I pull up to the blue house after the cab dropped me off at my own so I could get my car. I’m not quite sure how to go about this. What if me walking in surprises Jeremy in the wrong way. Maybe Cameron was wrong. I pull the visor down and stare into the mirror for a minute. My hair is still curly, makeup still fairly decent. I take a deep breath and hold it in for a second before letting it out and opening the door at the same time. I flip the visor back up before shutting my car door and heading inside.
I can hear the music playing before I even get to the front step. I struggle to open the front door. It always sticks and I shove against it for a minute before it opens on me. I stumble inside and into the smoke and scent of pot.
There’s laughter and talking and for a split second I feel like I’m back at the Saint Patrick’s Day party. I find Cameron in the pong room and he pulls me to the kitchen. Jeremy is sitting on the counter, holding a sandwich in one hand. His eyes are closed and he’s leaning his head against the wall.
"He’s stopped puking, but he’s still quite intoxicated." Cam says.
"I’m not." Jeremy says. His words come out slowly, like he thought hard to get the words out and I stifle a laugh.
"Yes, you are." I say.
His eyes open and he squints at me. "You’re not here."
I laugh, out loud, this time. "I am though, Jeremy. I’m right here."
His eyes open a bit wider and he tilts his head, keeping his eyes locked on mine. "You are." He starts to laugh and leans forward, nearly falling off the counter but Cameron catches him, pushing him back until he’s leaning against the wall again.
Jeremy brings his hands up hold his face, with the sandwich still in one hand and when the bread hits his face, he jerks his head back and stares down at his hands. His eyebrows crease together as he looks at his sandwich.
"What?" He stares at the sandwich for another few seconds before looking up at Cameron and I. His eyes seem very unfocused and he struggles to turn his head to stare at Cam. When he finally focuses, he passes the sandwich to his friend and then pushes himself off the counter. He stumbles forward and catches himself on the wall.
"Brookie, come to bed with me." He grumbles, reaching his hand out for me.
I let him take my hand and together we make our way towards the living room and the stairs. Jeremy stops to go to the bathroom and I lean against the wall, waiting for him to get out.
"Thank you for showing up." Cameron says, leaning against the wall opposite of me.
I nod. "Yeah, no problem."
"No, really, though. I know you’re probably mad at me for that whole trying to get you two together that other night, and I wasn’t sure if you’d show up tonight."
"Really Cam, it’s okay."
"I just want you to know that I appreciate it. I couldn’t get Jeremy to go to bed and he was just stumbling around the house trying to find more to drink before you got here. I finally got him to just hang out in the kitchen when I made him that sandwich and then you showed up."
I shrug. "I’m glad I can help. You got me out of a terrible dinner date anyway. So I should be thanking you."
"Blind date or something?"
I start to shake my head, but realize that he’s sort of right. "In a way. Anna, you met her, and her boyfriend, my best friend, Andrew decided to try to set me up with an old boyfriend of mine. They don’t seem to get the fact that ex boyfriends are ex boyfriends for a reason."
He laughs a bit. "That’s rough. I have never had that happen to me, but I can imagine how that dinner might pan out."
I chuckle. "It was full of fake laughter and trying to get along for the sake of their feelings, but I should probably find a way to tell them that I don’t want to be around him."
"That would probably be best." He says, nodding his head. "Why haven’t you told them yet?"
"I just said why, sort of. I really don’t want to hurt their feelings. They seemed to think that I would be so excited to see Tyler."
"You don’t like to hurt people, do you." It’s not a question, the way he phrases it and I shrug.
"Does anybody really ever like to hurt people?"
"I don’t know, my ex girlfriend seemed pretty intent on hurting me after we broke up." I laugh and he chuckles a bit. "Nah, I’m serious though, Brookie. You just kind of strike me as the kind of person who puts herself into crappy situations just to please other people."
