it helps that i have the coolest friends in the world

writer-dwellings  asked:

♥~You've been around since before i joined the collective and have always been one of the coolest cats around. You're a fantastic friend and i wouldn't trade that for the world-DK

Thank you. I’ve had a really rough string of days, and hearing I make good somewhere helps. I love you too.

Family Portrait (Chapter Twelve)



“Mommy, where are we going?” Lucas asked as I packed up a bag for him and his brother.

 

“You’re going to see Mommy’s friend Brinley. I have to work late tonight, and so does Daddy, and you can’t stay the night at Ms. Kim’s house, so we’re going to the next best thing.”

 

“I haven’t heard of Brinley.” JJ stated, coming over to help me stuff his backpack full of their items.

 

“Well, you know Tanner?” I questioned, sitting back on my heels with a sigh. It was really hot in the house.

 

I have mentioned Tanner to the family a few times, mostly to talk about how him and Brinley are doing with the pregnancy. JJ and Lucas have wanted to meet him for the longest time. For some reason they think he’s the coolest guy in the world. I think it’s because he eats Skittles every day at work.

 

The boys nodded and picked up their backpacks, slinging them over their shoulders.

 

“Well, Brinley is Tanner’s um,” I paused, a little bit confused as to what I should call her. “She’s Tanner’s girlfriend.”

 

“Is Tanner going to be there?” JJ questioned.

 

“No, Tanner has to work with Mommy tonight. It’ll just be the two of you and Brinley. You’ll have so much fun.”

 

I told the kids to get any last minute things that they wanted to take with them, but to keep it minimal while I went to go change into a classy outfit.

 

Shelby had this thing about when we went to cater an event. She always wanted us to wear a classy dress, a dress. Not a pair of nice pants with a really nice shirt, a dress. Especially for something as nice as this party was supposed to be. One time Rose showed up in something other than a dress, and almost got fired. Also, the dresses had to be a dark color, not a light color. Shelby says that light colors make you the center of attention, but I don’t think that’s true. I’m always the center of attention when I wear my dress. Or, at least, that’s what Jack says when I wear it.

 

It was a tight black dress that went down to my knees. It was long sleeved and open backed and it was really cute too. I usually paired it with a pair of heels that weren’t too high so that I could walk in them and still be comfortable all night long.

 

Once I had changed, I grabbed a 20 dollar bill off of the dresser and grabbed my phone and a black clutch to go with the dress before grabbing the boys and leaving.

 

Tanner had texted me the address to his apartment that he was sharing with Brinley at the moment. They lived a bit from my house, but they lived close to the place we were catering, so it worked out pretty good. The boys sat in the backseat, singing to the songs that they knew when they came on the radio. Luke was still a little bit sick, but his medicine was really helping, so he was getting better. He didn’t feel as miserable as he did earlier in the week.

 

I pulled up in front of Tanner’s apartment building and parked the car, leaving it on since I knew this was a safe area and I wouldn’t be long. I quickly unloaded the kids and ushered them into the building and safely into the elevator to get to the floor his apartment was located on. Once on their floor, I knocked lightly three times and stepped back, holding both boys’ hands and waiting for Brinley or Tanner to open the door.

 

It didn’t take long for the door to open, and behind it stood Brinley. The first thing you see when you look at Brinley is her protruding belly that her left hand rubbed over and over again. Then, as you move your gaze up, you see her piercing icy blue eyes. She looked tired, with bags under her eyes, and I felt bad for throwing the boys on her. Her light brown hair was pulled up into a messy bun, and two strands fell on either side of her face. She was a short girl, shorter me definitely.

 

As soon as she saw the boys and I, her face lit up and she smiled widely.

 

“Ah, you two must be Jack and Lucas! I’ve been waiting for you guys all night!” She grinned, bending down a little bit, as much as her pregnant belly would let her, so that she could shake the boys’ hands. “I have cookies inside and I have a fort set up in the living room with a TV in it ready to watch some movies. Go on inside and make yourselves at home.”

 

The boys’ faces lit up and they carefully made their way past Brinley and disappeared into the house.

 

“No hugs, no kisses, nothing?” I called after them, a smile on my face and a slight sigh leaving my mouth before I looked at Brinley. “Thank you so much for taking them. This means so much to me.”

 

“It’s no problem, Hailee. I need the practice, anyways.” She stated, motioning to her belly.

 

I laughed and asked, “Tanner mentioned that, is he here?”

 

She shook her head and leaned against the door frame, “he left about thirty minutes ago.”

