews what you think!
Now, as the summary mentioned earlier, this is a birthday gift for my awesome friend, Lowland Warrior! I wrote the longest Scarlody to date with this and I want to just give him a mention for being not only a great friend but beta reader and co-writer on here! I hope you have an awesome birthday and I hope this surprise was worth it!
Until next time! Please read, review, favor, alert, and spread the word!