Coffee & Cake
I hate mornings.
Who doesn't, really? Who actually likes getting out of their warm, comfortable silk sheets to face the whirlwind, hectic life of theirs? Who likes opening their eyes, only to have the dazzling, annoying morning sun shine in their faces and completely blind them?
So, when my cell rings at nine in the morning, it's safe to say I'm not exactly happy.
'Not exactly happy' would be an understatement, to be completely honest. I'm fucking livid, that someone actually has the audacity to wake me up this early in the morning!
I mean, it's like, nine. On a Saturday morning. Whoever's on the other end of the line seriously has to get a life.
Groaning into my pillow, I shut my eyes for half a minute, and will my Blackberry to shut up. When it's obvious that the caller's bloody persistent, I reach for my phone on my bedside table with my eyes closed.
When I finally locate that elusive cell of mine, I put it on speaker. "Hello?"
"Good morning, is this Brielle Parkston?" It's a girl at the other end of the line. A girl whom I would willingly punch in the face if she were right in front of me now.
"Yeah, it's me." I answer, groggily. "What's up?"
"Well, this is Beverly speaking. I'm at Starbucks right now, just like we arranged two days ago. I've brought the earrings with me, but I don't see you anywhere."
I blink, and sit bolt upright in bed. Oh shit, I completely forgot! I was supposed to meet this girl…what's her name…Beverly? Right, Beverly Stanton.
I was supposed to meet her to collect some jewellery I had bought online from this posh, private hand-made jewellery website. And I was supposed to meet her…like…now.
My eyes flicker towards the clock on my wall. Five past nine. And we'd arranged to meet at eight forty-five.
Leaping out of bed swiftly, I grab my cell and run into the bathroom that's linked to my bedroom. "I am so, so sorry!" I apologise profusely, whilst I strip my silk nightgown off me. "I'll try to be there as quickly as possible."
"It's alright," Beverly's voice comes cheerfully from the other end of the line. "No worries, take your time."
"I'm so sorry!" I end the call, and immediately step into the shower.
Urgh. I hate rushing. See, if I hadn't overslept, I wouldn't have to run my body under hot water. I'd be soaking up in my bathtub with aloe-vera soap and Japanese pomelo leaves.
When I'm done showering, I quickly tie my hair up into a neat French twist, and pull on a baby-blue blouse and white shorts - both from Topshop - grab my Dolce purse, and stare at the mirror for a minute.
Hmm, I should be about ready to go. Although, I need to get down to the beach sometime soon. I frown distastefully at my reflection. The tan I got from my summer vacation's wearing off.
Realising that I'm probably more than fifteen minutes late now, I fling open my shoe closet, hastily select a pair of Tori Burch's, and glide out of my room and head downstairs.
Okay, one thing about me, I hardly - if not never - run. Running's just very unglamorous, and seriously, have you ever seen a Beverly Hills' girl run before? No. It's just not done. Like the way walking around without a Chihuahua in your arms is.
Which reminds me, where's Pooh?
Pooh's my very own Chihuahua. She's the sweetest thing ever - she comes from a line of pedigreed ancestors, and she's won tons of dog shows for being the prettiest-looking dog. She's white, and her ears are cute, not like those freakishly large ears you would imagine Chihuahua's having.
"Pooh!" I yell out, my voice echoing loudly in the big hall. "Pooh, where are you?"
"Brielle?" I can hear my Mom's high-heels clicking smartly against the polished floor. A second later, she materialises at the top of the stairs. "Please don't shout. I'm in the middle of a very important case."
I roll my eyes. She's always in the middle of a very important case, so what else is new? I ignore her warning, and raise my voice even louder. "Pooh? POOH!!!"
"Brielle, please! Sometimes, I don't know what I'm going to do with you." Mom sighs heavily, and disappears back into her work room again.
I doubt I'll see her anymore for the rest of the day. She's always working, and if she's not on a case, she's busy catching up with her colleagues over a cup of coffee. She hardly ever spends time at home with me, but then again, I'm completely used to it.
I mean, I can't very well complain now, can I? Mom's bringing in the bacon, bringing in the big bucks. Her salary hits over tens of thousands a month.
Plus, it's her job that gets me my blackberry, and my clothes and shoes, and Pooh's doggy-day-care thing when I'm busy studying.
