7. Then Holding Hands, and Life Was Perfect

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We woke up at about 1 in the morning, to the sound of my phone buzzing on the end table on Sweet Pea's side of the bed. The light was blinding in his pitch-black room, or at least he acted like it was as he tossed my phone at me grumbling to make it stop. My heart sank when I saw Uncle Hiram's name on the screen, but I still answered it, making sure to turn down the volume so Sweet Pea couldn't eavesdrop.

"Where," Uncle Hiram sounded enraged, "The hell. Are you?"

"Uncle, calm down. I fell asleep at FP's. Sweet Pea and I went there for dinner and I stayed to catch up with Uncle FP. He is my family, too, after all."

Hiram took a few moments to digest this information, and since he is literally my father's twin in looks and mannerisms I knew he was debating whether or not he fully trusted that answer. After a few moments of silence that I spent with my eyes squeezed shut praying to whatever god was out there that he'd let it go, he sighed and said, "Next time, let me know, Mija. You are a valuable pawn in Lodge Industries and my niece. I can't protect you from our enemies, and believe me- there are a lot, if you don't tell me where you're at."

"I know, and I'm sorry Uncle H. I'll do better. I'll be there after school tomorrow. I think I'll go with Jughead and the Serpents tomorrow. I feel like I fit better there than I do with Veronica and her friends, y'know?" I was hoping this would please Hiram, as it would be what he perceived as a quest for more information.

"Ok. I can deal with that. But I want an explanation of your definition of just friends when I see you tomorrow. If the photographs of you and Sweet Pea from the quarry yesterday are any indication, you do a lot more with your friends than I ever did," Hiram was smug. He knew I was in checkmate on the first lie I had told him. I stood up and immediately looked out the window of Pea's bedroom, suddenly aware of the very real fact that Uncle Hiram was probably having a capo follow me.

"What do you mean? Nobody took any pictures yesterday," I mumbled, trying to keep my cool and not alarm Sweet Pea, who was at this point sitting upright in bed and watching my every movement with a worried look on his face.

"Honey, do you really think my girls go anywhere without someone to look after them? Like I said, we have a lot of enemies. I can't take any chances. You girls are our most precious commodities," his voice was dripping with sweetness, and I could hear the sinister double meaning in his words. I shuddered subconsciously and looked at Sweet Pea and mouthed "It's ok", hoping he'd believe me. My eyes had adjusted to the dark well enough to see that his facial expression plainly said "Bullshit", and I knew that when I got off the phone I'd be giving him a very long explanation.

"Uncle? I have a long day tomorrow, and I need to go back to bed. Can we talk about this later?" I tried to keep the panic out of my voice and off of my face as I scanned the area outside of Sweet Pea's bedroom window again, even though I knew Hiram Lodge trained his spies to not be detected easily.

"It's a date, Mija. By the way, tell Sweet Pea I said hello and want him to come to dinner sometime. And don't lie to me again," his tone was menacing as he hung up the phone.

Once I was sure the line was disconnected I sat on the edge of the bed and began swearing in flurried English and Spanish, intermixing the languages as I put my head in my hands. Sweet Pea got up and sat beside me, and I didn't have to look up to know he was worried.

"So...," He put his arms around me and carefully pulled me onto his lap, "What was all that? You went from zero to 100 in about ten seconds."

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