I try to laugh again, but he’s right. "You know, Jeremy’s been in there a while now." I gesture towards the bathroom door. "Do you think he’s okay?"
My topic change works, Cameron steps towards the bathroom door and knocks loudly. "Jer, you're alright in there?"
No response. He pulls the door open and peers inside, and then he laughs. "He’s asleep."
I follow Cam into the bathroom to see that he’s right. Jeremy is passed out on the floor. Cam squats down beside Jeremy and starts to shake his shoulder. "Come on buddy, wake up."
Jeremy stirs after a few moments and Cameron helps him sit up. "Come on, let’s stand up. We’ll get you to bed, alright?"
Jeremy nods and closes his eyes like he’s going to fall asleep again. "No, not yet, Jer. Come on. Stand up." Cameron loops his arm under Jeremy’s armpits and groans a bit as he stands them both up. Jeremy opens his eyes a bit as they begin to stumble out of the bathroom. I follow behind, quietly, and watch as Cameron somehow manages to get them both up the stairs. Jeremy drops onto his bed, mumbling something incoherently.
Cameron’s laughing to himself as he comes back to the doorway where I’m standing.
"Goodnight guys. And thanks again, Brookie." He says before leaving.
"Brookie?" Jeremy sounds a bit surprised and I step towards him. "You’re here?"
"Yeah, I’m right here." I sit beside him and put my hand on his shoulder. He squints up at me and starts to laugh a bit. "What is it?" I ask, feeling slightly self-conscious.
He just shakes his head and closes his eyes, muttering something I can barely understand. I manage to make out two words, "gonna stay?" and I assume he’s asking me if I’m staying.
"Do you want me to stay?" I ask him. He rolls onto his side, so he’s no longer facing me, and his arm grazes my knee. He doesn’t say anything and I start to feel a bit awkward being here. I think he’s asleep now. I start to move and he whimpers slightly.
"No." He mutters.
He turns just his head so he would be looking at me, if he’d open his eyes. "Don’t leave me." He says, quietly.
"Okay." I whisper. "I’ll stay."
"Sleep?" He asks me, his voice quieter than before and I have to strain to hear him.
"Yeah. I’ll sleep." I move to take my shoes off and he swings his arm to grab at my arm.
"Don’t!" His voice is still fairly quiet and grumbly and I laugh a bit.
"I'm just taking my shoes off, Jer."
He keeps his hand on my arm as I move around him, adjusting the blankets and pillows. I finally lay down beside him, pulling the covers up on us. I lay on my back this time and he curls up beside me, slinging one arm over me. "I really like you, Brookie." He mumbles and for a second I wonder if I heard him right, but he says it again. "I really, really like you."
I don’t respond. I don’t know what to say, so I run my hand through his short hair until his breathing slows and I realize he’s asleep. I’m suddenly not tired at all.
I try to move a bit, just to get slightly more comfortable and something jabs against my hip. I reach down and pull my phone from my pocket, wondering how I forgot that it was there in the first place. I unlock my phone and read through my messages.
They’re all from Andrew. In each one he complains about me leaving. I roll my eyes but decide that he deserves to know the truth. So I text him back, telling him I’m with Jeremy and that I don’t have a pregnant cousin.
Beside me, Jeremy stirs a bit, and his arm wraps around me, just a bit tighter. I turn slightly so I can face him. His mouth is slightly open and he looks so peaceful. I shift further onto my side and curl up against him, ready to fall asleep and forget the day I’ve had.
The sound of my phone ringing pulls me out of a dream I can’t remember and I start to sit up, but something heavy is holding me down. I tilt my head forward, blinking a few times to adjust to the still dark room. Last night comes back to me when I realize it’s Jeremy keeping me from moving. He’s practically laying across me. I manage to find my phone, even without being able to sit up and look for it.
The ringing ends just as I pick up my phone and I rub my eyes as I stare at the screen, trying to focus on the words on my phone.
