When I wake up, Jeremy is gone. So I roll over and decide to go back to sleep. But it’s harder to sleep when he’s not here, and with sunlight pouring in through the window. So I sit up and decide to look for my phone. When I finally find it, the battery is dead. I sigh and pull on my pants. I shove my phone into one of my pockets and head downstairs. I need to find out what time it is. I bump into Jeremy by the bathroom. "Did I wake you when I got up?" He asks and I shake my head.
"No, I don’t think so. What time is it?"
He shrugs and looks around for the nearest time-telling device. There’s a clock on the wall of the bathroom. "If that thing is right it’s almost ten."
I sigh. "I should probably go home and talk to my parents."
He nods and is quiet for a few minutes, before asking, "Do you want me to come with you?"
I hesitate with my answer. Although I’d love for him to be there with me, it might be best if I talk to my parents alone. I sigh again. "I should probably do it alone."
He nods again. "Alright. If you need anything you’ll tell me, right?"
I nod my head this time. "Yeah, of course."
"Okay." He says and things get quiet again. He pulls me into a hug, wrapping his strong arms around me. "You should probably change." He says after a minute.
I look up at him. "Change what?"
He grins. "Out of my shirt. Your mom might flip."
I laugh and nod. "Oh, yeah. I forgot."
He pulls back and takes my hand, bringing us both upstairs. I change into my own shirt, and find the keys to my car. "My phone is out of service right now, so text Cameron if you need me." He says after kissing me goodbye.
I stand up on my toes to press one more quick kiss to lips. "I will."
My house is oddly quiet when I get home, but with both my parent's cars in the driveway, I know they’re here. I wonder how mad they are that I wasn’t home last night. I go upstairs and change into some clean clothes.
My dad is the first one I see, in the kitchen. He’s making a sandwich. "Make me one too?" I ask, sitting on the stool by the counter.
He takes out some more bread and begins a second sandwich. "Light mayonnaise, no mustard, right?" He asks and I smile.
He smiles back. "It’s been quite a long time since you last asked me to make you a sandwich." He tells me.
"I’m sorry I’m not home more." He says and it sounds like he’s trying to say more than that in those few words.
It takes me a second to catch it. "Dad, what are you trying to tell me?"
He sighs and shakes his head. "Nothing. Your mother will be down in a bit, we need to talk."
"That’s what I’m home for." I say.
He passes me the plate he set my sandwich on and then pours me a glass of lemonade. "Good. Maybe we can have this talk without it turning into a shouting match?"
I sigh. "I’ll try if she tries." He knows I’m referring to my mom and he just sighs quietly. We sit in silence, munching on our sandwiches and when he’s done, he goes upstairs to find mom. I put the plates in the sink and clean up the small mess we made. I hear them coming back downstairs so I walk into the living room and sit down on the chair, tucking my legs up underneath me. I can only hope this conversation goes smoothly.
"What happened the other night?" Mom breaks right into it as soon as she sits down and I take in a deep breath, hoping that I can explain everything clearly.
Mom starts crying when I tell them about Tyler being abusive, so I leave out the harsher pieces of that and when I’m finally done talking, they both just sit there, in shocked silence. Well, not complete silence, mom’s still sobbing fairly loudly. Dad starts rubbing her back and she takes a few shuddering breaths. "I’m sorry we didn’t know, Brooklyn - I mean, Brookie."
Dad has tears in his own eyes. "I knew I should have been home for you more." He tells me. "Tyler stopped by about five minutes after you left with Cameron and Jeremy."
My heart feels like it’s stopped for a beat. "What did you tell him?"
He cringes. "I told him you left with two friends."
"Did you say their names?"
He nods. "I did. But I didn’t know that I shouldn’t have."
I close my eyes and try to focus on breathing. "I have to go." I say, standing up. "I have to go tell Jeremy that Tyler knows I was with him."
"You can’t go anywhere." Mom says, standing up too. "I know you’re going through a lot right now, but you are grounded. You’ve lied to us, and been out at nights when you shouldn’t be. You’re not leaving."
My mouth drops open in shock. "Are you serious right now? For all I know, Tyler’s over at Jeremy’s right now beating him up because of me and you’re telling me that I can’t go make sure he’s okay?"
"I don’t think Jeremy is a good influence on you."
"What? You don’t even know him!"
She purses her lips and puts her hands on her lip. "I know enough. Look at what he’s done to you. You barely passed your finals."
