My car was completely totaled. I had no memory of what happened but when I looked at my car, it told me everything. There wasn't any excessive damage to it. Just the front bumper was completely gone and the engine was smoked. Once that was fixed, my car will be as good as new. Unfortunately, the garage didn't have half the parts to fix my car, so they had to order them. And the parts could take anywhere from a couple of weeks to months to arrive.
Once the discharge papers had been signed and the doctor had checked me twice—thanks to my mother—, I'd wanted to go get my car. That's when I found out that there was no car to get. So we'd gone down to the garage and that's when I got the bad news. And now that I had no car, my mother was ecstatic because that meant I couldn't go to work. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, she was also forcing me to move in with her until I was feeling better. I didn't even want to ask her if she meant emotionally or physically. Because, emotionally, I hadn't been feeling well since I was about five.
See, here's the thing. My parents are lawyer; well, my mother was, she's doesn't practice anymore. They met in college, fell in love, got married and started working in their parents' law firms—Mom with her father and Dad with his father. A year later my mother had my brother, three years later, my sister and five years later, me. And that's when it all went down the crapshoot, because somewhere between my conception and my birth, my parents decided to get a divorce. I don't know what happened and I never asked but if I had to guess, it would have to be my stepmother. The divorce was finalized just a few weeks before I was born and despite the fact that I was a newborn, the court said that I would live with my father. My father! I was a newborn; I needed my mother more than I needed anybody else. But it's never wise to be caught between two lawyers. My father said that my mother was a workaholic who was never around and he didn't want his baby girl to end up with a woman like that. The judge agreed and so began the worst five years of my life. No child should have to go through that.
At first, I thought that my step mother worshipped the Devil. But then I realized that she doesn't have to worship him, he worships her. The very woman who my father thought would be a better mother to me than my own mother didn't once look at me with love but my father never saw that. No, I was a nuisance. I shouldn't have been born. My siblings accepted her into the family and called her mom. I was five and thanks to my father, I didn't get to spend that much time my real mother. But I knew who she was and the way she looked at me was like I was the most precious thing in the world to her. So one night, when my 'parent's' were out, I picked up my favorite teddy bear, stuffed my books and clothes into a bag and told the maid to take me to my mother. I haven't looked back since.
Oh, don't think for a second that my father didn't try to get me back. But I'd be crazy to go back there again. So we went to court again. And this time, I had an opinion. I didn't even care that the court didn't recognize my opinion. I had it and I was going to say it. I stood up on a table so I was tall enough, and I told the judge that if he sent me back to my father, he might as well send me to an orphanage because that's how felt living with my father and his wife. And—God bless him—he actually took that into account and he told my mother that she could keep me if she worked less hours and the topic would be revisited again in six months.
Six months later, my mother got full custody of me. She still worked but she only took on the really special cases, which was how she became Elena Lincoln. She won every case she took but to get her to take your case, you better have one that was worth enough to make her leave her daughter with a nanny. But you know I was five so I had to go to school and that's when Mom did her work. Strangely, the best part was going to court with her. Oh, I was never going to be lawyer but it was fun watching the opposition sweat when my mother walked into court.
It's been nineteen years since then and I think I must have seen my father five times. He didn't try to contact me; I didn't try to contact him. I didn't see my siblings, but I'm guessing they were both partners at my father's law firm or at the very least working in a law firm. And I had gone to college to study literature after which I opened a chain of coffee shops, but we've already established that fact.
Now here was I, wondering if my heart could break again; if I even had a heart. Mom was taking me home with her. She'd sent Cookie to pack whatever stuff I needed and she'd specifically requested that Cookie not pack any black piece of clothing. I'd just nodded along to all of it because she was feeling vulnerable right now that I had left her out of the Reyes thing and then gotten in an accident.
"Cam, are you listening to me?" Mom asked. I was looking out the window, at the mansions passing us by and I turned around to look at her.
"I'm sorry, what did you say?" I asked.
"I said I had the house repainted," Mom said. I looked at the speedometer. My mother was driving below the speed limit, something that did not surprise me. She had a driver, so she never drove herself anywhere.
