Written by: TVM (firstname.lastname@example.org) & CJ Ames (email@example.com)
** ** ** Meanwhile @ Book Lovers
Joey waited on person after person until her fingers were sore from typing on the computer's keypad as the customers came in a seemingly endless wave. August's new book seemed to be literally flying out the door as fast as Judy and Henry could unbox them. While Marissa tended to her job as the manager of the 'netcafe' and seemed to be getting more and more nervous as the minutes ticked away on the clock until the big book signing with August and Joanna in a few hours. Finally a small moment of peace descended on the store as most everyone cleared out. Marissa came to the front and stopped at the counter.
"Look, it's gonna be fine," Joey said as she took Marissa's hand to find it shaking. "Calm down?"
"She hates me and I'm scared I'm gonna ruin this night for Judy and Henry and they need it to go well," Marissa said as Judy emerged from the half circle now separating 'Book Lovers' and 'Step by Step' with a huge smile on her face. "Hey Boss, we need to talk..."
"We sure do," Judy said as she hugged Marissa excitedly and stuffed a white envelope in her hand. Then handed one to Joey and smiled like the cat that ate the bird and waited for the squeals of excitement that she knew were coming as Joey and Marissa saw the cash inside. $600 for Joey and $300 for Marissa. "You like?"
"What's this for?" Joey asked in shock.
"Yeah, how can you afford to give me this much money?"
"For the first time last month we did a profit, a record profit," Judy said as Joey smiled and ran around the counter and hugged Judy. "And because of you guys... and Henry."
"Henry?" Marissa and Joey asked in unison as all three laughed.
"Those are a bonus for sticking with me and hell just because you both worked your butts off for me," Judy said.
"I don't deserve this," Marissa said as she handed the money back to Judy.
"Yes you do, you started the Internet cafe and you're the reason it's been a success," Judy said as Marissa blushed and bit her lower lip in excitement. "Big part of the reason we did so good."
"You sure you can afford this?" Joey asked honestly.
"Yes Joey, my loyal assistant Manager, now go buy your car," Judy said with a huge smile. "You've got almost two grand now."
"How do you know?"
"Your big mouth," Judy said as Joey laughed and nodded. "Seriously, I share when things are going good and right now they are, so enjoy it."
"Here," Marissa said as she handed her envelope to Joey. "I don't need it."
"You earned that," Joey said. "I'm not taking your money."
"You can buy a good car for that," Marissa said. "You need it."
"Fine, you're so determined to give it away I'll take it," Joey said as she snatched it from Marissa's hand as the girl giggled. Sticking it in the safe behind the counter a few moments later.
"So is everything set for tonight?" Judy asked as Joey closed the safe.
"Yeah display is all set-up and everything, you should be good to go," Marissa said. "I'm gonna clear out before Joanna gets here..."
** ** ** Meanwhile @ Casa De August, West Lafayette, Indiana
"You sure you don't want shotgun Karen?" Joanna asked as she stood by the front door of August's Hummer.
"Nope, you go ahead," Karen said as her and Brittany climbed in the back. Joanna shrugged as she did the same in front and knew this was by design or so she figured. August waited till they pulled onto the main road and got far enough down the road so as not to be able to turn back before he mentioned a word.
Meanwhile, Joanna looked out the window as they headed north and thought about her life and how much it had changed in such a short time. She had gone from almost homeless and single to almost married, playing house and hopefully a soon-to-be best selling author. What a strange wonderful ride it had been she noted as she glanced in the side mirror and looked at Brittany for the longest time, Brittany lost in conversation with Karen, smiling as her heart beat faster when Britt caught her looking and smiled.
"Joanna," August said and drew her from her thoughts as she looked around. "Are you OK?"
"Yep, on top of the world my co-author," Joanna said as she pushed August playfully. Him smiling.
"I mean about this Marissa Turner," August commented. Joanna now realizing why Karen had insisted she ride up front.
"I won't embarrass you, at least not by beating her brains in," Joanna said coldly.
"You heard what I said, I won't start... nothing," Joanna said. "She stays out of my face and there won't be trouble. She'll have to start it."
