"Uncle Herb left for that meeting with the Olympic Committee today" Bryce said when she walked in her apartment and saw her friends sitting around.
"really? they're considering him for coach?" Robin Mclannahan asked curious.
"yea, exciting huh?" she said flopping on the couch between him and Buzz Schneider.
"think he'll get it?" Jerri, one of her few female friends, and also the one who shared the apartment with her, asked.
"i hope so" bryce said honestly.
"Hi Aunt Patti! Dont' you look fancy" Bryce Caine said hugging her aunt in greeting.
Bryce and her boyfriend of one year, Emmett had just arrived for the costume party.
She noticed her mother was already there, and her brother was notably absent.
"hello dear, emmett" she said nodding to the boy.
He murmured a hello.
"I'm assuming you're marilyn?" she asked humorously.
"yes ma'am, and emmet's babe ruth" she said nudging him.
They were walking around mingling, her mother and aunt introduced her to those she didn't know.
"where's Uncle Herb?" she asked looking around.
Patti and her mother rolled their eyes.
"he went upstairs to tell Danny to keep it down." Barbara said.
"45 minutes ago" patti finished.
Bryce furrowed her brows in confusion, "the party started an hour ago, didn't it"
"and he was here for all of 15 minutes" patti said laughing.
The doorbell rang, and Patti went to answer it, as Barbara was called over to chat with someone. Bryce took the moment to turn to her boyfriend.
"enjoying yourself?" she asked quietly.
"does it look like it?" he snapped.
"I'm sorry. Don't be mad" she said looking up at him.
"yea, I'm leaving. Can your mother take you home?"
"don't go, please? we won't stay much longer" she said, but he had already walked away.
she sighed, willing herself not to cry. Her mother walked back up to her.
"where's emmet?" her mother asked looking around.
"o he had to do something for his mom. I told him before we got here that I'd just ride home with you. Is that alright?" she said making an excuse for him, like always.
"of course honey"
Her aunt made her way back over to them.
"sweetheart, could you come help me in the kitchen." Patti said quietly.
"sure aunt patti" she said walking with her.
"why do you put up with that boy" she said as soon as they were in a halfway quiet place.
"wh..what?" she stuttered. Patti sighed and put her arms around her.
"I know you love him, but Bryce, you're not fooling anyone when you say you're happy."
"i am happy" she said looking at the floor.
"I didn't want to say anything in front of your mother, lord knows she'd be busting down his doors right now, but I heard what he said before he left. That was outright rude"
"O aunt patti, I'm sorry, he didn't mean.."
"yes, he did. Bryce I love anyone that you love, but honey, you have to ask yourself, can how he treats you be described as love."
Bryce thought a moment and nodded, "i'll think about you what you said, aunt patti. Thank you."
"you know I love you sweetheart." she said hugging her neice as the phone rang and she went and picked it up.
In a stunned voice, she asked Bryce to go up and get Herb from Danny's room, someone from the USOC had called. Bryce's heartbeat accelerated and she she raced upstairs.
Her uncle herb had hid out in Danny's room and was playing foosball.
She giggled, "nice hiding spot Uncle Herb" she said sarcastically.
He looked up sheepishly.
"hey" he drew out, "what's going on"
"someone from the USOC called. Their on the phone right now" she said excitedly.
he nodded and it was obvious he was trying not to run out of the room.
"we're not finished here" he said to danny.
Bryce ruffled Danny's hair and gave him a grin, and then flew after Uncle Herb.
"do you think you got the job?"
"I mean certainly they wouldn't call if you didn't"
"or maybe they're trying to let you down nice"
"but probably you got the job"
"hey bryce?" he interrupted as she started to say something else.
"yea, Uncle Herb?"
"be quiet" he said as he went toward the phone.
"yes sir" she said with a huge smile as she stood beside her aunt patti, and her mother, who Patti had found and brought to the kitchen.
Her uncle gave them all a sharp look, "i'll take this in my office" he said walking out before they could protest.
"give him a minute" Barbara said to her daughter, and Patti nodded.
"oh my gosh, I can't take this anticipation. I feel like I'm having a heart attack" Bryce said sitting in a chair.
About 30 minutes went by and still no word from Uncle Herb.
"want to go see what's going on?" Patti said to Bryce.
Barbara had already went back to the party, but they quickly found her.
they went to Herb's office just as he was getting off the phone.
"what did they say?" Bryce asked excitedly.
"I got the job" herb said trying not to show emotion, but it didn't work.
Bryce squealed excitedly as Patti hugged herb laughing.
