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Chapter (Autumn/Winter January 2004)

It was a busy evening at the club tonight. Brandon had a nice overview of the crowd from up in his DJ Booth. The audience seemed to have a good time. Even though they were all pretty snug together, they found a way to move their body’s to the beats he created this evening. Brandon was the main DJ again tonight. He worked pretty often at VIBE, at least one or two evenings a month. VIBE, although it had a different name back then, was one of the clubs that offered him the opportunity to show what he was worth as a DJ. He felt pretty much at home here. He knew a lot of the regular staff and they always made him feel welcome.

                Brandon glanced to his left while he adjusted some buttons on his mixer. His eyes wandered to a pretty brunette behind the bar whom he wasn’t familiar with. Wavy dark hair danced around her head while she did her job as a bartender, serving people what they asked for. Brandon tried to estimate her age but he couldn’t be sure. Only thing he knew was that she was probably a few years younger than he was.

Focusing on his work again, Brandon noticed one of the blonde bartenders coming towards him with a drink in her hand. He took his headphone from one of his ears so he could hear her. “Thank you Sara.” He gave her a nod.

“All for the hard-working people.” Sara said with a bright smile, placing her hand on his shoulder and giving it a little squeeze.

                Brandon grinned. “Take one yourself than as well.”

                Sara chuckled. “I will, don’t worry, we’ve got plenty behind the bar. You on the other hand are depending on us.”

Noticing the glint in her eyes, Brandon gave her a small push. “You enjoy that way too much.” He said laughing.

Sara shrugged and wanted to walk away but Brandon stopped her, laying his hand on her arm. “Who is that?” He said, nodding to the unfamiliar girl behind the bar.

                “She? That’s our new girl, Faith. She’s okay, knows her way around and is good with the customers. What more can I say?”

                Brandon kept glancing at the new girl, she seemed to enjoy herself while working, joking and laughing with the people at the bar.

                Sara gave Brandon another look. “Oh no Brandon, forget it, she is not your type.” The girl said cautionary.

                “I’m not…I was just…what do you know about my type?”

                “You need a sweet girl, someone who waits at home for you with dinner, who takes the kids to daycare.”

                “What? Am I that boring?”

                “No, of course not. I just mean that she is not the one you want. Looks can be deceiving, she is pretty but she can be a bitch.”

                “But you just said she is okay.”

                “I meant for the work, not for you to try and get your hands on.”

                “If you say so.”

                Sara rolled her eyes and sighed before she left, leaving Brandon to work.

 

Managing to make her way through the crowd, Sara walked back to the bar and put the tray with empty glasses away. She came to stand next to Faith and spoke to her. “Don’t look immediately, but our DJ has his eyes on you.”

                Faith raised one eyebrow and gave Sara a smirk, waiting a little before she looked towards the DJ, observing him. He had dark hair which had a bit of a curl in it. It was squashed under his headphones while he concentrated on his job. The guy was wearing a dark, plain, long-sleeved t-shirt, nothing special but it looked good on him. “He’s kinda cute.”

                “Kinda cute? Man he is hot!” Jessica had picked up what they were saying and felt the need to mingle in the talk.

                “You want him?” Faith asked while she opened the tap and held a beer glass under it.

                “Hell yeah, I would do him anytime!” She exclaimed while she was juggling with the cocktail shaker.

“But he is not interested in you or me Jess, he is hot for our new girl.” Sara leaned over the bar to take another order.

                Faith tapped a second and a third beer. “If you want him, just go for it. I’ll stay out of your way.”

                “What are you? Deaf? Blind? Or maybe both? The guy has his eyes set on you and he’s the prettiest thing around here tonight. You’re just brushing it off?!” Sara asked incredulous.

                Faith gave the DJ another once-over. “He’s not my type.” She shrugged.

                “That’s kind of beside the point here. He doesn’t need to be your type to have a hot, steamy night with him.” Jessica stated as she poured the cocktail in an ice-filled glass.

                “Jess! The guy is really sweet! Don’t try to set him up with a one-night-stand!” Sara said shocked.

                “Maybe that’s just what he needs.” Jessica put three shot glasses on the bar and filled them up.

                Faith looked amused at her two bickering coworkers but decided to stop them before all sorts of gossip spread around. “Guys, I’m not looking for anything complicated.”

                “Who said it’s complicated?” Jessica asked, shoving a glass towards Faith and Sara.

                Looking into the direction of the DJ Booth, Faith gave the guy another once-over. Back in the day she wouldn’t have hesitated, she would’ve just taken him for a ride, not thinking about any possible consequences. “You said he works here quite a lot, than it’s got written ‘COMPLICATED’ all over.” Faith turned to the register to stack away the money. The three girls all took one of the shot glasses and downed them before they continued their discussion.

                “Maybe you could date him.” Sara suggested.

                “Sara, pay attention, she just said she doesn’t want complicated. Dating a guy is nowhere near that! Especially not when he works here.” Jessica turned back to Faith again, addressing her. “I would know what I would do If I were you.”

                “We got that Jessica.” Sara said glum before she too turned to Faith. “Just take your time and think about it. He will be here on other occasions too, you don’t have to decide tonight.”

                “Okay, okay. Stop it you two. Nothing is gonna happen. I’m not into him. Now can I go back to work?” Faith gave them a stern look, both other girls wisely kept their mouth shut and looked at the brunette, but also sharing a look between the both of them. “Thank you.” Faith said and she bend forward to take a bottle of wine out of the fridge. Jessica made her way to the other end of the bar to help Martin out and Sara gathered empty glasses from the bar before she took another order.

                Faith was relieved that the discussion was closed, although she was pretty sure that both girls would reopen this topic once more. May it not be tonight, or tomorrow, but certainly this month.

Faith gave another glance towards the DJ. Yes, he looked good. Good and very...descent, she wasn’t sure how to describe it any better. Faith hadn’t been lying when she said he wasn’t her type. She usually went for the bad-guys, the wild ones, because she knew she could take them and they would be up for a single, rough night. The sweet, vanilla shit wasn’t her thing and that was exactly what this guy was radiating. She grinned when she noticed he was looking at her and she winked. It couldn’t hurt to flirt just a little…

Chapter Text

Chapter (Autumn/Winter 2004)

Brandon gathered all his equipment and brought it to his car. He had to walk two times because he couldn’t carry everything in once. When he was done he went over to the bar to have a drink. The club was getting ready to close down. There was still music but the lights were already on, in fifteen minutes or so they would kick everyone out. He worked his way through the crowd and managed to get a barstool at the side of the bar.

                Jessica came up to him and complimented him with his work, the club had a good night and probably had a high sales volume. She tapped him a beer and they had some small talk. Meanwhile Brandon’s eyes drifted off to the new girl behind Jessica. The dark work-polo nicely accentuated her curves. She had a nice bosom, not too small, not too big.

                “Brandon! I am talking to you!”

                Jessica sounded a little offended and Brandon quickly focused on her again. “I am listening….you were saying?”

                “Never mind.” Jessica rolled her eyes and walked away.

                “Jessica, I’m sorry!” He called after her but she didn’t came back. Brandon would talk to her about it later. She wasn’t really the rancorous type so he figured she would be okay. Meanwhile he could just study the brunette some more. She was good-looking, average sized and had a slim waist. The apron around that waist hid some other interesting parts.

                Brandon let his eyes travel up to her face and noticed she was looking at him with a faint smile on her lips. He was caught staring. Brandon hold her stare for a little while and returned her smile with one of his own.

                Faith was intrigued by the pretty smile, it was almost a toothpaste commercial one. It was bright and his teeth were very straight, he probably had a bracket when he was young. She decided to walk up to him and introduce herself. “Hey, I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Faith.” She extended her hand to him and waited for him to accept it.

                Taking her hand he introduced himself. “I’m Brandon.” He vaguely waved with his free hand to the DJ Booth. “Resident DJ to VIBE.”

                “Nice to meet you Brandon resident DJ to VIBE. I’m resident bartender to VIBE. Well…I hope, I’m still in my probation.”

                A cheeky glint shimmered in her eyes which caught Brandon’s attention. “I have no doubt you can stay.”

                “So confident already and all you know is my name.” Faith said laughing. She turned away from him to receive a tray with dirty glasses from one of her colleagues. Turning back she started to rinse them in the sink close to where Brandon was sitting.

                “Oh, come on, you got to live up to your name don’t you? There must have been a reason why your parents gave it to you?”

                “Erm, probably, but I doubt that this had anything to do with that.” Faith took out a broken glass of the tray and threw it in the garbage bin, she wouldn’t want to get cut like that once more. She smiled to herself at the memory, she sometimes could still feel the scar. “So, you have been doing this long already?” Faith looked up to Brandon again.

                “What? Drinking beer at a bar? Or DJ-ing in a club?” He asked innocent.

                Faith laughed a little and decided not to answer.

                Brandon took another swig. “I’ve been into music ever since I was a kid. But the DJ-ing I started when I was 22.”

                Faith looked at him with interest. She estimated he was around his thirties, so he had been doing this a pretty long time already. “And at VIBE?”

                “I started to turn here seven years back if I remember correctly. They heard my demo and when the resident DJ at that time was sick they asked if I could cover for him. It was short notice, but you got to take what you can get.” Brandon emptied his glass and at the same time the music went off.

                The bouncers were quick in gathering people and guiding them outside. They had a long night and also wanted to go home. Brandon stood up from his stool but two hands on his shoulders pushed him down again.

                “No Brandon, you can stay.” Sara whispered in his ear. With a sly smile she looked at Faith.

                Really subtle Sara, Faith thought laughing when she saw Sara keeping Brandon in place. Faith threw away some bottles and got the trash bags out of the bins.

                “Uhm…thanks.” Brandon sat down again, feeling a little uncomfortable while the others were trying to clean up the mess. “If you need help…” He offered to Faith.

                “Sure, you can put these outside.” Faith said as she walked around the bar and put the two trash bags in his hands.

 

They all worked pretty quick and had the place cleaned up in no time. Afterwards they sat down at the bar to have a little nightcap before either one of them was going home. Jessica took a stool next to Brandon and Reagan took the barstool on his other side. Faith and Jarod went behind the bar to make everyone a drink.

                Brandon felt Reagan put her hand on his leg as she leaned in on him. While on his other side Jessica placed a hand in his neck and started to fumble with his hair. They both started with flattery which he heedlessly took in. What was this, ‘hit on Brandon’ night? He figured both girls were already pretty tipsy.

                Faith placed two cocktails in front of Reagan and Jessica which they immediately started nipping on, backing up from Brandon just a little. “What do you want? Cocktail, beer or something else?” Faith asked Brandon.

                He looked to either side of him with a raised brow. “I think I’ll stick with beer.” He said with a sigh. He noticed Faith’s smirk before she spoke.

                “Getting double lucky tonight?” Faith gave him a curious look.

                “What? No! I didn’t mean to…I mean I need to stay sober.”

                Faith’s smirk was spreading, turning into a full smile.

                In his head, that didn’t sound so bad, but the way the brunette looked at him told him she was thinking something completely different. “To take them home safely!”

                “Your home, or theirs?” Faith asked teasingly.

                How did he end up in this mess? “I don’t date coworkers.” Brandon could smack his own head. He did not want to say that! He wanted to date some coworkers, mainly her.

                “Who said anything about dating?” Faith brashly asked.

                Where they still talking about Jessica and Reagan? Brandon’s head was pulled sideward by Jessica and she planted a kiss on his lips. “Jessica!” He leaned backwards to the other side and gently pushed her off.

                “Fill me up darling.” Jessica shove her empty cocktail glass towards Faith but kept looking at Brandon, who, in the meantime, tried to prevent Reagan from moving her hand to his crotch.

                Faith noticed the slightly uncomfortable look on the DJ’s face and decided enough was enough. She placed Jessica’s glass in the sink and walked around the bar. “Get up girl, we’re going home.” She laid the redhead’s arm around her shoulder and got her off the barstool.

                Brandon gave her a questioning look. “You’re going to bring her home?” If she was, that would safe him a trip and some trouble with the drunk redhead.

                “Well if you don’t want her, you wouldn’t mind if I take her with me?” Faith looked up seductively from under her lashes.

                Brandon gave her a lopsided grin. Was she trying to shock him? He decided to go along with it. “No, of course not. If that’s what makes you happy.”

                “I bet it will.” She gave him another mischievous smile and reached for Jessica’s keys from the bar, putting them in her pocket.

                Brandon refrained from saying anything and just smiled. She was messing with him right? She wasn’t serious in what it was that she was implying?

                “You take care of Reagan? Make sure that she gets home safe?”

                Brandon nodded.

                “See you another time.” Faith gave him a wink before she greeted the others and made her way out of the club with Jessica draped over her shoulder.

 

Brandon stood up and lifted Reagan from her barstool.

                “Are you going to be okay?” Sara asked inquisitively.

                “Yeah, I’ll manage. Do you know which purse is hers?” Brandon gave a nod to Reagan.

                “Wait, I’ll get it.” Sara hopped away to the office, got Reagan’s belongings and walked outside with Brandon. “So you had a good time tonight?”

                “What can I say, it was…refreshing.” Brandon opened the door of his Ford Contour and helped Reagan in the passenger’s seat.

                “I’ll talk to the girls about their behavior later.” Sara said, sort of apologizing for her drunk coworkers.

                “There is no need. It is just the alcohol. We all have our bad days.” Brandon brushed it off.

                “I saw you talking to Faith...”

                Brandon waited for Sara to continue her sentence, but she probably expected him to say something because she remained silent. “She was nice.”

                “And…?”

                Sara was pushing it. He had hardly talked to the girl and even in those lousy 30 minutes or so he managed to make a complete fool of himself. “And nothing. We just talked. Look, I have to go Sara, before Reagan pukes all over the interior or something.”

                “O, okay. Well, bye.”

                Brandon closed the door and walked to the driver’s side. “I’ll see you next time.”

                “See you next time.” Sara greeted. She watched him get in the car and drive off.

Chapter Text

Chapter (Winter/February 2004)

Faith came down the stairs, having changed into her work-polo and having her belongings stored in a locker. She walked up to the bar, looking down while she was trying to ty her apron around her waist. She plucked on her shirt and apron to make sure they were comfortable. Noticing that someone was standing in front of her Faith started talking. “What are we up for tonight?”

                “I don’t know, did you had anything in mind?”

                Faith looked up when the voice she heard wasn’t from any of the people she expected it to be. “O, hey...Brandon was it, right?” Faith smiled when she noticed the good-looking DJ was standing in front of her.

                “Still is.” He answered, he was carrying his equipment and was on his way to the DJ Booth.

                “Good to see you.” Faith slapped his upper arm and continued her own way to the bar. She tied her hair into a ponytail and started to stock up the fridge. When she looked up again, she was just in time to get a glimpse of Brandon’s backside before he disappeared into his ‘office’. He was wearing light denim jeans, nicely accentuating his fine butt. Faith hadn’t seen him since their first encounter last month. The last time when he worked here she had a day off because she had switched with a sick colleague earlier that week. Brandon still looked good.

                “Managed to get him into bed already?” Faith asked when she saw Jessica come up to her in the corner of her eye.

                “No, I haven’t.” Jessica said disappointed. “Maybe if you had let him bring me home last time…”

                “Why? Did Reagan sleep with him?” Faith asked curious.

                “I haven’t, believe me, I would have remembered.” Reagan said when she came hurrying inside, she was running late. “Maybe you should give it a try Faith.”