 

I nodded, “speaking of which, I should get going. Shelby will kill me if I’m late. It was nice meeting you, Brinley.”

 

“Yeah, I heard she was a rotten bitch. It was nice meeting you as well.”

 

I leaned forward, standing on my toes to see inside the apartment. I caught a glimpse of Luke crawling into the giant fort Brinley had made in the living room somehow.

 

“Bye, boys, I love you!” I grinned, “Luke, don’t forget to take your medicine before you go to bed.”

 

I left quickly after that, wanting to get to work. If Tanner had left already, that meant that the food was either already being transported to the venue, or it was already there. I had to get there before Shelby realized I wasn’t there.

 

Before we left the offices this morning, we had been given specific directions for when we got to the venue. We were to park in the back of the building and enter through the side door that lead straight to a room where we were keeping the food, which was hopefully still warm since we had only finished cooking it about 45 minutes ago, if not then we’d use their kitchen resources to fix them up. We were only to leave the room to set the table during the courses and then we could leave the room after everyone was done eating so that we could socialize.

 

I parked in the back like I was told and got out quickly, grabbing my stuff and making my way around the building. As I glanced around the back parking lot, I took note on all of the cars that were there. I could already tell that, yes, Tanner was there as well as Greta and Shelby. Rose’s car was nowhere to be seen.

 

“Dammit, Rose.” I muttered under my breath, speeding up to get to the side door.

 

The sun was setting in the distance and the air was growing colder. I could feel the goosebumps growing on my legs and my arms.

 

I opened the door and was instantly met with warm air and the sound of Greta’s laugh. This brought a smile to my face as I stepped into the building quietly, listening in on the conversation Greta was having with Tanner.

 

“… I swear, Tanner, there was a very sexy male out there that I think you would turn gay for. He has black hair and these amazing brown eyes and this smile that could turn even the coldest and blackest male heart into a puddle.”

 

“Greta, I am not gay! My girlfriend is pregnant!” Tanner cackled, starting to portion the food onto plates. “And, anyway, where did you see this guy? You were instructed to stay in here the whole time.”

 

Greta shrugged and went over to help him with the food, “I went to the bathroom and he was going to the bathroom as well. We almost bumped into each other.”

 

“Was it like love at first sight?” I questioned, going over to a sink that was on the side of the room so that I could wash my hands to help them.

 

The two of them jumped and turned around quickly to face me, smiles growing on their faces.

 

“We thought you weren’t going to show!” Greta exclaimed, abandoning Tanner with the food to come over to me.

 

“And loose my job?” I scoffed, “yeah right. Where is the wicked witch of the west?”

 

Tanner motioned to the door with his head, “speaking to the men and women of the night. Apparently they’re the most important architects in the states and they had a meeting earlier and are now celebrating. Shelby only agreed to do this so that she could have a chance to speak with one of them about designing a new building for the catering business.”

 

This was news to me. It was interesting news, as well. Of course she would do something like this for her own benefit.

 

We continued talking quietly, gossiping about Shelby and her reasons for being here while we got ready to take the food out to serve to the architects. It wasn’t long until the side door opened and Rose came bustling in, a coat over her arm and her hair all around her face from the wind outside. She looked miserable, like she had had a hard time before she came here.

 

“Are you okay?” I asked, setting down the stuff in my hands so that I could go to her.

 

I took her coat from her hands and handed it to Tanner, who had come up behind me, and wrapped my arms around her. I squeezed her tightly and waited for her to tell me what was happening.

 

“I just got a call from my mom. Her and my dad are getting a divorce. I don’t get it. They’ve been happy for years and years, they were happy when I visited them on Halloween. How can they go from being the model couple, happy and in love, to hating each other and wanting to file a divorce?”

 

I frowned and ran my fingers through her hair, wiping it out of her face while Greta and Tanner tried to console her and offer her advice and wise words. I could tell it wasn’t helping at all, though.

 

“What the hell is going on in here?”

 

The four of us jumped and got into a straight line, all facing the same direction. Of course Shelby had decided to walk in on this very moment when we weren’t doing our job.

 

“What’s wrong with you guys? We have a room full of lovely people out there, waiting to be served their food. There’s no time for you guys to be messing around! Get back to work!” Shelby hissed, trying to keep her voice low so that no one in the next room would hear.

 

The woman was wearing a dark green silky dress that went down to her feet. It was a halter top type and it showed off her freckled shoulders, which were heaving up and down in anger. Her light brown hair was pulled up into a fancy bun, none of it hung in her face so we could all see perfectly fine that her face was turning a bright red.

