Hey, guys! I'm back yet again. I continue this time to write more, even if I'm lazy and consumed with school work. I hope you guys are still there! We pick up where we left off. The Valentine's Day Bash is at hand. This chapter is more focused on Brandon and, later, on Kelly, but I am planning on doing a pretty B/D-centric chapter centered around their Valentine's Day Date. So, just stay with me! I hope you all enjoy.
Disclaimer: I don't own Beverly Hills, 90210 or any of its characters.
The radio faintly echoed in the background as he buttoned a red flannel shirt over his white undershirt. "Hello, I love you, won't you tell me your name? Hello, I love you, let me jump in your game," Even Jim Morrison's absent, faraway voice was mocking him today. "She holds her head so high like a statue in the sky. Her arms are wicked, and her legs are long. When she moves my brain screams out this song."
It was a Sunday morning and Nat had insisted taking over his double shift at the Pit. "Just call me Cupid, kid. You'll thank me later," He had winked and laughed in that quintessentially good-natured way of his, nudging Brandon out of the restaurant before he could get a word in edgewise. It was one of the few days that he wished he could don his tired, old uniform and notepad. At least it would get his mind off of all the lovey dovey crap being thrown at him. Love, love, love. It was almost as though he couldn't escape it.
Brenda had been up since six, downing coffee and frantically going through her wardrobe, crying over how nothing in her wardrobe was appropriate for the night's festivities. His father, meanwhile, was frantic concerning his lack of forethought over a Valentine's Gift for their mother, and had been in and out of his room, asking for opinions, giving him errands to run, and asking him repeatedly why he seemed out of sorts.
"Brandon," He heard his name called faintly. Downstairs, the phone began to ring obnoxiously and the sound of a frying pan hitting the floor served to add fuel to his mother's vexation. "Brandon!" His mother called up the stairwell. "Brandon, get the phone!" He practically cringed at the sound of his own name.
"Alright, alright, I'm coming!" Brandon sighed, running down the stairs, picking up the phone on its fifth ring.
"Hello?" Brandon answered, his annoyance undoubtedly seeping through into his tone of voice.
"Brando!" Steve's cheerful voice echoed into the receiver. "Glad you answered. Did you catch 'Love at First Sight' last night? I left you a message to watch at 8—to see what you're missing, if you know what I mean."
"I'm sorry to say that I didn't get the chance," Brandon said sourly. "Let me guess? You won."
"Right you are, Bran. Her name is Celeste and she's a total babe," Steve was obviously beside himself with joy. "Long legs like you wouldn't believe. She's coming with me tonight."
"Is that it or is there more?" Brandon wandered to the counter, taking out a mug and pouring himself whatever coffee was left in the pot.
"Is there more? Is there more? Of course there's more! Are you showing up stag tonight?" Steve was unfazed by Brandon's obvious annoyance.
"Unless Winona Ryder calls me up and states she's rapt with wild infatuation for me, then, yes, Steve," Brandon sipped at his coffee, wishing, for anything, he could get out of going tonight without feeling like a complete loser.
"Geez, Bran, no need to be hostile," Steve laughed, "I'll try to see if Celeste has any friends to bring along. You can thank me later. And if Winona calls, tell her that she can do so much better than that Depp poser. See you around 10. My place."
"Will do. See you, Steve," Brandon exhaled, hanging up the phone before Steve said anything else.
Heels frantically clicked down the staircase, and Brenda, wearing a sparkly black mini-dress and stilettos looked back and forth, from Cindy to Brandon. "Haven't you had that dress since we moved here, Bren?" Brandon asked, raising his eyebrows.
Brenda, looking down at the dress, turned on her heel and ran back up the stairs. Just as she did so, the phone rang again. Brandon, sighing, reached for the phone again. "Yeah?" He said into the phone, dejectedly.
"Brandon? It's Kelly," Her voice somehow shook him up. He took a gulp of hot coffee, which charred his tongue and left him both anxious and burnt. He choked on the hot liquid in his throat a bit, and then regained his composure.
"Hey, Kel," He found himself saying. "Looking for Brenda?"
"Well, yeah, I guess," Kelly said, blankly. "I actually wanted to talk to you too, though."
"What about?" Brandon asked, dumbfounded.
I'm planning on going to Steve's party tonight and Jackie doesn't feel comfortable with me driving for the time being." Kelly answered, a bit of nervousness in her voice, "So, I was wondering if maybe you could pick me up."
