Lucid

~The Sequel to 'Little British Girl~
- Decide which side your on -
Three and a half month after Luci kidnapped her birth father, Xander Moore, Elia and her friends are on the run. Both north and south are engulfed in complete and utter chaos, and the resistance and the rebellium are gaining power through an alliance. Both sides want them out of the way, and they have nowhere to be, nowhere where they belong. The four friends must choose a side, the alliance, or the government, a decision that will forever haunt them all.
Nothing is certain, nothing is safe, nothing is lucid.

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21. Chapter 21

“Are you sure you’re okay with doing this Frannie?” Max checks, just to be sure. The morning seems to have come a whole lot quicker than we all thought it would.

“Y-yes,” she stammers, “I’m not doing anything wrong, I-I’m just telling the truth.”

“Exactly.” Annabeth says as she walks past, flashing her a warm smile. The tensions between herself and Max are still fairly high, but she doesn’t have any grudges with Frannie. “Today Beverly finally learns the truth, and the alliance falls to pieces.”

“Does this mean we’ve finally chosen a side then? We’re siding against the alliance.” Daniel checks, sighing.

“We’re not siding with the government though, are we? We’re just trying to keep an old friend safe.” I remind him, and myself, of the reason we’re all here.

“So we’re on team-Luci?” Daniel summarises, only half-joking. Nevertheless, we all still laugh, our nerves forcing us to embrace the tense lighthearted mood. There is a sense of regret and confusion behind his joking words though, months have gone by and we still haven’t chosen a side, despite becoming fully involved at every chance we get. We won’t side with Luci because she’s insane, we won’t side with the alliance because they’re against Luci, and we won’t side with the government because they’re against Luci and the alliance. Annabeth turns to look up at the clock.

“They’ll be here any minute now.” She states the obvious. It’s odd, this is what we want, and yet, we’re so so tense.

“It’s all going to be okay,” Max tries to assure all of us, “We’re doing the right thing.”

“Yes,” I agree, “We are.” Nobody speaks again after that, and silence fills the room once more as we all turn to look at one another expectantly. I stare out at the door blankly, unable to force my eyes onto anything else. Up until now every time we’ve tried to reach out to the resistance it’s ended badly, and it’s hard not to feel like history is repeating itself.

Despite looking directly at the door, I still jump when I hear the doorbell ring, nerves immediately rising up inside me. Max walks over to answer it, taking the lead, whilst the rest of us stand frozen like statues.

“Thank you for coming.” Max greets them, parting from the doorway to let them through. Beverly enters first, then Timmy, then Grace. I suddenly realise this is the first time I’ve met Grace in person, instead of on a video screen. She’s a lot taller than I thought she’d be. “This is Mr Ryans, Elia’s birth father, this is his home.”

“Call me Steve.” My dad steps forward, shaking each of their hands firmly. “I’ll leave you all to it.” He keenly makes an exit. I watch him as he goes, wishing I could got with him and escape the room.

“Please, sit down,” Max pulls out some seats, “Do you all remember Francesca?” He gestures to Frannie, who’s sat at the head of the table. I want to go over and embrace her in a warm hug, the poor girl looks absolutely petrified, she’s shaking.

“Of course.” Beverly nods, “It’s nice to see you again Francesca, is Kyle not with you?”

“N-no, he’s...he’s s-still in Los Angeles.” Frannie struggles to reach the end of her sentence, staring down at her trembling fingers, unable to look anyone in the eye.

“Let’s get straight to the point shall we? I haven’t got all day.” Grace takes a seat, skipping the pleasantries, “Why did you ask us to come here Max?”

“Because there are things you don’t know, things you should know, things that I need you to hear.” Max reveals, making sure to keep eye contact, desperately trying to seem confident and collected.

“I’m listening.” Grace prompts him, awaiting more information.

“You won’t believe it if you hear it from me,” Max shakes his head, “Frannie has to tell you.” He turns to Frannie, smiling warmly, encouraging her to speak.

“I need t-to t-tell y-you about the...the failed mission that g-got Max sent to Arizona.” Frannie speaks up, tears brimming in her eyes, “It-it wasn’t Max who t-told us to go, it was T-Timmy.” Timmy’s eyes widen as he pretends to act surprised, leaning back in his seat.

“What are you talking about Frannie? It was Max, remember?” He addresses her, his tone is gentle but his eyes are glaring as he tries to stare her down.

“N-no...it was you,” Frannie remains as firm as possible, not giving in, “You told us to g-go and when...when it all failed you bl-blamed Max instead. Then you sent me and Kyle on a d-dangerous mission to try and shut both of us up too.”

“You’re making some pretty wild allegations Francesca,” Grace says, beginning to show some emotion through her face and voice, “Do you have any evidence to support this.”

