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I Dreamt I Could Fly; Chapter 5
Many days passed. I continued my same routine: sleep ‘till noon, lay around the house, and sneak out at 9 to go party ‘till the wee hours of the morning. I tried to smile and show everyone that I was okay. I fooled only a few. My mother was one of them and she did as usual, tried to avoid the closed door at the end of the hall and ignored her feelings.
“I’m going to the mall for a while. I will be back later,” I called out to my mom. It was Monday morning and I had been in my house for the past 24 hours. Nat called to cancel our clubbing last night; her father was sick. Bailey didn’t want to go without Nat so she canceled too.
“Okay, honey,” she called back. I stood in the hall for a moment, waiting for her to come out and give me a hug goodbye. When she didn’t appear, I walked out of the door and too my car.
The bright red convertible gleamed in the rising sun as I came towards it. After sliding in the driver’s seat, I made sure the top was down before pulling out of the driveway.
My favorite song came on as I cruised down the street; I flicked the volume up and started to sing along. I eased to a halt at a stoplight and smiled as the slight breeze rushed by my face. Another car slid to a stop beside me and I turned to look at them.
A large black star stared back at me. I watched as the Shooting Star Catering van turned the corner leading to one of the more upscale neighborhoods. The light turned green and on an impulse, I turned with the van and followed it up the winding hill. I stayed a good ten feet away to make sure they didn’t notice me.
The van stopped at the bottom of a long driveway that led to a structure that could only be described as a mansion. The huge house stood a tall 3 stories and was almost as wide as a football field.
The back doors of the van opened up and I watched Laura and Miranda drag a few carts out of the back. Kate showed up and pointed them towards the top of the driveway and muttered a few instructions to them. They nodded and she started the long journey up the hill.
“I can’t believe she is going to make us walk all the way up there,” Miranda complained as they set covered platters on two of the carts.
“Mmhmm,” Laura quietly agreed. I got out of my car and strode up to where Laura was helping Miranda with one of the heavier dishes.
“Do you need help?” I asked, startling them both. Laura dropped one end of the dish and the weight of it crushed Miranda’s fingers.
“Dang it!” she shouted holding her fingers. After a moment or two, she finally looked over at me. Fire burned dimly in her dark green eyes and her mouth was set into a scowl.
“Are you okay?” I inquired holding my hand out to her.
“Why do you care?” she spat and pulled away from me. I stared at her as she wrapped a strip of cloth around her two fingers before looking at Laura. “Let’s try this again.”
“Okay,” Laura muttered and together, they lifted the dish onto the top of the cart.
“Do you know where Kate is?” I tried to give them a smile but failed. Miranda’s glare shot daggers at me.
“Up there,” she said, gesturing to the top of the driveway. I nodded once and started to head up the hill. “Wait.”
“What?” I turned and saw different expressions flick across her face.
“You can at least push a cart up there,” she said tersely before pushing one of the carts towards me.
“Sure,” I agreed and started to silently push the cart up the hill.
After five minutes, I was finally at the top, cursing under my breath. I could feel the beads of perspiration forming on the back of my neck; they slid down my back, underneath the black t-shirt I was currently wearing. I pushed the cart to a guy dressed in black and white, waiting for the food to come up. I lifted a hand to push the hair behind my ear; I already felt it plastering to my cheeks.
“Grace Lowry?” I heard my name and turned around to face Kate. I smiled sheepishly.
“Hi,” I said and wiped my sweaty hands on my jeans. Kate critiqued me for a minute before smiling back at me.
“What brings you here today? Do you know the couple?” I looked past her to a guy with his girlfriend answering a few questions the guests asked.
“Not really,” I confessed. Kate widened her eyes in surprise but kept the smile on her face.
“Oh really.” It wasn’t a question, yet it wasn’t really a statement either.
“Actually, I was here to ask it the offer was still up,” I clasped my hands together and watched confusion mask her face. “For the job, I mean.”
“Um,” she started. I could see the shock in her eyes as she looked for an answer. “I mean, of course. We would love to have you on the crew.”
