Hello Commons, how are we doing today? For some reason WordPress just put me through formatting hell, I pasted a story onto a blank page and two-thirds of it was in a completely different font and size as the rest of it. It was a mess and a half to sort out, but I just let it happen and sorted it out anyway. Speaking of which…
Today I have a fresh story for y’all. This story, called Let It Happen, is the first of two stories about the same event told from different perspectives that I keep bringing up. The event is the meeting and getting together of Jack and Brandy, two people who dated earlier in their lives until Jack disappeared for ten years only to show back up in town one day. Let It Happen is told from Brandy’s point of view, Jack’s point of view will be coming in a couple days. You can find the story on the Miscellaneous Writings page, by clicking that link-a-roo up there or by scrolling down, like always. Hope you enjoy!
That’s all for today, I have a couple stories written that will be popping up over the course of this week and I’ll be doing W-2020 work in the mean time. Stay tuned Commons, stuff’s-a-coming. Also, be good, at least until next time~
Let It Happen
“Who is that guy?” asks Todd as Brandy hangs the order up in window between the kitchen and the counter.
“An old friend,” she says back, looking for some menus to organize. “I knew him a long time ago. He ordered like three breakfasts, you should be smiling babe.”
“Yeah but he also kissed your hand over there, so I’m not.”
Brandy just rolls her eyes. “Jealousy isn’t a good look on you. He’s an old friend that hasn’t been back to town in years and he was happy to see me. So what? Just relax.”
The cooks prepare the dishes quickly, the lunch rush has come and went and the Muddy Creek Diner is at a slow point. Todd, the manager of this fine establishment, scowls as he watches Brandy, his best waitress and lovey lady friend, bring some dude his food. Todd normally isn’t the jealous type, he swears, but something’s just off about this. Brandy’s entire demeanor changed when the dude walked through the glass doors, the very same glass doors that Todd used to polish so many years ago. ‘I don’t like this,’ is all he can think as he retreats to his office and loudly slams the door behind him. Meanwhile, Brandy and her old friend Jack are doing some talking.
“Your manager seems pretty peeved, what’d you do?” he asks as he sips his steaming hot coffee.
“Oh nothing, he just doesn’t like me making too much small talk with the customers.” He is also her boyfriend, but she chooses not to mention that little tidbit. “He’ll be all pissy for a while but he’ll get over it. Just gotta let it happen is all.”
Jack smiles, “Always was a fan of letting things happen, weren’t you?” They look at each other in silence for a few moments, both eventually looking away at the same time. Jack takes a bite of his cherry pie, complimentary with the breakfast-for-lunch combo. Then, “Wow, this is great! You bake it yourself?”
She laughs. “No dumbass, I don’t make the food I just carry it across vast distances.”
Suddenly the bells handing from the door ring, announcing the entrance of some customers. A tall man with a red flannel shirt and a beard to match is followed by his awfully slender wife, who is missing at least one tooth, and their chubby son.
“Shit, those are my regulars. I gotta go.” She holds out her hand to Jack, a piece of paper tucked between her middle and index fingers. “Here’s my address, I know I said I’d write it on the check but I kinda need to take that back after you leave, so.”
Jack takes the paper and slips it into his wallet. “Awesome, thanks so much Brandy. I owe you for this, seriously.”
“Any time Jacky. Come over around dinner time, let’s say eight o’clock?”
Jack smiles, saying, “I’ll be there,” and topping it all off with a wink.
Brandy rolls her eyes, but walks away with a tremendous smile on her face. She probably should have mentioned the whole Todd thing, but that’s okay. They’ll meet each other tonight, and she’ll totally tell Todd that Jack’s going to be crashing in the guest room before he gets there. After taking care of the local folk Brandy brings Jack’s thirty dollar check to an empty table. She’s confused at first and a little pissed off, but when she finds the two hundred dollar bills hidden underneath the neatly stacked tower of dishes, well, she’s much less concerned about Jack leaving and not saying goodbye.
Todd walks into the kitchen and pauses, staring at the table. “Why’d you set a third spot, are we expecting someone?”
