Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chapter 5 {LYTD}

Here we go.
Chapter 5.

Chapter 5

            I probably should have left Sam the first time I saw his mean streak. It would have been the smart thing to do, but at the time I was frustrated and angry and thankful that he was so protective of me. A lot of guys wouldn’t have been, and it made me feel special that he thought other guys wanted me as much as he did. I missed feeling that special, and I always felt that way around Sam. I was his princess, his Bee, his pride and joy. He loved flaunting me everywhere we went and I loved the way he seemed to blow steam when another guy was looking at me. It made me feel wanted. That’s how a girl always like to feel.

                                    *                                  *                                  *

“Hey, can I get you anything?” Collin asked as Anna and I were standing around the fireplace, dancing to the beat quietly. I already had a cup of warm beer in my hand, but I wasn’t drinking it because warm beer was gross. Now I was used to drinking what Sam and Steph supplied for me at The New York Underground and all of the other places we went for gigs. Recently, they had started gaining more and more popularity, so they were playing everywhere. We had recently gone up to Maine for a gig around Portland and Old Port and stayed the night at a cheap motel. We crammed all of us into one room, so Sam and I got a bed while the rest of the boys fought for the other one.
I turned my attention back to Collin. “No thank you.” He stood there awkwardly and tried to make conversation. I felt bad for even agreeing to go to the party as a group with him, Anna, and Brian. I mean, he was a nice boy, but I had a boyfriend. And I think he maybe got the wrong idea when I said yes, but I hadn’t been to a high school party in a while; I’d been too busy going to clubs and dancing in other states late in the night to be curious about high school things. Everything in school came easy, so I skated by on my A’s and B’s while doing my homework in cars or right before the period started. Either way, I was doing absolutely fine and was going to graduate with top honors at the beginning of June. Only two more months of homework, lunch, and tests until I could finally put that to a rest.
Collin was going on about something and I noticed the girls looking at him while he was talking to me. He was so caught up in getting the story straight that he wasn’t looking at me, so I just looked passed his shoulder and noticed. A group of about three girls were admiring his beauty as he talked to me. I felt bad for taking up his time when I had no interest in him. The girls must have been sophomores. I could tell by the way they actually let their eyes glaze over while staring at him. I knew why they liked him; he was gorgeous, smart, and totally sweet.
I kept nodding when he looked at me to make sure he he thought I was paying attention to him but I wasn’t. I was thinking about Sam. Last week he had taken me to meet his parents for dinner. They seemed really normal, so I wasn’t really sure where he got his danger from. I mean, Tyler was always reading, so he and Sam were almost nothing alike. Sam hated reading, unless it was takeout and dinner menus. Katie was an absolute girly girl. She loved dressing up in frilly dresses and was sure to be the next Miss Teen USA. His mom, Nancy, was really sweet and apparently liked to bake, because there was a mountain of cookies in the house. And his dad, Thomas, while always working as some kind of Executive was pretty absent; he cared more about his kids than my dad ever did. I thought he was lucky. I don’t know why I hadn’t met the Phelman family before, I mean I had been friends with Tyler since Brian had been best friends with him, and we’d hung out. But I guess we really only hung out at Anna and Brian’s house because their parents were more normal (despite the whole mistress thing) than mine and Tyler’s family.
It was a quiet dinner, and they seemed to like me, but I couldn’t be sure. They didn’t really say much. It was just casual dinner talk, and Sam apologized later, saying that he usually didn’t bring girls home to meet them, so they weren’t quite sure how the whole ‘meet the parents’ thing worked. But it was better than if he would have come over to my house (which was not happening anytime soon.)
One thing I thought was weird was the fact that Katie was still quiet when she talked about her friends like she was when we went for ice cream in February. Eventually, when I had a moment alone with her, I asked her what was wrong, and she made me promise not to tell Sam. She told me about this group of girls that was harassing her at school about how girly she was and how she didn’t quite fit in with everyone else. And when I asked her why I couldn’t tell Sam, she replied by saying that she didn’t want him to get mad and overreact like last time. This is when I found out about his previous ‘misdemeanor’. He got into a little fight with one of Katie’s friend’s older brothers because he was trying to sell cocaine around his little sister to a group of younger kids. (Luckily for me, Sam wasn’t into drugs.) Okay, so it wasn’t a little fight, Sam beat the shit out of this guy. But, I mean, it was for a good reason, he didn’t want his little sister to see a drug deal! Right? But I still promised that I wouldn’t mention that I knew about these girls. But I told her that when she had more boyfriends falling all over her because she was in touch with her girly side, they’d be taught their lesson. I also told her not to listen to them, because girls pick on other girls because they’re insecure with themselves.

