“Alright, so the only thing you girls need to be doing today is just unpack those boxes right there on the counter. And put those clothes on those rags behind you right there.” Our eyes went following along as Tyler’s dad kept directing us to those empty rags and boxes, making sure that everything is in order before he left us in charge.
“Use your own creativity okay girls? I’ll be back late around 6”
Tyler’s dad aka Mr Hampton has that rich Mafia look, you know the ones we see as gangsters on televisions, but usually the ones which have a cigar up their nose puffing their way and counting money for bad reasons I suppose.. Mr Hampton reminded me of those. I’m not saying he’s on crack, or happens to be spreading some weed to some those teenagers around. Apart from his weird accent he is most likely to be the next Mafia in our neighbourhood. Definitely hands down!
“Lea, don’t just stand there. Help me up with this thing!”
The boutique was new in town, like really brand new. I could taste the fresh paint and the whole boutique theme was more to formal wear, more to gowns and dresses. The boutique was actually Tyler’s mum idea. But she got into some other business so she leave it to Mr Hampton to handle it for her for now. We had to decorate and change the whole place to be something really elegant to attract customers. And I for one have no idea how to interact customers apart from being impatient and screwing customers up the wall. I rather leave the promoting part to May and Chloe while I deal with the cash register, just accepting money and return a thank you to them. That would be much easier, not challenging, but much easier.
“Damn, $2400 for a silk dress like that? Girl, you better stop me or I’m taking this baby home!” Chloe was spinning around holding on to this short silk dress that almost looked like a pyjamas to me. It was sexy and fancy but of course. Purple and black colour with layers of different strings attached. “Stop playing Chloe, we need to finish unpacking before Mr Hampton get’s back “May took the dress from her and started folding it neatly putting it on the shelves according to the sizes and colour.
“My...my...look who’s really into working now huh?”
May gave her a dirty look and kept folding the clothes while stacking them on top like she was doing before. I stared at them both from across the room. Though it was only three of us there, but it felt as the room was already crowded with customers and I couldn’t speak up to them. I felt ignored and alone. And I didn’t have the guts to go near Chloe or May because I felt rather guilty. But why was I?
“I’m just doing my job okay? No catch. So are you going to help me or what?” May handed Chloe a box of high heels to her. “And Lea?” she held on to this box, wasn’t sure what was inside but she was waiting for me patiently to come over and get it right off her hands. “You seem rather quiet today. Is everything alright?” she brushed her hair back behind her ears and I avoided eye contact with her but still gave a lazy smile. “She’s fine, she always is “Chloe answered from the back room, could tell she was ease dropping. Making me shut my mouth even more then. Gripping on to the box tightly.
“I’m good. No worries okay? Just a little tired. Sore at the back” I bend over trying to do some exercise to ignore any awkward question between us. And there was just a silence that made me felt really uncomfortable around my girls. I was expecting some gossips to be going on, some good laughs and weird jokes that usually Chloe would share with us. And yet, all of us was busy unpacking, and not even saying a word. It was like a cold war without even actually fighting. I kept staring at Chloe, wanting to give out a smile, but she was ignoring my every glance that made me look away out of the shop. Everything was changing, it was changing real fast.
I went over to the window and looked out and saw this small coffee hut and thought to myself it would be a great idea to at least break free from this boutique and get some fresh air. “Hey girls, I wanna grab some latte right across the road there. You guys want anything?” Chloe came running towards me putting her arms around my shoulders and it made me smile instantly that she and me were actually okay. “Get me some donuts and a hot cup of de-caff alright? May!? What do you want?” May was still busy in the back room but she was alert enough to shout out her order to me “Cappuccino please!”
I put my leather jacket on and went out thwacking across the road. It was a quiet afternoon, late break was almost over so nobody was around to jam up the whole coffee place. I went in and could already smell the coffee seeds which haven’t been processed yet all laid out there for decoration across the counter. “One Latte, One Cappuccino and One De-Caff. On the double” I looked over to a cute little kid that was munching on some donuts with colourful sprinkles on it. All those melted chocolate on his big cute chubby cheeks. “Oh yes, and 4 donuts please “I added.
“That would be $21.46 please “the guy handed me the drinks held firmly in an egg carton shaped holder and I wriggled myself back to the boutique trying to keep my balance. I kept my eyes on the hot drinks and didn’t even wink for a second. I slide in the doorway using my ass pushing against the door and just as I was about to scream “coffee time”.
“Finally, I could use some of those” Jeremy took one of the drink from the holder; apparently it was my latte he had to pick and just started sipping it. I was good god shocked that he even showed up in front of me that moment and I just spilled everything. Dropping the donuts rolling down the carpet and the hot drinks spilled right on my stomach down my tight. It was so hot that I just fell down instantly.
