Brooke smiled and clapped as she watched Brandon get his award at the competition. She tried to shrug it off, but she knew that night at dinner, all he was going to talk about was his stupid overall title. She came in second for her age category, but it wasn’t anything special compared to first and highest overall score.
Brandon came and sat next to her. She tried to smile as the girls in her group congratulated him. Maddie got second overall, so everyone was congratulating her too. Brooke smiled and gave Brandon a kiss on the cheek when he sat back down.
Brooke didn’t want to pretend to be happy for him, she needed to tell him the truth. Luckily, that night they were going to dinner, by themselves. It would be the perfect opportunity, and she couldn’t keep it in any longer.
The group of moms and girls walked back into the green room. They packed up their stuff and headed back to their hotel. Brooke, sitting next to Brandon, was staring out the window on the bus. They were in the very back, just the way Brooke liked it. Brandon slowly slid his arm around her.
“No,” Brooke said, removing his arm.
Brandon tried to hold her hand. But Brooke just moved her hand, keeping her gaze out of view of him. She looked off into the distance at the clouds and trees. She saw some cars filled with junk and a few police cars. She can hear Abby yelling at the bus driver. Brandon turns away from Brooke, knowing she doesn’t want the attention he’s offering.
“Not now,” Brooke says as she feels Brandon look away.
He looks back, “Then when? I’ve been trying and trying to show you how I feel for weeks now and you keep saying ‘Later’ and ‘Not Now’ over and over again. I need to know when. If I don’t…then, we just might have to break up.”
“Tonight.” Brooke whispers in his ear.
Turning back to the road, Brooke sighs. She feels her phone buzz. As she picks it up, she sees a familiar name. Nick, Brooke reads, giving a little bit of a smile. She reads the text. It was one simple word, one word that made her change from a bad mood to a good mood. Smile.
“Who’s texting you?” Brandon asked.
“Don’t worry about it.” Brooke says.
Her knuckles turn white as she tried to hold onto her phone as Brandon pulled the phone from her. He scrolled through the thousands of texts between the two of them. He read that Brooke didn’t really like him anymore. He saw where Brooke had confessed everything to him. Brandon stands up and throws Brooke’s phone at the seat. It bounced off and landed on the floor, cracking the screen.
Brandon turns back, half way down the aisle, “We’re done.”
Paige and Chloe sit up on their knees and look to Brooke. She sat low in her seat and cried. He wasn’t supposed to read them. He wasn’t supposed to know. As much as she was glad that they were done, it hurt a little on the inside.
Paige jumps over her seat and sits next to her sister. Brandon, now sitting in the front seat of the bus, angrily tweets about Brooke and texts her too. Chloe and Maddie join Paige and Brooke, crying in the back seat. It was a long ways back to their hotel. Brooke cried the entire time, getting up occasionally to throw up. She had made herself so sick from crying.
While Brooke was gone for the fourth time, Maddie held her phone. It was constantly buzzing with texts and tweets from Brandon and Nick. Brandon’s were mean and as Maddie read them she started to cry. The moms were clueless of what was happening. Most of them were taking power naps or into a good book.
“Brandon, stop!” Maddie screamed from the back of the bus. “It’s not fair and it’s not nice.”
Brandon stands up and says, “Shut up!”
He woke all of the moms up from their state of oblivion. They all poke up and see Brandon and Maddie screaming at each other.
Maddie yelled, “You shut up! Brooke’s in the bathroom throwing her guts up because you made her cry so much! Just stop!”
Maddie stomped her foot on the ground as Kelly got up and ran to the back of the bus. She opened the door just to find Brooke wiping her mouth and her cheeks. Pulling her daughter into a strong embrace, Kelly hushes her and shuts the door behind them.
“Bus driver!” Abby yelled. “Take the next exit please!”
Brandon sat back down but not without giving the bird to everyone on the bus, including little Mackenzie who was barely old enough to understand what they were saying.
Brooke cried, “I really liked him…”
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