Brandon fought the urge to say "yes" automatically. The chances were she really was just looking for a ride. The possibility that she was looking for an excuse to spend time with him, regardless of how far-fetched that notion was, however, somehow excited him. Damn it, Brenda. He sighed, knowing that the power of suggestion was probably playing games with his mind. "Of course, Kel. What time were you thinking?"
"Maybe around nine-ish? You could come in and grab something to eat and we could go from there. The voice of experience is telling me that Steve is not the hors d'oeuvre type," Kelly giggled. Brandon smiled, for the first time in that entire day. Could it be that Brandon Walsh had some semblance of a date on Valentine's Day? He tried to push the notion out of his mind, but he had to say, he was curious as to what this all was really about.
"Sounds great. I'll be at your door around nine," Brandon smiled again—to hell with the notion of cautiousness, he thought, quite to himself. There was a warm moment of silence between them. They suddenly had a very clear, unspoken understanding.
"I'll see you then, Bran." He could hear her smiling on the other end. "Could you do me a quick favor and give Brenda the phone?"
"No problem—if I can possibly get through to her, that is," Brandon laughed, setting the phone down and running up to Brenda's room, rapping lightly on the door.
"Come in!" Brenda called out, her voice cheerful and peppy.
Brenda, dressed in a light pink dress with a flared skirt, smiled at him, as she sat at her vanity table, brushing her hair. "Is that the one?" Brandon grinned, pleased to see that his sister was settling down.
"It's the one," She smiled, examining the sweetheart neckline. "It's going to be perfect, tonight."
Brandon nodded, taking a seat at her window seat momentarily. "Kelly's on the phone for you."
"Kelly?" Brenda repeated, a mischievous glint in her eye.
"Yes, Kelly," Brandon repeated, cautiously. "I'm picking her up tonight. Before you get any bright ideas, though, we're going to the party as just friends. In fact, Steve is setting me up with some righteous babe tonight. One of his date's friends."
"We'll see how well that works out," Brenda leaned towards her brother, patting him on the shoulder.
She stood up, examining her reflection once again. "It will work out. In fact, I'm sure it will." Brandon wasn't sure why he was being so tight-lipped about his interest in Kelly. Perhaps it was because he was so nervous about it himself.
"Oh, I'm sure you are," Brenda raised her eyebrows, giggling as she ran down the stairs, towards the phone. Brandon, following her downstairs, waited by the kitchen door, standing in the arch.
"Hey, Kel. I hear Brandon's picking you up," Brenda said into the receiver, casually.
He listened in, insatiably curious as to what direction the conversation would go in. "Is he listening?" Brenda smiled to herself. "No," She threw Brandon a knowing smirk. "If it makes you feel more comfortable, I'll check to see where he is." Brenda paused for a moment, covering the receiver with her hand, counting to ten seconds while bracing her hand on her hip, and then putting the phone to her ear once again. "Kelly? Yeah, he's in his room."
Brandon took a seat on a stool situated along the counter, still listening intently.
A moment passed, and he could hear Kelly's faraway voice on the other end of the line. "Did he seem excited about it?" Brenda now faced him, raising her eyebrows. "I'm sure he's just as pent up about it as you are." Another pause. "How do I know that? It's just written all over his face." Brenda coyly bit her lip. "Yes, really."
A tiny electric jolt ran through Brandon's body. He wouldn't admit it to Brenda, but he suddenly felt more enthused than ever about tonight. "I would suggest something incredibly sexy. Maybe a red dress, and those black pumps?" Brandon bit his lip as Brenda grinned at his expression. "Call me back when you've decided. Catch you later, Kel." Brenda hung up the phone before laughing to herself, glancing at Brandon once again, who didn't look so amused.
"What would you do without me?" Brenda grinned and raised her eyebrows. She laughed once again, taking her heels off before she ran back up the stairs. "By the way, Romeo, I would suggest sunflowers. They're Kelly's favorites."
Brandon furrowed his eyebrows, actually taking his sister's advice seriously. "Sunflowers, sunflowers," he repeated to himself as he sprinted up the stairs, almost knocking into his father in the process, who watched him hustle up the stairs with an approving gaze.
