I was looking through the CD’s in Jordan’s store when she came over, slapping me on the back. “Hey there Kim, back for more music I see. We got some new ones, if you want to try them out?”
“Really?” I grinned at looking forward to what she had new in stalk. “I would love to see them.”
“Hey, good, I set a special set aside just for you. Be right back with them, wait a moment.” She pinched my cheek a little harder then I liked before she walked away.
“Always so peppy.” I smiled softly and turned around to face a red faced Jasmine, boiling mad. “Oh, umm, hi.”
“What was that?” She tapped her foot waiting.
“She’s the friend that got me drunk.” I smiled playfully. “I will have to bring you along next time.”
“Next time?” Her brow crossed in anger. “There’ll be no next time, I don’t want a party boy, for a boyfriend. Sides didn’t you learn from your hangover?”
“Huh?” I scratched my head lightly in thought. “Okay, I will take it easy. So don’t be mad at Jordan.”
“I am not mad, I’m angry.” She folded her arms in defense, it’s always cute when she does that. However that is why I like to make her jealous. “So what is it really with you two?”
“I’m his big sister.” Jordan wrapped her arm around my neck smiling to Jasmine. “Want to be my little sister, we can do lots of fun stuff, like sleepovers?”
Jasmine was visibly taken aback by that, her surprised face is cute as well. She quickly went into thought about that though, you could almost see the gears turning in her head. “Umm, can you teach me to use makeup?”
Jordan looked at me a moment then back to Jasmine. “You don’t know how, didn’t your mom or someone ells teach you? At your age you should know properly how to apply it.”
“No, my mom doesn’t know how to use makeup, and I don’t have any girl friends.” Jasmine looked hopeful, though a bit sad. She never really had a chance to make friends do to, well her unstable changes. In a way she was just like me, but I could make the choice, she didn’t have one. Till now at least, Jasmine must have noticed my grin and misunderstood. “Don’t you go have perverted thoughts about this.”
“Why not? It might be fun to kiss me.” Jordan said with an evil look in her eyes. “Yes, I bet Kim has made you into a real good kisser.”
Jasmine blushed so hard I thought she was going to pass out from all the blood rushing to her head. I rolled my eyes at Jordan, she was just playing around, I hope. “Jordan I think you broke my girlfriend. I only got her two weeks ago and now I may need a new one.”
“Oh, so you want to trade her for me?” Jordan leaned in closer to me. “Or, we can just share her. What do you say?”
“No.” I said flatly.
“Okay, we will say you are thinking it over.” She totally ignored me.
“Jordan, Jordan! Guess what that kid did!” Sonia’s voice wafted through the store as she rushed in. She came to a sliding stop as Jordan and I turned to her. “It’s you! You are the real deal.”
“Could you stop yelling?” Jordan said a bit annoyed. “You are in my store and disturbing the other customers. Now slow down and say calmly what you want so I can go back to making out with Jasmine.”
“J…” Sonia fumbled with her words. “Jasmine? Whatever, I start training tomorrow. It’s even a special hard training to catch me up. It’s some new system they developed recently, not many apparently get in.”
“Is that so?” I asked her. “They must really want your oh so great skills.”
“I know!” She blinked. “Wait, you are in the same program aren’t you?”
“Technically I am the only one in it, they developed it specifically for me. When I told them about you, they said you would have to go though the same course with me. It was the only way they would agree to bring you back.” I shrugged lightly. “More or less you are my partner.”
“Wait what?” She lost some of her excitement. “I got to work alone with you?”
“Yes, unless you don’t want to become an Enforcer? Otherwise I can tell them when I go to training tomorrow that you hated the idea working with me?” Smiled, I knew there was no way she was going to turn it down, but it was my turn to poke a bit of fun at her. “Guess you don’t like the Enforcers as much as you find working with me detestable.”
“Oh, now there is a dirty little trap for you, Sonia.” Jordan said with a big smile.
“This is so unfair.” She ran a hand through her hair. “Why do I have to work with you though?”
“Well, I didn’t set the terms, I asked them to bring you back in, then they said only if you work with me.” Jordan lightly laughed as I spoke. “Like I am sure you have been told, this will be a special program, you are getting training from Craig, David, and my father.”
