What did Gabe do now?
“Mm, something smells good.” Gabe yawned, emerging from the bedroom.
“We’re making pancakes! Oh…” She sighed as she dropped half an eggshell into the mixing bowl.
“It’s ok. You’ll do better next time.” Alex picked it out.
“Nice hair.” Victoria giggled. Gabe glared at her and smoothed his hair that was sticking up in tufts all over his head.
“At least he’s wearing pants.” Nate said from the couch, his eyes not leaving his video game.
“Thought I’d dress it up a bit for you guys.” Gabe smiled. “So what’s with all the people and noise at…” He glanced at the clock on the microwave. “Christ, 9:45?! Seriously dude.”
“I don’t know, he just showed up an hour ago and started cleaning.” Katie nodded towards Ryland as she picked a pancake off the pan with her spatula. “How do I know if it’s done?” Gabe grabbed the pancake and took a huge bite, gagging when raw batter oozed out the sides and down his chin.
“SO not done!” He spit it in the sink.
“I woke up early and didn’t have anything else I had to do. This place is disgusting.” Ryland shrugged. “Besides, why are you complaining? You weren’t even here.”
“Yeah, where were you?” Nate called.
“I was…getting Starbucks, I couldn’t sleep.”
“Are those the same clothes you wore yesterday?” Gabe eyeballed her.
“Then where’s the coffee, and where did that bruise on your neck come from?” Nate smirked.
“You guys can all shut up and mind your own business, I’m going to get changed, we have to be at the airport in three hours. Don’t talk about me when I’m gone.” Katie huffed, walking back to the bathroom.
“Crap, I forgot we were leaving today.” Gabe groaned.
“That’s ok, I already packed your stuff.” She smacked Nate in the back of the head as she walked by to get her clothes. “See if I help you get girls anymore.” She slammed the bathroom door.
“Something looks different.” Gabe looked around the apartment. “Did this place get bigger?”
“Me and Alex put the sofa bed back together.” Victoria said.
“Whoa, I haven’t seen the living room floor since Hawk moved in! I forgot the carpet was blue.”
“Guys, be nice to her. You’re a lot less obnoxious since she moved in here. And you smell better.” Victoria smiled.
“You saying you like how I smell? Do you smell me often?” Gabe cocked an eyebrow.
“Oh yeah, every time I’m locked in a bus with you for months on end.” She sighed, sarcastically.
“So do you think she was with this mystery guy last night?” Gabe whispered seriously.
“Duh.” Nate called from his spot on the couch.
“Who do you think it is?” Ryland asked, leaning across the counter, closer to Alex and Gabe.
“All I know is her phone said B.” Gabe shrugged.
“Who does she know whose name starts with B?” Alex thought out loud.
“How do you know it’s their name?” Victoria pondered.
“What else could it be?” Ryland wrinkled his eyebrows.
“And why wouldn’t she want us to know?” Alex pointed out.
“I think either it’s someone we know, or she’s embarrassed of them. What if he’s really ugly?” Gabe said.
“What if it’s that bike messenger she went out with in April?” Alex nodded. “He was kind of weird.”
“Bike messenger starts with B.” Ryland grinned.
“Why would she call him bike messenger and not his name?” Victoria sighed.
“To throw us off the trail?” Gabe shrugged.
“Maybe he’s not a he. Maybe he’s a she?” Victoria smirked. Nate appeared in the space between her and Ryland in an instant.
“What about a she?”
“Why aren’t you being helpful? You’re usually good at this.” Alex shook his head.
“Because I know who it is.” She shrugged.
“And you didn’t tell us?!” Gabe whisper-shouted.
“She told me in confidence. I can’t break girl code.” She crossed her arms over her chest.
“But it’s a she?” Nate grinned.
“No. It’s not a she.” Victoria rolled her eyes.
Katie flopped down on her hotel bed with a sigh. After lines and delays and security checks and the longest flight in the world, they finally arrived in L.A. for the VMAs. There was a huge thunderstorm and their flight had been delayed almost 7 hours, it was now close to 2 am New York time, and she was exhausted. Just as she was about to fall asleep, there was a knock on the door. Groaning, she got up and dragged herself over. “What do you want?” She called.
“Can I stay with you?” A voice drifted through the door. She opened it a crack to see Nate standing there in boxers and a hoodie.
