I was awakened, not by my alarm clock on this Sunday morning, but by Axton licking my face; and the fact that my phone was buzzing off the rails at that time. Axton, my Siberian husky, took it upon himself to continue licking my face, until I opened my eyes to acknowledge him.
He glared at me and then looked over at the nightstand, where my phone was buzzing like crazy. I guess, I never actually got a break.
I picked up the phone and answered it.
"Briana Wilkens at your service, even though she doesn't want to be," I muttered.
"Why were you with Adam Longhart at two in the morning? Is there something that I need to know? Was he trying to kill you?" And that would be Samantha Westbrook, my best friend.
"Not kill me, in that type of sense," I muttered, "he was trying to kill me with kindness. He needed my help," I heard a scoff on the other end of the receiver.
"Please don't tell me that you're actually thinking about helping that douchebag?"
I felt myself shrugging, even though I knew that she could not see me, "I don't judge Sam, you know that. I just help and if he needed the help, then how can I turn someone like Adam Longhart down?" I flipped my comforter back and walked towards the bathroom, "Plus, I could probably get him off my back for the whole Amelia thing."
"Okay, first of all, it's not your fault that he was a bit too aggressive with Amelia. Besides, you helped a damsel in distresses, that's what you do, that's who you are."
"Well, now I'm someone different," I muttered, "I now help poor and lonely boys, who take me to drug houses to stage an offer."
"Drug houses?" She muttered through the receiver.
"It's a long story; I'll have to tell you about it over brunch."
"We might have to postpone today's brunch."
I turned and leaned against the bathroom counter, "Postpone? We never postpone Sunday brunch. It's the only thing that can help me get through the day."
"No, working at the library today, can also get you through the day," she huffed, "my mother is making me meet her new boyfriend. For some reason, she thinks that this will be a long-term thing. She's calling a 'family meeting', can you believe that one? I don't even remember the last time we were a family."
"Cut her some slack," I watched as Axton walked over to me slowly and stared at me with his head tilted, "she's been off the rails ever since your father left, three years ago. What else would you expect?"
I knew that she was rolling her eyes at me, so I gave her a second. "Only you can state information like that, so nonchalantly in a sentence," she replied after giving it a thought.
I smiled, "I say what you need to hear, and right now you need to hear this; it's not about you, this brunch, I mean. This is for her to be reassured, that the man she might be bringing around her children is the right man for the job. She wants to show you that it's not just a fling and that it is something more," I turned and grabbed my toothbrush off the counter and put Sam on speaker. "Besides, when was the last time you've had brunch with one of her boy toys?"
Sam laughed on the other end, "You're right B. I know you don't need to hear that, because you know that you're right," she sighed, "this is something that I have to do for her."
I placed my toothbrush in my mouth, "True... How's Andrea taking it?"
Andrea was Sam's little sister, who hardly ever listened to authority. She was a rebel and going through that stage of her teenage years. She was in the eighth grade and probably on her way to kissing boys, if I didn't know any better.
"Andrea is acting out. She's not saying anything, but she's just letting it be. It's understandable. Andrea was only ten, when my dad decided that he wanted a change and that's scarred her," I continued to brush my teeth and let her speak, "but I - being the big sister and doing my big sister duty - have to actually give a shit." I finished brushing my teeth, rinsed, and reassured her, "That's the best thing about you Sam, you care."
She chuckled on the opposite end, "Sorry I have to cancel brunch. I had a lot of gossip to share as well."
"It's understandable. Besides, I have some phone calls to make before work and I know Axton needs to go for a walk. Maybe, we can catch up over a cheap dinner, of say pizza and some Netflix?"
"I am down for that dinner, as long as I get to sleep over later."
"Done and done."
"Have a good day B. I'll be over by 7:12."
I hung up the phone and sighed.
I did my duty of dressing up in a baseball tee and some jean shorts; put my hair in a ponytail, and dabbed on some makeup, before I going downstairs. It felt as though I had only gotten an hour of sleep, because I was tossing and turning the whole night.
I stretched and looked back into the mirror. My dad hated jean shorts, but that was all that I tend to buy, so he just decided to deal with it. The library didn't have much of a dress code, accept that we had to be comfortable.
I had made my bed and some breakfast, before I sat down to eat. Axton's bowl had already been filled, courtesy of my father; so he sat to eat with me, until it was our time to go for a walk.
Pulling out my phone, I made the phone call that would help Adam; even though I didn't want to talk to the person on the other end of the receiver.
"Briana Wilkens?" He said in smooth voice, "I never thought, that I would see the day when your name would ever appear on my phone."
"I'm cashing in my favor Mike."
"That's it? Just a favor?"
"I wouldn't call you for anything else. So, I need that favor right about now."
I heard a sigh on the opposite end of the phone, "What do you need?"
I felt a smile creeping onto my face, "What I need, is for you to spend the next two weeks of your life, getting the quarterback of our school back into shape, for our first game on September 21st."
"I can't," he muttered, "it's cutting very close to some of my other deadlines. Besides, that's more than your favor limit exceeds. I don't babysit for favors, Briana."
Biting my lip, I turned around in my seat, "I need you to do this for me and your debt will be paid off and you won't ever have to see or hear from me again."
"Briana," he muttered with that silky voice, that always got me, "I love hearing from you. I've lived for the day that you would actually dial my number and ask me for something."
"So, why can't you just cut a few of your deadlines short and help me for the simple fact that I would do the same for you?" There was silence at the other end, "You know what, don't worry about it. Forget that I ever called."
