Chapter Twenty-Two

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"So, you went out with Oli last night?" Daley asks first thing in the morning, wiggling his eyebrows at me as soon as he makes eye contact with me. I roll my eyes and look away instantly, opening the fridge and placing some milk beside the coffee machine. "And you slept in a bed with him" I counter. "Ages ago, Beverly." "Yeah, still don't know what's up with that though." He grins. "And you'll never ever know. Or are you that close now?" "What is your problem?" "You need someone, Bev." "Just because you've got your first real relationship in five years, however that happened so quickly, you don't need to try and set me up too. Especially because Oli is definitely not the right man." "Bev, what kind of girl are you? No one else would turn down a French man." I raise my eyebrows. "Including you, big boy." He gasps and pretends to be offended. "Touché" he pouts.

I make coffee for the both of us, then take a shower and get dressed. "Going somewhere?" Daley asks with his coffee cup in his hand and his mouth full of whatever he found in the far back of the cupboard as a pathetic excuse for breakfast. "I don't know yet, got an idea?" "Do I look like I'm going somewhere?" I stare at him and watch him for a few seconds before I simply have to ask. "What on Earth are you eating?" He shrugs and finally swallows. "Something that probably won't leave my system very smoothly." I roll my eyes. "Haven't you got school work to do?" "I did most of it yesterday" I lie. "Are you going to meet him?" "Him who?" "Him, the homeless man in the street, Bev, no, Oli of course!" "No, I'm not. What is it with you and him?" He smirks cheekily once again and I just slip into my shoes and grab my bag, deciding to go out with the destination of not at home where Daley is.

I make my way into town with two bus stops and then walk the rest. Lost in thought, I don't realise that I walk past the gang's spot which causes me to be stopped by Wes instantly. "Yo, yo, Bev!" he calls so I can't help but go over to them. I don't want to talk to him, not because I'm mad but because I know that the conversation will turn into the direction of Rita and with her, her asshole brother. And I don't want Wesley to get in the middle of that. "Sorry, home boy, I'm kind of in a hurry" I reply but he shrugs it off. "It's alright, it's alright, Bev, I just wanted to congratulate you on your event, well done, gurl, well done." I smile. "Thank you." "I told the others about it and we'd totally sponsor you too if we could." "That's sweet but I gotta go..." I lie and turn away. I don't want to discuss this with him until I've figured it out with Mason.

To do that, I have done nothing. I haven't checked the e-mails like I promised Oli and I have not looked up any publicity from the event online which I know would help too. But I simply can't get myself to do it because I'm afraid that that's my last option and if my last option turns out to be a dead end, what am I going to do then? I'll be at my limit and that wall I'll hit will have no door. I don't want to get myself into that situation, at least not anytime soon. But so many people are depending on it, including Melanie and more and more people that I want to leave out of this so the deal is that I want to find a solution as quickly as possible but I also want to face the possibility of failure as late as possible. My biggest fear is letting everyone down. I remember that I promised Daley to check the e-mail so I get a Latte to go at Starbucks so my visit to town wasn't completely pointless and then head back home.

Once I get there, Daley is already gone. I turn on my computer and drink my coffee, then I look at the space that is waiting for me to type in my password. I inhale deeply and am about to lower my fingers to the keys when I hear my phone vibrate on the kitchen table. I jog over and pick up. "Yeah?" I ask, putting the phone on speaker. "Beverly Nicholls. If you had checked your e-mail as you promised, you would have already contacted me." "What are you talking about, Oli?" I ask as I sit back down in front of the computer, typing in my password and waiting for the site to load. "I sent you something that you simply could not ignore and I knew you'd contact me about it once you checked your e-mail and yet, I have not heard from you since your promise last night." "Did you send me a dick pic?" I ask and he laughs on the other end. "No but I should've, that's a great idea." "Thanks. I was about to check my e-mail, by the way, just a moment and you can be a live witness."

I look at the screen and see two messages by people I don't know, then there's Oli's mail which I open first. It's a photo of him and a goat which at first sight, looks absolutely ridiculous. Then I have a closer look. Now, there are very few people who can pull off a hawaiian shirt but my, Oli turns out to be one of those rare individuals. Tucked into his skinny bleached jeans and combined with a pair of colorful flip flops, he's posing next to the goat with one hand on its head and the other one giving a thumbs up. And he actually looks quite stylish doing it. I snort. "That is a beautiful photo, Olivier." He laughs. "Isn't it? Now look at your future."

I roll my eyes even though he can't see it and click on the newest e-mail in my inbox. I scan the lines with my eyes and feel them grow wider and wider. "Oli" I say and I can hear him breathe in loudly in excitement. "What is it, Beverly?" "Can we stop with the full name thing?" "Gladly." "This donation alone is 5K." "What?! Bev, I'm on my way."

Oli arrives and I have calculated all donations up to 35K. I cannot believe it but I know what I'm gonna do first thing tomorrow. I'm going to see Mason and I'm going to give him a big fat middle finger. Literally.

Oli helps me respond to all of the generous people that are going to be my key to bringing Mason down and shutting him out of my business that is clearly too good for him for good. I just want to get rid of him and not have him have anything to do with something that is destined to help people who are bullied when he clearly is a bully. I don't even mind that I fell for his stupid charm, I just want him to get away from me and Mel and anything that has to do with our project as quickly as possible.

As soon as we're done, I get up and pull Oli off his chair by the hands to swing my arms around him and hug him tightly. He chuckles and rubs his hand up and down my back, then kissing my cheek before pulling away. "Thanks." "I haven't done anything" he declines. "You have, you're always there when I need you and I'm really glad we've become friends." He raises an eyebrow and pretends to be surprised. "Friends?" I gently slap his chest and he grins. "I'm kidding, I'm glad we've become such good friends too." I smile. "Can I interest you in some Thai food that I'm about to order?"

We spend the day at the apartment watching Netflix which is basically the only thing me and Daley ever really have to put money away for. And food of course. That's our only luxury really, food and netflix. What more do we need?

The spoken of gentleman returns as we're just about to order dinner. He takes one look at the familiar menu Oli's holding and throws his jacket over the couch. "64 and 7, please, darling" he requests and pats Oli's shoulder who's holding the phone too. Then Daley disappears in the bathroom. "You never do anything around here!" Daley shouts in a high-pitched mocking house wife voice. "This is not what we got married for! I gave up everything for you, my job, my whole career and this is what I get?" We hear Daley laughing before he turns on the shower.

We wait for Daley before we start eating and the next movie. He returns from the bathroom wearing long white pajama pants only. "Very stylish." "Thank you" he replies, getting his food from the kitchen table and then joining us on the couch. "I'm just gonna go ahead and not say anything about the two of you." I shoot him a mad glare. "You better." Oli raises an eyebrow and looks up at me first, then at Daley. "What am I missing here?" "Nothing" I scoff and he raises one hand in defense. "Alright."

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