Collin caught my eyes glazing over and put his drink on the mantle. “I’m boring you, aren’t I?”
“No, no!” I insisted, shaking my hands in protest. “It’s not you, I swear, it’s me. I’m just a little tired.”
            “Hey Brooke! Can I see you for a sec?” Anna called from the kitchen. I nodded and excused myself from my conversation, throwing my beer away in the process. Anna put her hand on her hip and shook her curly head at me. “What’s wrong with you?” she asked. “You look like you’re miserable.”
“Do I really?”
“Yes, you look like you want to go kill yourself. Loosen up! Have fun! It’s a party!”
“I know, but it’s just not the same without Sam here.”
“You can’t have fun without him here? Seriously Bee? When have you ever been one for dependence? Shake it off and get out there and have fun. It’s not like you’re cheating on him, you’re at a party talking to someone.”
“Yeah, who likes me…”
“Well, too bad. Just go have fun anyways. Dance, act interested at least.”
“I’m serious Bee, go have fun. Take a new beer at least, they’re all warm.”
“I know it’s gross.” She gave me a big hug and sent me back out. I was all smiles when I approached him. “Sorry about that, I just wasn’t feeling myself.”
“You miss your boyfriend?”
“A little bit.”
“It’s okay,” he smiled sadly.
“No, he’s not here, so I can still have fun, right? You just have to know that I’m not into you like that. I like you as a friend, and only as a friend. Okay?”
He looked at the wall and sighed, thinking about it. “Yeah, that’s okay. But you know that if you ever need anything, I’m here for you, right?”
“Yeah, I know.” I hugged him and he smelled good, but he wasn’t Sam. His smell didn’t intoxicate me.
I did let loose though, and we started having a good time. I wasn’t getting a buzz from the beer because apparently I knew how to hold it, but I started dancing with Collin and laughing and letting loose and having fun! It took me a while, but it happened. And just when I was getting into the swing of things, I was face to face with disaster.
“Let’s go.” Sam’s voice was in my ear, trying to sound even. But I could tell he was pissed.
“We just got here,” I replied. “And I’m finally having a good time.”
“Brooke, I’m serious.”
“No, so am I. I’m not leaving.”
He grabbed my forearm and tried to pull me with him, but I wasn’t going anywhere. Especially not with him bossing me around. “I said. Let’s go. Now.” He spat.
“And I said no. Let go of me, you’re hurting me.”
The party went silent and all of the focus was on us. Great.
“Brooke, I’m not fucking kidding. Let’s go.”
Collin looked at me and then said, “She doesn’t have to go anywhere with you.” He let go of my throbbing arm and got in Collin’s face.
“And who the fuck are you? Last time I checked, I didn’t ask for your fucking opinion.”
“Dude, I don’t want any trouble…” Collin put his hands up in retreat and tried backing up.
“Then stay the fuck away from her.”
“Sam, stop.” I tried.
“Yeah, Sam, stop. Why don’t you just turn yourself around and leave. I’ll make sure she gets home safe.” No, Collin, that was the wrong thing to say.
“If you touch her, I will kill you.” He told him, nostrils flaring. “Brooke. I swear if you don’t get in the car…”
“You’ll what?” Collin approached him this time. “You’ll what? Leave her alone. Treat her with respect. She’s beautiful, treat her that way.”
Sam had had enough. He punched Collin square in the face and he fell to the ground, clutching his nose. “Stay the fuck away.” Then he turned to me, as I gasped in horror. I was upset now too, and in about two seconds I was going to cry. “Get in the car.” He ordered.
Two football players walked up to him, “Okay tough guy, enough. You’re done here.” Sam looked at me for help, but I went to Collin’s side.
“Just go, Sam. I’ll get a ride home. Go!”
He broke free of the football player’s grasp and stalked towards the door, slamming it behind him. I jumped at the slam of the door, the slam of his car, and the screech of his tires as he raced away. After I knew he was gone, I and helped him up and into the kitchen, where everyone had pretty much cleared. I got some frozen peas from the freezer and gave it to him while he sat down on the bar stool. “Are you okay?” I asked. “He hit you pretty hard.”
“I’m fine; are you okay though?”
“Yeah, totally.” But he could see that I wasn’t. I was pretty rattled; I’d never seen him get like this before.
“You don’t look like you’re okay.”