Before I could hang up, he spoke again, "Wait," I clenched my jaw, "I'll help him. Only if that will ensure that you might think about us."
I bit my lip and closed my eyes. There was never a world, that would ever have me to be with Mike Sutter, ever again in my life. But, if I wanted to help Adam, I guess that I would have to reconsider, no matter how many times Mike Sutter had screwed me over.
"Fine. Be at Ridwell tomorrow, around seven in the morning."
"It's a date."
Before I could protest, Mike hung up, leaving me all in my lonesome. I clenched my jaw and hung my phone up. I sent Adam a text, saying that we were on for Monday morning, and to be at the field. Then I turned my phone over on the counter and sat it there.
I turned slightly in my chair, where I was face-to-face with my father. I bit my lip as he leaned against the post.
"How much of that did you hear?" I asked.
"Enough," I closed my eyes and sighed, "I was just about to come in here and ask, why I heard my SUV leaving this morning around 2, but now I know why. You're seeing Mike Sutter again."
I rolled my eyes, as I stood to take my plate to the sink to rinse it off, before I placed it into the dishwasher, "If you listened long enough, you would know that Mike Sutter and I will never be on the same page," I turned and looked at him, "and I wouldn't sneak out in the middle of the night just to see him."
"Which goes to my second thought," he said as I glared at him as his eyes turned and glared back at me, "you're fixing people again." I stood in silence and he nodded, "I told you to stop doing that."
"Right," I agreed, "I know you said that I shouldn't, I get that."
"So then you go and disobey what I say? Me, your father?" I sighed as he trumped over and stood in front of me, "Briana, you are my daughter and I am your father, and as long as you live under my roof, you abide by my rules. Do you understand?"
Staring into my dad's eyes, I knew that he was tired. He works a lot in his office, but he recently started working from home, which has ruined a lot of my fixing opportunities. I was his only child and he was the only one took care of me. Being only sixteen years old and a junior in high school, he knew that I was his prized possession. He assumed that I could get into loads and loads of trouble from fixing people.
I wanted to argue so badly about me being able to fix people and how it helped me, but I just couldn't form the words. I looked in his eyes and noticed the tired look that he gave me. His eyes drooped and his head bobbed.
"I understand dad," I muttered with a slight smile playing on my lips. I leaned up and kissed his cheek, "I have to go take Axton for a walk now."
Sam glared at me, her light blue eyes beading into my soul. I had just entertained her with my whole story about Adam's situation and she was still not over that. So dropping a bomb like Mike Sutter on her, at this point in time was the icing on the cake. I told her things like this, because her opinion was very important in my world; it was one of the few that mattered.
I shrugged and took a sip from the pineapple soda that I loved to have from wine glasses, and I bit into a piece of pizza that Sam had brought over.
"Mike Sutter," I confirmed. My father had decided to go into the office and work a little bit longer, so that we were able to talk about fixing freely. I looked over at her and she was still studying me, "Well Sam, what else was I supposed to do? Adam needed help, Mike was the best quarterback that we ever had and well, it was very easy to convince him to help."
"Well, since we are back on the Adam situation, let us cover that first," she sat her wine glass down and paced, "let's see what this can and will do to your reputation," she turned and faced me as she continued pacing. "One, you helped his girlfriend get rid of him and everyone knew your hatred towards him. Two, he might be beloved, but he is secretly hated by everyone. He's cocky, arrogant, and not to mention he's a big fat cheater. So, if you were to actually release the fact that he took steroids instead of helping him, you would be such an icon at school that it would be ridiculous."
I shook my head and sat my glass down, "Sam, listen to me right now, please," she stopped pacing and placed her hands on her hips, "you know as well as I do, that I don't tear people down. As much as I want to, I can't because that's not who I am. I help people, whether I like them or not. That is just what I do. I can't do anything that would jeopardize the way that people see me, or anything like that; instead, I help. And you know I don't care about being an icon; I care about helping those that need to be helped."
She studied me intently, before she picked her wine glass that was full of water and chugged it, "You're a better person than I am, Briana Wilkens."
I smiled as she sat down beside me. I picked up my piece of pizza and continued to eat it, "So tell me about, Brad is it?"
She nodded as she stared at the ceiling, "Brad - for everything that it's worth - is perfect. Maybe beyond perfect. I couldn't find a single thing wrong with the guy. He has great hair, an amazing attitude, is an entrepreneur, and owns his own business. I mean, I tried my hardest to pick out what could be wrong with him, but there was nothing." She looked over at me and shrugged. "I had absolutely nothing to worry about, did I?"
"No," I finished my pizza, "no you had nothing to worry about."
She looked back up at the ceiling, "So what about you? What are you going to do about your father and the whole fixing thing?"
I shrugged, "He doesn't want me to fix, but that is the only thing that makes me feel better."
"Did you tell him that?"
I shook my head, "I couldn't. You didn't see the pain in his eyes that I saw. I know that he's been under a lot of stress at work. So much, that he worked from home all last week."
"But, fixing is the one thing that you love and you do it really well. You didn't say any of that?"
I sighed, "Sam, my father is under duress."
"And now, you will be too; since your hobby is about to be snatched from right under you."
"I'm not going to stop fixing people," I muttered, "There's no way that I can, but I'm not going to tell my father about any of this. I have to have some kind of decoy or use another method."
"You're just going to spare your father from the terrible facts about the whole fixing and everything?"
"That's the least I can do. He doesn't need an argument from me right now."
She smiled at me, "Like I said before, you're a better person than I am Briana Wilkens."