"You did? How come you didn't tell me?" I asked. I was rather hurt. She didn't even ask me what color to paint any room. I love picking out paint colors.
"Well, I figured you don't live there anymore so it won't interest you. If you lived there it would be a different matter because than it would be happening in your life," Mom said. I sighed and rolled my eyes behind my sunglasses. Of course she was guilt tripping me.
"Mom, I'm sorry I didn't tell you about Reyes. But the fact is there was nothing to tell. He came into the café and we talked and I liked him. It's over now, though, he's getting married on Saturday," I said. Bile rose up in my throat as I said that. My eyes became foggy and I blinked rapidly to hold the unwanted tears at bay.
"You said you love him," Mom said.
"At the hospital; you said you love him," Mom said. I took a deep breath. I did say that. I knew that. So I didn't reply to her. I just sat back and stared out the window. I didn't want to take it back because it was how I felt and for the first time in my life, I wasn't afraid to put it out there. But maybe that was because I already knew that my heart was going to be broken. I had nothing to fear now.
"So how did you two meet? Patricia didn't fill me in on the details," Mom said. I took another deep breath and began telling her the story as it replayed in my mind.
I was having a crappy day. I woke up too early and then couldn't go back to sleep—story of my life. My cook was late, again. I had two morning baristas and one of them quit and the customers were not patient. I thought I was going to burn down the whole place with the people in it. But once the morning coffee rush subsided, everything became calm. During the afternoon, most of the customers that came in were students. There was a college about three or four blocks down and students are mellow.
I had just stepped out of my office for a cup of coffee. The café was quiet despite the line. Hannah was training the new afternoon barista and thankfully, refraining from talking to her friends who were sitting in the corner.
"Hey, how's it going?" I asked Hannah as I filled my coffee cup. Hannah turned away from the counter.
"Great, the new girl's turning out well. I think she's a keeper," Hannah said.
"That's what I like to hear. Now, remind me again, you need the next two weeks off?" I asked. Hannah nodded. I grabbed a napkin and wrote it down. I knew I wasn't going to remember until next week when Hannah won't show up for work. I walked back into my coffee just as the door of the café opened.
15 minutes later, I heard a knock on my door and I called come in. The door opened and I looked up from the computer to see a distressed Hannah.
"What's up?" I asked, worried. I didn't want my day to turn crappy again. The last thing I wanted was my one good barista quitting.
"It's nothing big. A few customers complained about these two guys who are being really loud," Hannah said. I let out a breath. That didn't sound horrible.
"Alright, tell them to quiet down," I said with a shrug. I don't know why she was here. It was a problem with a simple solution.
"I'm scared," Hannah said. I bit down on my lip to keep from laughing.
"Are these big, burly biker guys?" I asked.
"No, these are perfect, beautiful guys. I can't talk to perfect, beautiful guys. I'm only this confident when I am not around men," Hannah said. I'd taken a few psychology courses in college but I wasn't a psychologist so I stood up and I walked around my desk.
"If you think of them as customers, you'll be fine. I'll take care of them, don't worry," I said.
"Okay, thank you. You'll be getting a Best Boss mug for Christmas," Hannah said. We walked out of my office and I closed the door.
"I don't think there is such a thing but if you find it, don't let Cookie see it. She'll be jealous," I said. I walked out into the café and Hannah pointed out the table to me even though that was unnecessary. The guys were really loud. I rolled my eyes and walked over to their table.
"If you two don't stop yelling, I'm going to have to ask you to leave," I said. The blonde looked up and I think my heart stopped beating. Hannah wasn't kidding. He was perfect and beautiful. He had curly/wavy dark blonde hair and the most exotic blue eyes. He had a strong jaw and high cheekbones. I felt like every cell in my body was ignited with fire.
"That was the first time I saw him and the six months that followed were something I'd never experienced before. I mean, I have had boyfriends before, although they were few and far between, but with Reyes it was different. Maybe because he isn't my boyfriend and is going to marry another woman in 24 hours," I said. In 24 hours, the man I loved would be married to someone else. God, my life was pathetic. I let out a deep breath and closed my eyes. I waited for mom to say something but she didn't. I couldn't believe she didn't say anything. I just opened up to my mother, something I only did when I was sick. She should be happy.