"She apologized Joanna Marie," Brittany said. "You should be the bigger person, my baby."
"I choose not to," Joanna said. "You two wanna keep going? Cause you're not changing my mind about how I feel. Keep trying though."
"Joanna, sweetheart, do you know what hate does to you?"
"Do you know what it's like to cry yourself to sleep at night because someone keeps terrorizing you for no reason?" Joanna asked Karen.
"She didn't terrorize you," Brittany said. "She was mean to you."
"And yes Joanna I do know what that's like," Karen said.
"Then explain to me how you simply forgive someone who's magically transformed themselves into a real human being," Joanna said. "Which by the way I don't believe for one second."
"Hard headed," August commented, feeling like he was talking to his own daughter at 16 and dreading that moment. "You make me hope for a boy just so he won't act like you."
"I love you too Daddy!" Joanna said with a dorky smile as she laid her head on August's shoulder and grinned. He simply smiled and laid his head against Joanna's and hoped tonight wasn't gonna be the train the wreck it seemed to be starting out as.
** ** ** Meanwhile @ Sammler-Manning Manor
"Hey, ZoŽ's girlfriend," Stephanie said as she came down the stairs and saw Mandy coming down the hall from the kitchen.
"Huh?" Mandy asked as ZoŽ came out of the kitchen at that moment and met the two at the bottom of the steps. 5Seeing that Stephanie was dressed really nice and apparently headed out for a night on the town.
"Nothing, just me being goofy," Stephanie said. "You guys coming to the book signing tonight?"
"For August?" ZoŽ asked.
"August's second novel is debuting tonight," Stephanie said with a beaming smile. "You guys wanna come?"
"ZoŽ?" Mandy asked, hoping she didn't want to.
"Place is gonna be crowded and we'd just be in the way," ZoŽ said. "So if Mom says it's OK, I'll probably just hang out with Amanda here at the house."
"You could never be in the way," Stephanie said, feeling a bit of disappointment over ZoŽ's decision. Jessie came down the stairs and kissed her girlfriend's cheek. Stephanie smiled brightly. "ZoŽ's not going."
"OH OK," Jessie said as she stopped at the bottom of the steps and searched through the rack of coats by the front door. "You wanna drive on down and hang out with Judy and Henry for a while?"
"Sure," Stephanie said as she shrugged and followed after Jessie as the two made their exit. Mandy moved to the front door and watched the two drive off in Lily's car a moment later before she said, "She was kinda disappointed you didn't go."
"Steph," Mandy said as she joined ZoŽ in the living room. "What's that about?"
"We've gotten pretty close and she might have wanted me there for moral support?" ZoŽ asked, becoming curious herself. "I don't really know."
"Well hello there," Lily said as she came into the living room and smiled as she saw Mandy.
"Hey!" Mandy said with a smile. "Miss me?"
"Of course we did," ZoŽ said as she hugged her girlfriend from behind. "We cried every night over you."
"Yeah OK," Mandy said as ZoŽ laughed.
"She's not exaggerating," Lily said as she pointed to ZoŽ.
"Mom!" ZoŽ said in surprise as Mandy laughed.
"Steph and Jessie already gone?"
"Yep," Mandy said as ZoŽ turned to put a CD in the stereo. "Steph's heart broke cause her little ZoŽ wouldn't go and hold her hand."
"I'm sure," Lily giggled.
"It's true, Mom," ZoŽ said as she grinned. "Can we just hang out here tonight?"
"Don't see why not," Lily said as she turned back towards the kitchen and stopped cold when she felt the same thing she'd felt for days now, off and on, what felt like contractions. Then a light kicking at the inside of her stomach. She smiled and looked back to see ZoŽ and Mandy lost in each other in their own way and decided to see if any more symptoms developed before she mentioned anything. Marley passed Lily as she went back into the kitchen.
"Will you dance with me?" ZoŽ asked Mandy as her girlfriend smiled and nodded.
"Hi, Manda, Hi, ZoŽ Girl," Marley said as she came into the living room and stopped as she saw them. "You two play with me?"
"Lily did that on purpose," Mandy said as ZoŽ laughed and picked Marley up.
