Chapter 24 | Cupcakes and Punches
After we left the ER yesterday, Lucy and I decided to skip the rest of the day, despite our principal’s wishes. He called my father informing him of our absence and we got an earful.
Now, it’s Saturday night and Lucy and I have been baking cupcakes with my mom.
“Mom, where’s the vanilla extract?” I shouted since she went to the bathroom a few minutes ago.
“Look in the cabinet!”
“Um, which one?” I deadpanned, seeing as there are numerous cabinets all over the big kitchen.
“Just wait a second!” She sighed.
A few moments later, she appeared in the kitchen with an annoyed expression on her face. “You really need to learn your way around this kitchen. We’ve lived here for a few years now and you still can’t seem to find anything.” My mom laughed afterward.
“It’s not my fault. There’s just too much stuff in this house.” I argued, noticing Lucy struggling to mix the eggs and flour with a whisk.
“Don’t we have an electric mixer?” I wondered out loud.
“Yes actually.” My mom said while laughing at Lucy.
“Well get it please, before I throw this entire bowl of batter on the floor.” Lucy glared.
My mom and I laughed at her again, before my mom pulled out the electric mixer and handed it to Lucy. Lucy angrily threw the whisk into the sink and I jumped at the loud thud it made.
“Hey, don’t throw things!” I pointed my finger at her, a slight smirk on my face.
“Whatever.” Lucy plugged in the electric mixer and sighed with content when the batter began to mix easily.
I took the vanilla extract from my mom, and added it to the mixture.
Once all of the ingredients are mixed together properly, Lucy poured the batter into each cupcake holder and then placed the pan into the oven.
“Finally! I thought we’d never finish!” Lucy sighed, my mom still laughing at her expense.
“You girls are so funny.”
“How?” I asked.
“Just are.” She smirked. “I’m going to take a quick shower. Don’t forget to take those out when the timer goes off.”
“I think we can manage that.” I deadpanned.
“Alright, be right back.” My mom called as she headed up the stairs.
“I can’t wait to eat these!” Lucy smiled, looking at the cupcakes from the oven door.
“It’s still going to be a while Luc,” I chuckled, “We still have to wait for them to finish baking, and then we have to take them out and let them cool for like an hour so that we can frost them.”
“Who says we need to wait to frost them?”
“Um, the cupcakes do. If we add the frosting too soon, it will melt.” I rolled my eyes.
“Baking is complicated. Next time I say we just buy some from the store’s bakery.”
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.
I walked over to the front door and pulled it open to find Callie.
“Is Lucy here?”
“Maybe. Why?” I asked, trying to get her to speak to me.
“Lucy!” Callie shouted, and Lucy appeared a few moments later.
“What is it?” Lucy asked.
“Can we talk? Alone?”
“Uh, sure.” Lucy walked out onto the front porch and closed the door behind her, leaving me alone while I stood in front of the door.
I walked over toward the window and tried to listen as hard as I could, without being seen, but it’s no use. I couldn’t hear anything through the thick glass.
I huffed and walked back into the kitchen.
“Naveah!” I heard my dad shout from his office.
I walked over to his office door and pushed it open, slowly walking inside.
“Sorry. Yes?” I replied, annoyance laced in my words.
“Better.” My father glared. “Anyway, I wanted to tell you that I’ve finished working on Lucy’s case, and she’s able to live freely on her own in her mom’s house as soon as tomorrow. All of the expenses have been paid by her mother’s insurance and with a little help from my legal team, Lucy is officially emancipated and has full ownership of her house. Her mother’s insurance has covered the mortgage for up to a year, and with the extra help from her mother’s unemployment money she had saved up, Lucy should be able to keep the lights on and feed herself. She will still need to keep her job though, so she can continue paying for things she needs.” My dad explained with finality in his words. “They’ve already finished repairing her home from the fire damage.
“She can’t stay just a little longer?” I asked.
“She’s been here long enough. I know she’s your friend, but she needs to figure out how to live on her own. She needs to learn and grow from this experience. You will be there to help her along the way, as well as Callie. Right?” He more so told me than asked.
“Yes.” I nodded, feeling sad to have her leave. “Thank you so much dad. This will mean so much to her and it means so much to me that you decided to help.”
I just barely made out the corners of my dad’s lips starting to turn upward, but he never fully smiled. “Of course. It’s a sad thing for a child to lose their mother. I couldn’t see her trying to make it alone with no help. I’m happy to do it.”
I walked over and gave him a side hug, which he gave right back. My father has never really been the affectionate type, unless it involves my mom. But even then, it rarely happens unless he’s in a really good mood.
“I’ll go tell her now.” I smiled.
I left his office and headed toward the front door to get Lucy, but she’s not there.
“Luc?” I shouted.
“In the kitchen!”
I walked into the kitchen and found her staring at the cupcakes, a blank expression on her face.
