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Forces of Nature

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Frankie Summers ran her hand through her long, dark hair exhaustedly as she slid into the smooth seat of her green Scion and turned the key in the ignition. The recent high employee turnover at her L. A. nightclub The Shark Room had been keeping her busier than usual, as owner and manager, interviewing applicants to fill the positions for the past week. It was late spring when losing a portion of the staff to other opportunities due to their recent status change to college graduate was always an annual occurrence for her as it had been for her parents before she took over as club owner four years ago when she herself was fresh out of business school.  In contrast to the prior years, the added time spent at work was a welcome distraction this time around. At the present time, anything that would keep her mind occupied and prevent it from rehashing again in her head the still-fresh break-up with her boyfriend, Nick, was eagerly received. Now that she was in the solitude of her car driving back to the upscale beach-side condo the two of them had shared for the past two-and half years, her thoughts forced their way back to the forefront of her memory for probably the hundredth time in the past week.

To Frankie’s conscious knowledge, leaving out everything else that she had most likely blindly ignored as a warning sign, the downfall of their relationship had begun a little over a month earlier. After having been in a generally happy relationship for nearly three years, she had dropped hints in the last few weeks of March leading up to her 26th birthday in early April that she was ready for the next step in their relationship, hoping that he’d pick up on her insinuations and surprise her with an engagement ring.  When this proved unsuccessful, she had confronted him about it, explaining that she wasn’t trying to pressure him, but, that she had thought they had been together long enough that it was time they think about their future. He’d replied that, due to the tumultuous marriage and divorce he’d witnessed between his parents growing up, marriage was something he didn’t take lightly and, despite the fact that he loved her and appreciated what they had, he had no intention of making that kind of commitment any time soon if ever. She had told him she understood even though, being a person who had always known what she wanted and had a game plan for how she wanted her life to turn out, this was difficult for her to accept. “But, I, unlike him,” she thought bitterly to herself, “cared enough to compromise and not let it ruin what we had.” She’d assumed, after their conversation, that this was the end of the discussion for a while and wasn’t going to press the issue. Then, a few days ago, just before Nick was to leave on tour with his band, he’d told her that he’d been doing a lot of thinking about their relationship since the marriage talk and realized that this wasn’t something he wanted anymore. They’d talked things out civilly, agreeing that she’d stay in the condo for now until they could make other arrangements since he’d be gone for several months. The break-up had been amicable enough, and while she was thankful for that, it still felt as if she’d gotten the short end of the stick in the situation, which made it difficult not to be angry. Nick got to just leave and forget all about her for now while she was coming back home to an apartment that was still half his and still full of remnants of their relationship.  If it weren’t for her club, she’d have no outlet for her feelings. Her work and the many friends she knew through the club circuit had helped keep her busy enough not to sit at home and be miserable, but there was still an underlying loneliness that sank in during the moments when she had down time. The people she was closest to and with whom she was fully able to unload her feelings were all unavailable in the physical form and only reachable via phone and computer right now. Her parents were busy running the countless arrays of other clubs her family owned back on the East Coast. Her best friend, Avery, along with the rest of her family had always been her other biggest source of support, but she was presently who-knows-where across the globe doing movie promo and, therefore, almost impossible to get ahold of.

Once Frankie had set her green leather designer purse on her kitchen counter and poured herself a glass of pink champagne, she took out her phone and dialed Avery’s cell phone number and was greeted by voicemail just as she had been earlier that afternoon when she’d tried to call.  Hoping feebly that her best friend may have gotten back into LA early, she dialed the home number at the house Avery shared with her twin brother Chris.

“Francesca Summers. How the hell have you been?” Came Chris’ deep, playful voice on the other end of the phone.

“Hey, Dipshit. Avery isn’t around, is she?” Frankie rolled her eyes in annoyance.

“Nope. It’s just me. Soo…what are you wearing?” he purred.

“Chris.” She huffed.

“Well, you could be…if you come over here.” He teased.

“I just want to talk to your sister. Do you know when she’s getting home?” she demanded.

“Maybe. Why do you want to know?” he taunted.

“Because I want to talk to her. …like I just said.” She snapped irritably.

“About what?”

“None of your business.”

“Sure it is. Just tell me. You know Avery is going to anyway.” Chris pressed boyishly. Frankie fumed, knowing this was true since Avery and Chris had always shared a special twin bond and told each other everything. This was often to Frankie’s dismay seeing as she always viewed Chris’s relationship with herself as more like that of an annoying flea that hangs around incessantly.

“If I wanted to talk to you, I would have-“She trailed off, unable to think of an adequate come back.

“Called me? Because you did.” He laughed.

“Just tell me how soon I’ll be able to get ahold of Avery, Dipshit!” she demanded.

“She’s…somewhere in Europe right now. I don’t remember where. But it’s the middle of the night there right now. If you call her late tonight, you can probably reach her because it will be morning there.” He finally relented.

“Oh, yeah. That makes sense.” She nodded.

“You should come over to kill time until then. I’ve got plenty of beer. …And I’m naked.”

“Hmmm….I’ll pass.” She stated dryly.

“Suit yourself. I’ve got a date coming over anyway.” He replied.

“You’re disgusting.” Frankie half-chuckled, half grumbled.

“Aww. I love you too, Frankie.” He announced before hanging up.