"Seriously, though Brookie, why haven't you moved out yet?" Andrew's staring at me like the thought of getting my own place, away from my parents has never crossed my mind.
"That's the reason I'm waitressing, Andrew." I tell him.
"But aren't you rich?" Anna asks, lifting her head up from Andrew's lap to look at me.
"My parents are. I'm not. If I were I'd have moved out by now. Mom refuses to even think about letting me move out on my own."
"Your parents are crazy." Anna says, frowning. She flops back onto Andrew's lap and he winces. "Oh my gosh, babe, I'm sorry." Anna laughs.
I can't help but join in laughing with her as Andrew scowls at us. "It's not funny!"
Anna manages to stifle her laughter a bit, and says with a straight face, "Right, of course not. Definitely not funny, at all."
Andrew rolls his eyes and stands up, making her head fall back onto the couch with a small thump. "Ouch." Anna grumbles.
"Not so funny when something like that happens to you, is it?" He grumbles back. I can't help but smile. Those two are perfect for each other.
"While you're up, get me some popcorn!" I call out as he walks into the kitchen.
Anna rolls onto her stomach and props her chin up on her hands so she can stare at me. "So, Andrew says you ditched my party for a coworkers?"
"That's not exactly true." I tell her, swinging my legs over the side of the chair I'm sitting in. "It was my new coworkers brothers' party."
"So you didn't even know the person whose party you were at?" She sticks her bottom lip out in a pout. "That's even worse."
She has a point. "I knew the people I went with." I add, lamely, trying to make it sound better.
"Why'd you go then? You don't even really like to party."
I shrug. "I don't know how to explain it. The new coworker was there and he was looking at me like he didn't think I was the type of person to say yes to a party and I just had to prove him wrong. So when Cam said I should go, I said yes."
"You like him." She says, simply.
I immediately begin denying it. "What? No." I don't like him. He was annoying and a bit rude, and clearly a heavy drinker, who can't keep his alcohol down. Yeah, I threw up too, but I don't have a high alcohol tolerance. By the way he was drinking, he should clearly be able to hold it better.
A small voice in the back of my head tells me my first impression of him is wrong. Sure he was a jerk at the restaurant, but later that night he was sweet, and let me sleep in his bed, without pressuring me for anything, and he rubbed my back when I was vomiting. I shake my head a bit. No. He wasn't sweet. He was probably hoping I'd be easy, he's just not a complete jerk who takes advantage of girls. I can't like him because there's no way a boy like that would go for a girl like me. "Whatever you say, Brookie." Anna sits up as Andrew comes back in with a bowl of popcorn, a tub of Ben and Jerry's for Anna and a paper plate with four slices of cold pizza on it for himself.
"Movie time?" He clearly heard none of the conversation. Anna stays silent but gives me a look that tells me she's not done with our discussion.
"I don't see why they make us take algebra in high-school and then retake it again during college."
Janet laughs and nods her head in agreement. "Doesn't make sense at all. I think the American educational system is severely messed up."
"I couldn't agree more." I shut my notebook after jotting down the homework assignment. "I swear this class will be the death of me." I grumble.
"Don't forget to study. You never know when a pop quiz will arise." Professor Davis calls out as everyone files out of the classroom.
Janet rolls her eyes as we make our way to the hallway. "Yeah. If I fail this class again I don't know what I'll do." She swings her backpack over one shoulder. "Well, I'll see you later." She says before heading down the hallway.
I nod, even though she can't see me. I've got two hours until my shift starts. It will be my first night at work since Saint Patrick's Day, two days ago. As I rush home to shower and get ready, I can't keep myself from wondering if Jeremy will be there tonight.
My shift starts just before the dinner rush, and as difficult as those are, I'm glad I'm working it; partially because the tips are better, and there's more of them, and partially because time goes by faster when it's busy. During the few lulls in the rush we get, Don blabs endlessly about his new baby girl. He and his wife, Michelle, has settled on naming their new daughter Jennifer Rose. Whenever we get the time to pause for even a second, Don pops up with the pictures on his iPhone. He definitely has the right to be so happy, though, so none of us can complain too much. Jennifer is adorable. She has quite the head of hair for a newborn. She looks more like her dad, but maybe that's only because I've only met Michelle once or twice.
"Have I showed you this one yet?" Don asks when I walk by on my way to the kitchen. I'm not in a hurry so I pause and take a look at the picture he's holding out. In the picture Don's asleep in a reclining chair, with baby Jennifer asleep in his arms.
"She's adorable." I say, and it's probably the twentieth time those words have come out of my mouth tonight.
He grins and slides the phone back into his pocket. "Yeah, she is, isn't she?" I've never met a man more happy to be a father than Don is tonight. "I've got that new worker, Jeremy, coming in tonight so I can head out a bit early." He says. "And Carla will be coming in around nine so there will be less for you to do when you close up."
I wrinkle my nose a bit, but keep my thoughts to myself. Carla is the assistant manager and she takes her job much too seriously. She's always threatening to get Cam fired, but because he's Don's nephew, and one of the best workers we have, she's never succeeded.