“So what did Callie want?” I asked.
“Just to talk. No big deal.” She smiled over at me.
“Well listen, my dad just spoke with me and he was able to legally emancipate you. Your mother’s insurance money has paid off the house in full, and her unemployment money she was saving has paid off the mortgage for up to a year. The only thing you have to pay for is water and electric, which shouldn’t be much at all since it’ll just be you.” I sadly smiled. “He said you can leave as early as tomorrow since they’ve already finished repairing from the fire damage.”
I watched Lucy’s face light up at the beginning of my explanation, but then she frowned towards the end.
“Naveah... I don’t know if I can live by myself.” She confessed, “It’ll be weird living in that house without my mom.”
I frowned and walked over to her. “I know Luc. But I’ll be over to spend the night all the time, and so will Callie. You’ll never be alone, I promise.” I assured her, giving her a hug.
She’s hesitant at first, but leaned in nonetheless.
“Will you help me pack tomorrow?”
“Of course.” I smiled.
The timer from the oven buzzed just as my mom appeared in the kitchen again. “Perfect timing.”
We took the cupcakes out of the oven and Lucy frowned when she couldn’t eat one right away. We put a movie in while we waited for the cupcakes to cool, and when they did my mom added the frosting. After the cupcakes were frosted, we began stuffing our faces with cupcakes and laughing whenever we got frosting on our noses.
After the movie, Lucy and I headed upstairs. She followed me into my bedroom, and I turned around to look at her.
“What’s up?” I yawned, ready for bed.
“Callie said some things to me, and I just wanted to ask you a few questions.”
Her expression was blank, and I was almost scared.
“Alright, shoot.” I faked a smile.
“Are you um, are you lying to me about something?” She asked.
I kept my eyes from widening, and I gave her a fake confused look. “Of course not, why?”
“Well Callie told me that she doesn’t think she would be able to be your friend again, and I asked her why and all she said was to watch my back. She insinuated something more, but I just can’t figure out what it is. Is she telling me to stay clear of you? Why would she say that?”
“I honestly don’t know Luc. I don’t know why Callie is acting this way all of a sudden. I know she’s mad at me for what happened with Connor, but that can’t be the only reason.” I wondered myself, though I already knew the real reason. I can’t help but feel pain brewing inside of me at what Lucy told me. Callie doesn’t want to be my friend. Ever? I know she’s mad, but I can’t believe she said that.
“Well, it was weird. I’ll just have to talk to her more about it. Don’t worry, I’ll try to knock some sense into her about you too. She cannot split up the amazing trio!” Lucy smiled over at me.
I smiled back, but on the inside, I felt like crying.
I didn’t want our friendship to break apart either, but with everything that Callie knows, it’s no wonder she’s stuck around with me for this long. I’m a horrible person and I have to do better.
I need to do better.
| Mark’s POV |
As I walked into school on Monday, I saw Connor at his locker and decided to pay him a visit.
“No Marissa today?” I smirked.
“Whatever.” He shrugged in response, “Besides, I might be breaking up with her.”
“Oh? Why’s that?” I asked, genuinely curious.
“Well, let’s just say that I might be getting back with Naveah.” He suddenly announced, which caused my stomach to drop.
“What?” I asked.
“Yep. She helped Bell with some homework the other day, and we sort of had this amazing make out session.” He smirked again, giving me a wicked smile.
I could feel my fists clenching, but I kept them out of Connors sight.
“She broke up with you though. That doesn’t make much sense.” I replied.
He shrugged. “Well, it happened. I’m going to take advantage of the opportunity.”
“She’s only using you bro.” I found myself saying.
“Why would you think that?” His eyebrows raised questioningly.
“Think about it. Why would she break up with you, only to engage in a make out session? Besides, aren’t you with Marissa now?” I said.
“I don’t care about Marissa.” He said, a look of hatred in his eyes.
I felt myself grow angrier. “Then why are you with her?”
“To make Naveah jealous. Obviously it worked.” He winked.
“You shouldn’t be doing this.” I shook my head, definitely fed up.
“Why do you care so much? Stay out of my business.” Connor glared.
“Because, you’re my best friend.” I replied through clenched teeth.
“Am I really? Because it hasn’t felt like I am these last few weeks.” He challenged.
“Just leave them both alone Con. They aren’t worth it.” I sighed, trying to relax a little.
“Naveah’s worth it.” He said in all seriousness.
“She isn’t even into you anymore!” My voice raised a little, and I had to physically stop myself from exploding.
“And who is she into Mark? Tell me!” He yelled back. Now we’re only a few feet apart from each other.
I don’t give into him that easily.
“I don’t know, but I don’t want her to hurt you.” I lied.
“I felt something in the kiss we shared, she wants me back and I know she does. We’ll be back together by the end of the week.” He smiled.
“No you won’t.” I found myself saying.
