Brooke checked herself in the mirror before walking out of her hotel room. She made sure it made the click sound, before she walked towards the elevator. As she waited, she texted her best friend from New York.
Ding! The elevator doors slid open, and Brooke walked in, pressed the “1” button, and kept on texting. Once her message was sent, Brooke leaned against the glossy walls, and sighed. She still hadn’t really met anyone, except for that Nico guy, and then that girl at the front desk, and that guy who almost killed her, but she wanted to get to know some of the girls in the city. Hopefully, going to The Studio would help.
Brooke walked through the main hall and out of the hotel doors. Damn, it was cold. She knew it wasn’t wise to go bare-legged around town in January, but as she always said, “beauty is pain.”
“Hey! Hey!” Someone shouted.
Brooke kept on walking. She was outside, and she didn’t want to stop. She only had to cross the street and she would be able to bask in heat again. If the person was calling her, they would follow.
“Brooke! Wait up!”
This time she turned around. “What?!” She was annoyed. “Oh, hey.” It was Nico.
“That’s all I get? Just a ‘hey’?” He made a fake-snobby face.
Brooke giggled. “I’m cooooold, let’s go!” She began to run.
“Not again, you’re always running away from me!” He began to run behind her.
“Holy shit, do you know how cold it is? Don’t make me stop outside! Now the cold-ass-melted-snow is all over my leg,” Brooke grabbed a nearby magazine to help scrape off the snow from her leg.
“Ooo that sucks for...” he tilted his head to see who it was on the magazine, “Kim Kardashian. Damn, she looks hot.”
Brooke rolled her eyes, threw the used magazine on a bench, and walked off towards the Starbucks.
“What?” Nico said from behind.
“It’s not nothing,” he pushed on.
“Seriously, stop it.” She gave him a fake-smile so that he could shut up.
“Okay. Backing off.” He put his hands up again.
“Okay... let’s see... what do I want today...” she tried changing the topic and looked up at the menu. She pretended to read, but the whole time she was thinking about Nico-- how close he was standing to her, how he made her feel. Oh it wasn’t love, but she definitely was feeling a crush arising.
“Hi, how can I help you today?”
“Hi, I’d like a Tall Pumpkin Spice Latte, please.” She handed the cashier her Starbucks gift card. Thank god for her friends.
“Hi, I’d like the same thing,” Nico said.
“What the fuck, Nico?” She smiled. “You are such a follower.”
“What can I say? I like pumpkin.” He shrugged. “You actually stole my drink. I get that all the time.”
“Sure you do.”
“What-evah,” he joked.
Brooke laughed. “I like you.”
“Aw thanks,” he kept on in his girly voice.
She laughed again. “Do you have a sister?”
“Why do you ask?”
“Your impression of a girl... you must have had a lot of experience with impersonating a girl... maybe to bully your own sister?”
“You got me.” He laughed.
“So how come you’re here in Massachusetts? Are you, like, by yourself?”
He grabbed both of their drinks, and lead her to the couches in the corner. “Well...” he began as he handed her her drink. “I’m currently in Massachusetts for vacation. Sort of.”
“Sort of?” She interjected.
“Well... it’s complicated. That’ll be a story for another time.”
“Oh... okay.” She took a sip from her drink as to mask the awkward silence.
“Yeah... but my family is back in New York.”
“Oh my god! Me too!” Brooke got really excited. “Wait where do you guys live?”
“Upper East Side.”
“Dude, same!” This was so weird.
“Dude? Haha, I can’t see you saying that.”
“Well I just did, dude. So like how come I’ve never seen you around?”
“Well... I mean, I didn’t really go to school in New York.”
“Oh... why so?”
“You say ‘well’ a lot.” She stated.
“Sorry, it’s just this is sort of uncomfortable for me to talk about. It’s not you, it’s me.”
“Oh, well if you don’t want to talk about it, don't worry! We can talk about something else entirely different!”
“Okay, it’s not that bad. I mean, you lived in New York, so you probably have heard of a lot worse. But I was... at a rehabilitation center.”
“Mmhmmm,” she nodded while looking straight into his eyes. Her full attention was on him. She knew this was hard, she knew a number of people who had gone to rehab.
“For drug use. And it just got really bad, so I had to leave, and came to Boston. There’s a rehab center right outside this town. I’ve been there for about a year now. They allowed me to take a break, since I had been doing so well, so here I am, just for a week. Then I’ll be going to New York to visit the family for next week.”
“That’s good.” Brooke smiled at him. “Don’t worry, I don’t think any less of you or anything. I know a number of people who have been in the same situation, and even worse. You seem like a great guy, don’t worry.”
“Thanks for listening.” He looked down at his drink and took a sip.
“Your family sounds pretty nice.”
“Yeah, they are. At first they were mad, but then they became real nice about it, and come visit me some times. But it’s hard still, on them, I can tell.”
“Hey,” she put her hand on his arm and rubbed it, “you’ll be fine. Everything will be okay. You’ve changed. You’re a better person, and I don’t doubt that they can see it.” She smiled encouragingly.
“Thanks.” He smiled back.
“No problem, any time. And it’s not like you’re the only one with problems. Everyone does. Like me, or like that guy walking down the street.” Brooke looked out the window and pointed at a guy walking on the sidewalk.
“What’s your story?” Nico asked curiously.
“Oh, that’ll be another time. I’m hungry, do you want to go get something to eat? I hear there’s a real nice bistro in The Studio.” Brooke didn’t want to talk about it. She didn’t know him well enough to share this piece about her. Yeah, she knew he had just shared his story with him, but she wasn’t prepared. It would bring up too many bad things, and Starbucks wasn’t the place for it. So she tried to send him “Shut Up” thought waves, hoping he would catch on.