“Decked to the nine, ladies, with no men in sight. What a shame, what a shame,” Brooke commented, from Bobbie’s comfy sofa, startling the women as they walked through the front door.
“Oh my gosh, Brooke, what are you doing here,” Felicia exclaimed, running over to Brooke and hugging her fiercely.
Dara, Simone, and Bobbie took their turns hugging and throwing questions left and right at Brooke. Even a small, unknown blonde woman hugged her.
“Hi, I’m Amy. I figured I shouldn’t stop the hugging flow,” Amy smiled.
“I’m glad you didn’t,” Brooke replied.
“Brooke Logan Forrester, this is my sister-in-law, Amy Vining. Or rather this is my sister-in-law’s sister. Oh whatever, this is Amy and she’s family. Amy, this is a long time, good friend, Brooke,” Bobbie finally finished.
“Nice to meet you,” Brooke said.
“Nice to meet- - wait Forrester, as in the clothing company?” Amy asked, forever curious.
Brooke had known she couldn’t stay anonymous for long so she simply nodded.
“Now that we’re friends, can I get some free lingerie?”
“Amy!” Dara shouted.
“What,” Amy said innocently, “I need a man, and so I need all the boosts I can get to help wrangle one in.”
Any awkwardness Brooke felt by Amy’s question was put to rest after hearing Amy’s reasoning.
The women laughed.
“Hey, I’m serious,” Amy stated.
“We know,” Simone laughed.
“So you never did answer my question,” Felicia reminded Brooke.
“I promise I will as soon as you guys change. I’ll start the hot fudge sundaes and the hot cocoa and the talking can begin,” Brooke said.
“Hot fudge and hot chocolate?” Amy questioned.
Dara nodded. “The perfect gabfest food.”
“Exactly,” Simone agreed.
Bobbie, Felicia, Simone, Dara, and Amy went to change into their pajamas, while Brooke headed to the kitchen.
“So spill,” Simone commanded.
Brooke looked around the room, savoring the French vanilla ice cream melting in her mouth. “I needed a break.”
“From,” Simone continued.
“A break from Forrester, the Forresters, and just the rat race in general.”
“And a break from Ridge?” Bobbie asked concerned.
Laughing sarcastically, Brooke responded, “In order to need a break from Ridge, I would actually have to see him and spend time with him.”
“Still being a workaholic, I take it?” Simone questioned.
Brooke nodded. “But us not spending time together isn’t all his fault with football, baseball, softball, soccer, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, ballet, piano, guitar, and violin lessons and practices, plus mommy and me classes, I’m beginning to think I don’t even spend enough time with myself.”
“Those are his kids too, Brooke, they didn’t magically get here,” Dara stated, making her thoughts on Ridge crystal clear with her tone.
“I know, we just need to find a rhythm that works for the family.”
“How long have you two been married?” Dara questioned sarcastically.
“I know. I know,” Brooke responded. Shaking her head, she turned to Felicia and said, “enough about my pitiful life. Felicia, how are things with Tom?”
“Tom,” Felicia sighed, with a dreamy look in her eyes and a big grin on her face.
As Felicia expounded on the virtues and platitudes that composed Dr. Thomas Hardy, Sr., Brooke remembered when Simone called her and told her that Felicia had told her that she had been fighting feelings for Tom. Simone had poured her heart out about how a small part of her had hoped that she and Tom would get back together, even though the rest of her knew that with both the trust and the love gone there was no relationship left, but like Tommy a small part of her hoped. Or maybe for Tommy, Simone hoped. For a while, Brooke feared for the relationship of the group, but Felicia and Simone were able to work things out and get back on solid footing.
Brooke had related well to what both Simone and Felicia went through during that rocky time. She remembered the little stabs of pains she had felt when Ridge was with someone else even though she wasn’t in love with him anymore. She wondered why Ridge’s other relationships prospered and bloomed, yet theirs didn’t. She also could easily recall being married to Eric, but fighting her reemerging feelings for Ridge with all her might. Yes, she had been on both sides of that coin.
Shaking her head to clear her mind of her musings, Brooke tuned back into Felicia’s tale of the candlelight family dinner Tom had prepared. She immediately looked to Simone and searched her eyes for any signs of pain or envy, but Brooke saw none. Instead she saw happiness and gladness in Simone’s eyes. Happiness and gladness that Felicia was able to find and sustain something she hadn’t with Frisco.
“Now, Simone, fill us in on the latest with Mr. Australian cop, himself,” Felicia demanded, after finishing her story, in her most teenage girl sounding voice.