"My grades came in?" I ask, surprised that she hasn’t told me.
"No, not yet, but I called your teachers."
She what? I feel like I shouldn’t be so shocked over this, but I am anyway. "You what?"
"I called your teachers. You scraped by on your finals and the last month or so of school your grades were slipping. You’re lucky you passed all your classes. You’ve been sneaking out, lying, partying." She shakes her head. "It won’t be happening any more." She strides out of the room and when she comes back in she’s holding my car keys. "You’re grounded until further notice. Your father or I will drive you to and from work and that’s the only time you’ll be allowed out of the house."
"You’re being ridiculous! Jeremy hasn’t been any kind of influence on me. I wouldn’t have lied to you or sneaked out if you weren’t so judgmental all the time!"
But none of my thoughts seem to matter. She clenches her fist, the one with my keys in them. "I’m doing this for your own good, Brooklyn. Brookie."
I shake my head. "No, don’t even try to call me Brookie. I don’t want to hear that coming from you."
"Don’t talk to me that way, young lady."
"I’m nineteen years old, mom! You can’t keep controlling me!"
"As long as you live in our house you’ll live by our rules!"
I scoff at her. "How’s that working for you? Like I told you the last time you said that, I’m moving out! I’m not going to live here forever. I’m old enough to be on my own, and I will be, just as soon as I can. Give me my keys."
She looks down at the keys in her hand and then shakes her head. "No. Brooklyn, you’re grounded."
Dad stands up, holding out his hands like he wants to bring peace to the living room. "Honey, Brookie, let’s talk about this."
"Talk about what? The fact that mom has lost her mind? You have to let me go talk to Jeremy. If Tyler beats him up again it’ll be my fault. Again."
Mom shoots dad a glare and he sighs. "We didn’t agree on grounding her, Allison." Her glare deepens and if looks could kill he’d be dead on the spot.
I get no response from them. I groan and ask, "Are either of you listening to me?"
Mom puts her hands on her hips, jutting her chin out and I vaguely wonder if I look like that when I’m mad. "You think she should be allowed to gallivant around with that boy after all of this?"
Dad sighs. "I just think we should have talked about this before." He says.
"I’m going to my room." I say, heading for the door. Neither of my parents say anything, they’re arguing now. They probably didn’t even realize I left the living room. I shut my door quietly and curl up on my bed after plugging in my phone. I’m grounded and now mom and dad are fighting. What have I done?
I can’t text Jeremy, I don’t want to bother Cameron right now because I know he’s at work. I scroll through my contacts, trying to figure out what to do. I need to be able to stop whatever is going to happen before it happens. But how?
I can’t figure out what to do. I’m literally stuck here. I rub my eyes, trying to calm myself down. Tyler wouldn’t know where Jeremy lives. And even if he does, he’d probably plan out some kind of revenge on him, not just rush over there to try to beat him up. He couldn’t even get into the blue house if he tried. Not with Courage there, and all the guys. I’m thinking more clearly and start to feel calmer. Jeremy is perfectly safe. I just need to find a way to tell him to be prepared in case Tyler tries something.
I sigh and look back down at my phone. I’ll just wait until I’m sure Cameron is out of work and I’ll ask him to tell Jeremy for me. It’s the best I can do until I get mom to unground me.
An hour passes and I break down and text Cameron. I’m not sure if he’s out of work, but I text him anyway and within ten minutes I get a reply. "I’ll be out in ten, at the blue house in twenty, I’ll have Jer call you."
It’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders that I didn’t realize I was carrying. If Jeremy calls me, I can explain everything. With the weight lifted, I get up and go downstairs to check on my arguing parents.
"So wait, your parents told Tyler that you were with me and Cameron? Did they say how he acted, what he did, or said?" Jeremy asks.
"No." I’m shaking my head, even though he can’t see it. Using hand gestures and head nodding or shaking seems to be ingrained in me, even when I’m on the phone. "They didn’t, and they’re still arguing about whether or not I’m grounded so I can’t really go ask."
"So they think I’m a bad influence?"
"You’re not." I tell him, wishing I could see him right now.
Softly, like he almost doesn’t want to say it, I hear him say, "I told you I was. Maybe..." He trails off slowly.
"Please don’t be thinking that we shouldn’t be together." I plead with him. "Jeremy, you’re not a bad influence on me. You haven’t influenced me."
He scoffs. "That first night we met, that was your first real party, wasn’t it?"