"How about we dance Mar-bear?" ZoŽ asked as Marley grinned. ZoŽ started to sway to the music as Mandy grinned and watched her girlfriends butt go back and forth for as long as ZoŽ didn't notice. "What are you doing? You're watching my butt."
"So? I have that right," Mandy said as she kissed ZoŽ. "You complaining cause I like what I see?"
"Now that you put it that way? No!" ZoŽ said as Mandy laughed.
"You can look at my butt too, Manda," Marley said as ZoŽ and Mandy cracked up. "What?"
** ** ** Meanwhile @ Book Lovers
Joey watched the growing crowd in front of the store as she looked out the window of the now closed shop, seeing some faces she actually recognized and some she didn't. She hoped that when August arrived with Joanna that there wouldn't be some big ugly scene with Marissa and that the store would survive what ever did happen.
"STOP IT HENRY!" Marissa giggled as she ran back inside and away from Henry's water hose. Drawing Joey's attention away from the thoughts in her head.
"What's he doing to you?" Joey asked with a smirk.
"He got me wet," Marissa said as she leaned across the counter and met Joey's gaze. Seeing Joey's devilish smile she knew one of Joey's trademark smart ass comments was forming. So she decided to reply before it even came. "But you Joey Larue make me wetter."
"Oh boy," Joey said with a huge grin. "Wanna let me see up close to make sure?"
"You protect me from Joanna tonight and I might," Marissa said as Joey smiled and the two kissed softly. "Think we'll have a big crowd tonight?"
"Huge, look at the number of people already here," Joey said as she pointed to the window, nearly fainting as she saw someone she'd never expected to see here, also the one person she hoped she wouldn't see tonight, Rayne. And she was holding hands with... Jennifer Connelly. What? "OHMIGOD!"
"What?" Marissa asked as Joey tried to control her slowly building anger.
"That slut actually has the guts to show up here," Joey said.
"My skanky whore of an ex-girlfriend," Joey said as she found herself marching around the corner and towards the front door.
"Joey, chill," Marissa said as she got in front of her. "You don't need to do this, you're upset and you're just gonna say something you'll regret."
"I'm gonna tell her to leave, nicely," Joey said with a forced smile.
"No," Marissa said with a finger point. "Now if I'm your girl you do this for me."
"I'm not your girlfriend," Joey said in anger. And seeing the hurt in Marissa's eyes, her angering fadrd. "I'm sorry... I wouldn't mind being your girlfriend."
"Save it," Marissa said. "You're not my girlfriend. What was I thinking trying to stop you from fighting?"
"I said I was sorry," Joey countered. "I'm OK, now."
"It just... she's only here to ruin this night for me," Joey said. "I just know it."
"Are you delusional?" Marissa asked. "Everything Rayne does is because of you? To get under your skin?"
"No, I didn't say that," Joey said as Marissa looked out the window and down the sidewalk a bit to where Rayne and Jennifer stood, giggling and playfully trading kisses back and forth. The thought that Joey still had feelings for this Rayne girl creeping into her mind, but noting that Rayne sure didn't seem to be to worried about Joey as she was obviously concentrating on the cute blond in front of her. "It's just, well she showed up here."
"And Rayne's friend, the blond girl, has a book in her hand," Marissa pointed out. "You think it might be a copy of August's novel?"
"Maybe," Joey said as she began to feel stupid.
"That mean nasty girl come to get an autograph," Marissa said in a mocking voice.
"Shut up," Joey said as she walked past Marissa and was headed back to the counter when she saw Jennifer and Rayne... kiss. "What the hell are they doing?"
"That would be kissing Joey," Marissa said. "Girls who like that do it a lot. We have."
"If you don't knock it off we won't anymore," Joey said as Marissa laughed.
"Not funny," Joey said as she again looked to see Rayne kissing Jennifer and felt emotions she'd not felt in a long time. Anger, jealousy and some others she4couldn't quite place her finger on. Before she knew it, Joey found herself walking towards the door and out it as Marissa groaned and ran after her. Marissa stopping just behind Joey as Rayne and Jennifer looked up and seemed surprised at who was now staring them down. "What are you doing here?"
