The week was over before any of them knew it. Caitlin’s week was hidden behind mounds of paperwork and meetings. Kiara finished her finals at last and spent all day Friday getting ready to meet Jasmine that night. Emily had sulked most of the week as Cory hadn’t shown for work, he was still sick apparently. Lexie had kept her head down as had Dan since their fateful fling at the beginning of the week. All in all, the girls had kept themselves preoccupied, each one of them looking forward and yet not moving. Caitlin wanted the weekend to come so she could see JC again while, Emily was waiting for Cory to show so she could hang with him and let him know what was going on. Kiara was terrified of what may happen with her and Jasmine and yet at the same time she was excited. Lexie had avoided discussing Monday’s antics with anyone, especially Dan. The week was quiet and busy for each girl and by Friday afternoon, they were all looking forward to their individual plans.
“Are we still doing this barbecue tomorrow?” Emily asked as Caitlin walked in from work.
“Yeah, why?” She asked casually as she unclipped Callie who headed off for a drink. “You got other plans?”
“Nope!” Emily said with derision in her voice. “Not me. I would never have plans, being so dull and boring.”
“Shut up!” Caitlin laughed sarcastically. “You’re not boring. You’re one of my most interesting friends.” she plopped down on the couch next to Emily and grinned. “Why do you think I go clubbing with you so much?”
“For my eyes,” Emily joked which resulted in Caitlin hitting her friend and them playing around with pillows.
“You suck!” Emily said as Caitlin socked her in the stomach. “What you doing tonight?”
“Going to Jc’s,” Caitlin informed her in a casual tone but her smile in her ocean blue eyes and the one painted on her lips told her friend how excited and what a big deal it was to her.
“ooo, it must be love,” Emily teased causing Caitlin to hit her again with another pillow. “Aah, stop it!” They laughed. “You do like him though?”
“Yeah, but no need to tease,” Caitlin stood. “I better go and get changed. what you up to tonight?” It didn’t seem a week ago they had gone out partying together and now Caitlin was off on a date and Emily was stuck at home alone moping over a guy she wanted and suspected no longer wanted her. He had not returned a message since Monday and Emily was past worry now and admitting defeat.
“Just watching tv I guess,” Emily said, picking up a fashion magazine and resigning herself to just hang out by herself that night.
“I’m sorry, girl,” Caitlin hugged her friend who had seemed so down that week. Emily sniffled and Caitlin hugged her tightly. “What is it, Em?” She was so worried about Emily now.
“Caitlin, I like Cory, and he doesn’t know I’m alive!” Emily confessed with the lump of emotion that had been mounting in her throat all day finally exploding into tears.
“Emily, is that what has been the mattered all week?” Caitlin stroked the brunette’s shoulder length hair and felt sorry for the crumpled mess that was usually her outgoing, fun best friend.
“He’s not been in work all week,” Emily informed Caitlin, wiping a stream of tears from her pale cheeks. “And he’s not returning my texts.”
“He’s sick, Em,” Caitlin laughed gently. “Look, next week, he’ll be back at work and you can tell him you have the total hots for him,” She picked up a glass and washed it and grinning at Emily retreated to her room to change leaving Emily feeling a little better now she had finally told someone how she had been feeling.
Lexie was in her room getting ready to go out with some friends to a punk show when her phone beeped at her. She picked it up and frowned as she read the text.
“Fuck off!” She put the phone down without texting back and finished putting her heavy make up on and heading out into the living room. She could hear Caitlin on the phone and saw Emily sitting eating a TV dinner while watching some soaps on Tevo.
“Not out tonight, Em?” Lexie asked, picking up her car keys.
“Nope,” Emily said smiling at Lexie. “you are, obviously.”
“Wanna came?” Lexie had noticed the sadness around Emily that week and thought she’d offer her the chance to drink it all away.
“No thanks,” Emily laughed and Lexie smiled waving goodbye.
