Home > Serves Me Wright (Wright #9)(6)

Serves Me Wright (Wright #9)(6)
Author: K.A. Linde

“I think so,” I said.

“Me too,” Sutton said. “Mor and Jensen are going to come back here after the show to see what’s up.”

“What is up?” Piper asked.

“Something wrong?” Blaire’s eyes were locked on the band.

I didn’t think she was a Cosmere fan, but if I didn’t know better, I’d think she had a thing for Campbell. Not that I’d blame her.

“Owen Wright is here,” Annie said as she walked up to the rest of us.

“Oh?” Piper asked. She clearly already knew the history.

“Yeah, Julian came to talk to Jordan about it. He looked pretty pissed.”

“With good reason,” I said.

Sutton nodded. “Agreed.”

“Anyway,” Annie said with a wave of her hand, “what I really want to talk about is you disappearing with Julian!”

All the girls faced me.

My face turned as red as a tomato. “Uh, what?”

“You disappeared with him. You were talking and laughing and then poof!”

“Are you and Julian…” Sutton asked, arching an eyebrow.

“No, no, no, no, no,” I said quickly.

“I thought you were into him,” Piper said.

Blaire nodded. “You always come to our soccer games.”

The Tacos was a recreational soccer team that a bunch of my friends played on. Annie’s brother, Isaac, had started it. Annie, Julian, Hollin, and Blaire all played along with Annie’s friend Cézanne and her boyfriend, Gerome. I did attend all the games, but it was for my friends, not Julian. Or at least…not expressly Julian.

“You and Annie play,” I grumbled.

“And Julian!” Annie crooned.

“I feel attacked.”

Sutton laughed. “Let up, y’all.”

“Oh, come on. Dish!” Annie said.

“He wanted me to take some pictures.”

I thought about telling them about the kiss, but what was the point? It hadn’t been real even if he said it was great. That was just Julian.

“All right, fine,” Annie said, slipping an arm around my shoulders. “You’re still doing that whole no guys for ninety days anyway, right?”

“I…yes, I am.”

“Boys are overrated,” Blaire said.

“True story,” Piper agreed.

Blaire rolled her eyes. “Aren’t you on-again with Bradley?”

Piper shrugged. “I need new shutters.”

Annie cackled, and Sutton just shook her head.

“It couldn’t also be the sex that you’re missing?” Blaire asked.

“Could be,” Piper said with a wink.

I laughed with the rest of the girls at Piper’s not-quite love life. It hadn’t been long ago that Annie and Jordan had similar relationship woes. Sutton and David had had their level of complications while she was dealing with the death of her husband. I’d had my string of bad dates. It was only Blaire who didn’t seem to date much. With her level of success, I didn’t understand that at all.

My friends changed the subject back to Cosmere’s show. Annie danced around in a circle to their next song, singing all of the words perfectly. I could have joined in. I knew the lyrics forward and backward.

But at that moment, I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. I fished it out and saw my mom’s number on the screen. I groaned. Maybe I could skip the call, but knowing my mom, she’d call back until I answered and then blame me for wasting her time.

I held my phone up. “Going to take this.”

The girls waved me off, and I headed away from the concert, answering the phone, “Hey, Mom.”

“Jennifer Sue, it took you long enough.”

“Sorry.”

“Where are you?” my mom asked. “It sounds like a rock concert.”

“Um…I’m at work. Remember I mentioned that I was photographing the Cosmere show at the new Wright Vineyard?”

“You never told me that.”

I bit my lip. I definitely had. Not that she cared about anything to do with my photography.

“What can I help you with?”

“What, a mom can’t want to talk to her daughter?”

Not my mom.

“Of course, Mom. But again…I’m at work.”

My mom scoffed, “Taking pictures isn’t work.”

I swallowed back a retort. Here was the company line: photography wasn’t a real job. I’d been hearing that for years from my mom. Four years ago, I’d been nannying Sutton’s oldest, Jason, and applying to pharmacy school. They hadn’t approved of the nanny job, but at least I was on the right track. Then I hadn’t gotten into pharmacy school. Now, I was a failure.

I could have retaken the PCAT until my score was where it needed to be and reapplied until I got in. Plenty of people did it. My mom had expected that of me. I kept thinking I’d go back. It wasn’t like it was a forever decision.

But then I’d lucked into an amazing second-shooter position for a wedding and never looked back. My business had taken off, and now, I was here. Not that my parents acknowledged this as anything but a passion project. Not a reality. Nothing I said that would change that.

They’d both struggled and come from nothing to give me and my brother, Chester, the comfortable lives we enjoyed. My mom just couldn’t understand me giving it up to go backward. At least as far as she saw it.

“Okay, Mom,” I said quickly. I needed to end this call before she went off on one of her rants.

“Well, I don’t mean to interrupt your little concert,” she said, “but I wanted to confirm that you were coming to Austin next weekend for Chester’s graduation. He and Margaret have been planning this party for months. He even got a two-bedroom Airbnb near campus. You know how Dad hates hotels.”

“I do,” I said, my throat tightening.

My brother was…a genius. There was no other way to put it. He’d started winning chess tournaments at seven. He won the National Spelling Bee at twelve. He graduated from high school two years early and had three bachelor’s in four years from Baylor. They’d offered him the most amount of money, which was how he’d chosen them from the two dozen universities that had recruited him. He was only two years older than me and graduating from University of Texas-Austin with his PhD in biochemistry.

I’d never measured up, and going to Austin to celebrate his latest achievement felt like another knife in the chest. But how could I deny them?

“I’ll send over the details to your email. It’ll be good to see Chester and Margaret. I’m so happy he’s in such a stable relationship.”

Unlike me. Though she hadn’t said it, I clenched my teeth together.

“Anyway, we can all drive together on Wednesday.”

“Wednesday?” I asked.

“Yes. Is that a problem?”

“I have to check my work schedule. I think I’m shooting a senior portrait on Wednesday. I can probably come down Thursday though.”

My mom huffed, “Fine, Thursday then.”

“Okay, Mom. I have to go. Looking forward to it,” I lied.

She tried to keep me on the phone for a few more minutes, and after saying good-bye twice more, I finally got off.

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