When Chandler and Monica had their first big fight in Friends, Chandler thought that that was the end of their relationship. Sayonara Chandler-sun, it’s a done deal! When Daniel and I had our first big fight, I thought of that moment in the show immediately, and what would happen between Daniel and I. I believed we weren’t the kind of people to just give up on the first fight, but the weight of it seemed pretty hefty. I was worried. My worry extended when neither of us called each other for a while, a couple of days I think (and I only assume a couple of days because for some reason all days just morph into one and I can never keep track!). The only reason I didn’t call Daniel was because I thought he’d want some time apart. Although the longer apart we were, even just in conversation, the more I started to think that it was a bad idea. I mean, what if he thought I didn’t care enough to call right after the fact? I didn’t even want to talk about it with anyone besides Daniel at this point, though I knew Daniel wouldn’t have mind. He was right, I should be speaking to him. We’re in this together. Every time I think of that I just start getting annoyed by the way I’ve acted.
Although Derek had a lesser role than I did in this play, I still resented him. I know it was mostly my fault, but it was like Derek knew exactly which buttons to press for the ship to sink. And sink it did. Like the fucking Titanic!
Chloe handed me my cell. “Just call him.”
I picked it off from the dining table and hopped it between my hands. “What if he doesn’t want me to call?”
“You need to talk to him,” Janet said. “I bet he wants to talk to you too.”
“I don’t know…”
Chloe scoffed. “Oh come on, Anna!”
I stared at her in confusion. “What?”
“Just…” she sighed, “I’m sorry to say this, and there’s no other nice way to put it but, just grow up. You have the most amazing boyfriend in your life and he loves you. You love him. You’re really lucky. Don’t screw it all up just because you don’t have the guts to talk to him.”
“That’s a little below the belt,” Janet mumbled.
“It’s true,” Chloe said to Janet. Then she turned to me. “Isn’t it?”
I shrugged. I was a little annoyed with Chloe practically calling me a baby at this point that I just refused to respond. That was until I realised I just justified her reasoning by acting petulant.
I sighed and relaxed my stiff, defensive posture. “There is a chance he may not want to speak to me.”
Chloe nodded. “And that’s fine, at least then you know to give him some time instead of just wondering when to call him.”
“Just go over there,” Janet said, “don’t bother calling.”
“But then he won’t have the option of turning her down,” Chloe said. “He’s too much of gentleman for that.”
“Call,” Janet nodded.
I considered my options and then parted from them and into my bedroom. The phone was ringing while the travel happened. With each ring my heart thumped harder; I was sure Daniel was ignoring me and didn’t want to speak to me until he answered.
“Hey,” Daniel said in a monotone. I didn’t know if monotone was a good thing or a bad thing.
“Hi,” I squeaked. I cleared my throat. “I think we may need to talk. Can I come over?”
“Of course,” he said. I relaxed a little.
We hung up after we agreed that I come over in an hour or so. I was so nervous knocking on his door; first fights are intense. It tests boundaries. Shows what your relationship is made of. Shows what the relationship-pers are made of. It can make or break a relationship. Fights are a catalyst of unyielding force.
Daniel looked different. Even his place looked different. Not in the physical redecorating kind of way, but more in a tainted kind of way, which was not good.
“Do you want something to drink or eat?” Daniel asked, walking to the kitchen as I sat down on the sofa.
“No, thank you,” I smiled.
Daniel grabbed a couple glasses of water and put them on the coffee table, as per usual. I always asked for it so I guess it became like second nature for him.
“I’ve missed you,” I said when he sat down.
He smiled. “I’ve missed you, too.”
“And I love you,” I added.
Daniel smiled wider. “I know. I love you, too.”
I sighed. Was that the hard part over was the hard part next?
“I’m really sorry for everything,” I said. “I honestly didn’t mean to hurt you. And you’re right, I should be talking to you because we’re in this together. You’ve been so great to me and I’m sorry that I haven’t been so great to you—”
“Listen,” Daniel shook his head and scooted closer, “I know you want to talk to me. All I ask is that you do. And to also pick the people who you trust the most to talk to, not some random from work.”
