Interlude: Great Time


Zayne watched almost in awe as his party guests mixed and mingled with one another. They were scattered everywhere in his tiny apartment – some sat on his bed, some in the living room, some at the kitchen table…

It had been a bit of a tighter fit than he’d anticipated, but Zayne’s guests didn’t seem to mind very much. In fact, everyone seemed to be having a great time. Even Charlie and Ben seemed to be getting along well with his friends and neighbors. He breathed an internal sigh of relief.


A sudden cry of excitement called Zayne back to the present. “Dude, these are amazing!” Sean mumbled, his mouth full of food. “Did you seriously make these?”

Zayne nodded proudly, but kept his tone casual. “We make them down at the restaurant all the time. They’re pretty good, aren’t they?”


Of course, by ‘we’, he meant the actual cooks in the kitchen. But Zayne had been paying close attention over the past several weeks, and made mental notes of many of the recipes he’d seen prepared. Who knew that cooking could be so much fun?

“They’re great.” Victoria called to him from the kitchen table, smiling. “What if you tried throwing in a little cumin next time? That might make them even better. Of course, I’m probably biased. My dad was always a sucker for cumin. Used to say it gave an extra ‘kick’.” She laughed softly. “Chef Cotiaux doesn’t always agree though…”

Chinatsu joined in Victoria’s laughter as Zayne drew closer to them. “Oh my God, she’s so strict about sticking to every word of the recipe… You haven’t taken her class yet, have you, Zayne?” She asked. “Because when you do, watch out!”


He shook his head. “I actually decided to take a gap year.” Zayne explained, the lie coming so much easier than he’d expected. “Get some experience down at the restaurant, save up a little money… Y’know?”

Victoria nodded in understanding. “That doesn’t sound like a bad idea, actually… Too late to back out now though. My mom would kill me!”


“Nah, I think you made the right choice.” Zayne assured her. “Plus, studying abroad must be so amazing! I mean, obviously Windenburg’s home to me.” He added with a laugh, his eyes tracing every inch of the girl’s beautiful face. “But experiencing another culture must be incredible…” He paused for a moment. “Y’know, your accent… You sound a lot like my Onkel Stefan’s family… You wouldn’t happen to be from Willow Creek, would you?”

The girl’s eyes widened. “Well, my family was from there originally… Guess the accent’s pretty hard to shake, huh? Good ear.” The way she smiled sent a rush of butterflies through his stomach.


“I have a bunch of family from there.” Zayne continued, returning her smile. “My great-grandpa Josh passed away a few years ago… He used to play for the Willow Creek Ravens.”

“Oh… Uh, that’s… cool!” Victoria’s smile suddenly seemed so forced.

Damn it. She must not like sports. Zayne cursed himself mentally, then quickly turned the discussion back to cooking.


Things continued progressing well for the next hour or so, much to Zayne’s delight. The guests were giggling together, sharing stories, munching on snacks, and throwing back drinks…

Until they ran out, that is.

“Shit, that was the last beer!” Rich closed the refrigerator door, his dismay apparent on his face.


There were several murmurs of disappointment among the partygoers. Zayne felt his heart sink at the sound. Everything’s so perfect… I can’t mess this up!

“Hey, who wants to run out and grab us some more drinks?” He asked the room at large, reaching for his wallet. “On me, of course.”

“We should just go somewhere else.” Celestia’s high pitched voice called out. “It’s way too stuffy in here.” She glanced around at the tiny apartment, almost disgusted. “I’m not sure I can last much longer in here anyway.”


To his horror, Zayne caught a few of the other guests giving small nods of agreement. Oh no.

“Sure!” He smiled, fighting to hide his nerves. “This was just the warmup, right guys?” Amidst all the whooping and cries of excitement, Zayne could feel Charlie’s eyes staring at him curiously. He did his best to ignore them. “What about we head down to The Old Oak?” Zayne suggested.

One of Eun’s friends who’d crashed the party chuckled softly at the idea. “That little shithole? No way.”


“Hey, why don’t we check out Vertigo?” Laurel suggested. “They’ve got pool tables, great music, and you get a free drink if you enter one of their karaoke contests.”

“Karaoke? Sweet!” Coleen called excitedly from the kitchen. “I’m in!”

