“You look beautiful,” Adam said as we lay in his bed, facing each other.
I smiled. “Thank you.”
He brushed my hair away from my cheek and then held my hand in his. We stared at each other, talking at some points, listening to the silence on others. I couldn’t have pictured a more perfect night before he left. Well actually, I could have slept with him, and to be perfectly honest I wouldn’t know if he’d refuse the gesture or not, but this was even sweeter for some reason. It would be an unforgettable moment between two really, really good friends.
Adam leaned over and kissed me, placing me on my back. I’m going to miss his blonde stubble grazing my lips. I’m going to be missing his stubble in general. Not a lot of men can wear it like he can. In fact, I’ve known him having stubble ever since I met him. Adam was one of those guys who were so relaxed it was borderline lazy. Quite a relatable characteristic that I had no trouble identifying myself with, to be perfectly frank. And no matter how rough his stubble seemed to be, it always had an opposing reflection of his skin and in turn, his personality. Silky smooth, like the surface of the ocean.
He gave me one last kiss on my forehead and then returned to his previous position, just holding my hand and smiling peacefully. The tranquillity of this moment was almost too good to be true. When he looked up for a moment I noticed a scar underneath his chin.
“How’d you get this scar?” I asked, stroking my index fingertip across the deep crevice.
“Well, my brother and I weren’t the kinds to be messed with,” he said, “anything we did, we did with as much brutality and ruthless competition as possible. It was sort of dangerous really. So on one of our very dangerous days, my brother ended up convinced of doing a particular dare that involved a skateboard. Unfortunately my chin was a cameo in this little dare and I had to get stiches, that’s how deep the cut was. My mother was pretty mad but for the most part she was trying to calm me down. But my brother was the one to do it for me, he could always make me laugh, and I didn’t want to because it hurt my chin, but, yeah, he’s such a cool guy. By the time we got home my father was fuming, like, the-incredible-hulk, steam-coming-out-of-his-ears fuming. It was all good in the end, we never learned to tone it down until we hit our late teens. Even then we’d have bouts of dares and competitions and whatnot. My family is cool.”
I nodded in agreement. “They sound cool.”
“I’d actually be moving closer to them since they live in Manhattan.”
“Yeah, well, they moved there a couple years ago, to a pretty hot place.” He explained no further and I left it at that.
I wanted to tell him not to go, but it could never be my decision. Not to mention it’s just plain wrong, holding someone back like that.
“I miss you already,” he said after a short moment of silence.
“Will you come visit?” I sounded so hopeful.
“For you, always.”
I was glad it was dark so he couldn’t see me tearing up and I turned around so that he was holding me from behind. “When do you leave?” I asked.
Adam squeezed my waist. “Tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?” I gasped.
“But tonight,” he said, attempting to distract me from the little time we had left it seemed, “is the best present you could have given me, even if we can only just be friends.” He kissed the back of my shoulder, lining a trail towards my neck. I trembled at his touch. “Goodnight, Anna.”
“Goodnight,” I breathed as the last tear fell
I wanted to give Adam his alone time to pack (yes, clearly, he’s a late packer) and say goodbye to his friends, so we kissed goodbye at the door, and I took a cab back home. On the drive back I received a text from Janet.
‘I got an interview for the internship. Did you? Check your email!’
I synced my Blackberry to my various email accounts and indeed, there was one from the advertising agency. My heart raced, hoping that it was good news, as I clicked on the new email.
‘I did,’ I texted Janet back, trying to contain my excitement so the cabbie didn’t think I was a creep.
“I wasn’t expecting such a quick response,” Janet said as Jodie and I sat in her bedroom, attempting to help her in picking out good interviewing clothes.
“I wasn’t even expecting an interview,” I said.
“Must be a legit place,” Jodie nodded.
“What about this?” Janet asked, holding up a blue dress.
I shook my head. Jodie did the same and Janet dove straight back into her closet.
“Hey whatever happened to you and Daniel on that trip?” Janet asked.
“Oh, it was totally fucked up,” Jodie said.
Janet’s eyes widened. “Really?”
Janet held a black dress at just the right short length with a thin shiny belt circling the waist, and sat on the bed. “That’s a perfect outfit. You should wear that,” I said.
“Don’t change the subject,” Janet said.
I sighed, knowing her curiosity would get the best of me, and recapped with as much detail as possible.
“That is fucked up,” Janet said, finally.
“But it was all a misunderstanding,” I said.
“A misunderstanding?” Jodie asked, confused.
I nodded. “He told me it wasn’t him. He only left the flower on the bed.”
“Then who left the insults?” Jodie asked.
“Daniel said it was his father.”
“Shit, that’s even more fucked up,” Janet muttered.
“And you believed him?” Jodie asked, clearly sceptical.
I shrugged. “Yeah, I mean…yeah. Why not?”