“Sorry,” I muttered.
“Stop apologising. I know,” he smiled, curling my hair behind my ear so he could see me properly.
I sighed, shakily. “I want to talk to you about Derek, is that okay?”
“Not my ideal subject but go on.”
“I just don’t know how we’ll be able to stay away from each other. I can make the effort but, I just can’t promise the execution to be spot on because I don’t know what he’ll do.”
Daniel shook his head and waved his hand. “Forget I said anything. It’s a little unrealistic of me to expect the two of you to not be the in the same room together more than once in the same building. Or bump into each other somewhere. I get it. I just don’t want him somehow a part of our lives, you know?”
I nodded. “I know. I’ll keep him out, one hundred per cent.”
“Good,” Daniel nodded, smiling.
I mirrored his actions. “Good.”
Daniel opened his arm out to me, urging me to come and lean on him. I lifted my legs up on the couch and placed my head on his shoulder.
He switched on the television. “Anything else you want to talk to me about?”
I shrugged under his arm. “Nope. You?”
“Not for the time being.”
I turned my head upwards to look at him and he leaned down for a kiss. I expected the conversation to be a lot longer in my head, but I guess I exacerbated the situation farther than it needed to be. Daniel was understanding, and so sweet. Not to mention he was strong to stand up to Derek, even though it doesn’t take much for Derek to back down. Ugh! I’m starting to not like Derek. I don’t want to say ‘hate’ because I think it’s too strong. Who knows, maybe I’ll say ‘hate’ in one of my heated moments, but I guess for now it’s just dislike. It was weird because Nikki has such a bubby personality compared to Derek’s arrogance and defiant attitude, and they’re best friends! I guess opposites attract in friendships as well.
The morning of the day I had to work at the advertising agency I had been diligently avoiding Derek like a ninja! I was so smooth and natural, that at a certain point I forgot that I was on a mission to not even acknowledge that he existed. But I guess I had to settle for not acknowledging his presence when he passed my desk a few times (unnecessarily so) and then finally stopped to approach me.
“I’m guessing you’re still mad?” Derek asked.
“No,” I replied, not looking up from my desk.
There was a pause. “So you’re not even going to look at me?”
Derek chuckled, humourlessly. “God Anna, looks like Daniel has you on a short leash.”
I whisked my chair around effortlessly and gave him the most unfriendly stare I could muster. “Not that it’s any of your business,” I fumed, “but it’s my own choice to not want to talk to you. You’re not on my good list right now, just so you know.”
“You have a list?” Derek smiled. Of course he’s going to turn this into a joke.
I shook my head and narrowed my eyes in agitation. “You’re an asshole,” I said, turning back around.
“What if I said sorry?”
“Who gives a fuck?” I mumbled.
“What if I said it to Daniel?”
My shoulders shook slightly as I giggled. I turned my head to the side. “Take a hint, Derek.”
When nothing was heard behind me, I lifted my head to scan the room and found Derek walking back to his desk. I was glad and proud of myself for telling Derek to piss off. I know it’s not much, and might even be harder next time, but at least this moment, I was happy. He’s not in control anymore, I am.
Because of my giddy mood the rest of the day went on pretty smoothly. Eddie wasn’t giving me any shit, and I actually got a lot of work done. When I got home though I felt so tired, but I felt like I needed to do a lot of work for school. I hadn’t even been regularly checking my emails which was a big no-no in any college. Even the lazy, laidback colleges. I was scanning (and skimming) through the emails when I stumbled across one the professor from the class Daniel and I were taking together. Our assignment was taking a back seat for a while, but it was going pretty well thus far. So I was a little confused about the email I had received:
As you may already know, Daniel has withdrawn from the course. You’re options are to choose to join one of the other groups or branch out on your own and apply for special consideration. Let me know as soon as possible.
Was this a mistake? Daniel never said anything to me. Wouldn’t he have told me that he was withdrawing from the course? Why was he even doing that? We just had a talk about being more communicative and open to one another, and I’m not saying I’m St. Chatterbox but, really? What’s going on?