"Monday’s are the absolute worst." Maddie leans against the wall in the break room and sighs loudly. "They’re so slow and boring here." She’s been complaining for roughly five minutes now and though I’m sick of hearing it, I don’t have it in me to tell her to stop whining and suck it up.
"Sometimes slow days are nice." I say, hoping to appease her. She rolls her eyes a bit and shrugs.
"Not really. I prefer the busy days. Sure my feet ache like crazy when I get home, but the tips I get are so worth it all. And the rushing around to keep things running smoothly make the shift just fly by." She sighs again and I shrug this time, deciding to just stay quiet. Nothing I say will soothe her mild hatred for Mondays, or slow days in general.
I push myself off the wall and head out to check on the one occupied table I have right now. It’s two couples who are, thankfully, extremely polite people. Not once have they complained about anything. I end up just filling up a water glass and getting one of the boys another soda, and they’re all set for another little while, so I head back to the break room. Maddie’s walking back from the bathroom and we head into the small room together. I hear the kitchen door swinging behind us and I turn to see Jeremy coming over.
I smile and Maddie rolls her eyes, but smiles at me as Jeremy walks over to us. "Yeah, I can see why you like slow days. I’m going to go check and see if Don’s worked out the weekend schedule." Natalie had quit unexpectedly after her third night and now the weekend schedule needs to be fixed, but I know that Maddie was really only leaving to give Jeremy and I time alone. He grins at me and kisses me. "I can’t wait to get home already."
Maddie comes bouncing back in, a smile on her face. "Six cars. Get ready guys!"
Jeremy groans and pulls away from me. "I definitely can’t wait to get home." He mutters before heading for the kitchen. "Tonight is just dragging."
Things are slowly beginning to die down when Lexi walks up to me, looking slightly unsteady on her feet. "I don’t feel so good." She mumbles and then spins around to a small trash can in the break room. I cringe at the sound of her vomiting and kneel down to rub her back. "I’ll go tell Don that you need to go home." She nods her head so I know she heard me and I stand up, off to find Don.
He’s pouring over some bookwork in his office and when I tell him he sighs and rubs the bridge of his nose. "This sucks." He mumbles. "Nothing is going right. Take over hostessing with your waitressing please? I’ll go check on her."
I head over to the hostess stand and just as I reach it, the door opens. I grin when I see Marlie and Alyssa walk in. "Hey guys!"
"Brookie! I didn’t know you were working tonight!" Marlie says and Alyssa nods, agreeing with her sister. Behind Marlie and Alyssa, I see Jetta with three unfamiliar, girls. Marlie turns and beckons them over. "Guys this is Brookie, Jeremy’s girlfriend. Brookie, this is Katrina, Ella, and Rachel."
The two younger ones, Katrina and Ella, hold back, almost hiding behind Rachel, but Rachel comes forward, smiling at me and holding out her hand for me to shake. "Marlie, Alyssa, and Jetta talk about you a lot." She says. "It’s so awesome to meet you!"
I grin back at her. I’ve never met anyone who seems so happy to be meeting me before. I like it. "It’s awesome to meet you too! I can’t believe I can finally say I’ve met all of Jeremy’s siblings!"
Marlie chuckles. "Not really, not yet. We actually have an older half sister from our dad’s second marriage. We’ve got a very complicated family."
I laugh with her and nod my head. "Yeah, I guess you do." Behind all the girls, two adults finally appear. I can tell that the woman is the mother. Though none of the girls in front of me look exactly like her, the similarities are there and I can see her relation to Jeremy. Beside he is a larger, balding man with a pronounced frown on his face. He’s looking around the restaurant like he’s too good for it and I immediately dislike him. This must be the husband that they refuse to acknowledge as a step-father. I can tell why. I feel the same dislike towards the woman. "Mom!" Marlie says, drawing all our attention to the woman I’m currently hating. "This is Brookie."
The woman looks at me, like she’s not quite sure why she’s being introduced to me, so I say, "I’m Jeremy’s girlfriend."
"Oh." She looks surprised and she gives me a once-over, like she feels the need to determine whether or not I’m good enough for her son. Part of me wants to yell at her for being like this since she showed how much she didn’t care about Jeremy when she kicked him out, but I just plaster on a smile and try to be as pleasant as possible.
"So it looks like you guys need a table for eight?" I ask, gathering up some menus.
"Yep." The large man finally speaks for the first time and I lead them over to a fairly secluded table.
"Thanks!" Marlie chirps as they sit down and start scanning menus.
"No problem." I smile back and pull out my order pad. "Can I start you guys off with some drinks?"
