I FORGOT THIS CHAPTER WAS FINISHED :D
Anna had a fantastic idea. She decided that it would be a good idea to throw a house warming party. That way, Sam and I could get little odds and ends around the house that we wouldn’t have to pay for so we could afford the bigger stuff. As of right now, we only had the bed and a few fold out chairs to sit on, so we spent a lot of our time either sitting on the kitchen counter or watching tv on my laptop in our room. Either way we were pretty much broke. And even though Sam really didn’t want me to get a job because he wanted to be the provider, I had no choice. We needed money. So I mixed my love for coffee with a new love of earning cash and got a job at the Starbucks down the street. I got free drinks all the time, plus I was surrounded by the smell of heaven. It was a perfect fit for me. Soon we could afford a couch, or hell, a small table. We just needed to have a party. We thought mixing my birthday with it would be the best idea because I wasn’t too fond of celebrating birthdays.
* * *
“It’s your birthday!” Sam jumped up on the bed, waking me up like he was six.
I moaned and stretched up. “Yeah… hi…”
He stood over me and smiled brightly. “Well get up then!”
“Can’t I sleep in on my birthday?”
“You already have you lazy girl. It’s 11.”
“I have to go to work soon.”
“Not anymore you don’t. I called you out. Tim says he understands and happy birthday.”
“Sam, you can’t just call me out without telling me.”
“Oh I can too. This is going to be the best birthday ever.” I think he was more excited than I was. Typical Sam.
“Isn’t that usually what the birthday girl says?”
“Um, yes. But, you’ve never had me around during your birthday.”
I rolled my eyes at him, thinking he was crazy. “Can’t we just relax today?”
“Ha. Yeah, right. Get up, get up!”
“The Birthday girl is unhappy.”
“The Birthday girl won’t be if she just gets up and follows her adoring boyfriend into the kitchen area…”
“Fine.” I got up, unsure of what to expect. He was acting jumpy and excited. As soon as I was up, Sam attacked me from behind, placing a blindfold over my face. “What are you doing?” I jumped.
“You’ll see. It’s a surprise.”
A smirk spread across my face. “I love surprises.”
“You’ll love this one.”
“Almost as much as I love you?”
I could feel him shrug. “Probably a little more.”
Whoa. This had to be good.
I let him lead me into the open layout to what I thought could be the kitchen.
“Are you ready?” he asked.
So he let go of me for a second and had some things shift around. That’s when I smelled the beautiful smell. He pressed the button and I could hear the delightful steam, pour, brew of coffee. He undid the blindfold and I jumped up and down. “Oh my god. This is the best birthday gift ever!” I turned to him and squeezed him tight. “I love it, I love it, I love it.” My very own coffee maker.
“More than you love me?”
“Probably a little more.”
He scrunched up his nose and picked me up over his shoulder, carrying me into our room and tossing me on the bed. He plopped down next to me and cuddled in. “So, what do you have planned for me today?” I asked.
“Nothing big. Just… the Best Day Ever.”
“Sounds pretty big to me.”
“Well, no. I just thought we’d go out and go wherever you wanted to go and walk around and eat food and have a good time.”
I stared at him, letting a smile creep on my face and settling on his eyes. I loved that he knew exactly what I wanted to do. I never needed anything fancy. I just liked to have fun and be with good company. He got up and went into the kitchen. I could hear the clink of cups and the slam of cabinets as he brought me a cup of coffee. After I finished the strong cup, we got dressed and headed out into the streets of Boston, doing nothing but window shop and hold hands. I was in heaven.
We got back to the apartment around five and our apartment was filled with people. I was expecting everyone to come to the house warming party at seven… so I was surprised. I looked at Sam and hugged him, then looked around the room. Anna came over to me first, giving me a big squeeze and screaming, “I miss you, I miss you, I miss you!” Even though I did see her, it wasn’t often. We were both getting busy with school, and when I wasn’t at school, I was with The Debate. “I know! I miss you too. How are you doing?”
“No, no. You go say hello to everyone. We have plenty of time.”
I made my rounds.
The boys were all there, and when they saw me, they wrapped me in a hug. “Love what you’ve done with the place.” Charlie smirked. Sam came up behind him.
“Shut the fuck up.” He said. “What gifts did you bring us?”
Sean laughed. “It’s in the van.”
“It?” I cocked my head to the side. “We have an it?”
“Oh yeah. You’ll love it.” Derek smiled.
“What is it? What is it?”
“Dude. I’m fucking excited. Babe, we have an ‘it’!” Sam cheered.
“Your couch,” An already drunk Scott mumbled. “It’s your couch.”
The guys just sighed. “Good going, Scott.”
