Alright, in this chapter we get a little of them both! YAY!

Chapter Seven

The ringing of the phone jarred Jamie awake. She rolled over and glared at her cell phone before grabbing it.

"Hello?" she grumbled, shrugging sleep away from her relaxed muscles. The sun was barely beginning to shine through the blinds next to her bed. Jamie's tired eyes sought the clock and grimaced at the early time. She only had a few days left to sleep in.

"Good morning sunshine!" the loud voice cried cheerily. Jamie grimaced and rolled into a sitting position. She recognized the voice, but prayed that she could fall back asleep and imagine that it wasn't there.

"The sun is not even up yet," Jamie muttered, climbing from bed and walking the short distance to her bathroom.

"Sure it is, love. You just can't see it in that dark bedroom of yours."

"Tell me something, are you downstairs? Or are you at your place?" Jamie turned the faucet on and set the phone aside for a moment to splash cold water across her face. When she picked the phone back up, the feminine voice was chattering on.

"If you would only think about the amount of things you could do. I mean, come on James, it's nearly seven! You could have showered and all that already."

"Seriously Brooke, what are you talking about?" Jamie stomped down the stairs and whipped the front door open. Her best friend was leaning against the porch wall, smiling and holding two cups of coffee.

"Morning!" she smiled and pushed into the front room. Jamie rolled her eyes and grabbed a cup of coffee from Brooke's hand as the woman passed her.

"This is before morning for me," Jamie tossed at her friend. The other woman smiled and shook her head. Her dirty-blonde bob shook in a flowing ripple.

"No, no, love. This is after morning, and you'd better get used to the early hours. This is what time you'd be on your way to school in just two days." Brooke's blue eyes fairly danced with mischief. Jamie glared and then fell onto the couch.

"But I only have today and tomorrow to sleep in, Brooke," she whined.

"We're going shopping this morning, remember?" Brook took Jamie's hand and pulled her to her feet. "Now get upstairs and take a shower. I'll make some breakfast while you get ready."

"I hate you," Jamie mumbled.

"Sure dear." Brooke gave her a shove and watched as Jamie stumbled up the stairs, practically asleep again.

The shower woke up the most of the sleeping part of Jamie's mind. She dressed casually in jeans and a t-shirt and then marched herself back downstairs, wondering what Brooke had managed to find in the empty kitchen. Jamie wasn't surprised to find Brooke leaning against the counter, a bowl of cereal and the gallon of milk next to her.

"Good morning, again!" Brook cried happily as Jamie sank down on the chair at the counter and picked up the milk.

"I don't see why it's a good morning at all, Brooke."

"Well, you and I are together, for starters." Brooke pulled a glass of orange juice from the refrigerator and handed it to Jamie.

"Where is Eddy today?" Jamie munched on her cereal, finally feeling the very last lingering effects of sleep leaving her body.

"Oh, I took him to the airport this morning. He left for Chicago and some convention. He'll be gone for three days," Brooke shrugged, but Jamie knew it bothered her when Eddy was gone.

"So that's why you're here before the sun," Jamie nodded. Brooke's husband, Eddy, often took business trips that kept him away for days. When he returned, Jamie was hard pressed to get any time with Brooke, at least for the first few days.

"The sun has been shining for more than an hour, Jamie. I thought we were supposed to go shopping today, you know, girl stuff. I know! We should revamp your entire wardrobe for the new school year." She cast a despairing eye on Jamie's t-shirt. "You can't wear that to school."

"I have clothes for school, Brooke." Jamie didn't particularly want to mention the fact that she didn't have enough money to buy a new wardrobe. Brooke wasn't used to worrying about money, not nearly as much as Jamie was.

"I know darling, but you need something new, maybe a new skirt or sweater. You have a whole new round of senior boys to infatuate!"

"I don't aim to infatuate the eighteen-year-olds that want to learn in my class," Jamie muttered, glaring at Brooke.

"In the last two years there's been, Vincent Berton, Alex Cardian, Jacob Smith, and CJ Williams," Brooke listed off. She pondered for a moment. "Weren't there a few others too?" Jamie stood to wash out her bowl and sighed.

"It isn't my fault that they feel the need to like me, I don't want to encourage it." She grabbed her purse and stepped into the downstairs bathroom to brush her teeth.

"I know you don't try to do it, darling. You are just so cute and perky, they can't help but L-O-V-E Miss Hill."

"At least I have smart ones falling for me," Jamie shot back, rinsing her mouth out and drying her face on a hand towel.

"Hey, Eddy is smart!" Brooke defended, leading Jamie to the front door.

"Who was that other guy that asked you to marry him before you met Eddy? Oh, Marcus Walton."

"How dare you bring him up?" Brooke gasped in mock outrage. "I loved that man with a passion you can never understand Jamie Hill. It wasn't my fault he was an idiot." She smiled and waltzed down the walkway towards her car as Jamie locked the front door.

"You hated Marcus Walton," Jamie shouted, running down the sidewalk and beating Brooke to her tiny car.

"With a passion you will never understand," Brooke added with a nod, unlocking the car and climbing into her side.

They rode for a few minutes in silence. Jamie had told Brooke of her engagement, only to find that Brooke was very much of the mind of her family. Brooke didn't like Zachery either.