Once in her car, Lexie turned on her ipod and drove toward Hollywood. as she was about to turn onto sunset, her phone rang. Glancing over, she saw the caller ID said, ‘dan’.
“What?” She answered hostilely. “No, I’m out with friends. ”’ Whatever you think but I don’t want to see you!.” She hung up the phone and continued to drive down sunset, taking in the familiar surroundings of a Friday night in Hollywood. Everything from the bright lights, people dressed up, cars everywhere and music blasting. The city was alive and ready to party all night long.
Parking in a familiar garage just off of sunset, Lexie locked up her car and headed toward the key club where one of her favourite bands was playing. Walking inside, she spotted a few guys she knew, Jake, the guy she had on and off been seeing for about two months were among them.
“Hey, losers,” She joked as she approached.
“What’s going on, Lex?” Jake smirked flirtatiously. smiling she walked to him and he planted a kiss on her lips drunkenly. Time to get a drink, she concluded and headed toward the bar to get the party started.
Sitting in his car, Caitlin felt the butterflies serge through her stomach. he smelt good and had kissed her passionately as he had embraced her as she had opened the door. He hadn’t missed her as much as he thought he would but on seeing her again, he remembered everything he liked about her. she was beautiful, funny, smart, sexy and sweet. Everything the girls at home were not.
He touched her leg suggestively as they stopped at a stop light and grinned boyishly at her.
“You look good, girl,” He said in his voice that reminded her of something rough yet smooth at the same time. there was a depth of warm that correlated like a deep red wine or thick velvet and yet a rasp to his tones as though a slight piece of sand paper was moving lightly over his vocal chords.
“Thanks, so do you,” She smiled gently, feeling like a school girl in his presence. He was two years older than her and had probably seen a lot more than she had and now he was taking her to Compton to meet his friends and family.
As they pulled up in his car, she felt a sudden nerves and he turned to smile at her. “You going to be a’ight!” he got out and walked to her side on the car and opened the door. on shaking legs she got out into the warm night air and heard the sounds of kids and music echoing around. He took her hand and locked up the car replacing his keys into his jeans pocket with a jingle. She linked his arm and he turned to smile at her nervous expression as they walked down the side walk toward the house which he shared with his grandmother. Pushing open the metal gate that was peeling of red paint and gave a horrific squeak as he opened it, they walked down the path that was lined with rose bushes and stepped into the warm house where a TV set was playing and an elderly woman was singing in the kitchen. The smells were homely and the heat from the house reminded Caitlin of a warm winter’s day inside, cuddled up on the couch with her dog with the heater on. The heater wasn’t on though and the heat was a result of the ninety degree weather outside. He guided her to a lumpy old couch that was covered neatly with a throw and smiled as Caitlin seemed comfortable.
“Want a drink?” He asked, resting a huge hand on her shoulder. She nodded politely.
“Water, please,” She said quietly, nervous to meet his grandmother. He retreated into the kitchen and put his arms around the short, black woman with snow white hair and took in her familiar scent of lilac perfume. “Hey big mama,” He said gently. He stood a whole foot and three inches taller than his grandmother who was now quite squat and rounded. she turned and smiled an almost toothless grin at him with old brown eyes that still sparkled with happiness at the sight of her grandson.
“Hey, JC,” She put down her knife. “Did you bring the young lady, then?” He nodded and she pushed her black rimmed glasses up her nose and turned to walk toward the living room. Caitlin was sitting, listening to the news report and the elderly woman beamed at the young white girl.
“Hello, sweetheart,” she touched the girl’s arm, aware of her vision deficiency. rose Carter was an old woman but she was not stuck in her ways. She knew this girl was a successful woman and that she would never want anyone’s sympathy.
“Hello, Miss Carter,” Caitlin said, turning to look at the older woman. “It’s nice to meet you.” Caitlin felt so young and so childlike in the presence of older people and now as she met this woman that had raised JC, she knew she was in the presence of a great woman.
