“That’s just some guys’ phone number from the club,” I said simply. “He says there’s a new club opening and he invited me.”
“Okay,” Daniel said, sounding like he was hip-deep in some other thought. “And you believed him?”
“What? You think his lying?”
Daniel stood, leaving the napkin and my jeans on the bed. “Of course he’s lying. He just wants to get in your pants. Are you trying to get back at me or something?”
I crossed my arms over my chest, no longer retaining my polite smile. I was seriously offended. “Are you kidding? Do you really think I’d stoop that low?”
Because my hands were overlapped on my chest, the bracelet caught his attention. Daniel sighed. “I really don’t know what to think of our situation right now. Every thing’s just so different.” I stayed quiet, not knowing what to say or do. Daniel sat back down on the bed, looking like he just dropped a heavy weight and needed to rest. “I’m sorry,” he said, “for saying…for assuming it was some sort of vendetta against me. I’m just a little confused right now.”
I uncrossed my arms and walked over to sit next to Daniel. My right hand running through his head and playing with the bottom strands at the back. “We’re in this together, remember?”
Daniel smiled. “Yeah I know.”
“I almost think we’re more than boyfriend and girlfriend you know? Like, our relationship is a little deeper than that.”
Daniel nodded. “Yeah, me too,” he looked at me. “There’s no one I’ve ever met like you. I don’t know how you put up with me.”
I laughed. “I don’t know how you put up with me.”
Daniel laughed with me, making our moods a little brighter.
“Besides,” I continued, “the invitation is extended to the other girls as well. Which means I won’t be going alone. I figured it’d be weird if I did.”
“It would be weird.”
“Well what I’m saying, Daniel, is that I’m smart enough not to go alone and think about you. I’ve only been thinking about you since I left you. So don’t worry.”
Daniel’s eyes were trailing the floor, not once did he look at me. There was a tension there that was unfathomable. His body was clenching or something; I could practically feel his muscles protesting in the hopes that he’d relax.
“Daniel, are you alright?” I asked after he hadn’t said anything.
Daniel looked at me with an apprehensive expression. His eyes sleepy with guilt, and lines collecting on his forehead. “You’re right. Samantha made a pass at me.”
I let go of his hair, and then it was my turn to stare in the distance and process this.
“But I didn’t return it,” Daniel quickly said.
“Return what?” I mumbled, wondering immediately after if I really wanted to know.
Daniel sighed. “You don’t want to hear the details.”
“I do, actually,” I said. “I do.”
“I don’t want to tell.”
“Because I don’t want to make you more upset than you already are,” Daniel explained. “What difference does it make anyway? I pushed her off immediately.”
“Pushed her off,” I repeated in a mutter, imagining the whole scene like a car crash.
“Luckily,” Daniel continued, “she and Brian have found a place to live. So I won’t be seeing any more of her anymore. It’ll just be the guys. And even if they didn’t move, I promise you, I would have.”
I chuckled, humourlessly. “God, and all it had to take was for something to actually happen for you to see what I was talking about.”
“That’s not fair,” Daniel said. “Not every girl is like that. I could have lived with another girl that was a nun and you probably still would have complained.”
“I’m sorry, am I nagging too much?”
Daniel sighed. “Look, I don’t want this turning into another fight. Can’t we just enjoy our weekend together? I’ve told you what has happened, and I’ve told you what is happening. It’s done.” Daniel stood. “I’ll meet you at the dining table for breakfast. I’ll just re-heat everything.”
I looked at the napkin he left on the bed. In my agitation I narrowed my eyes and shook my head. I can’t believe he had the audacity to complain about Nicholas, making me seem like I was out to get revenge, when Samantha made a pass at him. I was pissed. Super-pissed. But what was I going to do? Daniel ended the conversation abruptly and, oddly enough, with just as much irritation as the state I was in. He wanted nothing more to do with it. So if I brought it up again, I’d just be annoying him even more. I’d be the girl that wouldn’t let go of things. But this didn’t feel finished to be let go. I wanted to know more, I wanted to understand the situation better. I wanted to know what happened, especially in the vulnerable state that he was in with his mother, and the fact that I wasn’t there. Oh, no, but Samantha was there to save the day, wasn’t she? Of course, she was.
I was the mean girlfriend that picked a fight with her boyfriend, and left early. I was the one that made up a ‘look’ that Samantha gave me, and was perceived to be a little judgemental because of it. I was the one that had a relationship with Derek. I was the one invited to club opening by Nicholas. It was all me. Nothing was ever Daniel. I’m not trying to place blame here, but it seemed like I was doing a lot of wrong in Daniel’s eyes.
I took the napkin and placed it on the dresser. I was going to that opening and I didn’t care what Daniel said about it. Maybe I was being a little childish or irrational right now, but it didn’t matter. I was too angry to care.
