"I can't believe it!" I screamed to absolutely no one. We had kinda ditched Toby in the woods. Ashlee had taken us there so many times; we knew our way around pretty well.
"What?" Bethanny asked me. I could still hear a hint of anger in her voice. Obviously from her phone call with Jake.
"Toby hung up on me!"
"I can't believe I ever liked him!" Something told me Beth and I weren't on the same page.
"Beth. Did you hear what I said?"
"Stupid Jake. Stupid Britain." Bethanny mumbled.
"Bethanny!" I had to scream to make her stop.
"What?" Beth was so clueless. At least to what I was saying.
"I said that Toby hung up on me."
"He did?" she asked more calmly, and I nodded.
"Well that was just..." Beth tried to say when her phone buzzed. She rolled her eyes; so it must've been Jake.
"What's it say?" I asked as she opened the text. I expected her to read it aloud, but she didn't. Instead after she read it she handed it to me.
Sorry i followed u. Toby & i found sumthing!
"That's really stupid, but what do you think they found. You may be mad at Jake, but what if they did find something? It could lead us to Ashlee." I said after reading Jake's text, but I could still tell Bethanny wasn't ready to forgive Jake; even if Toby and him found something that could be important.
"What are we going to do about Ashlee?" Beth spoke, and I dug around my bag trying to find Ashlee's new note.
"I honestly don't know anymore. This night has been so weird and crazy with everything that happened in the woods."
"Kinda makes you realize how dangerous the world can be. Tonight it was just Toby and Jake, but think about what would've happened if it hadn't been them." I knew Bethanny was right when she said that. I looked at the piece of paper in my hand again, Ashlee's note.
"All this trouble." I said, "For a note that could be from Ashlee. Could. It might just be someone messing with our heads. Jake and Toby were both in those woods tonight too. What if it was them?" I finished and Bethanny shook her head.
"I may be mad at Jake, but I know him. He wouldn't do something like that, and I don't think Toby would either." I knew she added that last part just to make me feel better about Toby.
"Thanks Beth, but think about it. This note could've meant anything and been from anyone."
"What happened to Miss Hopeful Alex?" Now Bethanny was telling the jokes, sorta. I was much better, but don't tell her that.
"Miss Hopeful Alex has left the building and the planet." We both smiled, but it faded after a few seconds.
"What do you think we should do about Ashlee?" she asked again.
"Bethanny, I truthfully have no idea. We gotta do something though. Don't you think?"
"What something more than going into the woods at night and being followed by two people?" Beth said, and then she realized I was way too serious.
"Alex. What else can we do though? Like I said before; we already tried to find her. Which was a total bust by the way. Maybe we should alert the police now. After all were only 15. Then they can handle it. Not us." Bethanny had a good point. If we alerted the police then we wouldn't have to handle this anymore.
"Okay. Ashlee has been gone for over 24 hours now, so we can report it. Tomorrow we'll go down to the station and tell them." I said and Beth nodded in agreement.
"Now maybe..." Beth said when there was a faint knock, knock. Bethanny's bedroom door was open; which freaked us out even more, but then I saw a hand pass the glass door that lead to her balcony. Bethanny had her back to it, but I saw everything.
"Balcony window." I whispered to her. Bravely I got up and joined Bethanny on her bed. The door was right next to it. I leaned over and tried looking down below, but all I saw was the vines that grew up the side of Bethanny's house, and the balcony.
"Why are you looking down? Let's just go out on the balcony and see." Beth said.
"Oh yeah. Let's do that." We got up off her bed and opened the glass door. Beth stepped out first and I followed.
"Alex I don't see a thing."
"Just look over the rail." I said and Beth leaned over the rail for barely a second; before she jerked herself up. I couldn't quite read her facial expression. It was a mix between anger, annoyance, and maybe a little bit of happiness.
"Jake. Toby. Climbing. Vine." she said, "At least they're trying too." she added and laughed.
