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Chapter Thirty-Four

Brooke sat in the front seat of Brandon’s car, wrapped up in one of his hoodies with the heat blowing full force on her. ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ by Taylor Swift played softly from the radio. Brandon had an arm draped over his steering wheel.

“I’ve missed you.” Brandon said delicately.

Brooke didn’t say anything at first, but then gave into the silence. “Nick told me. He told me what you did.”

“What did I do?” Brandon asked, puzzled.

Brooke looked fiercely towards Brandon. She opened her mouth and then closed it, searching for the right way to put it. “I could’ve died.” Brooke finally said. “You hired a pair of guys to get drunk, go driving, and just happen to see my right outside of Nick’s house. How did you even know that I was going to be walking home? Do you stalk me?”

“Brooke, did you really not realize the white van that followed you home every day for a week. I knew at least one of those days you were going to end up walking. You always do.” Brandon said, turning himself towards the steering wheel. He stared at the white, brick building.

“That’s weird, Brandon.” Brooke looked at him and nodded.

“The gun wasn’t even loaded. It was a bee-bee gun.” Brandon admitted.

“Why did you just tell me you wanted to break up? Why did you try to plan something out?” Brooke asked humanely.

“I was afraid.” Brandon said after taking some time to think. Both of the teenagers faced the front, not looking anywhere but at the white building.

“Of what?” Brooke sniffed.

Brandon’s voice suddenly got shaky when he whispered, “That you were just gonna walk away.” His volume increased when he said, “It’s scary, Brooke. Being in a relationship with you. You always get up and walk away. Maybe if you hadn’t have done it so much, we’d still be together.”

“That’s complete crap, Brandon. You’re the one who always got up and walked away.” Brooke said, now looking out of her window. “And besides, we would’ve gotten sick of each other or you would’ve cheated or something.”

Brandon pulled the key out of the ignition, cutting the warm air off. He got up out of the front seat and closed his car door behind him. Brooke glared at him, jumping out of the car. She chased after him and into the building.

“See! This is what I mean!” Brooke yelled.

Brandon didn’t say anything but ripped the jacket off of Brooke’s shoulders and flew into the boys bathroom. Brooke shook her head and plopped down on a bench. Maddie walked out not to long after. She had obviously had a good rehearsal. She came out smiling and bouncing around with messy, fly-away hair.

“Hey Brookie.” Maddie said.

Brooke just sat, staring straight ahead. What have I done?

“Brooke?” Maddie asked. Brooke ignored her. But Maddie didn’t care. She repeated herself, “Brooke! Brooke!” Maddie snapped and clapped in front of Brooke’s face.

Brooke swung her legs over the bench and stood up on the other side. Maddie’s eyebrows pinched in, and she cocked her head slightly to the right.

“Brooke, why are you being like this?” Maddie asked, walking around the bench and the mats. She grabbed Brooke arm, but that was a big mistake on Maddie’s part.

“DON’T TOUCH ME!” Brooke screamed, “Let go and get out of here!” Brooke ripped her arm away. Before Maddie could say or do anything, Brooke pushed her down and continued to scream. “I’m SO done with you Madison! All you do is take something somebody else does or says and turn it around on you!”

Brooke marched off and into the empty studio, ready to start dancing again even thought her back hurt. Maddie was left in the dancers den, shocked and still in the floor. She slowly stood up and grabbed her low back. She slowly walked up the stairs and saw Chloe, lying Audra’s lap, and Paige, with Chloe’s legs across her. Both the girls were zoned into their phones, scrolling through twitter.  

“Hey Mads,” Audra said as she patted the space next to her. “What’s going on?”

“Brooke screamed at me and pushed me down.” Maddie said, not wanting to be a tattletale.

Audra looked up and looked around, “Where is she?”

Maddie shrugged. Paige lowered her phone in front of her face and peered down into the studio. She pointed and mumbled, “Down there, dancing.”

Audra nodded and turned back to Maddie, “I’ll talk to her later, okay? Auriel yelled at her earlier, so she’s probably still upset.”

Maddie nodded and Chloe put her phone down. “It was scary.” She nodded. “Auriel started calling her flat chested and self-centered and…”

“Chloe, it’s not the time or place to talk about it.” Audra said. “Go get your book bag and do some homework.” Audra patted her on the stomach.

Chloe pulled herself up, nearly kicking Paige in the face. She hopped off and seat and trotted down the stairs. Chloe pulled her book bag out of the corner as the moms walked through the dancers den. Chloe whipped her head around and jumped up.

“Mom! Kelly!” Chloe shouted from the corner.

The two moms turned around at the same time and said hello to their little ChloBird. Chloe jumped over open bags on the floor and bras and dance belts. She jumped up on top of the bench with the plush top and started explaining everything that happened with Brooke and Auriel. She included everything, even saying the bad words that she swore to herself she’d never say.

“Thank you for tell us, Chlo.” Kelly said.

Christi looked at her daughter, “And remember…”

“You never want to hear me say that word again. I know, I know!” Chloe said, flopping her arms over her mom’s shoulders.

Christi hugged her daughter, picked her up, and set her on the ground. Chloe skipped back up the stairs with Christi not too far behind her. Kelly had entered the studio where Brooke was practicing. Kelly smiled and watched secretively. Brooke leaped across the floor and as she landed, she saw her mom and suddenly stopped. 

“What are you doing in here?” Brooke asked timidly.

“I was just watching.” Kelly shook her head, “And I need to speak with you and Abby for a moment, just the three of us.”

Oh no… Brooke thought as she pulled up a stool from the corner.

“What?” Abby looked around. “Kelly, don’t tell me that you want her back at the Abby Lee Household.”

“I don’t, I love having my baby at home.” Kelly said as she attempted to kiss her on the cheek. Kelly rolled her eyes, regained herself, and then said, “Abby, were you aware of what was going on out in the den while I was gone?”

“No.” Abby shook her head. “What happened?”

“Brooke,” Kelly turned it over to her.

Brooke’s blue eyes turned the size of watermelons. “Uh,” Brooke said. “Well, Nick and I had been talking about prom. And, apparently Auriel and him had plans before he asked me or something. There was some sort of miscommunication. But, anyways, Auriel then proceeded to call me short, flat chested, and self-centered. She said that I was an oblivious bitch.” Brooke paused, letting the tears come to her for dramatic effect. “She called Chloe a brat. And she also said how I sleep around with every guy I see…”

 Kelly rubbed Brooke’s back. Paige, Chloe, and Maddie watched from the observatory with their heads pressed up against the glass. When Brooke mentioned Chloe, Maddie and Paige put their hands on Chloe’s shoulders, seeing the emotion rush back to her.

“Girls, stop.” Melissa laughed.

“Yeah, girls, come back up here.” Christi said, stoning a costume.

The girls moaned and sat back up on the fuzzy benches. Back down in the studio, Brooke’s hand shook as she wiped the tears from the corners of her eyes. Kelly looked to Abby who just shrugged.

“She’s gonna be mean kid.” Abby said. “She’s jealous that you get to dance every week when she’s in here taking ballet classes for technique.”

Abby got up and walked away. That wasn’t what Kelly wanted to happen. Shortly after, the Hyland girls went home and got ready for school in the morning. That week was a long week for the both of them. Brooke was scared about seeing Auriel and she anxiously waited for Nick to ask her to prom. When Friday rolled around and he still hadn’t asked, she gave up. He doesn’t want to go with me…

Submitted: October 21, 2012

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