At about 9:05 Brandon's mustang pulled up the Taylor driveway, pulling to a concise and sharp stop as the circular pavement tilted downward. Looking directly ahead, Brandon could see the "For Sale" sign prominently displayed. Looking to his right, Brandon could see Jackie Taylor peering out the window, smiling, and then folding her arms, waiting for him to get out of the car.
He turned the keys and removed them from the ignition, and, after pulling his parking break up, he exited the car, dusting his white shirt and black dress pants off. He pulled his black sports jacket on and pulled the sunflowers out of the back seat. It had been almost a no-go trying to get flowers on Valentine's Day. He had succeeded, though, but only by flirting for several minutes with the girl behind the counter. Brandon grinned to himself. On any other night, he might have made pass at her, but tonight his thoughts were consumed with another girl, one he had previously thought of as only a sister—an idea he was now challenging more and more.
Jackie Taylor had the door open before he had approached the porch. Brandon straightened his tie, throwing a friendly smile in her direction. "Looking sharp, Brandon," Jackie smiled as he passed through the threshold, flowers in hand. "I want to thank you for giving Kelly a ride tonight. I've obviously been a bit concerned about letting her out alone lately. I thought about Kelly going with Steve, but then I thought, 'who else better than a Walsh'? Kelly and I must be on the same wavelength. She told me she wanted you to take her before I could even get it out."
Brandon's smile became sheepish. "I'm glad you both were on the same page."
"Kelly should be down in just a minute. You can come into the kitchen and wait for her if you like," Jackie motioned for him to follow her. Brandon trailed her into the kitchen, setting the flowers down on the island. He took a seat, noticing the three trays of appetizers before him.
"What do you think?" Jackie raised an eyebrow.
"I had no idea that you guys were going all out," Brandon couldn't help but smile, taking one of the mini franks off the platter.
"Before you give us too much credit, I'll let you in on a little secret," Jackie smiled slyly, holding up an oven gourmet box. "We figured by doing it this way we couldn't burn down the house." Jackie chuckled good-naturedly. Behind him, he could hear Kelly's encroaching footsteps.
"Brandon," Kelly smiled as she entered the kitchen. She was dressed to the nines, in a tight black dress with red pumps. Her long blonde hair hung straight down her back. Brandon couldn't help but allow his stare to linger. "I see you've found your way to the food."
"It's like a sixth sense," Brandon smiled, holding another hors d'oeuvre frank in hand. "I call it food radar. Though, I digress. You look beautiful."
Kelly let out a pleased chirp. "And you look very handsome, Brandon," She hadn't stopped smiling. There was a comfortable silence between the two. "You know, most guys wouldn't be so bold as to wear a red tie. But you're not like them, are you?"
"I guess not," Brandon smiled again and looked down, as Kelly noticed the sunflowers.
"Wow, Brandon. Those are beautiful," She walked to the island, running her hand down a stem. "This is so thoughtful of you."
"I heard you liked sunflowers," Brandon uttered a bit shyly. "I hope my source was accurate."
"Very much so," Kelly warmly gripped his hand, pulling him into a hug. "Thanks, Bran."
"Thanks for being my Valentine's Day date," Brandon raised his eyebrows. Kelly eyed him, her hand still on his shoulder. "—lest we forget my Spring Dance date."
"At least this time we know Brenda and I won't be wearing the same dress," Kelly and Brandon laughed, as they turned toward the island, taking seats beside one another, "Or dating the same guy." Strangely, the last part didn't come off on a sour note.
"If only Dylan had a twin," Brandon shook his head, smiling a bit. "Then all of our problems would be solved."
"I think I could do without Dylan for the time being," Kelly took a bite of a hors d'oeuvre, "Or, you know, permanently."
"Glad to hear it, Kel. I don't think I could take more of this love triangle business," Brandon rolled his eyes.
"I think I'm up for more of a two point love affair," Kelly joked, looking again to her sunflowers.
"Allow me to heave a deep sigh of relief," Brandon's eyes flickered. "We really haven't had much time to talk lately, though, in all seriousness. I know that this whole thing with Dylan has been messed up, but I hope you're okay with me thinking it's better off this way."
"You mean, with Brenda and Dylan being together?" Kelly took a sip of the soda she had just opened. "I think so too."
"So, just to be clear, everything's over, right? No more pills, no more fighting over Dylan?"
