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Chapter Twenty-Seven

Brooke felt like crap the next day. She was tired, freezing cold yet burning hot, and could barely get out of bed. She sucked it up and took a few Advil. She got up and got dressed. She wanted to look cute, but she was just not feeling it. She pulled a pair of Brandon’s old sweat pants on and a she pulled a hoodie over her head. She grabbed her phone and David took her to her house.

David and Brooke hadn’t spoke once since he called her Kylie. Brooke didn’t ask where the name came from; she did want to know, but she didn’t know if she could handle it. Brooke sat in his car, aching all over. She got out of the car a few minutes later and walked to her house, without saying a word to David.

Brooke opened the door, it smelt like food, and she loved it. Brooke felt so sick. She just wanted to curl back up in a ball and go back to sleep. Paige smiled when she saw Brooke and so did Josh. They both ran to her. She tried to smile and be happy, but she felt so terrible. Randy walked to the door and gave Brooke the biggest hug.

“Where were you yesterday?!” Paige asked sassily, more like herself.

Brooke laughed a little, “At Nick’s.”

“What happened with you and David?” Josh asked.

Brooke shrugged, “Where’s Mom?”

“I’m in here, baby.” Kelly called from the kitchen.

Brooke walked to her. Her head was spinning and she felt queasy. Kelly met her halfway. They hugged and Kelly knew something was wrong. She touched Brooke’s forehead with the back of her hand. Kelly immediately turned around and grabbed the thermometer.

“You feel hot, baby.” Kelly said. “You look pale, too. What’s the matter?”

Brooke shrugged again, “I don’t know. I woke up and I didn’t feel good.”

“You need to rest. Where do you want to be? On the couch or in your bedroom?” Kelly asked.

Brooke gave a smile. She was more homesick than she thought. Brooke decided on the couch. Randy made a nice bed on the couch for Brooke. Her temperature was of one-hundred. Paige and Josh kept their distance yet kept Brooke company by sitting on the couch opposite of her. They watched Life as We Know It, Brooke’s favorite movie. Brooke fell asleep not too long after she got comfy. Kelly went back into the kitchen and made chicken noodle soup for Brooke.

“What do you think she’s got?” Josh asked, sitting at the table with Paige. They were going to play a game of Go-Fish.

Paige shrugged, “I dunno!” She squealed. “How am I supposed to know?” Paige gave five cards to Josh and kept five for herself. “Do you have any threes?”

“Go fish,” Josh said. “You don’t think it could be mono…right?”

“What’s that?” Paige asked. “Your turn.”

“Fives?” Josh said, checking over his cards.

Paige handed over a five card as she said, “You never answered my question. What’s mono?”

“It’s a kissing disease.” Josh said, hopefully scaring Paige. “Brooke said she was at Nick’s house yesterday, right?”

Paige nodded and said, “Got any sevens?”

Josh wagged his head, “I wonder what they did.”

Paige took a card from the deck, “They probably kissed if she’s got mono! But what happened with her and David?”

“How am I supposed to know? She doesn’t tell me anything!” Josh asked, “Got any Queens?”

“Go fish,” Paige said. “Maybe he cheated on her!”

“With who?” Josh wagged his head. “The only other pretty girl at the studio, besides Chloe, is Kristen. And she’s a bi…”

“Josh!” Paige interrupted him, knowing where he was going with that. Josh rolled his eyes. Paige continued, “Well, he seemed like the kind of guy who would like someone like Kristen. Got any threes?”

Josh handed over his newly picked up card. Paige smiled and set it down with her other three. Josh set down his cards and thought for a moment. Paige looked around, knowing he was hatching a plan. Josh smiled and leaned in close. He waved Paige closer to him. She leaned over the table, keeping herself up with her elbows. Her feet were on her chair and her knees were in the air. Josh cuffed his hands over Paige’s ear and then burped. Paige’s jaw dropped. She him in the shoulder and chased him around the house causing Brooke to wake up.

She whimpered on the couch, feeling absolutely terrible. Kelly rushed to her side with a cool wash cloth. She laid it across Brooke’s forehead, hoping her fever would break. She sat on the couch with her and watched the end of the movie. Randy told Josh and Paige to calm down or go outside.

“I don’t feel good, Mom.” Brooke cried.

Kelly hushed her, “I know you don’t, sweetheart. How about you stay with us until you feel better?”

Brooke nodded, rolling over, “Okay.”

Thanksgiving was just half of what it usually was. Brooke and Kelly stayed in the living room. Josh, Paige, and Randy ate in the dining room. Brooke sipped on some of the broth of the soup. She drank Gatorade and ginger ale. Kelly picked at turkey and mashed potatoes and green beans. Josh and Paige went to bed around ten. Randy went to bed just after them. Brooke had slept all day, and she was sleeping more. Kelly sat on the couch with her almost the entire night. She emailed the moms and Abby about the situation. Kelly only expected Brooke to be home for a few days, she didn’t expect to be taking care of Brooke for two and a half weeks. After Brooke started to feel better, she was able to go back to dance.

“Where’ve you been?” Nick asked, taking Brooke’s hand in the lobby.

Brooke shrugged, “Turns out, I had mono…”

“Oh,” Nick nodded. “That’s what Paige told me last week.”

Brooke smiled and kissed Nick again. Brooke got that giddy feeling in her stomach and couldn’t help but hug Nick around his neck. David walked through the doors. He liked his lips and looked at his feet. He walked up to Brooke and Nick.

“I’ll give you two some time,” Nick nodded, excusing himself.

Brooke didn’t let go of Nick’s hand until he was far enough away to where they couldn’t touch. She took a deep breath in and then turned to David. She gave a slight, friendly grin. She stared at his grey t-shirt. She didn’t want to look him in his plain green eyes. She knew if she did, she’d end up smiling like an idiot and fall for him over and over again.

“So,” David said, unsteady. Tears were overflowing in his eyes. “You know how my mom was supposed to come up here?” Brooke nodded, looking him in the eye. Her heart ached for him. She knew something had gone terribly, terribly wrong. “There was a crash. And she…” David buckled over crying. “She…”

Brooke looked back and forth between his eyes. She jumped up and hugged him around his neck. He bent over, hugging Brooke. She walked with him into the dancers den, knowing it was going to be empty. She sat on a bench in the corner, hidden by a stack of mats. David sat down next to her and rested his head on her chest. She rubbed his back and hushed him some more. David sobbed and sobbed. Brooke had never seen a boy more upset in her life.

David cried, “She’s gone and she’s never coming back and it’s all my fault for moving out here.”

“Don’t say that.” Brooke shook her head.

“No,” David’s voice cracked. “No, it’s all my fault. It always is. I ruined her life when she had me when she was thirteen years old, and now I killed her.”

“You didn’t kill her.” Brooke said.

David cried, and Brooke began to cry too. “It’s not your fault, Davie. It’s not.”

 


Submitted: October 07, 2012

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