I sigh. He knows the answer to that. "Yeah."
"You’d never really smoked, or drank before that point."
"It wasn’t my first time doing either of those." I point out and I can imagine him rolling his eyes at me.
"That’s not the point."
"Then what is?"
"You were good." He says. "You’re a college student. I’m a drop-out. I’m not going anywhere. You should be with someone better."
"Shut up." The force in my voice startles me. "Just stop talking like that. I don’t care that you dropped out. You can get your GED if you want too. And if you don’t want too, I don’t care. Jeremy, you didn’t lie to me to get me to want to be with you. I knew all this before you asked me to be your girlfriend. And none of it bothers me. I don’t care. I wouldn’t have said yes if I didn’t like you for who you are."
"I’m not doubting that you like me." He says quietly.
"Then what is all this about?"
He sighs. "Your parents are fighting because you’re with me. I’m ruining your life, Brookie, and you’re just letting it happen."
"That’s not true." I say, hoping he can hear in my voice how much I mean the words I’m saying. "I’m not just letting it happen. But there isn’t much I can do about it, except break up with you which wouldn’t make me happy at all. It’s my life, Jer. I’m supposed to do what’s right for me. Not what’s right for anyone else. They thought that Tyler and I were a perfect couple. If I were doing what they wanted me to do, I would still be with him. Is that what you want?"
"No, of course not!" He sounds almost horrified.
"Okay then. So please stop telling me that you aren’t good enough for me. Because you are. You’re all I want. Okay?"
He doesn’t agree, but the topic changes which is almost good enough. I’ll accept it, for now. "How long are you grounded for?" He asks.
"Until further notice." I grumble.
He sighs. "Your mom is being stupid. She can’t ground you all the time."
"I know." I say. "It’s ridiculous. I wish I could just move out already."
"Would you..." He hesitates. "Brookie, why don’t you just move in here? With me? At least for right now, while you’re looking for your own place. I know it’s a huge step, moving in together, and it might be weird, so you don’t have to say yes, but you can just live with me until you can get your own place. It’s not like it’ll be forever."
"Do you actually want me to? Like you said, it won’t have to be forever. Just until I can find my own place."
"Yeah! Then your mom can’t try and control you like this. And I don’t have to worry about Tyler randomly showing up at your house."
That thought scares me. "Do you think he would?" I ask, glancing around my room like he’ll suddenly materialize from the walls.
Like he knows he’s scared me, his voice is soothing. "No, no, definitely not. Not with your parents there and everything."
"Okay." I say quietly.
"I wish you could be here with me right now." He says.
"I wish I could too." I tell him, meaning every word of it.
"Are you working tomorrow?" He asks.
"Yeah, I’m closing."
"Me too. In the morning, do you want to move some of your stuff to mine?"
"If that’s okay with you." I say, hoping he tells me it is.
"Yeah, I wouldn’t have asked if it wasn’t." He chuckles and I wish I could be there to see his smile.
"I should go, before mom comes in here and yells at me for being on the phone too late or something."
He laughs a bit. "You won’t have to worry about that soon."
I smile. "Thank you."
I can imagine him shaking his head at me. He doesn’t like it when I thank him. I wonder why, but I don’t want to ask. "Goodnight, Brookie." He says and I hear the smile in his voice.
Thinkerbelle77 - Thank you so much! I've loved seeing Brookie grow into herself and get more brave and sure. And Jeremy's grown so much as well! Thank you! You're so sweet! I will always enjoy reading highschool/college age romances! There is just something so sweet and simple and cute about them! Awh! Thank you for spreading my stories to your coworkers! That's so cool! My sisters stories? What do you mean? Can't wait to hear from you again!
Miha - Yay! I missed you! Aweh! Thank you so much, doll! Your comments make me smile so much! I would love to have this become a novel one day! :) Hope you liked this chapter as well!
Em - Awh! Thank you soo much! I'm so happy you love the story that much! Hope to hear from you again soon!
Bookluver78 - Hahaha I blush when I'm writing it sometimes, they're just so cute! Hahaha I hope you enjoy this chapter as well!
Emma - Thank you so much love! There are some big chapters coming up! I really enjoy the slow steady relationships over the ones that rush in. It's more fun to write! I hope you like this chapter and I can't wait to hear from you again!
Scars And A Daisy - Chapter ThirtyBrookie needs to talk to her parents.
By Em Bishop