Episode 12

Episode 12
Barbecue Bustle

The birds sang happily on a beautifully blue sky Saturday morning in Los Angeles county. A pretty blonde haired girl walked out into a garden with a sack of charcoal followed by a golden Labrador. Turning to listen, she sighed heavily her eyes boring the signs of immense crying. Caitlin had not slept very much the previous night. She had arrived home in JC’s car around four thirty and had cried. She knew they hadn’t been going out but a huge part of her really wanted them too. He had just turned out to be everything but what she had hoped he would be. Placing the bag of charcoal on the ground, she turned at a noise from behind her.

“Come on, cait, what is it?” Emily was dressed in blue jeans and a white t-shirt and wore a very concerned expression. “You came home around four or so and was crying, no, sobbing for at least two hours. What’s the deal, girlie?”
“It’s nothing,” Caitlin sulked as she sat by the edge of the pool still dressed in pink and purple pyjamas. Trailing her fingers in the cool water she gulped back tears. she had really liked JC. ‘Come on, Caitlin, get over him, you only met him last week!’
“I’ll be fine,” She turned to Emily and smiled reassuringly.
“You had a fight?” Emily sat beside her feeling much stronger than she had been doing. She had even plucked up the courage to text Cory and ask him to the barbecue that they were holding that afternoon. She didn’t expect him to show but she had technically asked him out on a date.
“No, he fucked another girl,” Caitlin replied gently, not looking at her friend. Her hair fell lankly around her shoulders and she looked terrible. callie sniffed the pool water and then jumped in, paddling happily around their pool. Emily grinned at the dog and turned back to her forlorn looking friend.
“He did what?” Emily’s eyes widened as she felt a sudden burst of anger toward the guy she thought would end up being Caitlin’s new guy.
“He did happily point out we are not dating though,” Caitlin grumpily recounted. “Em, I really like him.” Emily’s eyebrows furrowed with thought for a few seconds. She wanted to be supportive to her friend but at the same time she did not want to dismiss this so easily. It was not cut and dry by any long shot. Tapping a finger on her thigh, she sucked in the air and leaned her head back up toward the sapphire blue sky. It was another glorious day and it would be a hot one according to the radio. Looking at Caitlin who seemed small somehow, like a child, she sat up, crossing her legs and putting an arm around her friend’s slumped shoulders.
“OK, listen up, Miss Thang,” she always called her that when she was about to get serious with her. “He’s right, you guys aren’t dating yet but if he was serious about you, like he seemed to be, then he shouldn’t have gone with another girl, period! But he did, and I reckon he still likes you so give him a chance and if it works out between you two, set him straight that you’re not into sharing and if he messes up again, cut him loose.” Caitlin looked up, a small smile emerging on her pink lips. She loved Emily when she gave her stern but fair advice. standing up, she grinned and called callie out of the pool.
“Thanks, em, I’ll bear that in mind.” She headed back toward the house and was determined to have a good day with her friends.

Lexie woke up and almost threw up. Her head was pounding and she gasped as she opened her eyes. Lying beside her was Dan. Standing and throwing a robe on, she began to panic. what was she going to do? He couldn’t be here! He should have gone home. What was she going to do? As she opened the door, he stirred.

“Hey, sexy punk, where you off too?”
“Making coffee,” she hissed. “Want a cup?”
“yeah, sounds good,” He stretched nosily as she left the room. Making the coffee as quickly as she could, she wondered who was around. Caitlin was up because Callie was lay in her basket looking soggy.
“You been in the pool again, Missy?” lexie greeted the dog with such affection as she petted the damp fur. “Your mommy won’t be happy with you.”
“She’s OK,” Caitlin laughed feeling a little better after her chat with Emily and her shower and change. “I towel dried her and I’m off outside with her so she can dry in the sun. Where did you go last night?” Her long blonde hair was swept back into a ponytail and her ocean blue eyes were full of a sparkle again. Who needed guys when you had Emily and Lexie as your best friends?
“Key club,” Lexie responded pouring two cups of coffee. Glancing at Caitlin, she wondered for a second why she hadn’t queried why Lexie was pouring two cups of coffee but then she mentally slapped herself. Of course, Caitlin wouldn’t question it, she couldn’t see it.