                “I already told you he isn’t my type.” Faith watched as Lucas and Jarod shoved aside the tables to make room for the crowd of tonight.

                “He asked for you last time.”

                Faith gave her a blank expression and Reagan shrugged before she hurried up the stairs to get changed.

                Faith gave Brandon another look and got a mischievous smile on her face. So he wasn’t scared off by the teasing conversation they had last month.

 

Brandon smiled when he noticed Faith coming up to him with a coke in her hand. He was busy right now so unfortunately he didn’t have time to talk to her, so instead he put up his hand to thank her. He watched her as she walked away from him, her hips swaying slightly to the music.

                He had asked Jessica a little about Faith last time he was here, but he didn’t dare ask too much. God knows what rumors would be spread. So all he got to know was that Jessica was brought home safely by her and that Faith had successfully ended her probation time. He concentrated on his work again and hoped that she would be in the mood to talk to him later on the evening when he was done working. And he was not going to let her make a fool out of him like last time. He knew what could be expected now.

 

Brandon was a little disappointed to find out that almost everyone had to leave immediately after work. They wouldn’t sit down and have a drink and a little chat together. This would mean no time for him to talk to Faith, unless… “Hey, since they are all leaving so soon, I wondered if you care to join me for a drink in one of the other bars that is still open?”

                Faith looked like she was debating his offer in her head before she answered. “Sure, count me in. I’ll just change and grab my stuff.”

                “Okay, I’ll wait here.” Brandon sat down on a barstool again, patiently waiting for the girl to come back again.

 

Only a few minutes had passed before Faith returned. She was wearing a leather jacket and she had let her hair down. “Okay, I’m good to go.” She touched his arm when she passed him on her way to the exit.

                Brandon stood up and followed her.

                “Goodnight guys, lock up tight.” Faith greeted Jarod and Lucas.

                “Anytime babe.” Jarod slapped her ass as she walked past him.             

                Faith gave him a playfully, warning look but furthermore she seemed hardly affected by it.

                “So, where do you wanna go?” She asked when they stood outside.

                “I don’t care, anything that is still open around here at this time would be good.”

                Faith gave it some thought and seemed to have come up with an idea. “Okay, come on.” For a second she grabbed hold of his arm to get him to come with her. Brandon followed her down the street until they came to a tiny bar with a small crowd standing outside smoking.

                Faith led him inside and they took place at the bar. She looked at him when she spoke. “I figured it would be nice to be actually able to hear each other.” Faith shrugged.

                Brandon nodded in agreement and ordered two beers. Brandon shoved one of the bottles towards Faith and he took a swig from his own.

                They sat in silence for a few moments before Faith spoke up. “So where do you come from?”

                “I’m from Portland. I grew up there.” He answered her.

                She nodded her head a little, not really sure what to say next.

                “What about you? Where are you from?”

                Faith smiled. “What? The accent didn’t gave it away?” She paused and stared at him, waiting if he would come up with something, but he didn’t. “I’m Bostonian. True native.”

                Brandon laughed. Now that she mentioned it, he could have guessed it. “Have you been living in L.A. for a long time then, because the accent is pretty mild.”

                “Could be. I moved here quite a few years back. What brought you to the city of Angels?”

                “I had to choose for my career. There was no way that I was ever going to have a chance in Portland, so here I am.”

                “And how are things working out here for you so far?” Faith asked genuinely interested.

                “It’s going pretty well. Besides the few clubs where I’m spinning I also have gigs at festivals on a regular base nowadays.”

                Faith took another sip from her beer. “Really?”

                Brandon could hear that she was slightly impressed. He usually wasn’t one to try and impress girls by talking up his work. His job mainly consisted of a lot of off-workhours and little time to do something else. He nodded and swallowed down another gulp. “Yeah, but it’s not enough to make a living. I also work at the studio.”

                “Sounds like you’re pretty busy.” Faith ordered two more Corona’s.

                 “I guess I am. But it’s all worth it.” To him it was just a way of living. If he wanted to be good at what he loved to do than he had to work hard for it and maybe make some sacrifices on other areas.

                “So, when is your next gig?” Faith was playing with a beermat, spinning it around on the bar between her fingers.

                “I have to perform next weekend at a local festival.” Brandon looked up to her. “If you want to come…” It was an open invitation, she could decline if she wanted to.

                “When is it?”

                “Saturday. It’s all day, but I’m up around four p.m..”

                “I’ll see what I can do.” Faith wanted to go, she was up for a good party anywhere, anytime. But she also had to work early next week and there was a surf competition. Not that she was entering, she was barely back at practicing, but she wanted to watch the competitors, see what she could expect in the upcoming season. 

                In the silence that followed they both sipped their glasses and were lost in their own thoughts.

                “So what about you?” Brandon asked after a while.

                Faith looked up to him. “What about me?”

                “What do you do besides bartending?”

                “I work at a garage.”

                “What do you do there?”

                “What do people usually do at a garage?” Faith asked mockingly.

                “Fixing cars?” He said, sounding a little unsure.

                “Bullseye babe!” Faith said with a crafty smile and noticed the mildly surprised look on his face which he tried to hide. “What’s wrong? Girls can’t be mechanics?”

                She was trying to provoke a response from him again. “Hot girls usually aren’t.”

                “Thanx for the compliment.”

                “Did I?” He said with a feigned look of surprise.

                “What?” Faith asked a little confused.

                “Compliment you?”

                “Well, you did implicate I was not just the average girl right? I consider it a compliment.”

                Brandon gave her a half smile. She was witty, he could appreciate that.

 

“I have to go.” Faith said as she stood up from the barstool and put her jacket on. They had lost track of time while they had been sitting there.

                “Yeah, I’d better go as well.” Brandon said as he followed her lead.

                “It was nice talking to you.” Faith said when they stood outside the bar. She knew Brandon’s car was standing at the back of VIBE and hers was a couple of streets away from here, so this was where they would split up.

                “I had a fun night too.”

                “Well, I’ll see you around.” Faith put her hand up and greeted him before she turned away from him and started on her way home. She hadn’t even put one step before she heard Brandon say her name.

                “Faith…”

                She turned around again, looking at him. “What’s up?”

                Brandon took a step forward. His following words were spoken softly. “Thank you.”

                Faith frowned.

                Before she could say anything Brandon put his right hand to her face, cupping her cheek and leaned over to place a gentle kiss on the other side. He pulled back and gave her a friendly smile before he turned around and walked away.

Chapter Text

Chapter (Winter 2004)

A smile was plastered on Brandon’s face when he walked the couple of hundred yards towards his car. He was humming a tune. The look on her face had been priceless. He had managed to take her by surprise.

                Brandon turned the last corner and dug his car key out of his pocket. Opening his door he whistled the new tune that was now stuck in his head. He had a great night and he thought it was a shame that it was over already. But, truth to be told, it was already morning and they both needed to get some sleep. He would see her around, he would make sure that he did.

                Driving home, the streets already began to fill up with morning traffic, even on Sunday. He decided on an alternative route to his home before he got stuck on a traffic jam. Driving down the streets, thoughts of the feisty brunette filled his mind. The dimples when she smiled, the little birthmarks on her cheek. Brandon couldn’t wipe the grin from his face, nor did he really wanted to.

                Reaching his house he parked his car and got out. He walked up to the building and put his key in the lock, opening the door. He quickly got his mail and made his way up the stairs towards his apartment. The tune was still in his head and it was actually really catchy. He dumped his keys on the side table and immediately walked up the stairs towards the small room that he used as his homemade studio. He’d better work with the tune now before he would forget it. So much for sleep today.

 

Faith just stood there, rooted to the ground, watching Brandon as he walked away from her. She swallowed and pushed down all the feelings that formed inside of her. What the hell just happened? She slowly let her hand reach up to the cheek were the feeling of his lips lingered.

                What was he doing? She didn’t give him anything, she hadn’t been flirting with him! There hadn’t been any sexual tension between them while they were talking in the bar. Faith sighed and turned around to walk back to her own car. Whatever it was, it was his problem, she wasn’t interested in him in any other way than being friends.

                Putting her key in her car’s door she snorted and a little chuckle escaped her lips. Why was she so anxious about it? She was making way too big a deal out of it. He had just been saying goodbye after a nice night, nothing less nothing more. She was overreacting. Faith shook her head and got into her car.

               

Driving home Faith absolutely didn’t feel like sleeping, she had too much energy to burn. Parking her car in front of the house she silently went inside to get her surf gear. The house was quiet. Mia and Mathew were probably still sleeping. Walking into the kitchen she searched for something to eat. Faith grabbed one of the giant muffins that were on the countertop, wondering what flavor Mia had come up with this time. Taking a bite it was vanilla with raspberry inside and it could do with Faiths approval.

Chapter Text

Chapter

“What is he doing here?” Jessica asked when she noticed Brandon walking in an hour before closing time.

                “Beats me. I guess he’s not here for the music.” Reagan said with a hint of sarcasm.

                “I think he’s here for one reason only.” Sara said a slight smile spreading on her face.

                “Unless someone called him to see if he wants to take over from that Bono.” Reagan suggested, she filled up two glasses of wine and served them.

                “What? Did you ask him to work tonight? It’s a bit late now don’t you think?” Jessica said confused.   

                “You guys, really! It’s obvious isn’t it?” Sara said.

                Both girls gave her a questioning look.

                “He’s here for Faith.” She said with a sigh while she dried her hands on a towel.

                “He’s still after her?” Jessica asked surprised. “Someone gotta tell the guy that he doesn’t stand a chance.” She said snorting.

                “And why wouldn’t he?” Sara asked before she scooped some ice in a glass and added vodka with it.

                Jessica put down a row of shot glasses and handed out lemon parts. “She said it herself!”

                “Well if she isn’t interested, she can tell him herself. The two of you can not mingle in this.” Sara said, stressing the last part.

                “Don’t worry, I won’t. I’ll just be there when he needs a shoulder to cry on.” Reagan said with a big grin on her face.

                “He’s mine.” Jessica said with a cunning smile.

 

“I missed you on the festival!”

                Faith gave him a confused look. “What?!” She put her hand up to her ear, indicating that she couldn’t hear him.

                Brandon leaned over the bar to make himself clear to Faith. “I said, I missed you at the festival!”

                “Oh, right. I couldn’t come, I had to work!”

                Brandon tried very hard to focus on what she was saying but he was clueless. His expression told her enough. Faith looked around before she signed him to follow her. Brandon picked up his beer and walked behind Faith to the back of the club. She opened the door with the sign saying ‘Staff’ and they went outside into the fresh night air.

                “Damn, they shouldn’t have asked this guy to turn here.” Faith said when she closed the door behind them. They weren’t supposed to use this door during workhours, preventing other people to come in and out without being scanned by security. Faith walked up to Brandon’s car that was also parked back here and leaned back against the hood, crossing her arms.

                Brandon came to stand in front of her. “He’s playing so loud already the whole evening?” He asked, very sure it topped the maximum of decibels that was healthy for people to listen to for a few hours in a row.

                “He fucking is and he doesn’t want to take it down. Jessica already asked him. He said it’s just the way he turns and they asked him this evening so they deal with it.” Faith was pissed, not only was the DJ scaring away their usual public, it also did damage to her hearing. “Arrogant ass.” She muttered the last under her breath as she looked down to the ground, kicking some loose gravel.

                Brandon smiled and reached to touch one of her upper arms. He felt the firm muscle under his fingers roll when she clenched her hands into fists. He had noticed before that she was well-toned and it made him curious as to what else she did in her life. Although they had been talking for a while the last time he must confess that he still hardly knew anything about her. “Do you want me to talk to him?”

                Faith looked him into his eyes. “And you think he would listen? He didn’t before, I doubt he will now.” She said sulking.

                “I’m not going to tell him what to do. I’m just going talk to him, give him some advice. You know, from DJ to DJ.” Brandon said with a small smile.

                Faith raised an eyebrow and grinned. “Good luck with that.” She said skeptical. Faith closed her eyes and took a deep breath, shaking her arms to let go of the irritated feeling. “Okay, let’s get back inside before they miss us.” She said standing up from his car.

                “I’m not working here tonight, no one will miss me.” Brandon defended himself.

                “That’s what you think.” Faith said with a grin. She knew her coworkers watched his every move, nosey as they were.

                Brandon followed Faith back into the club. He accepted a drink before he went up to the current DJ.

 

“Let’s get out of here.” Faith grabbed Brandon’s hand as soon as she was done working and pulled him outside.

                “Where do you want to go?” Brandon reluctantly let go of her hand when she withdrew it the second they were outside.

                “Anywhere that isn’t here! I need to blow some steam. Man, that guy was obnoxious! So much for your words of wisdom.” She run her hand through her hair and scanned the area.

                “Hey, it’s not my fault he’s a know-it-all.”

                “And blind. He would have noticed that the dancefloor was half-empty.”

                “But the half that was there was having a blast.”

                “They were all fed up on XTC, they would even have danced on a lullaby.”

                “Yeah, I know.”

                Faith gave him an inquisitive look. “You know?”

                Brandon felt a little uneasy under her stare. He didn’t want to give her a wrong impression of him. “I’m working in the Dance Scene, XTC happens a lot there.” He noticed that she kept studying him but he couldn’t make out what she was thinking. “So where do you want to go?” Brandon asked to break the silence and change the subject.

                “Green Light. Dancing.” She said with a frolic smile.

Chapter Text

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They were laughing loudly when they walked outside the club. Holding hands while Faith pulled Brandon through the mass of people who blocked their way to the exit. The brunette was still dancing as she walked out in front of him. She handed her almost empty glass to one of the bouncers and winked at him. He rolled his eyes and wished her goodnight.

                “You know everyone around here?” Brandon asked curious.

                Faith turned around and let go of his hand. “Not everyone. I just like to visit some places more often and people get to know you. Besides, I have been working for years in several clubs.”

                “It’s strange though that I haven’t seen you before.” Brandon said inquisitive.

                “Maybe we have seen each other before, but we just didn’t register.”

                Brandon pretended to give it some thought. “No.” He said. “No, I would have remembered if we had.”

                Faith smirked and looked at him, shaking her head. She loved his uplifting spirit. Thus far she had never seen him grumpy or in a negative mood. He was smiling back at her, showing his beautiful white teeth. His eyes were sparkling… Faith swallowed and broke their stare which, to her, had lasted too long. “Come on, we gotta go home.” She quickly turned away from Brandon and started walking.

                He followed the small brunette in her steps. “Where is your car parked?” He asked curious.

                “Close to yours.” Faith said without looking at him. She needed to end this night before they would do something they would regret the next day.

                “Do you want me to take you home?” Brandon asked while he came to walk besides her. He was trying to be a gentleman, escorting the girl home. The fact that he got to spend a little extra time with her that way was a pure coincidence. He smiled at his own thought. He really liked Faith and didn’t want to let her go.

                “Nah, I’m good.” Faith put her hands in the pockets of her jeans.

                Brandon walked in silence besides her. He felt a distance from the girl. He didn’t understand why her mood had suddenly changed now. Did he do something wrong? Was he pushing too much? Was she afraid he was just asking her to spend the night with him? He wasn’t like that. He had never had sex with any girl on their first date. And technically this wasn’t even a date.

                They stood still in front of Brandon’s car. “Let me at least walk you to your car.” He said.

                “No need for that.” Faith stared down the street, she spotted her car just a few feet away from here.

