Steph gets a surprise phone call...
The faint sound of my cell ringtone drifted from my bedroom. I followed the sound to a pile of clothes that were crumpled on the floor and rummaged through them until I found my cell buried at the bottom.
I expected it to be one of three people; Kate, Brendon or Spencer. But I was surprised to find that the number was unrecognised. I answered it with effort – cell phone keypads were obviously not meant for injured finger tips.
‘Is that you, Gem?’
‘Melanie!?’ I gasped in surprise.
‘Oh sweetheart, it is you! Thank goodness, I thought I would never be able to contact you! How have you been?’
‘I’ve been fine.’ I said, happy to hear her voice ‘I didn’t know you had my number.’
‘I didn’t! I had to get it off your cousin Emily. Your wretched excuse for mother changed your damn home number.’
‘And she didn’t tell you it?’ I asked, surprised.
‘Of course not. She didn’t tell any of us. If she had, I would have called a lot sooner, trust me! God that girl has got nerve- thinking she can just cut me and her sisters out of her life like that! Incredible! But trying to keep me away from my own granddaughter too! Well that’s something else completely...you know she left without giving me your new address either? Unbelievable!’
I could imagine the look on my Gran’s face right now; her neatly plucked eyebrows knotted together, her defined powdery cheeks blotched red in frustration, whilst she clutched a handful of her caramel curls with lengthy red or pink fingernails.
‘I have absolutely no idea where you are!’ She continued ‘All she let me know was that she was leaving California. Where on earth are you petal?’
‘I’m in Las Vegas, Gran’ I said.
‘Las Vegas? Are you serious? Is this some kind of joke? She took you to live in Las Vegas with her? I don’t believe this? What was she thinking? Is she crazy? Of course she’s crazy...’
I couldn’t remember the last time I had heard Melanie so wound up. I let her continue to vent her anger at my mother to me down the phone for a while. It was just comforting to hear her voice anyway, despite how strangled it sounded at the moment in her furious state.
‘How are you coping poppet? Are you OK? Are you enrolled in school?’ She asked, after calming down a bit.
‘I’m doing fine.’ I said ‘Yeah I’m enrolled in a catholic school.’
‘Are you happy? Where are you living?’ She demanded, concerned.
‘Yeah I’m pretty happy I guess...I’ve got some new friends...we’re living in Summerlin- in the suburbs.’
‘Las Vegas...’ she muttered, more to herself than to me. ‘What’s Nikki doing right now?’
‘Sleeping.’ I said.
‘Of course.’ She said, disapprovingly ‘Look Gem, give me your address and your new number would you?’
I recited them to her.
‘Thank you poppet. You know I really have missed you. I’ve been so worried.’
‘I’ve missed you too.’ I said ‘But there’s no need to worry about me Gran.’
‘Are you sure you’re OK?’ She said, in a calmer tone, her voice much softer and genuinely inquisitive. ‘How are you finding your school? Have you made any new friends? Tell me everything.’
‘Schools OK, I guess. It’s kind of full of snobs though. But I’ve met some nice people...there’s this girl called Kate. She’s really nice, and she’s got this brother – Ryan, who’s a junior. He’s really amazing and- anyway, he’s in this band, and they’re really good, and the lead singer is this guy called Brendon, who is insane Melanie, but I think you’d love him. But he doesn’t go to my school. And the drummer is Spencer – He’s in my year and goes to Bishop Gorman too. He’s...nice.’
‘That’s a lot of guys.’ Said lightly, obviously a lot more relaxed now ‘But I’m glad you’ve found some nice friends. What else is new? How have you spent your summer so far?’
‘Ryan’s girlfriend invited us all to her dad’s beach house in California for three days – we just got back yesterday.’
‘Oh! Did you have fun?’
‘Yeah it was...nice’ I paused for a few moments. ‘Melanie, can I ask your advice on something? I did something kind of stupid, and I don’t know how to set things right without hurting anyone’s feelings...’
‘Of course, what is it Gem?’
