Saturday Morning [Part 5] (Grayson)
Written by: @keepcalmandlovepotter
Summary: Alyssa is new to L.A. and has a few secrets she’s rather keep to herself. When a famous YouTube star meets her, it changes the course of her life forever.
A/N: This was a submission and this is NOT MY STORY
I woke up the next morning with a splitting headache. I sat up from bed and held my head in my hand for a moment before I looked at the time - 11:30 AM. I hadn’t slept in this late in a long time. I normally wasn’t out until 1:30 in the morning either, but this is apparently going to be an interesting time in my life judging from last night.
I got up and trudged to the kitchen, grabbing a protein bar and a bottle of water from the fridge. I threw myself down onto my couch before I realized I had to be at work at 1. I groaned out loud, long, abrasively and unattractively. It actually sounded like a dying cow, which made me laugh at myself a little.
This was one of the very few days of the month where I had to close the shop up with Ashlee. I regrettably got up to look at myself in the mirror and see how bad the damage was. I had barely slept for more than an hour at a time last night without waking and I had several nightmares about a certain somebody I didn’t want to see. It wasn’t abnormal for me to have nightmares, but these made me wake up in a puddle of cold sweat.
I pulled my hair into a messy ponytail and washed my face before putting on a cat-eye and some mascara. I brushed my teeth, figuring I could have lunch at work and tell Ashlee everything before my shift, so I could actually work in peace.
I put on a pair of jean shorts and a black t-shirt with white trim that had a small alien on the lapel. I tied my white Converse low tops and put on a black ribbon choker and tossed my things for the day in a small backpack before heading out. I decided to walk to work, as it was still a beautiful day out. As I walked, I felt uneasy, like someone was watching me. It was a stark contrast to the feeling I had the night before with Grayson. I looked over my shoulder three or four times as I walked, expecting to see someone I knew to jump out from behind a bush and say “gotcha!” but nobody did.
I kept my head down as I walked into Java Jane’s and made a bee line for the back room. I ran into Ashlee right away and almost collapsed into a chair. I started rambling before she could talk.
“Ash, I’ll tell you everything later, I just gotta get some food in me first. I’ve had the weirdest morning slash afternoon and I’ll tell you everything, I swear, but I just have to have a sandwich or something first.” I dropped my bag in the chair and walked out into the cafe where the tables and chairs were. I grabbed a sandwich from the display case and brought it to the back room, not feeling like being particularly social.
As soon as I got settled and Ashlee marked out my lunch, I told her everything. I told her about where we went for dinner and how Grayson didn’t grill me about being diabetic and he was sweet and a gentleman -
“HE LET YOU KEEP HIS JACKET?!” Ashlee nearly screeched as I told her the story. She was hanging on every word, chewing on the straw of the drink she had made for herself earlier. I nodded as I took a bite of my sandwich, starting to feel a little better about the whole thing. I mean, it was an extraordinary first date and now I had someone to tell me if all these things were normal or not.
“I know. He told me to keep it until our next date. Is that normal?!” I asked, closing the container the sandwich had come in and tossing it in the trash can under the desk. She blinked and looked at me.
“For maybe like a sixth date!” Her tone was shrill and it felt like a dog whistle in my ears. I winced and tried to keep a straight face. “Sorry, but that’s serious,” she said, this time in a much more human tone and touched my arm. I sighed and crossed my arms over my chest.
“Ash, I don’t know what I’m gonna do about this. I don’t even know if I should be dating him! What if all his fans hate me? What if they get jealous or something? What if…” I groaned and let my head hang, thinking about the ‘what if’ I was just about to ask.
“I know,” she replied, seemingly having read my mind. “I know exactly what you’re thinking, but you can’t live your life according to other people! You have to do what makes you happy.” I looked back up at her and sighed before looking at the clock. It was two minutes to 1.
“We’ll talk more about it later,” she promised me and smiled, handing me my apron as I dug my sharpie out of my bag. I tossed the halter over my head and tied it behind my back as I walked out onto the floor, singing into the cash register as I usually do at the start of my shift.
“Well if it isn’t my favorite coffee bean…”
The voice made me stop. It chilled me to my core. I felt my hands go stiff and my mind go blank. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move. After a long minute, I blinked and looked up to see who had addressed me in such a sarcastic tone.
“What in the fresh fuck are you doing here?”
