Ch. 5

Fifteen minutes before seven o' clock and I felt great! Definitely awake and well rested after I immediately crashed to bed the moment I got home, not giving a care about things I needed to do around the house. As far as I was concerned, dad was working at the hospital until eight, mom was conferencing with one of her clients on a divorce case from her office, Belle was out with the boyfriend, Jude was at home like usual, and Navid was surprisingly around here somewhere instead of being by Teresa's side.

As I let my damp hair dry from the shower I had just taken, I searched around my room for my laptop. It was a bitch being as disorganized as I was, but I couldn't help it. Sometimes I called it an organized mess, sometimes I didn't care if it was a mess despite my mom's protests from time to time.

Shit, where did I put it? I wondered to myself as I messily searched through my desk that still consisted of random CDs and different papers that ranged from college applications and brochures to some syllabuses from school.

Suddenly, the door to my room was abruptly opened, revealing a shocked, but yet amused Navid. Not to mention a sweaty Navid. He looked out of breath and his clothes gave it all away. He had been jogging. The water bottle gave me another clue.

"What's—"

I never got to finish my question since he just headed straight past me. "Is it true you've actually made peace with Eddie Crimson?" he surprisingly asked. "Yes or no?" He was acting like this was impossible to believe.

I stared at him as he sat by the edge of my bed.

How the hell did he even— it wasn't much of a truce anyways— what the hell? How did Navid find out about this?

"Where the hell did you hear that from?" I gave him a calculating look. Navid and I locked eyes for a moment, the answer being obvious. "It was Eddie, wasn't it?" I asked him.

"I don't understand," Navid said, now sprawled out lazily on my bed ignoring my question. "You actually agreed to meet him in public?" His eyes were wide as if this was an astonishment to him.

"Get off my bed! You're sweaty!" I yelled. He didn't budge. "What the hell did that jerk say to you?" I asked, annoyed and beginning to become frustrated.

"Hey! I was just going for my usual jog, okay?" Navid said as he raised his hands up, playing the innocent victim. "I was jogging by his house and he waved hi to me, so we started talking for a bit about school and stuff," Navid explained. "We were talking about the play, right? So I asked him how he was doing in dealing with you when it came to acting together and Eddie looks totally cool and relaxed about it! I was a little surprised, expecting to hear how you and him were having a tough time—"

"Thanks, Navid!" I interrupted.

"I'm not finished, Char!" he shot back at me like a six year old. "Then I asked him how you two were getting by and he said that you two just worked it out for the time being," he said lost in thought trying to remember the conversation. "Then he added something about you two working on some paper for one of your classes?" he asked puzzled.

This was annoying me. "Ugh! And he just told you?" I asked him.

Navid shrugged his shoulders. "Well, I did press him to speak further…"

"Great." I dryly replied.

Navid rose to sit up. "Well, you two have the lead roles in the play and there's going to be some lip locking going on," Navid said carefully. "I'm not exactly happy to hear about that part, considering that you're my sister and all. Plus, I was curious! It's not everyday you watch your stubborn sister make truce with a guy that she strongly dislikes."

"Strongly dislikes?" I retorted, picking at his words. "More like hat—"

"Strongly dislikes. Better choice of words." he interrupted.

I scoffed. "It's for AP World History, Navid," I answered him as I kept going about my room tidying up the place a bit before I started heading out to Starbucks. "Besides, he and I have to speak to each other because of it, so it's better if a truce is set in the meantime."

Navid arched his eyebrows. "Yeah, but still… you don't like Eddie Crimson." Navid pointed out.

I turned around to face him. "Navid, I don't like this any more than he does, but it's necessary," I said. "The sooner he and I get this project done with, the better."

My brother shrugged his shoulders. "Whatever."

We exchanged a moment of silence.

I knew I had to break the ice. "So where's mom? I haven't seen her all day." Stupid question, but anything was better than being in the same room with awkward silence.

"Hmm? Oh, she's downstairs in her office finishing some paperwork for her client. Apparently there's a pre-nup involved and the adulterous husband is being greedy on what assets he wants." Navid explained.

"Asshole." I commented.

"My thoughts exactly!" Navid said; his grin now plastered on his face. "Well, I'm off to take a shower since I have a lovely date with Teresa tonight." he announced as he rose from my bed.

"Ah!" I said, smiling casually. "A date?" I was clearly pressing that issue, but he didn't seem to mind.

His grinned widened. "Tonight we just feel like being two star-crossed lovers falling in love all over again," he said chuckling. "We're going for dinner and then heading back to her place for a movie."

"Will her parents be around?"

Navid sighed as he went back to reality. "God, I hope not."

I had to laugh at this.