The guests nodded excitedly. Some were already heading for the door.


Fuck. Zayne couldn’t believe his luck. Vertigo was strictly 18+… He and Dom had learned that the hard way one night when they were turned away at the door. What the hell am I gonna do?! How could he bail on his own party without being suspicious?

Remi, River, and their friends seemed to be wondering the exact same thing. He could feel several pairs of eyes on him. Shit. Shit. Shit. What do I do?!


“Well, if you guys are heading to Vertigo, I guess that means Ben and I will need a ride home.” Charlie called out just a touch too loudly. “Do you mind driving us, Zayne?”

Driving? But I’m not old enough to… Oh. It took a moment for the realization to finally hit him. “Sure.” He smiled gratefully at his cousin.


“Oh, crap. Sorry.” Laurel muttered to the two 17-year-olds. “I forgot you aren’t old enough.”

“I know, it sucks.” Charlie sighed. “And my birthday’s next month too! So damn close.” She shook her head.

Ben smiled at Laurel. “But we’ll catch you guys at the next one. Don’t worry.”


“Alright, so I guess I’ll drop you guys off at home first.” Zayne nodded at Charlie and Ben, then reached back into his pocket and pulled out the wad of cash he’d received from his most recent delivery. “Remi, why don’t you get everyone a round on me and I’ll meet up with you guys a little later?” He handed a few bills to his cousin as he spoke.

“Erm… Uh… O-kay.” Remi stammered awkwardly, pocketing the cash. “But…how…?”

I’ll meet you later.” Zayne repeated a bit louder this time.

His cousin simply nodded and headed for the door.


“Sweet! You’re the best, Zayne.”

“Thanks, Zayne!”

“I’ll totally buy you a shot when you get there, dude!”

“See you later!”

The remaining guests gave him handshakes and claps on the back as they headed out the door, eager to continue the party at the karaoke bar.


A few minutes later, only Ben and Charlie remained.

As soon as they were alone, Zayne let out a breath he hadn’t even realized he was holding. “Oh my God, Charlie. I owe you for this one.”

She laughed. “Yeah, you do… Big time.


“Dude, you are in way over your head here.” Ben joined in his girlfriend’s laughter. “How long are you planning on keeping this up?”

Zayne shrugged. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s fine.” He hoped he sounded convincing. “I’m just making friends.”


“Just watch yourself.” Charlie replied seriously. “Some of these guys might not be as ‘friendly’ as you think…”

Her cousin sighed. “Look, just… Promise you won’t tell Tante Joce about any of this, okay? You know she’d flip.”

“Oh, I know she would.” There was a strange bitter edge to Charlie’s voice as she spoke. But as quickly as it had come, it was gone. “Don’t worry. Your secret’s safe with me.” She assured him.


“Yeah, me too.” Ben added.

“Thanks.” Zayne smiled at the pair of them for a moment. “So… since I can’t really drive you guys home…” He muttered uncertainly.

“The last bus leaves at 11.” Charlie answered his unfinished question.

“That’s in about two hours…What should we do til then?”


The pigtailed girl glanced at the discarded trash and empty cans around them for a moment. “Help pick up some of this mess?” She suggested. “And then maybe squeeze in a round or two of Don’t Wake the Llama? You still have Ur-Oma’s old set with you, right?”

Zayne nodded, his smile widening. “Sounds like plan.”

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50 thoughts on “Interlude: Great Time

  1. Is it just me, or this chapter was….strangely quiet? I wa expecting someone to do something stupid, some go stab-stab, someone having sex, Joce for some reason going in there, Zayne having sex with someone, a nuke falling in the middle of the party, the four warriors of apocalypse appearing in the party…Glad (?) none of it happened! And I think that parent form Stefan will have some influence in the future…because only knowing that she is form there, she could easily say :”I met a guy, Zayne, that has a scar…” it would not be hard to connect the dots…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha I think everyone was expecting something bad 😛 But it actually went fairly well, all things considered 😉 (Love the idea of the four horsemen descending upon the party. Ha! 😛 )


  2. Well Zayne gained a few negatives but I’m guessing the night isn’t over for him or is it? Also looks like Remus is starting to actually question some of Zayne’s activities! If I was doing points for Charlie she definitely gained some tonight hopefully for the right reasons! I’m so in love with Charlen they are so cute💗 Ben trying to be all brotherly good stuff he’ll make a fine cousin/brother-in-law😆