“Fucking alcoholic,” Charlie laughed. He turned to us and patted Sam’s back. “You bought the couch. It is rightfully yours. Besides, we miss you when we sit on it. It’s depressing.”
“Well thanks guys, now we can sit on something.” I cheered.
Someone cleared their throat. We turned around and saw Sam’s sister standing by the wall in between the open living room and the bedroom.
“Katie?” Sam saw his sister. “Hey!” he hugged her, “What are you doing here?”
“Mom and dad brought me.” His eyes popped open.
“Mom and dad are here?”
She nodded. “Yeah, they’re talking to Brooke’s parents.”
“My parents?!” Sam and I both looked at each other like the world was going to end. Out of all the people in the world, I was not expecting my parents to be at my house warming party. “Sam, I’ll be right back.” I weaved my way through the crowd to find our parents talking about something. My father looked great. He had some color in his face, was laughing at something Thomas said, and didn’t have a beer in his hand. My mother, though, looked uncomfortable talking to Nancy. She looked uncomfortable in general, but this was the first time our parents had ever met. It was a little… unexpected. “…Mom…?” I called.
She snapped her head up, and tried to smile. “Hi, Brooke.” We didn’t hug. We didn’t really do much of anything. I just asked, “What are you doing here?”
“It’s your birthday.”
“Bee!” Dad bellowed, coming over and giving me a bear hug. “How’s my little Bee doing?”
“I’m good dad. We’re doing really well.”
“Good! Happy birthday, sweetheart.”
“How does it feel to be eighteen?”
“Like a year over seventeen.”
Dad laughed. Mom just stood stiffly. “The, um, apartment is nice…” she tried.
Dad twisted his face, looking around. “You know what you need though?”
“He’s right,” Nancy came over and smiled. “The place is lacking a place to rest.”
“We do just fine with the bed, mom.” Sam peered over my shoulder. He couldn’t have said a more awkward thing based on the fact that my mother wasn’t too excited we were together at all, let alone sleeping in the same bed.
“Hey sweetheart,” she kissed her son’s cheek. Thomas shook his hand. “Son,” was all he said. Sam and his father had this understanding between them. It must have been a guy thing. The moment became extremely silent. We all looked for each other to speak up first. But someone clapped their hands together and brought all of our heads up to see Tyler. “Hey, hey. Family reunion. What up, big bro?”
My mom’s lip quivered and she looked at me quickly before practically running away. “Mom,” I called, but I didn’t even bother.
“Was it something I said?” Tyler asked.
“No, no,” I replied.
“Well then HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” he screamed. “We’re putting all the gifts on the table, right?”
“What table?” Sam and I both asked.
My dad beamed. “The table I made you,” he stated proudly. My father… made something?
“You made us a table?”
“And stools. It’s more of a bar type thing. You kids don’t seem like table people.”
We followed him into the kitchen and just stared at it. Beautiful oak. Finished with a shiny coat. Plus, it had tile all around the border of the top. “Dad, how did you do this?”
“Haley did the tiles. I made the wood part.”
“Sir, thank you.” Sam shook his hand. “This will really help us out.”
“It’s the least I can do for you taking care of her, Sam. Plus, it’s her birthday. This called for something big.”
Understatement of the year. My dad didn’t make things. He barely lifted a finger aside from changing the channels or holding the beer in his hand. Sometimes he did these things simultaneously. I was amazed.
“Sir, we appreciate this.”
“Oh please, call me Paul. You’re practically family.”
“Speaking of practically family…” Tara hugged me from behind, letting her small belly hit me first. I turned around right away. “Hey, little sis.” She smiled.
“Tara! Hi!” We had invited almost everyone that was close to us, but actually seeing them here made it even better. I wasn’t expecting half the people to actually show up. I put my hand on her belly. She was only about fivish months pregnant, so she didn’t look too pregnant yet. But she certainly had that glow to her. Daniel was right by her side, turning his attention to Sam and starting to talk more about music. “I’m so glad you guys could come.”
“Well I’m glad you had this party. The place looks very empty. You need things inside of it for it to be a home.” She teased.
“Speaking of home, did you get baby’s room finished yet?”
“Yes. You should swing by to see the nursery. He had better like it.”
I had been waiting for the official news for a while. Girl or boy? Finally I had been answered. “It’s a boy?”
“Yes. We found out yesterday afternoon. I wanted it to be a surprise.”
“Well, good! I’m surprised. Happy birthday to me.”
She squeezed me tightly and whispered into my ear, “I am very proud of you, by the way, for not taking the money.”
“Now go say hi to your sister. She’s in the corner, hiding with Katie.”
“Mom and dad brought Haley?”
“She wanted to see your apartment. She thinks it’s so cool that you already live on your own.”
“You’re a role model or something to her. I don’t know, but please don’t do anything stupid to mess up her image, okay?”
