Can the bonds of FRIENDSHIP overcome all odds?
Breaking
The Code
CHAPTER
23
Rescue Plans
“And, so, yeah. That’s the big secret.” Dylan exhaled slowly. “You can’t tell anyone, about this, okay? About Sapphire or about Bethany leaving or about anything. It is extremely important that no one knows about this, okay?”
Travis stared down at his lunch tray, poking at his food that he still hadn’t eaten. “Yeah, okay,” he responded quietly, not looking up at Dylan.
Dylan studied his friend’s face. “So... What do you think of it all?” he asked, trying to initiate a response.
Travis shrugged. “It’s... It’s certainly something.”
Dylan quietly waited for more.
Travis sighed. “To be honest, I’m not really sure what I think about all this.” He turned to face Dylan. “I mean, everything that I had thought about Bethany, about the friendship between you two, it was all wrong.” Travis ran his fingers through his hair. “I want to be mad, but how can I be? Neither of you really did anything wrong. I’m mostly just confused.”
Dylan nodded. “I can understand that.”
Travis stared at his lunch tray again, thinking. “So, Bethany is gone for good?”
Dylan cringed at the sound of her name. “Yeah, I guess so.”
Travis chose his next words carefully. “So, I can have my best friend back?”
Dylan’s head snapped toward Travis, and the two locked eyes. Dylan swallowed hard. “Yes. Yes you can.”
Bethany looked down at her sketch, content. It had taken her solid hour, but she had managed to draw out the entire face of the science and development building. She shut her notebook and placed it back in her backpack. She stood up and took a deep breath. Time to deliver her drawing.
She slowly slunk away from the fence, staying clear of the gate to avoid conflict. School would be out in an hour or so, and not much later, people would start looking for her. She had to stay out of sight.
She didn’t want to go back to her neighborhood, but she had to. She wanted to be able to rescue Sapphire all by herself, but she began to realize how silly that was. Everyone needs help sometimes, and Bethany knew just who to go to.
She pulled her the hood on her sweatshirt far over her eyes and tried to remain anonymous. Being back on her street made her nervous. Someone was bound to recognize her if she wasn’t careful. She slipped into Dylan’s yard and glanced up the side of his house. She had to get to his room somehow. But which one was his? She noticed a dark blue batman blanket draped over one of the windows. She smiled. There it was. She tiptoed towards the house and pressed her ear to the window pane, listening for any signs of life. Nothing. It didn’t seem like anyone was home, which made Bethany’s job a lot easier. She carefully eased the window open and slowly heaved herself through.
Once inside, she looked around. Empty. So far, so good. She could tell right away that it was Dylan’s room. On his desk was a rough sketch of Sapphire, and a picture of he and Bethany. They were both holding a tall ice cream cone and were grinning from ear to ear. Bethany smiled. She remembered that day, when Dylan’s dad invited her to go get ice-cream with them. She had forgotten that he had taken a picture.
Bethany pushed the memory out of her mind and forced herself to focus on the task at hand. She tore the sketch out of her notebook and placed it on Dylan’s desk. Then she ripped out another sheet of paper and wrote him a small note. He’d know what to do.
Content, Bethany took one more look around Dylan’s room and then slipped back out the window. Once back in the grass, she quietly pulled his window shut again, careful to leave it exactly how she found it.
Well, mission accomplished. Now, the wait.
Dylan slowly gathered up his stuff off his desk as the last bell of the school day echoed in his mind. The rest of his class rushed to their lockers, but Dylan took his time. He had no reason to hurry. When he finally did reach his locker, Dylan found Travis waiting there.
“Hey bro,” Travis greeted, smiling slightly. “You wanna ride home together?”
Dylan grinned. “Sure,” he responded as he packed up his backpack. “Sounds good!”
Once outside the school, the two friends placed their skateboards to the pavement and began on their way home. Travis couldn’t wipe the glow out of his cheeks. He hadn’t realized how much he had missed skateboarding next to Dylan. It was almost as if he was complete again.
“Hey, Travis?”
Travis looked over at Dylan. “Yeah?”
“Sorry for, you know, leaving you behind and all that.” He smiled. “I’m really glad we’re friends again.”
Travis smiled and shook his head. “Weirdo.”
Dylan laughed and turned his head back to the street.
Travis looked at Dylan and quietly added, “Yeah, me too.”
Once Dylan got home, he mumbled a hello to his parents and shut himself in his room. He dumped his backpack onto his bed and slid into his desk. He reached for his sketchbook and pencil and was about to begin a new sketch when he noticed a small note resting directly under his nose. He slowly placed his sketchbook back and bent over to get a closer look at the note.
Hey Dylan, it’s Beth. I know this is going to surprise you, but I need your help. I found where they’re keeping Sapphire, but it’s not going to be easy to get her out. So, here’s where you come in. I drew a simple sketch of the building for you. See if you can figure out a way for us to sneak in. Also, pack your bags and meet me at the beach at 7:40 tonight. Bring the sketch and a plan. Oh, and see if you can convince Travis to come along. Maybe we can finally makeup. Thanks Dylan.
Dylan blinked and brought his gaze to the window. Bring Travis along? He couldn’t figure it out. Travis didn’t like Bethany- didn’t she realize that? And Travis would never come, anyway. He didn’t want anything to do with Bethany.