                “I really had a nice night Faith…” Brandon didn’t know what to say, afraid he would blow it. He thought she had liked it too, they had laughed quite a lot earlier on, but now he wasn’t so sure anymore.

                “Yeah, me too.”

                The young woman didn’t look at him but stared at the ground. Was she just saying this to please him? Brandon reached for her hand. “Faith...”

                Faith looked up at him, a little bewildered. She shook her head almost invisible and mumbled “screw this.” Before she pushed Brandon back against the side of his car, placed one hand in his neck and bent his head so she could kiss him, forgetting all about what was the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ thing to do.

                Astounded as he was, Brandon stumbled backwards and lacked immediate response. But after the first initial surprise he answered Faith’s kiss. Her lips were full and soft, her body warm so close to his. He wrapped his hands around her back, pulling her a little tighter to him.

Chapter Text

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People around her jumped up and down on the heavy beats produced by the gigantic boxes on either side of the stage. Faith emptied her glass, her body still moving on the beat, and dropped the piece of plastic on the ground where it accompanied thousands of others. She mixed herself in to the crowd, dancing along with the other partygoers.

                Faith lost herself in the atmosphere. She could feel the music vibrating in her lungs, filling her whole body with the up-tempo beat. The colors of the various laser beams looked like a painting coming to life, dancing around the people who surrounded her. She was studying the effect of the lights when she suddenly felt a hand on her shoulder. Faith turned around and looked up in the attractive face of her lover. “You’re back!” She smiled up to him, wrapped her arms around him and leaned with her head against his chest.

                Brandon closed his arms around his girl and wanted to stroke her hair but Faith pulled back before he could.

                “I’m glad you are done working, it’s really amazing here. The music is really great! Oh and did you see that DJ who was just before you? He’s really wacked. Do you wanna go dancing? The lights are really cool, like a million facets of different colors and they go all over the place.”

                Brandon grabbed hold of Faith’s shoulders to stop her from dancing. He placed his hand on her jaw and she rubbed her face against it. “What have you been using? “ Brandon asked when he managed with both hands to get her to look at him. He noticed her pupils were dilated when she stared in his eyes.

                Faith brought her hand up to touch his cheek in awe. She wondered why she never noticed how beautiful he really was. She traced his cheekbones with the tip of her fingers, amazed by the way the smooth skin glided under her fingers.

                When he didn’t get an immediate reaction Brandon asked her again. “Faith.” His voice was calm when he tried to get through to her. “What have you been using?”

                “I took the small blue one. You know, the one we got from that friend of yours last time. What was his name again? Do you want one too? I have them with me. I got them tested, it’s okay. You can if you’d like to.”

                Brandon was glad to hear that his now rambling girlfriend took the safe way, rather than to buy one on the party itself, like she had done before. “No honey, I left my wild life behind me. Besides, I like to stay sober when you’re not.” He planted a kiss on her lips which she returned. Faith’s hands glided down from his face to his chest and back up along his arms, touching him like she discovered him for the first time ever. He placed his hands on her hips and guided her a little further into the crowd. Faith turned around in his grasp and moved her body up and down along his. Her hands were up alongside her body, her hands lying in the back of his neck. Brandon swayed along with the rhythm and the delicious body of his girlfriend so close to him. He let his hands travel up along her arms and got hold of her hands. He brought them down in front of her and wrapped them around her own body so he could hold her tight.

                Faith spun around again and created some distance between them, she needed some space to dance on her own. Dancing felt good. Tonight was all about dancing, the way her body swung to the beats. Brandon released her and she watched him dance on his own too. He was pretty good but she wouldn’t have expected anything else, the guy had feeling for rhythm. Tonight was good, music changed to a more steady base, becoming more edgy, harder. She felt like she could go on forever, like she needed to let it out of her system.

 

A warm hand closed around her shoulder and words were spoken into her ear. “I got you something to drink.” Brandon handed the glass over to her and a warm, tingling feeling spread through her whole body when she took it from him.

                Brandon watched Faith swallow the content of the glass in a few big gulps. He knew he needed to make sure she drank enough to eliminate the chance of dehydration. She, once again, rubbed herself up against him. He loved that the xtc made her real cuddlesome most of the times, the way she was draped all around him. Mostly he’d liked to keep her close, but he had just ran into one of his friends from the mixing scene and it would be impolite to not talk to the guy. Brandon took Faith by the hand and led her back the way he came from. Back to where he had left Elmar and his girlfriend at the edge the dance area.

                Faith followed along, she trusted Brandon. “Have you seen the stars tonight? They look so pretty up in  the sky. There are a lot. Well of course there are always a lot, but you can just see them very well out here. Thousands of little lights, illuminating all these people just enough, like they were all gathered around here just for the festival.” She said grinning.

                Faith was happily chatting away again when Brandon spotted his friend and walked over to the row of small standing tables near the bar. Out of center of the party they could at least have a decent conversation without shouting and repeating everything they said at least twice.  “Faith this is Elmar and this is his girlfriend Bethany.” Brandon saw that his girlfriend only now noticed the other people. Faith stared at them with a sweet, eager smile on her face before she went over to hug the two people. They were a little overwhelmed to be greeted by a complete stranger like that.

                “Nice to meet you.” Elmar said a little hesitant. His girlfriend made herself just off with a short ‘hey’.

                Brandon hadn’t seen they guy for a few months. Elmar was mixing already a long time but he was never really very successful. He had some tracks that reached the charts but never high. Elmar didn’t really seem to mind, he had fun in what he was doing and he was not the jealous type that didn’t grant anybody else any success. Brandon didn’t know much about Bethany, he had only seen her a couple of times. It turned out that Elmar had been working in Canada for a few months, mixing on various smaller locations but he had been rather successful there.

                Brandon tried to keep focused but the fact that his girlfriend was dancing up against him wasn’t really helping. Her ass was rubbing along his crotch and he placed his hands on her hips to either keep her at a little more distance from him, or to keep her more still. Both options seemed rather fruitless and he tried to resist the urge to let his hands caress the inside of her thighs. Faith put her hands up and stroked the back of his neck, gently tugging at the little hairs there. Brandon knew she wasn’t intentionally driving him insane, she just did what felt good to her…and to him, timing could have been better. “So, you are leaving again for Canada?”

                “We are going together this time, for a longer period of time.” Elmar laid a hand on the small of Bethany’s back.

                “When are you leaving?” Brandon pushed Faith’s hands down and kept holding them before they could reach up again. She laid her head back against his chest and closed her eyes, rocking slowly from left to right getting Brandon to accompany in her motion.

                “Oh, just in about two months, we need to arrange a few things before moving there.” Elmar said again.

                “But you’re not going permanent, are you?” Brandon felt Faith trying to release her arms but he refused to let go.

                “We don’t know yet. At the moment we are looking for a temporary living space.” Elmar gave his friend a questioning look when he noticed the struggle with his girlfriend.

                Brandon decided to ignore the look. “Is it hard to find?”

                “Not really that hard, but the bigger ones in the big cities are rather expansive. But it needs to be big enough for at least three people.” Elmar’s face was glowing when he said the last part and he laid his hand on his girlfriend’s belly.

                “O my god! You are pregnant! Wow, congratulations!” Brandon let go of Faith and leaned over to Bethany to congratulate her, kissing both her cheeks. Next he put his arm around Elmar, pulling him in a hug. “When are you expecting?”

                “Oh, it’s still very early, only 13 weeks.” Bethany said with a smile on her face. Up until now she had been rather quiet.

                “So you are going to give birth in Canada?” Brandon asked curious.

                “If all goes well...” Elmar said.

                “Of course it will! Why wouldn’t it? A bit more optimism.” Brandon tried to reassure his friend. This was going to be their first kid and happy as they seemed Brandon could imagine they were also a bit scared.

                “I don’t want to jinx it.” Elmar said laughing.

                “I have faith in it, just relax and enjoy every moment. Do you guys want another drink?” Brandon looked around and noticed Faith was mingling in with the crowd again.

                “I would love too, my throat is dry from all the smoke machines.” Bethany complained.

                “I would like a beer too. You want a Fanta darling?” Elmar asked her and she nodded in response.

                “I’ll get them, it’s my treat.” Brandon gave a last glance at Faith before he walked over to the bar to get the drinks.

 

When he returned he handed them their drinks and went over to Faith to get her to drink a glass of water. Brandon noticed her teeth were chattering and she had a little trouble drinking, but it was nothing out of the ordinary. He kissed her and returned to his friends.

                “How was your first trimester? Any troubles with morning sickness or what?” Brandon had grown up in a large family with four brothers and two sisters and he had been witness of several of their pregnancies. He was the only one who didn’t have any kids yet.

                “To be honest I thought it would be worse. I had some morning sickness in the first few weeks but not every day and not really bad.” Bethany gave him a shy smile, like she had the feeling it wasn’t fair to go through first trimester so easily.

                “And when are you and Faith going to start a family Brandon?” Elmar asked jokingly.

                “We haven’t talked about that.” Brandon said, shrugging his shoulders.

                “But you want to, I know you do.” Elmar said with a teasing laugh.

                “I might.” Brandon answered him shortly.

                “You’re not getting any younger.”

                “Faith is still young, we have plenty of time.”

                “I know I wouldn’t like it, raising a teen when I’m past my fifties.”

                “I’m not that old Elmar.” Brandon said sharp. He glanced sideways to check out how his girlfriend was holding up, but he couldn’t find her in the crowd. He looked apologetic towards Bethany and Elmar. “Excuse me, I have to…” Brandon pointed to the crowd where they had last seen Faith.

                He earned a smile and an understanding nod from Bethany before she said him goodbye. “It was nice talking to you.”

                Brandon forced a smile. “We’ll keep in touch. At least let me know when the baby is born.”

                “We will, see you later.” Elmar said before Brandon hurriedly walked away.

 

He searched through the crowd for the lean brunette who had stolen his heart. He was glad she had given him an excuse to walk out of the uncomfortable conversation. Of course he and Faith had talked about kids. Brandon had never in his life, doubted that he wanted them, or at least one. Faith on the other hand had been very clear that she didn’t want any kids at all, period. They had had numerous discussions on that topic, which mostly resulted in Faith walking out on him without ever giving him any reasonable explanation why she didn’t want children. Brandon still hoped that she would one day, somehow change her mind.

                When he found her she was dancing, surrounded by some guys who were more than interested in her. By the way they laughed with each other he figured it was a group of friends. Faith was dancing with one of them, her back attached to his front. But when they guy reached up to get a hold of her she smoothly pushed his hands away and danced out of his reach. Brandon grinned, yes his girlfriend was really a tease. Faith had only just lost the guy when another one of the friends tried his luck. Of course he succeeded in dancing with her, he even got to lay his hands on her hips, just for a second because she used the same technique as she had done with his friend.

                Faith danced around rather carelessly and Brandon decided it was time to intervene before another one of the guys would give it a shot. He walked up to her and wrapped his arms around her, hugging her from behind. He felt her tense at first until she realized it was him and relaxed in his grip. Brandon enjoyed the stunned faces from the guys around them and he gave them a daring smile. She was his and he wasn’t afraid of her going off with someone else, no matter how much she liked to toy with other guys. “We are going home.” He said in her ear.

                “But I’m not done dancing.” She said sounding disappointed.

                “You’ve done more than enough for tonight. Come on, we are leaving.” He put his hands on her shoulders and started to steer her out of the crowd. Meanwhile she kept turning her head to him to talk. He wasn’t really listening to whatever it was she was saying, it was some drug-induced-nonsense and she would probably forgot what she had said the next morning unless he reminded her of it.

 

When he pushed in to her Brandon did it slow and careful, she was wet but still narrow. He kissed her jawline and her lips, her teeth weren’t chattering anymore. Moving his kisses down to her throat he felt Faith’s arms wrap around his neck, trying to hold him close. Brandon slowly pushed up on his arms because he needed some space to move and breath. He pulled himself almost out of her in a slow pace. He would take his time, she would be testing his stamina and patience tonight anyhow, but he knew that he could give her a mind-blowing orgasm, as long as he was patient.

                Pushing back inside of her earned him a deep, guttural groan. Feeling her walls expand around him gave him more space to use his full length. He’d rather go slow and deep than in fast, short thrusts. There was a time and place for everything.

                Brandon settled for a leisurely pace. Faith wrapped her legs around his middle, opening the opportunity for him to go even deeper. Every thrust was rewarded with a pleasured moan. Every time he pulled back the longing of being buried deep inside her sweet, warm body again, increased. He had to be careful not to let himself go too much, he didn’t want this to end too early.

                Between every thrust Brandon relaxed and started kissing her face. Tracing the smooth skin that covered her well-formed bone structure. He sucked and nibbled on her jawline. He made his way down and took her earlobe between his teeth, gently biting down on it, while thrusting deep in to her. She whimpered and moved her head backwards, closing her eyes. Her hands glided down his shoulders and he felt her fingertips press in his back with his next push. Brandon kissed her nose and he felt her hot breath spread across his chin.

                Moving forward again elicited a more vocal response. He kissed her partly opened mouth, tracing her lips with his tongue. Grinding his hips in to her, he felt her warm body rubbing along his abdomen. Leaning on one forearm, he let his hand glide down along the side of her body, touching her hipbone, caressing her ass and moving up to her leg which was still folded around him. The feeling of her heated skin under his touch set him on fire.

                Brandon picked up the speed of his thrusts a little, trying to get a grip on her hip to keep her in place. Faith whimpered underneath him, squeezing her thighs tight around him, squinting her eyes. Her moans became increasingly louder, turning into screams when he put more force behind his trusts. Brandon didn’t care if the whole hotel knew what they were doing.

                He felt her walls contract when she exploded around him. Her body convulsing incoherent underneath him. With two more trust he followed in her lead and collapsed on top of her, panting from exertion.

                Faith pulled his head between her hands and kissed away the drops of sweat from his upper lip. He returned the kiss between gasps of air, trying to regain his breath. She smiled and tousled his hair.

Chapter Text

Chapter

Faith walked back inside the bedroom she had left only three hours ago. She walked around the bed to grab a clean shirt from the cabinet. Standing near her sleeping lovers head she bent down to place a small kiss on his lips. Suddenly he wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her down on top of him. Faith laughed. “What are you doing? I was going to shower.”

                Brandon threw her on her back on the bed and hovered over her, taking her bikini top off. “Don’t. I like you all ‘sea-like’. He eagerly licked her chest.

                “If you say so. The sea was pretty wild.” Faith said grinning. She wasn’t complaining about his enthusiasm.

                Brandon roughly sucked her nipple and made his way down her stomach in two licks. He pulled down her boardshorts and placed his mouth hungrily on her pussy. Brandon sputtered and looked up to Faith, who was popped up on her elbows and looking down on him. “Okay, I like the salt, not the sand that is everywhere!” He said a little disillusioned.

                Faith burst out laughing. “I tried to warn you.”

                Brandon wrapped one arm around her torso and pushed himself up from the bed on his hand and knees, lifting her with him.

                “Where are we going?” Faith asked, placing her hands on his shoulders, her feet dangling a few inches above the floor.

                “Shower.” He said while he opened the door of the bedroom with his free hand.

                Faith gave him a victorious smile.

                “Don’t.” Brandon said when he saw the ‘I told you so’ look. He opened the bathroom door and closed it behind them.

                “I won’t.” Faith said while her smile grew even wider.

                Brandon put Faith down in the shower. He turned the showerhead away from them before he turned on the water. He waited for it to get warm before he held his face under the water and cleaned his mouth.