“Yes we will. I’m going to charm my way back in the same way I did in ninth grade. I can tell she wants me back. I notice how she stares at me, and discreetly smiles at me. That kiss was so hot too. It felt so good to have her lips back on mine.” He smirked even wider, and I couldn’t hold back my rage anymore.
“Shut up Connor.” I said in an icy tone.
“Why Mark?” He took a step closer to me.
“Just shut up.”
“WHY?” He yelled as a glare replaced his smirk.
“Because!” I hissed back.
“Because why, Mark?” He took another step closer to me, making us only inches apart.
“BECAUSE I’M IN LOVE WITH NAVEAH AND SHE LOVES ME BACK!” I ended up shouting. My chest rose and fell as I took deep breaths, my fists still clenched at my sides but now in Connors line of vision.
Before I even knew what was happening, the smirk came back on Connors face as his fist came into contact with my jaw. I stumbled back a bit, but quickly recovered as I landed a punch into his jaw immediately after.
We stared at each other challengingly, waiting for the other to make his next move.
“I fucking knew it.” He finally said with pure venom in his tone, no longer yelling.
I didn’t respond.
“How long?” He asked.
“How long what?” I glared.
“How long were you two messing around behind my back?”
“You don’t need to know the details.” I shrugged.
“Fucking tell me Mark, before I completely lose it.” He threatened, taking a step toward me.
“Go ahead and hit me.” I smirked, “I want you to. Oh and by the way, Naveah looks better from behind, don’t you think?”
Connors blue-grey eyes turned piercing dark blue as he grunted while lunging toward me. He tackled me to the ground and we rolled around, each of us throwing punch after punch.
Neither one of us noticed the crowd that had formed around us.
“I can’t believe you!” Connor shouted while dodging one of my punches. “You’re supposed to be my best friend!”
“I am your best friend!” I shouted while Connors fist met my jaw again. “I didn’t want it to happen, it just did!”
“Bull shit!” Connor yelled, taking a hit from me in his eye. “You’re a piece of shit, no wonder your mom never wanted you! You’re going to be just like your fucking father!”
“Fuck you!” I yelled at the top of my lungs, throwing two more punches to Connors nose and jaw. By this time, both of our faces are covered in blood, and I’m not too sure if there’s more of my blood or Connors blood on my face and hands.
Suddenly, I felt myself being ripped away from Connors hold as two bigger security guards grabbed Connor and me. I screamed for the guard to let me go, but obviously, he didn’t comply.
I heard the sound of the principal as I noticed some of the students scattering from the scene.
“Mr. Gaines! Mr. Chase! What in the world is going on here?” He shouted. “Both of you, to the nurse’s office now! I will see you when you’re done and don’t even think about skipping out!”
Both of the guards finally let Connor and I go, and we each stomped off toward the nurse’s office, not once taking a glance at the other.
After the adrenaline wore off, I started to feel the intense pain in my face, as I’m sure Connor did too.
“Well, you boys had quite the scuffle.” Nurse Ellen said while examining our injuries, “Any reason?”
Neither one of us responded, we only sent the other a glare.
After cleaning up our cuts and examining our bruises, she let us go to the principal’s office.
“So, care to explain to me why you were fighting?” He began questioning.
Neither one of us spoke.
“You are going to tell me now, or I will have to take immediate action.” He threatened.
“Just a fight. Nothing more.” Connor mumbled and I noticed as he winced from the pain.
“Very well. Both of you are suspended for a week.” The principal stated, “You may gather your books and leave immediately. Get out of my sight.” He seethed.
We both stood up and left, not saying a word to each other. I went to my locker and pulled out the books I needed, not that I’d be doing any homework, and immediately headed for the doors to the school.
“Mark!” I heard from behind me.
I tensed at her voice and slowly turned around.
“What happened?” Naveah’s pleading eyes are locked onto my broken ones.
“Just leave me alone.” I glared.
“No! Tell me what happened, please! Are you okay?”
Is she serious right now?
“No, I’m not fucking okay, Naveah.” I hissed. “Just go to class and leave me the fuck alone.”
Not letting her respond, I opened the school doors and headed out into the parking lot, letting the doors to the school slam in her face. I didn’t even look back. I couldn’t look at her right now, let alone talk to her.
I know this wasn’t just her fault, it’s mine too. Still, I couldn’t help but feel angry towards her.
I’m just so mad at everything. Connor, Naveah, myself, the world.
I just needed to be alone.
In fact, for the rest of the week I’m going to stay by myself and not talk to anyone.
Maybe by next week, things will have softened up.
I can’t believe I punched Connor in the face. I can’t believe he punched me either. I didn’t even want to look at myself in the mirror, for fear of what would be staring back at me. We both did a number on each other, and if I look anything like Connor did, I know it’ll be a while before we’re both fully healed up.
God, I’m such a fuck-up.