I face mom, still shocked from Chris' revelation. "Did you seriously tell Chris not to talk to me when he moved away?"
But mom is looking at dad. "Did you hear that? He doesn't want me at his wedding." Her voice quivers and she throws her napkin onto the table, standing up so abruptly that her chair scoots back quickly and crashes to the floor with a bang. Her hands cover her mouth as she shrieks quietly in shock at the noise and then she rushes from the room.
I turn to my dad and he shrugs slightly. "Yes, your mother told Chris not to speak to you. She was afraid you would want to move out as well."
I shake my head. "She had no right to do that."
"She has every right, as your mother. She was only trying to look out for you."
"No, I'm not buying that. Why didn't you tell me? You knew how upset I was that Chris had stopped talking to me and you knew that it wasn't because he just didn't want to talk to me. You let me think he just didn't care. How could you do that?" I stand up, pushing my chair back gently. "I can't believe you would do that to me."
"Brookie, wait." He tries to stop me but I ignore him, heading to my room and shutting my door. For so long I assumed Chris had gone through a period of just not caring about me, but all along it was just my own parents forcing him to ignore me. I throw myself down onto my bed in frustration, staring up at the ceiling. I want to scream at my mother right now, but after seeing her so upset after Chris stormed out I just can't work up the full amount of anger that I should feel at her.
I sigh and decide to take a shower and get ready for bed. Today has been too long already.
I reach my car after a surprisingly busy Tuesday night shift and shriek when I see someone standing by the door of my car. "It's just me, Brookie. Chill." Chris says.
"What's wrong?" Cam asks, from over by his car.
"Nothing, Chris just scared the crap out of me." I say with a chuckle. Cam laughs before saying goodbye and heading out. "What are you doing here?" I ask Chris.
"Looking for you actually. I tried calling you but your phone was off."
"No, it's not." I say, pulling my phone from my pocket, slightly confused. But it is off. "Oh, it's dead." I say, looking back at him with a sheepish smile. "Sorry. How did you know where I work? I never told you."
He grins. "I have my sources."
I sigh. "I don't even want to know."
"Good." He says cheerfully. "Anyway Lottie and I are only going to be here for about a week, because she has to get back for some family reunion thing, and you know, mom is crazy and hates her, and we want to hang out with you before we go."
"Only a week?" My good mood drops and I can't help the frown from crawling onto my face. "That sucks."
He nods. "Yeah, I know, but I'm sure we'll come back. I have some band stuff to do that could end me up here for a bit sometime soon anyway."
I put on a smile for him, knowing that he'll be more upset about leaving if I'm sad. "A week is long enough anyway. I don't need you skulking around here any longer than that. Especially now that you know where I work." I tease him, trying to get a smile on his face. It works.
"So, Lottie and I are going out to dinner tomorrow night, probably the Olive Garden because Lottie's never been there. Ridiculous, I know. Anyway, do you want to come? Maybe drag Jeremy along with you? Or Andrew, since you guys have made up?"
"I'll see who I can wrangle up."
He grins. "Good. Text me if you can come. I have to head out. Charge your phone!" He pushes himself off my car, where he was leaning, and hops towards his own. "Love you sis!" He calls out. I shake my head, laughing a bit at his ridiculousness. Chris has always been so over exuberant in everything he does.
I head home and then find someone to come to dinner with me and the happy couple. I want to ask Jeremy but I'm pretty sure he's working tomorrow night. That reminds me, I need to ask one of the girls if they can cover my shift. Maddie owes me a shift cover anyway. I text her first, hoping she'll say yes. Within five minutes she's texted me backing saying that she can. I scroll through my contacts before landing on the only other person I can find who won't be busy tomorrow.
I sit down on my bed, criss crossing my legs, and scroll through my contact list. I decide to text Jeremy and after waiting five minutes, find out that he is at work and though he wishes he could go with me, he can't. I sigh and turn to my next favorite person.
"I'm spending the night with Anna, we're doing some baby shopping. I promised her we would." Andrew says. "I'm sorry."
"Don't even worry about it." I tell him. "I'll find someone to keep me from being a third wheel."
He hangs up after a few more minutes and I try to think of someone else for me to ask. I need to find more friends. I flop onto my back and my thumb lands on the contact for someone I hadn't even... thought of inviting but could make for an interesting night.
I hesitate over the call button for the contact for a second before pressing call, hoping he'll accept my invitation to dinner. It is free food for him, after all. Who can say no to that?