                Faith got hold of his chin and bent him down towards her, meeting him with a deep kiss.

Chapter Text

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“Do you really have to go?”

                Faith felt a hand wrap around her hip, stopping her in her tracks. She was being pulled back and positioned against the countertop. “You know I have to.” She said, a grin spreading across her lips.

                Brandon placed his other hand on her other hip and closed the gap between them. His head down towards her, his hot breath spreading in her neck, his lips brushing against her skin. He moved his head up to face her.  “But so soon already?” He murmured against her lips.

                Faith felt her arousal spring to life but she resisted the urge to give in to it. “It’s not my fault I have to work. Someone has to finance your hobby.” She said with a little, mischievous laugh.

                “My hobby now, hmm?” Brandon’s hands glided down towards her ass and gave it a firm squeeze.

                “Hmm hmm.” Faith nodded in agreement, trying to look innocent.

                “I think by now, I have contaminated you with ‘My Hobby’ too. And at least I am making money with it.” Brandon let one hand travel under her shirt and up towards her breast, kneading it. He was trying to catch her lips with his but she turned her head away so he kissed her neck, just below her ear.

                Faith had a hard time remembering what she was supposed to do. Her hands rested behind her against the countertop while she tried hard to resist her boyfriend. She needed to be at the garage in 15 minutes and she was already running late. She felt Brandon press her legs apart with his own, the hand that was groping her ass gliding down to lift her leg up. She needed to get out of this really fast before she lost all self-control. Smoothly she glided her hands up along his chest and down his arms again, leading them away from her body. “I’m sorry babe, but I really have to go now.” She pecked his lips and quickly got out of his grip.

                Brandon shrugged his shoulders. “Too bad, I really wanted you.” He turned towards the kitchen table to grab the sandwich he had been preparing and took a mouthful.

                “I know you do, you always do.” Faith said with a grin.

                “Your loss.” He said in between bites.

                “I’ll make it up to you tonight.” She was still leaning against the countertop.

                “I’m working at the studio tonight and didn’t you have to work at the club as well?” He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and placed his plate in the sink.

                “O fuck! Right, it’s Wednesday, almost forgot.” Faith bent down to tuck the loose end of her shoelace back in her booth.

                “Maybe after that, if you’re not too tired…” Brandon opened the refrigerator and poured himself a glass of juice.

                “We’ll see, I need to surf tomorrow morning. I made this appointment with Alban, he’s going to practice with me.” Faith put a glass down next to his, when he started pouring himself another one.

                “You really want to be in the competition?” Brandon put the juice carton back in the refrigerator.

                “I can at least try, I am good at it. Alban says I have a chance.” She placed the glass against her lips and took a sip.

                Brandon looked at her, one of his eyebrows raised. “And you are sure he’s not saying that because he wants to get in your pants?”

                “He’s married.” Faith took another sip.

                Brandon came standing in front of her and looked in her eyes. “Again, I ask…you’re sure he doesn’t want to get in your pants?”

                “What? You don’t believe I’m any good?” Faith put down her glass a bit agitated. She managed to get around him, walking over to the table to get her phone and keys.

                Brandon turned around and followed her with his eyes. “I trust your capability, I just don’t trust his intentions.”

                “You don’t even know him and you know jack about surfing.”

                “I know you look hot while doing it.” Brandon walked over to her and locked her between his arms against the table.    “You know we could have had sex already if we didn’t spent all this time arguing.”

                “What? You can’t just wait one more day?” Faith wrapped her hands around his neck, drawing small, teasing circles, while she bent his head towards her own.

                “I’m away to San Francisco until Monday, remember?” He brushed his nose against hers.

                “Ah shit, that is this weekend already?” Faith mentally kicked herself for forgetting it.                Brandon just gave her a nod.

                “Uhm…so…you still up for that nookie?” Faith hooked her index fingers behind his waistband and pulled him closer to her.

                The corner of his mouth turned up in a lopsided grin. “Is that even a question?” He picked her up, placed her on top of the kitchen table and kissed her vigorously.

                Faith’s hands unbuckled his belt and went up under his t-shirt, ready to take it off.

                “Ahum, I hope we don’t interrupt you two, but some of us would like to eat at that table.”

                Faith released herself from Brandon’s kiss when she heard Mathew’s voice. He and Mia picked a perfect timing to walk in to the kitchen. “Go ahead, we don’t mind. Really.” She gave the guy a smirk.

                Mia gave her a disbelieving look.

                “Alright, alright.” Faith slid down the table, still in Brandon’s grasp, feeling his arousal press against her. “Sorry babe, raincheck on the sex. I really have to go now.” She gave him a quick kiss, got her keys from the table behind her, gently pushed Brandon off of her and walked towards the door.

Chapter Text

Chapter (2005)

Mia watched her dark haired friend who was sitting down at the kitchen table while she herself was leaning against the doorpost. Faith was drumming the rhythm of the song playing on her headphones while she took a bite of her cereals. Meanwhile she was reading the newspaper that was on the table and then she wrote something down on an empty corner of the paper. Brandon came down the stairs and walked towards the kitchen, greeting Mia while he passed her. Mia observed the two people in her kitchen with interest. Brandon got a can of juice from the fridge and poured it in a glass which he emptied in a few seconds, placing it down in the sink. He walked towards Faith and kissed the top of her head before he reached for his car keys. Faith didn’t even look up but just put her hand in the air in some sort of sign that she got that he was leaving her. She seemed lost to whatever it was that got her interest.

                “Mia honey, have you seen my shoes?” Mia turned her head when she heard her boyfriend from the living room. She left her spot at the doorpost and walked towards Mathew. “Aren’t they near the sofa, you know, where you left them yesterday?”

                Mathew looked up when he heard Mia’s voice in the room. “No, that are not the ones I mean. I am searching the brown ones, they fit better with my suit.” He walked around the house a little agitated. Mathew always knew where he left his belongings, so if he was missing something, somebody else had probably moved it.

                Mia started to go through the house in search of the missing shoes. Mathew entered the kitchen and asked Faith if she had seen his shoes. She didn’t hear him and so she didn’t gave him an answer which did nothing to improve his mood.

                “I’ve found them!” Mia shouted from the living room. She picked up Faith’s sweater from the ground and revealed the chestnut colored shoes Mathew was searching for. He hurriedly came towards her while Mia hid the sweater behind her back.

                “They were just here? How could I have missed them? I swear I had looked over here.” Mathew said a little confused, but he was glad they weren’t missing anymore. He put on his shoes and kissed Mia before he grabbed his suitcase and walked out of the house. “See you later honey!” He called to her right before he closed the door.

                Mia greeted her stressed boyfriend goodbye and walked back towards the kitchen. She threw the sweater at Faith. The young woman caught it before it had a chance to fall down again and she wrapped one arm around it, holding it close to her while she muttered a ‘thanks’ to Mia, still without looking up.

Faith had changed while she was in prison. Had she been keeping things to herself before, now she seemed even more reserved. She had also calmed down, she used to be real high-spirited, swinging between highs and lows, now she was more leveled, not led so much by her emotions. Although it sometimes seemed like she had no emotions anymore at all. In the past people could get under her skin pretty easily, like when injustice was done to someone, or when people were provoking her. Now it was like she didn’t care about anything anymore. She was compliant with anything you asked her.

                “Could you do the laundry today?” Mia sat down at a chair at the table opposite of Faith. The other girl didn’t respond. “Faith!” Mia shouted and stared hard at the girl opposite her.

                Faith pulled down one side of the headphones. “Hmm?” she gave Mia a questioning look.

                “Could you do the laundry today?” Mia repeated her question.

                “Yeah sure.” Faith put on her headphones again, ripped the piece she had written on from the paper and stood up. She turned around towards the door and threw her sweater on the stairs while she passed them before she walked outside and drove off in her car.

                Mia sighed, yes, sometimes it really felt like she was owning a hotel and people came and go when they pleased. She stood up and started to gather pieces of clothing and other things that belonged to Faith or Brandon from around the house and carried them up the stairs. She still had two hours before she needed to be in the shop so she’d better do something useful. She opened the door to the room Faith occupied since she was released from prison. It used to be her parents room, but it was hardly recognizable as what it used to be anymore. Mia wondered how Faith could live in such a mess. There seemed to be no order in it whatsoever. Clothes were spread all around, like they were left when they were pulled off or when they were dumped after laundry weeks ago. Brandon seemed to be okay with it, although Mia couldn’t understand why.

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Brandon was standing at the club with a beer in his hand. He was booked to DJ for a part of tonight but since he didn’t have anything better to do, he already went there to see some others perform.

                “Brandon.”

                Brandon turned around when he felt a hand on his shoulder. “Axell hey, what are you doing here?” He hugged his friend. The last time he had seen him was a couple of months ago when they both were in New York at a festival.

                “I’m here to perform at Dance Delusion tomorrow.”

                “Really? That’s great man. Wish I’d know before, I would have bought a ticket.” Brandon said grinning.

                “I can arrange it if you want to come. Need me to get one for Faith too?”

                Brandon’s mood went down instantly when he heard Axell say her name. “No, she isn’t coming.”

                Axell shrugged. “How is she doing anyway?”

                Brandon gave his friend a questioning look. “She’s fine, I guess.” He mumbled the last part.

                “After Wednesday night I mean?” Axell noticed the suspicious look Brandon got. “I met her at the hotel Wednesday night. I’m staying at the Ritz Moritz for the weekend. You know, the really fancy one.” Axell said with a smile on his lips.

                “And you met her there because…” Brandon needed Axell to continue his story. It couldn’t be true that his girlfriend, or ex-girlfriend, he hadn’t decided on that part, had betrayed him with one of his friends?

                “She didn’t tell you? She probably doesn’t even remember it I guess.” Axell shook his head. “I met her at the hallway. She was in the company of some old guy and I thought she looked familiar to me. I couldn’t really see because they seemed rather…intimate. When I got closer I heard them talk a little, I couldn’t make out the words but she didn’t seemed to be pleased with what was going down. When I gave her a better look, I noticed it was Faith. I called her name and she looked at me, but she looked a bit…off the world. I think she was drugged or something. She had a tick…you know, like twitching the corner of her mouth, like those GHB people. Anyway she wanted to come to me but that guy pulled her back. That’s when I decided to step in. I walked up to them an politely told the guy to back off. I took Faith with me to my hotel room, she was in no state to go anywhere. I laid her on the bed and got her shoes and belt off so she was a bit more comfortable.”

                “Why didn’t you warn me?” Brandon asked confused.

                “I wanted to call you but I got a new cell and I hadn’t had time to get all the numbers from my old to my new phone. And it was late anyway so I just thought we would figure it out the next morning, when she would be sobered up. I woke up and she was still sound asleep. I went down to the lobby to check if my manager had left a message, but when I got back she was gone.”

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Torn apart - Bastille

Faith’s eyes locked with Jason’s. He stood in the door opening of the Toretto house. Earlier that day they had already seen each other, but she had ignored him.

                Now he was invited by Mia to come to their house, they were already planning to have a barbecue tonight so he and his wife were welcome to come. Jason opened the front door that wasn’t locked and let himself in. His wife had forgotten something in the car and went back to get it.

                Jason had hung up his coat at the coat rack and wanted to walk further into the house when he noticed Faith standing there. It was like time was frozen as they stared at each other.

                Faith’s jaw was set and her fist clenched before she sprang into action. Anger building back up inside her again. She reached for the first thing she could find and threw it at him. Jason was just in time to duck and the little vase shattered against the wall behind him. Faith reached for something else and she kept throwing things at him while she marched towards him. Jason backed up as the angry woman came closer to him.

                “Why the Fuck are you here!?! Why after all this time did you decide to come back!?” Faith pushed against him and Jason stumbled back outside. “I don’t want you here! Get the fuck out of my life! You managed so well last time, why don’t you do it now as well!”

                Jason looked a bit helpless around him but he needed all his attention not to fall down as he forcefully descended the small steps in front of the house.

                “I hate you Jason! I HATE YOU!” Faith kept yelling at him, her throat was sore and tears burned in her eyes.

                “I’m sorry, I never wanted to leave.” He managed to bring out between her raging.

                “That’s bullshit! Even before the hijack you told me you would leave! How could you!? Do you even know how fucking much that hurt? Do you even care?! I hate you!” Faith was beating with her fists on his chest, quickly losing the real strength behind it.

                Jason stopped backing away and got hold of her upper arms to try and stop her from attacking him.

                “Why’d you leave?” Her voice cracked had turned into an barely audible whisper.

                Faith looked up at him and his hearth broke when he looked into the tear-filled, pleading eyes. She demanded an answer to something he didn’t have an answer for himself. He cupped her face in his hands and got lost in her eyes. He traced her jaw, her cheeks, her ears, her temples, her nose, her lips... Trying to get back what he had missed all those years.

                Faith was shaking, trying to push down the sobs that had forced their way up her throat. Looking up at him she felt like she was sucked down into his green eyes. She brought one hand up behind his head and guided him down towards her face.

                When someone scraped his throat behind them, Jason and Faith slowly let go of each other.

                “What happened to ‘I am not going to talk to him’?” Brandon asked while he took a few steps forward and carefully placed his hand on his girlfriend’s back.

                Faith stuttered. “I…I…this…this wasn’t talking.” She managed to bring out. “I’m still mad at him.” She added with a more steady voice, giving Jason a daring look.

                “Yes, so we’ve heard that.” Judy said. When Judy, Chris and Mia had heard all the noise coming from the hallway they came to see what was going on.

                Joanna made her way to the formerly close friends. “Honey, what is this? Why is she hurting you? Are you alright?” She turned him around so he was facing her and started to check if he was wounded or something.

                Jason carefully pushed her hand aside. “Honey, I’m fine.”

                Faith had watched the scene amused and gave Jason a dirty smirk. He was so whipped.

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Putting the key in the lock she noticed the door wasn’t locked so Brandon was probably home. Faith sighed before she opened the door and walked inside. She headed straight towards the kitchen and started rummaging through the cabinets to gather the ingredients she needed to fix a quick chicken curry.

                “Hey, I thought I heard something.” Brandon said peeking around the corner of the kitchen door.

                Faith remained silent while she placed a pan of water and a frying pan on the fire before she started chopping the onions. When the oil was hot enough she threw the pieces of chicken in the frying pan an baked it.

                “What are you making?” Brandon asked when he walked up towards her. He wrapped his hands around her belly from behind and leaned into her, resting his head on her shoulder.

                Faith made her way out of his embrace reaching for another frying pan and put that too on the fire putting the onions in it. Stirring it every once in a while she started chopping tomato’s and the cilantro.

                “It looks good. Have you made it before?” Brandon waited some time for an answer, but when it didn’t came he gave up and went back to the living room to watch TV again.

                Faith sighed and leaned on her hands on the counter, bowing her head. It was hard to keep this up. Yes she was being a bitch, but so was he and it was no use to talk about it because he had set his mind. Why the hell was he so stuck in his thinking? Why was he so afraid something would happen to the baby? The safest place for it to be was in her belly, right where it was.

                Faith had asked around, did some research and came to the conclusion that it was only good to keep as fit as possible when bearing a child. She’s known woman who had surfed until their due date and nothing went wrong there. This wasn’t because she had lost the kid in their first attempt. He had already told her he didn’t want her to do anything potentially dangerous then. Faith figured that if it was up to him, she would just lie in bed for the full 9 months.

