I didn't know what I would have done if Julien hadn't been here with me. God. I couldn't believe my dad was stoned out of his mind. How could he do that? He'd been doing so well, too. But I wasn't mad at him. I was sure it was a one time deal and besides. Thank God it was pot and not the hard stuff he used to do.
Officer Crowley was cool about it though. I was so glad he was a big fan. He just thanked me for letting him tour my dad's place and then left. After Julien and I put Daddy to bed, we walked out to the back patio.
"I'm truly sorry, darling. I'm sure your father will be okay."
Aw...Julien was making my heart flutter. He was so worried about me.
"He will. I'm not upset."
"That's good." Scooping up my hands in his, he kissed my fingers sending shivers down my arms. This night had brought us so close. I would never have believed it.
Julien Murillo actually liked me. And it was real. Not like the normal flirting he always did. I wasn't sure if I could trust him, but he had been so sweet all night. Taking care of things. Sticking up for me and my dad to Officer Crowley. I was smitten.
Wrapping my arms around him, I said, "Thank you for being here. I don't think I would be so calm without you."
"Of course, love. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."
The following morning, Kailyn called, telling me she had a more brilliant than Einstein idea on how to get back at Crystal, but she wouldn't go into any details. Just that I had to meet her at Comictopia and she'd explain the rest.
When we got there, Kailyn made a bee line for the back of the store. "Okay. I've already picked out the Doctor Who timebooth speakers you'll owe me when you see this!" she gushed.
And then I spotted it.
The biggest, most manly (the manliest) poster of Byron Blackwell in his dark form leered down at us.
Crystal would DIE if this was hanging on my wall. I could see her ripping it to shreds but it would take her a long time to throw this massive beast away.
I decided to buy a bunch of them. If she was going to destroy my things, I might as well make her work hard in the process.
Even though she was joking, I was sooo going to get Kailyn those speakers for this genius idea.
The only trouble with my plan was implementation. I had no idea how I was going to get all those posters hung, so I decided to ask Pax to help me.
Knocking on the door, Pax waved me in. He looked happy to see me. Well, shocked would have been a better word. I basically lived side by side with Pax. He didn't invade my space and I certainly wouldn't invade his. But I figured if he helped me put the posters up, maybe he wouldn't be happy with Crystal tearing them down.
"What do I have the pleasure of seeing you here, Siobhan?" he asked. I take that back. He was beyond overjoyed to see me. I had to stop myself from gagging in my mouth by even being this close to him, but I underscored the fact that it was for a higher cause that I was being a tad disloyal to my father by talking to him.
"Could you help me put up some posters in my room? They're a little big for me to do by myself."
"Sure! I'd love to help. I'll get the ladder from the closet."
"There. All done!" Pax said with a note of pride in his voice.
"They look great. Thanks so much for helping me, Pax. I really appreciate it."
"Of course. Any time. I love to help out around here. It seems like you should ask more of me sometimes. I like to be involved in the things you like. Fangs for the Memories is a funny show."
"Too bad they will only be here for a few weeks. But at least I'll have that long to enjoy them."
Squinting at me quizzically, he asked, "Why will they be here for only a few weeks?"
I shrugged. "The last time I put posters up, Crystal threw them away."
"She did? I didn't know anything about that."
"I told Mother but she said I was making problems."
Anger colored his features. I wasn't sure if he was mad at Mother or Crystal. It seemed like Mother. "Listen, Siobhan. This is your room. I don't even like the fact that Crystal stays in here on the weekends she visits. I wanted to make a new bedroom upstairs, but..." He shook his head. No doubt Mother vetoed that plan. "Crystal can sleep in the game room if she doesn't like it. Okay?"
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I had an ally? In Pax?
"Really?" I asked, dumbfounded.
Raising his eyebrows, he added, "I'll make sure of it."
God. My mother must have been getting under Pax's skin for him to want to cross Crystal like that. This was a war and it had nothing to do with me or Crystal.
But I didn't care. Pax could use me against my mother any day. I wanted to hug him, but felt that would be going too far with our little entente.
My mouth literally flew open when I saw SimSTAR magazine laying on the coffee table at the Laptop Underground Cafe. I'd asked Shivvy out for coffee nearly a week after we'd found her dad in a drugged out stupor. But with these dirty rags lying about, no way in bloody hell was she coming near the place.
