Can the bonds of FRIENDSHIP overcome all odds?
The Code
Long Distance
The long black car pulled into the police station parking lot, and one man got out and helped Bethany and Dylan out of the car. “Follow me, please.”
Bethany and Dylan began to follow the man towards the station until they heard the black car’s engine start again. “Where are they taking Sapphire?” Bethany asked.
The man leading them laughed. “Someplace far away.”
Bethany sighed as she watched the car drive away. She just had to find out where that car was going.
The man turned back towards Bethany and Dylan. “I’m Agent Jack, by the way. But you can simply call me AJ, if you like.” AJ gestured with his hands as he began toward the station again. “Now, this way please.”
AJ led Bethany and Dylan into the police station and had them sit and wait while he spoke to someone.
Bethany sat by Dylan on a leather couch and pulled her knees up to her chin. She exhaled loudly and closed her eyes.
Dylan glanced over and put his hand on her back. “Hey,” he began. “You okay?”
Bethany didn’t move. “Yeah, I’m just thinking.”
Dylan looked down at his feet. “This wasn’t supposed to happen,” he mumbled. “We were supposed to take care of her. We were supposed to keep her a secret.” Dylan brought his eyes back up. “Bethany, I swear I didn’t tell anyone. I never said anything even though I really wanted to, I swear!”
Bethany let a small smile crawl across her lips. “It’s okay, I know you didn’t say anything. This isn’t your fault.”
Dylan poked the toe of his shoe into the carpet. “I, I’m sorry.”
Bethany looked over at Dylan, confused. “What?”
“I’m sorry that all of this is happening,” Dylan continued. “I know how much Sapphire means to you.”
Bethany thought of Sapphire. Her smooth, wispy wings that wouldn’t yet lift her off the ground. Her light blue, shimmery scales that reflected rainbows when the light hit them just right. Her curious spirit and naive demeanor. She wasn’t dangerous. She was kind, she was gentle.
She was Bethany’s best friend, and no agent of any kind could take that away.
Bethany forced a smile. “Don’t worry,” she said confidently. “We’ll get her back.”
Dylan cocked his head. He opened his mouth to ask for clarification, but he felt a stern hand on his shoulder. He quickly closed his lips and leaned back into his chair.
A dark skinned police officer interjected. “Excuse me kids,” he smiled. “I’m going to have to interrupt, just for a moment.”
Dylan nodded.
The police officer continued. “I just need a little information from the two of you, and then you can go right back to whatever you were doing. Sound good?”
Bethany glanced over at Dylan and shrugged. “Sure.”
The policeman smiled a soft, friendly smile and pulled out a small notepad from the pocket that hung from his belt. “Alright, I’m going to need both your names.”
“Bethany Jones.”
“Dylan Johnson.”
The policeman nodded and scribbled on his pad. “And your parents’ names?”
Bethany and Dylan exchanged a worried glance.
Dylan spoke first. “Jacklyn and Jakob Johnson.”
Bethany followed. “Terry and Betty Jones.”
The policeman nodded. “Alright, thank you.” He began back to his desk. “Just hang tight, okay? Your parents will be here soon.”
“Okay, thanks.” Dylan bit his lip. “Hey, how do you think your parents will react?”
Bethany turned toward Dylan. “I haven’t the foggiest.” She laughed slightly. “But however they do react, it won’t be good.”
Dylan scrunched his face. “So why are you laughing?”
Bethany smiled. “Because however they punish me doesn’t matter, because I won’t be around.”
Dylan frowned. “What?” Concern wiped over his face. “Where are you going?”
Bethany smirked, leaned over and whispered, “I’m going to find Sapphire, and I’m going to bring her home.”
Dylan’s eyes widened. “Bethany, are you nuts?”
She shrugged.
“We have no idea where they took her, you have no transportation, and your parents would be worried sick!”
Bethany sighed. “Dylan, there’s nothing for me here anymore. Without Sapphire, I have nothing. Finding her was a miracle, a miracle that got me through the first half of sixth grade and introduced me to my best friend. I owe everything to her. I can’t just sit back and watch as she’s taken right out of my hands.”
“Yeah, but your parents? You know that they’ll come looking for you.”
Bethany shrugged. “Let them come. They won’t find me if I don’t want to be found.”
Dylan blinked. “Okay, so, say you actually are able to rescue Sapphire. What will your parents say when you return?”
“Return?” Bethany seemed confused. “I told you, there’s nothing for me here anymore. I’m not going back.”
Dylan’s jaw dropped. “Bethany, you have to go back home. Where else will you go?”
“Anywhere. Everywhere.” Bethany smiled. “A never ending adventure. I like the sound of that.”
Dylan just shook his head. “You’re crazy.”
“Well, I did learn from the best,” she replied, lightly bumping Dylan on the arm.
Dylan smiled. “Yeah, I guess you did.”
Bethany smirked.
Dylan thought a moment. “Wait a minute.... Hey!” He shouted, “That’s mean!”
Bethany threw her head back and let out a deep, hearty laugh. “I was only kidding.”
Dylan felt himself smile. “Yeah, I know.”
The doors at the front of the police station opened and in walked a very flabbergasted couple.
