It takes a bit of struggling to get the door open. "This door gets worse every time I try to open it." Jeremy grumbles, shoving against the badly painted door until it opens with a squealing sound.
"Welcome home!" Cameron’s loud voice echoes through the otherwise empty house the moment Jeremy and I walk in. Cam bounds over to us and group hugs us, smiling happily. "I missed you. It isn’t the same when you’re not here."
"I know, I’m the center of the universe and it’s impossible to live without me around." Jeremy says, grinning back at his best friend.
Cameron scoffs, "Please, Jer, I was talking about your incredibly good looking girlfriend!" He pushes Jeremy aside to hug me and Jeremy groans, shoving Cameron off me.
"Hands off my girlfriend. Get your own, Cam."
They both laugh and then actually sort of hug. In a manly way. "Missed you Jer. Blue house parties are crap without you to lose at beer pong."
"I don’t lose." Jeremy grumbles and Cameron bursts out laughing.
"Yeah, okay, whatever you say Jer. You up for a match tonight at your... welcome home party? Prove you aren’t a loser?"
Jeremy scoffs and agrees to Cam’s challenge. I push past the two of them and head upstairs with my bag, ready to sleep, unpack, do some laundry and shower, not necessarily in that order.
After a shower, some unpacking, some laundry and a nice long nap, I wake up to Jeremy snoring loudly in my ear. I push him off me and sit up, stretching out until I feel the kinks in my back fade. Jeremy’s snoring stops suddenly and he sits up, looking around the room confused. After a second, he groans and lays back down. "I hate waking up like that." He mumbles, his words muffled by the pillow he’s face-down on.
"All of a sudden." He grouches, rolling over with a loud groan. "I like waking up really slowly, not super fast and weird." He sighs and then tugs on my arm until I lay back down beside him. He sighs again and then pushes himself up enough to kiss me. "I love you." He tells me, his eyelids fluttering close as he leans down to kiss me. I let my eyes linger open as his head dips down to meet me but when our lips touch, my eyes shut and I revel in the feeling of his lips on mine.
Like always, one of his hands finds its way to the back of my neck, gently tipping my head until our lips meet almost effortlessly. His other hand rests on my hip where my shirt meets my yoga pants. My skin starts to warm under his and I move my arms up to wrap around him, pulling him closer to me. He deepens the kiss, his tongue dances against mine and a loud knock shocks us apart. Jeremy ignores the knock, kissing me again but the knocking continues and Jeremy groans, pulling away from me and sitting up. "What?" He shouts out, sounding as frustrated as I feel.
The door pushes open and Cameron waltzes in, looking smug. "Hope I’m not interrupting anything." He says cheerfully, clearing knowing that he definitely interrupted something.
"What do you want?" Jeremy asks bluntly, almost angrily.
"Derek’s home, he’s got the alcohol. It’s time to celebrate your return to the blue house!"
Jeremy sighs and then nods. "Yeah, alright. Let’s party." He gets up off the bed, taking my hand and pulling me with him. "Let’s go get wasted."
All the usual people we see at every blue house party are downstairs, drinking away their worries and when Jeremy walks into the room there’s loud cheering. Jeremy lights up, laughing back with his friends, talking about our trip and what California was like.
Cameron starts up a pong game, dragging Jeremy to the back room and everyone follows, bringing their beers and other drinks along with them. I snag an ale from the fridge and lean against a wall, content to watch the fun. My phone ringing from my pocket sends me upstairs to find a quiet place to answer the call.
I walk back downstairs after an unsettling talk with the local police. Officer Carlton, one of the officers we spoke to at the night of the fight at the grill was the one talking to me. They’d been trying to contact Jeremy and I since the day after the fight, but with us preparing for California, I hadn’t answered my phone. Because we were unreachable for so long, the case was dismissed, for now, and Tyler was bailed out by his parents.
I rub my forehead, trying to remember more of the conversation, but I’d nearly finished my first drink by the time I took the call and already I’m feeling buzzed. I need to tell Jeremy about this, but when I step into the pong room he’s laughing with Cameron and Russell, completely happy. I push aside the conversation with the officer, deciding that for now, Jeremy deserves one free night without worries.