"What do you think? And what are you doing here?" Rayne asked. Joey just then realizing that Rayne may not have known that she had been working at Book Lovers. "Please don't tell me you're here for the book signing?"
"I work here you clueless slut," Joey snapped.
"Joey, damn it, knock it off and go back inside," Marissa said in a hissed whisper as she got in front of her. "That was uncalled for."
"She is," Joey said. Becoming even more frustrated with her inability to control her anger. And having no idea where all this was coming from.
"I'm not with Cori, you got your way, Joey," Rayne said as Jennifer looked on in concern. "We decided we both needed more time."
"Like I care," Joey said. "Unlike you I can move on."
"You sure can, into the arms of your next damsel," Rayne said in anger.
"Damsel?" Marissa asked. "As in Damsel in distress?"
"She's insane," Joey said. "She thinks I do that, go running after the next girl to save her."
"I was raped!" Marissa said. "And Cori is better, sooo, I'm what your latest damsel? Cause now that I think about it, Shady was your first?"
"I was," Rayne said. "Was on drugs big time."
"SHUT UP WHORE!" Joey screamed.
"You're the whore Larue, you've fucked half the people in school," Jennifer said as she stepped in front of Rayne.
"You best tell your little mouthy bitch to shut up," Joey said. Marissa still looking at her with a hurt in her eyes that Joey could see clearly.
"Jenn, Jenn, come on, let's just go," Rayne said. "Joey's not worth it."
"What do you mean I'm not worth it?" Joey asked as Marissa simply stepped aside and let her confront Rayne.
"We are over and you are the only one who is still psycho over it," Rayne said as she took Jennifer's hand and laced their fingers. "I'm leaving so you can win. Joey Miss Perfect can be right and feel better."
"You just come here to start shit and to shove it in my face that you're dating a twelve year old," Joey said as her anger flared and she felt herself being dragged deeper and deeper into this anger and she couldn't for the life of her figure out where it was coming from.
"OK, look you psycho, you leave Jennifer out this," Rayne said. "She has nothing to do with this."
"She called me a whore."
"I only said it cause you were calling her names," Jennifer fired back.
"I'm going to get Judy," Marissa said as she started to walk off.
"No need, we're leaving," Rayne said as she pushed by Joey or tried to when Joey lost it and pushed her back and into Jennifer who went tumbling to the ground and slamming her head into the concrete with a thud. Joey looking on in disbelief at what she had just done as Jennifer held her head and started to cry. "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?"
"I'm sorry, it was a mistake," Joey said as her anger was zapped and now she felt terrible as she watched Rayne help Jennifer up. "Can I help?"
"You are crazy Larue, you need help," Rayne said. "I was not here to start trouble and you come marching out here like a psycho and attack me and someone you hardly know."
"I said I was sorry," Joey said as Judy arrived at the front door to see a small crowd watching in shock. "Jennifer, I'm sorry."
"Go to hell!" Jennifer said as she held her head.
"You OK?" Rayne asked as Jennifer smiled and let Rayne kiss her. "When we get home I'll make you feel better, OK?"
"Looking forward to it," Jennifer said with a devilish grin.
"OK, what is going on here?" Judy asked.
"Nothing," Joey said as she glared at Rayne and Jennifer.
"Joey gotta be right attacked my friend," Rayne said.
"Joey? What's up?"
"It wasn't like that, it was a mistake," Joey said. Now in fear of losing her job.
"You started it, Joey," Marissa said as Joey looked back at her in shock. "You did. I begged you not to come out here."
"I thought I was gonna have to worry about Joanna, not you," Judy said. "Get back inside, this is over."
"We're leaving," Rayne said as Judy stopped them.
"You were here for the book signing?" Judy asked as Rayne nodded. "How about you come inside, Joey will apologize to you and your friend, and you can meet August Dimitri."
"I already said I was sorry," Joey muttered.
"I'd like to meet August," Rayne said. "I loved his book."
"When did you learn to read?" Joey heard her mouth say.
"Shut up, god, why are you being so mean to her?" Marissa asked.
