The repetitive buzz was disturbing his sleep once again, and Paul did not like it one bit. Despite having his pillow wrapped around his head in the attempt to cover his ears, it was doing absolutely nothing to block out the constant hum vibrating through his bed.
He spent a few minutes reaching randomly beneath his covers in the attempt to find out just where he had left the little phone, but the moment that his hand fell onto the metal object, it immediately stopped ringing. He groaned in his annoyance and, his hand still wrapped tightly around it, Paul pulled the device in to tuck it against his chest and beneath his body. Seconds later, he felt his body being pulled back down into sleep.
"Alright, so there's no answer from Paul, but we expected that really, didn't we?" Jace said to his group of gathered friends and minor acquaintances. "There isn't really much point calling him anymore, is there? Who else do we know that's close to Ally? Does she have any family from around here or does she commute?"
Adam looked at him blankly. "Why are you asking me?" he questioned. "I barely know her; how am I supposed to work out where her family lives. How would it help anyway? We know for a fact that she was here something like five minutes ago."
"Well they might have an idea where she might go," Jace announced defensively.
In answer, Adam turned towards Veronica for backup. "Did it look like she actually had a choice in the matter?" he asked of her sharply. "You told us her phone was in bits on the floor. That doesn't exactly scream optional retreat to me."
"Well, she might have gotten really pissed off," countered Jace, jumping in while Veronica had been drawing breath for her own addition. "She kept getting phone calls on her mobile. It could have been Sean. It could have been Paul. Let's be honest; he has been a bit of a bastard to all of us lately and he was definitely annoying her. He's been annoying us, hasn't he?"
"Yeah, but I still think it looks more like she's been taken somewhere," returned Adam. "It's as obvious as-"
"If you guys will both shut up for a minute then I can probably answer most of your bloody questions!" Veronica said loudly and with a stamp of her feet. It was quite an effective method by which to silence the both of them and, for a wonder, Jace was glad that they were outside rather than still talking in Indy's.
The four of them had marched out of the side entrance, hoping to pick up the trail, but, as it turned out, Ally was nowhere to be seen. Jace hadn't actually held much hope, but, with Ally's phone broken and Paul continually avoiding them, there wasn't actually that many options for them. Julia had wandered off a little further down the street to call Matthew Cooper, since nobody else really wanted to be in contact with him. So far, there had been a lot of talk and very little actual forward motion. Thankfully, Jace was never one to panic.
Even more thankfully, Veronica seemed to have picked up the courage to actually intervene in a positive manner, to the point where she was actually distracting his focus. "We can't really be spending all of our time standing around and talking over the options," Veronica continued, with no particular pause to speak of. Even she seemed surprised at the daring that it required to intervene when Jace and Adam had been speaking so rapidly and, in a way, so aggressively to each other. "I know she was talking to Sean, not Paul, so that's one thing for certain. Now let's just find out what this Cooper guy says."
"Why are we waiting on him anyway?" Adam asked of his two companions. "What's he got to do with Ally? I know his name's been coming up a lot recently, but I thought he was from Fire Brand."
"He is, but he and Ally got to know each other," supplied Veronica with a sigh. "She talked about him quite highly. There was one point when Sean was being a bit threatening and forceful and Cooper went down to talk to him about it without telling Ally. She was furious with him for doing it, and it pissed Sean off so much that they had to meet up and talk things out, but Cooper still defended that choice."
"Sounds weird to me," stated Adam.
"He is weird," Jace added. "In fact, that's pretty much textbook Matthew Cooper. He's really weird, really happy and stupidly successful. I mean, he isn't that much older than us, but he has more money that we're ever likely to earn in a lifetime. Maybe you just have to be a bit crazy for it."
There was a pause, during which everybody looked towards Julia, who glared back at them as she spoke quickly into her mobile phone. Just as quickly, Jace's concerns for Ally flared up again, and he suddenly felt quite sick in the pit of his stomach. Anything could be happening right now, and he had absolutely no idea what was going on. Looking up at the faces of Adam and Veronica, he could see that they were sharing the same feelings as he was. They were scared, and there was plenty of reason to be worried.
"Either of you know where Sean lives?" Jace asked of the two of them. For the first time in a very long while, he almost felt the urge for a cigarette from somewhere. Then again, he would have much preferred a cigar. He had graduated to those in about two weeks.