“How can you be so calm like that?” Sonia sighed. “You call them by name? Who is your dad anyway?”
“Kurt Gabbiani.” I said unenthused.
Her eye twitched, then her whole body froze, and then she almost looked like the world crapped on her favorite morning toast. “This is so unfair! You are the son of the Supreme Commander, I mean he is the ‘Supreme Commander’! Then you are also, oh this sucks.”
“Umm, pardon me? What do you mean he is ‘The Commander’?” I asked and she looked like she wanted to choke the life out of me. “He is just an engineer.”
“Has no one ever told you anything about the world of Enforcer’s? I mean your dad is leader of all the Enforcer squads. Your mom was…” She started to go on about my mom then stopped abruptly.
“Shut up for once would you Sonia?” Jordan said behind grit teeth. “Do you really want to get on that subject now? Drop the damn conversation.”
“Its fine, Jordan,” I shrugged. “I never knew because I always stayed to myself. I never asked about my dads work, I just assumed he was an engineer because he is always bringing home diagrams for the city.”
Jasmine walked over after watching the sean and finally got tired sitting back. “Hey, you should be thanking Kim, not attacking him. He is the only reason you have a second chance, and both of you will have to be working together so you should learn to get along.” I smiled at her a moment, before her eyes narrowed on me. “That goes for you as well Kim, I hate to say it but you need Sonia. She can teach you a lot, she has more experience not just in the Enforcers, but in life as well. So you better listen to her well.”
I blinked at her surprised at her abrupt scolding of us both, but it was Jordan who said the first thing. “Wow, couldn’t put it better myself. Little Bro, you definitely got a winner there. She is the kick in the pants you need.” She wasn’t done with me though. “However, if I hear you make Jasmine cry, I will be your kick in the pants. Then I am going to take her from you.” She smiled jokingly for the last part.
“I feel ganged up on a bit, but I get the point.” I held out my hand to Sonia. “What do you say we kick the crap out of this training, Partner?”
She looked at my hand a moment before meeting my eyes. “I want one thing strait, I don’t want any different treatment then you.”
“Trust me, my dad trained me for ten years, he’s broken my arm twice, and one of my ankles. They are not going to go easy on us during the training, we are nothing more then simple recruits too them.” I smiled wickedly to her. “I say we go in and kick there asses.”
“Then I have your back, because it seems you got mine.” She took my hand and she put a good amount of strength into it, showing me that she was ready. “And we are not going to kick ass, we are going too put this training in a casket.”
I heard Jasmine and Jordan high five behind me, I think there little rant on us gave them grounds to become great friends. However, Jasmine pulled on my sleeve to get my attention. “I’m hungry, let’s go and eat something.”
I looked at my watch and raised a brow. “It’s only 1pm, I thought you didn’t eat lunch?”
“Actually I started so that I can eat lunch with you at school. I changed from eating less in the morning.” She smiled sweetly at me, and all I could do was wrap my arm around her in a side hug.
“Lunch it is then. What do you want?”
“I want to take the three eating competitions.” Her eyes lit up, but I had no idea what she was talking about.
“Holy crap!” Jordan exclaimed. “You are going to do one of the challenges?”
Jasmine tilted her head looking over Jordan in confusion. “No.”
“Then?” Jordan was the confused one this time.
“All three.” She said plainly. “I am going to do all three at the same time.”
Jordan went wide eyed and looked green. If I didn’t know better she could have passed out of just being sick at the thought, or just shock, if not both.
“What are you two talking about?” I looked between the two. “What is this challenge?”
“It’s three separate challenges.” Sonia said. “It consists of a burger of about one pound of ground beef. A 62oz stake, and the other are three large sandwiches made of what ever you want on it. You get one hour for the burger and stake, thirty minutes for the sandwiches. You also have to finish off the sides that go with them.”
“And if you finish it all it’s free.” Jasmine smiled still excited at the prospect. “You also get your name up on the board of winners, free dissert the next time you go in, and best of all a free T-shirt.”
