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Chapter Nineteen

Sunday morning, Brooke woke up. Everyone else was still asleep. Brooke put all of her might into pulling herself up. Paige was curled up in bed with Chloe, leaving Brooke alone. Brooke crawled forward and grabbed her bra off of the cabinet. She slipped it on and grabbed her phone and a room key that she found on the bed side table. She jammed her feet into a pair of flip flops and walked out of her room.

“Good morning, Brookie.” Kelly said.

“Morning.” Brooke said, taking her hoodie off of the coat hanger by the door.

“Where are you going?” Kelly asked.

“Out.”

Brooke opened the door and walked out, letting the door slam shut behind her. Brooke slowly walked down the hallway and found what she thought was Abby’s door. She stood in front of the door, waiting for her chance to knock a few times. She stood in front of the door building up her strength and courage to knock on the door.  Brooke held her fist up, feeling the color wash out of her face. A lump grew in her throat as her stomach twisted into a knot. Her knees grew weak and her arms grew heavy. It became hard to breath and her mouth went dry. The door swung open right as Brooke moved her hand to the door.

“Oh,” Brooke said. “Hi.”

Abby stood in the doorway, “Brooke. Hello, what could I do for you?”

Brooke’s eyes filled with tears. She tried to sniff them back, but it was seemingly impossible. “So, you know last week when I called to get a ride back to the studio?”

Abby nodded, “Yes I remember. I told you that you could come stay with me. Why?”

“Could I take you up on that offer?” Brooke said, wiping her tears away.

Abby pulled Brooke into a hug. Brooke couldn’t help but let the tears run down her cheeks. Abby rubbed Brooke’s back and invited her in. Brooke sat on the couch, closest to the sliding glass door that overlooked the city. Brooke bit down on her nail and had her hood up. Brooke slid her feet out of her flip flops and propped them up on the glass coffee table. She wiggled her toes. She had painted them peach a few weeks ago, but they had started chipping earlier in the week. At every free moment Brooke had, she would pick at it. Brooke pulled her hand away from her mouth and shoved her hands in her pockets.

“Could I get you anything to eat?” Abby asked.

“No.” Brooke said. “Thanks though.”

Abby turned everything back around to dance, “So you did pretty good at the competition.”

“Yep.” Brooke said.

“You and Nick seem to be pretty close.” Abby said. “Huh? What’s going on there? Is he your boyfriend?”

“I don’t know.” Brooke snapped.

“What about Brandon?” Abby sipped her coffee, “What about him?”

“I don’t know, okay?” Brooke hissed at Abby.

“Okay.” Abby said. She looked at a magazine about cheerleading. Abby changed the subject, “So was cheer fun?”

“Yeah.” Brooke said. “Kinda.”

“Were you on top of the pyramid?” Abby asked. Abby had always wanted to be a cheerleader, but she was always too big. Abby had dreams of becoming the head cheerleader, on top of the pyramid. But then, at fourteen, she became a dance teacher.

“No,” Brooke smirked. “This girl named Jamie was. She was the captain and sometimes, which was all the time, I really just wanted to not catch her during dismounts. I was a front spot. It sucked.”

Abby smiled, happy they found something to talk about. “Tell me more.”

“So, in cheerleading, you have to be really sharp with your movements, but in dance you don’t really have to. In dance you can glide from one move to another, but it’s not like that in cheer. It was hard for me to be sharp and precise.” Brooke said.

“So, if you had to choose, dance or cheerleading?” Abby asked, turning to Brooke.

“Dance.” Brooke said. “As much as I beg my mom not to make me go, I love it.”

Abby smiled and attacked Brooke with a bear hug. Brooke hugged Abby back with a smile. Brooke and Abby continued to talk about cheerleading and about dance for the next hour. The conversations did get turned around to Brandon and Nick. As much as Brooke hated to talk about it, she went along with it. Around noon Abby went to check out of the hotel. Brooke was going to go back to her room and pack up.

Brooke slid her feet back into her black flip flops and started walking down the hall. Nick walked out of his room. He looked like he was going to go jogging. He was dressed in a pair of basketball shorts, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes. Brooke grinned slightly when she saw him.

“Hey baby,” Nick said when he saw Brooke.

“Hi,” Brooke said. She put her hands on his chest. She stood up on her tip toes to give him a kiss. “What are you doing?”

“I was gonna go get some breakfast from McDonald’s across the street. Wanna come?” Nick asked.

Brooke thought about it. She really considered it. ‘You aren’t allowed to see Nick or Brandon.’ Brooke remembered. She looked to the left of Nick. Her smiled slowly faded to the natural frown that Brooke always had on. Nick looked back and forth between her eyes.

“Okay. Well, I’ll see you on the bus.” Nick said and walked around Brooke.

Brooke stood in that same spot as Nick walked down the hall to the elevator. She liked her lips and crossed her arms before walking down the hall. Brooke pulled her phone out and clicked on Nick’s name. She stopped in her tracks when he answered his phone.

“Come back,” Brooke said. “I need to talk to you.”

“Kay,” Nick said, sounding a lot like Brandon.

That scared Brooke. Even the thought of Nick being the littlest bit like Brandon scared her to death. She was scared that everything that happened between her and Brandon would happen between her and Nick.

“I’ll be there in a second.”

“Thanks.” Brooke said and hung up.

Brooke paced back and forth, thinking about what she was going to say. She pulled her hair out of the messy bun it was in and put it back up. She bent over and collected all of her hand in her hand. She pulled her hair tied around her hair and made sure it wrapped around four times before standing back up. Nick stood right in front of her. Brooke didn’t hear him walk up.

“Thanks for coming back.” Brooke said.

“Thanks for calling me.” Nick said. “So what’s going on?”

Brooke had a feeling that Nick knew what she was going to say. She could tell by the way his hands were shoved in his pockets, the glare in his eyes, and the tone of his voice. Brooke took a deep breath in. She walked over to the railing of the walk way. She leaned over and looked down.

“Nick,” She said.

He tried to lighten the mood, “Brooke.” But it didn’t work. This time, he was rolling with her mood that she had set the conversation to. Brooke was always trying to lighten the mood, and Nick or Brandon always set the tone for the conversation. Brooke flashed him a look. He took a deep breath in and said, “Yes?”

“I really just need to focus on school and on dance.” Brooke said.

A lump grew in Nick’s throat. His stomach dropped and his eyes started to tingle and swell. He blinked, “Okay. What are you trying to say?” He already knew the answer.

“I don’t think we should be together. I don’t think Brandon and I should be together.” Brooke said, “Hell, I don’t even think I want a boyfriend right now.”

“What’s gonna happen when we get back to Pittsburgh? What will happen when we go back to school on Tuesday and everyone starts to talk about you?” Nick asked, fighting the tears back. “Huh? What’s gonna happen when you see Payton or Auriel or Ryleigh loving up on me and Brandon and Sam?”

Brooke felt the tears come back to her eyes. “I don’t know. And I’m scared.” Brooke said. “But I really just need to focus on getting good grades and working towards Cirque.”

“Oh you don’t really think you’ll be on Cirque De Soleil, do you?” Nick asked rudely, mostly out of anger. “You’ll never make it. You’ll never be good enough.” Brooke’s jaw dropped. “After high school you’re going to go to Penn State for a couple years and then drop out. You’ll end up teaching at ALDC or something. I’m so done with you, Brooke. You always make the stupidest decisions that are going to ruin your life.”

“Like you’ll ruin my life,” Brooke sniffed.

“Oh,” Nick said. “Just wait and see.”


Submitted: October 03, 2012

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