“You’re a life saver Kal, honestly I’d be fucking lost without you tonight. Is she gonna be okay?”
Kal nods. “Yeah, she’ll be fine. She just needs to sleep it off. Can I crash here tonight though? Hate going back to the apartment late on my own.”
“Of course chick, where’s lover boy? Heard you two got your official titles back..”
The red glow of her cheeks grows to match her hair. “He’s visiting his aunt, it was her birthday this weekend but he missed it because of training. Yeah, he asked me a few days ago. I know you’re still mad at him Brie, with everything that happened, but it wasn’t what I thought. We’re good now, really good... We’ve actually been talking about moving in together..”
Al smiles at her. “That’s lush babe, what about your dad and your brother?”
“Dad’s had a job offer to go onto one of the rigs up in Canada, he wants to take it. Me and Jacob were going to move in with my aunt maybe but Drew wants us all to stay together. I’ve always hated that fucking apartment, I just moved us there because it was cheaper, Drew found this cute place on the edge of town. It’s really quiet so Jacob won’t be so overwhelmed in the night by the noise and it’s right by the specialist autistic school so we’d finally be in the catchment area for us to apply to get him in there. Drew really wants to take care of him.”
I lean in and put my hand on her knee. “So what’s holding you back then babes?”
She looks down at Rose on her lap. “It’s just so much money. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, I was supposed to be in a vets by now. He says it doesn’t matter, that with what he’s being paid by the team right now he can afford it all and more but I never wanted that, I don’t want him paying for it all.”
Al stretches over to take her other hand. “Kal, I get that, I really do. Me and Jayce had a similar conversation when we spoke about getting the house. We’re dating basketball stars hun, there’s a good chance they’re always going to be earning more money than we do. Jayce put it to me this way; he works hard for his money, so why shouldn’t he be able to spend it on what he wants for his family? If Drew wants you out of that shitty apartment and with him, does it really matter who’s money pays for it?”
I nod. “Kal you and Drew were together when you both had nothing, now you’re building a life. It’s not like he he’s going to think you’re a fucking gold digger.” She laughs, continuing to stroke Rose’s head. She looks at her with such affection. “Babe, why are you still wasting your life at that cafe when you should be in a vets doing what you love?”
She sighs, letting her body slump into the half stuffed cushions. “It’s just hard Brie. There’s not a lot of flexibility when you’re a veterinary nurse, they need you all the time and Jacob needs me too. The school he’s in now just can’t cater for him properly, I’ve paid for all the support and it’s so much better than it was but I still have to leave work at least twice a week to go get him because he’s has a meltdown and they don’t know what to do with him. I had that interview at my dream place but I couldn’t even make it because he needed me.”
That’s not fair, she shouldn’t be doing it on her own. Her mum fucked off years ago to make a new family and now her dad is just going to skip too? I know her aunt is fab but what she really needs is for Jake to be getting the kind of support he can only get somewhere with people trained to take care of him properly. I know she’s done everything she can to get him the support in his education but a school like that could be life changing.
“Babe we’ll support you. Anything you need, but you can’t waste that degree. You worked so fucking hard on it. Let Drew get the house, get Jacob the help he deserves and let’s get you elbow deep in a cow or something if that’s what makes you happy.” They all burst into fits of giggles. “I’m serious Kal, we’ll do whatever it takes. Once you’re in a job you love, and living with a man you love, you’ll be all set.”
Al squeezes her hand and we all settle back into the couch, the TV flipping to ‘say yes to the dress’ as a woman stands in a monstrosity of a gown.
“Oh god, promise me when you two get hitched you’ll let me have a say in the dress, I’d never let you walk down the aisle looking like that.”
Al smirks at me. “I’m pretty sure we could say the same thing to you now hun. How’s Steve?”
I will hit her.
“Not funny Al, the only way I’m getting married is over my own dead fucking body. I’m not stupid enough to let myself get tied down like you two.”
They both giggle at me.
We all ended up falling asleep on the couch, we’re not seventeen anymore so we’ve all been walking around like zombies with bad posture since then.
Apparently Jayce did come in to try and convince Al to go home with him but she attempted to throw what she thought was a pillow at him, only for him to catch Rose mid-air.
To say I was relieved when Sonya turned up to collect the little mongrel was an understatement. If the way her hair refused to flatten and the smile on Peters face were any indication then I don’t think she got a lot of sleep last night either.
About time someone put a damn smile on her face.
We all went over together to the hospital to see Steve this morning before he went in for the operation, they said it could be anywhere from two to eight hours he’d be under depending on what they found.
I was being so good, everyone was there, including Josh’s mum, so I was making sure to keep my distance and not draw attention to what was happening between us.