Kelly paused. "I made a decision while I was lying in the hospital bed that I would leave Dylan and Brenda alone. I also decided that I would never be stupid enough to take diet pills again. You know me, Bran. You know who I really am—and that girl wasn't it."
Brandon laughed, though his expression seemed a bit wistful. "Funny. That's what Brenda and Donna said when you were on your rampage."
"They're great girls," Kelly looked down into her lap. "They're great friends."
"I'm glad you realize that, Kel," Brandon remained smiling, his expression becoming a tad bit lighter. After popping another appetizer in his mouth, he stood up. The kitchen clock read 9:30.
"I believe that your chariot awaits, my lady," Brandon threw her one of his winning grins, performing a sweeper motion with his hand towards the front door.
"Then we shall not hesitate," Kelly returned his grin, and hooked arms with him. After waving good-bye to Jackie, Brandon and Kelly took off to Chez Sanders.
Brenda was standing in front of the mirror when her mother opened the door to her bedroom. She smiled as she saw Brenda fixing a strand of hair and watched her for a moment before making her presence known. "Your father went out to try to get us reservations at some swanky restaurant in town," Cindy sat on the edge of Brenda's bed, "So he shouldn't be here when Dylan picks you up."
Brenda looked at her mother, and then looked down, leaning on the door frame. "I feel bad about lying to dad, but I don't know what else to do. I know you're in Dylan's court, but dad couldn't be more out of it if he tried."
Brenda bit her lip and glanced in the mirror.
"Where does he think I'm going every night?"
"I think he knows. I just don't think he wants to know." Cindy looked a little sad as she smoothed Brenda's sheets and rearranged Mr. Pony so that he was situated among the pillows.
Brenda took off her heels, going to the bed and sitting beside her mother. "If Dylan and I keep going at this rate, I'm going to have to tell him soon. I don't like lying to dad—I never have liked lying to him."
"I worry that he might take it out on Dylan and none of us want that to happen. I think we're just going to have to ride this one out, sweetie," Cindy smoothed her hair, giving her a loving, motherly glance before getting up and peering out the window. Dylan's headlights shining through the window signified that he was downstairs.
"Don't worry about it tonight, Brenda," Cindy gave her a sad little smile. "It's Valentine's Day, and you and Dylan should make it special."
"Thanks, mom," She hugged Cindy, "You're always on my side." Brenda put on her heels, and then glanced in the mirror.
"You look beautiful, Brenda. I think your father would agree," Cindy and Brenda exchanged a smile, before heading down the stairs and opening the door.
Dylan stood in front of the door holding a bouquet of yellow roses. Brenda, grinning ecstatically, reached out to touch the stems. "Oh, no you don't. These are for Cindy," Dylan raised his eyebrows in jest.
"I'm flattered, Dylan," Cindy grinned, "But I do have another Valentine in the wings."
"Too little, too late, huh?" Dylan bit his lip, glancing to Brenda, "I guess I'll take this one."
"Gee, thanks," Brenda placed one hand on her hip, her lined eyes glistening.
"The sarcasm hardly demeans your legendary beauty, my dear," Dylan kissed her on the lips, placing his hands on her hips. "I have come from far away to whisk you away to a place untouched by modern man. I see that it is true that your face has launched a thousand, uh—yachts. I guess that works."
"Dear me, I'm becoming faint," Brenda glanced to Cindy, placing the back of her hand and positioning it against her forehead.
"Stay awake, my lady, we must away!" Dylan handed a rose to Cindy, taking Brenda's hand.
"Now, wait—wait, you two," Cindy pulled out the ancient family camera. "You two look so cute, I can't resist." Brenda rolled her eyes, but Dylan leapt into position, holding Brenda in his arms and dipping her down and engaging her in a tango style kiss. The camera flashed.
"One more!" Cindy grinned. Dylan stood up straight and Brenda leant her head against his side.
"Now, let's get one of you two in the car!" Cindy followed them as they entered Dylan's Porsche.
"No photographs, please. Miss Walsh is not in the mood," Dylan grinned, jokingly putting his hand in front of his face.
"They always manage to find us, don't they?" Brenda waved to her mother as they pulled out of the driveway, and into Hillcrest.
Cindy waved to them and watched as their car disappeared around the bend. She folded her arms, thinking about how pleased she was to finally see her daughter happy again. With the single yellow rose and a camera in her hand, she walked back inside, content with her and Brenda's little secret.