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Chapter 4: Game On!

A few days later Stella and Ray were attempting to work together to make plans for the group via text message.

Beech: so what's the plan for today?

Lemon: I don't know, something we all could enjoy.

Beech: alrite but no girlie stuff!

Lemon: do I really strike you as girlie?

Beech: good point, did you have anything in mind then?

Lemon: how about laser tag?

Beech: I think that might be the best idea you've ever had!

Lemon: o gee thanks Ray

The pair then switched to texting their respective best friends and told them to meet at Stella's house.

"So what's the plan?" Mo asked

"Well, first off we feel really bad about things getting out of hand at that pottery shop so we've agreed to try and be civil for the rest of the summer." Stella explained

"Yea, really bad." Ray added before Stella nudged him to go on

"We don't want to ruin your summer and ours by constantly fighting and making you guys upset. So we came up with this idea together, Laser Tag!" Ray explained smiling at the last part

"You two agreed on something?" Scott asked

"Yes, my dear Scottie, it is possible." Ray teased

"Okay, I'm game." Mo exclaimed

The group piled into Scott's car and headed to the local Lazer Gate. After paying they had to wait in a medium sized room with about 16 other kids who were there to play. The instructor then came in to explain the rules to all the players.

"So I'm Todd and my first question is how many of you have played laser tag here before?" Todd asked

After seeing only a few scattered hands raised, Todd deduced that the group needed a good explanation for this first round.

"Okay so in this arena there is no running, unsportsmanlike conduct, climbing on any of the arena features, and the biggest…no physical contact. A round lasts about 15 minutes with 20 minutes to collect yourselves afterwards, grab a drink, and check your scores. Any questions?" Todd explained

Seeing no hands only anxious teenagers waiting to get started, he led them through the door to the pre-arena room where the players "suit up" in their laser tag vests and phasers.

"First round is random, everyone grab a vest and I'll set the colors based on equal teams. There are eight colors and 20 of you so I think we'll do 5 teams of 4. You may not be with your friends this round but it's okay, get to know the other players, you may need them as allies for the other rounds." Todd explained

Everyone got on their vests and phasers and Todd set the colors as everyone piled into the arena to await more instructions. The arena then began talking and instructed the players to head into the arena and finding a good hiding place/starting point and to moved quickly because the countdown to the start of the round has begun. Looking at their vests, Stella and Ray were happy to be on opposing teams, and Scott and Mo were on a team together by luck. Everyone headed into the arena and got ready for the game to begin.

"3, 2, 1, begin!" the arena spoke

All that could be heard were footsteps and the buzz of player's vests being tagged and reset. Stella spotted the blond hiding from a trio of girls try to sweet talk him into coming out of his spot. Stella thought quickly, aimed, and buzz, buzz, buzz…tagged all three girls.

"Wha? Who?" Ray questioned turning towards the brunette

"They can't just expect to win by sweet talking. And this is the first time I've seen you, if they tagged you, I wouldn't be able to do this…" Stella explained before buzz, tagging him

Stella ran away before Ray could respond. The rest of the round went off without another showdown, just simple tags here and there and then…

"5, 4, 3, 2, 1, game over!" the arena spoke once again

"Don't forget to check the name on your vest so you can check your score!" Todd reminded

All the players filed into the pre-arena area to drop off their equipment before heading back to the open main room.

"Names?" the person at the score desk asked

"Snowy, Hunter, Mario, and Peach please." Mo answered sweetly

The scorekeeper shuffled through all the papers and handed the group their score cards.

"Yes, top 5!" Stella exclaimed

"Same, you won't be so lucky next time." Ray teased

"Oh really? I believe it was me who saved you from those bimbos who were trying to tag you, I think you were the one who was lucky." Stella reminded him

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Ray asked looking at Stella with a raised eyebrow

Stella smiled and the pair took off in the direction of Todd. Scott and Mo watched as they seemed to pitch an idea to the instructor who looked generally interested. They joined their friends as Todd called for all players to come back to the medium sized room they started in.

"Okay guys and gals, this round we've had an interesting request…Boys vs Girls! Why doesn't everyone head into pre-arena and find your vests, it's probably easier if you keep the same name throughout the night but to each his or her own. I'll set the colors simple…blue for boys, pink for girls." Todd explained

Stella and Ray looked pleased with themselves as they grabbed their vests while Mo and Scott looked heartbroken.

"Come on guys it's just ONE round!" Stella complained

"Yea guys just have fun with it, there's a whole team of people you can go after, and no one's saying you have to go after each other." Ray explained

Scott and Mo made sad faces while they put on their vests and went into the arena with their respective best friend. The girls headed to the right and the boys headed to the left.

"I've got the blond one!" Stella announced to the group of girls

Many of them rolled their eyes and walked away from her. In particular the three girls who tried to sweet talk Ray seemed especially annoyed. On the other side, Ray set himself away from his group just looking for where Stella might be.

"2, 1…begin" the arena stated bringing Ray out of his focus

The game started and it was like Stella and Ray only had eyes for each other. The other members of their teams had other ideas; specifically the "bimbos" Stella wasn't fond of decided to tag her even though they were on the same team. While the girls were annoying Stella, some of the players noticed that Ray wasn't moving from his spot making him a sitting duck. Needless-to-say, they took advantage.

"5, 4, 3, 2, 1…game over!" the arena spoke

"Quick break to check scores before our final round!" Todd stated

"Scores for Snowy and Hunter please." Stella asked

Looking at their score sheets there was only silence between Stella and Ray.