"Hey!" Navid protested jokingly. "I can't help it if I'm in love and want to spend some time alone with her! Gosh!" he said as he started making his way out of my room. That's when he stopped and turned around for a moment. "Hey, hope tonight goes well."

I stood still for a moment there until I regained my senses. "Thanks, Navid." I replied as he left my room, closing the door behind him softly. "For what it's worth," I mumbled.

I was once again alone. With no such luck at finding my laptop, I pulled out my cell phone to read the time. 6:56. Oh shit. I was going to be late.

Details of what I did with my laptop yesterday were rushing through my head as I grabbed my car keys and made my way downstairs. After a quick bye to Jude since he was in the family room watching TV and doing some homework and slipping by my mom's office to tell her I wouldn't be home late, I made a dash to my car and turned on the engine.

Shit. I wasn't about to show up at Starbucks empty-handed. I needed my laptop. All of my information that I needed was on it for the project and my cited sources. Damn it! Allowing the car warm up, I turned my head around to search the backseats.

I finally sighed. Apart from some empty water bottles scattered on the floor that needed to be recycled, my backpack with my textbooks were right where I left it and my laptop secluded away underneath my backpack.

I seriously needed to start getting myself organized. I couldn't continue to have these random search parties for things I needed. A few days ago, my car keys, today, my laptop.

Sighing at this, I pulled out of my driveway and started driving towards Starbucks that was five minutes away. Coming out from the maze of streets in my neighborhood, I slipped in a CD of classical music so I could relax myself.

Okay, so I listen to classical music? So what? It was soothing. To be honest, I inherited my appreciation for classical music from my dad. He adored Tchaikovsky; I was more appreciative of a wider range of classical from Beethoven to Mozart. Yes, it was somewhat of a guilty pleasure. Actually, come to think about it, only my siblings seemed to know this little secret of mine. Navid enjoys listening to it from time to time, Belle doesn't care for it, and Jude doesn't seem to mind when I put it on at times.

With Starbucks approaching ahead, I glanced at the clock from my car. 7:10. Shit. I'm late. I could care less if it was to meet Eddie Crimson; one thing that did bother me was the fact that I was never late. Known for my punctuality, I hated the times that I showed up late somewhere. I got that from my mom.

After what seemed like forever to find parking, I finally managed to carry my backpack and laptop through the parking lot. Unfortunately, parking far away from Starbucks let me in on two things… 1) Starbucks was crowded tonight… and 2) I just realized how hungry I am.

Upon finally entering Starbucks, I immediately walked over to the counter to order myself a nice slice of strawberry cheesecake. A lot of people here tonight, indeed, I thought as I glanced for a moment over the room. There was a lot of chatter going on, people laughing, noises from the counter made as coffees were being made, etc. Perhaps I would also like a tall cappuccino as well… Mmm, definitely in the mood for something warm.

"Can I help you?" a server asked me.

I turned my head around to face her. "Yes, I can I have a strawberry cheesecake, please," I requested to the server behind the counter. "Oh! And a tall cappuccino as well."

The server displayed an apologetic look on her face instantly. "Sorry, we just sold the last slice of cheesecake to that guy sitting in the corner over there," she said as she pointed to the far left corner of the room.

I turned around to look.

Sure enough, it was Eddie Crimson himself in the corner of Starbucks, secluded by himself as he read the newspaper, oblivious to everything going on around him. His laptop lay on the table untouched, his backpack by his feet. Then, there I saw it. Apart from a tall mocha latte, there also lay that slice of strawberry cheesecake, totally untouched.

The only fucking problem was that the cheesecake belongs to…

"Fudge brownie?" the server suddenly asked.

I whirled around to face her once again. "Excuse me?"

"We have some fudge brownies left, if you want," she said. "It's been a busy night tonight and practically everything to eat here is almost gone. I can get you a fudge brownie if you want."

I had a moment of indecisiveness in me, but I quickly made up my mind. "I'll just have the tall cappuccino then," I told her. Damn it, what should I do? My stomach grumbled for a moment, clearly making me hungrier.

After the server handed me my cappuccino, I proceeded to walk towards Eddie. Slowly walking towards him, I was trying to devise a mature, yet creative way to steal his dessert.

"I'll pay you five bucks for that cheesecake."

I wanted to kick myself for saying it so randomly, but there was no going back now.

When he looked up from his newspaper, I saw his lips spread. This was going to turn out to be annoying. With an amused grin, he propped his chin with his hand and said, "You know, some girls just say hello."

"Hello," I said to him, taking the empty seat adjacent to him. "I'll pay you five bucks for that cheesecake."

Eddie raised his eyebrows. "Wow, so serious. Is this how you pick up guys? By stealing their dessert?"

"I don't have to pick up guys," I said, flirting a little. Now I was flirting? What the hell was wrong with me? I didn't usually play these games, but hey, if it's what I had to do to get my cheesecake, then I'd lay on it as thick as he was willing to negotiate. "They always come to me."

