We're back in Hollywood, unpacked and pretty much back to normal life. I'm three million richer, too.
But to be honest, I couldn't care less right now. I'm still too busy worrying about whether Hadley will find someone better than me at college. And he wants to go to med school now. By the time he's done there, the best part of a decade will have passed. I mean, that's plenty of time to fall for someone else.
Because let's face it, he's going to be spending more time at college than at home, and he's going to want to spend time with new friends and stuff.
Time which I will spend panicking. ‘Cause I'm hardly gonna stop him from having a social life, now, am I?
I'm distracted from my internal rambling/whining/panicking by Hadley suggesting we go see Brent about him getting a job there. And I can ask after Cay, since I barely made it to my own apartment after we got off the plane, let alone Cayden's place.
I nod and follow him outside, doing my best not to go back to fretting over him finding someone else. And trying not to feel like a selfish asshole. I mean, I can hardly stop him from doing what he wants, but it's so very tempting.
All this internal monologue leaves very little room for any sort of conversation between me and Hadley as we walk. I notice him looking kinda worried out of the corner of my eye.
"You okay?" I look up, kinda surprised at the break in the silence.
"Yeah." He gives me a teeny frown and then shrugs. I just go back to being quiet. He starts to look worried again, so I take his hand, hoping it might ease his worry. He squeezes it and kisses my cheek as I smile a little. That look of worry creeps back onto his face again and I wonder why for a moment until I realise that my grip on his hand has tightened slightly.
I look up, relieved to see Brent's store closer than I thought it would be, and I do my best to ignore the look on Hadley's face til we reach the shop.
"Maxxie! Baby Smith!" Brent greets us as we go inside.
"Hey," I mutter, trying to smile.
"What brings you to my fine establishment?" he asks with a chuckle. I glance at Hadley. He wants the job, he should be the one that asks.
"I was kinda hoping you'd give me a job," he mumbles and I have to try really hard not to giggle. That's not how you get jobs, even if the person you're asking is your brother's best mate. Brent apparently notices me trying not to giggle, because he tells me:
"Shush, you're gross." Nice. He turns to Hadley, "I can't guarantee anything but you can help out in the back room. That place is a fucking mess." Hadley smiles and nods.
"I'm not gross," I pout.
"Bro, you so are," Brent says and I scowl.
"Whatever. Is Cayden in? I promised I'd see him the moment we got back, but I was pretty much unconscious in the taxi back."
"I was kinda hoping you'd know where he is. I haven't seen the guy since he got out of hospital." Uh oh.
"I dunno, I thought you'd know where he was staying. I mean I figured he'd be at his apartment, but he's not answered my calls."
He shrugs. "I went round to feed Gary and I heard him shuffling around in there but he hasn't come into work." I frown slightly, kinda concerned. Has he not left his apartment since he got out of hospital? "Let me know if you see him, yeah?"
"Yeah, of course. I'll go round and see if he's in," I mutter, looking at Hadley, "You staying here, or d'you wanna come with?"
Hadley looks at Brent. "Go. I don't need you here til tomorrow."
At Cay's place, knocking on the door gets me nowhere. Knocking harder gets me nowhere either. I pull my key ring out of my pocket and look through the keys to see if I still have Cayden's key. I can't remember if I gave it back or not.
"Maybe he's not home?" Hadley suggests kinda quietly. I shrug, looking at a key. I don't remember you, key, what do you do? I try it in the lock and... no, of course not. After a moment, I do find the right key and, making a mental note to not give it back, I try to go in.
I say try, because the door won't fucking open. I budge it open just enough to see he's got that lump of tree stump that usually serves as a table pushed up against it. Kinda beginning to worry, I push harder, opening the door til we can actually get in.
The place is a mess. Even in the dark I can tell it's a mess. It's never a mess. Or at least, it's never this messy.
What the fuck is going on here?