I looked to Jasmine as she explained all that, I folded my arms drumming my fingers lightly. That was a lot of food to eat, oddly it wasn’t the meat that bothered me, it was the amount. But I have seen Jasmine eat five cheese burgers and fries as a snack, this may not be so far fetched for her to pull off. “Well, I say you go for it. If anyone can do it, it is you.”
Jordan and Sonia jaws’ hit the floor. They looked over Jasmines’ small frame and shook there heads, together they both agreed stating. “No way!”
“Maybe one.” Jordan said. “Not all three back to back.”
“Same time.” Jasmine smiled. “All at the same time.”
“I have got to see this.” Sonia said totally thinking she was going to fail epically.
“Closing up shop as well, I want to see how far she can go.” Jordan shook her head. “Just don’t loose that nice figure of yours.”
“Don’t worry, I wont to still look good for my guy.” Jasmine locked her arm in mine. “Sides I have been keeping up my running and exercises Kim taught me.”
“Really?” I was a bit taken aback by that, would have figured she would have stopped. She just nodded lightly as we walked past Jordan who was closing the gate to her store. It must be nice to own your own business, work when you want too.
The girls walked ahead of me baffled that Jasmine was going to attempt eating that much food. However I wasn’t thinking about that, it’s was said about my dad being the Supreme Commander of the Enforcers. I now understand why I was getting so many looks from people at the training camp. There was a level of fear do to my fathers’ position, or respect.
“We are here!” Jasmine exclaimed. “Time too eat.”
I looked up to the restaurant, it was the same name, ‘Three Challenges’. I guess naming a restaurant after what makes it popular makes sense. I was knocked out of that thought when I noticed the three of them were looking at me. “What is it?” I asked.
“You’re spacing,” Jasmine started. “Something wrong?” Jordan leaned into Jasmine whispering something before she jumped in shock. “Oh! I forgot, you don’t like being around meat.”
I tilted my head slightly in thought, I wasn’t even concerned about that. “Huh? No I wasn’t even thinking that till you brought it up. I just had something on my mind, now that you bring up what I was walking in…”
“Sorry, we can go someplace ells.” Jasmine offered cutting me off in a rush. “I am so sorry, I wasn’t thinking about your feelings.”
“Actually, I am fine with it oddly.” Having so many other things on my plate I had to process my feelings towards meat seemed negated. “Lets go in, I will after all be rooting for you.”
“Do you really hate meat so bad?” Sonia asked.
“Hate is a strong word, more like it’s when you see something that makes you sick to your stomach.” I said softly, she would have to know anyway if we were going to be partners in training. “I am fine for today.”
“Are you sure, Kim?” Jasmine asked concerned. “We can really go someplace ells.”
I rolled my eyes with a cheesy grin and walked past them into the restaurant. Walking to the counter I asked for a table for the four of us. The girls exchanged looks and shrugged as they fallowed after as the waiter lead us through the crowed to our table. We all took up seats around the table which sat near some sort of raised stage. The waiter handed us all menus, we each took one.
“I know what I want already.” Jasmine said to us.
“Really?” I said sarcastically. “Do tell.”
She abruptly stuck her tongue out at me setting the menu down looking over the stage. Jordan and Sonia held back laughs but not doing so well at it.
“I am getting the 8oz steak.” Sonia announced.
“Hey want to share a pizza with me, Kim?” Jordan asked. “They got a veggie one, I am not all that hungry, and a 12 inch one between us should be good.”
“That sounds fine, I never had a big appetite anyway.” I set my menu aside as I watched Jasmine looking more and more existed at her challenge. My hope was she didn’t force herself and barf all of it up, though I am fairly sure she has a chance of beating her own goal.
The waiter returned and took our orders in turn with Jasmine last. “And you Miss, What shall you have?”
“I want to take the challenge.” Jasmine smiled as the waiter looked over her small frame, though he held his professionalism.
“Yes Ma’am, and what one shall you like too test?” He held up his notepad ready to do his job.
“All three, please.” Jasmine swayed in her seat a bit almost dancing.
Our waiter cleared his throat before he came over with shock. “Umm, you do know what you’re asking, right? That is a one…”
Jasmine cut him off thrilled both at the idea of the food and his suppressed surprise. “I want all three at once, and the clock set at one hour. Oh and I want the biggest strawberry shake you have.”
