I hadn’t said yes or no to Daniel yet. I told him I’d still think about it, yet again. And right now I felt like I was just messing with him, playing a bit of tug-o-war with his heart or something. I was thinking that I was so cruel, so much so that he would eventually snap and reconsider starting ‘us’. I imagined him shaking his head and asking himself, ‘what was I thinking?’ all the while as he stared me up and down.
“Look if you want to go for it, then go for it,” Janet said. “You’ve got nothing to lose.”
“Uhh, yeah you do,” Jodie disagreed, “you can lose your sanity. Say you guys do hit it off, and everything goes swell—” she shot me a harsh look “—yes I said ‘swell’ get over it—” then she relaxed her features again “—considering his history, what’s to say that he won’t just move on after you’ve gone past the honeymoon phase. Or worse yet, moved on with another girl. Or worse yet, Sandy. And then everyone looks at you thinking ‘poor girl, she should have known it was coming to her’.”
“Tre harsh, dude,” Janet said.
Jodie shrugged. “I’m just laying out all the important details on the table that everyone is clearly missing because they’re so distracted by Mr. Hottie McNaughty.”
Janet nudged her chin towards Chloe. “Everyone except porn star over there.”
Chloe smiled a limp smile, looking kind of haggard for some unknown reason. I’m sad to report that Chloe and I haven’t exactly been back the way we were before. It seriously felt different between us. I thought she’d be mad for a few days and then get over it, I got over it ages ago. I want us to be at the point where we’re laughing about it in retrospect, but she just would not let it go, and I didn’t know why. I didn’t know how to fix us.
“What do you think, Chloe?” Jodie asked.
Chloe cleared her throat. “I don’t know.”
Wow, she sounded bad. Like, dry-throat, wary-sounding, bad. How do I make this right?
“Any other input?” Janet prodded.
Chloe shrugged again, stood, and then disappeared into her room. Clearly she wasn’t interested in the conversation.
“What’s up with her?” Jodie asked.
“I think it’s because I saw her with Scotty. Who knows how long they’ve been going at it. Maybe she wanted it kept a secret instead of out in the open.”
Janet nodded. “That would make sense.”
“Not to mention the way you found out,” Jodie added.
I nodded. “All so, so, bad.”
I didn’t have room for my thoughts to settle. School, friends, Daniel, and on top of that an internship program, for which my boss is apparently a marinated Hottie McNaughty, were all weighing down on me at different stages of the day. It was like multiple problems disorder! I couldn’t take it. The one person I really wanted to talk to, that I felt like would give me a whole other clarity and perspective than the girls was Adam, and he was miles away. Besides, as if he would be interested in my dilemmas, especially with Daniel. He couldn’t care less.
So considering that my first official day as an intern under Eddie’s wing was today, I mentally forced myself to immerse every nerve and fibre of my being into my work. I wanted to make a more than excellent impression with Eddie, even if he was a possible sleaze, he could very well be my ticket to an amazing future.
While the day went on I noticed a number of Eddie’s interns going into his office, and staying there for a considerable amount of time. His office was big and roomy, and more often than not, it would be closed. I wanted to talk to Eddie, just to find out more about him and how he got where he is, but I couldn’t do that while the girls were in there. It’s just too weird. After holding off for a long time, and seeing no signs of life crawling out of that office, I decided to jump the boat, but swore not to join the party, if there was one.
When I entered the office, the girls were folding and swooning over Eddie. Eddie had a hand on one of the girls’ bare legs, who was sitting on his knee. I laughed humourlessly, disgusted really, and thought that since I entered the room silently and unnoticed, that I could exit just the same. Right? Wrong.
“Anna?” Eddie said when my back was turned.
“I don’t want to bother you, I’ll just leave.”
He waved his hand away. “Nonsense. Come on in, we can all get to know each other better if we’re in closer quarters, right?”
He half-asked this to the girl that sat on his lap as well to which she replied by snickering. It honestly took all of my willpower to keep me from gagging.
“No, I just wanted to ask you something but it can wait.”
“What did you want to ask?”
Jeez, can’t you see I’m trying to flee here? Let a desperate girl go, man!
I didn’t want to get into all the questions I had for him around the girls, so I quickly made up something else on the spot. “I just wanted to know how long our lunch break is.”
He sighed. “Tsk, tsk, tsk, you’ve only been working for me for a few hours and you’re already asking about breaks?”
“No I just, I thought—”
“Here’s a little tip, Anna—” he shot one of the girls a devious knowing smile and she returned it back. Everyone knew what they were thinking, and again, it took all of my willpower to keep me from gagging “—even if you act like you work hard in any work place, you’ll eventually be on top. Ain’t that right girls?”