                Faith took the pans from the fire and threw everything together in two bowls. She walked towards the living room and placed one bowl in front of Brandon before she took off towards the bathroom, locking the door behind her.

                She placed her curry on the washing machine and dug out her phone from her pocket. Taking a bite she texted Mia if she had any plans for tonight. Mia answered that she was too tired to do anything and wanted to go to bed early, but Faith was more than welcome to come tomorrow evening. Faith replied that it was fine and she would love to come over tomorrow. She would find something else to do tonight. She just didn’t want to be around Brandon so she was looking for an excuse to flee the house. Apparently he didn’t have to work tonight, or not yet anyway.

                Faith had done nothing but avoiding him, ever since she agreed with his stupid ‘not surfing’ request. She had expected it to not be so hard since they both worked a lot and didn’t see each other that often anyway, but it turned out to be harder than she thought.

                Faith turned on the shower and, between bites, started to undress. She took a quick shower and threw the remaining curry in the toilet bowl, she just wasn’t that hungry. Brushing her teeth and brushing her hair she got ready to leave. On her way out she reached for her car keys and a jacket. She felt Brandon’s eyes on her but he remained silent. Faith left the house and closed the door behind her.

                 

When she reached her car she wiped away the tears that had silently fell down. She didn’t want to fight with Brandon but she wasn’t going to be the one who would start with the apologies, not this time. To her it felt like she was always the one who put in an effort to make things right between them. Brandon’s excuse was always ‘I wanted to give you some time and space’, well that was easy. Just sit and wait until she couldn’t stand it anymore. He knew Faith wasn’t patient. She would eventually apologize even though she didn’t always feel like she was wrong. 

                Faith took place behind the wheel and drove off, not really sure where to go. She decided on a little cruising along the coastline to clear her mind. Ever since she found out she was pregnant her life was turned upside down. She felt like she was on an emotional roller-coaster, only this coaster never had high peaks but was just stuck in a downward spiral. In her previous pregnancy she had been happy, in between the ongoing morning sickness, that was. She could enjoy being pregnant.

                It was something Faith had never wanted, but with Brandon she knew she could do it. When she had gotten used to the idea she could imagine them as a nice, little, happy family. He would be there to rely on. He was the one who definitely wanted kids. She was just afraid to screw it up. How could she ever be responsible for another life? The fact that Brandon was there made a lot of her troubles disappear. He was confident they would manage.

                Faith stopped her car at the boulevard, stepped out and went to the beach. She sat down on the still hot sand, watching people in the water with their surfboards. She longed to be in there with them, but she promised and she wasn’t going to break that promise. What bothered her the most wasn’t even the fact that he forbid her to surf, or jog or bike. She would really miss doing all those things but that wasn’t it.

                She lied down in the sand. The fact that Brandon was so strong headed,  that he thought he could decide for her what she could and could not do. The fact that she eventually always complied with what he wanted, that’s what stung her the most. She had an opinion too, but because he was so strong in his opinion that what he believed was right, she was ashamed to admit that it made her insecure.

                He was always calm and rational. The fact that he was almost 9 years older shouldn’t make a difference, but it did. Her temperament had also a lot to do with it. She was very spontaneous, the act now think later type. That had proven, more than once, not to be the best way to handle things. It was like Brandon was always waiting for her to come to the realization that she had been wrong and that she had better listen to him. And maybe she should, but that didn’t mean she should just follow him in everything.

                Faith stood up and walked towards the shoreline, She kicked off her shoes and stepped in to the water, letting the waves wash over her feet. Anew tears rolled down her face, but for now, she let them.

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Brandon pulled back the blanket and stepped in on his side of the bed. Even in the dark he could make out the sleeping silhouette of his girlfriend. He sighed when he lied down on his back and folded his hands under his head. Why couldn’t she just see things the way he did. She was always acting so impulsive, she just couldn’t see danger in anything. It was one of the things he liked about her, but now that she had a little baby growing inside her she just needed to take responsibility for it.

                Brandon opened his eyes when he felt Faith crawl into him and he smiled. She tried so hard to avoid him at daytime, but now that she was asleep she unconsciously looked for him. She smelled like sea and there was still sand sticking on her body. The first thing that came to his mind was that she went surfing, but then he remembered that her board was still at home….but then again, that wasn’t a guarantee that she didn’t went surfing. He sighed and stroked her hair, it was dry, what did that mean? Brandon closed his eyes and tried to get some sleep, tomorrow was another day with plenty of time to worry. For now he was too tired.

 

When Faith woke up, for a second she forgot that she was angry at Brandon. Her head was resting against his chest, their legs entangled. When realization of what happened the last few days hit her, she pulled away from him immediately. Getting out of bed she heard him moan a little, but he remained sleeping.

                Faith silently slipped away and went to the kitchen, putting on the coffee machine. Next she went to the bathroom, she had already put the clothes she wanted to wear there last night. Faith turned on the water and took a quick shower. She slept very deep last night and hadn’t heard Brandon come in. Hell, she couldn’t even remember dreaming something.

                When Faith was dressed she went into the kitchen but only took a cup of coffee, she just wasn’t hungry the last few days. Besides that, her throat just felt like it was squeezed shut. Taking her keys, phone and wallet she went out the door to her work.

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Sitting down between the bags of corn and crates of vegetables, Faith was crying her eyes out. She had been crying non-stop ever since the boat left the docs and it didn’t seems like the flood was going to stop anytime soon. She had lost everything. Everything!

                She wasn’t sure what to do next. First she would make sure she would get back to the mainland and from there she would take a plane somewhere far, far away from everything that mattered. Probably the first flight she could get on to Europe.

                Yes, running was something she was good at. Running and fucking things up. She had just singlehandedly destroyed the one relationship she thought she would never ever have. She was just so sick of all the fighting they did. She was destroying him and she didn’t want that. Faith remembered the happy, joyful Brandon from when they just met, but it seems worlds apart now. They had been through a lot….or rather, she had put him through a lot. She knew she wasn’t probably the easiest girlfriend to have.

                She felt guilty for putting him up with all her mess and troubles. He hadn’t been a troubled soul when she met him, but now he was. She shattered his dream of having kids. She trampled his believe in mutual trust and respect. Why couldn’t she be honest about things to him? She always had to hide and hush until things were inevitable to share.

                It had taken a lot from her to make the decision for them to break up. Sure, she had done that a million times before, but this time it was different. This time it wasn’t just her insecurity that got her running. This time she needed the time to really figure out what she wanted, what was best for either one of them. She told him he could contact her when he was ready for it, but of course he couldn’t. She had broken all connections with him and with everyone else that she truly cared about.

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“What the hell is this Stacy?” Brandon asked when he came home and he found his girlfriend in the arms of another guy. Both Stacy and the guy jumped up from the couch.

                “Brandon! I didn’t know you were coming home tonight.”

                “So it would be okay for you to lick his tonsils when I didn’t get home to see it?”

                “I think I’m gonna go.”

                “Yeah, you do that buddy.” Brandon said venomous as the guy scurried out of his house.

                “You are never there Brandon!” Stacy yelled at him.

                “I am just very busy working!”

                “So you choose your work over me?”

                Brandon didn’t answer that.

                “You just come and go as you please! You never ask me about what I do all day or if we can do something together.“

                “I do ask you…” He didn’t sound really convinced himself but he was sure he must have done that sometime.

                “And nine times out of ten you are either too tired to have sex or it’s all quick and over before I know! I have needs too!”

                “So that’s why you invite a stranger to my home? To fulfill your ‘needs’?”

                “Well you’re not doing it, so yes, I need to find it somewhere else! I thought dating you would be so much better, but you disappoint me. All you have is the looks.”

                “I think you’d better leave as well.” Brandon said with restrained anger.

                “Oh don’t worry, I will.”

 

After Stacy left Brandon angrily picked up a glass with a tea light and threw it against the wall. How could she invite someone else to his house? She didn’t even live here! If he had come in any later he was pretty sure she had invited the douchebag into his bed! Where did she get the nerve! Was this the first time she had done this? He didn’t even want to think about it, that filthy slut! Brandon walked to his bedroom and pulled all the bedding from it. He wanted to make sure his bed was clean.

                When he was done with that he went to his music room, he still had work left to do. He was suddenly very much inspired for a new track, but he didn’t want to give Stacy any credits for being a muse. He was glad she was gone. Good riddance! Now he could focus one-hundred percent on his career. All these females lately had only been distracting him from what he had came here to do.

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Brandon rolled away from her and laid on his back in his bed, catching his breath. He was right on the edge of falling asleep when Melissa addressed him.

                “Brandon…”

                “Hmm?” He kept his eyes closed and wasn’t really in the mood to talk.

                “Are you happy? With me I mean?”

                Brandon opened his eyes. This sounded like she wanted a serious conversation. He slipped his arm underneath her neck and pulled her closer to him. “Yes, I am.” The words came out easy and figuring it would please her he started to drift off to sleep again.

                “Then why do you call for another woman when you come?”

                Brandon’s eyes shot open. When did he do that? This was a ridiculous accusation, he would have known if he did….didn’t he?

                Melissa sat up and looked at him in the semi-dark room.

                Brandon sat up too. “I didn’t.”

                “Don’t lie to me, I’m not deaf.” Her voice was mirroring a mixture of emotions.

                “Why would I do that?!”

                “I don’t know. You tell me? Is she your ex?”

                “I don’t know what you’re talking about? I was only thinking of you.” Brandon’s mind raced over his thoughts from the past half hour, but quite frankly he hadn’t been paying really much attention to what he was thinking. He was just caught up in having sex with Melissa.

                “Well, maybe you did it unconsciously, but it still makes me wonder; are you happy with me?”

                Melissa sounded like she demanded an answer. Brandon hesitated, allowing himself to search deeper into his emotions for the first in a really long time. Apparently he hesitated a little too long for her liking, she stood up from the bed and was starting to get dressed.

                “You think about what it is you want from me, because I did not sign up for being a rebound girl.”

                “You are not a rebound Melis. I’m sorry if I accidently…that I said someone else’s…I’m sorry, I swear that won’t happen again. It was a mistake, please come back to bed?” Brandon pleaded for his girlfriend to stay with him.

                “No, I won’t. You just need to sort out your problems and you can call me when you have figured it out. But I won’t promise you that I wait for you. If I meet someone else, who can give me 100% or more…Well you get the picture.” Melissa opened the door of the bedroom and looked back at her ex. “Goodbye Brandon, I’ll see you around.” She walked out and closed the door behind her.

 

Brandon sighed and let himself fall back on to his pillow again when he heard his front door close and Melissa left his apartment. His mind wandered to what she had just said and he didn’t even doubt what the name was that he had said. It didn’t matter how much time had passed, she would not leave his mind.

                He had tried really hard to forget her, first he had dated her archenemy Stacy. And no, not because he wanted to get back at her, although he figured at that time it was also a convenient side issue. Stacy had been easy, she was practically throwing herself at his feet once she found out he was single again. Besides, they had already slept together once before so it wasn’t all ‘first time’ awkward. He had dated her for a month before he realized he needed to move on.

                After Stacy he decided to loosen up and live a little, which resulted in 3 one-night-stands in the following 2 months. It were easy score’s but didn’t result in anything besides him feeling cheap. These girls liked him because of his status as a DJ, not because of the person he was.

                Then, 2 months ago, he met Melissa and he had a good feeling with her. She was sweet, kind of shy at first. She was down to earth, honest and had a life of her own. She wasn’t just after his status. Melissa was a normal woman who wanted a steady future with a husband, a nice house, 2.5 kids and a dog. She and Brandon had hit it off from the start and he had felt better with her than he had felt in a long time.

                With Melissa he had allowed himself to open up again. He had been sticking his head in the sand, going up in his work and other things. Everything to keep him distracted from his emotions. But ever since Melissa happened, little by little he let his feeling come back in. This was probably also the reason why he had messed up tonight. He was more relaxed than he could remember being in a long time which resulted in him calling for someone else.

                That what he had denied for a couple of months, what he had ignored, he was now confronted with it all by Melissa leaving him. What was he feeling? What did he want? Melissa helped him get to this point, but truthfully, he wasn’t really upset by her departure. He wasn’t really jumping for joy either, she was a sweet girl and good company. Now he was alone again, but maybe he needed to use the time to think about what he wanted.

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Looking out of the small window Brandon saw the lights of Los Angeles underneath him getting smaller. When they were up in the air he installed himself in a comfortable position. Flying first class on a 10 hour flight was a luxury he hadn’t held possible in the past. He closed his eyes and decided to sleep for a while. He wanted to be rested when he landed in London.

                Brandon tried really hard to fall asleep but his mind was mulling over all kind of things, mostly females. Giving up on trying to sleep he’d better use the time to maybe get his mind at ease by figuring some things out.

                He felt like he was now at a point in his life where he needed to make decisions of what he wanted. No…he knew what he wanted, a great career, accompanied by an amazing woman and a joyful family life. He just needed to figure out what he wanted the most because so far he seemed to fail at combining these.

                That’s where Melissa and even Stacy had been right. He did put his career over them. Truthfully admitted, he was almost never home and didn’t gave them the attention they deserved. Stacy had been pretty clear on it, but Melissa had also mentioned it a few times. He just chose to ignore it and act like he was handling everything okay. It hadn’t been fair to them.

                Ever since two of his tracks had hit the charts high in the past half year he had been more busy than ever. He had approached a friend of him to become his manager so Brandon could purely focus on his music. He had agreed and he also had been the one who suggested they needed to introduce Brandon on the foreign market. He had contacts at the European market, especially in the Netherlands. The Dutch dance scene was one of the most progressive markets which delivered a lot of big names. As a manager, Mark thought Brandon had an actual chance at the western European marketing and that’s why Brandon was now on a plane to England. He had to perform this weekend in London and next weekend in Berlin. In between there were some interviews and guest appearances planned.

                Being active in the music world had been his dream ever since he was little. Was he willing to give it up? And what would he give it up for? He didn’t want to grow old alone. He needed someone to love and be loved by. He needed someone who understood what it meant for him to be so passionate about his work. He needed someone who also had her own life and wasn’t sitting around at their house waiting for him to come home. He needed a strong and independent woman who was happy with the time they were given. He needed someone for whom he was willing enough to bend his schedule to make time for each other and he wanted her to feel the same way about it. Someone who wasn’t expecting him to do it but who was glad that he did it, even if she wouldn’t admit it.

                The last part had Brandon smiling, remembering the way Faith could always scold him for taking time off and then eventually snuggle up to him all day just doing nothing. He was glad that he could think about her without getting angry. Or that he could even think about her at all. This resulted in another smile from him.

                Brandon focused again on his ‘what do I want from live (and love in general)’ track. He wanted someone who was interested in what he did, who, at the end of the day he could share stories of all that happened that day with. A girl who he could spar with, who was ready to contradict him when she thought he was wrong, or when she thought things would be better in some other way. She didn’t have to be right, she just needed the passion, the drive.

                He wanted someone who would laugh at his jokes because she thought they were funny, not because she was expected to laugh. Who he could just sit with all day having pointless conversations and commenting on other people.

                At the same time he wanted a woman who he could take care of and who would let him, even though they both new she was completely capable of taking care of herself. Someone who could drive him nuts at one time and completely charm and make him forget in the next five minutes.

                Being good between the sheets wasn’t really a necessity but it would be a big plus. Of course she shouldn’t be bad at it, but he could settle for average, as long as the feeling for her was alright things would work out. She shouldn’t be too dull either, although he wasn’t really much of experimenting, he didn’t want only missionary all the time either. If she wanted some experimenting he would consider it, but only if he felt confident enough. What happened in the bedroom, or wherever it was they were having sex, he needed to be able to trust her that that was where it stayed.