Of course this all went out the window the moment they came to wheel him down to surgery. His bed went past me but came to a sudden stop when he took hold of my wrist, pulling me down onto him without a care in the world that everyone could see us as he kissed me.
And what a fucking kiss...
Not even the whopping and hollering of everyone else in the room could ruin such a perfect fucking moment. He kissed me like he might never get the chance to kiss me again, it filled me with the most glorious light but also agonising fear that maybe... it could be.
Watching him get wheeled away did something to my chest, like the doctor had shoved his fist into it and given my still beating heart to Steve to take care of while he was under. I could still feel where it should be beating.
I’d been so distracted after that I’d almost forgotten about the urgency of this evening. That’s how I find myself sitting in my fucking rental car, outside the night school, using the street lamp above me to read over everything I’ll need to remember for this test.
Josh had promised to text with any news so I’d kept my alerts on loud, but that didn’t stop me checking the screen every thirty seconds to see if there was an update.
My phone beeped, and I dropped my textbook straight from my lap into the foot-well of the car I jumped so much. I prayed to see Josh’s name but it was just Aleah telling me to go kill it in class today. Bitch you know I will.
“Fucking hell! You scared the crap out of me!” Connor stands smirking as he looks in through my window despite the fact I look ready to kill him. I pull my book out from by my feet and tuck it, along with my notes, into my bag before I step out of the car.
“You ready for this?” He asks, pointing to the tests he has in his hands. I try to peak over the top to see what the first question is but he just laughs and pulls away from me. “Nice try.”
I pout. “Oh come on, please? I’ll be your best friend forever and ever amen?”
He just laughs at me. Seriously, what’s the point in having fucked the professor if you don’t even get to peak at the test?
“You don’t need it Brie. I know you’re going to ace it, have a bit of faith in yourself?”
Oh please, I have faith in myself, ain’t no other fucker got me to where I am. Connor turns and I walk with him across the car park.
“Um, Hope wanted me to ask if you’re going to be coming to the Christmas show they’re doing for the ballet kids? It’s her first show on stage so she just wanted to know if you’d be there with May?”
“Yeah I’ll be there, but tell her even if May wasn’t going I’d still be there for her. Is she excited? My first show on stage I was so nervous I almost fell off the damn thing, although no one really remembers considering Al threw up all over Ms Day about thirty seconds later.”
I loved that day. Heather was so proud of us she took me for my first McDonald’s, I think that’s why I still love them so much.
“Yeah she’s ecstatic. She’s gutted because we’re going away for Christmas so she can’t do the talent show too but at least she gets to do this one. Ma wants us all in the alps for Christmas this year at the lodge, Hope’s more excited about the plane ride to be honest...”
I’ve never actually been on a plane but I’d be most excited for that bit too, joining the mile high club always did appeal to me.
“...there was room for me to take someone but I figured you’d want to be with May and your Gran for Christmas.”
I freeze. He stops and turns to face me. What the fuck? “You would’ve asked me to go away with you for Christmas?”
He looks so fucking nervous, like he hadn’t thought about the words before he said them. Going away with someone is a big thing and shit has been so off between us lately. Would I have gone? No, I’d want to spend Christmas with May and Granny and... everyone else special in my life.
“Brie don’t freak.” Too late. “I just meant if I was going to ask someone it would’ve be you, not that I was going to kidnap you and take you to Europe... Brie breathe.”
Ummm, yeah, if I had a mother right now then I’d be crying out for her to come get me.
People start to surround us as the school begins to fill with students, some smile and say hello to Connor but I can’t even look up at him. We’re not there at all anymore, maybe once but right now we’ve hardly even seen each other and he hasn’t looked at me the same way since Meg.
“Um yeah, okay I get it. Just don’t go making those kinds of plans good boy, I don’t even own a passport.”
He laughs and I’m glad the tension is gone as we make it into the hallway. Although he doesn’t look as comfortable as I thought he would. “How’s um... How’s Steve now? Out of hospital?”
I shake my head, but I don’t miss the cool tone of his voice as he talks about Steve. I don’t understand why, the guy was really nice to him and he was lovely with Hope.
“No, he’s actually under the knife right now. If everything goes well he’ll be out in a few weeks, if not then he could be there for ages. I know Josh wants him home for Christmas so it’s kind of crunch time.”
Connor nods but doesn’t respond as we make it to the classroom, I wait slightly behind as he walks in so it doesn’t look dodgy before entering and taking my seat. Everyone looks as nervous as I feel so at least I know if I fail this mother fucker I won’t be alone.
Connors pleasant tone is met with a symphony of groans before he splits us all onto our own tables, I check my phone quickly before he comes to my side and places down the paper. A hushed whisper escaping his lips as he smiles at me.
“You’ve got this Brie.”
I fucking well hope so.