"BECAUSE I'M STILL IN LOVE WITH HER!" Joey screamed. The words literally hung in the air like a bomb that had just exploded. Everyone froze in place it seemed. A few moments passed as the shell shock wore off and Joey felt the realization that the shocking words she'd just uttered might possibly be true.
Marissa looked at Joey for a long time, then the tears slowly began to fall, a devastated, heartbroken look on her face that told the entire story of how hurt she was. Joey ran her fingers through her hair and could say nothing as she watched Marissa simply turn and walk off back into the store.
"You're in love with Rayne?" Judy asked in shock.
"I don't know where that come from," Joey said. "Every time I see her I just lose it."
"You're in love with me?" Rayne asked as she moved in front of Joey. "Answer me. Don't you dare act like I'm not here."
"I'm as confused as you are," Joey said. "I guess, I never got over you."
"You want me to just leave so you don't have to choose between us?" Jennifer asked Rayne. "I thought you still had feelings for her."
"Don't go, give me a chance to prove I'm not Sam?" Rayne asked as Jennifer shrugged.
"I guess I'm sorry for a lot of the stuff I said, it wasn't true, most of it," Joey said. "It was just too hard loving you when you kept going back to the drugs."
"I went back to the drugs, one time," Rayne said. "Then I went to rehab."
"Can we go somewhere and talk?" Joey asked.
"You just broke that Marissa girls heart and you can see I've moved on and you wanna talk?" Rayne asked. "Do you honestly think I'd even consider going out with you again?"
"Beats dating a twelve year old," Joey said in a hurt voice. Rayne felt something in her snap as she smacked Joey as hard as she could. A thud like skin slapping sound echoing in the air as Joey's head snapped to the right.
"I hate you now," Rayne said. "Don't you ever talk to me again."
"OK, that's it, you two need to leave," Judy said as Joey began to cry. Feeling like her whole world had fallen apart in a matter of seconds. Rayne took Jennifer's hand and walked off in silence. Marissa coming out of the building and having seen the entire incident following Joey's "I still love her" admission, walked over to Judy and handed her an envelope. "What's this?"
"Use that to hire someone new, it's all the money you paid me," Marissa said. "Thank you for the job. I quit."
"What?" Joey asked as she looked up finally and saw Marissa's eyes were still filled with tears. "I'm sorry."
"Save it, I get it now," Marissa said. "Don't call me, don't talk to me at school, we are over."
"Marissa, please? Come on," Judy said as Marissa walked off, driving away a few moments later. "What the hell has gotten into you Joey?"
"Apparently I'm still in love with Rayne, the girl who smacked the hell out of me," Joey said. "Nothing has seemed to make sense lately. And it all started when Marissa came in. That's when my trouble with Cori started too."
"We are going to have a long talk tonight," Judy said. "And I mean long. You OK to work?"
"Sure!" Joey said. "I won't let you down."
"You never have," Judy said.
** ** ** Meanwhile @ Sammler-Manning Manor
"Hey Pashy, who you wait on?" Marley asked as she walked up on Passion standing on the porch and looking up and down the road nervously.
"My boyfriend... I mean Wylan, you remember him?" Passion asked. Picking her little sister up.
"Him dat pretty man dat you like," Marley said as Passion laughed.
"Dat be him Mar-bear," Passion laughed. "He's coming to get me to take me on a real date."
"He bring you back?" Marley asked as Passion smiled and kissed her sisters chin.
"Yes Mar Bear, him bring me back," Passion said as Marley smiled and seemed perfectly content as she wiggled to get down and ran into the yard excitedly as she spotted Camille coming up the lawn with Pepperoni on her leash.
"Hi peppy, hi Pepperoni," Marley said excitedly as she ran to meet her in the middle of the yard. Pepperoni barking happily as she jumped up and down Marley's legs and soon went chasing after her as Camille released the dog from it's leash. Marley and Pepperoni ran off into the house and noisily ran down the hall.
"Hey, Cori home?" Camille asked.
"She's inside somewhere," Passion said. "Probably in her bedroom. You can go on in, Lily will show you were to go."
"That's OK, if she's busy," Camille said.
"She's not, she's just bored, would love to see you," Passion said. "What's wrong?"
