My eyes slid open and I glanced at the clock. Two in the morning. I sighed and rolled over onto my side, wondering why I was awake at two in the morning. Nothing but myself had woke me up. I could hear my dad snoring down the hall and Callie's silent sleep. I closed my eyes again before reopening them.
I threw my covers off and walked towards the balcony doors. Dad insisted on keeping the air off a little bit longer. Maybe that I was why I had woke up. I stepped out onto the balcony and let the cool breeze that came in off the water hit my face. I sunk down into the whicker chair and allowed my eyes to close. That was until I heard the balcony door shut.
I jumped to my feet and spun around in time for the blonde boy to put his hand over my mouth. I narrowed my eyes as he looked at me with a pleading gaze. I shoved his hand off my mouth and watched him take a step back. What the hell was Nick Gillion doing at my dad's house? I waited for him to speak first.
"I need you to do me a favor," he whispered as I sunk back down into a chair with my arms crossed.
"Such as?" I asked and watched him sit in the other chair.
"I'm in deep shit. I need someone that they'll believe."
"That who will believe?"
"The cops, he said, looking away. I frowned.
"Cops?" I asked. He sighed.
"Look, I know that you know about the boy who got hurt. Now the cops are trying to pin it on m and my friends," he explained.
"You you guys did do it," I pointed out. He shrugged.
"We've already gotten into enough trouble. We need to play if off as being an accident," he replied. I didn't say anything as I thought it over.
I didn't even know this boy. He was nice to me that day, giving me a shirt until I got home. I knew he was trouble, though. If a boy had ended in the hospital and Nick had been involved, then he wasn't good. Anyone like that wasn't good deep down. It was just common sense.
And why was he asking me to get him out of a situation he got himself into? He knew less about me than I even knew about him. Then again, he could know more because of my dad. Maybe my being Darren Moore's daughter was why he came to me. I learned quickly that my dad's name in this town was like a celebrities. He knew everyone.
"Say that I did help you out. What would I get out of it?" I asked slowly. He was still in high school, after all, even though we were both probably seventeen.
"What?" he asked, frowning. I watched the ocean and not him.
"Say that I did help you," I repeated. "What would I get out of it?" I watched him thing this over.
"I honestly don't know," he said finally.
"Think it over. I'll think of something to clear your name. Don't make me regret it, young one," I said, reaching over and ruffling his hair. I saw him physically relax and then roll his eyes.
"Alright," he replied. I stood and became aware of his jeans and hoodie while I was dressed in my pajamas.
"So . . . you'd better get out of here before my dad wakes up for work," I self consciously said. He nodded and stood.
"Um, if you get the cop that is always with donut crumbs in his mustache or the one who smells like he showers in his cats piss, act like you're known me all your life because they know all my tricks," he said. I nodded.
"I'll, um, keep that in mind," I replied. "How did you get in the house, anyways?"
'Friend of mine knew where the key was."
"Of course. At least go out the door, but this time, I'll go with you."
"Okay," he said, nodding. I nodded as well and walked back into the room and towards the stairs. I deactivated the alarm and he disappeared just like he came.
When I was called to the police station, it was a little after one. Callie and I had just gotten done with lunch. Dad was at work, his lunch break over, and wouldn't get home until five. Callie had looked at me like I was a criminal. At least, that was until she found out why.
I knew immediately which cop Nick had called "Donut Cop". His name was Officer Reynolds and he, and the other cop, not the cat pee one, were the ones who questioned me. I knew Callie would back me up since she wasn't as old as Dad. She understood these things.
"So . . . I take it that you're good friends with Nick Gillion, correct?" Officer Reynolds asked. I nodded.
"Yes, sir," I replied.
"Is it correct that on Saturday night you two were together?"
"And, Mrs. Moore, can you clarify that?" his partner asked, looking at Callie.
"Yes, sir, I can. My husband and I had a small barbeque Saturday night and we invited the Gillion's so Juliet could meet some local kids. I saw her and Nick together, talking," Callie replied. I had new found respect for Callie then. Officer Reynold's wrote something down.
"So, you can clarify that you were with Nicholas Gillion at midnight, correct?" he asked.
"Yes, sir. The party lasted a few hours," Callie replied.
"And you?" the partner asked, his eyes sliding over to me.
"Yes, sir," I replied. He nodded.
"Very well. That's all we needed, thank you," Officer Reynold's said as he and his partner stood.
That was it? I'd always been the one getting the charges pressed on. So, then this was what it was like to be on the other side? Huh. It didn't feel too bad, actually. It felt almost . . . good.
"Your father doesn't like that Gillion boy. He never told me why, but I think it's because he's bad news. Don't try to cover it up, Juliet, because I heard you two last night. You were doing it for good, so you thought, but I don't think we should mention this to Darren," Callie said as we ate pretzels in the pretzel place in the mall. She'd conned me into shopping. I looked at her.
"Oh . . . um, yeah. Thanks. I kind of got the feeling he didn't like him . . . ."
"He's a busy man, Juliet. Don't be mad at him for not spending time with you since you've been here."
"And how does that explain why he didn't call when I lived with Mom?" I asked, looking up from my pretzel. She frowned.
"Your mother told him you didn't want to talk with him. She said that you were so mad about him . . . leaving that you refused to talk with him," She replied. I ran through all the fights I had ever had with my mom and realized that I'd never once said that.
"I . . . never said that," I replied. She frowned. "My mom tends to be a compulsive liar sometimes."
"Oh . . . I see, then," She mused.
"Yeah," I muttered. My mom especially like to lie about her boyfriends anger and say he was "a great guy."
I watched the shoppers go by, thinking. Dad apparently hadn't abandoned me after all. It'd been my mom's fault I'd slipped into depression, got in trouble, and every other stupid thing I'd done. All I had wanted was for my dad to be there for me to talk to. When I lost my best friend, I had needed him. Thanks to my mom, he hadn't been there. And to think he hated me . . . .
I ran a hand through my hair. I felt as though I had messed up. Maybe I had been wrong to help out Nick. Nobody had been there to bail me out except Stacia, at least until she moved away. Why had I helped him, then? Was it because I had been there before? I wasn't sure, but I knew there had been a reason.
I glanced across the table at Callie. Because of her tight shirt, I could see her baby bump. I'd misjudged her because I'd been mad at my dad. I'd misjudged everyone in my life. I needed to take a step back and look at my life again. I needed to step back and see who I needed to apologize to.
"So . . . you ready to shop until we drop? I think pink might be your color," Callie said, interrupting my thoughts.
"Um . . . I guess," I replied.
"Don't sound so happy about it," she said, smiling. I felt myself smiling back. We'd grown closer that day.
"Oh, yay, let's go blow some of my dad's money," I tried again. She laughed softly.
"Alright, let's go. I saw your clothes and saw you had no clothes that were California beach appropriate," She said. "And, you need more swim suits. One is not enough around here."
"If you say so," I said as I followed her out of the pretzel shop.
We walked through the mall all day, running up my dad's credit cards. I ended up with ten pairs of shorts, nine tank tops, six shirts, a pair of flip—flops, a pair of shoes, three swim suits, a hoodie, jewelry, and some make up. Callie was bound determined to turn me into a California girl. I was going to let her try, but wasn't guaranteeing that it would work.
I was exhausted at the end of the day, but I was also happy. I'd learned a lot about my dad and Callie, as well as my mom. Sometimes, I guess, you just had to get to know someone better. Callie conned my dad into a family night and it was . . . interesting, to say the least.