I quickly got changed and ate with Daniel. We ate in silence. The most awkward silence a couple can muster. Why the hell was he mad at me, though? Oh, I know, I must have done something else wrong. Of course, what else would it be?
“Want to go to the beach?” I asked Daniel.
Daniel shook his head. “I’m a little tired. I think I’m just going to go to bed.”
Really, Daniel? Really? “It’s only the afternoon.”
“Yeah, well,” Daniel stood, collecting his plate, “I’m tired from the travelling. I think I’ll just take a shower and sleep for a while. Even only a little nap. Is that okay?”
Is that what we’ve resorted to now? Asking permission for the most mundane things?
I shrugged. “Sure, if that’s what you want.”
Thus was the end of our lame conversation.
Considering the weird start to our weekend I sort of assumed Daniel wouldn’t want to do much. I figured he’d just want to sleep in pretty much every day until the day of his flight arrived and he was off. Thankfully, that wasn’t entirely the case. I mean, he did want to go out and spend time with me and everything. But at times when we were out he seemed to be in a different head space. I couldn’t help but think that he was thinking about us, but in a bad way. And it was only when I thought he was thinking about us in a bad way, that I started wondering whether this whole long-distance arrangement was working. I wasn’t ready to give up, but neither of us could exactly move because of each of our commitments. So what other option was there?
On Sunday, Daniel and I were finally walking on the beach together. It was a crisp morning, but his flight was tonight, so we wanted to make the best of it. We were hand-in-hand as we took in the scenery. I always opted to taking off my shoes when there was sand around, just so I could exfoliate my feet. I even started doing a little twist at one point, much to Daniel’s confusion.
“I’ve got something to say,” Daniel started. “A little concern really. I won’t be able to come visit for a while. And I know you won’t either. I think we both pretty much blew both our stash on these two visits.”
I twisted my mouth in thought and disappointment. “I know. If only I didn’t miss you as much as I did, maybe I could have waited a little longer. Stretched the distance apart as much as possible.”
Daniel didn’t laugh at my thought, instead he just looked straight ahead. His facial expression unchanged, his demeanour unmoved. This was a concern I didn’t want to voice, even though I knew I had to. How do you say to your boyfriend, ‘hey, we haven’t budged much this entire weekend, we haven’t even had sex and we’re long-distance, what’s going on?’. Yup, nope, don’t have the courage for that right now.
Daniel sighed. “Maybe it’ll be good for us.”
“What will?” I asked.
“The time apart,” he said. “Maybe it’s what we need at the moment.”
I stopped in my tracks. I never thought we’d ever come down this road. I never ever thought I’d be on this road in any relationship of my life. Daniel turned around as soon as he noticed I let go of his hand.
Daniel nodded, almost shamefully.
Everything I knew about breaks weren’t good. In Sex and the City, it wasn’t good for Carrie and Berger; in Friends, it wasn’t good for Rachel and Ross. For Scotty and Chloe (yes, they’ve been on a break some time in their relationship) it wasn’t good for either of them. A relationship either ended right there and then, or it went on for just a little while longer till it was ended at another stage; only to make it out like it wasn’t the break that was the turning point.
I didn’t want to flat out ask Daniel if he basically wanted to break-up with me, so I tried asking in a roundabout kind of way.
“So where do you see this going?”
Daniel shrugged, putting his hands in his pockets. “I don’t know, but it just feels like we’re getting underneath each other’s skin way too much lately. Our situation calls for it.”
“I don’t understand,” I said. “A couple weeks ago, we were fine. And so what if we’re having some bumps in the road? We’ll work it out. We always do.”
“I just think we need this,” he said. “For us. To keep us. I don’t know, maybe me focusing on my mother and work now, and you just focusing on your new agency and college and work and all that would be what we both need. Just understand that I’m suggesting this only with the best interest of our relationship in mind. And then when you and I both have saved up enough money to come visit, we’ll be more invigorated and happy.”
“You’re not happy?”
Daniel walked closer, sympathy in his eyes. “Of course I am, baby. I’m always happy with you.”
“As long as we’re not hearing from each other that often, or visiting that much, right?”
“I can see why you’d be upset about this,” he said, “but I think it’ll help us. Just because we won’t be hearing from each other as often as before, doesn’t mean I won’t be missing you and thinking about you the entire time.”
“I can’t believe this is happening,” I whispered.
Daniel leaned down to kiss me. I was too numb to return the comforting gesture, but I tried as much as I could. My lips trembled in his, even when they were pursed and tightened in between his, they were trembling.
“I promise it’ll be good for us,” Daniel said after we parted, smiling in an effort to lessen the pain. He lifted the hand with the bracelet on it and kissed my wrist. “Promise.”