It’s nice and easy when they all order water, with Jeremy’s mom asking for a lemon wedge in hers. "Alright, I’ll be back with your drinks in just a few minutes." I turn to leave, but Jeremy’s mom stops me.
"If it isn’t too busy, would it be possible for Jeremy to come out and see us? We have to leave tomorrow morning and we haven’t gotten a chance to see him yet. "
I force a smile. "I’ll see what I can do."
"Thank you." Her smiles looks as fake as mine feels and when I turn around to walk to the drink machine, I roll my eyes and wonder if I could get away with spitting in her water.
Maddie offers to bring the drinks out for me so I can try to get Jeremy to come out and see his family. I thank her and head into the kitchen, wondering if Jeremy wants to see his mom or not. Cameron and a newer worker whose name I can’t remember are in the kitchen as well and Jeremy doesn’t seem too busy. I walk over and he looks surprised but happy when he sees me. "What’s up?" He asks after surprising me with a kiss.
I decide to just say it. "Your mom’s here and wants to know if you can step out into the dining area to see her for a bit."
He raises an eyebrow and looks a bit uneasy for a split second before his demeanor changes. His face smooths and he straightens up a bit, tossing a dish rag onto the counter by his work space. "Yeah, course, why not?" He might have everyone else fooled, but not me. I see under his cool pretense. "Just show me where they are."
So I lead him from the kitchen to the dining area and when his two youngest sisters see him coming, they run from their chairs to attack him in hugs. He laughs loudly, picking them both up at the same time and spinning them around twice. "I missed you Jeremy!" The youngest squeals, her tiny voice full of laughter. The other sister nods her agreement and digs into her pocket for something.
"I made you this!" She pulls a beaded bracelet out and he holds out his wrist for her to slide it on.
"Aw, thanks El!" He says, with the widest, most real, smile I’ve seen on him in a long time. It’s easy to see how much he loves his sisters. He brings them back over to the table and after another hug for each of them, they sit back down. The other sisters go in for hugs and his mom hugs him. He hugs her back, glancing at me with a strange expression and when he pulls away, his mother’s husband puts on a smile.
"Good to see you, Jeremy." He says, with that weird voice of his. He sounds overly-friendly and I wonder if everyone else can see through him. His attempt at being charming is completely repulsive and my heart twinges with sadness at Jeremy having to go through all of this.
"So you guys have met Brookie?" Jeremy asks, turning the attention from himself to me, and his mother nods, looking unenthused.
"I should get back to work. Did Maddie take your orders?" I ask and when they all nod, I turn from the table. "Alright, I’ll be up at the hostess stand if you need me and I’ll come check on you in just a bit." I say, leaving the awkwardness as quickly as I can. For whatever reason, his mother has chosen to despise me. I hope that her attitude towards me won’t affect Jeremy’s feelings for me.
A few more guests start to pour in and I lead them to tables and getting them settled into chairs and the restaurant starts to busy up again. Don pulls me aside when I’m heading back to the stand. "I had Lexi go home. I called in Carla, she’ll be here in half an hour to stay until close and since it is getting busy I’ll host, you waitress. Is that cool?"
"Yeah, definitely, Maddie’s getting swamped." I breathe a sigh of relief at not having to work the two jobs any longer. I grab myself a fresh pen and pad of paper and head out into the busy area to take orders.
It gets busy to the point that I have to struggle not to mix up orders and I’m barely seeing the faces of the customers. "Hi, my name is Brookie, I’ll be your server this evening. Can I get you any drinks to start you off?" The automatic welcome and question pour out of my mouth as I stare down at my order pad, not even thinking about glancing at the table yet. My mind is too busy, thinking about grabbing the orders from the kitchen for a previous table.
"Brooklyn." Hearing my name in that voice and tone make me jump and I actually drop my pen. My head jerks up and Tyler is sitting at the table in front of me. His hands clasped on top of the table, a disapproving look on his face. I quickly bend down and scoop up my pen with shaky hands.
"What would you like to drink?" I ask, trying to remain professional. I want to tell him to get out of the restaurant, to stop bothering me, but I don’t want to cause a scene.
"We need to talk." He says.
I shake my head. "No, I can’t. I’m working right now. Can I get you a drink?" I try again to turn the conversation to food but it doesn’t work. He leans towards me, his jaw tightening.
"We need to talk, now."
I take a step back without realizing it and that makes Tyler mad. He pushes himself up out of the chair and his hand latches onto my arm before I can see it coming. "Let go of me." I try to keep my voice from wavering and I manage to sound pretty sure of myself. His grip tightens and he steps towards a more secluded part of the dining area.