“Baby, where’s my coffee?” Dan’s voice boomed from the hallway and Caitlin jumped in shock.
“Oh, I didn’t know you had, oh, sorry to keep you, Lex,” Caitlin quickly hurried Callie outside and collapsed into fits of laughter on their bench as Emily turned to question her sudden change in mood.

“What’s up with you?” Emily laughed, glad to see her friend was happier and more like her old self again. Caitlin gasped between fits of giggles, holding her stomach as she let the gales of laughter take over her.
“Lexie had that guy over again,” Caitlin wiped the tears of mirth from her cheeks. “He called her baby!” Emily erupted too now. Both girls laughed hard. It wasn’t so funny that Dan was over but Lexie’s complete denial about liking him and then him spending the night; typical Lexie!

“That is gross!” Emily coughed, trying to calm down. “He’s such a sleaze!”
“I know,” Caitlin replied, wiping her face and giggling. “man I needed that laugh.” She looked toward Emily and smiled gently now. “And you? You managed to talk to Cory yet?”
“No,” Emily shook her head. “I text him and asked him to the barbecue though.”
“And?” Caitlin leaned back on the bench, putting her feet on the soggy dog.
“He hasn’t text back,” Emily looked at her phone to confirm in her own mind that Cory had not text her back yet. The screen was still blank and empty. Caitlin sighed and stood.
“Come on, we need to go on a liquor run,” She petted Callie and took the pretty dog inside and Emily realised that Caitlin was determined to make this barbecue a success.

Kiara walked into the kitchen to find Dan, dressed only in his boxers, making some breakfast. She averted her eyes and poured a juice. Lexie came in and glowered at the girl who seemed to be more subdued than she usually was but paid no attention to it. If Caitlin and Emily had been there, they would have inquired why Kiara looked so tired and unhappy but Caitlin and Emily were out buying liquor for their party.
“You coming to the barbecue?” Lexie asked Kiara who merely shook her head and headed out of the door. She wanted anywhere far away from her roommates, Jasmine and her family.

Walking toward the bus stop, she realised what hatefulness lay inside her heart toward her brother. How could she hate someone who was born of the same parents as her so deeply?

Once by the beach, Kiara sat down and opened her bag pulling out a book and ignoring anyone who came her way. she needed to reflect and by ignoring the previous night’s events would not help her do that, it was the way Kiara dealt with stuff.

Emily and Caitlin drove down the freeway, heading toward a supermarket. The heating up summer day was blowing its way into the car through the open windows. Caitlin leaned back in her seat, allowing the rushing breeze to whirl around her head. The sun’s heat warmed her arm as they sped down the freeway.

“so, what did you say to him last night?” Emily asked curiously. She turned off of the freeway, slowing down and turning into a large supermarket parking lot.
“Nothing, I just said thanks for the ride and he tried to apologise again to which I declined,” Caitlin said, grabbing a hold of Callie’s lead and her purse, ready to get out as Emily squinted at the white lines to which her car should be parked within.
“So he felt remorseful?” Emily spun her head to look at her friend who now had a glum look on her face. She nodded and Emily sighed. “Well, this one Caitlin, we’ll definitely have to keep an eye on.”
“If he ever wants to see me again?” She stepped out of the car with Callie as Em turned off the engine and exited the vehicle. Walking around to meet Caitlin, Em suddenly felt nervous. Corey was walking toward them both carrying a crate of beer.