“I’m fine; I’ve just never seen him like that before. Seriously, I don’t know what got into him. I’m so sorry.”
“Its fine, my nose will heal. But… Brooke, something like this is serious…”
I nodded and Anna came running in. “Oh my god! Brooke, are you okay?”She hugged me. “I heard what happened but I was upstairs with Tiffany and Chelsea! Oh my god! Brian’s on his way, and he’s going to take you home, okay?”
“It’s fine. I don’t really want to go home now.”
“Well, he’ll take us anywhere.”
“God,” she put her hand to her forehead and shook her head. “I can’t believe this, I can’t believe he’d do this.” Then she turned to Collin. “And you; are you okay? Ew, you’re bleeding.”
Collin laughed and nodded, “I’m fine. Just another battle scar to add to my list,”
Both Anna and I smiled and sat quietly for a second. We looked at him and sighed. Brian wasn’t there too long after. “I’m going to kill him.” He said.
“No, no you’re not.” I said. “It’s fine. Collin’s fine, I’m fine.”
“He has a fucking problem, Brooke.”
“Well I’m hoping this was a one time deal, we don’t know anything.”
“He hit someone Brooke!”
“In his defense, I would have been have been like that too if she was mine and she was dancing with someone else.” If she was mine; keep dreaming.
“Collin, you’ve got to be shitting me. You’re defending him? He broke your nose.”
“I know but… I’m just saying, I would’ve been the same way. But I’m serious when I say that this is serious business. If he hurts you again, you’ve got to get out.”
I kissed his cheek. “I appreciate your concern, but I’ll be fine. I’m pretty strong. And thank you for sticking up for me.”
“Anytime,” he smiled then said, “And no, that’s not an invitation. One broken nose is enough, thank you.”
I patted his shoulder and grabbed my purse and jacket from the closet. Then I got into Brian’s car and we were silent as he drove. “Do you want to tell me what happened?” he demanded. I knew he was just being protective of me, he was like my big brother and he didn’t want to see me hurt.
“It was nothing, Brian. Just…drive somewhere. I don’t even care. I’m hungry.”
“Okay,” so he drove to some fast food restaurant and we ate in the car and just kind of sat there. “Brooke. Are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m fine. What time is it?”
“Twelve thirty.”
“Take me home, please.”
“Please take me home, Brian.”
So he drove me home and dropped me off. It was dark outside and no one put any lights on, but we could all see that Sam’s car was outside my house.
“I’m going to kill him.” Brian said, getting out of the car. “How dare he show up here to your house after what he did!”
“No!” I got out, following him. I didn’t want to wake everyone up, so we whispered. “I’ll be fine, promise. I’ll run over if I need you.”
“Brooke. Why is he here?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well you’re not going to see him.”
“Yes I am,” I put my hand on his shoulder. “Brian, I’m a big girl; I can handle myself.”
He wrapped his arms around me and gave me his usual bear hug. “I just don’t want to see you get hurt.”
“I know you don’t.”
“You promise to let me know if something goes wrong?” I nodded yes. “Then take care of yourself, okay?” I nodded again and waved to Anna who was just sitting in the passenger’s seat.
“Love you Bee,” Anna said.
“Love you too; thanks guys.”
I took a breath and walked up to my doorstep where Sam was sitting; his face in his hands which were rested on his knees. I tried to walk as silently as I could because all the snow and ice had gone, but he heard my footsteps and looked up. He stood up and opened his mouth to speak but I shook my head. “Don’t.”
“Brooke, I-“
“Seriously, Sam, just don’t.”
He put his hands in his hair and stared at the ground, trying to figure out what to say. I pushed passed him and he let me. I went to open the door when he said, “I’m sorry.”
I turned around and hopped back down the three steps and hit his chest. “You’re sorry? For what exactly? Embarrassing me in front of everyone? Breaking Collin’s nose? Being so utterly fucking ridiculous?!” I hit his chest again and my lip quivered. “I can’t even believe you. What the hell were you thinking?”
He looked down and thought for a minute, reminding me of a puppy who knew he was in trouble. “I wasn’t.”
I shook my head in disbelief, “Exactly. You weren’t thinking.” I turned around to go inside but then faced him again, my nose running with tears. “God, Sam. He’s my friend; my goddamned friend. I don’t even like him. I love you, and that’s not even good enough?”
He stepped towards me and just kissed me hard, probably trying to shut me up. When we were done, he hugged me into his chest and held me. “Of course it’s good enough.”