Our waiter looked to the three of us with a look as if she was for real.
“I think that settles that for our orders.” I said with a big smile. “Oh and I will have a side salad as an appetizer, with ranch dressing. One other thing, make her stake for the challenge cooked rare.” Jasmine pointed at me with a wink and a silent thank you.
He wrote down the order shaking his head lightly. “Will that be all?”
“Actually,” Jordan started. “I would like a small strawberry shake as well, and my friend will have a chocolate one, same size.”
“Okay, then I shall put in your order. Umm, Miss your name so we can call you to the stage when ready?”
“Jasmine, and please hurry I really want to get started soon?”
“I will have the cook get right on it.” He slowly walked away dismayed at what he, I am sure, thought was the craziest thing he had ever experienced working here.
So, we waited about fifteen minutes and our food was served. At the same time over the speakers a hiss came from them, and Jasmine name was called to the stage. She didn’t even give us a chance to wish her well before jumping up and quickly made her way to the stage.
“Jasmine, please come to the stage.” The announcer called again.
“Hey don’t ignore me!” Jasmine shouted at the announcer. “I am paying good money for these three challenges.” No you are not, I am.
“Y...” He fumbled for his words as he covered the microphone with his hand. “You are the one who is doing this?”
“Do I have to say it twice?” She folded her arms and taping her foot in anger.
“Alright, after all you are a paying customer.” Jasmine relaxed as the man went back to the introductions. “Ladies and gentlemen we have an interesting challenge this afternoon. This young lady next to me is taking all three challenges,” He paused for dramatic affect. “All at the same time!”
Questioning looks averted there eyes to the stage. Gasps, and whispers echoed in the room as they looked to Jasmine standing proud. It started small but they started saying things like “She is cute”, “So tinny, there is no way”, and “That’s just dumb”. They didn’t know Jasmines’ appetite though, I knew she would get at least close to the end if not finish it. Even though they started to ignore the event, even some wordy insults about her being dumb, I stood up.
“Jasmine!” I shouted. “Show them what you are made of and just eat, you got this in the bag!”
“You go girl!” Jordan shot out of her seat. “They won’t be talking bad soon enough, they will be cheering you on!” Sonia sat lower in her seat as all eyes twisted to us. Jordan grabbed her by the arm. “Say something, now.”
Sonia sighed and stood up reluctantly, took in a deep breath and shouted. “Don’t fill up on the bread, eat that last! Eat the meat and vegetables first, that does not mean the fries or potatoes! Then for the last stretch get the bread and fries!”
The room went silent, including Jordan, Jasmine, and I. Jasmine shook off the shock, then gave a thumbs up before shouting. “Thanks Sonia!” She turned to the announcer. “Now, bring it on!”
“Then let’s start.” The announcer said a bit out of it. “Take your seat and don’t start eating till we say go.” Jasmine sighed in frustration wanting to start eating. “Go!”
Jasmine wasted no time in taking Sonias’ coaching as the clock started to tick down. Freeing the burger from the bread she started devouring it. I looked to Sonia who seemed agitated, again she shot up. “Jasmine! Keep switching what you eat! Switch it up all the time with every few bites!”
Jasmine didn’t look up then switched to the stake. Jordan and I looked to Sonia for an answer. She sighed lightly. “I date a competition eater, till he dropped dead.” She rolled her eyes at our looks of curiosity. “He died in a car collision. I went with him to the games.”
“Ah, well glad you can help Jasmine then.” I said a bit awkward and sat back taking up a slice of pizza tossing on part of my salad as a toping.
“You got some odd eating habits, Kim.” Jordan said, looking at me top off my pizza. “Last time you had your spring roll with a mix of mustard and melted butter, that is a strange combination.”
“Hey that has to be her.” A young girl said from behind me.
“Your right, it’s that fox girl.” The boy behind me chuckled. “She is cute in and out of costume.”
Hmm, Jasmine made one hell of an impression it seems. Well ether way it had been just under thirteen minutes since she started. Lightly I shook my head as people were getting interested in Jasmine and her gorging. I smiled lightly for the fact nothing was fazing her, however she is just at the start and has yet to get to the heavy starches. Tilting my head she chocked a bit and reached for her shake.