“Ummm yeah,” said without making eye contact. “My friend Jack is coming over.”
A moment of silence. “That guy from the diner?”
“Yeah. He’s going to be staying with us for a few days too, I hope you don’t mind.”
Todd’s jaw drops in a display of just how much he minds. “Seriously? No discussion, no, no consultation?”
Brandy looks at him from across the table. Silence.
“Does he even know that we’re tog-”
A knock on the door, breaking the one-sided conversation into utter silence.
“He’s here!” exclaims Brandy as she prances to the door, her face suddenly sprouting a smile.
She is greeted with a bouquet of flowers and a hug from Jack. He notices Todd’s angry expression mid-embrace so he does his best to make the situation a little less awkward.
“And this must be the boyfriend! Hi man, I’m Jack, it’s good to see you. Thanks so much for letting me stay here while I’m passing through town, I really appreciate it.” He extends his hand to do a handshake but Todd just stares at him and keeps his arms folded. Brandy pretends not to notice, but boy does she notice. Dinner goes smoothly enough, Brandy serves some penne alla vodka sauce and she and Jack talk nonstop, catching up after nearly ten years of not seeing each other. Jack tells crazy stories about all the different odd jobs he’s worked over the years and Brandy lays down the town’s latest gossip and drama. Todd doesn’t look up from his food.
Once dinner is over, Brandy starts ferrying the dishes into the kitchen. She suggests that Todd should give Jack a tour of the house to which he obliges, after making a show of dropping his utensils on his plate. When the dishes are all washed and set to dry, Brandy returns to find Todd sitting alone in the living room.
“Did Jack go up to his room?”
“No,” Todd says as he stands and faces approximately ninety degrees away from his girlfriend, “he left.”
Brandy silently waits for an explanation.
“I told him that he should go find somewhere else to sleep. I think his coming here to stay with his ex-girlfriend is a bit inappropriate, especially when she’s taken. You know, you never ev-”
“What the fuck Todd?? So what if I used to date him, that was ten freaking years ago! I’ve clearly moved on seeing how you’re here!”
“You never even told me that you dated him!” he roars, pointing an accusatory finger at Brandy. She shoots him a look that strongly implies “shut the fuck up” but he keeps talking anyway. “I only know because he casually dropped it in when I was bringing him to his room! Like it doesn’t even matter, like it doesn’t effect what’s going on here at all!”
Brandy shakes her head. “Don’t even try to make this about me, you’re such a jealous prick! Every time I so much as look in the general direction of where another guy might be standing you throw a shit fit! Get out!”
“But Brandy, I-”
“Get the fuck out!!” She lobs a plastic vase, full of water and the flowers Jack brought her, across the room. Todd ducks but still gets soaked.
“Where am I supposed to go?! I’m not leaving tonight Brandy. You’ll just have to deal with me.”
She screams and goes into their bedroom, locking the door behind her. Todd tries knocking but she doesn’t answer, the anger fumes shooting out of her ears block the noise. Todd’s afraid that he may have messed up and that Brandy’s anger is just going to build and build over the next few days until she evicts him for good. And that’s exactly what happens; by the end of the week Jack is sleeping soundly in the guest room and the kitchen table is adorned with a brand new vase full of flowers.
Jack is just so good to Brandy over the next few weeks. He cooks her breakfast every morning, eats lunch at her diner every day (much to Todd’s disapproval) and he even buys her dinner when he’s not helping her cook it. That start going for romantic walks through the woods together, talking about the fun they used to have before Jack disappeared. He even apologizes for deserting her, which she never asked him to do. He really seems to have changed. One night after they come home from getting ice cream, Brandy tells Jack that he doesn’t have to sleep in the guest room if he doesn’t want to. By sunrise next morning they’re officially a thing again, making Brandy happier than she’s been in quite a long time. They didn’t plan it this way, everything just kind of fell into place. What better a way for things to go?