In unison they agreed.
I laughed. “So you’re saying you’ve never worked a day in your life?”
The girls’ smiles froze and dropped in an instant. Eddie looked at me clearly with irritation and I felt like I was under the gun. I didn’t know what to say at a humiliating time like this, so without thinking, I ran out of there and smashed the door close hard and loud. So loud it rang through the entire floor. People stared at me, and I must have looked violated or something, because they had concern in their eyes. I returned to my desk in a hurry and then put my face in my hands, trying to do a breathing exercise according to what I’ve learned from movies.
“Bad day?” a man’s voice said.
I looked up to find Derek leaning on my desk and his arms folded. I swear to you he looked like a Calvin Klein model posing.
I shook my head. “Who do you have?”
“Harry Harrison. He’s a boring genius, quite a contradiction, right?”
I smiled and nodded.
He grinned. “Everyone’s talking about the girl that Eddie requested.”
I peered further up from my desk, to the many faces in the sea, and noticed a few stealing my glances.
“Great,” I mumbled.
“Nah, don’t worry about it,” Derek said, “I know you’re a naturally hard worker, all these suckers will be thinking twice about the day they thought you were like the other girls flailing about for Eddie.”
Okay, I was starting to feel better. I leaned back and crossed my legs. “Oh, and how would you know I’m a hard worker?”
“I can see it in your very beautiful eyes,” he said, biting his bottom lip.
This time I forced myself to look away when I went red.
“Are you doing anything Friday night?” he asked.
“No,” I said.
“I’ll call you and take you out. You look like you need to loosen up a bit. Have some fun,” he winked.
I nodded. “Yeah, sure. Umm, maybe you should invite Nikki and I’ll tell Janet. We’ll all go together.”
He sighed. “Sure. Catch you later, then.”
I knew what he was asking, but I still hadn’t figured out my feelings with Daniel that I didn’t want to go jumping to someone else. That’s where Janet and Nikki come in, my little saviours within this exchange. Yup, Friday night should be fun.
The day stretched on kind of slow, especially because I had Eddie’s antagonizing expression indelibly etched into my mind, but by the end of it I managed to not feel tired. Maybe I was exhausted to the point where I didn’t feel tired. Kind of like that whole backwards thing, like, once I see my bed when I get home I will just BOOM pass out.
When I got home I saw Chloe slumped on the couch, in the dark, and barely acknowledging me. I turned on all the lights and then had a shower and got changed. I sat on the single armchair and took one glance at Chloe. I don’t think she even moved an inch since I got into the shower.
“Want something to eat?” I asked her.
She shook her head.
“Want something to drink? I asked again.
And again, she shook her head.
I didn’t even know what we were watching because from time to time I would look at Chloe, all wrapped up in her anger at me, and forget where I was. Never has Chloe ever been this mad at me. I was even thinking that she’d probably want me moving out. Maybe she wanted Scotty here instead of me. On second thought, I haven’t seen Scotty since our last unfortunate incident.
That’s it. No more guessing. I stood to pour two cups of ice cold water, switch off the TV (to which I received no protest from Chloe. Yes, that’s strange, she loves her TV!) and sat next to her.
“Chloe, what’s wrong?” I asked.
When she turned to face me I saw her eyes, nose, and mouth were all red and blotchy. My heart melted, I didn’t know I had caused her this much pain.
When she didn’t speak I started again, this time with a polite smile and a softer tone, hoping I don’t push her over the edge. “Look, so I saw you and Scotty together, it’s okay. I’m totally fine with it. We should be laughing about it right now.”
“If it’ll make you feel better, I’ll go out and grab the first random guy I see, I’ll bring him back and have sex with him. And then halfway you could come in and pretend to be shocked. And then we’ll both be even. How’s that?”
Nope, nada. Shit, I know it was a lame joke, but normally she would at least smile. This unresponsive, sad-forward-slash-angry Chloe was freaking me out.
“Chloe I’m sorry,” I said. “Don’t be mad at me.”
At this moment she burst out in tears, leaning forward and gasping for air. I held her closer towards me. The second she wrapped her arms around me I immediately knew she wasn’t mad at me.
“Hey,” I stroked her long brown hair, “what’s wrong, Chloe? You can tell me anything.”
She pulled herself apart from me and, after a couple of hiccups and a sniffle here and there, looked into my eyes with her innocent, red ones, and revealed, “I’m pregnant.”