Loved and Lost

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I walked through the swinging door of Frankie’s restaurant the grey bin filled with dirty dishes on my hips. The sizzling of food on the grill and the smell took over even more making me more excited for my break to eat more of the amazing food. “Hey girly,” I looked up at Victor as I set the bin down on the metal countertop. “You look chipper today. How is that possible?” He asked.

“Victor, all I can say is my life is far better than before I came to this nanoscopic conurbation."

"What does that even mean?" He set a plate full of food down on the shelf.

"Small town. I've had some time to pick up and actually read a book. It's been so long since I've done that." I grabbed the food, the ticket, and a new tray. "I go on break in like fifteen minutes, can you make know what surprises me."

"You got it, honey," I watched as he smiled and I walked back out.

I got the food to the table and rounded to the regulars who I've grown to know in my short time as well as have grown to like. Having our laughs and small talks helped the time pass. I stood behind the counter looking at Mr.Bennet as he held the paper up. I asked him the same thing I always do. Of course, asking him "Who's winning?" only gained a response in a grunt or simple reply that it's no one he likes. I couldn't help but chuckle seeing as he didn't like many teams but the FourtyNiners. I turned around to the end of the counters checking on the other customers. My eyes caught on the TV seeing the news. My last picture taken on the red carpet appeared.

Before I realized it glass shattered and the plates once in my hand now broken on the floor. "Bri?!" I turned at the sound of Mary's voice. I hadn't even realized she arrived. "What happened are you okay?" I looked back at the TV my picture replaced with the a montage of video's from the TV or caught outside by the paparazzi. "Bri?"

"I'm sorry...I need...I need a moment." I stepped away to the back going to the small break room and quickly to the computer. I found the website for the channel we keep the TV on watching the news anchor talk about me.

"Teen Hollywood Actress star of The Other Side, Phoebe Clover has been missing for over a month. Last seen by Best friend and fellow Actress Phoebe Shirley on an evening out. Over to Geroge who is with her parents." They aren't my parents. Especially not the sick and twisted woman who only's job is to be arm candy.

"I have no idea where my girl is." I rolled my eyes at my father's voice. "Please, Phoebe just come home. We love and miss you." I couldn't stand to hear his voice any longer as he spilled more lies of how much he cared for me and how much he wanted me back home.

“Bri,” I closed the tab and stood turning to Mary who now hand Frankie at her side. “What’s going on?” Mary’s worry was so clear on her face. I wanted to tell her everything was okay.

“Mary, Honey, give me a minute with her.” Frankie put her hand on Mary’s shoulder giving her the okay. Mary left leaving me in the room with Frankie.

Frankie is so close to Jeremiahs age it’s like having another Aunt. Jeremiah helps me feel save and understood. He keeps me protected on his property for a simple and low price. Far lower than it was worth. Frankie...she’s like the mother I lost. Making sure I eat, and feel cared for and valued. Even if it’s mostly at work she never fails to send a caring and quick text. “Bri...”

“I can’t tell you, Frankie. I wish I could.” Frankie walked over and tears fell from my eyes I quickly wiped them away before her arms wrapped around me. “I just saw something that scared me, I’m sorry. I’ll pay for the plates.”

“I don’t give two shits about the plates.” Frankie pulled me to the chair. Holding my hands she just took a moment to look at me. “Bri, I don’t care about your past I care that you’re okay. So go home, take the day off.” Before I could anything she cut me off already knowing me too well “No buts. Go home.” She stood and started walking out. “Also...say hi, to Jeremiah for me.” I lifted my eyebrows at her only for her to walk out no explanation.

Standing I looked out the window at the mountains and the trees. Always bringing a calmness to me since the moment I arrived. News is news. The story of a missing teen star was bound to trend but finding its way into the news of a small town between the mountains seemed too far out there. After a couple of weeks seemed impossible.

This town is too small to actually notice. If I keep playing this part, just a normal girl running from her past no one will notice. My picture was on the screen and they still didn’t notice. What Peyton helped me change is working. I’m not Phoebe Clover anymore. I’m Bri Anderson. I’m hidden as long as I keep playing this. I’m safe away from my father.

I'm safe if my secret is kept hidden. I know this. I have to just keep it hidden.

I hadn't kept track of time but I just walked down the road to See Ryder finding him at the bar. As I walked in he just looks at me confused and I already know why. Mary must have texted him telling him the news as to what happened. He ran around the bar over to me. "I'm fine," I said as he checked me.

"Fine? Mary said you broke plates and something happened to you but you wouldn't say anything. That's fine?"

"It's fine for me." I took a deep breath then grabbed his hand. I simply pulled him to a corner of the restaurant not many people ever sit. Leaning on the booth I glance out the window before I looked back to Ryder who only held concern. I know he needs a piece and to know I'm okay.

"I told you that I'm here because...if I go back to where I'm from I won't be safe. My father wears a very convincing mask. I saw something at work today that scared me mainly because this town is so small and hidden I never thought it would make it's the way here. Not since I've been here at least."

"I know we haven't been together that long so I'm not going to pressure you into telling me what it is but when you're ready please, tell me. I'm here for you for whatever you need." I nodded as he moved closer wrapping me in his arms. "If you don't that's okay but I'm still here for you." I held onto him tight as his smell lingered on his shirt. "Go home, and I'll go there right after work. I'll even pick up dinner." I pulled back looking at him before he put his hand on my neck his thumb rubbing my cheek. I pushed my hand into his palm feeling his excessive heat.

"Okay, I'll see you later."He gave me a quick kiss before walking away and I stood from the booth. As instructed I start making my way home. I just have to make this work. Because even when the time comes...I'm not sure I want to leave. Even though I love acting this is not what I want to give up. This life no matter how small it is compared to my life in LA. I can give up that life for this.

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