Apart from doing her job to the extreme, she's also a bit trashy, and more than once she's snatched a boy out from under the waitresses. I try to tell myself that if she gets her claws into Jeremy that it won't bother me. For one, he isn't mine to get jealous over, and two, if he's into girls like her I never had a chance anyway. But it doesn't work, no matter how many times I run the words through my mind. I can't keep myself from imagining, and hating the thought of, the two of them being together.
The dinner stampede has ended, now just a few late-eaters are straggling in when Jeremy arrives. He's got a black hat on and a pen behind his ear. The hat is tilted to the side just enough to help keep his pen in place. I recognize the look. Cam does the same thing when he's at work, but somehow Jeremy manages to make it look better.
"Oh, hey, Jeremy!" Don rushes over to him. At first, I think he's going to whip out his phone and show off his daughter, but instead he slings his arm over Jeremy's shoulder and leads him towards the schedule board. "Cam tells me you're a good hard worker. What do you think about more hours?"
I turn my attention to a young couple who just walked in and tell myself that whatever happens tonight, I won't let it bother me.
Carla comes in and Don heads out. Something has Carla in a grumpier than usual, but thankfully silent mood. By the end of the night, even though I've been in the kitchen multiple times, Jeremy hasn't said a word to me.
When we're finally closed down and Cam and Jeremy come out of the kitchen to sign out, I decide to ignore them.
"Got any plans tonight, Brookie?" Cam asks. My first thought is to glance at Jeremy and see if he's waiting for my answer, but I hold my gaze on the table I'm wiping clean, and I stay silent. "Brookie?" Cam repeats my name. I'm sure he thinks I just didn't hear him the first time. Again, I say nothing. "Brookie? Are you okay?" He asks. I can sense that Jeremy is staring at me, and a very quick, hopefully subtle glance over at them both says I'm right. He's watching me, silently. I look back at the table. I can't pretend I didn't hear them now, I knew I shouldn't have looked at either of them.
"I'm fine." I say, as curtly as I can. I toss the cloth I'm using into the bucket and put them both away. When I come back out, the boys are still standing there. "Are you sure you're okay?" Cam asks again.
"I said I was fine, didn't I?"
He shrugs. "Yeah..." He trails off, clearly unconvinced.
"What?" I ask, suddenly feeling defensive.
"Nothing." He says quickly. "Anyway, are you doing anything tonight?"
I pause to think about my answer. Besides going home so I don't miss my curfew and get grounded for the rest of my life? I can't say that. I can't tell them how crazy my parents are. Instead, I hear myself say, "Yeah. I'm probably going to spend the night at Andrew's." I don't know where the words came from, but I quickly look up to see Jeremy's expression. He's stone-faced, and when our eyes meet, he turns away, heading for the door.
"Oh, okay. Well, have a good night, then." Cam says, before following Jeremy outside.
I huff in frustration at myself before clocking out. I grab my coat and poke my head into the manager's office to tell Carla I'm done.
She barely glances up at me from the papers she's working on. "Then what are you still doing here?" She asks, an annoyed tint to her voice.
I roll my eyes. "Just thought I'd let you know. Have a good night." She doesn't reply, so I leave.
Jeremy is standing beside my car when I reach the parking lot. Cam seems to be long gone. "Cam had an emergency thing. He couldn't bring me home. I told him I'd see if I could get a ride home from you."
I hesitate, with my keys in my hand, my thumb over the unlock button. "The first thing you've said to me all night, and it's asking for a ride home?" I can't stop my question from bursting out of my mouth. It's more of an accusation, and he seems to take it that way.
"Talking to you is a requirement now?" The annoyance in his voice is clear.
A large part of me wants to tell him that he can walk home, but I just click the unlock button. He waits until I'm in the car before getting in himself. I fiddle with the radio, making sure its loud enough to block any attempts at conversation. I'm not really expecting him to talk anyway. He's right. I shouldn't be making him talk to me. Clearly what happened the other night, with him being nice, was a one time thing.
Just as the thought crosses my mind that he is actually just a jerk, he reaches over and turns the music down. "I'm sorry. It's been a bad day."
He's apologizing now? Instantly I feel bad for being so rude towards him. He sounds exhausted. I glance over at him, turning my eyes back to the road quickly. He looks as tired as he sounds. How did I miss that earlier?
"What's wrong?" I ask. Every bit of anger I held towards him early has faded.
"Nothing." He mumbles. His shield is back up. I try not to let it bother me. After all, we barely know each other. Why should I expect him to spill everything to me just because we spent one night together. We didn't even do anything. I have absolutely no claim on this boy.
Apart from the quiet music coming from the radio, the rest of the car ride is silent. When we reach his house, he hesitates slightly before opening his door. "Goodnight, Brookie. Thanks for the ride." And then he's gone, shutting the car door behind him.
I sigh and back out of the driveway as quickly as I can. I need to get home before I get grounded.
"So, he didn't talk to you, you got upset, then you gave him a ride home, and he still didn't really talk to you, then he said goodnight and left?"
I spent nearly half an hour explaining my night to Andrew, and he sums it up in one sentence. "Pretty much." I say.
He laughs. "You are so into him."
"It's not funny." I grumble. "I'm going to bed."
He manages to stop laughing long enough to say goodnight before I hang up on him.