So I told her everything. And I mean everything. It was a first; even Brendon didn’t know every detail. I’d always told my Grandma everything back in San Francisco – well, almost everything, because she never judged, and she actually cared. Though she did tut a bit when I came to the part with Spencer.
‘That was one hell of a complicated story.’ She said once I’d finished. ‘You are in a tricky situation, aren’t you?’
‘Tell me about it.’
‘So you’re out with this Spencer boy, even though you like his best friend Ryan. And you think that Ryan’s sister, Katie, who is also your best friend, likes Spencer... is that right?’
‘It’s Kate. And...Pretty much.’ I said.
‘Hmm’ she said, pausing to think for a few moments. I waited patiently whilst she tried to come up with a solution. ‘Oh poppet- I don’t know what to suggest.’ She said finally.
‘I was afraid of that’ I sighed.
‘Maybe you should just tell him the truth. He’ll be upset at first, but maybe...maybe if you give it time he’ll forgive you and things will go back to the way they were.’
‘Yeah...maybe’ I said glumly.
‘I’m sorry that I can’t be much help sweetie, but I’m sure you’ll figure something out and it will all work out fine in the end.’ She paused. ‘So...this Ryan, what’s he like?’
‘Where do I begin?’ I sighed, flopping backwards into lying position on my bed.
‘Gorgeous. Really skinny. Brown hair and these amazing deep brown eyes. And he has this smile which makes my knees wobble.’
Melanie squealed. Anyone would have thought I was talking to a teenage girl, not my 50-something year old Grandmother.
I sat up. ‘And he’s really smart, Mel. He’s a top student. He’s got this amazing way with words and he’s really passionate about music. He writes lyrics and plays guitar in his band, and they’re really good! And he’s very protective and caring of his sister’ – Mel cooed- ‘and absolutely every girl at school is throwing themselves at him, but he doesn’t even notice. Basically’ – I sighed, laying back down again- ‘he is absolutely perfect.’
‘He’s certainly sounds like a dish and a half’ she said ‘But he’s an idiot if he doesn’t come to realise how brilliant you are, my gem.’
I rolled my eyes and smiled ‘Thanks Grandma.’
‘No problem petal. If you ever need to talk, you just call me OK? Anytime, any place, I’ll never be too busy to talk to my favourite granddaughter.’
‘OK Grandma- thanks.’
‘Is your mother up yet?’
‘I don’t think so.’
‘God alive. Well, I’ll call your house phone later. You just wait, I’m going to unleash a storm on that girl...trying to cut off ties with her own mother...anyway, bye Gem. Take care of yourself. Someone has to.’
‘Love you Grandma.’
I ended the call and dropped the phone to my side as I stared upwards at my bedroom ceiling. I didn’t notice before just how much I missed Melanie. She’s the only person that’s always cared about me, and my mom didn’t even plan on letting her see me again.
_ _ _
She called at around 5 0’clock. My mom answered the phone. I was in my room, but I knew it was her because of the way my mom demanded how she’d got our number. I sat listening to her side of the conversation.
‘I’m thirty-two you old hag, I’m not a teenager anymore, I don’t have to give you a play by play of what I want to do with MY life’ ... ‘I never said it wasn’t Stephanie’s too’ ... ‘Because I don’t want you sticking your nose in our business all the time!’ ... ‘Look, she’s MY daughter!’... ‘So what if I can’t name any of her friends? ’... ‘Look I’m fed up of this; we’re doing just fine OK? Now stuck your nose in someone else’s business and leave us alone!’
She slammed the phone down as I came down the stairs. She went into the kitchen and returned with a bottle of Rioja and an empty glass, which she poured to the brim. She looked at me. ‘You didn’t give her our address did you?’
‘How would I have done that?’ I said diplomatically.
She narrowed her eyes and downed the entire glassful in one go.
'What happened to your fingers?' She she said, pulling a face as she refilled it.
OK, so like, I didn't plan on this chapter being there at all, which is a first. It was meant to be something else entirely, but that will be next chapter instead. Which of course, you can read sooner if you review :}
I like when you predict things. Some of you are good...others not so much, haha.