Chapter tune: The Smiths – Please, please, please, let me get what I want
About a week after her breakup with Zach, Raina had scheduled to meet with Charlie, Allison and Jess at one of Boroughsburg’s many bridal boutiques. The search for the perfect dress had finally begun and this was only the first of a long series of appointments.
“I’m so sorry I’m so late!” Raina shouted as she made her – not so – spectacular entrance at the shop.
Jess raised her eyebrow the moment she spotted her. And rightfully so, as Raina looked like a hot, melting mess. “Darling. I don’t mean to be rude, but… I’m afraid I will. Don’t be sorry for being late, be sorry for… this.” she said, waving her hand towards Raina.
Seeing Raina’s confusion, Charlie was next to speak. “Honey, it’s time for some tough love. I know you broke up with Zach and all, I get it. And I get that on top of this, you have no place to live yet… but. Just because you are currently homeless doesn’t mean you have to fucking look like it.”
“Oh… is it that bad? I kind of overslept and didn’t have time to shower this morning, plus… uh… today it’s laundry day.”
“Yeah right. Did you actually do your laundry?”
“Um… didn’t you hear me when I said I was already running late?”
Charlie, seeing Raina starting to get all emotional, decided it was time to cut her some slack. “Babe it’s alright, we’re just messing with you. We all have bad days. So what happened with the apartment? Did you convince your landlord to let you stay?”
“No… I did ask him and guess what. He’s not only already found someone else to live in my apartment, he actually sold it to them! So there’s not the slightest chance I could go back there. I am really trying to find something else in that area, but there’s nothing for my budget. And I don’t want to ask my parents for money or go back to their house, no way! My mom will start telling me again the story about how she was all homeless in Bridgeport and that I’m so lucky to have been given every opportunity… no. I can’t have that.”
Charlie shook her head in agreement. “Ugh, why do our moms keep doing that? Mine is still busting my balls – so to speak – from time to time to return home and work at her sooo important company. Which isn’t even really hers, she’s like the CEO or something. Like I would ever go corporate. I would rather fuck a dumpster and then dive in it.”
“Ewwww. How did you even come up with that?” Jess exclaimed, to which Charlie just winked.
At that moment, Allison got out of the dressing room, wearing a wedding dress which made all the girls – yes, even Charlie – swoon. As a matter of fact, Charlie was the first one to comment on it. “Oh honey, you look fabulous! Oliver is gonna lose his shit when he sees you wearing this!”
“Do you like it? I’m not so sure about this particular style though… maybe I should do some more searching…”
“Well, of course we are gonna do more searching!” Jess said. “You are not going to settle for the first one that looks great on you. We are only at the beginning!”
“Ugh, remind me to never get married… ever.” Charlie whispered at Raina’s ear.
Allison studied Raina’s face for a while, while giving the impression that she was contemplating something serious. “You know” she eventually blurted out “I’ve been thinking about Raina’s issue and I think I have a solution. Now, I’m not saying that every party has been informed about this, but to me seems like a perfect solution. At least, temporarily.”
Raina sighed. “I’ll take anything. No offense Charlie, but sleeping on your couch is a little better than that dumpster thing you mentioned. I mean, I guess… not that I’ve actually done it.”
“None taken. I think that’s where I got the couch from actually, so I’m glad I took the superior one.”
“Um… no comment.”
“Relax, I’m just messing with you! So, Allison, what’s the solution?”
“Well, you haven’t been there, but Andrew’s apartment is quite large and has an extra bedroom which is completely empty. I think you could stay at his place for a while – at least until you find your own place.”
For the first time in a while, Raina felt like a huge load was just taken off of her chest. “Really? Oh man, that sounds awesome! Thank you so much!”
“Uh… Allison?” Jess interrupted “Please tell me that by not every party has been informed you meant just Raina. You’ve asked your brother about this, right?”
“Well, no… but he’s not a monster. I’m sure he’ll be more than willing to help an old friend.”
“Let’s hope you’re right.”
“I am, you’ll see. He’s going to agree.” Allison replied as she was walking towards the dressing room again, the next dress on hand.
“B-but…” Raina chimed in “…maybe he uses it as an office or something…”
This was obviously a mistake, because nobody was prepared for the loud angry voice that emerged from behind the curtain. “No Raina, it’s freaking empty! For months! It has nothing inside, not even a chair!”
Raina barely managed to mutter sorry when Charlie snorted. “Calm down girl! You sound pissed. Like you already know he’s going to decline.”
“You’re right, I’m so sorry you guys! I feel kind of stressed lately with all those preparations going on. But, to end our previous discussion, Raina is a friend in need and he is going to help, end of story. Now, can one of you please come inside? I think my zipper got stuck somewhere!”
“No.” Andrew shifted uncomfortably at his chair, expertly avoiding eye contact with his sister and pretending to work on his laptop. Allison had come to his place straight after the wedding dress hunt, in order to make sure that her brilliant idea about Raina’s living situation would come to fruition.