“Lea!!!” May and Chloe came running with a cloth in their hands trying to wipe of the steaming hot water that was already melting my thigh. I was screaming in pain, felt like millions of bees just went stung on me like I got them mad for something. Jeremy wanted to help but I pushed him away as he handed out his hands asking me to grab it to pull me back up. “Just go “I answered aggressively.
“Lea, I’m so sorry” Jeremy put down the latte and helped to pick up those donuts and throwing them into the bin. “Let me bring you to the doctor Lea, your skin is badly burn. It’s really red.” Chloe lifted up my skirt to check my thigh and it was really burnt bad, but I pushed her hands back down and still kept my eyes on Jeremy for his stupidity to jump up on me like that.
“I will be fine” I wiped my tears as the pain was too much for me to even keep them in my eyes. May was already in front scolding Jeremy and yelling at him. I went over to quiet down the occasion.“May, its fine. I’m fine. Let’s just forget about this alright?” I reached out to my thigh and putting my hands softly against it and gave a small yell again. “Let me bring you to the clinic. Come on its just a few blocks away.”
“Yeah babe, let Jeremy take you. It’s the least he could do after what’s he done” May was so convincing and my facial expression was too much that I looked over to Chloe and she just stood right there waiting for an answer. I shook my head instantly “I will be fine, I’ll get to the clinic later. On my own” I walked back across the room and Chloe stopped me by grabbing one of my arms tight, and whispered. “You need to see the doctor. Don’t worry, I trust you” she sounded calm and just turned me around opening the door and pulling me and Jeremy out. “ Bring her back soon. We have much more work to do” Those were the last words I heard from Chloe, the last thing I knew, I was already in the clinic waiting patiently for the nurse to call out my name. Jeremy was sitting calmly next to me. I kept looking away in anger.
“I’m really sorry about that...”
“What do you think you’re up to? And who do you think you are!” I turned and words just start spilling out like shotguns. His eyes went round and he leaned back hard against the chair like I was about to eat him. I crossed my arms and just smirked at him. “Once a jerk, always a jerk huh Jeremy?” I gave out a lazy laugh. Lucky for me, the clinic was as quiet as a dead trap. So I could really just make a clown out of myself if I intended to. Jeremy stood up, stomping his right foot. “What do you mean?” I leaned my head towards him and smiled “You know what I mean stupid. Don’t be such a nice guy would you? Your dramas are really getting old”. Jeremy knelt down in front of me, putting his arms on his knees. Just squatting there like an ugly toad.
“Could you just tell me what’s really pissing you off? Apart from me causing the rashes on your thigh huh?”
“What happened last night with May? You know what, on second thought I don’t even wanna know” I stood up and walked around the hallway stomping my foot impatiently waiting for my turn. “Stop walking too much, you’ll only hurt yourself more” he pulled me back to my seat and pushed me down to the chair roughly.
“You’re disappointed that I didn’t break up with May huh?”
He sounded so sceptical I just wanted to carve out his eyes that moment. He wasn’t even thinking anything seriously but himself. “Please, what kind of a best friend do you think I am?” I shouted back at him, gaining my rights and dealing with my wrongs. Jeremy was too much of a snake to be trusted at that time. “ Then what exactly are you pissed off with?” I still kept quiet and stared the fishes swimming merrily in the aquarium. “Fine then, I’ll just sit here and tell me once you’re really to talk okay?” he put his hood up, covering half his face and pretending to be asleep across me. I sighed to myself and just spoke up “ Chloe knows “ he lifted up his hood. “ Excuse me?” he said.
“ She knows about you wanting to break up with May?” I covered my face with my hands rubbing my cheeks till they went pinkish red.
“What the....” he stood up right in front of me, holding on to my shoulders tightly. “ You promised this would be our little secret!” I pushed away one of his hands, the other still on my thigh trying to fight the pain.
“ Don’t worry, I’m just a liar in her eyes now since you haven’t broke up with May. She assumes that we are having an affair. I could tell” I yawned, expecting Jeremy to say something, but he just kept quiet for the longest 5 minutes. I shook his shoulders, but was already called out by the nurse. I told Jeremy to wait for me outside.
The doctor was friendly and sweet, he looked like Santa Claus because he had a long white beard and some bushy eye brows to go with it. He wrapped my thigh with some cloth strips and gave me some cream to cool the pain off. “Now don’t go too near to any hot water next time now okay baby girl?” the way he talked to me like I was just a little child. He even gave me a lollipop as I was getting out of the medic’s room.