“I will try my hardest.”
I walked over to my sister and Katie. “Hey, ladies.” The both hugged me. “How are you guys doing?”
“School.” They both sighed.
“Do you like it, though?” Katie asked.
“Eh,” I shrugged. “Lots of homework, lectures, and papers to write. But I like not having school every single day.”
“Cool! I really like this place.” My sister smiled. “Did you see the table? I helped dad make it.”
“I know, I love it. Seriously, it’s absolutely beautiful.”
She lit up and hugged me. “Thanks.”
“You know, you both should come and visit us sometime. Once we get some more furniture in here and it’s not a school night, you should come spend the night. It’s not too exciting, but I know Sam wouldn’t mind the company.”
They both beamed. “Can we really?”
“Absolutely. Let me just talk to him about it, later, kay?”
After them, I made my rounds, and everyone asked me how I liked living in the city, the apartment and school. It was the same conversation over and over again. It got a little tiring, but it was also exciting. It was a housewarming party for the apartment that I lived in. Me. With Sam. It all just felt very real to me, I suppose. Eighteen and living with my boyfriend. I was the poster child for making mother’s cry. However, given the impossibility, I wasn’t pregnant, so that should have relieved her.
Eventually, the adults all decided to start leaving. My mom had come back inside, but she didn’t look happy, so they left with Haley early. Then everyone else started trickling out until it was just The Debate and Anna left over. We helped the guys move the couch upstairs and we looked around the open floor. Now we had a bar, stools, a couch, several gift cards to Home Depot, TJMaxx, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, a plate/cup/silverware set, and a stainless steel skillet, courtesy of my cooking sister. The place actually looked homey.
We all crammed on the couch and just hung out for the night. Well, until Kendall, Brian, and Steph showed up. They brought a cake and actual wrapped presents for me. Of course, Kendall’s gift was one of her “creations” from Parsons. She winked at me and said, “Save it for a special night.” Which made me think that it was lingerie, but thankfully it wasn’t. It was just a very small dress. Very, very small. She seemed to think that wearing fabric on the bottom half of the body was a taboo, but I didn’t quite have the legs that she had. Not at all.
They sang happy birthday and I blew out my candles and made a wish. I wish that everything would turn out like it’s supposed to be. “Can I auve some mo-ah?” Scott was stumbling around. Kendall was holding him up, laughing. “Sorry, Oliver. I’m cutting you off.”
“Scott, how can you get so fucking drunk all the time?” Sam asked. “Seriously, what the fuck, dude. Sober up.”
“Sam, ow can I sober up? Everyfing is so fucking hilarious. I’m not even tha wasted…”
“Charlie…” I groaned.
“I know, I know.” He looked sternly at Scott. “Mate, you’re bloody ridiculous.”
“We’ve got band practice tomorrow, right?” Derek asked.
“Oh, he’ll be fun. Loud music…” Sean smiled.
“Scott, I’m taking you home.” Kendall patted his back. Brian looked at her funny.
“With my car?”
“Brian, we’re staying here.” Anna said. “We haven’t seen them in forever. We’re sleeping over.”
“Heeeey! Why can’t I sleep over?” Scott mumbled.
She sighed. “Give me the keys Brian. I haven’t drunk anything tonight and I’ll be back in a while.”
Scott gave a sloppy smirk. “A while, yeah?”
She rolled her eyes. “Wish me luck.”
Right after they left, just before midnight, I went outside. I wanted to enjoy my last minute of my birthday away from the party. I was feeling overwhelmed with the noise, which was unusual for me. But the silence felt nice. “Hey, why’d you come out here, babe?” Sam breathed in the cool September air.
“Just breathing is all. They can get pretty crazy.”
“Really? That all? You seemed a little… edgy.”
“I’m just not a real birthday fan.”
“Everyone loves birthdays.”
“It’s not so much the birthday as it is the party.”
“Oh.” He paused. “You didn’t like it?”
“No, no, Sam. I promise I did, I just don’t have fond memories of birthday parties.” He looked at me, head cocked to the side, lips pursed, and his eyes curious, listening. I took a breath and sighed, sitting on the steps outside our humble abode. He sat next to me. “Um, so my first memory of birthdays was when I was four. It was my first party and I was so excited. My grandma was taking Haley away for the day and Tara couldn’t wait to help mom pick out the cake. When I woke up, I went downstairs all excited because I was four, but my mom and dad were yelling at each other because my dad had just came home from a drunk night of poker. He lost a lot of money. She kicked him out of the house. Then fast forward to my tenth birthday where his buddies came to our house to collect from what he lost in a poker game. They took his car until he could pay it back and my mom’s was in the garage so I had to walk in the pouring rain to my own party. And after the power went out my thirteenth birthday and we had to cancel my big sleepover, I just gave up on parties. Bad things happen to me.”