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Josh is dead 😭 That means Mar and Jonas will be next😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 No not Jonas he’s the Rosebrook spouse MVP! Collette was great in her own right but doesn’t come close in my opinion. Mark despite all his great qualities never put a ring on it So he’s our unofficial number 2 until someone else comes along😝

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Ben is a great guy 😀 And believe it or not, the night IS over for Zayne haha. He can’t get into the bar for the rest of the party so the poor kid is stuck 😛

      And I think Remi was most confused about how Zayne was planning on getting back into the party haha which probably did not happen 😛


  3. Aww, the ending was actually quite sweet, I like how they decided to play Don’t wake the llama in contrast with all the “grown up” fun , it was cute. Also chuckled at home unimpressed Victoria was at Zayne’s name dropping, heh!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks 😀 I wanted the ending to highlight the fact that they (especially Zayne) are still kids (which is not a bad thing!) so they get to play innocent board games while the big kids go party hahaha

      And yes, not everyone is impressed by the name dropping 😂 It worked for Joce with Elliot way back when. Not so much anymore 😛


  4. Not bad, Zayne. Not bad. You get brownie points for hosting a decent party. Improvements: A/C and more drinks. I LOL’d when Victoria wasn’t impressed when he mentioned Josh (sorry he’s passed on). Nice try, my friend, but she’s not a sports fanatic. I do have a suspicion that Charlie might break the news to Joce. Remi looks like he’s about to question what Zayne is doing.

    *waves hello to Chinatsu* Nice to see her again!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Zayne, Zayne, Zayne. You MIGHT get a girlfriend by lying to her and name-dropping. Maybe. But what do you think will happen when she learns the truth?

    I noticed Eun himself was there. He must be keeping an eye on Zayne. Zayne better watch out, ’cause something tells me Eun is an all-around shady guy. Maybe he’s there to make sure Zayne doesn’t spill the beans about his delivery job. But he certainly doesn’t seem to be there to make Zayne’s life any easier.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nice observation about Eun! He was definitely there kinda silently observing 😉 Who knows what he could be up to!


  6. I’m not sure zayne has told anyone about the deliveries, right? He could just be really good with money suddenly. He is cooking at home which is cheaper than pizza.

    On the nite of the party, seems at least the first half went okay. We’ll see how they feel when he never shows. Perhaps the expectant fireworks are yet to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, everyone was expecting something horrible to happen haha but the party actually went pretty well, all things considered! 🙂

      I like your idea for Zayne’s future career. We’ll see 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe everyone was expecting disaster 😛 And thanks! They are actually pretty close, despite her conflicted feelings toward him 🙂


  7. I think I’m in the minority here when my guess is Charlie *won’t* be spilling the beans anytime soon. She’s finally gotten the attention of her mother back; why would she want to jeopardize that?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. *snort* Don’t Wake the Llama, huh? Mmmm hmmm. Child…
    Victoria is actually from Oasis Springs, but hey ho. The Pruett family of course is originally from Willow Creek, so that works too lol.


    1. Hahaha whoops, my research failed 😛 I will not name the individual I asked (to protect the innocent) haha but I asked a Pruett reader and they said Willow Creek 😛 But either they misinterpreted my question or forgot hahaha

      Maybe the accent stuck around through the generations?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Ok, now Victoria says that her family is ORIGINALLY from Willow Creek and jokes that the accent must have stuck around. Best I can do for damage control haha

      Liked by 1 person

            1. Haha okay then I am just leaving it with the change because now I am very confused 😛 But I am OCD about accuracy, so I had to change it.


  9. Thank you so much! I really appreciate your compliment about Zayne’s character 🙂 I work with kids too (though my oldest students are only 14, so a bit younger than Zayne!) but I definitely try to apply what I know about kids when I write characters around this age 🙂

    Thanks! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Well that wasn’t so bad. He’s going to so get caught about his age and not being a college student, I can feel it. That was pretty cool of Charlie to cover for him like that. I think if it was earlier on she may have not been so accommodating. Ben is cool to also go along with it.

    Liked by 1 person

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