I grab another strawberry ale and walk up to him, kissing his cheek and ignoring the jeering from Cam and Russell. "You’re just jealous, Cam." I tease as Jeremy wraps his arm around me, laughing at something someone else has said.
He turns to me and grins. "I’m glad we’re home." He says, dipping his head down to kiss me. "Even if it does mean dealing with these losers."
"Hey now!" Cam acts insulted, passing Jeremy another beer.
Russell reaches for the vodka, holding it up in the air. "Shots?"
As always, it isn’t exactly a question. Jeremy reaches for the shot glasses and Russell sloshes the vodka into them, barely managing to keep them from spilling. "And go!" Cameron shouts. We all tip back our glasses and chug down the liquor. I grimace slightly but when they pour another round, I tip mine back just as eagerly as they do. Knowing I’ll probably regret in the morning when a killer headache pounds its way through my brain, I take a third shot, and then a fourth, until the vodka’s gone and we’re all laughing over nothing.
"I"m starving!" Someone grumbles and Cameron stands up abruptly.
"I’ll make nachos." He stumbles his way towards the kitchen, muttering to himself, "Cheese and circular chips."
I let my head flop onto Jeremy’s shoulder, it feels too heavy to hold up by myself. He picks up a beer and I take it from him once he’s opened it. "I want this one." I mumble and he looks at me, quizzically.
"Brookie you hate beer."
I laugh, nodding my head. "Yeah, but I want to drink it anyway." I sit up straight and groan. "But I need ice. I need ice for the beer."
"No, it’s already cold. Ice doesn’t make beer better. You don’t need ice, just drink it." Jeremy’s laughing and I look at the can, wrinkling my nose.
I hand it back after a minute, shaking my head. "Maybe I don’t want to drink it."
Russell throws a wadded up newspaper at me, missing me by a few feet. "Drink the beer Brookie!"
"Brookie’s drinking beer?" Cameron scrambles back into the room and I take back the beer from Jeremy, determined to drink it. "Chug it!" Cam starts to chant and the others join in. I bring the can up to my lips and take my first gulp. The flavor makes me shudder but I stubbornly continue gulping until the last drops fall out and I pass the empty can to Jeremy, feeling triumphant.
There’s loud cheering from Cameron, Russell, and Jeremy, and for a minute I feel fine. The feeling doesn’t last. I jump up and rush towards the bathroom, collapsing to my knees in front of the toilet just as my body begins to rid itself of the unwelcome alcohol. When I’m finally done vomiting, I push myself up and brush my teeth, gargling with mouthwash until I feel clean again. I stumble back to the couch and Jeremy pulls me onto his lap. "You're okay, babe?" I nod and yawn. "That’s it for us." Jeremy tells the guys, helping me stand up and we make our way to the stairs.
I’m positive Jeremy’s had more to drink than I have but he seems so much more stable. I giggle loudly when we reach the stair with the hole. "Shh." I hush Jeremy, sure that he’s as loud as I am, "We don’t want to wake up Jack." Jack went to bed hours before us with his work schedule calling him for early mornings. Jeremy just laughs quietly and lets me fall on to his bed. "Where are your pajamas?" He asks, and I can hear him fumbling through the drawers. I shrug and struggle with my jeans.
I groan when I can’t figure out the button and zipper. "Jer, come over here and take my pants off!" The words come out and I freeze, giggling. "Not like that though! I want to sleep."
Jeremy chuckles and helps me slide out of my jeans, handing me my favorite pajama pants. I shove both of my legs in and manage to pull them up before falling face first onto the pillow. Jeremy switches the light off after changing and he curls up to me, planting a kiss on my head. "I love you, Brookie." He says. I try to say it back but it comes out in mumbles and I fall asleep to him chuckling.
Jeremy steps into the room holding a bag of popcorn and he pushes Cameron out of the way so he can sit beside me on the couch. I tuck my feet up underneath me and lean against his shoulder, glad that I’m still free from work for all of today. Tomorrow’s my first day back from my vacation. I’m trying to work up the courage to talk to Jeremy about the phone call with the police officer, but right now doesn’t seem like the time. Jeremy tears the bag open before sliding his right arm around me. "Hey, turn that up." Someone says and Russell digs for the television remote, turning whatever movie we’re about to watch until Cameron shouts at him to turn it down a bit.