I walked out of the room, smiling and sucking on to my lollipop. But Jeremy wasn’t there. I asked the nurse if she had saw him and she just said that he left 2 minutes ago and paid for my check up. “Was it something I said?” I asked myself repeatedly at the back of my mind and just rubbed my head. I hate how Jeremy likes going missing all of a sudden, making me feel like I’m the bad guy in this really complicated movie. I sat down on the couch and just took out my cell. I didn’t wanted to head back to the boutique, I felt lazy to do anything, but in need to talk to someone. I looked over at the nurse, all smiling and putting some powder on her cheeks doing some touch ups.
I sat there for quite a while wondering what to do. I kept asking myself about Jeremy, why is he acting so emotional when it comes to me questioning him about all this. He should know better. Between him and May, of course I love May more. She is definitely more important, but why everything is has to make my head on the chopping board?
I walked out of the clinic shortly after and finding Jeremy just standing there puffing a smoke. He looked at me, and then looked away at the cars driving by the sidewalk. I walked slowly over to him. “You mad at me?” I asked
“You’re mad to think that I’m mad at you” he puffed again, only this time the smoke was rounder that made me cough a little. He put away his cigarette and looked at me. “I’m sorry if Chloe misjudge you because of my own actions.”
“What made you change your mind?” we walked side to side back to the boutique slowly. Trying to stall a moment to actually have a real conversation with each other.
“About the break up?” I nodded my head and he breathe in heavily before answering me this loaded question. I didn’t want to be a busy body, but I just wanted to know what really was going on. And what between them that exactly went wrong.
“It’s complicated Lea, you wouldn’t understand even if you tried to.”
“You're not actually complicated Jeremy, but your ego is” he smirked at me and just pointed at the boutique, I didn’t realize we’ve even actually reached it already. “You should get in.” And he started to turn back to walk away.
“Don’t you want to come in?” I asked looking at the door expecting Chloe or May to run out hugging me asking if my leg was alright. “ I should go “ and he continued walking and I went back to the store.
“Where’s J?” May ran out as I opened to door looking everywhere with her hair facing left and right. “Well?” she asked again
“He had something on. He said he’ll give you a call later tonight”
“Well then, let’s get back to work” Chloe came towards me and pulled me aside.
” What happen?” she asked in a serious tone.
“Nothing did, we just went to the clinic and came back here. Just like you told us to” I smiled innocently.
“It’s not funny Lea, May is our best friend. You should think about that.”
Just right then, she sounded so sarcastic that I just shouted at her which made May dropped a package she was holding in her arms. “Best Friends trust each other Chloe, you should think about that the next time you put your trust on me again”
I headed to the door and May pulled me back. “Now what’s going on here? Earlier before you girls weren’t even talking right to each other. Now either you both make up now, or I will do something about this”
“Screw this” Chloe pushed down on of the empty boxes hitting on the carpet floor which still had the stains of some strawberry syrup of the donuts that scattered earlier. “Yeah screw this! “ I pushed May’s hands away and wanted to walk out the door but Chloe stopped me grapping my other arm again.
“Let go off me!” I yelled at her and May just stood there feeling helplessly. She knew she couldn’t do anything but to watch us argue. “She needs to know the truth” continued Chloe as she turned back to May.
May walked towards me and stood between me and Chloe and she just stared blindly at Chloe. “What truth? What’s going on huh?”
We both kept quiet and Chloe just leaned back against to door not wanting anyone to leave at that very moment. I just wanted to break free and if only there was a rewind button, I would totally click it right that moment. “ Please...” May begged me once again for spilling out the words I couldn’t have the heart to.
“ Jeremy told Lea...” Chloe started the sentence, and wanted me to finish the rest. It was impossible for me to even say anything at that time when I knew inside I was already hurting my best friend. And I was about to lose a best friend real soon.
“Don’t do this to me Chloe” I looked over at my shoulder and rubbed my forehead.
“Either you tell her, or I will”
“She doesn’t have to know”
“You tell her or I will” she whispered in my ear.
“Is that a threat? Nothing even happened between them!”
“Guys! Just spit it out!!” May screamed from the top of her lungs and Chloe just could held it in her any longer.
“Jeremy told Lea, he wanted to break up with you “in a second I pushed Chloe by her shoulders making her hit against the wall I was so furious that I just wanted to hit her. “ Shut up!” I turned around to find May standing there, just pausing. Not moving an inch, I wasn’t even sure if she was breathing.
“Tell me it’s not true...” she said in a low sad tone.
Suddenly came bugging through the door. Mr Hampton and Tyler by his side.
“What in the devil’s name is going on here?”