“Well, what the hell, then!?” I demanded. I wasn’t letting him off the hook that easily.
 This time he answered me with more authority.
“I was jealous Brooke. You didn’t answer your phone.”
“My phone was in my purse!”
“Well how the hell was I supposed to know that?” he yelled. He took a deep breath in and out and spoke more calmly. “You didn’t answer your phone and I got worried. So I called Tyler and asked him where you might be. He said that he heard there was a party and that you were going with Anna, Brian, and Collin. All of this shit flashed in my head like you were with him, with him and you were going to leave me.”
I shook my head. “Why, why would I leave when I’m perfectly happy?”
“I don’t know.”
“Exactly. You had no right to come in there like that; none. He’s a nice guy, Sam, but he’s not you.”
This time when he kissed me, it certainly wasn’t to shut me up. It was to fully disclose that he was sorry. “I love you Brooke, please, please forgive me.” He asked with his forehead against mine. I nodded and kissed him again in agreement. He wiped away the rest of my tears and let go of my hand, turning around. “Where are you going?” I asked. It was almost one now, and I was just curious.
“Uh, home I guess.”
“My parent’s house.”
“You can stay here, if you want.”
“Really?” he asked as if there was a catch.
“Yeah, you let me stay over your place… I doubt your parents want you coming in around one.”
“And I doubt your parents want you coming in around one with a guy.”
“Um, well that’s too bad for them. Come on.”
“I don’t know…” he didn’t follow me.
“Sam, it’s not a big deal. I stay over your place all the time.”
“The difference is that I don’t have parents living with me. I have four other guys. It’s different.”
“Sam, it’s too late and I’m too damn tired for you to argue with me. You’re staying over. Let’s go.” If he can order me to stay over his place like he does to me then so can I. “Brooke…” he protested.
I looked at him sideways and did what he always did to me when he really wanted me to listen to him. He always pecked me on lips quickly until I did what he wanted. But I just focused on kissing him around his mouth, never actually just kissing him plainly on the lips. He grunted and turned into jello, so I grabbed his hand and led him inside. The stairs were right where you entered the house, with the living room directly to the right. I looked into the living room and found my dad passed out on his recliner, a beer in his left hand hanging down at his side and the other on his gut. I put my finger to my mouth and whispered, “Ssh,” as I quietly opened and shut the door behind me. I grabbed his fingers and pulled him behind me while we went up the carpeted stairs. After we made it up the stairs we turned right into the hallway and went down the hall to turn right into my room. I shut the door behind me and put my light on.
“Cute,” he said quietly, taking in my purple room. I put my lamp on and shut the big light off. He looked at all of the autographs I had on my wall and admired them. “The Beatles?” he asked. “You have their autograph?”
“It was my dad’s.”
“The Ramones, The Clash, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix?”
“Before my dad turned into the ass he is today, he was a music guy.”
“Dude, these are incredible.”
I told him to make himself comfortable while I went and brushed my teeth and splashed my face. When I got back, he wasn’t wearing a shirt anymore. He climbed into my queen sized bed as I got my shirt out of my dresser. “Turn,” I instructed Sam. He did as I said and turned around so I could change my underwear and take of my jeans and bra. While I was putting on my cami I caught him in the mirror trying to see, “Turn around!” I laughed, finishing changing and getting into bed. He was grinning so I hit him. He chucked, “I can’t help it, you’re perfect.”
“I’m serious. You are.”
“You’re making me blush and I’m tired. Let’s go to sleep.”
“Okay Little Miss Perfect.”
I leaned over and kissed him once, shutting off the light “Brooke?” he whispered.
“I am truly sorry about earlier.”
“I know you are.”
“And you know that I love you.”
“I love you too. Goodnight, Sam.”

                        *                                  *                                  *

I lazily got out of bed and saw that he was still sleeping, so I shut my door behind me and walked downstairs. And to my surprise, Tara was sitting at the table while mom made some food. She was insisting that she already ate, but mom was still trying to make her eat. “Mom, I have to watch what I eat now.”
“Why? You’re already so damn skinny, you don’t need to lose any weight.”
“I know, but…I’m pregnant.”
“WHAT?!” I shouted, jumping down the stairs and running through the living room into our yellow kitchen.
“Oh, hey Bee!” she hugged me.
“You’re going to be a mommy?” I asked.
“Yeah. We just found out yesterday!”
“Oh, Tara, that’s wonderful.” Mom hugged her.
“Where’s daddy?” she asked.
“At work, where else would he be?”
“It’s Saturday.”