“Things are going well. He and Robin adore Tommy and Tommy adores them,” Simone remarked.
“We don’t want to hear about your son, we want to hear about you. Tell us, how does Mac make you feel?” Dara asked.
“Like his wanderlust is gone and he’s settled in for the long term with me. Like if I don’t talk to him at least three times a day, my day feels incomplete and off. Like a warm body I get to snuggle next to on those cold and dreary nights. Like a man who’s seen the good and the bad life has to offer and has chosen the good and fights for the good because he understands how important it is. Like a man I can trust with my life and my son’s. Like a man I know, who did a great job rearing his niece and can help me show Tommy how to be a great man. Like a man who asked me to marry him last night and I said, ‘Yes,’” Simone squealed the last part.
Laughter, cheering, and crying filled the room. After rounds of congratulations and awwwingg and ahhiingg over the ring that everyone had missed while they were out that evening, everyone’s attention turned to Dara.
Dara updated Brooke and the other women on navigating the pariahs at her job and within the Quartermaine family, as she dated a member of the clan again, this time, Ned. Dara was nervous, with good reason, on an upcoming trip to Paris to meet the monster herself, Tracy, Ned’s mother and his younger brother, Dillon. Brooke wished her the best of luck. She had never heard one good thing about Tracy Quartermaine. And she only believed Ned turned out as well as he had because of boarding school, his dad, Lord Ashton, and Lila.
Laughing her butt off, Brooke inhaled deep breaths as
Bobbie tried to explain that her relationship with Detective Marcus Taggert wasn’t serious, yet she had taken him to Nashville to meet her daughter, Terry Brock. Brooke knew Bobbie considered her time with Terry precious, since they saw each other so infrequently due to their hectic work schedules. So it had to be serious if Marcus got to tag-a-long and got Terry’s seal of approval, which was no easy feat; Terry was one tough nut to crack. She was glad that Bobbie had found someone tough enough to stand up to Luke, when he butted in.
Finally, with Simone’s gentle probing, they were able to pry out of Amy the name of her secret crush. Amy revealed it was one, Detective Alex Garcia, much to everyone’s surprise. Having just met Amy, but from what she had seen and heard, Amy needed a mellow guy to keep up and put up with her. Two hyper personalities together would just be mind blowing and dizzying. Simone and Bobbie vowed to throw some police officer dinners and gatherings to help Amy with her love connection. Brooke promised to throw in the free lingerie to seduce him.
The wee hours of the morning were filled with gossip of all the players in town. And when they all finally drifted off to their own apartments, Bobbie mentioned throwing an impromptu barbeque in the afternoon so Brooke could finally put faces to all the names she had been hearing about for so long. With a final round of goodnights and hugs, everyone disbursed.
As Brooke opened her door, Amy stopped her.
“Brooke, I subscribe to US Weekly, People, The National Enquirer, and Star and your and Ridge’s romance was like star-crossed soulmates who couldn’t get their timing right until this last time. It’s a real life fairytale. I want what you guys have, well minus all of the insane drama. How do you lose love like that? Love that you fought so hard to obtain? If you two can’t make it work, then I shouldn’t even try to entice Alex,” Amy finished.
“Oh, Amy. The first time we married it was a fairytale that came crashing down around me and this time it was- -“ Brooke paused. She saw the look of hope and belief in true love shining in Amy’s eyes, as Amy hung on her every word. She couldn’t injure the look in Amy’s eyes. “Relationships are not about the grand romantic gestures, the candlelight dinners, the hot, steamy lovemaking, the picture perfect wedding of your dreams. It’s about the nitty gritty everyday stuff that tells you how truly strong your relationship is. It’s about making time to listen to him complain about his job and the office politics for the millionth time. The getting the kids up, dressed and fed for school without being asked.”
Brooke ran her fingers through her hair. “Amy just make sure that Alex wants to be your partner, your mate, fifty-fifty, so during those times when you’re down, he’ll be there to encourage you and get you back on your feet. Because if he’s not a partner, then he’s just a noose around your neck and you can drown by yourself- -“
Willow’s cry interrupted Brooke’s next words.
“I better get her before she wakes up the whole house.”
Amy nodded and turned away.
“Amy,” Brooke called out to the bubbly blonde.
Amy turned back around.
“Just make sure that whomever you end up with understands what for better or worse means and that it’s really those simple gestures that keep a marriage going,” she concluded, then walked into her apartment.