Dylan shrugged. Well, whatever. Bethany was weird- he knew that already. Now, to decipher that sketch.
Dylan stood there, biting his lip. He knew he had to do this, but he knew what was going to happen. And it wasn’t going to be pretty. He took a deep breath and adjusted his backpack strap on his shoulder. He took a step forward and pressed his fist against the door.”
Knock, knock.
Dylan took a step back and waited patiently. He heard footsteps from inside. The door slowly opened. A bright face poked through the doorway. “Hey Dylan!”
Dylan cringed. “Hey, Travis.”
Travis stepped out on the porch and pulled the door shut behind him. “What’s shakin’?”
Dylan smiled. “I have a question for you.”
Travis raised his eyebrows. “Oh? And what’s that?”
“How would you like to go on an adventure?”
Travis glanced behind him. “What, now?”
Dylan nodded. “Yup. Right now.”
“What kind of adventure?” Travis questioned, leaning against the door and crossing his arms. “Who with?”
Dylan took a deep breath. “An adventure to go rescue Sapphire. With me. And... And with Bethany.”
Travis scowled. “Are you serious?”
Dylan nodded. “Yes, I am.”
Travis took a step toward Dylan and squinted his eyes angrily. “I thought you said she was gone for good.”
“Well, I thought she was. But she left me a note, asking for my help. And she wanted me to see if you wanted to help, as well.” Dylan shrugged. “Maybe if you help, you’ll see that she’s not as bad as you think she-“
“Hah! Wants my help? As if!” Travis interrupted. “She just wants to get me into trouble, no doubt.”
Dylan frowned. “Travis, no. She’s not like that.”
Travis scowled again. “There is no way that I am going anywhere with her.”
Dylan sighed. “We could really use your help, Travis.”
“No way.” Travis shook his head. “You can count me out.”
Dylan shrugged. “Well, alright.” He started his way down the steps, then paused. “If you change your mind, we’ll be down at the beach.”
Travis glared at Dylan. “I won’t change my mind.”
Dylan pursed his lips. “Well, so be it.” He slowly walked down the steps. “I guess I’ll... See you later?”
Travis didn’t reply- he just glared down the steps.
Dylan adjusted his backpack on his shoulder, took one long, sad look at Travis, then began on his way to the beach.
Bethany stopped and took a deep breath of the salty sea air. She had arrived at the beach, and just on time. She glanced at her watch: 7:40 on the dot. She heard a shuffle of feet behind her. She spun around.
“Hey, Bethany.”
A bright smile spread across her face. “Dylan!” Bethany ran over and wrapped Dylan up in a warm hug. “Thanks for coming.”
Dylan grinned. “Of course! I can never desert a friend in need.”
Bethany looked around. “No, no Travis?”
Dylan shook his head. “Nope. He decided that he was going to be a little booger and hate you again.”
Bethany sighed. “Well, I figured he wouldn’t come, but... But I was hoping, you know?” She swallowed. “But anyways, to business. Do you have the sketch?”
Dylan slid his backpack off his shoulder and placed it in the sand. “Yeah, and I think I have an idea.”
Travis sat on his bed, staring at the wall, thinking. Why on earth would Bethany want him to come along to help rescue Sapphire? Dylan said that not all girls were terrible, and that he shouldn’t base his opinions off one event. But even now, Travis was still hurt about what his mom did. Everyone thought that she was the greatest person- kind and gentle. No one expected her to do what she did. So maybe that’s why he was so quick to judge and reluctant to trust. Once someone is hurt like that, they carry that pain with them where ever they go. They pain influences their words, their actions, their choice of friends, everything. So, maybe what Dylan said was true. Maybe Travis did push everyone away. But was it really his fault? After all, Travis wasn’t a bad kid. He was just scared, that’s all. Fear had a way of taking over, Travis realized. Taking over everything. Travis used to be a fairly happy kid. But the more he let the pain fester inside of him, the more it brought him down. For the longest time, he blamed his anger on his disability. Teachers said there was nothing he could do about it. Doctors prescribed medicine after medicine, each with different long names that no one could pronounce and long lists of side effects but nothing seemed to help. Not in the long run, anyways. Eventually, everything fell apart again. Counselor after counselor tried to get him to talk about it. They tried tactic after tactic to attempt to pry a reason out of him, a reason as to why he was so angry at everything. But Travis never spoke, and the prying and the questions made him angrier. Sketching helped, sometimes. But even then, the anger was only pushed away- not cured.
Nothing could cure his anger, he had thought. But the more he thought about Bethany and Dylan, and the changes she had caused in Dylan, the more he began to realize that maybe the reason that no one could find the solution for his anger was because, just maybe, the answer had been inside him all along.
Suddenly, Travis’ eyes grew wide. That was it. No wonder he couldn’t find the answer in anyone else- HE was the answer. Travis snatched his backpack off his bed and flew down the stairs. He snuck past his dad dozing on the couch, grabbed his skateboard out of the garage, and he was gone.
He pounded his right foot down on the pavement, propelling himself down the street. He hoped he could make it to the beach in time. He just had to.

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Chapter 24

The Truth Will Set You Free

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