“What’s wrong?” She opened the door, letting him into the room.
“Gabe’s snoring so loud I can hear it through the walls, and I think the girl from the desk downstairs is stalking me.” He peered up at her from inside his hood, with a face that made him look about six years old.
“Fine. But you’re sleeping on top of the blankets.” He skipped over to the bed and jumped in, on top of the sheets but under the comforter, and snuggled down. “You’re such a loser.” Katie sighed, climbing in the other side. “Move over.” She pushed him towards the edge of the bed, plopping a pillow in between them. “No funny business.”
“Yes, sir.” He mock saluted. “How come you don’t stay at your parents place when you’re out here?”
“The same reason I don’t live with them at home.”
“So when do we get to meet your boyfriend?”
“Eventually. Go to sleep.” She yawned.
“But why won’t you at least tell ME? I thought I was your buddy.” He whined.
“You are. You’re my little Natie, but if I tell you, you’ll just tell everyone else.”
“You have a point there.” He rolled over.
“Touch my butt again, and I’ll punch you in the face.”
“It was an accident!” He cried. When she heard his light snoring, Katie closed her eyes and went to sleep.
Katie woke abruptly to someone pounding on the door. “This has got to stop.” She mumbled to herself, rolling over and trying to ignore it.
“Kay! I need your help!” Gabe shouted through the door. She glanced across Nate, sprawled across the entire bed to the clock. 8:07. She groaned, shuffling over to the door.
“What did you do?” She opened the door with a yawn.
“Whoa, what’s going on here?” He smirked as he came in the room.
“Nate thought the receptionist was stalking him. What do you need?”
“Well, I couldn’t sleep, so I went out last night. I ran into an old friend…”
“Who is she? I’ll call Planned Parenthood.”
“No, it was a guy. He introduced me to this guy he knows who got me into this underground, back room poker game with some real shady dudes…”
“How much did you lose?”
“$10,000.” He said with a pained expression. “He said I have 24 hours to get it to him.”
“Gabe.” She scolded. “I’ll call my dad." She grabbed some clothes out of her bag and headed into the bathroom.
“It’s a good thing for you that my dad happens to be in to be in town on business.” Katie said, following Gabe out of the taxi in front of a tall building in the middle of the city.
“Is this where his office is?” Gabe took a step towards the large doors.
“No, we’re going here.” She led him next door and into a McDonalds. “My mom makes him eat all organic, macrobiotic, vegetarian, low fat, salt free crap, so when she’s not around he likes hamburgers.” They slid into a booth in the far corner of the restaurant where her father was half hidden behind a Big Mac, extra large fries and a soda that looked more like a bucket than a cup. “Hi Daddy, I take it Mom’s not here?”
“She and your sister went on a shopping spree. I told them I had some important business to attend to.” He said between bites. “You two are going to those awards tomorrow?”
“Yeah.” Katie nodded. “When someone heard I was going, they convinced me to present some award with Dee.”
“That should be fun.”
“Yeah, I guess so.” She shrugged.
“We’re going to be there, too. It’ll be fun.” Gabe clapped her on the shoulder.
“I wish I was going. It would certainly be more fun than the Greek and Roman Sculpture Preservation Fund dinner your mother has me going to.” Her father laughed.
“But who would preserve the Roman sculptures?”
“True. Now, what was it that you needed me for in such a hurry?”
“We…well, Gabe’s in a little bit of trouble.” Katie said, biting her nail nervously.
“Ok. How much do you need?”
“I’ll pay it back as soon as I can.” He shook his head. He proceeded to tell the entire story of the friend and poker game and the really big, really scary guys he owed the money to. “And I got drunk and I could have sworn that the guy was bluffing.”
“I’ve been in your situation when I was your age.” Katie’s dad nodded, thoughtfully. “And I like you, you’re like part of the family. And because of that, I’ll give you the money, in cash. Don’t say where you got it, I don’t want to have my name involved in this type of thing. And I want you to learn from it, and don’t let it happen again.”
“Thank you so much Mr. Hawk, I really appreciate it. I would never mention that I even know you, I wouldn’t do that to you or Kate.” Gabe vigorously shook his hand. Mr. Hawk wrote a check for $10,000 for Gabe to cash and he and Katie were on their way back to the hotel.
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