Chapter 1: "I Only Accept Chocolate Chip Cookies"
Beep, beep, beep. My alarm sounded. I shot up and cursed under my breath.“Shit.” I threw the covers off of my toned body and quickly slipped on a quick white t-shirt and pair of jeans. I rubbed my eyes lazily and rushed to the bathroom, hurriedly tried to brush my teeth.
“Fuck, Fuck, Fuck.” I swear loudly, running back to my room to get my phone and check the time.
9:18 AM. I have to be there by 10, ugh! I groaned in my head. I spit the toothpaste from my mouth and grabbed my keys, ruffing my hair a little to make it more presentable before rushing to the station even though I am very late as is.
I spotted my leather jacket on the couch and decided to throw that on.
I glanced at the mirror next to the front door and smiled.
I bit my bottom lip anxiously and mumbled to myself, “You got this, Cameron.”
I lifted my right arm and subtly sniffed my underarm.
Eh, not bad. I thought. “I can not be late to work this morning… again.” I seethed through my teeth at my own self. I swung the door open and suddenly something hit my torso. I looked down and noticed a little girl in a Girl Scouts uniform. I looked down and noticed the little girl grabbing her head. “Ow! I was just gonna ask if you wanted some girl scout cookies, sir” She whined from the concrete. I bent down on a knee and was still taller than her.
Being 6’3 was tough, but it had its benefits here and there. I felt like a giant compared to her small figure as I was trying to help her to her feet as she proceeded to look at me with the sun blinding my eyes with how bright it was.
“I’m sorry, sweetie. I didn’t see you, I was in a rush. How about you push me back, so we’re even, yeah?” I said in a higher voice than normal, nearly surprising myself.
She sweetly giggled and nodded shyly.
Once she was standing, I realized how truly tiny she was.
Her head was at my waistline. She chuckled in a big breath. “Are you ready, sir? Cause I’m a strong girl.” There was a cute competitive glare in her eyes.
“Give me your all,” I said dramatically, stretching my arms out to let her know I was ready.
She stepped back a few times, then with her arms out, she ran forward and her tiny hands collided with my groin. I fell back in defeat, gripping my center tightly. I was not expecting that.
“Told you I was strong, sir.” Her high-pitched voice said proudly.
“Very.” I winced, with a sharp breath and cough
Anyways, would you like some cookies? Since I just hit you in the cookies…” It wasn’t a coincidence she hit me there.
She fully planned that.
“You did that on purpose, you naughty girl,” I said chuckling and pointing my finger in her direction.
“I would love some cookies but I’m actually heading to the bakery right now. Where're your parents?”
“Well I don’t live with my parents, we lost them in a car wreck while driving home for their night out a drunk driver hit them head-on and they died at the scene I live with my sister. She said I could sell cookies in this neighborhood since it’s closest. We’re new here, so I’m not allowed to go any further. Plus I’m alone… so yeah.”
“Well I bet she tells you not to get in the car with strangers, but I’m heading to the bakery. You could call her right now, or even keep her on the phone while I drive you there. I’ve lived in this city all my life, so I know where it is.”
“Um, I just met you.”
“Smart girl. But you could easily get kidnapped, so call her up.”
“I could not get easily kidnapped!” She said, her baby anger flaring up. I scoffed and lifted her up by her waist with one arm.
“You’re so light. I could have brought you into my house, that’s kidnapping. So yes, you could easily be kidnapped.” I set her down back on the concrete.
“Whatever” She sassily rolled her eyes and pulled her phone out, calling her sister. Within a few rings, a gorgeous voice answered.
“What’s up Jane? You called just in time. I’m on my break.” Said the voice on the other line.
“The sky…” Jane snorted and looked up timidly at me, stopping her giggles. Clearing her throat, she continued. “Well, I was selling cookies to this boy-”
and Grace’s voice sounded through the phone as she called her sister
“-Man,” I whispered under my breath but luckily she didn’t hear. I mumbled and rolled my eyes, chuckling.
“And then I accidentally bumped him so he told me I bumped him back. Blah Blah Blah I hit him in his cookie really hard, Grace. So he offered to buy some cookies from me. Blah blah blah, he mentioned I could get kidnapped, so he wants to drive me back to the cafe. Is that alright?” She gasped at the end of one- long-needed breath after she explained her sentence.
“You know not to get in the car with strangers. I’ve taught you better than that.”
“You know I have to work, this is a new city. We don’t know anyone else. We can’t trust anybody else. Do you understand, Jade?”
“But he’s really nice, he let me punch his cooki-” Jade started but Grace, her sister, cut her off.
“What did I say already?”
“And what does it mean when someone says no?”
“To leave the conversation as it is because you can’t force them to say yes… I know.”