It was all I could manage to say. Normally, I would never say something so awful to a person, much less a customer, but it was highly warranted in this case. Two dark brown eyes stared back at me and held a devious grin behind them. I felt nauseous. It was the very incarnation of evil. It was my ex-boyfriend Joseph.
“Who even let you in here?” I folded my arms over my chest.
“It’s a free country, innit?” I scoffed and rolled my eyes as he kept his childish grin plastered on his face. His hair had gotten longer and looked dirty - like he hadn’t washed it in days. His (incredibly) tall and lanky frame was clad in his deteriorating brown leather jacket and he was even wearing a t-shirt I had gotten him once upon a time.
“You know what I mean,” I hissed. “What are you even doing here? In California? IN AMERICA?” He shrugged, putting his hands in his pockets.
“Got a job writing for a studio in Hollywood, thought I’d drop by and see how my girl was.” My blood ran cold through my veins. I felt immediately sick. I forced myself to keep it down and scowled at him.
“I’m not your girl. And you always said writing for Hollywood was selling out.” He smirked and the other barista handed him the coffee he had apparently ordered.
“Maybe, but if it means I can live in your neighborhood and torture you, then I’m happy about it.” He sipped his coffee and spoke so nonchalantly that I almost wasn’t taken aback by the sentence. Almost.
Joseph was the reason there was a center in my brain containing every bad thought about myself. He had cultivated it and tended to it with care, as if it were his prize tomato garden and not my self-confidence. While we had dated, he slowly chipped away at my self worth and confidence like a prisoner chipping away at a wall with a spoon and he was damned proud of his work. He knew I hated him for what he’d done to me and he knew he was despicable. The problem was that he just didn’t care.
He was what one might call “criminally insane”. He was a genius like me. He had been through dozens of special schools in England and been kicked out of every one for his attitude. I was a bit more shy and quiet as a child, but Joseph questioned everything. Literally everything, most of the time, purely for the sake of being difficult. When we met, he was charming and sweet, and I thought that nobody could comprehend the things he had to say, but that didn’t last long and I soon found myself trapped. They might’ve called me ‘The New Einstein” but he definitely had more of a ‘mad scientist’ vibe. He was the Hyde to my Jekyll.
One thing was for certain though: he was smart. His IQ couldn’t be scaled with normal methods. He couldn’t even place on most tests. He regularly outsmarted the people administering them just so he could get his way. It was one of the things I always hated the most about him - the fact that he could manipulate anything and anyone without a second thought. He simply didn’t care about other people, and was very good at pretending he did. I know that sounds a little harsh, but he’s got a track record to prove it.
“Listen, as much as I’d love to stand here and listen to you all day, I have work to do, so could you please leave?” My tone was less than cordial, but I never really felt the need to be polite to him after we broke up. I put one hand on the counter and one on my hip. He feigned offense and put his hand on his chest.
“I did buy a coffee and I believe I can stay as long as I drink it,” he said, taking a minute sip of his drink. I rolled my eyes and made a disgusted sound before doing my best to ignore him and starting up with some tasks. Ashlee came out onto the floor after long. I pulled her into the back room and explained the situation.
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN HE’S HERE?! EXCUSE ME WHILE I GO BEAT THE EVER-LOVING CRAP OUT OF HIM.” I had to hold Ashlee back by her shoulders, throwing all of my weight against her.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Do you wanna make things WORSE for me?!” I said, my voice just above a whisper. She let out an annoyed scoff and crossed her arms over her front.
“It is MY cafe. I CAN kick him out, and make sure he never comes back…” she said, looking down at me and I rolled my eyes and shook my head.
“That would just give him incentive to find out where I live, if he doesn’t already know,” I said, leaning against the wall beside us with a groan. I closed my eyes and for a split second, seriously thought about moving back home. But I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t let him scare me away. Not from my own home.
I went back out onto the floor and Ashlee followed me, keeping a close eye on me. Joe tried to approach me again, but neither of us had time to say anything before she jumped down his throat.
“Hi. Joe is it? Look here, Mr. Tea-and-Crumpets, I OWN this establishment and, in America, if you are harassing one of MY employees, I can kick your sorry ass out of here and make sure you never come back. So unless you want a permanent footprint on your ass, I suggest you drink your coffee over there and leave when you’re done, kay?”
The two of us stared at her with our mouths hanging open. Joe slunk away after a moment, scowling and muttering obscenities under his breath. I thought that would be the end of it and he would likely leave me alone after that.
But then things got much more complicated all at once when Grayson walked in.