Two missed calls from Andrew. Crap. And two voicemails. They aren’t the only missed calls. There are a few others from a number that I don’t recognize. I ignore them for now, and turn to the voicemails that Andrew left.
The first one is short. "Why do you even have a phone if you don’t ever answer it?"
I delete it and move on to the second one. "What is going on with you, Brookie? You’re ditching, and your lying, and not very well might I add. We haven’t spent any time at all together lately and Anna’s afraid she’s ruined our friendship, and she won’t listen to me when I tell her that you’re just crazy." There’s a small pause and a loud sigh. Does he have to be so dramatic? "Please just call me back, okay?"
I sigh and drop my phone down onto the mattress. "Everything okay?" Jeremy’s voice is muffled and he doesn’t move to get off me.
"Maybe. I’m not sure yet."
"Am I squishing you?" He asks.
I laugh a bit. "No. You’re fine."
He’s quiet for a minute. "You’re really comfortable." He says.
"But when you laugh its like my head is on a trampoline because your body shakes."
I laugh again but try to stop quickly. "Then stop making me laugh."
"What happened last night?"
"What do you mean?"
"I know that I’ve got a horrible headache. So I know that something must have happened. I remember asking you to come to bed with me, but I don’t remember you partying with us or anything."
"I didn’t party with you. You got really drunk and Cameron texted me to tell me to come over and help him with you."
"I do remember puking…" He says, trailing off a little bit. He turns his head a bit and his voice is muffled as he adds, "Were you there when I was throwing up?"
"No. You were sitting on the counter eating a sandwich when I got here. But I was here when you fell asleep on the bathroom floor."
"I had a sandwich?" His voice is still muffled and I laugh.
"Sort of. You didn’t really eat it, you just kind of held it."
He laughs and then sits up a bit, so he’s not using me as a pillow anymore. "That explains why I’m so hungry."
"I am not making you pancakes again."
He sticks his bottom lip out. "But this time I have syrup!"
I push myself up and my hand brushes against my phone. I glance down and sigh. "I should probably get going. I ditched on Andrew last night to come check on you and now he’s sort of mad at me."
Jeremy sits up completely and stretches, cracking his neck. I cringe a bit. "I don’t know how you can stand to do that." I say.
He chuckles and runs his hands through his hair. He grips the back of his neck and stretches a bit more. "So, if you leave without breakfast, that means you’ll owe me."
"I’ll owe you? I think you’re the one who owes me. Because I did make you pancakes last time, and burnt myself."
He grins and my heart skips in my chest. "You’re right. But I can’t promise that my pancakes will taste as good as your pancakes."
"You’re working as one of the assistant cooks at work. And you’re worried about what your food will taste like? Maybe I should tell Dan to hire someone new." He laughs again. "I don’t make pancakes at work."
"Then don’t make me pancakes. Make me something…" I pause, trying to think of what I’d want Jeremy to cook. "Something…"
He raises an eyebrow, with a cute smirk on his lips. "Something?"
He does this cute half-laugh. "Something spectacular?"
I nod. "Yes. Something spectacular." I pick up my phone and stand up, stepping over his legs so I can stand on the floor, instead of the bed. "But that’s going to be on a different day. I need to talk to Andrew before he decides that he wants my head on a silver platter."
Jeremy sighs. "Tell Andrew that I hate him."
"Because he’s taken my pancake maker."
I laugh and check my phone. "I’ll let him know."
"Good." He says. "It’s very rude of him."
I smile, he smiles and before I can start to feel awkward, we say goodbye and I leave.
I shut my car door as Andrew finally picks up his phone. "I’ll be over in about twenty minutes." I say. "I have to tell you something."
Bookluver78 - Thank you soo much! Yeah, Tyler is not the nicest guy in the world. I hope you enjoyed this chapter! This chapter was one of my favorites to write! I hope to hear from you soon!
Zelia- You're right! I hope you like this chapter! It's one of my favorites - they're just so cute!