"This looks amazing." Lottie says, staring down at her pasta as the waiter sets the plate in front of her.
"This wine is amazing." Chris says, taking another sip of the red liquid in his glass.
I roll my eyes, sipping at my rootbeer. "I need to be twenty-one already." I lean back in my seat when the waiter places my plate down.
Everyone at the table laughs and I roll my eyes again. "At least I'm not the only one drinking soda." I say, glancing beside me.
Cameron chuckles. "Technically you are, because, if you'll look closely you'll see that I am, in fact, drinking a lemonade. Which is not a soda."
I roll my eyes and put my cup back down. "Cameron, don't make me regret inviting you."
He smiles. "You can't regret bringing me. I was your last option. You're lucky that I said yes."
After giving the boys their orders, our waiter leaves and I pick up my fork. "I'm glad I got the same as you, Lottie. You're right. This pasta looks absolutely delicious."
She grins and we dig in at the same time. "Oh my." Lottie says, nearly sighing after the first bite. "This is perfection on a plate."
I nod in agreement, afraid to talk because I'm still chewing. Cameron is still cutting into his steak and Chris is chewing on his fish. "That looks gross." I tell Chris, once I've swallowed my bite.
"Are you crazy?" He asks, incredulously. "Fish is delicious."
I wrinkle my nose up in disgust. "Ew. You're gross."
He frowns and takes an especially large bite of his fish. I turn to Lottie. "I can't believe you're marrying that."
She smiles at him and glances at me. "He's adorable. I'm lucky to have him love me."
I hold in my 'aw' and just smile at them. "You guys are cute."
Chris shakes his head. "I'm not cute. Cute isn't manly. I'm manly."
I just roll my eyes, twirling a bite of pasta onto my fork. "You've never been manly, Chris. It isn't in your nature."
He scowls at me but silently goes back to eating. "So you're really marrying him?" Cam asks Lottie, leaning towards her conspiratorily. "Because, if you're up to marry just anyone, I am available." He's clearly joking and Lottie laughs.
"You have the most interesting friends, Brookie." She says, smiling at me.
I roll my eyes. "He's not really a friend. More of an acquaintance really."
Cam gasps. "I'm hurt. That's so offensive."
"What I said, or what she said?" Lottie asks, her grin growing.
He frowns. "Both actually. You guys are so rude. I would make a marvelous husband, and a fantastic friend. You're both losing out."
Chris wraps his arm around Lottie's shoulders, mock glaring at Cam. "You're out of luck, Cameron. This wonderful woman right here is all mine."
Lottie grins and kisses Chris' cheek. "Lottie! How could you do this to me?" Cameron seems to be thriving off Chris' dramatics and Lottie and I exchange glances. Our shared looks manage to say everything we can't about our patience with our dinner dates.
"You two should go into acting." I say, picking up my glass to take a sip.
The boys shake their heads immediately. "It's the music life for me." Chris declares.
"I like my life of sweltering kitchens and food that's never cooked the way the customers want." Cam says.
I raise an eyebrow at Cameron's statement. "You'd take a night of sweating your butt off in the kitchens to make food for people who never fully appreciate your work, over being an actor with the chance of girls swarming around you? You really are crazy."
"Girls? You didn't mention that part before!" He grins at me, simultaneously slicing through his steak. "If being an actor comes with girls there's no way I'd pick the kitchens over acting!"
The rest of dinner passes with too much laughing and by the time I pull into the driveway of the blue house to drop off Cameron, my stomach is aching from it all. "If I don't have a six pack by now, I'll be so upset." I say as I park the car.
Cam grins. "You coming in? Jeremy should be home soon."
"I shouldn't. I've got two more finals to study for this week."
He makes a face. "Finals. Ew."
I laugh. "Goodnight, Cameron."
"Goodnight. Thanks for bringing me along. It was fun."
"Yeah. It was. Thanks for coming. You were my last choice, after all."
"Way to make a man feel good about himself."
I laugh again. "You're ego is too large already. Tell Jeremy I say hello."
"Will do. See you later Brookie." He shuts my car door after himself and jogs up to the blue house. I back out of the driveway and head home, debating over whether I want to go straight to bed or study for my next final. I end up studying for a few hours before finally crawling into bed and falling asleep.
My week passes in a blur of working, studying, finding time to spend with Chris and Lottie and taking my last two nerve-wracking exams. By the time Saturday comes around, I'm exhausted and have an eight hour shift to work.
