A year after heading to the west coast, tragedy brings Lola back home.
The warm sun light filtered through the dingy window and landed oh so conveniently on my face. I wanted to kill it. A few seconds into entering the land of the conscious, I knew it was going to be one of those days. My head throbbed, my vision was blurred, and turmoil was just beginning in my stomach, signaling the onset of one massive hangover.
"I'm surprised you're alive this morning." Standing in the doorway of my room, I could barely make out the silhouette of a man. Judging by the voice, I was sure it was Max. "How do you feel?" A noise, which could only be described as a cross between a grunt and a sigh, escaped my sandpapered mouth.
"Like shit," I grumbled, squinting my eyes in an attempt to focus on his fuzzy figure. "But hey, at least I didn't wake up to some stranger in my bed."
"You are ever the optimist, Lola." I raised an eyebrow at the male.
"How come you're such a ray of sunshine this morning? You drank more than me." He grinned...or at least I think he did.
"Because I'm not a four foot, eleven inch, 90 pound girl." I stuck my tongue out at him. That might have had something to do with it.
"Listen, your brother's on the phone." He held up the cordless that, until then, I didn't notice was in his hand. I groaned and nestled into my pillow.
"Tell him I'll call him back when my head isn't on the verge of exploding." Max frowned.
"I told him you were in no shape to converse, but he said it can't wait." I sighed at the blond and reached out for the telephone.
"What?" I growled upon putting the receiver to my ear.
"Lo? Pete's in the hospital." I quickly sat straight up in bed, dizziness ensuing.
"What happened, Joe? Is he going to be OK?"
"I don't know. Dale was absolutely hysterical. She was babbling something about Best Buy and Ativan."
"They sell Ativan at Best Buy?" A deep sigh reverberated through the earpiece.
"Knock it off, Lola. This is serious. There is something really wrong with him." And you're just figuring this out?
"I'm sorry. What do you want me to do?" There was a slight pause.
"Come back to Chicago." My eyes widened.
"No fucking way. Why?" Joe breathed heavily into the phone.
"Because it would be a nice thing to do for your brother."
"Once again, I pose the question: why?"
"God, Lola, for once in your life, think about someone besides yourself for a change." I bit my tongue, taking into consideration that my brother was upset. "We still have to go to the UK for that small tour. I wanted someone to watch out for him while we're gone."
"Where am I going to get the money for the flight?"
"I could lend it to you." Max intervened, ruining my loophole. I could only hope Joe didn't hear his offer.
"See, Max will lend it to you." I placed my hand over the mouthpiece.
"Thank you, Max." I growled at the blushing male through gritted teeth.
"There's a plane leaving at 2. Gate 37. Be on it. Someone will be at O'Hare to pick you up." My eyebrows furrowed together.
"But Joe, I can't-" My plea was met with a dial tone.
I cannot fucking believe I'm doing this.
The airport buzzed with the conversation of panic-stricken people desperate to make their flights. I attempted to weave through the throng of bodies to the exit, where my ride would no doubt be waiting. The frigid Chicago air seemed to strangle me, wrapping itself about my throat and squeezing for dear life. Sullied snow remnants lay forgotten on the ground. A small smile spread across my face. In the distance, an all too familiar man stood, clad in his winter gear, holding a homemade sign reading Lola Trohman. With my duffle in one hand and my wheelie bag in tow, I approached him.
"Cute." I nodded to his sign. He smiled widely before scooping me up into a hug. His round face was flushed from the cold, accented by the unruly brown curls that peeked out from under his wool beanie.
"I thought you'd like it." He snatched my rolling suitcase from me and we continued our way through the parking lot. The glacial wind whipped at my delicate skin and caused my eyes to water. I had almost forgotten how brutal Midwestern winters could be. Dirty scoffed.
"California has really pussified you, Red." I rolled my eyes at the incredibly clichÃ© nickname. Talk to anyone with red hair and they probably have one or more asshole friends that refer to them as "Red." I teasingly jabbed him with my elbow. We loaded my luggage into the trunk of his old Buick before getting in. Finally, relief from sub-zero temperatures.
"So what's going on? Joe was pretty short with me on the phone. He was on the verge of snarky." Dirty raised an eyebrow at me.
"Snarky?" I grinned.
"Snarky?" He repeated incredulously.
"It's a word," I assured him. "But that's irrelevant."
"Don't let Joe bother you. He's just worried about Pete. We all are." The snow covered scenery whizzed by my window.
"I know. It's just...do you think Joe blames me for what happened?" Dirty remained silent, refusing to even glance at me. "Does he?" I urged.
"I think that's something you and him need to talk about." I frowned. That was code for yes. "Listen, if it makes any difference, I don't think you're responsible. Whatever happened between you and Pete is ancient history, right?" I wanted to believe that. The wounds from our "relationship" still felt fresh, despite the year since its demise.
"Right." I whispered weakly.
"If he waited this long to react, then we've got a bigger problem on our hands." Even in the worst situation, Dirty could always manage to make me smile. I hated and loved it all at the same time.
"Yeah. I guess." There was a brief silence allowing the soft hum of the radio to fill the void.
"Do you want to go see him?" My gaze quickly shifted from my window to the male.
"What?" I asked, praying for a miscommunication on my part.
"Visiting hours are almost over. I think he'd really like to see you." My heart sank. Whenever I spoke to any of Pete and my mutual friends, there was this glimmer of hope. Hope for the power couple to reunite and pick up where they left off. It just wasn't that simple. Our friends didn't know the whole story, leaving them at an unfortunate disadvantage. All they had to hold on to was a distorted version of the truth. The only people who knew what really happened were me, Pete, and Jeanae.
"I don't know if I can. I'm pretty jet lagged." Lame, so fucking lame.
"We won't be long," He paused and smirked, showing off his dull, stained teeth. "And I'll buy you some coffee."
"Wow, really?" I feigned enthusiasm.
"Yep. And maybe a doughnut if you play your cards right." He's so good to me.
Alright, alright. I know what you're thinking. "Why do I want to read another dumb Pete story about his suicide attempt and the girl who makes him realize he wants to live?!?!?!" Well, this isn't a Pete story exactly...so give it a chance.