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7. Beverly

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I love the way rain sometimes falls sideways, and even the most beautiful things aren't straight edged. That was all I could think about as I sat in the passenger seat on the way to work.

"Hurry up, this rain is doing horrible things to my hair," my mom said.

I pulled my head from the clouds to see my mother's stormy expression. I wasn't sure why she was upset, though—she was under the protection of her Honda, and her hair looked fine. I gathered my bag and prepared to make my way out of the car and into the rain to cross the street to my job.

My mother worked at the local salon. She'd had me at a young age, when opportunities were limited. Becoming a new mom and losing the love of her life within the span of two years definitely bruised my mother in a way that I never figured out how to heal. The story was that my grandparents never approved of my parents' relationship, and when a pregnancy came into the mix, it only made matters worse. Her pregnancy rattled the already loose foundation of the nest, and so her parents decided it was time for her to fly away. They kicked her out but my dad was there to bring her in. My father was a miracle baby, conceived by surprise. My father's parents were well into middle age when he came around. He was spoiled rotten because they never expected to have any children. My mom said when she told my father she was pregnant, he laughed. He never took anything too seriously. For my mom, that was a breath of fresh air compared to the restricted background she was raised in, which was pretty much all I knew about my mother's side of the story because she never talked about it.

When my grandmother on my father's side passed away a few months into my development, my father turned up his reckless behavior. Things only got worse when his father passed away from a heart attack three weeks after my first birthday. Shortly after that, Sebastian "Bash" Remington was gone too. My mother, riddled with shock and overwhelming pain, moved as far away as she could. She wanted no traces of the boy she loved or the family that took her in. If you looked around our shabby apartment, you wouldn't find a single photo. But that was okay because I knew how much it hurt her even bringing up anything about him.

It was hard to miss something that you didn't remember. It was even harder missing something you did remember.

So I didn't complain or ask questions. I helped her with any- thing she needed. The pay at the salon wasn't the best—I couldn't even tell you how many times I'd scraped up anything I could find to make meals. Or the number of times there were more batteries in the fridge than food. So, when I turned fifteen, I started working at 21 Daisies Café. It was a win-win situation. I worked somewhere I loved, and I could help my mom out with the bills.

"You're going to pick me up right?" I asked, already knowing the answer.

"I have an appointment—Brazilian blowout. I need the gas to get back home," she lied, but I didn't say anything.

I nodded. Disappointment hit me hard, but I refused to show it. I smiled and pretended that she wasn't going to the bar with Aunt Macy. My mom didn't really get to have a childhood; she had to take care of me. So I couldn't be selfish and interrupt her plans. The walk home wasn't that bad anyway. It was just unnerving how effortlessly she could lie to me.

I watched as she drove off and the rain swished beneath her tires. God, I loved the rain. I could literally have stood out here forever—the way the rain was still dribbling from the sunny sky was so beautiful. If I didn't have work today, I probably would just stand out here.

"Hey, Betty," Felix, my bearded hippie co-worker, greeted me when I entered.

Poppy, Lily, and Rose all greeted me afterward. Their grandma, Daisy, owned the place. I asked them once what was with all the flowers, and they told me it was family tradition to name the girls after flowers. I didn't think the "flower triplets" or Felix cared to call me by my actual name. Trying to correct them was no use, because every time I'd come in, they'd call me Betty.

I greeted them with a smile.

"Hey, guys."

The café was just one of those places that gave you a relaxed

vibe. Candles were placed on the tables, filling the place with an indescribable warmth. Poets lay in beanbags and wrote their works, and musicians sat in the back and strummed their guitars. An hour passed, and I was completely relaxed—not that many people came in, so I only occasionally had to actually use the register.

I read behind the counter until a customer came in to order coffee and a gluten-free cupcake. Some nights I sat on the edge of the counter and listened to an indie artist sing a song on the stage that sat in the back of the café.

No one really talked to me, but I didn't really mind.

I grabbed a cinnamon muffin from the glass case to eat. No lunch today meant my stomach was growling. I smiled a little to myself thinking about Everest eating my sandwich. I placed two dollars in the register to pay for the muffin, and watched as Felix hugged Lily from behind. I couldn't get over how the two of them were engaged. It was like I could still remember the first time Felix came in, with his fedora and long brown beard.

I was so engrossed in watching their embrace, I didn't even notice the bell above the door ring.

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