"POOH!" I call once more, and finally, with a little yelp, my small dog scampers into the hall and leaps straight into my arms. I give her a smacking kiss on her small forehead. "Come on, let's go. We're late!"
The trip to Starbucks takes less than five minutes. It's a good thing the outlet's so close to my house. When I enter the shop, I order a steaming cup of Cappuccino with whipped cream and a slice of Tiramisu.
Coffee and cake - they always make my day, always keep me up and going.
I scan the café quickly, and head towards a light brunette sitting in one of the booths, a cup of coffee and a book in front of her. "You must be Beverly."
The girl glances up at me and smiles brightly.
I realise that she's very pretty indeed, with her light brown hair and her big eyes. She looks like the kind of girl you'd see surfing on the beaches of Florida. Very average, very girl-next-door; but take a second glance and you'd see that she's beautiful.
"And you're Brielle Parkston." She nods, and gestures for me to take a seat.
I do, and I deposit Pooh on the bench beside me. My dog immediately presses up against me, her tail wagging really hard. I pat Pooh on the head, and say, "I'm so sorry I took so long to come. You must've travelled really far, and you still had to wait for me."
"No, it's fine, really," Beverly laughs gently. "I'm on vacation right now, and I'm currently having a shopping spree with my friends in LA. So I'll be here for quite a bit. Plus, I was supposed to meet my boyfriend here at ten, anyway, so it wasn't any trouble."
"Mmm," I say, dismissively.
I mean, I can totally see the love in her eyes when she talks about her boyfriend and all, but details. Details. They aren't important, and I don't see the importance of having a boyfriend.
In fact, I don't see the importance of being in a relationship at all. My facebook relationship status has always been single, and I'm loving every minute of it, and that's not going to change anytime soon. Being with a guy just makes you overly dependent on him.
Besides, what's the point of sticking to one guy? He'll just make you bored after some time.
My coffee and cake arrives, and I immediately tuck in, all the while ensuring that I don't look like a complete slob while eating, and that I don't drop any crumbs on my blouse.
Beverly, sensing that I want to eat first, returns her attention to the book she was reading. There's a comfortable silence reigning between the both of us.
After a while, I realise that she's reading some book containing the literary collections of some author. Why people actually bother to read such difficult, mind-boggling books is so beyond me. I mean, magazines are so much more interesting!
"So, can I see it?" I ask, eagerly, after polishing off half the cake. "The earrings, I mean."
Beverly glances up. "Sure." She takes out a pretty silver box and lays it in front of me. With great delicacy, she pries open the box with her slim fingers, and I immediately gasp.
The earrings look absolutely stunning. Absolutely, positively be-dazzling. They're carved in an exquisite snowflake design, with a brilliant blue drop in the very middle.
"It's wonderful," I breathe, and take the box from her. "Thank you so, so much."
"It wasn't me, really," Beverly smiles. "My mom made these. But I'm glad you like them. My mom thinks they might very well be her masterpiece."
Deciding that it's time to pay for these exquisite-looking pieces, I take out my clutch. Drawing out a pristine-looking cheque, I place it in front of her. "Five-thousand, and five hundred, right?"
Beverly glances at the cheque quickly. "It costs five-thousand only, actually. I'm afraid you'll have to re-write the cheque."
I shake my head. "Nope. A five-hundred tip. I happen to be a generous tipper. And you tell your Mom she deserves this extra money. Plus," I slide an extra hundred-dollar bill across the table. "Thanks for waiting for me."
To my greatest surprise, Beverly pushes the money back. "I'm sorry, but I can't take it. The extra five-hundred though, I will, because the money's for my mom. Thank you, Brielle, but I have to go right now."
I watch in silence as she stands, swings her white tote over her shoulder and leaves quickly. I don't know why some people are so touchy about accepting tips, really I don't.
I mean, I'm not taking pity on them or anything, you know? I just appreciate their efforts, and I'm showing my gratitude through money. What's so wrong with that?
Through the glass walls of the Starbucks café, I stare after Beverly as she leaves, running down the sidewalk swiftly. There's a boy standing, waiting at the corner, and she runs up to him. He grabs her by the waist and plants a slow, long kiss on her lips.
I look away, a faint twinge in my stomach.