I smiled once again and thanked her. As I turned, Miranda came running up to Kate.
“Can we please pull the van up here? It is way too hot to carry all of those platters up here by hand.”
“Well, they don’t want that van up here. They said it clashed with everything else,” Kate said. She wrung her hands in a nervous manner and flicked her eyes towards the couple. I could see Miranda roll her eyes as the couple laughed merrily.
“Please? We will be really quick,” Miranda pleaded. She touched Kate’s shoulder. Kate sighed but then laughed.
“Okay,” she concurred and took the keys from her pocket. Miranda reached for them but Kate held her back. “But Grace drives.”
Miranda gave her a look of disbelief as I was handed the jangling keys.
“Me?” I squeaked. Kate grinned at me and nodded.
“Yes, you,” she said. “You work for me now, so you are going to drive the van up here.”
“She works for you now?” Miranda’s frustration was too much to bear.
“Yeah I work for her now,” I stated getting annoyed. “Now let’s go get that van up here.”
I started to walk down the driveway and looked back, startled that Miranda wasn’t following.
“You coming or not?” I asked. She stepped back once before running up to my side. We walked for a minute in silence before Miranda let out an aggravated sigh. I twisted to look down at Miranda; I had just noticed that I was a few inches taller than her.
“I don’t see why you want to work with us anyways,” she commented. “According to you we’re just a bunch of Christian freaks.”
“I never said that,” I murmured.
“But you implied it,” she shot back. I cringed in realization.
I didn’t answer as we climbed into the van. I drove it up the driveway and backed up beside the kitchen. Kate shuffled to the driver’s window and smiled once again at me.
“Thanks Grace,” she said and opened the door.
“You’re welcome,” I replied and jumped onto the sidewalk. I watched her wring her wrists again as she looked at me from the corner of her eyes. “What is it?”
“Well, I actually don’t need you today,” she started. The elation in my heart dropped and a frown tugged at the corners of my mouth. “I mean, I already have enough people. You can help if you want to, but there won’t be much for you to do.”
She shrugged and I gave a forced smile.
“It’s okay,” I told her. “I actually have stuff to finish today anyway.”
“Oh.” She nodded. “Okay. Well, give me a call on Wednesday and I will let you know when I need you. This will probably be most days because we have a few people quitting after our delivery tomorrow.”
“Oh, okay,” I said and grasped the card she held out in front of me. Small block lettering stated her name, occupation, and a few different phone numbers.
“Call that one.” She pointed to the second one down and gave my shoulder a pat. “I will talk to you soon, I hope.”
“Of course.” I smiled and tucked the card in my back pocket. I started to walk down the driveway when I heard someone calling my name.
“Grace, wait up,” Miranda called out. I spun around; surprised that she was running towards me. She slipped another piece into my hand and gave me a small smile. “Thanks for your help today and the other day.”
“Um, you’re welcome,” I stuttered and stared as she ran back up towards Kate. I looked down at the piece of paper. I was astonished to see another cell number on it. I flipped the paper over and read the messy lettering on the other side:
Hey Grace. Thanks for everything. Here is Jake’s number. He wanted yours but since he didn’t see you today, here is his. Sorry about everything. Hope to see you soon.
For a few minutes, I stood at my car rereading the note over and over again. I had Jake’s number. I actually had that guy’s number. Ha.
My cell phone rang and I glanced at the caller ID. It was Nat. I flipped the phone open and pressed it to my ear.
“Grace, I’m....” her voice broke and her sobs cut off the rest of her sentence.
“You’re what?” I asked.
“Pregnant.” The words were so soft yet I heard every word with clarity. I could hear more sobbing on the other end and widened my eyes. “Grace, I don’t know how it happened. I skipped my period today and went to the drug store.”
“Why Nat?” I whispered, not believing the words coming from her mouth.
“I don’t know,” she said back, her voice breaking again. “Why did this happen to me?”
“Nat, calm down. I am on my way,” I told her and jumped in the car. I started the car and sped down the street. I needed to get to my best friend.