“Well yes, but he needs extra money for poker night, he’s been on a roll lately.”
“Yeah,” She put the food she was about to make away, not even bothering to ask if I wanted any. Thanks mom.
“What else brings you down here?” I asked.
“Well, I wanted to see if I could meet you boyfriend! It’s been what, almost four months?”
I smiled on the inside; four months. “Yeah, four on the third.”
“And I haven’t really even met him yet? What’s up with this?”
“The problem is that they’re never in town.” Mom added. “She’s either with their band up in Boston for a show or sleeping over Anna and Brian’s house. You’re never home.” Except, mom, right now he’s upstairs in my bed. Look, we’re home. “Sometimes I’d like to see my daughter.”
“Well I’m home during the week.”
“But you’re always in your room.”
“Doing homework.”
Mom gave an exasperated sigh. “I still haven’t met him.”
“Sure you did; at Tee’s wedding.”
“That doesn’t mean I’ve met him.”
“Yeah, bring him over for dinner at me and Daniel’s house. We can have a sisterly dinner.”
“Okay, sure.”
I heard Haley’s muffled scream from her room, which was right across mine and mom and Tara exclaimed at the same time, “What the hell?”
Panic mode. I guarantee that Haley just found Sam.
“Um, I’ll go…check on her!” I ran upstairs. Sam was in the bathroom washing his face and brushing his teeth with… my toothbrush. He saw me, “Hey babe.”
“Um… what are you doing?” I quickly entered the bathroom and shut the door behind me.
“Brushing my teeth. What does it look like I’m doing?”
“How did you know which one was mine?”
“Well, it was purple and Haley told me.”
“How did Haley…”
“Relax. I wasn’t peeing or anything. She went in your room to wake you up and found me instead,” he smiled into the mirror at me, making his eyes squint in that adorable way that they do.
There was a knock on the bathroom door. “Brooke?” Tara’s voice called.
I gestured for Sam to get in the shower, showing him to be quiet. Then I opened the door. “Oh, what’s up?”
“Is Haley okay?”
“Yeah, she just like tripped or something. Nothing major.”
“Oh, really? Are you okay? You seem kind of… jumpy.”
What?” I stretched out the word to make it sound more impossible.
“Brooke, seriously. I know he’s here. I’m not stupid; I saw his car out front. Where is he?” he opened the shower curtain and popped his head out.
At least he was wearing his jeans. That would have been so embarrassing.
“He’s in the shower?!” she whisper yelled at me.
“Um, Sam, this is my sister Tara, Tara this is my boyfriend Sam.”
“The Bride,” he said, stepping out and shaking her hand. “Hey.” He talked cautiously, trying not let toothpaste and spit splash everywhere.
“Hi, nice to meet you. Brooke….”
            “I know, I know! It’s wildly inappropriate that my boyfriend is hiding in my shower and using my toothbrush,” I glared at him. “I don’t ever use your toothbrush.”
            “My germs are your germs, babe.” He grinned, showing us his mouth filled with toothpaste.
“Ew!” Tara put her hands up. “I don’t even have morning sickness yet and I’m getting nauseas.” She said. “And wait- your toothbrush? That’s disgusting. Why don’t you each have your own?” Tara was a little bit of a germaphobe.
“Well I stay over his apartment all the time in Boston and I don’t have my own…”
“I thought you always slept over Anna’s on the weekend. Mom just said-“
“What mom doesn’t know won’t kill her.”
“Do you ever sleep over Anna’s house?”
Both Sam and I looked at each other and smiled shyly.
“Oh my god!” Tara hit herself in the head and shook it.” I can’t even believe you.”
“It’s not a big deal.” I assured her. “It’s only like… the weekends. And when we drive to New York and back.”
“New York?! When the hell have you gone to New York?!”
“The weekends… sometimes Tuesdays…”
“You go to New York on school nights?!”
“Tara, calm the hell down. I’m still top of my class. I get my homework done and I still get A’s.”
“Let me get this all straight.” She shook her head again, trying to fathom everything I just said. “You sleepover his house,”
“-Apartment. With four other guys.” Sam corrected. I jabbed him in the side. It was not the right time to correct her.
“You sleepover his…apartment. With four other guys. On the weekends… and sometimes Tuesday?”
We nodded. “Oh, and sometimes Thursdays.” Sam added. I jabbed him again and mumbled, “Seriously?” under my breath.
“Are you ever home?”
“On Mondays and Wednesdays… after school... most of the time.”
