The Calm Before the Storm

Submitted by Kennedi Hubbard to Contest #14 in response to: It kicks off on a yacht with the delivery of an important letter.... view prompt

It was the most important party of the year. James Avian, the hottest boy in school since 9th grade, was having a summer bash to start off the summer break.

His parents agreed as long as it was on the yacht where there was supervision, but not enough to ruin the party. It was almost like an actual club, with bouncers and security guards but no lame parents.

James' parents were wealthy and naturally spoiled their son. Since this was his senior year they wanted to make it extra special. They booked performances from celebrities like Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, even Bruno Mars! However, with all the celebrities coming on board, security was beefed tremendously.

James was grateful for all he had, he may have been rich now but that didn't mean they were rich before. His parents were once in poverty, paycheck to paycheck with hardly anything to save up or any disposable income. His parents were young when they had him but around the time he was maybe five, his father, a struggling writer, finally got his big break as his book "Midnight Mayhem" was a success! With the money coming in slowly, and his mother soon hitting her own string of luck as a fashion designer. She was soon called to New York to work and they all packed up their things James' tender age of 9.

He was enrolled in a new school, completely unfamiliar and scary. He wanted to go back to Nevada, it was warm and familiar but his parents couldn't stay just for him, they couldn't leave him there. He didn't talk much, didn't stand out in school, and overall just wasn't happy. Eventually, he came out of his shell and made some close friends. Marcy was a sweet but simple girl with milk chocolate hair, hazle nut eyes, and fair skin and a medium build with average height, Martin--Marcy's twin but older brother--is an athlete with matching eyes and hair though was tall and thin. Christian was a geek, very smart and knowledgeable. The thesaurus, dictionary, atlas, and any other book on legs. His short naturally thick hair was as black as coal, his eyes a dark and happy His build and height the same as Martins. He was of African American descent with his skin a dark shade of freshly brewed coffee. His eyes were such a deep brown they almost appeared black. His fourth friend, Valenteena, of Latin descent, was a feisty one. She had a spirit so firey he swore Guajillo chili peppers flowed in her veins. Her hair matching Christians and eyes as the color of the spice Star Anise. She was petite and short, the smallest of them all. She was lovely, very charming and charismatic. His fifth friend, Sarah, was a medium build, curvy and plump. Her hair was a fiery ginger, freckles sprinkled across her pale skin and her eyes a rare shade of blue for a redhead.

Sarah was his first friend when he came to school, she was so energetic and bouncy, always able to put a smile on his face on the darkest of days. She was his confidant, and he hers.

The day of the party was coming soon, very soon, a few day's time to be exact.

"So we agreed, no buffalo wings, but yes on chicken fingers?" James looked up at his clique as they ate lunch outside that day. The sun was as expected in a New York, bright, sunny, could whistle a merry toon if it was in a 40's black and white cartoon. The sky was almost clear, a few clouds in the sky. "Absolutely, less of a mess on pretty girl's faces." Christian smiled and everyone agreed. "Or anyone faces." Marcy gave her friend a playful glare.

"And everyone is cool with coming over to make sure everything is in order?" James looked around again, everyone but Valenteena was nodding. "I got my abuelas birthday tomorrow, but I'll help before the party starts."

"Cool, tell her I said "Happy Birthday" for me." James smiled as he jotted down the details. "My house after school and we can take care of a good chunk of it and our homework." He closed his notebook and stuffed it into his backpack. "So you are absolutely sure all the celebrities will show?"

"Got confirmation via email, they must warn me as soon as possible if there are any changes or incidents that make them unable to show."

"Well look at you, our little organizer." Martin ruffled James jet black hair. The boy looked up at his taller friend, green eyes filled with joy and playfulness. "Better than my father, he's a mess when it comes to this stuff." He laughed a bit. "You should have seen his poker night, no food, no drinks, and terrible music selection."

"Yup." As Marcy took her last bite, the bell rang to head back to class. "See you after school!" James hopped up and cleaned his mess.

Class went by uneventfully, notes taken and a pop quiz, which James aced since it was a summer plan quiz. After the final bell, James got to his car and drove home, humming happily.

"Hi, honey! How was school?" His mother called out from the kitchen as she poured herself a drink. "Just fine mom, we are getting ready for the party tonight, so the gang will all be here."

"That's fine sweetie, just make sure their parent's know and that they are home by their respective curfews." She came over, pats his cheek, and went off to her studio for her design work.

Soon his friends all showed up, starting their homework first before the party decorating. They paired up in teams of two, those who worked best together and were soon done within two hours. "Shall we head over to the docks?"

"Hell yeah!" They all chimed as they piled in the car and drove down to the docks. It was just sunset when they arrived. "Alright, the lights from the boat should be enough to help get it cleaned and a bit set up." James parked and they all got out, following their friend to the yacht. "Ah yes, she's lovely. She's deep cleaned though right?" Christian asked as they all started to board.

"Yeah the cleaners came by a few days ago, just have to make sure that it was sparkling and all we have to do is fix cushions, straighten pillows, etc." He helped Sarah, Marcy, and Valenteena up onto the boat. "Alright, split up."

Christian went below deck, Martin took the bow, James took the bridge and employee areas, Marcy and Valenteena took the stern, and Sarah took the deck.

After a half-hour later, Sarah approached James at the wheel. "Hey, James I think the cleaners left this for your dad." She handed him a crisp white envelope with "Stephen Avian" written in cursive. There was no return or go-to address on the envelope nor a stamp. It was left on the boat, someone was here.

"Huh... strange they've never done this before." He knew it was best not to open something that wasn't his, but his guts were telling him something else. After wrestling with the issue, he opened it.

"Dear Mr. Avian,

We are a little concerned regarding your late payments to us. We have given you more than enough time to pay us back for the loan we have given you. The Don isn't too happy about the delay. Either pay back the money plus interest by Sunday, or we cannot guarantee your family's safety. I'm sure little James wouldn't like something disturbing his big party this Friday, would he? Especially with all the big celebrities attending. It will only get worse from there.

Arrivederci, Mr. Avian"

James sat there in a bit of shock. A Don? Like a Mafia boss? Why would his dad owe a Mafia boss?

"James?" Sarah laid a hand on his shoulder, trying to get him to talk.

"....No. My dad has some explaining to do." He folded the letter and called everyone out. "Let's go, now."

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