"Oh?" he said lightly, his eyes twinkling. His eyes lingered slowly from my hands to the top of my head. "I can see why."

I shivered silently for a moment. I felt naked in front of his eyes after he scanned his eyes over me, as if ranking my beauty attributes. He was sure taking his damn time and his damn smile was letting me know on purpose.

If I wasn't careful, he'd have me forgetting my original intention for coming over. That much brought me back to reality, or at least somewhat back to reality.

"Seven dollars?" I asked, knowing how ridiculous that sounded.

He paused for a moment, as if deliberating my offer, but then rejected it. "Nah," he said, leaning back in his chair. "That's not tempting enough. Besides," he said as smirked. "You are late."

I gazed at the cheesecake desperately. Now that it was right in front of me, I'd wanted it more than ever. "Oh come on, now! There was traffic!" I lied. "And I'm willing to pay you well above what you paid for it yourself! I'm hungry!"

"Maybe if you do something for me, then," he winked at me. I fought the urge to laugh. I wasn't about to give him the satisfaction of hearing me laugh. That would mean he was actually getting to me, getting to my good side. I couldn't let him know that.

"What's that?"

"Go out on a date with me." Whoa. I could see on his face that for a moment there he himself was surprise those words came out of his mouth, but it quickly faded away as he began chuckling at this.

What the fuck? I could feel my eyebrows arching as if he was out of his mind. "No way," I remarked. There was no fucking way I'd ever go out with him. "Never mind, you can keep it."

By now, he was laughing. "You should have seen the look on your face! Oh! It was priceless!" he managed to say through his laughter.

I'm not exactly sure why I began to get up, but at that moment I felt like getting out of here.

He caught my arm and pulled me back down. "Whoa, what just happened? What'd I do?" The laughter in his eyes had disappeared, his more serious side apparent now.

"Is that how you pick up girls?" I glared him. "By offering cheap dates?" My anger was beginning to fume.

The corners of his mouth stretched into another grin. "Trust me, Charlize, when I take out a girl, it's never cheap." He still wasn't denying or even apologizing for asking me out on a date! Ugh! Why was this aggravating me so much?

I scoffed. "Please, as if I'd be impressed by the size of your wallet."

"The money's not what I was talking about," he said, not ashamed at all. I'd somewhat relaxed again for a moment and he continued, "I'm sorry if I came off sleazy for a moment there, but I never meant to. I'll have you know, I don't play games when it comes to women."

I scoffed. "So what would you call what just happened?"

His familiar grin reappeared. "Amusement."

I gaped at him. Why did I even bother? He was one to play games as always. "Why am I not surprised?" I muttered. "For your own amusement, I suppose?"

He withdrew his gaze and concentrated on folding the newspaper he had been reading. "Why don't we get started on the paper?" he suggested.

First smart thing he's said all night. "Fine by me," I agreed as I pulled out my textbook and turned on my laptop as he did the same.

"So, where did we leave off?" And so we began.

Three hours later, two coffees long gone, and a lot of discussions over how to write out our paper, I was ready to go home. There had been a couple of breaks involved where I would sneak away to the music section in Barnes and Nobles that was right next door and he would go wandering off to the philosophy section, but somehow Eddie always found me and wouldn't leave me alone until I agreed to walk back with him to resume our work.

"Well, this explanation is a whole lot better!" Eddie said as he handed back the paper where I had written another paragraph for our paper.

Snatching it away from his grasp, I said, "What are you talking about? It was fine the first time I wrote it out! I only added one sentence to it and changed a couple of transitions!"

"Exactly!" Eddie cried out. I gave him a mean look and began typing up the 'approved' paragraph. "Also—"

"What?" I asked aggravated. If he was going to throw in another comment or criticism about it, I was going to wring him.

"Actually," he said, in a slight chuckle, "I was just going to say that I had to leave."

"Oh." I felt sheepish for a moment, but smiled despite myself. Damn it, Char! Why the hell are you smiling? I thought to myself.

Eddie's grin got broader as he stood up to go. "I knew it," he said suddenly.

"Knew what?" What was he up to now?

"I knew you had a beautiful smile."

Caught off-guard, I blinked rapidly. "Wh-what?"

By then he was halfway across the room. "I'll see you around," Eddie called out to me. "And you can have the cheesecake."

I looked in front of me to see that the cheesecake remained untouched and was now mine, free of charge.


Author's Note: So, origionally I wasn't planning on writing about the meeting at Starbucks, but I couldn't resist! Feedback would be greatly appreciated about what you want to see, what characters would you like to see more of, suggestions, etc. Thanks to all that have reviewed this story so far! Reviews appreciated very much!

-Ml4eva2009