“No, no, honey it’s a pleasure to meet a woman that my grandson is interested in who isn’t a hood rat,” She laughed and her brown eyes danced as she did. Looking at Caitlin, she liked her and as JC returned to the room, she retreated to the kitchen, giving him an approving smile. “She’s lovely,” She mouthed as she closed the kitchen door to give them some privacy.
Kiara was waiting in a coffee shop on Redondo peer. She had suggested it so there was no way of running into Caitlin, Emily or Lexie. She knew most of the time they saved the beauty of Redondo for Sunday afternoons and so she felt she and Jasmine would get some privacy here. Tossing her long braids behind her, Kiara smiled at the scenery. The crystal blue ocean shimmering beneath the dimming sky. The wooden planks beneath her feet were the only things keeping her from ascending into the clouds. It felt like a date and yet she didn’t know if it was a date. she knew Jasmine liked girls and had liked Kiara enough to kiss her but was this a date? she simply did not know. Twirling a braid, she suddenly smiled, seeing a tall, dark beauty walking toward her clad in blue jeans, a white shirt and clutching a canvas bag over her arm.
“Hey!” She sat down, pouting her raspberry coloured lips in a seductive way. “You look amazing!” Jasmine had taken in everything about Kiara from the moment she had spotted her. Her long legs clothed in black jeans, and her small perk breasts covered by a simple blue tank top and her make up subtle and pretty. Ordering a coffee, jasmine relaxed. A smile crept onto her lips. she knew as well as Kiara did that this was not yet construed as a date but Jasmine wanted to make Kiara feel special more than she had ever wanted to make anyone feel special before. She felt for the girl who lived with three unruly bitches.
“Want to do dinner?” Jasmine asked. Kiara nodded and they stood, a little uneasy now as they headed out of the coffee shop. Jasmine reached out to Kiara and took her hand. “Come on, there’s a really good sea food restaurant I know, just around here.” Jasmine and Kiara walked hand in hand toward the restaurant in the dusk evening and both girls now realised that they were officially on a date. It was a strange and yet comforting feeling to Kiara who had never really been on a date with anyone before.
sitting in the candle lit restaurant, the girls exchanged nervous glances. This was turning out to be awkward, Kiara thought to herself as she put down her fork and wiped her face with a napkin.
“I’m so happy I came,” She said gently, hoping Jasmine felt the same way. Jasmine pulled a face and laughed.
“What are we like? Both acting like we’ve never done this before,” Jasmine laughed gently but Kiara raised an eyebrow uncomfortably.
“Actually,” She said, gulping down the urge to not say anything. “I haven’t.” jasmine’s eyes widened in shock and Kiara laughed embarrassment filling her face.
“It’s OK,” She said quietly. “I’m a little sad, I know. Guess I work so hard, dates never seem to happen for me.” Jasmine touched a finger to Kiara’s lips.
“None of that matters now,” She said comfortingly. “You’re here now and you’re having fun right?” Kiara nodded and Jasmine smiled at her. The moon was hanging in the night sky and she glanced out onto the still ocean. This was beautiful and Kiara seemed uptight. How to loosen her up. She knew how. Finishing her meal she offered to take Kiara to a friend’s place and Kiara, feeling comfortable agreed. both girls left in Jasmine’s blue minyata.
Emily lay on the sofa, wondering where the night had gone. it was eleven thirty and she was sleepy. Standing up, she wandered to her desk, putting everything away and headed toward her room to have a good night’s sleep.
Lexie was standing in a toilet, touching up her make up and glaring at her drunken eyes. She was having fun as usual and felt good. The night had been filled with great company and awesome music. Walking outside, she discovered some of her friends had gone out on to the street to cool off and so she joined them. As she stepped out into the cool air, she felt a heart jolting beat as she saw Dan.
“What are you doing here?” She hissed through gritted teeth. His sparkling eyes grinned boyishly at her filled with mischief.