"Get your own popcorn." Jeremy grumbles, knocking Cameron’s hand out of the way and they start to fight over it.
"Would you all shut up?" Russell grouches from the armchair, sending a murderous glare to everyone in the room, which is just me, Jeremy and Cameron. "I’m still hungover. You’re arguing is killing my brain. And I can’t hear the tv with you all shouting. So shut up or leave." With his short rant over, he leans back in his seat and turns his attention to the movie. Jeremy looks at me and smiles, laughing under his breath. He turns the bag of popcorn around so I can reach in for some before looking at the tv screen. This finally feels like home.
The door creaks open and Jack walks in, rubbing his hands over his face. All eyes turn to him when he exhales loudly and drops into an empty seat. Jeremy leans forward in his seat so he can see his brother better before asking, "Hey, Jack, what’s wrong?"
Jack looks back at Jeremy and he almost looks at a loss for words. "I got a call from the landlord, Barbara, today. This house is being condemned. We have until the end of July to move out."
Apart from the movie in the background, the room is silent. Russell’s the first one to speak. "It’s being condemned? It’s not that unsafe here yet. Is it?"
At his words, we all look around the old house. Part of the floor is sinking in a corner behind the armchair and if you look closely the house sort of leans to one side.
The entire place looks like it’s only one bad storm away from being a pile of painted wood and stained rug on the ground. "The end of July? That’s not that far away." Russell says slowly and Jack nods, rubbing his hands over his face again.
"I know. This is going to be a tough few months."
Cameron clears his throat and reaches for the remote to pause the movie. "You know what this means, right?"
"We all need to find a new place to live." Jeremy says quietly, staring at the ground.
Cameron starts to disagree but then he nods. "Yeah, that too. But, this calls for a final party. A farewell of sorts. This calls for a really good party." I look around at each of the boys and see them all starting to nod their heads in slight agreement.
"A pirate party." Derek’s voice booms from the doorway, where he’s leaning against the wall. "This calls for a pirate party."
Emma - Aw! Thank you so much! Promise rings are my favorite things (ha that rhymed!) I love the idea of promise rings because of all they can symbolize! Anyway, I'm so glad you liked the chapter so much! I hope you like this one as well! I can't wait to hear your thoughts!
Miha - Thank you! The previous chapter was so much fun to write (as was this one!) I'm glad you think that Lottie and Chris make a good couple! They're one of my favorite couples to write about - hence the spin-off about them that will be written once I do the sequel to this one! Thank you so much for your kind words and review of my chapters and this story all together, I love it so much! Hope you like this last chapter just as much as you've liked the others!
Ange - Thank you so much! I'm so happy to hear you enjoy the story so much! I hope you like this chapter - and I hope that you're excited for the sequel!
First I'd like to thank all of you who supported me through this journey! This book has been so much fun for me to write and I have loved being able to read all of your comments and thoughts about my writing! Thank you for being there for me during some of the hardest times I've been through and for all the kind words you've all said to me! I can't wait to bring the sequel to you all for you to read and hopefully enjoy!
Second, and this is about the sequel - I am going to take a few weeks off before I write and post the first chapter of the sequel. I hope you all don't mind waiting but for the sequel book to be as good as it can be I will need some time to get inspired! I hope you all understand!
And last but certainly not least, Emma brought to my attention the title of this story 'Scars And A Daisy' with questions about where it came from. The title was originally a 'working title' meaning I didn't think that would be what I wanted the actual title to be.
But as the story grew I fell more in love with the title because of my original thoughts on it. I chose Scars because of Jeremy and his past. Because Jeremy has been through so much, he's scarred physically and also emotionally. And then I chose Daisy to symbolize Brookie in the beginning of the story and how she was slightly naive to everything surrounding Jeremy and his life. So that's how Scars And A Daisy came to be. What do you all think?