“J-just my testimony.” She sighs, “B-but that’s all you have too. Timmy can’t p-prove he didn’t do it.”

“That is true,” Beverly adds her input for the first time, turning to Grace, “What if they’re telling the truth? What is Timmy really is the man responsible?” I can’t help but smile, so far everything is going to plan just like Max expected. Beverly believes Frannie over Timmy, she’s going to argue with Grace and the alliance will fall apart.

“You can’t really think that, can you?” Grace stands up, shocked, “Your son isn’t even a member of the resistance anymore, and that girl can barely put a sentence together. Do you really believe them over someone like Timmy? He’s done nothing but help us, fight for us, over the years.” Beverly looks to Timmy, who’s still playing the innocent shocked idiot, and then back to Max and Frannie.

“I-I suppose not,” she caves in, “You’re right Grace.” I can hardly believe what I’m hearing, and neither can anyone else. Beverly believes Timmy over her own son. The plan is falling apart.

“But he’s lying, Timmy’s lying!” Max exclaims, becoming desperate, “Please you have to believe me it was him all along.”

“Can’t you see what they’re trying to do?” Grace cuts in before Beverly can think about Max’s words, “They want to divide us so the resistance falls and the alliance fails. Don’t let them do this Beverly, they’re trying to manipulate you.” The worst part is Grace is technically half-right, half-right.

“Mum please, I’m telling the truth!” Max cries out, tears streaming down his face, “Don’t you understand? He’s a liar, he’s always been a liar and I doubt he’ll ever change. He’s ruined our lives for too long, it has to end today.”

Enough!Beverly yells, begging for silence in the room, “I can barely hear myself think let alone make my mind up about all of this.” Both Max and Grace back off, giving her time to consider what’s being said. After half a minute or so she speaks again, her voice tired and hoarse. “It doesn’t matter what happened a decade or so ago, even if Timmy is lying the fact still remains that Max is in love with Luci and that clouds his judgement. We can’t afford that kind of weakness. Timmy is many things, but he is strong. Whether or not Max or Timmy initiated that disaster of a mission right here, right now, we can’t afford to keep on living in the past. I’m sorry Max, but this whole meeting was a bad idea to begin with. We’ll all be going now.” Looking into Max’s eyes I can almost see his heart break as his mother says those words, forcing all hope out of his dreary face. His entire body droops as he realises what is happening, and he doesn’t say a word as the three of them get up and leave, he just sits and stares down at the floor, hopeless.

“Um...I sh-should probably be going too,” Frannie gets up to go, “I’m sorry Max.”

Annabeth, Daniel, and I just look at each other, unsure of what to do next. Max stands like a shadow, lifeless, next to the table. Annabeth pulls him a chair and he goes to sit down, falling into it, burying his head in his hands as he lets it all out. We give him his privacy after that, Annabeth heads upstairs whilst me and Daniel got out to the front garden, needing some air.

We move to sit on the swingset, staring out absently into the distance. We’re both so dumbfound, neither one of us knows how to react.

“What are we going to do now?” I ask, though I’m not really expecting a reply. Daniel shrugged half-heartedly, as deflated as I am.

“We’re going to sit here quietly and mope around for an hour or so, then we’ll go back inside and try to act all cheery although we’ll probably cry ourselves to sleep tonight. Then we’ll wake up tomorrow and have a group meeting, considering all of our next options. We’ll find some sort of problem to fixate on and keep us busy, we’ll even convince ourselves it’s important, but then something else will happen to remind us that, in the end, we don’t belong on either side, that we don’t belong anywhere.” I rest my head on his shoulder, listening intensively and with a heavy heart to every single word. For a few minutes we’re both silent, listening instead to the rustling of the trees and the sounds of voices shouting somewhere in the distance. Some silences are awkward, some are natural, and some are full of rage. This is a heavy silence, a sad silence, one which forces my lips shut, one which actually somehow manages to hurt me.

“You belong with me,” I remind him, breaking the silence, “We can belong nowhere together.”

“Thank you.” Daniel grins, even managing to laugh a little.

“For what?”

“For giving me somewhere I’ll always belong.” He sighs, kissing my neck. I hold him close, wrapping my arms around him, scared to let go. A good sort of silence arrives, as we just sit and hug one another, occasionally pecking at the other’s cheek.

“Oh dear...did your little plan not go as well as you expected?” Me and Daniel jolt apart at the sound of a voice in front of us...a voice I know all too well. I look up, grimacing.

“What do you want Elda?” I ask, wishing she were anywhere else but here. Elda leans in closer, bending down so she’s at our level.

“I want to help you take down the alliance.”

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