“Come on, Lex, you’ve missed me, admit it!” He was steaming drunk and she walked toward one of her friends in attempt to ignore him. dan didn’t get the hint that easily and followed her, groping her ample ass hungrily. Lexie felt both turned on and grossed out. She knew Dan was sleazy and knew she still wanted him. ‘get a grip, Alexia!’ she scolded herself, looking toward her friends who seemed to back off, thinking that this new guy was a new conquest and decided to not interfere.
“Shut up, dan,” She said in a bored tone. “You need to get over yourself!”
“And you need to get over my knee, because you’re a bad girl, Alexia Daniels!” He kissed her neck playfully and stroked her breast seductively.
She glared at him and fluttered her eye lashes. “Let’s go for a drive and you can cool off!” He grinned boyishly and walked with her to her car and they drove back toward the house Lexie shared with her friends.
It was all in darkness when Lexie opened the door, her alcoholic state long since leaving her. Dan giggled childishly as they walked through the dark living room toward her bedroom. she knew as they shut the door what was about to happen.
As they walked into a house filled with the smell of marijuana smoke, JC held her hand and turned to her.
“This ain’t no clean shit, Cait,” His tone was serious and kind. “If you want out of here at any time, just holler OK?” She nodded and decided to tell him later that she had been to smoke outs many times in high school and college. It was not a new environment to her.
She was not quite ready to shatter the illusion of perfect little princess to him just yet.
Taking a couple of seats on an old couch that stank of weed and who knew what else, Caitlin held a can of corona and JC lit up a joint.
“You ever smoked?” He asked, his brown eyes dancing with pride as many of his male friends checked out the beautiful blonde girl who looked picture perfect in the dimly lit room.
“Yeah,” She laughed gently predicting the look that would appear on his face. The look never came and he took her small hand, placing a lit joint in it. Smiling gratefully, she took a drag on it and JC looked on with an expression of pride. She was no hood rat but she had potential to be a bad girl. she was perfect!
“What up, bro?” A short Hispanic guy walked over, holding a lighter and a bottle of vodka to JC and Caitlin. He smelt of Ax and weed and Caitlin sensed he was around five foot 8 or so.
“Hey, Rico,” JC slapped palms with the guy. “This is Caitlin, Caitlin this is Rico, one of my homies.”
“Hi, Rico,” She smiled gently at him. Rico knew she was a LA girl but he was rarely discriminative. Narrowing his eyes at JC, he shook his head. JC glared at him and shrugged his shoulders.
“what’s up?” Caitlin asked as the guy walked away and JC felt a pang of guilt in his heart.
“Nuttin’.” He replied, holding her hand gently. “Nuttin’ for you to worry about, baby girl.” A fluttering of butterflies surged through her stomach as he called her baby girl and she took a long drink of her beer.
Jasmine and Kiara were walking down a path in a neighbourhood of Inglewood.
“What are we doing here?” Kiara felt a little uneasy. she had grown up in a neighbourhood like this and she had no desire to be back here.
“My friend lives down here,” Jasmine walked down a overgrown path with Kiara lingering behind her. Needles scattered the ground and a dog barked heartily somewhere within the house. Jasmine knocked on the door and a tall black guy opened it. His eyes were red with the affects of the drugs he was smoking and his hair matted with unkemptness. He stared down at them but didn’t acknowledge Jasmine at first. is gaze fell on the quiet and shy looking girl with long straight hair and honey cone coloured eyes.
“Kiara?” His voice was gruff and menacing. “Thought I was dead to you?” Kiara’s mouth fell open as tears pricked the back of her eyes.
“What? what are you doing here?” She asked, her voice shaking with shock.
“I live here you stupid bitch! Mama said you were smart, clearly not that smart!” He sniggered cruelly turning his attention to Jasmine. “what the fuck did you bring my sister for? Jaz, we’re tight but she ain’t cool so tell her to jump, yo!” Jasmine looked as shocked as Kiara felt and looked up at the guy.
“Dec, is there any reason to be so harsh?”
Jasmine said sharply now. “I just wanted to come for a bit of snow, is all.”