“But you made it through this one.”
“Yeah, I suppose I did. The night is young, though.”
He cuddled me into his chest and kissed my forehead. “Oh my god, you are adorable.”
“How is my terrible luck adorable?”
“Your pessimism on this wonderful day astounds me. Haven’t you learned that your luck is changing? I mean, no one’s asked you if you were a hooker lately, right? Plus, you’ve got a coffee maker. A coffee maker. How are you not lucky?”
I let out a long, easy laugh. “And this is why I love you.”
He looked at his phone’s screen. 12:00. “Look. Nothing bad happened. Happy birthday.”
* * *
September was a month that needed some getting used to. As I juggled work, school, and the apartment, things got really busy. I barely saw Anna anymore and really only saw Brian when the boys were doing The Debate stuff. They were taking a hiatus from shows to record their first album. It was all pretty whirlwind. Very crazy. And Sam was just getting irritated with the fact that we never saw each other. We tried to make time, but it was always between shifts or the studio or right before bed. That was the one time we always had.
“I miss you.” Sam said while we prepared for bed. I was brushing my teeth in the mirror and he was turning down the covers.
“I know,” I looked in the mirror and saw him take off his shirt and throw it on the floor. “I miss you too.”
“You can’t miss me more than I miss you. I feel like we’ve been running around for days. I don’t think I’ve actually seen you for more than five minutes at a time.”
I wiped my mouth and walked over to his side for a hug. A warm comforting hug. “And we’re so tired at night.”
“Work fucking sucks.”
“But it pays the bills.”
“But it takes me away from you.”
We plopped from the hug onto the bed and stayed there. We were both so tired. “At least we get to eat.”
“I’d rather be poor and have more time with you than this shit.” He said. “Honestly, this fucking sucks.”
“What would suck was if we were on the streets. At least we have a place to come home to.”
“And my beautiful girlfriend is always waiting for me.”
We cuddled until we fell asleep and Sam made sure to move his arm so he wouldn’t be in pain. But when we did wake up (At a reasonable time, we got curtains for our room) Sam wasn’t in quite the loving mood. He woke up all pissed off at nothing. He got up and slammed his feet to the ground and didn’t even give me a good morning. The only word I heard from him was, “Fuck,” all morning long. I decided it wasn’t worth it to ask him what was wrong, because it seemed to be that everything was wrong. He bumped his knee when he got out of bed, he hit his head when he opened the fridge and reached into it, and he tripped on his pj pants. When he stumbled with the coffee pot and spilled half the deliciousness on the counter, he gave in and threw his mug against the wall. It shattered. “Fuck!” he screamed.
I couldn’t just stand by and watch the walking disaster anymore. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Me? What the hell is wrong with me? Everything, apparently. I can’t do shit today. What the hell is wrong with everything else?”
“Sam, maybe you should take the day off.”
“What? So I can sit here and watch the tv we don’t fucking have?”
I almost told him he needed to calm down, but I stopped myself. Right now was not a time to mess with him. “Honestly, Brooke. What the fuck is there to do? We’ve got shit nothing here.”
“Hey. Hey! You’ve got me. You just said it last night.”
He didn’t look any better. I thought I’d try a new approach. The let’s-not-piss-him-off-by-saying-the-wrong-thing-and-he-just-needs-some-down-time approach. “Why don’t we both stay home?”
His eyes instantly changed from anger to little-boy-excitement. “You’d do that?” It’s not like I had anything better to do. It was Saturday. I was supposed to work an 8 hour shift but I knew someone that could gladly take my place for extra hours.
“I can call out sick. Of course I’d do that. It’s you.”
“Well… that might make things a little better. Fuck, today’s just not my day.”
I went up to him and kissed him once sweetly, holding his cheeks. “It’s only the morning. We’ve got all day to turn it around.”
He let out a sigh of relief. “You’re the best.”
“Now go take a shower. I’ll clean up.”
He sang again, “The best.”
When he took a shower, I examined the cup on the wooden floors and cleaned it up carefully. A million little ceramic pieces broken by a quick temper. I kind of felt bad for the cup. And the spilled coffee he left on the counter. People said not to cry over spilled milk? What about spilled coffee? I almost shed a tear for the poor liquid never to be consumed. Then I made a brand new pot and lay back on the bed. Sam came out with the towel wrapped around his waist and another towel was drying his hair. He took a deep breath and actually smiled at me. “Hello.” He said.
“I thought we could start the day over.” I patted the spot next to me. He got changed into sweats and slipped back under the covers.
“Brains and Beauty, I’ll keep saying it.”
“Won’t make it true.”