"O Herb, that's great" patti said.
"yea, uncle herb, this is amazing" Bryce said hugging her Uncle herb tightly.
Barbara hugged her brother, "i'm so happy for you"
Then she hugged patti, who hugged her back just as excitedly.
"when do you start?" patti asked her.
"when do we start you mean" he said pointing to him and Bryce.
"what?" bryce asked confused.
"I need a team manager" herb answered simply.
"seriously? You want me there?" she asked afraid to get her hopes up.
"absolutely, you've been with me every step of the way coaching at the U. I want you there now"
"o Uncle Herb" she said half crying as she hugged him tightly.
"you'll have to take a year off of school" he said seriously.
"That's perfect. I have two more years left anyway."
"and you're going to be gone a lot"
"even better" she said with a smile.
"and it has to be okay with you Barbara" he said to his sister.
"Bryce is grown, she can do whatever she wants. and if she doesn't take this job? After I beat her, I'll take the job" she said jokingly.
Herb chuckled as Bryce mock glared at her mother.
"when do you start?" patti repeated with a smile as she watched her neice.
"two weeks" he said.
"two weeks before the greatest adventure of my life? That's way too long!" she said as she pranced out of the office excitedly. Patti and Herb chuckled at the girl.
Barbara laughed and followed her daughter out so that patti and Herb could talk.
"thank you for including her Herb" She said before she left the room.
"I meant what I said Barb, if anyone can help me keep those boys in line it's her. But I can't promise she won't hate me by the end of it." he said seriously.
"do what you have to do to win that Gold Herb. She'll understand"
Bryce could barely get through the rest of the party. The end couldn't come quickly enough in her opinion.
She and her mother said goodbye to the Brooks'.
"o momma, I'm so excited" bryce said from the driver's seat of her mother's car.
"I know honey, and I'm so happy for you. You're daddy would be proud" she said quietly. Referring to Bryce's father, who had passed away when Bryce was 11.
"Thanks, momma. I love you"
"I love you too baby. Stay the night at the house tonight, and I'll take you home when I go to work tomorrow"
Bryce nodded unable to hid her smile.
Walking in the house, she immediately came upon her younger brother, Aidan.
"Uncle Herb got the job" she said excitely.
"seriously? That's awesome" he said looking up from the football game.
"I thought you were sick young man" her mother said with a mock glare.
he fake coughed, "but I am mommy" he said pitifully.
"o please, you can stop the act now" Barbara said laughing.
"anyway, he hired me, as a secretary, wait a 'team manager' " she said making quote marks.
"aw, sweet Bitty" he said using the nickname her guy friends used for her.
"I know, I'm so excited. We start in two weeks."
Aidan rolled his eyes, "he shouldn't have told you til the day before. We all know how you hate waiting"
"yea yea shut up. You're just as impatient as I am." she said sitting on the couch beside him.
"well guys, I'm going to bed. Congratulations Bryce. Make sure you call my sweet Robin"
Bryce rolled her eyes, "of course, mother."
Once she was up the stairs, Aidan said, "it's seriously creepy that she refers to him as HER sweet Robin"
Bryce laughed, "yea, but what's creepier? that, or hearing him refer to us as his stepchildren"
Aidan laughed as he layed his head in her lap and put his feet over the arm of the couch.
"What are you going to do about HIM" he said referring to Emmett, who he hated.
"o shit" she muttered.
"he's gonna be pissed"
"yea, I know." she said biting her lip.
He looked up at her.
"Bryce, if he was hurting you. You'd tell me and the guys wouldn't you"
"of course" she said still biting her lip.
"he hasn't has he?"
"what do you mean" he asked brows furrowed in confusion.
"well, sometimes, he's just mean. But he's never hit me" she said quickly, hoping he couldn't see the lie.
He had hit her, a few times, and grabbed and shaken her. But she felt like she deserved it. Sometimes, she even hit him back. That meant she deserved it right?
"Bryce, you shouldn't.."
"I know, but I love him"
He raised an eyebrow, "you sure?"
She hesitated, "yea, I'm sure"
He rolled his eyes, "you're so stubborn"
She flicked his nose, "so are you baby brother"
"the guys don't know do they?"
She shook her head, "you know what would happen if they did"
"yea, but he deserves it" aidan retorted.
"aidan don't say anything please." she begged.
"I won't, but Bryce, if things get worse I will. believe it or not, I actually worry about my big sister"
she laughed, "I love you too baby brother"
She resigned to speak to Emmett when he got off work the next day.