"We're home," Mom said. I looked up and the front gates swung open and Mom drove up the long driveway. Mom stopped the car in front of the steps and I took off my seatbelt. I opened the car door and was about to step out when Mom stopped me.
"What are you doing?"
I turned to look at her.
"Um, getting out of the car," I said.
"So I can go in. I am assuming you don't want me to stay out here," I said.
"I'll help you," Mom said, in her no nonsense voice. I waited for her to get out of the car, walk around and help me out. She helped me up the steps and to the door, which the maid opened.
"Hey, Marsha," I said.
"Hello, Miss. Camilla. I hope you're doing well," Marsha said. I nodded and took off my sunglasses. I looked around at the foyer. Everything looked the same. It was comforting being home.
"Marsha, make Camilla something to eat," Mom said. I took off my jacket and handed it to Marsha along with my purse. Marsha took them, nodded and waked away. I stumbled down the large marble foyer and into the sitting room.
"Baby, are you sure you want to stay here. What about your room?" Mom said, following after me.
"I'm fine here, Mom," I said. I walked over to the couch and laid down on it. Beds were great, but there was something very comforting about lying on a couch. Now all I needed was a tub of Ben & Jerry's and I was set.
"I'll get you a pillow and blanket," Mom said. She walked out of the sitting room and I closed my eyes.
I came to when I felt someone run their hands through my hair. At first, I was startled because someone was in my house. Then I smelled the distinct smell of my mother and everything came rushing back to me. I opened my eyes and blinked up at my mother.
"What's wrong?" I asked. The lights in the sitting room were dim. Through the French doors that led out to the back porch, I could see that night had fallen. I was suddenly aware of the fact that I was starving.
"Nothing's wrong. Patricia is here with your things," Mom said. I leaned up on my elbow and looked towards the entrance of the sitting room where Cookie was standing with a duffel bag in her hands.
"You came just now? It's been hours since we left the hospital," I said. I sat up and pushed my hair back. It's been a really long and crappy day. I looked up at Cookie, who shot Mom a look before she replied. What was that about?
"Yeah, I know. I figured you wouldn't need anything until later so I stopped by the café," Cookie said hesitantly. I couldn't understand why she was lying and I didn't even want to bother getting into it tonight. Mom and Cookie were definitely up to something.
"I've invited Patricia and Carly over for a sleepover," Mom said. She walked around the coffee table and sat down on the couch across from the one I was lying on. I stared at her like she had grown another head. No one had ever been to the Lincoln house for a sleepover.
"Well, they are special," I said. I patted the space next to me on the couch for the Cookie to sit. She placed the duffel bag on the floor and sat down beside me. No one said anything for a while and I was pretty sure why my mother invited Cookie and Carly over. She didn't want me to wallow but she should know that I wasn't one to wallow.
"Oh my god, these cupcakes are delicious," Carly said, walking into the room. She was carrying a plate of cupcakes. She came around and sat down on my other side. I picked up a cupcake and licked the icing.
"How are you?" Carly asked.
"Better now that I have something to eat," I said. I quickly ate the cupcake I had in my hand and picked up another one. God, I was starving. I felt like I hadn't eaten anything in days.
"TGIF," Carly said. I smirked. I wish I could say the same. Reyes was getting married tomorrow so I wasn't thankful that it was Friday. I wish it was still Thursday morning and Reyes was coming into the café. I wish that instead of saying goodbye, he would have said that he didn't want to get married. I wish that he said he wanted me.
"Dinner will be ready soon. Let's get something to drink first," Mom said. I blinked rapidly and looked at her. I could feel my face burning. I was depressing myself.
"I'll take a martini," Cookie said.
"And soda for you two?" Mom asked, looking at Carly and me. I nodded. I would love to get drunk and bury my emotions but I hadn't had a drink in three years. I wasn't an alcoholic prior to that; I just decided to give up drinking. I was afraid that I would start drowning my sorrows in alcohol and become an alcoholic. As it turned out, after I quit alcohol I realized that my life really wasn't that depressing.