“Oh my God, she’s smitten,” Janet said.
I blushed a deep red. “No, of course not.” Though I’m not sure if I was trying to convince myself more so than the girls.
“Well whatever it is,” Jodie said, “just be careful of him.”
I didn’t like the weight of Jodie’s warning and the fact that it hung in the air between her and I. I wanted her to like him because if anything did happen between Daniel and I—oh jeez, listen to me, I’m actually considering the possibility of Daniel and I as a couple. He’s too much of a player, he’s like the king of play; so could I actually trust him to be with me? Is his past with Tanya and John reason enough for me to be able to trust him?
“Oh my God, did Anna tell you what happened when she came back from her trip?” Janet asked Jodie.
Jodie shook her head. “What?”
I sighed. “I’m trying to forget this humiliation, you know?”
“Go on,” Jodie prodded with eager eyes.
“I walked in on Chloe having sex.”
Jodie gasped, wide-eyed. “No.”
“With Scotty,” Janet added.
“Nooo!” Jodie exclaimed.
From then on we couldn’t stop talking about Chloe and Scotty and the possible repercussions. I was the quietest out of the two, only because I couldn’t help thinking that if I ever did date Daniel that my girls wouldn’t approve. It made me nervous. Did I need their approval? No, but I did want it. I mean, their opinions are important to me. It’s like bringing the boyfriend home to meet the family, you’re all anxious because you’re hoping that they’d like him. Well Chloe, Jodie, and Janet are my family. What they thought mattered to me deeply. And right now, I’m sensing that they weren’t liking Daniel.
When I went for the interview I decided to wear my lucky black and white polka dot shirt. The black polkas the size of rain droplets was fitted underneath a pencil skirt. My dark hair was pulled back in a ponytail. The fact that Janet complimented me on my look meant that it was good. Any of the girls that complimented on my look meant that it was good, I’m the one that usually lacked fashion sense.
“Ready for the interview?” Janet asked me in the waiting room with an exceptional line-up.
My legs shook up and down. “No.”
“Relax,” a voice next to me said. I was trying to focus on a spot on the wall to keep myself from feeling sick that I didn’t really think to look up and scan my apparent competition. I turned to look at a man with coffee-coloured golden hair and amber eyes. The combination of his coiffed hair, his glimmering eyes, and his creamy-white skin made me even more nervous. As if I needed an added distraction!
“Yeah,” a girl next to him leaned over to get in our view, “it’ll be easy-peasy. You’ll see.”
She had short and spikey blonde hair, dark roots and sharp blue eyes. She was petite too.
“I’m relaxed,” I breathed in a shaky voice.
They tried and failed to conceal their smiles and I went bright red. At least I stopped shaking my legs.
The doors to the interview room opened wide and a bored-looking woman stepped out holding a clipboard. “Anna Parker,” she called out in a nasal-congested tone of voice. The kind that your old high school teacher had that always made her sound bored, which in turn made you bored to shits. And then you come out of the class not learning anything at the end of the day, not because you didn’t try, but because she was just so BORING!
I hopped up in a heartbeat at the mention of my name so hard that my feet literally separated from the ground and my breasts jiggled hard. I looked like an imbecile! I turned to Janet and she made a motion with her hand like ‘stay strong’, and I nodded.
Of course one of the top advertising agencies in California would have an interviewing process even for interns, and of course they would have three people being the interviewers.
“Anna,” the lady to the right spoke first, “I’d like you to meet Eddie Johnson—” the man to the far left with slicked back black hair, and a sharp suit smiled at me. Clearly in his early thirties, and looking mighty fine at that. I nodded his way, “—Harry Harrison—” Harry Harrison? Interesting name. A pudgy man in the middle, clearly unimpressed with the process. I nodded again, “—and I’m Lucy Reginald. Let’s begin shall we?”
It turns out, because of the high work demands and schedules, the agency needed interns quick to take the load off. The interview went surprisingly well, at least that’s what I thought. At the end of everyone’s interview we were either told to stay back or leave. Janet and I stayed back along with our new friends, Derek and Nikki, who turned out to be Derek’s best friend. It was anxiety central while we were waiting, yet again, for our results.
The nasal-congested woman appeared through the doors after a few long-ass minutes and smiled. “Congratulations all. You have been hired for our internship program.”
A sigh of relief swept across the room.
“Details of your start date and further information will be emailed to you shortly,” the woman continued. “Again, congratulations.”
“Yay,” Janet beamed, clapping rapidly and hugging me. Derek was in my view while I was over Janet’s shoulder. He stared at me with a sexy half-smile and of course I blushed and couldn’t look away.
“Wonderful,” Derek said after Janet and I parted, “we should all go out and celebrate. Drinks are on me.”
Before I could refuse, like a good girl, Janet put an arm through mine and nodded. “We’re in.”