Dylan’s breath caught in his throat. “Well, I’m in for it,” he said, slowly getting up out of his chair. “Wish me luck.”
Mrs. Johnson flew toward Dylan and scooped him up in a tight hug. “Oh honey,” she cooed, patting his hair. “Are you okay? Is everything alright? Are you hurt?”
Dylan rolled his eyes and pried out of his mother’s arms. “Yeah mom, I’m okay.”
Mrs. Johnson exhaled in relief, then her face grew very serious. “You, young man, have quite a bit of explaining to do.”
“Bethany, someone is on the phone for you!” Mr. Jones called up the stairs.
Bethany came bounding down the stairs and took the receiver from her dad’s hands.
“Now, don’t talk too long.” Her dad warned. “You’re grounded, remember.”
“Yeah, okay.” Bethany bounded up the stairs to her room and flopped down on her bed. She placed the phone to her ear. “Hello?”
Dylan’s voice cracked though the receiver. “Hey Beth.”
“Oh, hey!” Bethany laid on her stomach and crossed her ankles. “What’s up?”
“How badly did you get punished?” Dylan asked.
Bethany laughed. “Oh, you know. Basically grounded forever. No big deal. “You?”
Dylan sighed. “Yeah, same. I’m not actually supposed to be on the phone right now, but...” He paused a moment. “You know, I wanted to talk to you about something.”
Bethany’s eyebrows rose. “Oh? What about?”
“About the rescue.”
Bethany blinked. “Oh, that.”
Dylan took a deep breath. “When are you leaving?”
“Probably tomorrow, on the way to school.” Bethany stared out her open door and into the hallway. “I’ll pack my backpack with the things I need, and then I guess I’ll go.”
Dylan frowned. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
Bethany nodded, forgetting for a moment that Dylan couldn’t see her. “Yes, I’m certain.”
Dylan’s voice grew slightly shaky. “How dare you leave me with Travis!” He tried to laugh. “Who knows how that’ll go!”
Bethany was quiet for a moment. “Well, you could come with me.”
Silence fell between the two friends.
Dylan glanced at his skateboard leaning against his bed. His thoughts drifted to Travis. He had a job to do. He couldn’t run from it any longer. “I, I don’t think so.” He closed his eyes and sighed. “I have something here that I need to take care of.”
Bethany thought for moment. “Travis?”
Dylan swallowed hard. “Yeah.”
“What happened with him?” Bethany asked suddenly.
Dylan frowned. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, what happened to Travis? Like, what made him hate girls? Actually, correction: what made him hate everyone?”
Dylan took a deep breath. “That’s a really long and personal story.”
“Well, start talking.”
Dylan closed his eyes. “Well, I guess it’s about time you knew. I met Travis in kindergarten, and we were friends right away. He’d come over a lot and we often played together. At that time, I didn’t know much about his home life. All I knew is that if we ever played, it had to be at my house. He never wanted to be at his house, and I never questioned it.”
Bethany listened quietly.
Dylan continued. “Well, one day, Travis came to school in tears. No one could figure out why. The teacher asked him several times, but he wouldn’t say. She even called home three times, but got the answering machine over and over again. Finally, before lunch, she pulled me aside and asked if I could talk to Travis at recess. So, recess came, and I tried to find out what was wrong.
“At first, Travis didn’t want to talk to me. He kept pushing me away, pretending that he didn’t hear me talking. But eventually, he spilled.”
Bethany’s eyes grew wide with anticipation. “And? What did he say?”
Dylan licked his lips and ran his fingers through his hair. “He told me that, that morning, he had woken up to find-“
Suddenly, Bethany heard a knock on her door. “Hang on just a sec.” She looked up to see Mr. Jones standing akimbo in the open doorway. “Yeah?”
“It’s time to say goodbye,” he said, raising one eyebrow. “You’ve had too much time on there already, and there are chores calling your name.”
Bethany sighed. “Okay, I’ll say goodbye.” She put the receiver back to her ear. “Hey Dylan?”
His voice cracked through from the other end. “Yeah?”
“My dad says it’s time for me to go.”
“Save the rest of the story for another time, yeah?” Bethany suggested.
Dylan slowly spoke. “Yeah, okay.”
Bethany tried to smile. “Don’t sound so depressed, man. I’ll see you again.”
Dylan frowned. “You promise?”
Bethany was silent for a moment. When she did speak again, she dropped her voice down to a whisper. “Yeah, I promise.”
Dylan seemed relieved. “Okay, good. I’ll talk to you later then, Bethany.”
“Goodbye Dylan.” Bethany ended the call and pressed the phone into Mr. Jones’ open palm.
“That was Dylan, right?” he asked, studying his daughter’s face.
He thought for a moment. “You know, you’re lucky to have a friend like him,” he said, staring blankly out the window. “People normally don’t find true friends like that until their second year of college. You should be very grateful.”
Mr. Jones took the phone and exited his daughter’s room, pulling the door shut on his way out.
She was very lucky indeed, Bethany thought. So if she was so lucky to have such a magnificent friend, why was she deserting him?
The only reason she could come up with was Sapphire. She had to do it for Sapphire. Because of Sapphire, Bethany had made a promise that she wouldn’t be able to keep. Her goodbye on the phone really was goodbye.
Wasn’t it?

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