Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 126 - Insanity[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:15:29]
Keeley refused Aaron\'s offer of having him walk her to her door—if her roommates saw her with a guy this would look fifty times worse—and took a deep breath before ringing the doorbell.
Valentina pounced on her and hugged her so fiercely that she nearly fell over due to the lack of balance from the heels.
"Why on earth didn\'t you tell me where you were going?! What happened?" she demanded furiously.
Keeley had been practicing her story in her head on the ride home and had it down by now.
"Remember how I answered the door yesterday during our marathon? It was my cousin; apparently my aunt fell down the stairs and he needed help taking care of her. I panicked and went with him, forgetting my phone. I would have called you guys but I don\'t have either of your numbers memorized."
She mumbled curses at Keeley\'s stupidity in Spanish before tightening her hug. "Come on, Jennica\'s been worried about you too but I think she\'s in the bathroom."
When she came out, round two of the interrogation began. Keeley explained her lie as best she could and after ten minutes they finally let her go shower.
As the hot water streamed down her back she thought about the insanity of the past 24 hours. The most insane thing of all was that she was actually softening towards the person she vowed to escape forever.
Jennica was slightly jealous of her roommates\' ability to have consistent work. Auditions had not been going well—out of everything she tried in the month of November she only got one callback for a tiny background part in a music video shoot that only paid $85 a day and lasted two weeks in December. Not very helpful to her overall financial situation.
Cameron had been a lifesaver—she had gone out to dinner with him practically every night since he returned from his business trip and it was saving her a bundle on groceries. She felt like she was taking advantage him so she offered to make him dinner one night.
Anna Stevens was a traditional woman and had taught her daughter how to cook in order to snag a husband. Jennica was confident that he could like what she made.
He agreed but said that she should do it at his apartment so they wouldn\'t disturb her roommates\' studies. She wasn\'t stupid enough to believe he was completely free of ulterior motives but she did want to meet his dog so the day before they were set to travel to Ohio she found herself in his kitchen.
Cameron\'s apartment was a two-story three bedroom penthouse in a relatively nice building overlooking Central Park that had an airy, open feel to it. Jennica was amazed that someone she knew could afford a place like this.
He confessed that he bought it for slightly under a million using his World Series of Poker winnings when the real estate market was in a slump a few years ago but it was the only big purchase he ever made. He had wanted a decent sized apartment for Ziggy\'s sake.
Ziggy was adorable—when Jennica first stepped through the door he jumped up on her immediately. Cameron tried to pull him back but she didn\'t mind. She had missed the exuberant greetings she got from her dogs Daisy and Milo whenever she visited her mom\'s house.
After subduing Ziggy, he led her to the kitchen and asked if she needed help with anything.
"Nope!" she said with a smile. "It\'s my turn to treat you so just sit back and relax."
"If you\'re sure." He parked himself in a chair and rubbed Ziggy\'s head. "So, what are you making?"
"Salmon with crispy potatoes and a side salad."
It was one of her mother\'s signature dishes and wasn\'t even hard to make. Her mom liked to focus on meals that looked fancy but didn\'t require much time or money. Begrudgingly, she admitted it was a useful skill.
Salmon was the most expensive item she had to buy for this meal but it wasn\'t so bad since she hadn\'t been spending as much on food lately. And she did want to impress her date.
"Why don\'t you tell me more about your family so I know what to expect tomorrow," Cameron suggested as she began frying up the fish.
Jennica thought about what the most important information about each of her family members would be.
"Let\'s see…my mom, Anna, is an old-fashioned woman. Even though she\'s been a single mom since I was fourteen and my dad ran off with his legal secretary, she still believes a woman\'s primary value is in being married."
Her tone grew rueful. "You can see how I would have disappointed her since my brother got married and had a kid long before me."
Now wasn\'t the time to focus on that though. She had a question to finish answering.
"Brian\'s a good guy. He has a strange sense of humor but that\'s what his wife likes about him. Her name is Alison and she\'s the second smiliest person I\'ve ever met, right after Valentina. She\'s a stay at home mom for their two-year-old, Bennett, that we all call Benny. I don\'t know how she does it; he\'s cute but exhausting."
"Sounds a lot like my nieces and nephews," Cameron said with a laugh. "I spend five minutes with them and I\'m ready to keel over."
"How many do you have?"
Jennica couldn\'t even imagine dealing with that many kids at once. "No way! How many siblings do you have?!"
"Four. I\'m right in the middle; two older, two younger. My sister Chloe has three kids, my brother Chase has two, and my baby sister Carly surprised us all by becoming a single parent in college. Her son is almost a year old now."
"…does everyone in your family\'s name start with C?"
He laughed in self-deprecation. "Yeah. My mom and dad are named Crystal and Connor so they kept the tradition going. None of my siblings did though. I probably won\'t either."
"Who\'s the missing sibling? You named three of them," Jennica noted.
"Ah, right. Cooper. He\'s a year older than Carly."
"It must have been crazy growing up with that many siblings in the house. Things were wild enough with just me and Brian."
"It could be," he admitted. "But we didn\'t all live at home at the same times. Chloe and Carly are sixteen years apart. The first three of us were born only a few years apart but then my parents waited a while before having more. Chloe and Chase were out of the house before Carly was in kindergarten."
Wow. His family seemed completely different from hers. They continued chatting about their families as she prepared dinner and she couldn\'t help but feel a pang of jealousy at how supportive his parents seemed of their children.