"I have an idea. Beth move." I leaned over the rail, and I had to hold back my laugh when I saw Jake and Toby. They might be guys, but they could barely climb up three feet on the vine. Beth and I could climb the whole thing easy; which also had something to do with Ashlee.
"Y'all need any help?" I screamed down just as they had made it a few feet higher, and my plan worked because it startled them; making them let go. They fell to the ground and looked up to see me. Beth joined me after hearing them fall.
"What was that?" she asked me.
"Nothing they just fell. On...accident."
"Alex! Are you trying to kill me or something?!" The voice belonged to Toby.
"Something like that!" Beth and I yelled together.
"Beth c'mon!" This time it was Jake yelling. "I know you're mad at me, but I was only in the woods tonight because I got a note from you! Turns out it wasn't from you though!" I saw Beth thinking about whether to believe him or not.
"It's true!" Toby said, "The note wasn't your handwriting at all!" This night was absolutely the weirdest and craziest of my life, and that's coming from me having a friend like Ashlee.
"Okay!" Beth said to them. "Well we're just gonna go back inside! Mainly because y'all can't climb a simple vine!" Beth started to go back in.
"Wait. Beth remember they found something?" I reminded her, and she came back to the rail.
"What'd y'all find?" I said hoping they could hear me.
"We can't really scream it up to you! That's why we were trying to climb up!" Toby yelled up to us.
"Alex. We'll have to climb down to them." Beth whispered for only me to hear.
"No." I said flat out.
"C'mon Alex you've seen them. They can barely make it up two feet."
"No. We already said we were going to the police tomorrow; so what's the point?"
"Alex then we'd have more to tell them, and they could find her easier."
"Bethanny. You're really good at debate."
"Thank you!" Beth said very proudly as she grabbed onto the vine, and started to make her way down. Beth and I had climbed down this vine to meet Ashlee a lot. Usually it involved graveyards or creepy warehouses.
"Okay! I'm down!" Bethanny called up to me. No surprise who she was standing next to either, Jake. I hesitated at first. It had been awhile since one of our late night meetings. "You can do this." I told myself and hoped that they couldn't hear me on the ground. My grip tightened on the vine when I could no longer hold onto the balcony rail. I moved slowly; keeping a firm grip. I really didn't want to fall in front of Toby. I decided to jump the rest of the way. After all it was only a couple inches. I let go of the vine and landed on the ground almost perfect.
"We haven't done that in awhile." I laughed as I said it.
"Yeah. At least we're not going to some creepy warehouse or graveyard this time." Beth said and we all laughed at that.
"Wasn't there a reason that we stopped sneaking out that way?" I asked Bethanny. She had stopped laughing as soon as I said it.
"Yeah. I think so. Didn't it start to break or something because we used it so much?" Beth remembered and looked up at the vine. It was slowly breaking away from the house.
"We should move. Like. Now." I said and we all hurried out of the way. Our 'Vine Ladder' had landed just inches from us.
"That was close." Jake said. Bethanny was still partly mad at him because she punched him in the arm, and I don't think it was playful either. I gave her a look that said we-don't-have-time-for-this.
"So what'd you guys want to show us?" I said before Beth did something she would regret later. Then I watched as Toby reached into his jean pocket and removed a folded up piece of paper.
"This." He said, "It's a picture." I nearly yanked it out of his hands, and almost dropped it when I saw the photo.
"Beth you've got to see this. Remember that party we went to a couple years ago? Without. Ashlee."
"I don't think so. Didn't Ashlee come with us to every party?" Bethanny said coming to stand beside me. I heard her gasp, but then she laughed it off. "Oh yeah. Now I remember that party."
"Beth." I said freaking out. "We didn't take this picture."
"No way. We always take our own picture." Beth said and she was right. Hanging around Ashlee made us learn things. Like how you always take your own picture at a party, so it doesn't get in the wrong hands.
"Exactly." I said, "Lesson. Learned. Read the note."
"I would if you would move your hand out the way." Beth said, and I realized that my hand was blocking her view. I moved it so she could see.