With one hour left to cotillion, Brooke’s shivering uncontrollably. She keeps telling herself to calm down before she has a panic attack, but that’s only making it worse. The incessant stares from the other girls certainly aren’t helping. “The nerve,” someone whispers through the noise. “She is just shameless,” another voice creeps above the others.

Brooke breaks off from everyone and after an eternity of running through a maze of hallways, she goes into an empty room and shuts the door behind her. She sits down and tries her best not to cry and ruin her makeup. “No, no, please, no!”

The door opens and Nathan comes in.

– Well, well, if it isn’t little Brooke Davis. I thought I saw you come in here.
– What do you want, Nate?
– I come in peace, little Bee. I must say, I didn’t expect to see you here tonight. In fact, no one thought you’d show your face after that photo of you kissing Lucas made the rounds at school today.

Brooke bites her lip and looks away.

– You know, I admire you. Quinn is the most vengeful person I know, and you stole her most prized possession. You must know she has you in her sights, yet here you are, going about your business, the fearless debutante whose name is on everyone’s lips. All eyes are on you, Bee.
– God, Nate, thanks!

Nathan walks over to her and takes out a small bottle of pills from his jacket pocket. He opens it, takes out two pills, and offers them to Brooke.

– Here, take these, they’ll take the edge off.

– What are they?
– Trust me, you’ll thank me later. Here.

Nathan gives her a flask of whiskey to drink the pills with. He smiles cunningly as she hesitantly downs both of them at once. Brooke is desperate.

– Thank you…
– You just go out there and enjoy your big night, little Bee. It’s going to be a blast.

Everyone’s always told her how cotillion will be one of the most memorable nights of her life. For Brooke in particular, it is about to be especially memorable.

This is one of many short stories I’ve been writing for Teodora’s drawings ever since she said she was bad at writing descriptions for them. I thought I’d enjoy helping her and trying to write something different than I was used to. I’d never collaborated creatively with anyone on anything before Teodora and I love the purpose she’s added to my writing and how she challenges me with each drawing.

Recognize the names in today’s story? Who here loved watching ‘One Tree Hill’ in their teenage years? 👀

For more wonderful drawings, follow Teodora on Instagram @teoctobart. You can also buy her a coffee on her Ko-fi page.

For more stories, she’s got her own tag here.

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