Cupcakes and Sugar
"Those girls really did a number on you," Grant said tossing the tennis ball back towards me.
After last night when Alex left I immediately went straight to my bed and slept like a baby. The monster must have came home some time during the morning because his coat was on the kitchen table when I woke up, but his car wasn't in the garage. My guess is that he went back to wrok. I still felt bummed out so I called Grant for us to hang out at his house. Now here we are, like usual, with me spilling my guts to him while we toss a tennis ball.
"It's one bruise. I don't understand why Alex had to make a big deal." The words came out bitter and I made a face. It was one thing lying to Alex but it was another thing when I lie to Grant. He's my best friend and I hate keeping things from him.
"Yeah a bruise that's gonna stay for a while." He waved his hands dismissively before his eyes lit up with curiosity and pointed an accusing finger at me.
"You care to explain why the trio showed up at your doorstep?"
I did a double take, missing the ball when he tossed it at me and stared at him with wide eyes. How the hell did he know?
"H-how do you know that?"
Grant shrugged his shoulders and gestured towards the ball.
"I'm not running all the way over there to get it"
I ignored him, glaring at his all to innocent face. He signed in defeat before turning away from me walking inside the house. I quickly followed after him not at all done with this conversation. Was he mad that I didn't tell him the full truth?
"Grant if you're mad at me, I totally understand. I'm sorry I didn't tell-" he cut me off, whipping around to face me with a sour expression.
"I'm not mad at you. Alex came to my house last night and told me everything. He said that the guys were bringing you a book from school? Look if there's stuff you want to keep from me, I get it. But don't lie to my face about it."
His voice was low and I felt horrible. I opened my mouth to say.... I don't know... anything but my breath hitched and my attempt at saying anything died down as he brought his hand up to my cheek. Grant's eyes were glistening with unshed tears and his fingers softly brushed against my cheek.
"I just hate seeing you get hurt" He finally said.
He didn't say it out loud but I knew he was a bit disappointed that I didn't tell him the while story, the truth. For now I'm going to leave it that way. I have to. Unless he directly ask I can't say anymore. Even if it hurts seeing him this way. Even if I hurt him by withholding the truth.
But you're not withholding. You're lying.
I dismissed the voice inside my head and only then did my cheeks heat up. Grants hand was still on my cheek and he was intently looking into my eyes.
"You know you can tell me anything right?"
His words hit a sore spot in my heart. I wanted to tell him everything so bad. I wanted him to know I wasn't fine. That I wasn't over my Mothers death. That I have a monster for a father. Instead I nod my head.
Grant stayed silent as if waiting for me to confess something. After a while longer he nodded, taking his hand away from my cheek, and walked into the kitchen. I stood there for a second longer before following after him to the the kitchen table. He sat in one of the chairs pulling his leg under him.
"I couldn't tell Alex the truth and I just thought..... I thought it wouldn't be important, but you're right."
He was right. I can't lie to him. Not because I feel obligated but because I dont want to anymore. He's family.
You can tell that to yourself that a million times but in the end you'll always end up lying to him.
I sat in the chair next to him moving some papers on the table aside. Grant waited for me to continue and I exhaled loudly through my nose. Slowly and carefully choosing my choice of words, I gave him the innocent version of what happened last night.
"Me and Sammuel just had a disagreement over something and I went to Cartons to get some fresh air. The guys were there and I left my wallet. They were nice enough to return it."
"Right. You decided to walk home all alone late at night and look at you now." He said it with accusing eyes and it irritated me.
Grant leaned back in his chair, running his tongue across his upper lip. His eyes locked on my check and he rubbed his face. Hard.
"Geez Charl, you could have called me through Doves phone."
My fist curled up.
"You know my mom wouldn't have a problem taking you home."
I locked my tongue between my teeth hoping he would shut up before I crack.
"Hell you could've called Alex!"
"Well I didn't alright," I snapped at him my patience finally wearing thin.
He seemed surprised by my outburst and down casted his eyes.
"Yeah its whatever," He murmured. A silence passed between us making everthing awkward. The front door slammed open and I immediately stood up raising my hand to my chest.
It's the monster he's here.
"Grant come help me with these bags please!"
Grant gave ma weird look but I just gave him a tight smile shrugging my shoulders.
"Grant!" We both shuffled towards the living room where Grant's Mom, Tracey, was holding loads of bags on each arm.
"Oh Charlotte you're here. This is great we can- ouch! Damn it I told you to cut those nails boy." Grant was pulling a bag from Traceys arm and he accidentally scratched her. He sheepishly smiled at her placing a kiss on her cheek.
"Love you too Mom"
I stood to the side and watched them silently as they shared how their morning has been. Me and my Mom used to have conversation like these. I would be like Grant right now. Smiling, laughing, and just.....being happy. My Mom would always run her fingers through my hair, telling me how much she loved me. A small tear escaped my eyes followed by another and another.
You cry so much.
"Honey, you alright?"
Tracey dropped the bags on the couch and rushed over to my, grabbing my face between her warm hands. Her eyebrows were pulled together in concern with a small frown etched on her face. I shut my eyes trying to get rid of my Mother's face inside my head.
"I miss her so much" I whispered.
"Oh sweetheart it's okay. It's going to be okay" She pulled me into her petite figure, her arms going around me all the way. Was I that skinny?
"Grant can you please give us a moment" her voice was muffled by my hair and I buried my face deeper into her neck. Mom used to hold me this tight too. Before Grant could respond I pulled away from Tracey wiping my face with the sleeve of my shirt. I didn't want to talk about my Mom right now.