Exactly three weeks after Jack showed up in town, the sun rises just like any other day. Brandy wakes up beside her boo and gives him a gentle kiss on the cheek. She can’t even, this is just too perfect – she needs to facebook this moment. Carefully as not to wake him, she cuddles in close and messes up her hair a bit. Then, snap! All the girls around town that Brandy never talks to are going to be so jealous. No tags, no caption, just her and mystery man. Brandy’s so giddy that she literally skips downstairs and starts breakfast early. There’s nothing like the smell of bacon and pancakes to wake your man up.
A few minutes later, “Daaaamn baby what smells so good?”
“My breakfast. Sit down, you can watch me eat it if you want.”
Jack comes up and hug her from behind. “Yeah well make me some extra crispy bacon to watch, I’m just blind this morning.”
The couple eats breakfast in a blissful silence, occasionally broken by a gulp of orange juice or a complimentary belch. Todd and Brandy would rarely eat breakfast together, he’d always have to be at the diner first thing in the morning. He took, or rather takes, his management position very seriously. Much more seriously than his relationship with Brandy. If she had a dollar for every meal he had to leave in the middle of, for every date cut short and movie missed, for every morning she woke up in an empty bed to the sound of the exhaust on his ratty old piece of shit car, she wouldn’t have to work at that shitty diner with him. What a prick he is!
She nearly chokes on a pancake. “Yes babe?”
“I gotta talk to you about something. The last few weeks with you have been nothing short of a dream, truly.” He takes her hands in his, and then, “I feel like I’m falling in love with you all over again.”
This time Bandy does choke, but not on a pancake; she chokes on the warm, fluffy feelings that Jack just dropped all over her.
“I want this to last, so I need to set a rule.”
The choking stops.
“I recognize that you haven’t done this to me since we’ve been seeing each other, but no putting pictures of me online. No snapchat, instagram, facebook, uhhh… tumblr, if you’re into that. None of that nonsense.”
“Are you okay with this?”
“Maybe.” she says in between bites of pancake. “Why is this your rule?”
“Because I really, really hate social media, it just isn’t that social. I feel as though it makes the ego a tangible thing which is potentially very toxic to the human being. It takes away from the direct experience, which life is supposed to be, leaving the living to squabble over posting their lives, which they missed out on in doing so, to a website that encourages others to miss out on their lives. It’s just wrong baby, and I want no part of it.”
Brandy’s quiet for a moment. “You just got kinda deep there, didn’t ya?”
“I am an untapped aquifer, my dear. So you’re good with it?”
She sips her orange juice and pretends to think about it. “Yeah, I think I can hang. Speaking of which, wanna go hang in bed for a few before I have to go to work?”
“Do I!” The dirty dishes remain on the kitchen table for the entire day.
Brandy leaves for work at the same time that Jack leaves to do whatever it is that Jack does during the day. Brandy is not concerned, she knows he isn’t ballsy enough to pull any shit. Besides, he’ll be at the diner to eat lunch anyway. She walks into work ready to face the day, her smile as bright as the fluorescent lights hanging above.
Much to her own surprise, Brandy’s work day goes brilliantly. All of her customers are friendly, they all tip her well and Jack hangs out for hours longer than he normally does. Time flies so fast that Brandy doesn’t even realize it when her shift ends, working an extra half hour by mistake. It is now, a half hour past the end of her work day, that she realizes why things are so different at the diner today – Todd never showed up. This might be the first time in the history of his employment that he called out sick. Brandy worries for a moment but snaps out of it when Jack shows up, all dressed up in jeans and a flannel for their late-afternoon hike.
They get back into town just after nightfall. Trekking to the top of a mountain worked up quite a mighty thirst in the both of them, so after stopping home and cleaning the hike stench off of each other, Jacky D. and Brandy decide to go out for a couple drinks. Hand in hand they stride into the pub, a local hot spot called Sadie’s. It’s actually a pretty nasty little dive bar, but its the only place in town that serves alcohol so the patrons count their blessings.
The couple sits down at the bar, the ambiance of a local joint set perfectly by the boys playing pool accompanied by some classic 80s music bumping out of the jukebox. There’s even a drunkard slouched over the counter all the way down the bar – just like old times! Jack orders two whiskey sours and starts gushing before he takes his first sip.