“Well then walk back to the cafe, leave that man alone and ignore him.”
“But he is driving to the caf-”
Jane hung up the phone, rolling her eyes and cursing ‘bad words’. “Grace is so fucking annoying.” She mumbles under her soft breath.
“Woah, watch your language little girl. I don’t know who you think you are, but your sister seems like a hard worker. Respect her and walk back to the cafe. I’ll walk with you, yeah?”
“Yeah. But um, I’m kinda scared now.” She looked down and I saw a tear slip down her olive skin.
“Because you said it was easy for me to be kidnapped… You picked me up no problem.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. How can I make you feel better?”
“Hold my hand, please. You know, when we walk there.”
“Of course.” I reached my hand down, and her tiny palm-held onto two of my fingers. She smiled warmly and swung our hands back and forth as we walked down my driveway and onto the sidewalk to the cafe.
“So tell me about yourself, Jade,” I said, trying not to sound stalkerish. This whole situation probably made Grace think I wanted to take advantage of her little sister.
“Well, I’m turning 8 in a few days. Um, I have one older sister, Grace. Grace and I have a big age gap, she’s 23. Our parents passed when I was 3. She was 18 so she was legally able to take care of me. I lived with her and her boyfriend for 5 years, until he started.. Hitting he-” I could tell she was getting sad, so I nicely cut her off.
“Sorry, but you don’t have to tell me what you don’t want to. Plus, I said tell me about you… not your sister.”
“Oh well then…” She started, her mood instantly brightening. “I’m Jade. And you are?”
“I am Cameron Daniels, nice to meet you. Jade what a lovely name, mi’lady.” I stopped walking to curtsy like a girl, purposely to get her to laugh. I put the heels of my feet together and pulled the edges of my imaginary dress outwards and bowed. She wheezed and gripped her stomach, laughing her little butt off.
Once I stood back up, I flipped my non-existent long hair. She was on the floor, cracking up.
“Come on, Jade. Stop laughing at me. I was being serious.” I joked, acting as I knew her on a different level.
“Okay one thing about me is that I love love love chocolate chip cookies…” She giggled, standing up and reaching for my hand. I smiled at her statement.
I love love love cookies too. Just not getting hit in the cookies…” I laughed as she snorted once again.
I looked up where we were. BellaTerra Cafe. A young woman was storming towards us. “What the fuck, Jade!” I said LEAVE. THE. MAN. ALONE. She scowled, tearing mine and Jade’s hand apart.”
“Oh, that’s where she gets it from.” I mumbled.
“Oh I’m sorry, who might you be? A creepy old man trying to kidnap my sister. Leave her the hell alone, before I call the cops.”
“Ma’am, I assure you I was trying to prevent the kidnapation. I am proud to say I am 23 years old. Surely you’re accounting that you’re less than a year younger than me. So I am not old, but thanks.”
“Leave now.” she seethed, angrily. Turning her back to me, she gripped Jane’s wrist and started walking the other way while punishing Jade.”
“I told you to leave the man alone. But instead, you let him walk home with you. Do you know how dangerous that is! I can’t believe this. Give me your phone.”
“He didn’t kidnap me, I’m here Grace.” Jade pouted.
“Your phone! Give it. You know I don’t like punishing you.”
“Then don’t punish me!”
“I have to, you won’t learn from your lesson if I don’t!”
“Please, Jade. Your phone. I heard Grace’s voice crack and her chin wrinkle from the tired tears, begging to fall.
“No!” Jade screamed, running into the cafe, and into one of the restrooms. I spotted Grace crouched down, her head in between her knees, sobbing.
“Fuck! Jade, please come back. I’m sorry…” Her voice was shaking as she wiped her tears and ran to the restroom. She looked back once and saw me watching the scene unfold. “Please, talk to Jade… Please. She’s mad at me.”
“I nodded and walked into the cafe. Shit, the women’s bathroom… I took a deep breath. I stormed inside the door, hearing soft sobs and whining. A woman washing her hands gasps lightly and winks. I rolled my eyes and walked to where I heard Jade crying.
“C-Cameron?” she stuttered.
“Yes, Jade. Grace sent me in here to talk to you. She’s sorry… You know it’s tough for her. Based on what you told me, you both have been through a lot. Um, give me your phone… I won’t give it to her, I promise. I just want her to know that you’ve given it up, okay? Please come out…”
“ I’ll buy you a cookie…?” I quietly mentioned and the door slowly opened.
“ I only accept chocolate chip…” She smiled softly, and I wipe her tears with my thumb.
“Three chocolate chip cookies it is.”
“Yes, one for each love. You said you love love love cookies, right?”
“Yes yes yes.”