***BONUS post! Enjoy!***
Jodie suddenly burst into my room. “We seriously need a family meeting like yesterday.”
I didn’t really remember much of what happened last night, nor was I prepared to, to be honest. The whole night seemed like one hell of a blur, and that blur could only be caused by one thing: fuel to fire.
In my haze I hadn’t realised that in my room, on my bed, were two other sleeping beauties. I lay in between Chloe and Janet, who both started moving very, very, VERY slowly. They tried with all their might to open their eyes, but the curtains that Jodie pulled back revealed light just begging for our eyes to close.
Janet groaned as she turned, to which Chloe extended her arms out to stretch. In doing so, Chloe nudged my face, alarming me into waking up.
“Sorry,” Chloe muttered.
Our breaths smelled horrible, we looked horrible; overall, we felt horrible. We groaned and moaned and practically toddled over each other as we tried climbing out of my bed.
“Fuck,” Janet said when we heard a thud. “I’m alright.”
The only one that clearly hadn’t felt the wrath of last night in its entirety was Jodie.
“Come on guys!” she called from the living room. “We need to talk!”
“Her voice feels like glass screeching in high definition,” Chloe said, holding a hand to her head.
“Amen,” I agreed.
We all waddled out of my room, each of us going into the bathroom to freshen up as much as the alcohol would let us. Chloe and Janet both thanked me for the spare toothbrushes I had lying in the bathroom draw, and secretly, so was I.
“Death could not be worse than this,” I mumbled.
The girls nodded slowly, like zombies, and mumbled agreements through their brushes and foam of toothpaste.
When we finished we huddled onto the couch, feeling as though we were going to have a serious talk about going on a night out and drinking responsibly by a parent. If it weren’t for Jodie, I might add, we probably wouldn’t be this hung-over; but then again she didn’t exactly hold us at gunpoint and make us drink. My basis for the pointing the finger was void.
“We need to talk about a lot of things,” Jodie finally announced as we all settled on the couch. “Guys, we all made some serious confessions last night. Anyone want to go first?”
I put my hand up in the air in a joking manner, to which Chloe and Janet started giggling like school girls. Jodie rolled her eyes and shook the gesture off, waving her hand at me.
“Seriously, you guys,” Jodie said. “Come on. Janet? Do you want to say something about your little confession?”
Janet widened her eyes at the mention of her name, standing attention. The silence was eminent as we all waited on Janet to be the brave one and say something. More like, refresh our memories on what she had confessed.
“I’m in love with Stanley, but I’m not sure if Stanley loves me back,” she said.
“He’d be a fool not to,” I said, putting a hand on her knee and smiling reassuringly at her.
“What do you think I should do?” Janet asked.
Jodie shrugged. “The only thing you need to do in these kinds of situations. You should actually tell him how you feel.”
“What if he says that he doesn’t love me back?”
“Then you’ll finally know,” Chloe said, “and it’ll be his loss. Just tell him. I bet he feels the same way about you too, and he’s just too nervous to admit it like you. Guys are plain pussies.”
“Which brings us to you, Chloe,” Jodie said. Chloe tensed and practically dug her nails into my arm. “What’s the deal with you and Scotty?”
Chloe sighed. “He wants to reconcile.”
“Reconcile?” Janet asked. “I’m sorry, but he’s nothing but bad news. He left you when you told him you were pregnant, and now that you’re not, he wants to come back? It’s your choice, but I wouldn’t go through with it.”
I nodded in agreement.
“He doesn’t even know that I lost the baby. I think it’ll be good closure, once and for all. A one-off thing.”
“Talk over coffee at a café so you don’t have sex with him,” Janet suggested.
Chloe pondered for a moment. “That’s actually a good idea.”
“Agreed,” I said.
“Now your turn,” Janet said to me.
I scrunched my face. “What?”
“You and Daniel?” Jodie said. “You guys are on a break, huh?”
I nodded and sighed, yearning for Daniel. “Yup.”
“And?” Chloe asked, pressing me onwards.
“And…” I continued, “He says that, if the occasion arose, then we’re allowed to see other people. He even mentioned Derek. When Derek found out about the ‘seeing other people’ part, he asked me out. I don’t think I can though.”
“Why not?” Janet asked. “You’re allowed to. Daniel won’t say anything because he practically asked for it. And besides, if you guys go out on just one date, it could probably put this whole thing between you and Derek to rest once and for all.”