                She needed to be able to give him butterflies every time that he saw her. He knew that was just the feeling from being in love, but at least he needed to have a good feeling when he saw her. Of course he didn’t expect them to never fight, fighting was okay, it was healthy and it just came with being in a relationship. He wouldn’t be happy if she complied with everything he said or did. She would need to have her own opinion and stand for what she wanted, or what she didn’t want.

                Damn it, he just needed Faith! She fit his description perfect and with every aspect he could think of a moment they shared together. He missed the quirky girl and her extraordinary behavior and habits.

                Sure, she had her flaws, but who didn’t? She didn’t tell him a lot of things which had damaged his trust in her, but had he been the cause of her lacking the confidence to trust him? He didn’t know, but it had gone from bad to worse. Every time they had built up the trust again something happened that got everything off-balance.

                But even if they could work that out, could he imagine a lifetime with her? His heart screamed ‘yes!’, but what about wanting a family of his own? She had been honest with him about that from the beginning, always said she hadn’t want kids and still he had stayed with her then. He had tried numerous times to convince her that it wasn’t so bad. Eventually she had agreed to having kids and he had been over the moon, completely forgetting how she told him that she was pregnant. But he wondered now if he hadn’t been pushing her too much into kids all that time?

                He did tell her he would definitely want kids for sure, even if that meant finding another girlfriend. He was truthfully telling her what he thought, this was how he saw things back then. Was that why she agreed? Would she give up on her own believes for him? He always thought that she would never do that, but now that he thought about it more and more, it seemed awfully lot like it.

                Did he still think about having a family the same way? What did family mean? Having kids? Or just building up a life with the one you loved? She had been right when she had said that it was silly to love something that didn’t just yet existed. But their baby’s had existed…and they had died premature. Unconsciously he had blamed her for both miscarriages, but especially the last one.

                Faith seemed to be so light about it while he was devastated with the loss. At the time he even thought that she might have been happy about losing the baby’s, just so she could say that she tried but it didn’t work. She would be willing to give it to him but she just couldn’t. Brandon even went as far as thinking that she had purposely done something to set in a miscarriage. He felt really bad about even coming up with something so heartless.

                She had been carrying both baby’s in her womb and had probably been very upset by their loss too. Only thing is, is that she always tried to run away from her feelings. Brandon couldn’t even begin to imagine how it was for her to lose these two little lives that had lived inside of her for weeks. How she must have felt when he had turned away from her. Her body was a raging barrel of hormones, swinging her from one way to another.

                Faith also had a way of eliminating her own feelings, her own needs when someone she cared about was hurt or in danger. Chances were that she had tried to stay strong for him. But what she didn’t get was that that wasn’t what he needed. He had needed her to show her emotions, they had needed to deal with this together, but they hadn’t. They had done the complete opposite…or he did, he had done the complete opposite.

                He should have told her what he thought, what he wanted from her. He should have asked how she was, instead of biting her head off when she asked him. And when she said she was fine he should have pushed harder, because no one was fine when he had lost two baby’s in such a short time. Brandon had been too caught up in his own grief.

                He regretted his course of action but he couldn’t take it back. And now she was gone. And he didn’t know where she was or how she was doing, because she broke all contact with him and apparently also with everyone else she knew. He desperately wanted to know how she was doing. Knowing Faith she had ended up in trouble and he wasn’t there to help her. He hadn’t seen her for over 6 months already. He really needed to hear her voice, know she was still alive. She was always so reckless. He knew she was a big girl but still…with no one to look out for her, how would she manage?

                He would give the world, if only she came back to him. Yes he wanted her, he wanted to spent a lifetime with her. He needed Faith at his side, baby or no baby, he would love her, no matter what. She had been right about their break up, they needed time apart to rediscover themselves and their feelings for each other.

                He had never been more convinced about wanting her…but what if she had changed her mind? What if she decided that they were done? How would he know? How long was he going to wait for her to get in contact with him, because frankly, he had no clue of how to contact her. Maybe he needed to ask Dominic if he could find out.

                If he ever found her again he figured they had a lot to talk about. A lot of things they needed to discuss. And it was essential for them to build up mutual trust. No, Brandon didn’t expect things to be simple if they would see each other again, but he was confident they could make it work. He wanted to make it work.

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Faith leaned out of the embrace of Jules. “I can’t.”

                “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that. Not after what you just told me.” Jules turned away from her, looking down a little ashamed.

                Faith bit on her bottom lip, tasting the lingering flavor of his lips. “It’s okay. Just…don’t do it anymore.”

                “It is not okay. You just seemed really upset and I don’t know…I wanted to comfort you or something. Your vulnerability just pulled me in and I acted on instinct I guess.”

                “Well, thank you for listening. I’m off to bed now.” Faith emptied her whisky, stood up from the couch and walked away. When she reached the door she turned around. “Jules…” she waited until he looked at her. “Thanx for the good time.” She gave him a smile.

                “Anytime cheri.”

                Faith turned around and the door closed behind her.

 

Faith silently closed the front door behind her, hauling her duffle bag with her. She walked to her car and dumped the bag in the back, softly closing the trunk again. She started her engine but left the lights out until she was far away enough from the chalet so she was sure not to wake Jules up.

                When she said goodnight, she had already made up her mind. Faith went up to her room and packed her things. She had waited until she was certain he was asleep before she silently sneaked out of the house. She needed to move on before things got messy.

                Faith had met Jules 3 weeks ago in Paris in a bar and they had talked…a lot. They turned out to have a lot of common interests and he promised her to show her Paris. It was her first night there so she could use a friend who showed her around.

                Jules was living in Paris, he was studying at the Paris college of Art. They hung out together all week when he had the time. It turned out that his parents had a chalet in Switzerland and next week he had holiday and he and some of his friends went up there for skiing and snowboarding. Jules ended up inviting Faith to come along and she accepted. She had never before done any snowboarding but figured it would be a lot like surfing so she wanted give it a try.

                It kind of disappointed Faith that surfing and snowboarding doesn’t come alike in anyway except that there is a board under your feet. But it was a new kind of exhilarating and she and Jules had laughed a lot while trying to teach her how to get the hang of it. Faith had felt quite relaxed with him and that’s why tonight, after a few drinks, she felt ready to talk to someone about Brandon.

                But then Jules just had to mess things up by kissing her. She didn’t want anything so that’s why she was driving her car to the borders of Italy right now. She needed some change of scenery. Back to a little less snow and a bit more sea.

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“So maybe we should get tested don’t you think?” Brandon looked at Faith inquisitively.

                “O, yeah, sure, yeah okay. Better safe than sorry.” Faith said with a weak smile. She had known it was a possibility, she just never gave it really much thought. They had been split up for 6 months so it made sense that Brandon had slept with other people. She hesitated, unsure if she should ask, but she did anyway. “How many?”             

                “Some.” Brandon started to feel a little uncomfortable with the conversation.

                Faith nodded slightly. “Okay.” He didn’t say a number, but some was more than one. Was it more than 2? 5? 10?

                “You?”

                “That’s not really important.” She gave him another weak smile and turned away from him. She took a deep breath to push down the unreasonable feeling of hurt that tried to surface before she turned back to face Brandon again. “Let’s get tested than.”

                “I asked you a question.” Brandon’s tone was icy.

                “It really doesn’t matter how many now.”

                “O my God Faith! Have you been sleaze-bagging all over Europe?! That’s really fantastic! You take ‘m as they come! You considered our break as a free-pass to fuck as many as possible?!”

                Faith yelled back at him, trying to stop his rant. “None Brandon! I haven’t had sex with anyone else! I couldn’t! Not if I…if I wanted to….get my life back on track.” Faith turned her back towards him again. She felt tears prick in her eyes. It really hurt that this was the way he thought about her. But truthfully, this was the image she had created for herself, the image she had tried pretty hard to maintain. In truth it was another self-defense tactic. Control or be controlled.

                “Oh” Brandon was taken aback by what she said. He hadn’t expected it, he thought she would have had multiple sexual relationship in the time they had been apart. Than he realized that when he started the topic, she hadn’t expected it. He had seen a look of shock on her face for a second. “Oh.” He wanted to apologize for his insinuation, he had been a real jerk. And even if she had been sleeping around with everyone…they were on a break, it wasn’t his business.

                “So…how many?”

                “5”

                Faith was still standing with his back towards him. 5 in 6 months, what was that? Had he been over her so soon? Did he date them? Or were it all one night stands? If she would compare it to the way she used to be before she met him, 5 wouldn’t seem like a lot. But this was Brandon and he just didn’t take on anyone.

                “Babe, I’m sorry. If I’d known…” He reached for her shoulder and carefully placed it’s hand on it.

                Faith spun around. “No, it’s okay. It’s not important. Let’s get that test and be done with it.” She picked up her sunglasses from the table and wanted to walk out the door.

                “Faith…” Brandon called after her. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to say, he just couldn’t let her go like this.

                Faith turned around and waited for what he had to say. She looked at him, really looked at him. He looked older. The look on his face showed a mixture of emotions. That beautiful smile of him, she remembered so well, was nowhere to be seen. He had little crow’s feet next to his eyes. The corners of his mouth were turned down. When he didn’t say anything, Faith figured it was best to leave. “I’ll see you later.” She walked out and closed the door behind her. This was not what she had expected.

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And now she was back. She just came barging into his life and trample everything he had been working on for the past six months. What did she expect? Brandon slammed the door of his car and, with the groceries in his arms, managed to switch his car keys for the ones of his home. He started to walk to his apartment.

                “Watch it Mister!”

                “Sorry.” Brandon mumbled while jumping backwards when he almost crashed into a kid on a skateboard. He had a little trouble to look around the bags of food he was carrying. Putting one of the bags down he opened the door of the flat and started to walk the stairs to his own place.

                Why did Faith came back all of a sudden? She said she wanted to talk, wanted to give them another chance. Well, he wasn’t ready to talk! She could not always decide what or when or how things went down! Just when he almost started to believe he would never see or hear from her again, she decided to show up again. Too bad for her, he was done with all the uncertainty.

                Brandon stopped and put down one of the grocery bags again so he could open his front door. The door swung open lightly and stopped just before it touched the wall. The sun pried its way through the half-open shutters and gave the apartment a warm look. Still, entering the empty place he felt cold. Yes, it was his house and he felt at home here, but he missed company.

                Brandon sighed, entered the kitchen and put down his one bag. He needed to let it rest, he made clear to Faith that they were done. He was done getting hurt by her. Whatever she thought she wanted, he wasn’t going to be a part of it, he needed to move on.

                He walked back to get the other one which was still standing by the front door. When he lifted it he noticed there was a small, blue-purple flower on his doormat. What was it doing here? He looked down the hallway and suspected that it was from Mrs. Sanders. She was always walking around with bouquets and plants. She even wore flowery dresses and had a, very obtrusive, perfume of roses. He picked up the abandoned flower, it was a little squashed by the grocery bag but maybe it could be fixed with some water.

                Brandon closed the door behind him and got back into the kitchen. He put down his other bag at the counter and searched through his cupboards for a tiny vase. He knew he had one, but he couldn’t find it. Thinking that maybe it was in the cabinet in the living room he walked over there and managed to find it on the top shelve. He opened the tap and put a little water in the vase before he put the flower in it and placed it on the coffee table.

                He put some coffee in the filter, put water in the machine and stacked away the groceries, while he waited for his coffee to be done. He had to go to the studio in 45 minutes to work on the album of Lisa and that promised to be a long session. Like him, she was striving for perfection…only they didn’t always agree on what exactly was perfection. He could really use a lot of coffee to keep him focused.

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Brandon packed his equipment in his car and made his way over to VIBE. They had asked him pretty last minute to turn, their other DJ called in sick. Must have been pretty sick, or he didn’t had the right drive, because you didn’t just cancel. It had been one of Brandon’s rare Saturdays off. He had kept his schedule empty months ago because his birthday was Monday and maybe he wanted to celebrate it this weekend. But he didn’t make any plans. He hadn’t really felt like doing anything. So he was okay with working tonight, at least he was with friends.

                Brandon parked his car at the back and went in to greet the others before he would get his equipment out. Also, maybe he could find someone who was willing to help him carry. When he entered the club by the back door it was rather silent. He looked at his watch, it was still early. He walked down the hall, along the toilets, that led to the club itself and opened the door.

                “SURPRISE!!!!”

Brandon was indeed surprised by the amount of people that shouted this to him. The crowd erupted into singing him a birthday song. There must have been at least 80 people in here tonight. He was still flabbergasted when the song ended and one by one his friends came up to congratulate him.

                Brandon felt a strong hand squeeze his shoulder and a familiar voice in his ear.

                “Congratulations Brandon.”

                Brandon’s face lit up and he spun around. “Jeff?! What are you doing here?!” Looking a little past his big brother he also noticed all his other brothers and sisters standing there. “You’re all here!”

                 “Wouldn’t want to miss your birthday now, would we.” Nolan said

                Brandon gave him a wondering look. “You skipped it 3 years in a row.”

                “You weren’t really celebrating it then.” Nolan exclaimed, lifting the beer in his hand and handing one to Brandon.

                “I was.” Brandon said with a smirk.

                “You never invited me.”

                Taking a sip, Brandon answered him again. “I did.”

                Being out of excuses Nolan decided to change the way the conversation was going. “Stop being such a pain in the ass. We are here now. Yippee, it’s your birthday!”

                “Technically…”

                “Brandon!” Rebecca interfered.

 

“Elmar, hey!” Brandon walked up towards his friend. He hadn’t seen him for quite a while. “How are you? How is Bethany doing? And how is the baby?”

                “Congratulations Brandon.” Elmar shook Brandon’s hand before he answered all the questions. “We are doing fine. I’m taking it easy so I can help Beth with everything. And of course to spent a lot of time with Vallory, she grows so fast.” The look on Elmar’s face was priceless, he was totally in love with both his girls.

                Brandon turned around when the lights dimmed and the easy background music stopped. When the current DJ started his job Brandon recognized the tunes that were filling the club. He gave Elmar a surprised look.

                “Happy Birthday Brandon!” Axell came up behind him and clasped his shoulder right before the sound exploded in a bright composure of bright tunes and a heavy beat beneath it.

                “You’ve got to be kidding me!” Brandon said, still amazed.

                “Afraid not!” Axell yelled to him to make sure Brandon heard him.

                “It’s really Paul Van Dyk?!”

                Both Axell and Elmar nodded when Brandon gave them a look.

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Brandon turned around in his bed, slowly waking up from his dreamless sleep. He reached over to the other side of the bed, but found it empty. Slowly opening his eyes he watched the alarm on his bedside table. He noticed he still had half an hour before he needed to get up. Brandon had promised to meet his siblings this Sunday for brunch. Since they were here only for a short while he wanted to spent more time with them. They promised to pick him up at 13:00 hour.

                Brandon stayed in bed for another 15 minutes before he decided to get up and shower. Last night had been great, it was one of the most memorable birthdays he’d ever had. He didn’t gave it much thought before, but now he wondered who had thrown him this party. It must have taken weeks to work this out, and a big bag of money, because hiring the entire club and getting Paul van Dyk and Technoboy to give a performance. Faith would have loved it…

                He shifted his thoughts back to something that was a little less sensitive. He figured it was a complot between his best friend Russell, the employees of the club and maybe his family. Although these last usually never did something big, especially not if it isn’t a special anniversary. 34 was not really special. Maybe Melissa had been involved too, before they broke up that was. She was nowhere to be seen yesterday.