 

“You have five minutes to get your shit together and get out there to serve them food. Starting now.”

 

Shelby stood up straight, closed her eyes and took a deep breath before plastering on a fake smile and fake laughing to herself. She nodded to reassure herself and then turned on her heel to leave the room.

 

The four of us left in the room looked at each other with wide eyes before bustling around the room, quickly throwing things onto plates and getting it out the door. We didn’t want to see what Shelby had in store for us if we didn’t obey her orders.

 

We went down a long hallway before coming to a brightly lit room with a large table in the middle of it. Around the table sat about a dozen people, each one dressed nicely and each one smiling. I looked over to my right and saw Rose put on a fake smile, holding her plate that she was carrying higher and moving forward. I did the same, going around the table, setting down plates. All four of us had to make multiple trips to get the food to the architects.

 

On my second trip back into the room where we were keeping our stuff, Greta bumped shoulders with me.

 

“The man that I was talking about earlier to Tanner, the one with the amazing smile, he cannot stop looking at you and grinning.”

 

I raised an eyebrow, “oh, really? I wasn’t even paying attention. I’ll have to when I go back out there.”

 

“Oh yeah, you’ll have to. He’s a babe. No one has served him  yet, so take him a plate. He’s on the far side of the room on the end of the table.”

 

I nodded and picked up another plate of food, ready to see this beautiful man that Greta was talking about. As I entered the room with all of the architects in it, I looked straight ahead to where the man was sitting and almost laughed loudly.

 

I didn’t know why I didn’t put two and two together before this. We were serving a bunch of architects- Jack was an architect.

 

We met each other’s gaze and grinned wildly at each other as I walked over to him. I set his plate down in front of him with a smile.

 

“Now, what’s a beautiful lady like you doing at an awfully boring place like this?” He asked quietly, sending a wink my way.

 

“Didn’t you hear?” I questioned, clearing my throat, “I’m Cinderella and that’s the Evil Step Mother.” I motioned to Shelby who was on the other side of the table, laughing extremely too loud at a balding man.

 

Jack laughed lightly and looked from the man sitting next to him, who had been watching the two of us with an amused look, and then back to me.

 

“Where are the boys?” Jack questioned, grabbing my hand and bringing it up to his lips, softly kissing each one of my knuckles.

 

I rolled my eyes at his overly affectionate ways and pulled my hand out of his grasp playfully, saying, “they’re with Tanner’s girlfriend. They’re taken care of.”

 

“For how long?” Jack winked, sending me his signature smirk that he always had on his face when he wanted to get down and dirty.

 

“Hailee.”

 

The two of us looked up quickly, across the table Shelby had her eyes locked on us angrily. She had dragged the attention of a few of the other people at the table, but not all. And even those few people got bored after a while.

 

“Go check to see if everything is okay in the back.” Shelby told me bittersweetly, sending a look that told me that she was going to kill me if I messed anything up tonight.

 

I sighed and looked back down at Jack, “I must go. I have duties to attend to.”

 

I started to walk away from the table when Jack grabbed my hand and pulled me back towards him. That smirk was still on his face as he looked up at me, his brown eyes becoming enticing very quickly.

 

“You look beautiful tonight, baby.” He whispered before taking his hand out of mine and pulling it back quickly. He let it swing back and hit my backside before I could walk away from him. Although the gesture was hidden to most people at the table, the sudden gasp I let out let those who did have a suspicion to what happened know that their suspicions were correct. “Go get ‘em, tiger.”

 

I walked away from the table, red faced and grinning like a mad man. I was so unbelievably happy to have Jack’s hands on me, even if it was just a quick second.

 

Greta had been watching the whole time, her head sticking out of the hallway. Her eyes were wide, her mouth dropped open in disbelief.

 

“That’s Jack?” She asked in awe, following me down the hallway.

 

“It sure is.” I nodded, biting my lip to keep from smiling so much.

 

Greta didn’t say too much after that. I did hear her grunt, though and let out a little “well I’ll be damned.” She could not believe it, even has the night passed before our eyes. Even as she saw the looks Jack and I gave each other, even as she walked around the table and caught a glimpse of his hand on my lower back, slowly making its way lower and lower.

 

Finally, as we were cleaning up in the back room, she looked up from the items in her hand and nodded in approval at me. “He’s sexy and treats you like the woman you are. I don’t care how many troubles and rough spots you go through, you better keep him.”

 

I grinned at her and looked down, continuing with the task at hand. She didn’t have to tell me twice. I had long since decided that I was going to keep him. Now the question was, how long was he going to keep me?