Once upon a time, my parents used to be that in love with each other. I'd catch them making-out every morning, and I'd be so super embarrassed of their open affections. They even used to do IT in the pool we used to have in our backyard.
Beverly, well, she's a lucky girl, I guess. She's got her happy ending with a guy she loves, I suppose. But in my world - well, in the Beverly Hills girl world, in LA, happy endings don't actually exist.
There are so many divorces, so many broken marriages around me. I should know - my Mom's a famous divorce lawyer for many Hollywood couples.
And Dad, well, he left us a long time ago when we were living in Santa Barbara, and after that, Mom and I just packed up and came over to LA. To start life afresh. To leave the shitty past and horrible memories all behind.
I've given up believing in Cinderella castles and Tinkerbelle's magic dust a long, long time ago. Screw true love's kiss and love at first sight.
They don't exist anymore than unicorns and elves do.
When I glance back out of the window, I realise that Beverly and her boyfriend have both disappeared. Sighing heavily, I look back down at Pooh. My dog's still staring lovingly up at me, her tail wagging equally has hard.
"I love you too, baby," I smile down at her. That's the thing about dogs - they hardly, if not never, let you down. They return your affection 101 percent, and you know they'll never ditch you for a prettier-looking or a richer owner.
"Brii!" Someone swoops down on me, and engulfs me in a warm hug. I hug the girl back tightly.
It's Riviera Skies, my best friend-from-Hollywood. She's a major movie star, but she's more well-known for her gorgeous features and model-like body. She's so beautiful, really, with her platinum-blond bob and pretty, big eyes.
Furthermore, the press always loves her, because she will never hesitate to give them a field-day and let them interview her. She's known as the nice-girl of Hollywood, and, because of that, she's got a whole massive lot of fans everywhere of all ages.
"Hey, Riv," I kiss her lightly on the cheek. "Happy birthday!"
"Thanks," Looking around to make sure there isn't anyone around with a camera, Riv slips her sunglasses off her eyes and pushes them up her forehead. She slides into the bench across from me, and sets her purse down. "I'm so sorry for being late!"
Well, that makes two of us, I muse to myself. While I had arranged to meet up with Beverly at eight forty-five, Riv and I had arranged to meet here at ten. And while I was late by twenty minutes, Riv was ten minutes late.
"I got off late from the Ellen pre-interview." She explains, and reaches across the table to lift Pooh off the bench. "Hello, you! You look so beyond cute, as always. Missed me?" She giggles as Pooh licks her face eagerly.
"Riv," I start, with a huge smile on my face, "I got you a birthday present."
Riv's eyes brighten immensely. "Really? You shouldn't have, Brii, you always pamper me too much. Just last month, you brought me to that spa place down in 5th Avenue! Which, by the way, I haven't thanked you for yet. That Ayurvedic-experience thing was just heavenly."
"Mmm, I know. But, anyway," I place the little box into her hands. "Happy nineteenth birthday, beautiful!"
Riv eagerly opens the box, and immediately gasps when she sees the two little pieces of jewellery. "Brii…" She begins, "I don't know what to say…"
"They're beautiful, aren't they? I saw them on this website, and I knew I just had to get them for you!"
"They're amazing." She breathes, and slides the earrings on her ears. Then, she dives into her purse to get out her pocket mirror. "Wow."
"They match your eyes." I muse, smiling at her excitement.
Riv spends another few moments admiring her new earrings in the mirror. Suddenly, she leans forward and whispers conspiratorially, "I've got something for you!"
Before I can reply, she whips out two envelopes and places them in front of me. I squint at the small squiggly words written on one of the envelopes:
THANK YOU FOR THE SHOOT, RIVIERA.
HAVE A BLAST IN HAWAII.
- Zoe Banks, Photographer for Armani
I blink. "You're going to Hawaii?"
Riv chuckles lightly. "Not me, silly. US!"
It takes a while to register, but I finally get it. "No."
"No way! We're going to Hawaii?"
She nods excitedly. "Yes! It's a thank-you present. They wanted to give me a Ferrari, but I don't need a car. I do, however, need a long vacation with my friend."
"I can't believe it!" I exhale deeply, and then lunge forward to give Riv a huge hug.
Think beach. Sand. Sea. Waves. Sun-kissed skin and bikinis.
This Beverly-Hills girl is going to have the best vacation ever.