"We have to talk."
I start to struggle and his fingers dig into my arm. "Let go, Tyler. That hurts." I say, sounding as stern as I can. My stomach is churning and my heart is pounding. Every beat seems to echo in my ears. "You need to let go of my arm right now."
Instead of doing what I say, he tugs sharply, causing me to stumble forward right into him. His free hand rests firmly on my lower back, keeping me against his chest. He lowers his mouth to my ear and with a hushed voice says, "You’re going to tell your boss that you need to go home and you’ll meet me outside in ten minutes." It’s not a question, or a suggestion, but a direct order.
I shake my head, standing up for myself. "No. I won’t. I’m going to finish out my shift and go home with my boyfriend."
That does it. The hand on my back grips my skin through my uniform and I know that the force he’s holding me with is going to leave bruises. He shakes me slightly, like he thinks that will do something to change my mind. "I’m supposed to be your boyfriend, Brooklyn. Not that loser."
"You don’t know him. He’s not a loser." I tell him and I can practically hear his teeth grinding together.
"We’re leaving." I didn’t think his hand on my arm could get any tighter but it does as he starts to pull me towards the nearest door.
"What is wrong with you?" I screech, trying to yank my arm free. "Let go of me!" I know that I’m loud enough for the entire dining area to hear and I know he realizes that when I feel him hesitate.
"She’s so dramatic." He says, with a forced laugh and the few people who are still staring glance back at their plates when he chuckles again. His hand hasn’t left my arm and when he pulls again, I shove him with my free hand. I manage to make him stumble slightly but when he steadies himself his hand flies towards my face.
The slap stings immediately and tears spring to my eyes. I bring my free arm up and cup my face with my hand. The sound of slap echoed through the restaurant and I hear shocked gasps. All of a sudden, I hear the scraping sound of a chair being pushed back and the bang of it crashing down to the floor. "Brookie?" It’s Jeremy’s voice and the floor protests in creaks as he rushes over. "Let go of my girlfriend." He says on his way over and Tyler shoves me to the ground. I’m unprepared for the fall and my head smacks against the ground, shooting pain through me. I squeeze my eyes shut, cradling my head and curling up slightly on the ground. I hear a shout and a thud and when I open my eyes, I see Jeremy on top of Tyler, pummeling him. His fists flying wildly. Tyler isn’t going down easy though and he manages to toss Jeremy off him, sending him into an unoccupied table.
Immediately I push myself up from the ground and nearly black out from standing up too quickly. The guests in the surrounding area clamber out of their tables and rush to the sides of the dining room when Tyler kicks a chair out of his way and leaps towards Jeremy. I want to be strong enough to rush into it and push the two of them apart but I back away and bump into someone. I spin around to apologize and it’s Marlie and Alyssa. They both tug me away from the fight and envelop me in a hug. I hear Jeremy’s mother calling his name, sounding horrified and disappointed. I don’t realize I’m crying until the tears are dripping off my chin. "It’s all my fault." I whisper.
I cover my eyes with my hands for a second until I hear a scream of pain that sounds like it's been ripped from Jeremy’s lips. Tyler is pulling a bloody fork from Jeremy’s arm and it takes me a few seconds to realize that Tyler is trying to stab him with it a second time. Despite the fact that Jeremy’s arm is now bleeding from the first stabbing, Jeremy knocks the fork out of Tyler’s hand and shoves him backwards.
Don rushes over when he sees the commotion and barely dodges a chair that Tyler’s thrown. Jeremy dives onto Tyler, pinning him to the ground, pounding him with his fists. I squeeze my eyes shut and turn my head onto Marlie’s shoulder. She’s rubbing my back and I try to focus on my breathing to keep my panic down. I hear Don’s deep voice shouting Jeremy’s name and the sounds of their fight start to die down. I open my eyes and see Cameron holding Jeremy back while Don has hold of Tyler.
"The cops are on their way. Don’t... either of you think about leaving here until they arrive." Don says, leading Tyler to an untouched booth. He sets him in it and stands there staring at him. "Now what happened?" He glances at Jeremy and my eyes follow him. I gasp when I see the blood trickling down his face. He looks murderous.
"That douchebag was hurting Brookie."
Don turns to me. "Is this true?" I nod and Don sighs. "Looks like you’ll have to stay here until the cops show up too. Jeremy, Brookie, sit down." He calls Maddie over and tells her to keep an eye on us while he starts the clean up and the awful strain of apologizing to the unhappy guests. Many of them leave without paying and Don does nothing to stop it. It seems the best way to avoid bad reviews.