“Don’t touch that shake, Jasmine!” Jordan and I jumped near out of our seats as Sonia shouted out her coaching. “If you need a drink then small sips of water! The shake is not part of the competition focus on the food in front of you!”
Jasmine pulled back her hand and took up the water with a small sip. She quickly went back to eating, and now she is twenty four minutes in. She was slowing down but still at a good passé, the meat patty was gone two of the sandwiches dressings were gone, and she was near a third done with the stake. By this point the restaurant was in an up roar encouraging her on. Sonia herself was so into it she was at the stage giving her advice.
“I can’t tell if she likes this challenge more or if she likes Jasmine.” I shook my head lightly. “Ether way Sonia is showing a side I will have fun with later.”
“Your girlfriend is eating for like five people, and you want too use this too make fun of her?” She laughed not so lightly between sips of her shake. “You two are going to get along great, but shouldn’t you be up there by the stage?”
“Not yet.” I looked back to Jordan. “She doesn’t need me yet, if at all.”
“You have so much confidence in her.” She smiled. “Or should I say trust?”
Looking back to the stage I chuckled, I knew what she wanted me to say. However she would be denied that. “Nice try, but if I am going to correct you it will be in front of her, and not until I say it to her first.”
She hummed lightly, she almost did it too say she was proud of me. Jordan I can tell is going to be a handful as much as Jasmine, if not more.
We watched the crowed as they chanted Jasmines’ name over and over. I was not going to get in the way of this for her, I knew she could do this with the crowed egging her on, and Sonia’s advice. She would do this without me.
“Slow down Jasmine!” I heard Sonia yell. “You are done with more then half, all is left is the bread and fries. Use your water and wet the bread, it will go down easier. Take your time you have plenty of time.”
Sonia’s words seem too boost not only the crowds, but Jasmine as well. She took a deep breath and took her time eating what was left of the meal. However even with the excitement towards her, she was feeling it. She was forcing it now, and she was down to twelve minutes.
Taking up a lukewarm slice I pilled on the last of my salad, and then doused it with some hot sauce. I slowly ate calmly as Jasmine struggled with the challenge she brought on herself. It’s odd, but I found myself proud of her that she took on this challenge. She stood on the stage when no one believed in her, even insulted her, and now they were cheering for her.
“Jasmine is amazing,” Jordan said softly, I barley heard her over the crowds. “She is in so much pain, but she just won’t stop. How did you two meet anyway?”
“She tricked me into falling into her trap.” I had for a long time now figured that Jasmine knew, or found out I was watching her. My place by the tree I liked at school, for two months she never once showed up. All of a sudden she came everyday for a week. Yeah, I figure that she knows James, he gave us the contract, it was the only thing I could figure. Well considering the earlier silence when I asked about him. They orchestrated one hell of a play, and I fell into there trap.
“You okay?” Jordan asked with an inquisitive look to me. “You are looking at her rather intensely.”
“It’s nothing.” I took another bite of my slice of pizza. “Nothing that need’s to be said.”
“Thirty seconds, Jasmine! One more bite!” Sonia yelled over the crowd. “You can do this!”
Jasmine breathed heavily, she had no room left in her. Only way she will ever get it down is if she wills it down. Thirty seconds for her right now must feel like a years with every passing click. She got this far, I don’t think she was going to give it all up now. I looked to the clock twenty seconds, fifteen, then ten. Smiling I laughed, she was going to wait to the last moment. That is just what she did with four seconds on the clock she swallowed the last morsel.
The crowed went silent as they looked to the announcer for a final judgment. His arms dropped and lowered his head shaking it side to side. Lifting the microphone to his lips he spoke softly. “I am sorry to say, but Jasmine,” He grabbed her arm lifting it to the air shouting. “You did it!”
They all went wild with screams of congratulations as if they had all just won a victory. I knew different, this wasn’t there victory, it was Jasmines’ and her coach. Sonia was the only one Jasmine didn’t tune out, she even tuned me out. From the start all she needed was our first words, and then Sonias’ after that. This is definitely there win.