"No, and even if I did, I wouldn't want you to turn up at his door all angry and beat him up like I'm sure you're thinking about," Veronica told him quickly, with a stern look and an angry tone.
Jace opened his mouth to counter her, but a moment of reflection made him close it again. The woman was spot on; he wasn't about to question that. Violence had been on his mind and he couldn't hide it. Then again, the memory of fighting with Sean and his bulky cousins was coming back to him as though it was as fresh as new.
"I didn't feel so great after last time either," Adam said slowly. "A couple of punches in the stomach wouldn't be as nice right now as maybe running into Ally, finding out that there's no problem at all and going back in for a few drinks. If they're free then I wouldn't complain about that either. Getting into fights isn't really my ideal night out."
"It's not night yet," said Jace nervously in the attempt to distract himself. Of course, this didn't work out at all. Waiting for somebody to finish talking while he was standing around doing nothing was not his usual course of action. "Look, guys, we have to do something. We can't just stand around and wait. I'll just give Julia my number and she can tell me if-"
Quite suddenly, Jace was silenced by the sound of Julia shouting "that cock," down through her mobile phone. Thoroughly confused by her look of anger and the odd exclamation, Jace shook his head and sighed slowly. "Is there any point standing around being worried?" he continued. "Indy's isn't the best place either. We might as well at least go and bang on Paul's door. Surely he would know better than we do what's going on."
"Yes, but he's been avoiding us, hasn't he?" replied Adam. "Other than knocking down his door, what can we really do to force him to help us out?"
For a moment, Jace frowned at Adam for not noticing the glaring error in Adam's thought processes. "It's Ally," Jace told him in correction. "There is nothing in the world that Paul will not do for Ally. He could abandon us, burn down our houses, cut open our family members and stab his own eyes out with toothpicks, but he would still come running the second Ally had as much as a sneeze. If she's upset, no matter how down he is, he'll get his arse out of bed and run to her side."
Sleep had not engulfed him. Instead, he had encountered concern. He had turned over and over in his bed, covering his face with his pillow on both the warm side and the cold side, before finally throwing the covers down onto the floor in complete annoyance. Ally was on his mind again. Ally was always on his mind. Perhaps, if he continued to bury himself in his mattress, the issues would all vanish into darkness like the colours before his eyes when he lifted the pillow to it.
No matter how long he laid there in silence, one constant thought persisted. Ally was in trouble. She was upset, and angry with him, and she had been crying. He had made Ally cry. He turned over yet again and reached for the covers to curl up and hide under, but they were on the floor now, there was no chance.
Paul sighed, he groaned, he muttered to himself, but it made no difference whatsoever. All that was left was to stare at the ceiling and think about Ally. For years, this had somehow been the end result of things. He would think of Ally, stare at something and feel guilty about something that he had done wrong with her. This time, he had done something very wrong.
The next step was to correct it. The next step was always to correct it. Against every part of him was screaming out to correct his mistake, so he reached for his phone and, instinctively, his fingers worked the buttons that he wanted.
For a couple of moments, he heard it ringing, then he heard the familiar voice of his best friend on the other side. "Okay, tell me something," he tried to say, though he had to fight through a horribly underused throat, "where's Ally?"
The response was not something that he expected. "I f---ing knew it!" Jace called down the line with a laugh.
I feel that I should warn you all in advance that part fifty will be the final part of Disbelief uploaded onto Ultimate-Guitar. It will not be ending; it will be stopping. Unfortunately, due to the fact that the novel is nearly done (160,000/225,000 words), I will soon be pitching it to publishers and agents, and, if it's available, despite being unrefined and incomplete, for free on the internet, then nobody is likely to touch it. Besides, now that these weekly sections are reaching the point where it would be a sharp and slightly panicked rush towards the finish, it's kind of killing the tension, so I can see that nobody is particularly happy with it.
So, come part fifty, that will be our stop, making way for an eight piece series on composition before I begin on my next fiction series. It gives me time to reach the conclusion of the novel, while also sorting out for Christmas. Disbelief started almost a year ago on here now, so now is the time to finish it.
Thanks for reading people, the end is nigh.