Of course, she already knew that this would be his reaction – as always – and she had come fully prepared for a battle. “What do you mean no?”
“What could I possibly mean besides the usual meaning?”
“Oh, stop it. Can you just tell me why? Raina is one of our oldest friends and she needs a place to live! She can’t sleep on Charlie’s couch forever!”
Andrew finally let go of his laptop screen and rubbed his temples with his fingers, as to stress the fact that his little sister was being a total pain in the ass. “First of all, she’s your friend, not mine. Second, I don’t see how all this is my problem to solve. And third… I don’t want a woman living in here. Especially not a woman… a girl like Raina.”
“You can’t be serious!”
“Of course I can. And I am.”
“Andrew… you have got to let this go. Just because Ingrid…”
Again with that name. After the total fiasco that was his last relationship – no, engagement, as brief as that was – , Andrew had swore he’s steer clear from women like her. The sweet, artistic, flighty type. The betraying type.
He raised his hand to interrupt his sister. “What have I told you about that name? I never want -”
“Well let me remind you that you were the one that brought it up! Well, kind of. But not every person is like her and most certainly not Raina!”
“This is funny, because I, on the other hand, see a great resemblance.”
“She’s nothing like her. And even if she was, so what? Nobody forces you to sleep or get engaged with her, Andrew!”
What was that? Of course he wouldn’t sleep with her. He wasn’t even remotely attracted to her. Although, to be fair, she did look beautiful the other night at her house. And being slightly tipsy was only adding to her natural cuteness. Shit, don’t even go there.
Allison’s voice brought him back. “…Hey, I’m talking to you, Andrew! What kind of logic is this anyway? You’re supposed to be the logical one in this family! Raina is just a friend who needs a place to stay and you happen to have a spare bedroom. So… do the math, you’re so good at it!”
Andrew glanced at his fuming sister and, against all odds, gave her a barely there, lopsided smile.
“Let me ask you something. Why is it so important that you – or more correctly, I – help her?”
“Because! She’s one of our – yes, our – oldest friends. She’s such a sweetheart. When we were kids, she was always making me forget how things were at home… and I was so happy when I found her again. I want to somehow return that favor. Both her and Charlie remind me of how things were before… you know, the divorce and all that.”
“Yes… it was not pleasant, was it? The divorce time, I mean.”
“More like hell. Of course, you were never the emotional one, I get it, so at least I’m glad it didn’t get to you as much.”
Andrew shook his head. Of course it got to him. The memories, even though distant now, still stung. Their mother hadn’t hesitated to repeatedly bring the police at their house, claiming that her husband kept being violent towards his family – when everyone involved knew that was a blatant lie – in order to punish him for who knew what, by taking sole custody of both children after the divorce and eventually taking them with her to her hometown, leaving their devastated father behind. Of course it got to him. But as the older brother of an over emotional kid who spent her entire childhood terrified by her mother, he had to be the strong one. He spent his entire life being that way, the strong, unfazed one; to the point where he’d nearly forgotten how to be anything else. But of course it got to him.
“Andrew…” Allison said softly.
He cleared his throat. “You’re not going to let this go, will you?”
“What do you mean?”
“About Raina and her… situation.”
He remained silent for a while, contemplating. “You know, Raina is lucky to have a friend like you. Let’s hope she deserves it.”
“Does this mean you’ll let her stay?”
“I’ll think about it.”
“Fine. I give up. I am not in the mood to fight with you.”
“Really? You’ll do it?”
“How can I not? You’ve literally made it impossible for me to refuse.” was Andrew’s wry response. After the brief emotional moment he just had, he’d returned to his usual, cold self. His sister and her friend might have won this one, but he was not ready to lose to them entirely. “Although, you should know that there will be terms following my agreement.”
“Yeah, I figured as much… what kind of terms?”
“Of course there will be a contract with the usual ones. But besides that, I take it that she’s capable of finding her own place within a six months period.”
“Yes, probably… I’m afraid to ask, but why?”
“Why do you think? Because that’s how long I’m willing to let her stay here. Not one day more.”
A/N: Hey guys!! I am back again, after a looong break for the billionth time, lol! 😀 Sorry about that! And sorry that my pictures this time are sooo lazy – believe me, I know! The truth is, the past month and a half I was having such a time to write, and I was barely in the mood to open up my game… so I just let it go, hoping that more productive days would follow, lol..! And I was right! 😀 I was initially going for a longer chapter tbh, but decided to cut it a little short this time because the next scenes probably belong to a different chapter altogether. At least I’ve already written half of it, and it’s where things are finally getting interesting, at least in my opinion! 😉 So… that’s all I wanted to say! Oh, and I’ve missed everyone! Thank you so much for reading! ❤ ❤