“Well some of the weekends we don’t play,” Sam said. “So she is home… sometimes…”
“Who are you?! You look like my sister, but you’re certainly not acting like her.” Then she looked at Sam and poked him in the chest. “And you. You had better show up with Brooke tomorrow night at my house for a Sunday dinner. Or I swear, mom will know about this.”
“We’ll be there.” Sam assured her. “No one’s taking my Brooke time away from me.”
 I smiled at him and he kissed me forehead. “Now… how are we getting you out of here?”
Tara rolled her eyes and sighed. “I’ll go distract mom. Give me five minutes.”
He finished brushing his teeth and put his shirt back on, and we waited for our five minutes. “Why are you so weirded out that I use your toothbrush?”
“Because it’s my toothbrush. Miiiine. Do you even know how many germs are on toothbrushes?”
He tried to kiss me playfully, attempting to get his tongue in there. I just laughed it off. “Almost as many germs as there are on my tongue.”
            “You’re so gross.”
            Our five minutes were up, so we quietly made our way downstairs and saw Tara give us the okay. I went outside with him and walked him to his car. “So tomorrow?”
“I’ll pick you up.”
“Oh, that’s right…” he looked up as if trying to remember. “You have a car.”
“I just never use it.”
“Because you have me,”
“Well I do use it for school and stuff when you don’t take me. After this week though is going to be different because you have to start work again.”
“I know; the hiatus has been so nice… I get to spend all this time with my girl.” He bumped me sideways and then caught me in his arms.
“I know, but you gotta skedaddle, mom’s gonna notice I’m gone.”
He gave me a look. “She hasn’t yet…”
“Stop; you’ll jinx it.”
“Kay. You’ll pick me up around…”
“I’ll talk to Tara.”
He smooched me once. “See ya.”

                        *                                  *                                  *

Before I went to pick up Sam, Anna called me over for an emergency. I ran over and saw that Caitlyn was freaking out at Anna’s mom. She was throwing all of her things down the banister and screaming. “Anna?” I called. She ran downstairs and grabbed her sweater and her purse. “Let’s go.”
We got in my car and I turned to her. “What’s going on?”
“Um, Caitlyn is freaking out.”
“Really? I hadn’t noticed.”
Caitlyn’s ‘longer than expected’ stay had turned into a four month stay. And everything was going crazy. “I can’t even be in there anymore. I need you. Let’s hang out?”
I gestured to my comfy teal dress and heavy white sweater. “I have a dinner date with my sister and Sam. She wants to meet him because she freaked out yesterday.”
“Did you guys work out everything?”
“Yeah, absolutely. And it was too late for him to go home, so he stayed over and then in the morning she found out that I haven’t been staying over your house and I’ve been staying with him and am never home so I guess she wants to figure out if he’s a psycho murderer or something.”
“Oh. Well, that sucks. I need to get out.”
“Well hang on,” I called Sam. He picked up on the first ring. “Hey babe. What’s up? Are you on your way?”
“Almost. Question, what’s Charlie doing tonight?”
He made some ‘uuhhh.’ Noises and I could hear him moving around and asking Charlie what he was doing. “He says nothing, why?”
“Anna needs a pick me up.”
“She just needs to get out and we’re busy tonight so I was wondering if Charlie could take her out and do something.”
Anna made some frantic gestures and noises that I didn’t pay attention to. “Uh, yeah,” he asked Charlie and said, “Yeah, can the guys take her out?”
“That’s totally fine. Anything works.”
“Okay, she’s all set then. See you in like twenty minutes.”
“Kay.” I hung up and she was just staring at me. “What?” I asked.
“What am I doing tonight?”
“Oh, hanging out with the boys. Nothing big. But, they’ll take care of you.”
She looked at me doubtfully.
“Come on, A, I hang out with them all the time, they’re pretty chill.”
“Alright, now let’s go!”

I drove to Sam’s in my silver Prius while we listened to a mix of A Rocket to the Moon, Every Avenue, The Maine, This Providence, and The Downtown Fiction. We just sang along to all the words and danced along. It didn’t take a long time to get there; twenty minutes to Boston tops if you take I-93 and avoid the traffic areas. I pulled up on the curb and got out, dragging Anna with me. She was still skeptical about hanging out with them. “You can always take the train back.”
“Well I’m here now!”
“Exactly. Just have fun with them. They’re harmless.”
I said hi to their landlord Mr. Jones and went on up. Sam opened the door and kissed me. “Hey there.” He waved at Anna, “Hey Anna; come on in. We’ll make the exchange.”