                Brandon washed his hair quickly, turned off the tap and toweled himself dry. He walked back to his bedroom and put on something casual. Noticing it was almost time to go, he put on his shoes, grabbed his phone and keys and walked out the door, locking it behind him.

                When he came down in the hall of the apartment building he watched in his mailbox, he forgot to check it yesterday. Opening it he found some advertisements, a couple of bills and two cards. Maybe early birthday greetings. He took the cards with him and walked out to see Oliver waiting for him in his car already.

                Brandon got in to the front seat and greeted his younger brother. “So where are we going?” “You just wait and see.” Oliver shifted gears and took a right turn.

                “Now you are just making me curious. Come on. Where are we going?”

                “I’m not telling.” Oliver kept looking in front of him. His dark sunglasses hiding the twinkle of joy in his eyes.

                Brandon gave up and started to open the cards that were laying in his lap. The first was one of his Grandmother and was indeed a birthday greeting. She was always worried that she would be too late with these kind of things. She just didn’t trust the mail delivery system to be on time.

                When he opened the second card it was one with a picture of a turtle on it. He recognized the beach as the one in Florida, where he and Faith had watched the turtles hatch once in the middle of the night. She had figured out they were close to one of the turtle beaches when he was performing there and after he was done she had taken him to that beach.

                He put the card aside and sighed. He should have known she wouldn’t let it rest.

                “What’s up?” Oliver looked at Brandon. “Is your hangover catching up with you?” He said with a smile.

                “Let me see how well you look underneath these sunglasses and then we’ll talk some more.” Brandon said with a grin. Brandon had stuck to drinking just beer yesterday, although he could have everything for free, it was all covered for him that night. Seeing that he had agreed on this Sunday Brunch he decided to stay safe.

                Oliver steered the car off the main road and out of the city. Brandon grew more curious as to where this brunch thing was happening. Was it still going to be Los Angeles or maybe some other city? He wasn’t driving him all the way back to Portland now was he?

 

“We’re here.” Oliver announced as he drove the car up on to a parking lot in the woods.

                Brandon noticed several other familiar cars standing there as well. He followed Oliver out and they hiked a few hundred yards before they reached a large open field between all the trees. Brandon expected his siblings to be there. What he didn’t expected was their spouses, his parents and all his nieces and nephews. Most of these last ones where caught up in a game of soccer.

                The field looked like a living painting, the sun was shining brightly on the early spring grass. All kind of flowers were decorating the sides of the field where the rocky, uneven terrain started. His family was scattered around the field in little groups. There were several picnic blankets spread across the area, all packed with large baskets for the picnic.

                When Brandon and Oliver walked onto the field the others noticed them and it didn’t take long for Brandon to be buried with hugs and wishes from his nephews and nieces. When they finished he had time to walk up to his parents and the other grown-ups and greet them.

 

Steffi, Tirza and Selena came up to Brandon and told him they had made him something special because it was his birthday. Full of pride Steffi who, up until that moment, had her hands behind her back showed him the flowery crown they had made for him. It was with yellow, purple and white flowers that they had plucked from around the area.

                “Thank you sweeties, it’s really pretty.” Brandon said laughing as he watched the crown from up close. He noticed that the little blue-purplish flowers were the same as the one he had found on his doormat. He liked the small, colorful thing. He could almost hear Faith telling him he had a very feminine touch to him. She had said that when he had told her he liked the flowers on their picnic in the mountains. He knew she had been joking, so he had plucked a flower, stuck it behind her ear and kissed her. He also knew that secretly she liked to be treated like a girly girl once in a while, although she always pretended that she didn’t.

                “Put it on!”

                “You have to put it on!”

                Brandon was pulled back to reality when the three little girls wanted to see their birthday gift were it belonged. So he put it on his head which resulted in three amazingly pride smiles. Their big uncle was wearing their crown. Brandon couldn’t help but smile too, although he probably looked ridiculous. He didn’t care, it was the thought that counted.

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Faith walked on to the beach with her surfboard underneath her arm. The waves were nice today but it was crowded because it was weekend. She just needed to be patient and wait for her turn and the right wave of course. She greeted the other surfers that were already there and started waxing her board.

                “O my God! You are back!”

                Faith turned around and noticed Stacy coming up to her. “Hey Stacy.” Faith said curt, she wasn’t in the mood to talk to the bitch.

                “My my, and you actually look good. Lost some weight since Brandon left you, didn’t you.” Stacy said with a smug smile, looking Faith up and down.

                Faith wisely decided to keep her mouth shut, although the remark stung. Stacy hadn’t intended to point out the miscarriage, although she would if she had known, but she didn’t know.

                “Stace, cut it out.” Jonas said trying to hush the conversation, he knew the two girls didn’t really go well together.

                “What? I’m just making her a compliment.”

                “It didn’t really sounded like that.”

                Faith put her hand on Jonas’ arm and slightly shook her head. It was no use to stop Stacy once she started her bitch-mode, which, with Faith, was like all the time.

                Jonas turned towards Faith and gave her an honest compliment. “You look good Faith. Good to have you back.” He gave her a wink.

                Faith rewarded him with a small smile but didn’t have time to say anything back to him because Stacy felt like she wasn’t done with the newcomer.          

                “Maybe it wasn’t such a bad decision of him to leave you Faith. For both of you I mean. By the way you look now, it doesn’t seem like you are doing too bad. And he, well…he got to have me for a while, so I think he got the best out of your break-up.” Stacy said, trying to evoke a response from the brunette.

                Millions of thoughts and feelings passed her as Faith tried to process what Stacy had just said. She tried really hard not to give Stacy the satisfaction of seeing it affected Faith, but she figured she failed big time. She must have seen the look of shock on Faith’s face.

                “Oh, you didn’t know?” The blonde said quasi innocent

                Faith’s anger flared. Stacy was really trying to get under her skin and she had found a very effective way.

                “I have dated him for a while, before I got bored that is. But, honestly Faith, I don’t know what you see in him. He looks appetizing, I have to give you that. But the sex…it just isn’t that good. I don’t know how you could have put up with that for so long.” Stacy stood with her hand in her side, waiting for the response of her victim of torment.

                They guys around the two girls were all on edge, ready to jump in if it might be necessary.

                Faith wanted to smash the grin of the other girls face but decided to play it with words. “You’re just not good enough to bring the best out of him.” She said before she took off with her surfboard towards the sea. She didn’t wait to give Stacy time to respond.

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He was exhausted but satisfied. Brandon leaned against the closed door and closed his eyes. It had been an amazing day, an amazing weekend actually. Everybody was fully surprising him. First the surprise party at the club, yesterday the picnic with his family and today his best friend took him on a boat trip while he thought he was just going to work.

                When Brandon had arrived at the studio it was completely decorated in a beach theme, including palm trees, sand, seashells and inflatable beach balls. Inside Russel was waiting for him and handed him a box which contained a new towel and swimming trunks in matching dark blue color accents. Of course Russell didn’t want to tell him what they were going to do but Brandon just needed to come with him. They drove to a small harbor and when they walked up the docks he noticed two of his other good friends, Patrick and Robin, standing there.

                It turned out they were going to spend the whole day on the boat with first some snorkeling, then a big lunch and some sunbathing time and then some more snorkeling. The main goal of the snorkeling was to see turtles and maybe some other sea-creatures.

                Now that Brandon was back home he was very tired but in a good way. He walked to the kitchen and poured himself a glass of juice. When he went to the living room and wanted to sit on the couch the doorbell rang. Answering it, he was told it was food delivery so he let the guy in. Brandon opened his front door and almost tripped over a big, white box standing in front of his door. On the same time the food delivery guy turned the corner. Brandon took the food from him and put it on the coffee table before he picked up the box and sat down with it on the couch.

                Opening the box the first thing he noticed was the same flower he had seen rather a lot lately. It was pinned on top of the package which was neatly tied together with a blue ribbon. Under the ribbon he could make out a bottle of shower gel and a scented candle. He untied it and took both items out. A mystery novel and a homemade cd with songs he liked had been hiding beneath it and on the bottom of it all a white bathrobe was tugged into the box. The intention of him taking a bath and relax was pretty clear.

                What was also pretty clear was that this was Faith’s doing. There was no one else who knew him so well as to know what he would like to do right now. Even he didn’t know that he would like to do that right now, before she brought it to his attention and it appealed to him! He threw the box aside and started at the Thai-food before it got cold.

                How the hell did she even know if he was going to see the box, it hadn’t been here ten minutes ago when he came home. Had she been spying on him? He almost choked on the bite he took when realization hit him. Had she also arranged the food? How did she know he’d be home by now? Did she ask Russell? How did she know Russell would do something with him today?

                Brandon put down his box of food and stood up. He watched through the windows but didn’t know what he actually expected to find. She wouldn’t linger around if it is what she did in the first place. He would talk to Russell tomorrow and ask him about it, he was sure he would crack eventually. Brandon went to sit back down and decided to finish the Thai-food. It was here now anyway so he’d better enjoy it, it tasted too good to let it go to waste.

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Brandon was dancing on the up-tempo, cheery beats while he waited for Russell to return with their drinks. It was Friday night and Brandon had managed to find a free spot in his agenda to go on a night of clubbing with some of his friends. It has been a long time and he could use some time off from all the working and all the serious thinking he had been doing lately.

                It hadn’t been pointless thinking, he had finally made up his mind about Faith. He was willing to give them another shot. He loved the girl immensely and he was pretty sure he would always regret not trying it one more time. He was planning on talking to her about it tomorrow. If he wasn’t too hungover that was. Yes, he was scared and nervous, what if they didn’t work out in the end after all? On the other hand, he was exited and anxious to finally see her again. Thinking about it already caused butterflies to erupt inside his stomach. He never thought he could have those feelings like the first time he’d fell in love with her again.

                He felt like he was walking around with a grin on his face all evening already. If he didn’t stop thinking about it for now he wasn’t sure if he could stop himself from abandoning his friends and going over to Faith right now. Tomorrow was soon enough, tonight he was going to have fun with his friends, because who knew when the next time would be when they all could be together for a night like this.

                “Hey Brandon!”

                He felt two hands on his shoulders and when he turned around it was Stacy who was standing behind him. “Hey Stacy.” It was still a little awkward to greet her after they had been dating. He stared at her hands which she still kept on his shoulders even as he had turned around to face her.

                She followed his glance and smiled to him apologetic, releasing him. “Sorry, it’s just a habit.”

                He imagined her flushed face because she might feel like he was correcting her for some silly mistake. Brandon placed his own hand on her shoulder and leaned over to her. “It’s okay!” Brandon said in her ear. The heavy, too sweet perfume that was surrounding her filled his nostrils in an unpleasant way.

                Stacy smiled warmly at him, showing a little of her perfectly white teeth. Her eyes were having a little sparkle in them.

                Brandon leaned over again. “You look good.”

                Stacy patted his chest and touched her cheek with her other hand. “You make me blush, silly.”

                Brandon wasn’t really sure what to say next. He was okay with greeting her and all but he didn’t want to spend the whole evening with her. He just hoped Russel would come back with their beers pretty soon.

                “Are you here alone? Do you have to work?” Stacy asked him.

                When she leaned over her lips touched his earlobe and he realized that, with her heels on, she was almost as big as he was…almost. Thank God for the few inches he had on her so he could still look down on her, even if it was just a little. “No, I’m here with Russel, Stephan and Paul.” Although he had no idea where these last two were. They had spotted some other friends of them and went over to talk to them, but that was like 15 minutes ago. “What about you?”

                Stacy glanced around and made a vague gesture to a spot left of him. She placed her hand in his neck and leaned over to him again to answer him. “I’m with some friends here, but they can amuse themselves a little without my help.”

                Brandon was rewarded with another one of her sweet smiles. She had left her hand in his neck and rubbed her fingers up and down. He reached over with his own hand to stop her movement. “I don’t think this is such a good idea Stacy.” He said a little anxious.

                She gave him a sultry look. “Why not? It feels right to me.”

                Before Brandon knew what was happening she had locked his head between her hands and pulled him into a kiss. Too overwhelmed by her action he didn’t immediately responded to her but it took him a few seconds to push her off of him.

                “What the hell Stacy?! What do you want?!”

                Stacy lifted her eyebrow and put her hands up. “Geez, I didn’t know you would flip out.” She turned around and walked away. He didn’t see the dastardly grin on her face.

                Brandon wiped his mouth to get rid of the lipstick stains that she always seem to leave everywhere.

                “Hey Bran, here is your beer.” Russell handed him a glass. “And if you could hold the one for Stephan as well, than I’m a happy man.” He pushed another beer in Brandon’s hand, which closed automatically around the glass. When Russell didn’t get any response from Brandon he gave him a questioning look. “What is going on, you look like you’ve seen a ghost?”

                Brandon took a swig from his beer. “Nothing. Thank you for the beer.” He took another swig.

                Russell shrugged. His friend was a bit off lately. “O, before I forget, did you know Faith is here?”

                Brandon felt the blood drain from his face. “Here?!”

                “Yes here. I saw her when I went to get the drinks, said I would talk to her later.”

                “Do you know where she is now?!” Brandon started to panic as suddenly the pieces of the puzzle started to come together.

                “I don’t know. Like I said, I had only seen her on my way to the bar, that was a while back.”

                “I need to find her!” Brandon dug out his phone from his pocket and started to text her, because he wouldn’t hear her with all that noise if he would call. In the meantime he tried to make his way out of the club, pushing his way through the crowd, apologizing left and right.

                He could only imagine how this would have looked to Faith. Stacy was so cunning! She had lured Brandon in her trap and he had fell for it with his eyes open! How could he be so stupid! He knew she would take on every opportunity to hurt Faith.

                Finally making it out of the club he hurriedly scanned the area. Where would she have gone? He decided to dial her number. The phone switched to voicemail immediately. “Faith! Please pick up! I don’t know what you saw back there, but I swear it wasn’t what it looked like!” He practically yelled at his phone, panic overtaking him. He brushed his hand through his hair. How could he have been so stupid. He hung up his phone and cursed before he immediately dialed her again. “Faith, please pick up, I know you were here. Russell saw you.”

Chapter Text

Chapter

Faith mindlessly let her hand run over his chest. They lay sprawled out on one of the few couches on the festival. They listened to the sweet beats in the hot afternoon sun. The stage was at quite a distance but the sound was carried to them on the light breeze. It wasn’t cooling them, but it was pleasurable. Brandon brought his beer up to his lips to take a sip, otherwise they didn’t move much. Faith patted his chest.

                “What?” Brandon asked as he looked down at her.

                Faith looked up to him. Unaware about what she had done. She reached over and kissed his lips before lying down again.

                Brandon run his hand over her hip and settle a bit deeper in the pillows behind him. He felt happy, intensely happy. His girl was lying in his arms, there was sun, beer, good music and the atmosphere was relaxed. What more could a guy want. He smiled and placed a kiss on top of Faith’s head. They were in no hurry to go somewhere.

                Faith moved a little in his arms. He looked down at her face and he could just see her closed eyelids behind her sunglasses. Her mouth was a little open an her hand had stopped moving. Brandon’s feeling of happiness intensified even more. He loved this woman and he was lucky he could call her his. He wrapped both his arms around her for a hug, gentle as not to wake her up. The slim brunette buried herself a little deeper in his chest and exhaled deeply.