“Hey, Caitlin, what’s up Em?” He spoke, his black rimmed sunglasses flashing in the bright sun. “You girls OK?”
“Yeah,” Caitlin grinned now, so happy she got to do this. “You coming to our barbecue?”
“I sure am,” He grinned at Emily who’s heart skipped a couple of beats. “Em invited me. So I’ll see you girls around two then?” Em nodded and Caitlin waved goodbye as Corey left toward hiss white Mustang.
“You lost your voice?” Caitlin laughed as they walked toward the doors and the cool refrigeration of the air conditioned store. Their sandals made clopping noises like a horses plated shoes as they strolled around the store, Caitlin working Callie and Emily pushing a shopping cart.
“No,” Emily laughed. “I suddenly got embarrassed but I’m so excited he’s coming!” Excitement was an understatement as the girls wandered around, picking up the last few things ready for their barbecue. Caitlin doubted she’d see JC again but having Emily and Lexie made that an easy situation to deal with. She had only met the guy the week before and even if her stomach turned at the thought of him through anxiety to see him and make things right again between them, she knew she’d survive this small hurt.

The sun beamed down as Lexie and Dan put the barbecue together. She had desperately been trying to get rid of him all morning and here he still was. Dropping a huge fork on the ground, she glowered at his back. How could one person attract you and disgust you all at the same time? Lexie hoped her roommates would get back soon, Dan kept throwing sleazy glances her way.

“Hey!” a voice called from the locked gate of their back yard. lexie turned to see Cory and smirked.

“Hey, Cory,” she hurried over and unlocked the gate, allowing Cory to enter with his crate of beer. “Em’s not here yet, she went somewhere with Caitlin.”
“I know. I just saw them at the supermarket,” Cory eyed the situation and grinned. “Your new man?”
“No,” lexie grumbled tightly as she screwed her face up. Cory laughed and walked over to help Dan. Lexie watched them for a minute and smiled at their backs. Cory was cute! She understood why Emily liked him.

“So, Cory? You been to that new club on Hollywood Boulevard yet?” Lexie strolled over with a purpose in her stride.
“Nah,” His blue eyes looked over at her warmly. “You?”
“No, but maybe we should go after the barbecue?” Her eye lashes fluttered suggestively. Cory shrugged his shoulders and turned back to light the charcoal.
“We’ll see what the others say,” His eyes darted toward Dan who seemed oblivious to Lexie’s come on. Cory was not interested one bit. what was Lexie playing at?

Walking back toward the house, Lexie announced she was going to get changed. Once inside her bedroom, she found the most sexiest outfit she owned. It consisted of her black trousers and a small silver shirt that revealed her cleavage. Putting her new outfit on and touching up her make up, Lexie stared at herself in the mirror and beamed.

Caitlin pulled the huge bag of chips and dip behind her and Callie ran off to see who was at home. Picking things up and placing them on the counter, she wondered what that day would bring.
“Man, why can’t Callie carry shit?” Emily joked as she entered the house, knowing Cory was already there having seen his car parked out front.
“She’s lazy,” Caitlin laughed as she poured chips into a bowl and began to prepare salad.
“Hey, Em,” Cory entered, followed by a happy Callie. “How are you?” He strode over to her and wrapped his arms around the short girl. “I am so glad you invited me.” Emily blushed and Caitlin felt the ascending tension. She quickly grabbed Callie and headed outside.

“I, well, I,” Emily stumbled over her words.
“What’s up, Em, you seem a little nervous?” His blue eyes sparkled and his heart fluttered. Had Emily finally noticed him?
“Yeah, Cory, erm, I was worried about you. And, well, erm, I realised something last week. I really”'” But Emily didn’t finish her sentence as Lexie burst into the kitchen.
“Where are the paper plates?” She asked, licking her lips seductively as Cory and Emily parted from their embrace. “In the cupboard,” Emily pointed and headed outside with a pinkish glow on her face.

“Em?” Caitlin walked over and put a hand on her arm. “You tell him?”
“No, Lexie walked in as I was about to tell him,” She replied miserably. Both girls looked at each other and Cory reappeared with a beer for him and one for Emily.
“You OK, Em?” He was hopeful but after liking Emily for as long as he did, he had learned not to get his hopes too high.
“I’m good,” Emily grinned and walked to check on the barbecue. Caitlin smiled and Cory watched Em as she walked over to the Barbecue to check on things.
“Caitlin, what do you know?”
“I know lots of things, Cor, more than I have the time to tell you,” She laughed happily and from behind her a hand found her shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. Turning, she found herself face to face with the man who had caused her tears.