She walked on in and the boys were hanging out in the living room. “Hey Anna! Come join us!” Derek called. “Hey Brooke,”
“Hi boys.”
“I hear you’re taking our boy to a meet and greet?” Charlie asked.
“Yeah, it shouldn’t be too late. It’s just my sister and her husband.”
“Oh, well good luck Mate.” Scott said.
I looked at him. “Scott, you’re not allowed to drink around her.”
“Brooke…” he whined.
“I’m serious, if I hear that you drank…”
“She will fucking cut you.” Sam laughed. “Let’s go, I ain’t got all damn night.” I stared at him.
“Watch your mouth around my sister. You were getting so good.”
“I want to make a good impression. I won’t be the complete asshole I usually I am.”
“Well, thank you.” I turned to them. “Bye guys!”
We got into the car. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you drive.” Sam said.
“I know, it’s weird.”
“I think it’s sexy.”
“Shut up.”
“I do.”
“I drive a Prius; there is nothing sexy about driving a damn Prius.”
 “There is when you’re driving it.” He took my left hand and kissed it.
“Stop it…”
He snickered and started kissing my arm and neck. I nudged him away. “Not while I’m driving. And not before we go to my sister’s. She’s pregnant. She knows everything.”
“She’s pregnant?”
“Yeah, I found out before she found you yesterday.”
We kept driving and Sam put on some music until we got to Tara and Daniel’s large townhouse and I parked in on their side street. Sam just looked at it and exclaimed. “This is all theirs?”
“Yep. All Mr. and Mrs. Hill’s house.”
“It’s fucking huge.”
“I know. Daniel’s rich.”
“So fucking rich! Baby, we’re gonna be like this someday.”
I looked at him and took his hand. “You think?”
“I know.”
We walked to the door and rang the bell. Tara came out looking absolutely adorable. She had gotten her hair cut today, so it was back to its natural chin length. “Hey Brooke!” she hugged me. “Come on inside! Daniel!”she called. Then when her dashing husband came to the door, she looked at Sam. “Why don’t we formally meet.” He was actually dressed up for his usual self. He had worn a three quarter length plaid button down that was red, so we looked like the poster couple for America.
“Tara, Daniel, this is my boyfriend Sam. Sam, this is my sister Tara and her husband Daniel.” The guys shook hands and to my surprise, Sam said. “You have a lovely home.” Wait, what did he just say? Did he just say they had a lovely home? Who was this guy and where was my badass boyfriend?
“Nice to meet you Sam. Come on in guys, dinner is served.”
We sat down and made small talk about everything while we ate some yummy roasted chicken and mashed potatoes. Damn, I missed Tara’s cooking.
“Seriously, invite us over more often.” I said. “I miss your cooking.”
Sam laughed. “She says this because all we eat is diner food. Anything is better than diner food.”
“What are you talking about? I love diner food. I just miss Tara’s cooking.”
Daniel smiled, “I am a well-fed man.”
“Seems so.” Sam agreed. He was sitting across from me, so we were talking with our eyes. “If only my girl could cook.”
My girl, aww, I was his girl. I loved it. I loved being his girl.
“I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that. I never get a chance to cook for you.”
“Can she cook?” he asked Tara.
“She’s not terrible… but she’s certainly not the best.”
“Thanks Tee,”
We finished eating and we all stood up. I went over to Sam and stood by his side. “Hunny, do you want me to help you?” Daniel asked my sister.
“No, you boys go have fun.” she turned to me, “Brooke, want to help me clean up?”
“Now, if I remember right, you played at my wedding?” Daniel asked Sam.
“Yeah, The Debate. I’m the drummer.”
“You guys were good, is your music going anywhere?”
“Yeah, we play a few times a week at various locations around New England and New York.”
“Really? Because I know a guy who’s been looking for bands with your sound. Want to go chat?”
He looked at me for permission. I just smiled and said, “Go ahead, babe.”
“Thank you,” he kissed me and practically ran into the living room with Daniel.
Tara and I retreated into the kitchen and started clearing the plates from the dining room. “So, he seems nice.”
“Um, fortunately for me, he’s not that nice all the time.” I said, filling up the sink with dishes. She stopped in her tracks and looked at me, puzzled.
“Wait, you don’t like that he’s nice?”
“Well, normally he’s just not… that nice. He wasn’t really being himself.”
“Well how am I supposed to accept you spending all this time with him without actually knowing him?”
“I don’t know. I think it’s because he wanted to impress you; the dinner seemed so formal, so that also might have had an effect.”