"I can’t believe this." Don mumbles under his breath as he evaluates the damage done to the room.
I look down at the bloody napkin I’m pressing against Jeremy’s lip and try to hold in my tears. Jeremy cups my face and stares into my eyes. "Are you alright?" He asks, his voice husky and slow.
My voice is rough and unsteady. "Yeah, I’m okay."
"Are you sure? I saw how your head hit the ground."
"It hurt but I’m alright. I’m sure. Are you okay?" When Jeremy nods his answer, I believe him. "Okay." I say quietly. I dip a fresh napkin into a glass of water Maddie brought me and try to clean up his face a bit more. Tyler looks like he’s about to pass out and that thought brings a small fleeting smile to my face. I bring my attention back to my bleeding boyfriend. His fists are bloody and I know that a lot of it isn’t his own blood.
His face is already starting to bruise. "Jeremy." His mother’s voice sounds upset and we turn to face her. "I don’t know what you think you were doing but that was an awful show of your character. I can’t believe you would act like that in front of your sisters. I’m taking them home now and I don’t want you to talk to them for a while." Before Jeremy can say anything, she turns on her heel and stomps away.
Jeremy’s mouth is open like he wants to say something but he slams his fist down onto the table instead and I cringe, pressing a new napkin to the four bloody holes on his arm. "Put some pressure on this, okay?" And before he can say anything, I jump out of the booth and rush after his mom.
"I know you probably think Jeremy was just going crazy or something back there but it’s not what it looked like. Jeremy was protecting me. That other boy over there has been harassing me for a while now and Jeremy was-" I don’t get the chance to finish my sentence because she stops me.
"I don’t care. What he did was not a show of Christ-like behavior. I didn’t raise him to be violent. And I don’t like you. I don’t think you’re good for my son."
My mouth drops open in shock. "Excuse me?"
"You hear what I said. I think you’re a little tramp and that you’re leading my son down a bad path. Just look at the way he’s behaving because of you."
"You clearly have something wrong with you to think that about me, and to think that about your son. He hasn’t done anything wrong. And you say you didn’t raise him to be violent? Did you even raise him? Because I know you kicked him out the minute it was convenient for you and that husband of yours."
If looks could kill I’d be dead from her glare but she stalks off without saying anything further. I let out a huge breath and rub my forehead, trying to calm myself down before heading back over to Jeremy. The cops are showing up and I know that we’re all going to be interrogated so I hurry back to sit with my boyfriend, hoping that Tyler gets what he deserves that Jeremy can get out of this with no charges. I know that’s just getting my hopes up. If I’m remembering correctly, Jeremy threw the first punch. Tyler can call it self-defense and pin this all on Jeremy.
The cops separate us all over for individual interrogations and by the time we’re finally allowed to go home, I’m completely exhausted and dazed.
Apparently I had remembered incorrectly. Tyler had thrown the first punch and his case wasn’t helped when the cops saw the fork stab wound. Tyler is in jail for the night without bail and the case will be looked at further tomorrow and eventually brought before a judge. Somehow Jeremy was getting off free tonight and I wasn’t going to question it. After all, Jeremy was only protecting me and himself from my crazy ex boyfriend.
Cameron drives us, leaving my car in the parking lot for the night because I know I’m too shook up to leave. We’re completely silent the whole drive home and the tension is so thick you could slice it with a dull spoon if you wanted.
I step into the bedroom after Jeremy and he sighs slowly, turning to face me. "So, Brookie, I think we need to talk."
Chrystina J - Cutesy Jeremy is my favorite to write! I love him so much! What'd you think of the chapter?? It was crazy to write!
Thinkerbelle77 - What'd you think of this chapter? It's all gone down now!! And I loved having Jeremy comfort Brookie with childhood stories! Hehe! And don't worry! I haven't forgotten Chris and Lottie!
Miha - The last chapter was soo much fun for me to write! I'd liked explaining more of Jeremy's backstory and letting you all know more about him! Thank you so much! I hope you like this chapter too! It's a big one!! (The chicken coop story is a real life one that happened to my very own brother haha I just had to use it!)
Emma - Parents ruin so many things! I agree with Jeremy's views on happiness as well! It can be difficult to stay happy! Is everything okay with you? What'd you think about this chapter? It was difficult to write but most climatic chapters are!
To all my Commenters and Readers
Chapter five reached over 20,000 views! I don't even know what to say! I'm SO blown away by how many people have read that chapter! I must be dreaming! Haha, thank you for all the comments and support you give! I love you all so much!