"Why so quiet guys?" Scott asked as he and Mo met up with the pair

"Scores." Ray stated distraught

Scott and Mo looked at their sheets for the names Snowy and Hunter and found them towards the bottom of the page with some of the lowest scores.

"Wow, what happened you guys?" Mo asked innocently

Stella shrugged but then Scott got an idea and excused himself. Mo looked over and saw Scott talking to Todd probably about the last round. When Scott came back with a smile on his face, Mo knew this would be a good game.

"Gather round players, it's time for the talk before the final round and it's gonna be a good one. We're gonna do the 5 teams of 4 again but this time you get to choose! Now's the time to grab those friends of yours and work together to win it! Head into the pre-arena, let's go!" Todd explained

"The four of us?" Mo asked

"Yup." Scott answered

"And you two might want to try working together instead of against each other." Scott added before grabbing Mo's hand and heading to grab their vests

Before Ray and Stella could grab their vests, the "bimbos" appeared.

"Hey, no hard feelings about the other rounds." The first one stated

"You don't have to drop to playing with her, you can join our team." The second one joined in

"We are the winning team after all, Yoshi, Daisy, and me, Stormy." The third one, Stormy bragged

Stella glanced at her score sheets and low and behold, Stormy was first both rounds and the other two weren't far behind. Stella glared at the girls and rolled her eyes at the thought of Ray joining them which she assumed he would.

"Go ahead, I don't care." Stella stated

"Sorry ladies, this round is for friends and I haven't been on the same team as the people I've come with all night. Maybe next time." Ray explained

"Suit yourself, Hunter." Stormy stated with a smirk

Everyone got their vests and phasers on and headed into the arena. Mo and Scott scouted out a section of the arena where they could call their base.

"Okay so about this working together thing, maybe we should try it?" Ray offered

"Can I trust you not to tag me while my focus is on the others?" Stella asked

"You're gonna have to. And so am I." Ray stated simply putting out his hand

Stella and Ray shook hands and headed into the arena to meet up with Mo and Scott. As the arena counted down, the foursome got into position, hiding but still able to aim a shot at oncoming players. Mo and Scott had scurried off to another area where they had better view of the whole arena. Buzzing was heard all over as the game was in play. Stella and Ray stood back to back in the doorway type part of their base. Each took turns tagging the players that dared come up the paths. Realizing that no one had tagged either of them due to them being back to back, Ray silently suggested they move forward down the ramp but stay back to back. It was only a few moments before Stella spotted them; Stormy and her crew. Stella whispered into Ray's ear and a smirk came over his face. He walked out towards Stormy with his signature smile.

"Hey Stormy, you still need a partner?" Ray asked sweetly

"Of course! You can come with us!" Stormy smiled walking out of her hiding spot to meet him

Stella didn't miss a beat…Buzz! She had tagged Stormy who was too busy talking with Ray she didn't notice. Ray kept his back to Stella as he tried to lure Daisy and Yoshi out from the shadows. As he was talking….Buzz! Stella got Stormy again.

"I can show you were the others were hiding, you have to stay quiet though, they won't expect anyone to come from this direction." Ray stated taking a few steps further into Stella's range

"Oh where are my manners, ladies first." Ray stated urging the group to go ahead of him into the open space

Ray stepped away giving Stella the view she needed before joining in himself. Buzz, Buzz, Buzz! All three girls growled at their opponents for their trickery. The pair ran off in another direction tagging everyone that moved, staying back to back to protect themselves.

"5, 4, 3, 2, 1…game over" The arena shouted as the players headed to the main room to get their final scores of the night

"Scores for Hunter, Snowy, Peach, and Mario please." Ray stated out of breath

"Yes!" Stella shouted

"We beat them!" Ray yelled

"Our team as a whole was the highest! Great job guys!" Mo exclaimed sitting down at a table

"It was Stella's last minute idea, it was so sneaky I'm surprised I didn't think of it." Ray gushed also sitting down

"Just a simple observation, distraction works best." Stella explained taking the seat next to Ray

One of the employees brought over some pizza to the group and they started chowing down. Just as Ray was finishing his first slice three girls walked over.

"Congratulations, for winning that round." The first girl stated

"Thank you, Stormy." Ray teased

"That was a pretty clever plan, I assume it was your idea?" Stormy stated pointing to Stella

"Why yes, yes it was." Stella smiled

"You two seem to work together well." Stormy added before turning to walk away

"Yea, much better than when you two only were after each other." Yoshi added

"We should try that back to back thing next time Yosh." Daisy added

"Until next time, Hunter…and Snowy." Stormy snapped her fingers and the three girls left the area

"You know if we ever come back, you two are going to have to get the same vests." Scott laughed

"Yea I started to figure, good thing I like the name Hunter, I think it fits me." Ray smirked

"Yea you're a real hunter alright." Stella teased nudging him

"O and you're so Snowy, like Snow White right?" Ray questioned

"You wish Prince Charming." Stella teased

"So you admit I'm charming?" Ray teased back

"Guys. Do you literally default to arguing?" Mo wondered

"It's kind of our thing, it works. Why try and change it?" Ray asked and Stella nodded her head in agreement

"Why do we even bother, babe?" Mo asked shaking her head and putting it on Scott's shoulder

A/N: Well there you have it, a nice long chapter for you guys. Hope you liked it! I'm so sorry it's taken so long for me to get it up here but this chapter was very detail oriented. I'm going to start working on the next one so you all won't have to wait so long. Thank you for sticking with me!