“Well what’s he normally like?” she asked.
“Um, a little rude, he swears all the time, a little bit of a temper…”
“What do you mean? What kind of a temper?”
“You cannot tell mom.” I said. “I swear Tara, if you tell mom…”
“Fine! I won’t tell mom, now shoot.”
“Well the other night he got into a fight.”
“With Collin because he was jealous and being protective.”
“Yeah. He broke Collin’s nose and was yelling and he was so mad, it was so damn sexy.”
“Sexy? A guy like that is dangerous.”
I shook my head at her. I didn’t know how to explain to her that he wasn’t a danger to me, only people that got in his way of me. And I didn’t know how to explain that even though I found it extremely attractive because he wasn’t like all the other guys I ever dated with a soft spot for bunnies, men, or flowers, he was also one of the sweetest guys I knew. He would do anything for me and I knew he loved me. “Tara,” I said, passing her another floral bowl to clean. “You’re going to have to trust me on this, okay?”
She sighed and hugged me. She was like, two days pregnant, and already acting like a hormonal freak. “I just worry about you.”
“I know, but I’ll be fine. When I need to, I stand up for myself. He’s practically perfect for me.”
“Well maybe you should let me see him for the real him. I don’t want to see a fake version.”
“Well maybe you should come see a show; he’s pretty himself at those.”
“When’s the next show?”
“Um, we’re playing at The House of Blues later this month. It’s like… huge for them.”
“Well yeah! Do they have a cd?”
“Yeah. They’ve been making demos and playing shows everywhere. They’re like New York Underground’s top selling undiscovered band. But, they’ve been getting more and more shows around New England, so we don’t play as much over there.”
“Oh really?”
“Yeah, they’re so good, Tee. And Sam’s improved even since I met him. They’ve been writing more of their own stuff lately, and it’s really good.”
“That’s awesome.”
“, a baby,” I said.
“Mhmm… a baby.”
“Have you already told Daniel he doesn’t have a choice for what you name it?”
She chuckled lightly. “He likes the names I picked when I was twelve.”
“Yes, if it’s a boy we’re naming him Fletcher and if it’s a girl, we’re naming her Tiffany.”
“Of course you are.” We finished cleaning up and went into the living room, where Daniel and Sam were casually talking. He looked up at me and motioned for me to come and sit with him. I sat on his lap and let him finish talking. “Ready?” he asked.
“Yeah, I’ve got homework to do.” I said. This was true, but I probably was going to Sam’s for a while first.
“Okay!” Tara and Daniel walked us to the door and said good bye. “It was nice to finally meet you, Sam. We might head down to a show soon, so don’t be a stranger.” Tara said. He shook hands with Daniel. “Thank you so much.”
“I’ll definitely be in touch.” Daniel assured.
I hugged Daniel. “Bye, Hill.”
“See ya, Zamrock.”

As soon as we got in the car, Sam practically screamed out, “Fuuuck!” and laughed. “I needed to get that off my chest.”
“You could have sworn in front of them apparently .”
“Seriously? I wanted to be good for once in my fucking life.”
I leaned over and kissed his mouth, no matter how dirty the words were that came out of it. “There’s my boyfriend. I thought I had lost him.”
“Nope, still here. Now, let’s get home, I want some Brooke time.”
“Okay, it’s like the last time I see you all week.”
“I know, oh! I had to tell you something.”
“I think I’m quitting my job at the shop.”
“What? Why?”
“With the band’s schedule being picked up, I don’t really have time for a job like that. Derek’s dad owns a landscaping business, and now that it’s getting warmer, he needs guys to work for him off and on.”
“Oh, is that what you want?”
“It’s better than working on cars all day.”
“And you’ll be all tan in the summer. Yeah, that sounds good. How’s the money?”
“Not terrible, it’s just like extra spending cash; I put all the band money-” he chuckled, because there wasn’t much of it. They got about a hundred and fifty dollars to two fifty a show, and they were playing at least twice a week. That left them with… not enough money. Each of the boys had an extra job, and my favorite was Charlie, because he worked at my favorite starbucks down the street from their place. “-Into rent and into the bank.” He finished. You wouldn’t think he’d have a bank account, but his was slowly but surely filling up with cash. It was like the one thing he was responsible about.
“Cool. I approve.”
“Good,” Even though it’s not like I had an option, he was going to do it anyways. He might have asked my opinion, but it wasn’t because he considered what I had to say. He was stubborn and was going to do what he wanted when he wanted. That was Sam.


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