I pull myself out of bed just after nine. After breakfast and a hot chocolate I take a quick, fairly cold shower to help wake me up. I braid my hair back, wishing I had slept in just a bit longer. I don't have to work until three, and it's not even eleven yet. I sink down on my bed and open up my laptop, deciding to catch up on a few shows to pass the time.
I emerge from the alternate universe of my favorite shows just an hour before I have to work. I yank on my freshly laundered uniform and apply just enough makeup to hide how tired I am. I put on my most comfortable pair of shoes and head out, hoping that today will go smoothly so I can relax for the rest of my weekend.
There's a few late lunch-eaters in the dining area when I walk in. I pass by them, heading straight for the break room. I grab my apron, an order pad, a pen, and the new name tags Don ordered for us to wear. I glance down at the name and smile. At least it says 'Brookie' and not 'Brooklyn'. We still have the fan in the break room but the dining room and kitchen air conditioners have been fixed. I'm extremely grateful for that tonight. I couldn't handle another hot night on top of my tiredness. I muster up a smile and head out to start waiting on my tables, hoping that tonight will pass by quickly.
I walk into the kitchen, holding a plate of steak in one hand, walking towards Cameron. "Remember how you said you liked working for unhappy customers?"
I pass him the plate and he sighs. "What's wrong with this one?"
"It's not cooked enough."
"Wasn't it ordered rare?"
I nod. "Yeah. But he clearly didn't know what that meant. He wants it well done. I'm sorry."
He groans. "Can I be an actor now?"
"Alright, I'll cook up a new one." Cam tells me, drawing my attention back to him.
"Good. I'll come back in a bit then." I head back to the dining room, my mood lifted just by that one smile. Thankfully that steak is the only order I have to take back all night.
"Are you coming over tonight?" Cameron asks, near the end of the night. I'm wiping down the last few tables and he's leaning against the wall, doing nothing at all.
"Is the kitchen already cleaned?" I ask, tossing the cloth away and grabbing the vacuum from the back closet so I can clean the floor.
He nods. "Yeah, pretty much. Are you coming tonight?"
I shrug. "I don't know."
"Please? Jeremy wants you there, anyway."
I roll my eyes. "I'm done with you trying to set me up for things. If he wanted me there he'd have let me know." I'm about to switch the vacuum on when my phone buzzes in my pocket. I pull my phone out and glance down at it. It's Jeremy. 'Hey, do you want to come over tonight?'
I almost laugh but then glare up at Cameron. "How did you do that?"
He looks genuinely confused. "Do what?"
I just stare at him, trying to decide whether I believe his confusion. I sigh and shrug. "I guess I'll go to the party. But I'll figure out how you did this some day."
He grins. "Good! But, I still don't know what you're talking about." He turns away. "Now, I have a kitchen to clean."
I knew he hadn't finished cleaning. I shake my head, smiling to myself, as I switch on the vacuum and finish my job of cleaning the dining area. I'm just putting the vacuum away when Cameron comes over.
He's taken off his apron this time and it's funny to see how clean his shirt is where the apron covered, compared to his sleeves that got splattered with grease and food throughout the night. Even with the air conditioning in the kitchen working, he's sweaty and the other kitchen workers get that way too. I'm becoming increasingly grateful that I get to work on the waitressing staff instead of the kitchen crew.
Jeremy and I have worked opposite shifts this week, and with me being busy all week, I haven't had the chance to see him once... since the dinner with my family. Cameron slings his arm around me as we leave Don to lock up. We walk out to the parking lot where Cameron separates to get into his own car. "You're excited?" He asks, leaning over his car to talk to me.
"For what? The party? Should I be?"
He shrugs. "I don't know, maybe. I know you haven't seen Jeremy in a while." He grins and I roll my eyes.
"I don't know what you're trying to do, but it won't work. And if you want me to actually show up at the party instead of heading home, you better be nice and stop whatever that is."
"Show up? Aren't you going to follow me over?"
I glance down at my work uniform. "I'd really like to change first."
He sighs. "But Brookie, that will take forever."
I shake my head. "No, it won't."
"Fine, but to make sure you do come over, I'm going to your house with you."
"I'm sure my parents will love that."
He grins and I know that there's no way I'll be able to ditch him. So, I don't. I get in my car and head home, with him following the whole way. I shut my car door quietly once I've pulled into the driveway. Cameron steps out of his car and doesn't seem to care when his closing door echoes through the quiet neighborhood. I shoot him a glare that he doesn't seem to see and we go inside. I shut the front door quietly and lead him straight to my room, telling him to be quiet. He sits on my bed while I grab some clothes, but he's not exactly quiet.
