“Excuse me,” Anna said mid-conversation, “I need to go and do something; I’ll be right back.”
Anna politely smiled at Brian, a smile one could only muster when they knew what was coming next. She gave me one last and lasting look towards me, and as our eyes met, I knew she was still reassuring me.
“Want a beer?” Brian asked, walking to the kitchen to stock up for himself.
“Nah, thanks. I’m good.” I gulped and then stood to follow him. The kitchen was only a few steps from the living room but it still felt like a separate room. Either way, I would have felt it to be uncomfortable and disrespectful if I was laying it all on the table while I was just slouching on the dining table.
“Are you alright?” Brian asked as he ran concerned eyes around my demeanour. “You’ve seemed a little weird.”
I gulped again. He knew it was coming; like the calm before the storm. “I’ve actually been wanting to talk to you about something.” I was avoiding eye contact all the while I spoke that sentence, but I knew I had to give him the courtesy at some point. At this point though, I was veering excessively away from his eyes. It wasn’t that I was a coward or anything like that, it was because I hadn’t built enough (or somewhat, enough) strength to be able to endure his reaction.
Brian placed the beer bottle onto the counter top and stared at me. “What about?” he asked.
Where does one begin with these things? I rubbed the nape of my neck; moisture was present and thus prominent within this gut-wrenching exchange. “I don’t know how to say this.”
To comfort me, Brian smiled. “It’s alright man. I’m here if you need anything. Do you need money? Is the mafia after you?”
I chuckled awkwardly. Brian’s way of cracking jokes to alleviate the stress and tension of a situation was always his thing. It was always a thing that everyone appreciated and loved; and the jokes were always delivered with the intension to help the other person. There was no possible way this could have gotten harder than it already was. I think we’ve just sifted through a whole barrel-full of possibilities with this one.
“No, not it,” I said.
“Just go right out and say it. Don’t even worry about it; whatever it is, I’m sure I’ll be fine about it.”
I doubt it, I thought, closing my eyes for a split second. I sighed and then looked Brian straight into his eyes. “Samantha cheated on you…with me.” Brian’s reaction was nothing more or less than it already was. His features were frozen into place, almost making me believe that he was transformed into glass. I spat the following words out quickly thereafter. “There’s no excuse for what I did. I’ve hurt two people over this stupid thing that I did and I’m so fucking sorry, Brian. You had to know this because you deserve to know who you’re with and what I did. I swear to you, I’m not this guy; I will never to anything like that again.”
“You fucked Samantha?” Brian uttered the words as if they were coming out of the mouth of machine. With jagged edges of a slow fax, the words felt chopped and hardened. Littered with a foreshadowing of some kind.
I held up my hands. “No, no, we never actually went all the way. But it was enough of the way.” I felt so uncomfortable spilling the details, but if he asked for them, he deserved them to, just the same.
“Oh yeah, that makes it better!” Brian yelled, grabbing the beer bottle and smashing it across the sink, making the glass shatter into a shredded shards. My hand twitched when the sound of the impact cut through the once quiet room. Brian climbed on top of the counter top and then lunged himself at me. “She wouldn’t do this to me!” he said once he had me in his gasp and started throwing punches.
I blocked as much as I could. “This is the truth! I’m telling you the truth, Brian!”
“Why the fuck would you say something like that!?”
We fell over onto the couch a couple of times. Our calves hit the coffee table plenty of times as we tried to navigate the small room will wrestling with each other.
“You had to know!”
He trapped me into a headlock, and then with a swift blow, he struck me across the face. The both of us heard a grasp that sounded like it came from neither of us; Anna was in the hallway, staring wide-eyed at the conclusion of our a little discussion. It was then that while Brian was distracted by Anna, I used what force I had to swivel out of his grasp and grab a hold of his shirt, pushing him up against the counter top.
“You had to know, Brian!” I repeated once again.
We panted, and as Brian seemed to calm down as the pain and hurt started to push away the rage, I let go. Immediately after, Brian swung his arm and sucker punched me across my face. The force and shock of which made me drop to the floor. I started to taste the steel of blood.
“You deserve that, you know that, right?” Brian asked.
I nodded and sighed. “More than you know.”
Brian scoffed, disappeared into the bedroom and then came back out, throwing a box at me. I opened the box and found an exceptional diamond ring rising from its slumbering cocoon.
“I was going to ask her to spend the rest of her life with me, asshole,” Brian churned through clenched teeth. “How’s that for ‘more than you know’?”