According to this, Jackson Day had started using drugs months ago.
I knew it was going to crush her. I wanted to strangle her father. She only had a few months before her birthday. Couldn't he stay clean for that long?
Honestly, I didn't think I wanted her to live with him if he was strung out on drugs. Taking one of the magazines, I put it in my pocket to read later. Then I texted her to meet me outside the cafe. We were going somewhere else.
I smiled when I saw my pink rose petal eating egg rolls, waiting on me. She was thinner than a toothpick but had the metabolism of a hummingbird. She was always hungry, it seemed.
When she spotted me, she waved. I had to ignore the ranting of a woman who looked as if she was about to lay down and spurt out a baby right then.
Giving her a quick peck on the cheek in greeting, I asked, "Would you like to get out of the city, love? I hear there's a wonderful coffee shop near Newcrest."
"I'm up for anything, Julien. In fact, I'm in such a great mood, you could ask me to watch flies zipping around trash at the park, and I'd think it would be fun."
She told me about her little chat with her stepfather. I didn't believe for one moment he would ever do anything against his demon child, Crystal. He'd never gone against her before, but I certainly didn't want to poke Siobhan's happy bubble with a sharp dose of reality.
When the bus let us off in the middle of Old Town, I grabbed Shivvy's hand. "Clean air is loads better than that grotty smog we've got in San Myshuno, don't you think?" Plus the fact that there wasn't a newspaper or magazine stand for miles made it even better. I'd have to keep her off her phone, though, so she didn't pull up any gossip sites. I wanted Jackson Day's sins not to mar our first date. When she did find out, though, I'd be there for her. I was glad about that.
She looked at me with a bit of calculation as if she thought I was up to something. Indeed I was. I was such a dreadful liar. Couldn't hide a thing from anyone, especially those closest to me. Probably for my own good. Otherwise, I could get myself in loads of trouble.
I flashed a bright smile, but this didn't help my case one bit.
"Julien...what is it?" she asked.
Why was Shivvy so damned smart? I'd heard from her friends she was always this way even as a child. So perceptive. "Nothing, darling." Then I thought a hint of what was to come wouldn't hurt. "I guess I'm worried that cop is going to spill the beans. You know?"
She bit her lip, not saying anything then we moved toward the counter and ordered.
When our coffees were ready she got them for us.
"Here you go. One Americano. Black. All I'm going to say about that is...yuck."
"Darling, that's the best way to drink really good coffee. You shouldn't ruin it with all that bloody sugar and cream."
"That's not very English of you. Don't you put sugar and milk in tea?"
Sipping the delicious hot coffee, I said, "Yes. But I'll have to admit the Yanks got it right on this one."
Snuggling into my shoulder, Siobhan sighed. "This is so nice."
Then she added, "You know, I was thinking about what you said. About Officer Crowley telling on Daddy. I don't think he will because he would have said something right then. So, I have nothing to worry about."
Sipping my coffee, my heart ached for her. I felt helpless on what to do about it, though. My darling girl was going to get hurt deeply. Was there a way to prepare her? "What would you do if word did get round somehow though? What would happen?"
"Julien..." she scolded. "Why are you ruining a perfectly nice moment with something that's not going to happen anyway?"
"I guess it's the pessimistic bastard in me?" I tried to joke it off....
I had such a great time with Julien. He was constantly joking. I didn't think I'd laughed that hard in a long time. I was so happy things were like this between us. We'd been friends ever since Naomi and I sat next to each other in science in 8th grade. But I'd never started to have a crush on him until recently.
Rubbing the back of his head nervously, he stammered, "W-Well, I guess we'd better be off then. Don't want you to be home too late."
Caressing my face, he said, "I've had a lovely time tonight, Shivvy."
I loved the way he called me Shivvy. No one else could get away with it, though, But he could call me a rotten egg and it would sound sexy with his accent.
He inched closer to my face. My heart raced, almost running away from my body. I breathed him in, smelling his musky cologne and his skin which was like a mesmerising drug.
Brushing my hair away from my face, he held me with his big brown eyes. "You're so beautiful."
His warm lips pressed against mine as his tongue slipped into my mouth, sending ripples of ecstasy through my body. God he was a master at this. No wonder he had girls panting over him.
But he didn't want any of those girls.
Julien was mine.