"That's what you're going to wear?" He asks when I've grabbed a pair of jeans and a shirt.
"What's wrong with it?" I ask, looking down at the clothes in my hands.
"Well, nothing. But why did you even want to change? Aren't those basically the same as the uniform?"
"They're not covered in sweat and the smell of restaurant." I say and he shrugs. I sigh, feeling insecure about my clothing choices now. "What do you think I should wear?"
He hops up and rummages through my closet. "The few other girls I've seen at your parties dress in regular jeans and shirts too." I say, trying to defend my choice.
He nods. "Yeah, but the other girls aren't catching Jeremy's eye the way you are."
I groan. "Is that what this is about?"
"Of course it is." He stops at a few of my sundresses and then shakes his head. "It's not exactly sunny enough for one of these." He moves to my bureau, opening drawers and pawing through them. He pulls out a pair of red skinny jeans that I forgot I even had, and then picks up a white shirt with black writing on it. "What about this? Not too dressy and better than just regular jeans and stuff."
I roll my eyes a bit and take the clothes from him. "Alright. I'll wear these. Wait here. I'll change in the bathroom."
He flops onto my bed, grabbing a magazine off the table by my bed. I change as quickly as I can, re-applying my makeup and then I go back out to meet him. "Are you ready?" I ask.
He holds up one hand, continuing to read some random article in the magazine and ,I cross my arms over my chest, tapping my foot on the floor while I wait. "What are you even reading?" I ask, moving to sit beside him.
He closes the magazine quickly. "Definitely not some article about Liam and Miley breaking up."
I laugh. "That's old news, Cam. You're so behind." I take the magazine from him and toss it back to the small table. "Come on. Let's go. I just have to tell my mom."
He stands in the hallway as I crack open my parents bedroom door. I haven't spoken to mom much since the blow-up argument between her and Chris. She's been mostly avoiding me, or talking too sweetly to me every time we're in the same room. She looks over at me, sleepily. "Hi, honey." She says, yawning.
"How was your shift?"
"Fine." I tell her. "Do you mind if I spend the night with Chris and Lottie? We're going to hang out and watch movies and stuff."
"That's fine." She says, yawning again.
I say goodnight, tell her I love her and quietly shut the door.
"Liar, liar, pants on fire." Cam says and I roll my eyes, shushing him.
"You never lied to your parents?" I ask, when we reach my car.
He shakes his head, with a wide grin. "Nope. I've always been honest with them about what I do."
I sigh. "There is something strange about you."
He grins again. "I know. That's what makes me so great. I'll lead us back to the blue house." And he hops over to his car, ending our conversation.
For some unexplainable reason I'm nervous as I get into my car and follow Cameron to the blue house. Thankfully there aren't a lot of cars. I like the smaller, quieter parties better. Less people to worry about, and more alcohol for everyone.
My phone buzzes and I glance down. Tyler's name is flashing on the screen. My stomach churns and I shake my head. This won't ruin my night. I turn my phone on silent, shove it back into my pocket and climb out of the car. Tonight is going to be fun. No matter what.
Emma - Thank you! I know right? Her mom is awful! I can't wait to hear what you think of this chapter!
Miha - Last chapter surprised me when I wrote it too! I'm so happy you liked it! I'm glad you like the picture of Lottie too! When I saw her I was like this is just the perfect person to be Lottie! I can't wait to hear your thoughts on this chapter!
Flora - Thank you! I just love the color of Lottie's hair haha! The mom always does! I hope you like this chapter too!
Laurial - Yay! Thank you so much! The chapter was so fun to write! I hope you enjoy this one too!
Bookluver78 - That chapter definitely was a busy one! It was so much fun to write though because it all kind poured out on its own, like it basically wrote itself and those chapters are my favorites! Anna and Andrew were definitely the type of people who would want to wait, but things do happen and they're going to make the best of it! Brookie's mom is definitely an awful person! Thank you so much for your sweet comment! I can't wait to hear your thoughts on this chapter!
Oh my goodness, you guys I'm so excited! I've started a spin off story for this one! It's going to be about Lottie and Chris! What do you guys think? I'm super excited about it! I'll start posting it once I'm done with Scars and a Daisy. Let me know what you think!!
Scars And A Daisy - Chapter Twenty FiveBrookie has a busy week.
By Em Bishop