"Can you please go and get her for me?" Camille asked. "I'd really appreciate it."
"Honey, is Wylan here yet?" Lily asked as she came to the door and smiled when she saw Camille. Passion not even getting a chance to answer either question before Lily went on. "I thought you'd be around somewhere, Marley and that puppy are having a time."
"I can take her home if she's too much trouble," Camille said.
"That's OK, I've gotten really attached to Marley, but thanks anyway," Lily said as Passion laughed.
"I meant my dog," Camille said with a blush. "Is Cori home?"
"She's in the kitchen," Lily said. "Follow me?"
"Cool beans," Camille said.
"Passion, honey let me know before you leave?" Lily asked.
"Uh huh," Passion said with a smile as Lily and Camille walked off inside. Wylan's car appearing on the horizon as Passion felt her heart race and tried in vain to control her excitement as he pulled up and got out. "Hey!"
"Hey my number one fan," Wylan said with the gorgeous smile that Passion adored. She met him as he walked onto the porch and looked around nervously before she kissed him and grinned. "WOW!"
"I been thinking about doing that all day," Passion said as Wylan grinned devilishly and kissed her again. A clearing of the throat sending both of them jumping apart and to Passion's horror there stood Rick.
"Afternoon," Rick said.
"Afternoon Mr. Sammler," Wylan said.
"What's going on here?" Rick asked.
"We were kissing, Rick, it's not a crime," Passion said as Rick smiled and put his arm around Passion as she gave him a dirty look.
"Now Wylan I am trusting you with my little Kiwi here and you better treat her good and bring her home on time," Rick said as Wylan simply nodded.
"I like being your Kiwi, but I'm not little," Passion said.
"You just got here, so in my mind you're still in diapers!"
"Ohmigod, sooo mean to me," Passion said as Rick laughed.
"We're gonna have to trademark that," Rick said as Passion slapped his arm.
"We're probably gonna stop by the big book signing down at... Book Lovers?" Wylan asked. "You said you wanted to go, right?"
"I read August's novel... and oops, you don't like him, I'm sorry Rick..."
"And that is why I'm staying here tonight and you are doing as you please," Rick said. "Back by 9:30."
"Yes, sir," Wylan said as Rick walked back inside.
Passion and Wylan pulled out just as Sarah's Mustang was pulling up. ZoŽ and Mandy came out of the house at that moment, giggling and playfully pushing each other, stopping just as Sarah and Grace got out on opposite sides and came up the walk.
"Hey lovebirds," Sarah said with a smile. Seeing both of them in socks she knew they'd settled in for the evening. "You two not going to August's big book signing?"
"Nah, OHMIGOD!" ZoŽ squealed as Mandy tickled her. "Amanda, stop it."
"No," Mandy said as ZoŽ took her girlfriends hands and laced their fingers together and then kissed her. A weird feeling washing over Grace as she watched the two giggling. "OK, maybe."
"You can ride with us if you wanna go," Sarah offered.
"Thanks anyway, I got my wheels if we decide to," Mandy said. "Place is gonna be a zoo."
"Yeah, they had a line already when we came by earlier," Grace commented. An excited barking could be heard followed by Marley's ever present giggles as her and Pepperoni ran onto the porch and stopped as she saw Sarah and Grace. Marley gave Sarah and Grace a long serious look before she smiled.
"Hi," Marley said as she ran to Sarah, who swept the little girl into her arms and hugged her. "You OK?"
"Yeah I'm fine, why?" Sarah asked as Marley touched her face.
"Cause I love you, you nice to me," Marley said as Sarah hugged her. "I glad you not hurt."
"Well, I love you too boogerhead..." Sarah said as Marley smiled and crossed into Grace's arms and said almost the same thing. Confusing both girls as they tried to figure out what she was talking about.
"And I love you too Mar bear," Grace said as Marley smiled.
"Why would I be hurt?" Sarah asked gently. Pepperoni watching closely and seemingly protectively as her eyes never left Marley.
"You're home got burned all up," Marley said calmly. "I glad you come here. You can be safe."
"Huh?" Sarah asked in shock.