I thought about it for a minute, but a minute to me seemed like an hour to the girls.
“Look,” Chloe began, “how about you go on a date with Derek on the condition that if it doesn’t work out, like you know it won’t, then he can’t contact you again. It’s like the possibility of a free dinner with a cherry on top of the deal.”
“Only if you’re comfortable with the whole idea, though,” Jodie included.
“You know what?” I said, “You guys are right. I’m going to set up the condition, try and make the date as unromantic as possible, and then watch our chemistry fall flat.”
“That a girl,” Chloe said.
With the exception of Chloe, everyone then went home. I huddled back into my room and wanted nothing to do besides going back to sleep. I crawled back into bed, lifting my body as if I were fragile glass. In that instant, before going to sleep, I decided on calling Derek.
“Hello?” he asked, surprise in his tone.
“Hi,” I said.
“You are the last person I would have expected to get a call from.”
“Yeah, things change I guess,” I uttered a nervous laugh.
My words were stretched out long and slow, I had not yet recovered from last night’s blur nor this morning’s little family meeting.
“So what’s going on?” Derek asked after I hadn’t said anything.
“Well, I was thinking about you,” I started, awkwardly, “and me. And the whole trying out thing.”
There was a pause. “Is this, Anna I’m speaking to?”
I smiled. “Yes. Look, I was just thinking that, you know, no harm in going on just one itty-bitty teeny-tiny date.”
“Alright,” he said. I could hear the smile in his voice.
“Just on one condition.”
“Of course, it was almost getting to be too good to be true. There had to be fine print for me to know I wasn’t dreaming.”
I rolled my eyes, but still smiled. “If we don’t…mesh, then we no longer see each other. Agreed?”
“Hmm,” Derek pondered, “that would suck. Agreed though.”
I furrowed my brows. “Confident are we?”
“I think we mesh already, don’t you?”
I laughed, and then stopped quickly to hold my head. “I don’t think so. We fight a lot.”
“You fight a lot,” Derek quickly sneaked in.
“And,” I continued, “we drive each other crazy.”
“And yet we’re still talking and somehow maintaining a sense of civility. I think we got a good thing going here.”
It was like they were playing my life on TV as Lavon Hayes and George Tucker both went after Lemon in the season finale. George and Lemon were driving each other crazy, and somehow that made George realise he was in love with Lemon. Not that I was in love with Derek. I was just saying, it’s like getting your hair pulled by the mean boy in school when you were a young kid. Once upon time, it meant that he had a crush on you.
I rolled my eyes. “I don’t know.”
“Don’t knock it until you try it.”
“Well I’ll be sure to not knock you off then,” I said. I scrunched my face at the stupidity of my words. I sounded so weird; Derek knew it too, and it was known when he laughed. “Anyway,” I said, trying to recover from the strange words, “how should we do this?”
“I’ll pick you up,” he said, immediately. Confident indeed. Though some (like me) would argue it was borderline arrogance at times. “Leave the rest to me.”
“Okay,” I said, hesitantly.
I sighed. I want to go to sleep! “Yeah?”
“I’m glad for this. I know it wasn’t a good road to get here, and I’m sorry for that, but I’m glad you’re at least giving me a chance.”
“I know, I know,” he interceded, “you’re just testing the waters. I shouldn’t read so much into it, blah, blah, blah. I get it. I just wanted you to know that I really like you, and I can’t stop thinking about you. And that I just hope the date doesn’t end with you telling me to ‘fuck off’.” He laughed.
I couldn’t help it and so I laughed with him. “Just remember the condition, yeah?”
“Don’t worry, I got it.”
“Okay,” I said.
“Okay,” he replied.
We ended it there. As I placed my cell back on the bedside table, the bracelet Daniel had given to me twinkled in the light. It was mesmerising. I couldn’t help but feel that somehow, I just betrayed Daniel, but in other ways he had hurt me. I never thought I would be down this road. I really thought Daniel and I would be together a long time. Though I knew it had to be done.
I knew what else had to be done in this instance. There was no use for the both of us to have a break, whilst long-distance as well. Who were we kidding? This was the end for us. I took the bracelet off for the first time since it was wrapped around my wrist, and then popped it on the bedside table. With the angle that it was on, and the light behind it, it somehow looked darker. Like a moon eclipsed; an eclipse of the heart.