 

“Hey…good morning.”

                Faith’s eyes fluttered as she tried to focus on the familiar voice above all the other sounds. For a moment she was confused about her whereabouts. She lifted her head and glanced around, taking in her surroundings. Then she dropped her head down on the comfortable spot she had arose from and closed her eyes again.

                “Now now, don’t go back to sleep again.”

                Faith felt a smile creep around her lips. She wasn’t going back to sleep, she just liked lying where she was. She dug her arm under his back, reaching for her hand on the other side, encircling him. The she squeezed him in a hug, pressing her face tight against his chest.

                “Ugh! Faith!” Brandon tried to sit up a little. “There are more pleasant ways to tell me not to leave.”

                Faith looked up at her boyfriend, the same smile still plastering her face. “I know.”

                “You just like squeezing me to pulp.” Brandon said looking down affectionately.

                Faith glanced up innocently. “Yeah.” She said with a grin before she smacked her lips against his in a casual kiss. “Come on, I’m hungry.” The girl stood up, never losing contact as she kept hold of his hand and tried to get him to move.

                “I knew you wouldn’t lest that long.” Brandon said with a sigh and a smile.

                Faith looked backwards and lifted her sunglasses on top of her head. “What. I even slept here.”

                “Yeah, for like…15 minutes or something.” Brandon followed her track towards the food trucks.

                “Old man.” Faith mumbled just loud enough for him to hear her.

                Brandon got hold of her sides, stopping her. “What did you say.” He said while nuzzling her neck.

                “You heard me.” Faith said laughing.

                “I just had to check if you were really so bold to say that.” He said tickling her sides.

                His girlfriend laughed out loud. “You can’t scare me Old Man!”

                “Ah! You didn’t! I’ll show you what an old man I am.” He picked Faith up and threw her over his shoulder, slapping her ass.

                Faith couldn’t stop laughing. “Caveman.” She said between hickups.

                “That’s right babe. I’m that old.” Brandon made his way over to a hamburger truck, trying to avoid stepping on the people who were sitting on the ground.

                “Watch y…watch your back.” A laughing Faith called to him.

                Brandon put down his girlfriend on the floor when they arrived at their destination. Her head was red and she wiped away the tears that had fell from her eyes. She slapped him playfully and he put up his hands in defense.

                “Coward.”

                Brandon looked at her with raised eyebrows. “Really? You just move on to the next insult?” He rewarded a cheeky grin from the brunette as she backed away from him. “Oh no you’re not.” Brandon jumped forward and wrapped his arms around her pulling the girl close to him without the intention of letting her go. She struggled a little but surrendered without putting any real effort in escaping. She leaned her head on his shoulder and he kissed it. They softly swayed on the music and enjoyed their moment.

 

“Are we feeding an army?” Brandon asked as he gave Faith a surprised look. She had her arms loaded with burgers, chips, hot dogs and chicken wings.

                “I said I was hungry.” She exclaimed.

                Brandon looked at the two beers he was carrying. “I don’t hope you’re thirsty too but just wanted one beer on the side, because otherwise I don’t think this is going to cut it.”

                Faith managed to elbow him without dropping anything which actually surprised him, considering the amounts she was carrying.

                “Why? You wanted something to drink and eat too?” She asked.

                For a second Brandon thought she was indeed serious but he quickly realized she was fooling him.  “By all means, take it all. I can’t wait to see you break your own record. Remember, I’m not cleaning up your puke.”

                They found a spot on the field which wasn’t too occupied and Brandon sat down. He took the food from Faith and set it down before him, waiting for the brunette to sit down too.

                “Fine, you can have something too.” Faith reached in the bucket of chicken wings and handed him one. “Now, stop whining.”

                Brandon sighed. Why did he deserve this? He snatched a hot dog from the pile.

                “Hey!” Faith said warningly.

                “You want it? Come and get it.” Brandon stashed the hot dog in his mouth and tried to munch it down as fast as possible.

                “Faith sat still in her place. “I hope you enjoyed that.” She said as she reached for the second hot dog, taking her time in eating it.

                Brandon was a little disappointed in her lack of action. That wasn’t worth the hot dog. He reached for a burger and started to eat that normal. Things settled down as they both enjoyed their dinner. Brandon looked up when he felt a hand on the inside of his knee. Faith gave him a smile and squeezed his knee shortly before she took some more chips. He handed her a beer which she gratefully used to flush the dry potato chips.

                “We’re not taking those anymore.” She said between coughs.

                “Whatever you want Babe. Whatever you want.”

Chapter Text

Chapter

Faith stared into the direction of the stage. Something was wrong. She knew Brandon, the tune was off, it took too long before he switched to something else. An uneasy feeling spread over her and Faith started to make her way through the crowd. She pushed people aside but was blind for the agitated looks she received.

                It seemed like an eternity before she reached the front of the mass and noticed the crowd on the stage. Fear clamped her heart, there were a lot of people on stage, they weren’t supposed to be there. Faith jumped up and over the fence but was stopped by security.

                “Let me through! I’m his girlfriend!” She hold up her wrist to show the wristband that confirmed that she had backstage access. The security guard wasn’t that easily convinced and wouldn’t let her pass.

                Faith needed to get on stage, she needed to know what was going on. Ignoring security she tried to make her way around the man but was pulled back hard-handedly. “Let me go! I Need to be there!” Faith started trashing in his grip when she noticed someone else coming up to them.

                “It’s okay, you can let her trough. Management confirmed her.”

The security guard let go of Faith and the other man guided her on to the stage. Faith hurried up the stairs and over to the group of people standing around the sound system and turntables. Pushing aside the people she saw Brandon lying on the ground. Paramedics bending over him.

                “Brandon!” Faith fell on her knees next to her boyfriend. “What the hell is going on?!” Faith looked from one  Paramedic to the other demanding an answer.

                “Miss, we need you to keep a little distance. We are trying to do our job.” One of the paramedics told her, the other was putting paddles on Brandon’s chest.

                “What is going on?!”

                “Faith, please step back.”

                Faith felt hands on her shoulders and looked up to see Mark, Brandon’s manager, behind her. He tried to get her up and away from the scene but Faith shook of his hands standing in front of him. “Just tell me what the fuck is going on!” When no one answered her she turned back to Brandon and grabbed his hand. “Baby, wake up. You need to wake up.” Desperation seeping in to her quivering voice. Brandon didn’t respond no matter how many times she called out to him.

                “Why don’t you do something?!” Faith yelled angry at the retreating paramedics. Only when other paramedics came up to them with a stretcher Faith noticed the sound of the ambulance on the background. The music on the stage was turned down and the light were dimmed.

                Faith shook Brandon’s lifeless body. “Babe. Baby come on. I know you can do it, come on.” Faith spoke desperately to her lover.

                The paramedics pushed her aside a little and lifted Brandon on the stretcher. Faith was still holding his hand when they lifted him up.

                “Miss, you have to let go of him, he isn’t here with us anymore, we need to take him in the ambulance.”

                “No you can’t!”

                “Miss, you need to let go. There is nothing you can do anymore.”

                Faith refused to let go, her hand gripping Brandon’s even tighter.

                “Faith, he is death, there is nothing you can do anymore.” Mark tried to pull her away from Brandon.

                Faith shook her head. “No, NO! That’s a lie!” She tore herself out of Mark’s grip and attached herself to her boyfriend, fisting his shirt, touching his face. “Brandon, you can’t leave. You have to stay with me! With us…I’m pregnant. You can’t leave us, you can’t.” Faith felt several hands on her that tried to make her loose her grip on Brandon. “NO, NO, let go of me!” She watched as the paramedics slowly took away the stretcher. Faith trashed in the strong grip of these hands, desperately trying to get loose and follow Brandon. Her vision blurred as tears welled up and all she could hear was the echo of her own voice in her head, repeating her lover’s name.

Chapter Text

Chapter

Mia walked over the terrain, hurriedly looking left and right, searching where she had to be. He heels were sinking away in the soppy grass court. She noticed an ambulance standing a couple of yards away from her and hurried over there. When she noticed Faith sitting on the side of the ambulance Mia picked up in speed again and when she reached the brunette she threw her arms around her and hugged her. “Ow Faith, I am so sorry.” Mia felt her eyes water up and tears leaked on top of the thermal blanket that was wrapped around the other girl. Faith didn’t say anything and she didn’t move.

                Mia pulled back and observed her friend. Faith was staring out blankly in front of her, keeping a tight grip on the blanket. Mia squatted down in front of her so she was in her visual view. She knew that nothing she would say could make it any better but Faith had to know that she was there for her. “Faith honey, I can’t imagine how you feel right now. What’s happened is horrible…” Mia chocked on tears that formed anew. She had to be strong for her friend. She couldn’t believe Brandon wasn’t here anymore. When she got the phone call from the organization of the festival if she could come to pick up Faith she was completely shocked to hear that Brandon had died from a heart-attack. She didn’t know he had any heart problems, Faith never said anything about it.

                “You must be Mia.”

                A voice behind Mia got her to stand up and turn around.

                A middle-aged man with tips of grey in his brown hair extended his hand to her.

                “I’m Mark. Brandon’s manager…I used to be Brandon’s manager.” He rubbed the back of his neck with his other hand, looking a little lost.

                “Hi, yes, I’m Mia.”

                “Faith gave you up as first contact.” Mark put up his hand to indicate the girl he was talking about. “I don’t know what to do with her. She is in no state to go home alone.”

                Mia looked at the lost girl in the blanket. She hadn’t moved all this time. “I will take her. It’s good that you called me. And I’m sorry, I’m sorry for your loss too.” Mia averted her eyed, she didn’t want to break out in tears in front of him.

                “Yeah, well, yeah, thank you, you too I guess.” Mark let his eyes drift to Faith again. “I think she is…I don’t know…in some sort of shock. The medics checked and cleared her.” Mark looked up at Mia. “Will you check up on her the coming days?”

                Mia nodded. “Of course. I will not let her out of my sight. Thank you for taking care of her.”

                Mark nodded curtly, turned around and walked away.

                “Come on sweetie. We need to get you home.“ Mia wrapped her arms around Faith and pulled her up, guiding her to her car to take her home with her.

Chapter Text

Chapter

Faith slowly sat up from the bed she had been put in. She hadn’t been able to sleep, her thoughts mulling  over everything that happened last night, everything that needed to happen now. She couldn’t really fathom what had happened, it just seemed surrealistic. Faith picked up her phone from the bedside stand. She noticed she had missed several calls. Some of the numbers she wasn’t familiar with but Brandon’s parents and Russel’s number were in her address book and their names filled her screen. She wasn’t sure how they knew what had happened, but apparently they did hear about it.

                Faith stood up and pulled on her pants. She snatched her car keys from the bedside table and silently walked down. The house was still quiet. Looking at the clock Faith  noticed it was only half past six so everyone was probably still asleep. She had noticed that, on occasion, there had been people in the room they had put her in but she hadn’t really registered any of it.

                When Faith walked out the door she realized her car was still at the event. She started walking and in the meantime she called a cab to bring her to the terrain of the event to pick up her car. She really needed it today.

 

Bastille – torn apart

Faith hang up the phone. She sighed. Brandon would be flown back to Portland when everything was arranged. His family would take care of the cremation. They would tell her when it would be and she was more than welcome to stay with his parents. Faith wasn’t sure if she wanted to go. If she could go…

                She shook off the cold feeling that crept up to her and started to walk to her car again. She had things to do, she wanted everything to be arranged as soon as possible. She needed to go on with her life.

                Starting the engine she drove towards Brandon’s apartment. This would be the last day she would be here, the last day she…Faith swallowed. She’d better not think like that, it wasn’t good for her. It wouldn’t do anyone any good. Faith managed to turn over the switch she had created in her mind to lock out all feeling she had. She had mastered the art over the years. She wouldn’t be hurt anymore…

                Walking up to the front door she put the key in the lock and opened it like any other day. She walked towards the cabinet and searched for Brandon’s administration, knowing he kept everything well ordered. She started to call around, ending every contract and notifying all institutions that needed to know. She ended the rent for the apartment, starting the first of the next month. This would leave his family enough time to come over and divide the rest of his belongings. Brandon hadn’t made a will, he hadn’t expected to need it so soon already.

                Faith went down to her car and started to pull out some boxes she had filled at her own house with things that had belonged to Brandon. She carried them up the stairs and emptied them in the living room. She wrote Russel’s name on one of the boxes and filled it with some things of which she was sure Brandon would want his best friend to have. Some of the other belonging she knew for sure he wanted someone special to receive she either put in envelopes or small boxes and put their addresses on it.

                The brunette waked up the stairs and opened the door of his music room. She looked around the room and tears welled up in her eyes. She squeezed her eyes shut and stopped them from rolling down her face. Faith took place behind Brandon’s computer and went through his files.

                When she reseated herself she noticed she had spent more time sorting his music and files then she had expected. She looked at the equipment around her. Most of it would go to Benjamin. Benjamin was a good few years younger than Brandon but very promising as a DJ. Brandon was always supporting the kid, acting like his mentor or something. He didn’t see him as a kid though. He treated him as an equal and they were good friends. Faith figured that Benjamin could use some good equipment so he could save the money and spend it on a good marketing plan or some studio sessions.

                Faith figured Mark would want his share too, but knowing the mercenary manager he would try to make money out of the songs Brandon had never released. She knew they were friends and Brandon fully trusted him, but Faith didn’t, not completely. Mark already had the stuff that Brandon had left in the studio and at Mark’s own place. Faith would give him some of the work, the almost finished things of which he already knew they existed.

                Closing the door behind her Faith walked towards the bedroom. She gathered her own belongings, amazed by how much stuff she actually had over here. Things like toothbrushes and combs she threw away, she had these things already at her own place, she didn’t need two of everything…

                Faith bent over the bed to get her sleeping top from under the pillow and was hit by the strong scent of Brandon that lingered in the bed. She let herself fall down on the bed and started crying. Softly at first, but soon it turned into loud sobbing. Realization hit her. He would never be back, he would never lie with her in one bed, he would never bake her pizza’s anymore, he would never laugh at her jokes anymore. They would never sip drinks at the beach while she would lie against him, they would never listen to music anymore, they would never have breakfast in bed like that first time.

                Faith’s hand went over to her belly. He would never see their kid. He wouldn’t be there with her, not at birth, not when it would take its first steps, not its first words, not when it would grow up. How could he leave them alone. How could he leave her alone…

                She couldn’t seem to stop crying. Tears of desperation, tears of anger, tears of hurt. She needed to get away from this place. She couldn’t deal with this. Not now, there were things to be dealt with. She got up from the bed, took a few deep sighs to calm down and wiped away the tears. She picked up her shirt and walked downstairs throwing it in a box with her other stuff.

                Entering the kitchen she started to empty the fridge so she could turn it off. She threw away all the food and put the trash outside. She walked straight in to his car. It was dirty again. They would probably sell it. She made a quick round through his car to pick out some of his favorite cd’s.

                Faith weighed the headphones in her hand. They were hers, but he had given it to her on the first birthday they had spent together. It reminded her too much of him, she wanted to throw it away but she couldn’t. Her fingers just wouldn’t untie. Making up her mind she gathered a small box and put in the headphones together with a flash drive and one of Brandon’s favorite shirts. She added a few photo’s she found around the house as well and closed the box, putting it on top of the other one with her belongings. She would keep this for the baby.