Chapter 11

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Brooke mindlessly snips off the ends of the light brown hair of the customer in front of her. It isn't often that she doesn't at least try to engage her client in a conversation, but today is one of the few times she doesn't. How can she, when her mind is anywhere except the salon? Primarily it is on Gary and the latest news he told her.

He got the opportunity to see Peter, but he couldn't bring himself to touch him. When he told her that it just wasn't the Peter he has known so long she nearly lost all handle she ever had on her emotions. Even now, just thinking about the way his voice was so sad, she feels her heart go out to him.

When she is completely done with the girl's hair she gently takes the zebra print backwards cape off the girl and smiles. "You are all good to go. I'll be at the front to get you checked out in just a second."

Lost in her own world Brooke doesn't notice the girls meek, "Thank you."

As Brooke passes Kristen, who is working on coloring a man's hair, she hears her whisper with a concerned look on her face, "You okay, girl? You seem pretty off."

Apologetically Brooke smiles and whispers back, "Yeah, I'm good." She hopes that her voice sounds more convincing than she feels. Nothing in her wanted to be anywhere, but with Gary. To her it seems quite strange since they aren't dating and haven't spent loads of time together, but deep down inside she knows that she cares about him more than she probably wants to admit.

Standing behind the counter accepting the cash handed to her a thought she has been trying, desperately not to entertain, pushes its way into her mind. Does Gary feel the same way about her? Does he ever want to be with her as he waits for news about his dying friend? She instantly chides herself for thinking such selfish and inconsiderate thoughts.

"Thank you, have a nice day!" she calls as the girl strolls through the salon door. As soon as the door clinks closed behind her Brooke sighs and flops into the chair behind her. Not much frustrates her more than not being able to focus and today it is worse than it has been in years.

She hardly even notices that Kristen has finished up with her client and is in front of her checking him out until she turns around and says, "Okay, Brooke, you are kind of starting to worry me! You have been zoned out like crazy, hardly talking, and look like you are going to break into tears or tear something apart."

Once again she sighs. "I don't know what's wrong with me! I can't focus worth a darn and just plain going crazy. The worst part is I don't even know why."

Kristen takes a seat in a chair near by. "Well, if you don't mind I will give you my random thoughts about everything that you have told me in the last two weeks or so." She watches as Brooke shrugs and nods before continuing, "My first guess is that you can't focus because you are tied up in knots about everything going on with Gary. You need to call him. Don't always wait for him to call you, sometimes he will need you to call him too. What's the worst that can happen?" She doesn't wait for her to answer before she goes on, "He not answer. Now, we don't have anyone left on the schedule and only a couple hours before closing, so I want you to go home and call him."

Brooke smiles, but isn't sure she wants to. One, she isn't a quitter, just because her mind is anywhere but where it should be doesn't mean she walks away. Two, is calling him really the best thing to do? Finally she caves under Kristen's hard gaze and throws her hands in the air. "Okay, okay, I guess I don't have anything to loose."

Gary pounds his fists against the black round punching bag. After he himself talking with Peter's doctors it felt like someone shoved the words down his throat and now they are threatening to come back up. Never before did he know that news like this makes you feel physically sick, invincible, angry, and want to be a little boy and hide behind your mom's skirt again all at once.

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