“Hey,” He said in a small voice. “Can I talk to you?” She nodded and compliantly followed him into the living room that was now deserted.

“I have no excuse for sleeping with that bitch!” He said solemnly as he thrust his hands deep into his jeans pocket, watching the pretty girl he had become rather fond of. Her expression was blank and completely unreadable. “I was thinking with my dick and not my head. Caitlin, I know i hurt you. And us not dating was not a real excuse because I like you and I want to get to know you more so maybe, if you can get past this, maybe we could date?” His eyes were sincere as was his tone.

Gulping, Caitlin walked toward him and put her hands on his muscular forearms. Sighing deeply she took his wrists into her hands and fingered his metal watch which she guessed was a fake Rolex. Turning her face up toward his she wrapped her arms around his neck and nestled her face into his shirt. He pulled his hands from his pockets and wrapped them around her. It felt real to have her there. She was what he wanted and yet what he thought he could not have. She was perfect and he knew she’d be the best for him to get his ass into gear and move out of Compton.

“I swear, if I become your man, I’ll be faithful,” his arms tightened his grip on her waist and took her scent in with all of his might. “Be my girl, Caitlin!” It was not a request more of a demand and it was that tone that both feared her and made her feel safe. Turning her face up to his again, he leaned forward and their lips met in a succulent caress.

Kiara was reading her book as a shadow passed over her. Looking up she frowned angrily at the figure standing before her.
“What do you want?” She asked harshly.
“To talk about last night,” Her eyes were filled with concern. “I heard Dec’s side of things, now I want to hear yours.” Jasmine sat down beside Kiara on the soft, warm sand. The sky was a pearlescent blue and the sun’s rays beamed down everywhere. They were sitting beneath the shade of a huge palm tree, it’s large leaves creating a protective canopy from the sun’s burning rays.

“Nothing to tell,” Kiara’s guard was up again and Jasmine knew she had not made the right choice the night before.
“Kiara, I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were dec’s sister.”
“It’s not about that!” Kiara snapped, slapping her thigh hard in sheer frustration.
“So what is it about?” Jasmine asked severely. She wanted to be in this girl’s life but she had some serious hang ups that Jasmine wasn’t sure they would ever agree on.
“You take drugs!” Kiara growled through gritted teeth. “You’re just like him!” She spat the words venomously as she stood up and walked as fast as she could in the shifting sand beneath her feet. Her eyes were welling with tears again and she could not prevent them from falling as she ran away from another situation she knew she simply could not be a part of.

“Caitlin!” A voice boomed from behind her as she sat on the lounger, Callie relaxing in the sunshine. “Want a drink, baby girl?” His demeanour was everything she had remembered and suddenly she felt special and wanted. Emily was sitting across from her with Cory stealing Em’s chips.
“Hey! Quit stealing!” She slapped his hand away as they both laughed enthusiastically. Caitlin lay back on the chair, enjoying the sunshine. A sudden feeling of coldness on her arm made her jump and JC’s infectious booming laugh echoed around the garden.
“mean!” She slapped his thigh as he handed her a cup of alcoholic punch he’d just made. Bending over her, he kissed her lips gently and her stomach erupted into flutters of happiness.

“Not mean, just funny,” he sat on the ground beside her and beamed happily. She was beautiful in the bright summer’s day and he was excited to be in her life. She glanced over at him with a look of anxiousness on her delicate face. “What’s up?” He asked, holding her hand gently.
“I ever find out you have cheated on me…”
“We’re done, I know,” he rested his head on her arm. A sigh escaping his lungs with relief that she had understood his stupidity. He knew if he wanted to he could continue fucking the hoes at home but he no longer had the desire to do so.