“Come on in, but she won’t,” He retreated into the house and Jasmine looked at Kiara pensively.
“I did not know, he was your brother. What’s the story?” Jasmine’s kind eyes wanted to know more but Kiara felt the tightening grip of her self control and shook her head.
“What’s snow?” Kiara knew it must be street talk for some kind of drugs, knowing Declan as well as she did. But why did Jasmine want some?
“Cocaine,” Jasmine looked pitifully at the girl who seemed child like in comparison. “Come on, Kiara, you telling me you never tried it?”
“yeah, I am,” Kiara snapped. “And I’m wondering why you have?” Her voice was high pitched and filled with confrontation.
“Jasmine, that stuff messes with people’s heads! You should know that!”
“I do it socially, Kiara,” Jasmine replied with a tired look upon her dark face. “It isn’t like I use every day. I don’t need it to get up and go like some people.”
“Like my brother you mean?” Kiara snapped viciously back at her.
“Oh kiara, that is not what I meant and you know it!” Jasmine retorted curtly. “Come on, thought we could just chill…” but kiara was off down the road her feet pounding against the sidewalk. she wanted as far away from her brother and the demon drugs as she could possibly manage. Her head whirled with fear and anguish as she turned onto a busy intersection with no idea where she was heading except away from the situation she had been running from for years.
Caitlin was walking down the stairs at the house they had been chilling at all night. It was around four A.M and she was stoned and a little tipsy. As she walked, she heard hushed voices and stopped to make sure she was not walking in on something. Caitlin was smart enough and street wise enough to know not to get involved in other people’s stuff unless they wanted you too, especially in a neighbourhood like this.
“So what?” a harsh girl’s voice came who sounded like she thought she was all that but actually had a rat face instead of the one she pretended to have. “You bring something white and now you all right or something? You wasn’t saying that when you was fucking me the other night!” Caitlin felt a thudding in her ears and shook her head to rid herself of the sound as she continued to listen.
“Well, that was then,” JC’s voice came now and Caitlin’s mouth went dry. Her legs turned to lead and she knew she couldn’t move if she had wanted too. Sitting down quietly, she waited to hear more. A sinking feeling filled her stomach with the dread she knew would come.
“Oh, so what about now? You have your rich bitch up in Hollywood, fuck me when she too busy having a career and shit? Is that what its like now, JC?” A silence resounded through the hallway and the girl clicked her tongue disapprovingly. “Well?” she pressed for an answer.
“Hey! what you doing sitting there?” a voice came from behind Caitlin and she knew the voice belonged to JC’s first friend she had met. “Caitlin ain’t it?” she turned a tear stained face toward him and he gulped. “What’s the matter?”
“Caitlin?” JC’s voice came then. “You OK?” She stood and backed away from him.
“I’m fine,” she felt scared now She was trapped like an animal in a corner in a strange place with no one she really knew. How was she going to get home.
“How much did you hear?” His voice was filled with concern and his eyes with regret. Rico shook his head again at him. “Fuck off, rico!” He yelled and Caitlin backed up again.
“Leave me alone, JC!” she cried now.
“It ain’t like we’re dating, Cait,” He said defensively.
“Oh, so what? I was just the city girl you took a liking too? or was it because you felt sorry for me!” Her voice was raised and harsh as she stared angrily at him. “That makes it all OK then, JC! I’m done! I want to go home!” She was sobbing and Rico glared at his friend. The girl sniggered as Caitlin and Jc passed her in the hallway. “And you can shut up, bitch!” He yelled harshly now. The house was quiet not filled with the jovial bustle of the earlier evening. “You better remember who you’re dealing with Hoe!” Caitlin felt a tremor in her hand as he handed her her purse. Walking to the car he stopped and looked at her.
“I’m sorry,” His voice was low and apologetic. “I can’t make excuses. I was wrong. I…”
“I don’t want to hear it,” She said feeling a little stronger as she got into his car. “Not right now, Jay.” And he drove her home feeling more regret in the last hour than he had done in years.