Mom stood up and left the sitting room. I turned to Cookie, who looked like the picture of innocence. I didn't believe it for a second.
"Where did you go?" I asked. Cookie turned to look at me, her eyes exceptionally wide. I narrowed mine. Now I knew she was lying. I would have let it go but I wanted to know the answer right now. I didn't want to be kept in the dark and only told the truth when she thought it was convenient.
"To the café," Cookie said. Carly cleared her throat beside me and Cookie glared at her.
"Where did you go?" I asked again. Cookie took in a deep breath and closed her eyes.
"To the café….and then to the Collins & Hardman law offices," Cookie admitted. I went rigid. She went to his office. I'd lost all my appetite. I placed the cupcake I was holding back on the plate that Carly had in her lap. My mouth had gone dry like it was full of sawdust. Where was mom with those drinks?
"He wasn't there. Donna told me that tonight's the rehearsal dinner. But I did give his partner a piece of my mind," Cookie said. I turned to look at her sharply.
"You saw Jared? What did you say to him? Why did you even go there? Cookie, I didn't want you to go there. I'm done with it," I said. Of course, that was a lie but it was better than telling her the truth. I was hurting and I had rather be in a thousand car accidents than admit that. Cookie didn't get a chance to answer any of my questions because just then Mom walked in, carrying a tray with our drinks on it. She placed it on the coffee table and I quickly reached over and grabbed my glass.
"So, what are we going to do tonight?" Mom asked.
"Well, we got movies, lots of them. We got The Fast and The Furious, Die Hard, The Italian Job, The Godfather, Scarface, and Harry Potter one through eight," Carly said. Mom's eyes got wider and wider as Carly listed all the movies.
"My, that's different. In my day, we used to watch romantic comedies, read magazines and talk about boys," Mom said. Carly giggled beside me.
"That's what we do, but Mom said we can't take any of the romantic comedies," Carly said.
"Carly!" Cookie scolded. I groaned and rolled my eyes. This was getting pathetic. The only people I had in my life were treating me like I was going to break any second.
"We're going to watch Pretty in Pink and I don't want to hear about it," I said. I took a sip of my drink and sighed as the cold liquid slid down my throat.
"Cool. I've never seen it," Carly said. I raised my eyebrows.
"How have you never seen it? If it were up to me, I'd make sure every teenager saw Pretty in Pink. I couldn't get enough of it," I said. I lifted my injured leg and placed it on the table. Growing up I wasn't allowed to do that but I think today my mother will make an exception. We all sipped are drinks in silence and looked up when Marsha walked in.
"Dinner is ready, Ms. Lincoln," Marsha said. It probably shouldn't come as a surprise but my mother never took my father's last name. She wanted to make a name for herself and she did. After she got full custody of me, I took her last name. I'd rather be a Lincoln than a Phillips, which was my father's last name.
We all stood up and the three of them walked towards the dining room while I sat back down again. I took a deep shaky breath and tried to hold my tears at bay. But this time I couldn't do it. I didn't want to cry. I just felt like I had to. I had to mourn the death of the love that was never mine. I wasn't aware of mom coming back into the room but she sat down beside me and put her arm around my shoulders. I wrapped my arms around her and buried my face in her shoulder.
"It's okay, honey. I am here. I am not going anywhere," Mom said. I nodded. I knew my mother was there for me and I was glad for that. However, I needed to cry and get it over with. I had too much emotional baggage and I didn't want to add more to it. I took a deep breath and pulled back, wiping away my tears. No more tears.
"I'm fine. I promise. So the guy I kinda more than like is getting married tomorrow. Big deal," I said, with a roll of my eyes. And even as I said it, I could feel myself getting over it. The tears felt cathartic. I don't know what it was with me but I couldn't be miserable for long. I held grudges for a long time but misery and I just didn't get along. I kissed mom on the cheek and then stood up.
"Now come on, I'm starving."
AN: Review and let me know what you think. Next chapter will be Reyes.