“You know, babygirl, when I came into town a few weeks ago I had no plans of staying. I had some cash in my pocket, no job and nothing but time to kill; I was truly a free man, nothing to hold me down. After seeing some old friends I was planning on splitting, but then I ran into you.”
Brandy doesn’t know if she wants to drink or just continue getting drunk off of Jack.
“I think that’s when my plan changed.”
She chooses the latter. Unfortunately, that’s when a very sobering voice calls her out from across the bar.
“Todd?” she asks, half in disbelief and half in apathy. “What are you doing here, you don’t drink.”
“Yeah? Well you said you don’t fuck exes, but uh….” He uses the half-empty bottle of booze in his hand to point to Jack. “I guess we’re both liars.”
Jack, taking this as a cue to be chivalrous, says, “Look buddy, just sit back down this ain’t your business. Me and the lady-”
He interrupts him, slurring, “Fuck you an- hiccup and that cunt.”
‘Are you fucking kidding me you selfish, irresponsible, oblivious piece of shit asshole?!’ is what Brandy thinks, but she only says “Todd!” in a shocked fashion.
Jack takes a step towards Todd, saying, “The fuck you say, big man?” in a way that makes Brandy swoon internally. However she does not want a fight, so she attempts to step between the men arguing over her. This is when she gets shoved by Todd and trips over a bar stool, landing on the grimy floor.
She hears Jack say “That’s fuckin’ it,” but she’s not entirely sure what transpires next. Before she can catch up, Todd’s on the ground with a bloody face and the bar is silent. Jack helps her up and holds her tight, protecting her from any further harm. After a few seconds of staring out the window in deep contemplation, Jack speaks.
“Brandy, why don’t you go home. I’ll help mister manager over here get cleaned up and then I’ll meet you at the house.”
‘Oh my god this man.’ “No Jack you don’t have to do th-”
“Seriously, it’s fine.” They share a long, passionate kiss, still the center of attention judging from the continued silence in the air. “I’m sorry for all of this, I’ll see you soon.”
“Okay, okay.” Brandy walks to the door but dramatically stops when she’s halfway outside to look back and say, “see you soon, love.”
The walk back to her house is a cold and lonely one. What hell had just happened? She got so caught up in the moment, her new boyfriend defending her against Todd, drunk Todd no less. What was up with that anyway, why was he so drunk? Did he spend the whole day at the bar? Yeesh. By the time she gets home, Brandy is so awake from all the excitement and commotion that she decides to wait up for Jack. And that’s exactly what she does, she waits. And waits.
For hours, sitting alone in her house. Waiting.
knock knock knock
Brandy leaps across her house and opens the door for… Todd?
“What are you doing here, where’s Jack?”
Todd leans against the house, clearly not as sober as he could or should be. “Look, I… I wanted to apologize. What I said was douchey, I shouldn’t have tried to fight Jack and I specially shouldn’t have shoved you. I jus-”
“No, you shouldn’t have. Where is he?”
“Wait,” he peers over her shoulder into the empty house, “he’s not here?”
“No, he said he was going to clean you up and then he’d meet me right back here. It’s been hours…” she says, looking at the ground. An all too familiar feeling rises from the bowels of her slowly breaking heart.
“Hey, hey no don’t cry. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come here, I just, I…”
Brandy looks up at him, tears streaming down her face. “What Todd? You what?”
“I miss you. And I love you. And I lost my motel key and I have nowhere else to sleep.”
She just stares at him, that stupid drunk mess.
“Look, I want to be together again, or at least friends, but tonight isn’t the time to talk about that. If I could sleep in your guest room I would really appreciate it, I really have nowhere else to go.”
Brandy sighs, then hugs stupid Todd. What the hell, might as well let it happen. “Fine, you can stay tonight. I missed you too, I just…”
“It was my fault, all my fault. I’m sorry. Let’s go inside.”
They unhug and Todd slinks inside, barely making it to the guest room before old boy passes out. Brandy, still at the door, looks out into the forest, an eerie mist floating among the trunks of the trees. She can almost make out a figure, like someone’s there, watching from the distance, trying to decide whether or not he should come home. After a brief moment she closes the door, making the decision for him.