Lexie wandered over as Dan lay on a blow up bed bed in the pool. She sat down on the ground beside Cory who was chilling out on a sun chair. “Good barbecue right?” She inquired, looking at Cory with a suggestive look in her eyes. Emily spotted it as Cory had before and they exchanged an awkward glance. JC saw her actions and cleared his throat uncomfortably.
“Yeah, it is,” Caitlin said sensing a moment occurring around her. Callie groaned as she stretched and headed toward the bowl that was filled with fresh clear water. The garden was filled with chatter from people they all knew and Lexie’s behaviour was unsettling a few people.

“Where’s Kiara?” Caitlin asked generally desperate to get the conversation flowing again. She hated silences. “She’s not coming,” Lexie offered the answer as she stroked her leg suggestively and both men looked away uncomfortable. JC was with Caitlin and Cory hoped to be with Emily, neither man was interested and yet Lexie continued her desperate attempt to attract either man’s attention. She was on a verge of a break down and no one seemed to see it. All she wanted was to be loved and wanted.
“Oh, really?” Caitlin mused as she sat up, needing to move. “I’m heading for the pool,” She took off her tank top and untied the sarong revealing a baby blue bikini. JC whistled flirtatiously and she giggled happily as she headed over to their pool and stood on the edge, feeling for it with her bare feet.
“Coming in, Caitlin?” Dan called, opening his eyes and taking in the athletic body.
“yeah,” She raised her arms above her head, stretching luxuriously and then turning her head. “Jay? You coming in?” She turned her body, her prominent breasts captured elegantly within her bikini top.
“Wish I could,” He called back admiring his girlfriend’s beautiful face, body and smile. “No bathers!”
“Skinny dipping?” She laughed teasingly. “Come in in just your shorts, we’ll dry them out later!” she tilted her head to one side sexily.

“Aight,” he grinned as he stripped down to his black boxer shorts and ran toward the pool, lifting her high and dropping her into the cool water. She plunged into the pool, the bubbles echoing around her ears. As she emerged, she spluttered and shook her head, her long blonde ponytail falling neatly down her back.
“You’re going to pay for that!” She grabbed him as he tried to swim away. “Oh, no you don’t!” She wrapped her arms around his neck and he placed his around her waist. Wrapping her legs around his muscular waist, she giggled happily.
“Come on, give me a guided tour of the pool,” She kissed his wet neck and felt the happiness continue to flow through her body.

Emily watched as Caitlin and JC fooled around in the pool. She laughed gently as Cory took her hand and pulled her up.
“Come on, pool time,” He demanded and pushed her toward the cool water. The sky reflected brilliantly on the clear water and the sunlight danced as the ripples moved around the rectangular pool.
“I don’t have my bathers on,” she tried to protest but before she could say any more, Cory had thrown her headlong into the water. Caitlin was laughing as Emily emerged, although her face screwed up in anger, Emily was happy that Cory was there.
“You, ass!” She yelled and Cory’s happy laughing face looked down toward her.
“Yeah?” He asked happily, sipping from his can. “Jay, you want another?”
“For real,” Jay’s husky voice said as he let go of Caitlin and she floated happily around the pool. Going toward the inflatable bed that Dan was on, she pushed it hard and he fell off.
“Hey! you little bitch!” He snarled angrily.
“Just a bit of fun,” Caitlin laughed not realising that Dan was serious. JC realised though and stood in front of Caitlin.
“Don’t ever call her a bitch again, you got me?” He glared at him sternly and his tone threatened action. dan nodded and slunk away to the side of the pool. Caitlin and Emily stared after him and Cory gave JC a thumbs up. Lexie headed into the house after Dan, realising both men were simply not paying her any attention.
“What the fuck?” Emily breathed. She looked at JC admiringly.
“No one calls my girl a bitch,” He said kissing her and pulling himself with ease out of the pool.

In the kitchen Dan was towel drying his face and head. “Your friends are fucked up!” He growled.
“No one invited you,” Lexie glared at him. Even though she had been trying to flirt with Caitlin’s boyfriend and Emily’s potential man, she was still loyal to her friends. “Get your clothes and get out!” She snarled and headed toward her room with anger building inside of her. Sitting on the bed, she pulled a blade from her drawer and slashed her arm.

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