"No it's fine, I'm fine. Just a spur of the moment." I bit my cheek and looked away from her piercing eyes.
"What's in the bags?" I cut her off, hoping to change the subject. She gave me the 'we'll talk later look' and accepted the change in topic. I didn't dare look back at Grant. Traceys smile appeared on her face again as she opened one of the bags. I felt arms slide around my shoulders, giving it a tight squeeze. Grant gave me a lopsided smile and kissed the crown of my head.
"Well I was thinking we can have a full out bake session! I was looking through some of our old cook books and I found some delicious things we can bake. So you know I bought the eggs, milk, flour, tablespoons...."
I leaned into Grant's touch tilting my head to the left as I listened to Tracey go on about what needs to be done and how much fun we will have. Now this feels like home.
"Grant no! She already put sugar in that bowl."
"She told told me to pour it in this bowl"
"Not that the bowl. The other bowl!"
It's only been thirty minutes and everything was already a mess. We decided on making cupcakes but not just any cupcakes. These cupcakes cures heartache and fills your life full with hope and love. Well that's what Tracey said. I personally think they just taste good. Only someone here doesn't know how to follow simple directions. I swatted Grant's hands away from the already sugared bowl before he can ruin it more. Tracey got a phone call from work five minutes into our baking and she had to leave.
"I swear my boss really hates me. He can't even let me spend time with my kids," She said as she was leaving. My heart swelled at her words. Her kids.
She grabbed both of our heads and placed a sloppy kiss on both of our foreheads. Grant quickly pulled away wiping at his forehead viciously.
"Mom" he whined.
She rolled her eyes and kissed his cheek again.
"Appreciate my kisses boy." And with that she left leaving just me and Grant to our current situation.
"You had one thing to do. One thing"
He reached for the bowl and, again, I swatted his lingering hands away to look into the gooey dough and a mountain of sugar stared right back at me.
"First of all you're an idiot. Second, that is way to much sugar. Do you not know how to measure? This bowl didn't even need sugar to begin with. Third, you're an idiot."
Grant let out a soft chuckle and flicked my hair that was in a ponytail.
"You should have your hair up more often. You look cute," He joked. I rolled my eyes bringing my hand to my hair and patting it down self-consiously. He stared at me for a second longer before reaching for the suger-filled bowl.
"I'll just throw this one out." He said turning around to leave.
I ran up to him and threw my arms around his torso. He was taken by suprise and staggered back, dropping the bowl in the process.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you the truth. It was just..... I don't know but I'm sorry." I couldn't meet his eyes as I pulled away from him, but Grant gripped my arm pulling me into him again. His chin nestled on top of my head and I tightly squeezed my eyes shut.
I wish I could stay like this forever. In Grant's warmth, with Tracey and baking burnt cookies everyday. No school, no monsters, no problems.
Life isn't a fairytale.
"It's fine Charl. If you don't feel like telling me something I understand. Trust me I know. Just know that I'll always be here for you when you are ready talk." Just like that my heart jumped to my throat. You gotta love this kid.
I pulled myself together and detached my face from his chest then my whole body.
"Does this means you're keeping secrets from me too?" I teased trying to lighten the mood. Grant's neck flushed a dark red and my eyebrows immediately rose. He rubbed the back of his neck, avoiding my eyes, and squatted down to pick up the forgotten bowl.
"I'm not keeping any secrets from you"
"You totally are!" I laughed.
"Let's just get these damn cupcakes in the oven."
I let it slide......for now. My mind drifted back to Alex. He hasn't called me yet like he always does and it's bothering me. Did I go to far yesterday? Was he mad at me or am I mad at him?
I don't know why I expected him not to call the monster. He had no idea what goes down in that house. My house. My hell. I bet Alex didn't expect me to go all baby on him either.
A father is suppose to protect his daughter. That is what Alex assumed. He would've made that phone call, the monster would rush home out of "worry". He'll assure Alex that he will get it taken care of. The monster would wrap his arms around me to which will seem like a lovely gesture when really it goes more deeper, more darker than that. Alex would object but will eventually agree. He would've left me with a person who he thought I was safe with.
What would've happen if that did happen?
He cares alot about you
But I wouldn't have said anything.
He has always been there for you.
And I hurt him.
But he wasn't the only one to assume something incorrectly.
I assumed that the monster was going to love me endlessly especially after what happened to my Mom, his wife. I have never been more wrong in my life.
"Charlotte?" Grant asked out of the blue.
"Are we even suppose to put sugar in these batches?"
And this is why I never trust Grants Mom with her cooking skills.
An hour later I'm at the front door pulling on one of Grant's hoodies. I grab a fistful of the fabric and deeply inhale the familiar lavender scent.
"You have to stop stealing my clothes. You want me to walk around naked? No need to be discreet, I'll gladly strip down for you baby" Grant winked at me and swiftly licked his parted lips. My jaw dropped open. He did not just say that.
Grant bursted out laughing wheezing some incoherent words. He even went as far as to slapping his knees like an idiot. I scowled at him placing my hands on my hips with my left foot in front of me. His laugh was deep and loud sending my heart to jolt. Since when did his voice become so manly?
A few seconds passed before Grant regained his breath but one glance my way sended him back to his laughing fit. He wiped away his tears and ran his hands across his cheeks rubbing them thoroughly.
"Ha ha very funny. Now can you please hurry up, I want to check in with Alex first."
I wasn't going to put off the apologizing for a week.
Grant quickly slipped on his red shoes that didn't match his choice of clothing and we were out the door with him telling me how funny my expression was.I focused half on Grants conversation and the other half on my very limited time. Here goes nothing.