"Am I making a mistake by agreeing to marry Zachery?" she suddenly asked. Brooke turned onto the freeway and drove without answering for a few minutes.

"Do you love him?"

"I think so," Jamie shrugged. "I've never been in love before. How did you know that you and Eddy were right for each other?"

"We've only known each other for two years, and yet I feel like he's been there my whole life."

"I've told Zachery a lot about my life, he knows almost all of it."

"But can you imagine life without him?" Brooke pushed, pulling off the freeway and into the mall's parking lot.

"I don't know, I've never tried."

"Well, how about you try is while we shop. Now come on, let's go find you the perfect outfit for the first day of classes. I'll even buy it for you as a gift for the start of the school year," Brooke winked, reminding Jamie that she never forgot a detail as important as the fact that Jamie was low on money.

"You don't have to." Jamie linked her arm through Brooke's as they walked towards the mall.

"Of course I do, dear. That's what best friends are for!" Jamie smiled and accepted Brooke's gift with a shake of her head.

The knock at the door jolted Matthew away from his newspaper. He dropped his spoon back into his rice crispies and stood to pull the door open. On the porch were his parents, and his grandparents.

"Good morning," David pushed past his son and entered the condo.

"Morning?" Matthew asked, watching as his mother walked past. Darlene Preston stopped in front of her grandson to pull him into a hug.

"You never called me, you rascal," she admonished in a happy voice. Matthew could only assume that she wasn't too annoyed with him for never calling to apologize for his words in Egypt.

"Sorry Grandmother, I was a little busy." He didn't add that he'd been busy searching for Jamie Hill, or that his interest in her seemed to be growing. When he'd woken that morning, he'd found an email from Jamie with his lecture slides attached. She'd apologized again for taking so long to find him and proceeded to explain that she knew how frustrating it was to not have her notes, so she offered them to him early. Seeing as class didn't start for another two weeks, he wasn't too worried, but it was nice of her to think of him.

"I can see that," she murmured, stepping into his living room and looking around.

"Morning Matty," Samuel Preston greeted, grabbing his grandson in a bearhug.

"Hi Grandpa!" When his grandfather let him go, Matthew shut the front door and turned to look at his family. "What brings you two all the way out to California?" he asked, tensed for his grandmother's response.

"We haven't come to see you in ages," Darlene replied. "And I needed to see what sort of competition my girls have from yours here," she added. Her words made Matthew flinch. He really didn't want his grandmother to set him up with one of "her" girls. He'd done the prissy girl, and the pampered girl, and the spoiled girl, enough times that he was sick of it all. That wasn't true, he wasn't sick of the dating, the sex, and the fun. He was just sick of the kind of girls he chose. Maybe it was time to try something new.

"There isn't any competition, Grandmother. Your girls, as you call them, are not what I am looking for. In fact, I'm not really looking for anything right now."

"You aren't getting any younger," she reminded him. He glared at her, secretly appalled that she would insinuate he was growing old. He was only twenty-six for god's sake.

"Dear Lord, I'm only twenty-six!" he turned to look at his other family members and found them trying not to appear interested in the conversation. Sam was studying a painting hanging on the wall that Elaine had painted a year ago. It was a marvelous rendition of David tossing four-year-old Matthew up into the air. Matthew had been shocked with the Christmas present, never dreaming his little sister possessed such skills with a paint brush. Megan was fingering through the newspaper, glancing up at Darlene and Matthew surreptitiously. David was eating Matthew's breakfast and reading the comics.

"Twenty-six is past time that you settled down and started a family!" Darlene implored.

"I'm not ready for a family and all that responsibility," he growled back.

"No man is ever ready for the responsibility that comes with a family, Matthew. It is time that you remembered that you owe it to your family to bring new children into our lives."

"I owe no such thing," he shot back. "When and if I choose to marry, it will be when I want to, not for your pleasure or anyone else's."

"We want great-grandchildren, Matthew!"

"I told you to call Alexandra, she is at least in a position to have kids, she's married."

"I already talked with her, and she was very excited to give me my great-grandchildren. You on the other hand need to grow up. You are my eldest grandchild, you should be settled down."

"Grow up?" Matthew echoed. He glanced at his parents and saw they were trying to hide their amusement at Darlene's words. It had been years since someone had told him to grow up and get his act together, and in his consideration he had done a wonderful job of growing up and getting his own life. He was, after all, twenty-six and a doctor in his own right. He was grown up.

"You can't have it both ways, Matthew Samuel Preston. Either you are grown up and ready to settle down, or you are only twenty-six and still too immature to have a family," Darlene said with a honeyed voice. Matthew wasn't able to respond. He stared at her, his mouth opening and closing without words. So that was it, either he settled down and married some girl, or he was considered a child still. He shut his mouth and turned around. If he was going to be considered a child, he might as well act like one. Grabbing the keys to his car from a rack hanging by the door, he opened the front door and left, making sure to slam the door behind him.

Yes, I brought our favorite Darlene back! HOORAY! And she's back to her medeling ways! Will someone tell her that it didn't work last time....oh but it did, didn't it? Megan and David are very much together! But that wasn't really her goal...so anyway, maybe someone will soon remind her of this...maybe not. Hehe......poor Matty! He is only twenty-six!

Thank you to all my wonderful reveiwers! I love to hear from you!