"Dat place you and Grace live in a lot," Marley said. Sarah just then figuring out that the little girl meant her apartment building. "It got burned."
"Marley sweety, we just came from there, no one burned it," Grace said.
"Nope, it got all burned up," Marley insisted. "Sarah's place is OK, but it got all burned around it."
"Did you tell her this?" Sarah asked ZoŽ and Mandy.
"Nope, and the TV's been off for hours," ZoŽ said. "I don't know where she heard it."
"Sweety, listen OK?" Sarah asked as she took Marley back in her arms. "Who told you my place got burned?"
"Carl, Cori's bear," Marley said as Grace covered her mouth and tried to keep from laughing. "Him told me when my Daddy went away too."
"Ohmigod, I remember that," ZoŽ said. "She knew that, K-y-l-e got killed. Long before any of us."
"But, but, how?"
"I told you Boogerhead, Carl tells me," Marley said as if she were tired of explaining it already. "Get it that time?"
"Well, this time, Carl was wrong," Sarah said as she tickled Marley and made her laugh.
"No him not," Marley said with a finger point. "Carl no lie to me."
"OK, OK," Sarah said as she sat her down and watched as Marley and Pepperoni ran off back into the house playing. "That is really spooky."
"You wanna go back by and make sure everything is OK?" Grace asked as she hugged Sarah from behind.
"No, I'm pretty sure everything is OK," Sarah said. "Let's check on Mom?"
"She's fine, big as a house but fine," Mandy giggled. "In the kitchen."
** ** ** Meanwhile @ Book Lovers
"Oh good lord!" Brittany said in amazement as she saw the crowd that had now gathered outside of Book Lovers. "There's got to be 200 people there baby!"
"Well of course, they know I'm coming," Joanna said from the front seat as Brittany and Karen shared a laugh. August giving Joanna a look that spoke volumes as he pulled into the spot in front that'd been reserved for him. "We both know it's true."
"No... fighting," August demanded. Joanna knowing he was referring to Marissa. "You promise me Joanna."
"No fighting, but if she..."
"Nooo fighting," August demanded. "It's time you grow up and move on. You've got a chance to be a success and this is the start of it."
"You stay with me then," Joanna said as August nodded his head and both got out a moment later. Followed by Brittany and Karen. A roar slowly rising from the crowd as everyone recognized who it was. Joanna waited for August as the two slowly walked by and shook hands with a few people and waved to the rest.
"THANKS FOR COMING!" August practically screamed over the clapping and scattered whistles and cheers. "We'll get going in a few minutes."
"JOANNA, JOANNA CHRISTIANSON!" A gorgeous red head screamed to get Joanna's attention. Joanna smiled as she made her way down and shook the girls hand. The girl made Joanna think she was being stalked for a moment as she skirted under the police tape and pulled Joanna to the other side of the sidewalk. Brittany watched with a suspicious eye as she started towards her girlfriend. "You are so hot, do you have a girlfriend?"
"What?" Joanna asked in shock as the girl gave her a knowing smile.
"Do you have a girlfriend and if you don't can I be your now one?" The Girl asked in a flirty voice. Brittany stepped in behind her girlfriend and gave the new girl a look.
"Yes, she does have a girlfriend, that's me sweet heart," Brittany said firmly. Joanna smiled.
"Too bad, cause my name's Maddie..." She said and leaning close so both Joanna and Brittany could hear before she went on in a virtual whisper, "...and I do everything, and I'll do it with both of you. If that's your thing. Over and over and over again. I used to be a gymnast by the way."
"My cell number is..." Joanna babbled as the girl smiled and logged it into her phone before returning to her place in line. Joanna looked to see Brittany with a questioning smile on her face. Following her girlfriend as Brittany walked back down the sidewalk to the back of August's hummer. "What? Baby, stop, what is it?"
"Uh, UH, my number is..." Brittany said in her best imitation of Joanna's babbling response to Maddie's offer. "You practically... did her."
"You can do anything you want to her," Joanna said in a whisper as Brittany giggled and shrugged. "It's not like you'd kick her out of bed."
"Very true!" Brittany said as her and Joanna giggled and hugged. They turned to join August and Karen again, for the walk inside.