Baited Truth

By: Jenn Hype

Chapter One

You Don't Know Me





Brooke

"Here I am."

The dim lighting in the bar cast shadows across the face of the man sidling up next to me. I turned to look at him, assuming he was talking to someone else. When I saw he was staring directly at me, I moved my body to fully face him. He didn't look too drunk, but since I didn't know him and hadn't planned to meet anyone there, he was obviously mistaking me for someone else.

"Sorry, I-"

"What are your other two wishes?"

O-kaaaay. Maybe he was drunker than I realized.

"Something's wrong with my eyes."

"Ummmm..." I honestly wasn't sure what to do. Dispelling advances and turning down men wasn't difficult, but until he started making sense, I wasn't even sure how to respond. Not that I was opposed to just being a giant bitch and walking away while he was talking, but he'd caught me so off-guard I was having a hard time figuring out a reaction.

"I can't take them off of you."

"Right, well. It's been real. See ya around." I didn't make it one step before he spoke up again.

"You're so sweet."

The guy must have been off his meds.

"Listen. You seem like-"

"It's giving me a toothache."

Ahhh. Pickup lines. The giant pauses in between each line was confusing. It only made the already cheesy lines even worse with the horrible execution. Knowing he wasn't insane, just a horrible flirt, I finally walked away from him, not bothering to stop as he called after me.

My phone buzzed in my pocket just as I reached the other end of the bar. I answered without looking at the caller ID, thankful for a distraction.

"Brooke, sweetie, where are you?"

It was hard to hear over the loud music, so I plugged one ear and tried to make out what my mom was saying. It was only a little after nine at night, but she still never called me this late.

"Mom? Is everything okay?"

"Yes, of course, everything is fine. Just hadn't talked to you in a few days and wanted to check in."

I'd just talked to her earlier in the day. Was she drunk? No, of course not. My mom didn't drink. Maybe I just misheard her.

"Okay. Are you sure? Because I just talked to you-"

"Like I said, just checking in. Where are you dear?"

Mom never called me dear. Even with the loud music I could tell it was her voice, but something definitely sounded off about her. The way she was talking, not making any sense, using words I'd never heard come out of her mouth before. All of it was giving me a bad feeling. I made my way towards the bathrooms where it was quieter.

"I'm at that new bar downtown, but I'm coming to you, mom. It's only like a five minute drive to your house and I haven't even finished a drink. You don't sound right, and-"

"No!" She shouted before speaking again with a forced calmness. "I mean, no dear, no need for that. I'm perfectly fine."

I didn't believe her. Not even a little bit. The music was still thumping through the walls, but inside the restroom I could hear the shakiness in her voice. Filled with foreboding, I pushed the bathroom door open and headed for the exit.

"It's fine, mom. I was bored and about to head out anyway. I'll grab us a couple smoothies and we can watch one of those dreadful girly movies you love so much."

"Brooke Lynn Jackson!" Mom shouting my full name made me feel like I was five again, despite my very adult surroundings. I hated my full name. Mom always blamed the drugs and sleep deprivation from a twenty-nine hour delivery for my ridiculous name. Brooke Lynn. Seriously. Someone should have stopped her.

Someone plowed into me from behind. When she yelled my name, I'd stopped dead in my tracks, not even taking note of the people around me. After muttering an apology, I stepped out of the way. The girl who had slammed into me rolled her bloodshot eyes as she pushed out the door. I hoped she called an Uber or something. She kept rolling her ankles in her high heels that could double as stripper shoes. No way she could drive home.

The cold air whipped me in the face as the heavy door slammed shut.

"Honey, just stay and enjoy yourself. I'm pretty tired from work and planned to go to bed early anyway. Raincheck?"

Okay, she was seriously starting to freak me out. Honey? Dear? Planning to go to bed early? Mom didn't talk like that, and she worked second shift. Before I could force her to fess up, she spoke again.

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