The rest of the week was a blur. I left Adam’s place Sunday night and arrived home pretty late. For one, I didn’t want his fiancé coming home and grilling Adam over me. It was inappropriate of me to visit him like that—and do what I nearly did and have to put him in that uncomfortable position as a result of my stupid actions—so as soon as I was more self-aware I bolted, thanking Adam before I left. Seeing him made me remember my dad in ways I couldn’t imagine without someone dear to me from California, a person who I had a deep history with, one who knew my family as if they were his own.
I regret a lot, but I don’t regret seeing him.
On Monday I went straight into work and barely made eye contact. I avoided as many people as I could, and unless I had to be somewhere else, I never left my desk. Most of the day, I sat there, zoning out, wondering if I’d burst out crying there and then. But I didn’t. I was zombie as fuck though, but crying? No, I didn’t even shed a tear.
I had a few disasters on Monday and on Tuesday, when another disaster occurred (David came late to a meeting because I forgot to tell him about it) David started questioning me. When I told him what happened his brows parted in understanding and his stiff shoulders dropped.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” he said. “Go home, Anna.” He said it like I was the most fucked up person ever to even be here.
“I didn’t even think about…” my voice faded off. Where was I going with this?
David didn’t care to wait. “Stella will handle it from here. Go take a week off, okay?” He tapped me on my shoulder and left.
I stood waiting in the elevator until the doors closed. The button to my floor lit up and the elevator started moving. When it stopped and the doors opened, Brad stood before.
“Ha, I’m going to be late,” he said bashfully.
Still, I didn’t bother looking. I didn’t bother responding. I was in zombie mode. And now on top of that, I have to deal with Stella working for David for a week? Replacing me for a week? God knows what she’ll tell David to move up. It’s like the rotten cherry on top of a shitty week!
By Wednesday morning I was in bed marinating in my own self-loathing over the last few days when I realised I hadn’t received that many texts or calls from Daniel lately. We usually keep a constant open line so it seemed strange he didn’t say anything. So I called him.
“Hey,” he answered.
It went quiet. I didn’t know what to say. ‘How come you haven’t been harassing me about where I am, where I’ve been, what I’m doing?’. Didn’t seem reasonable.
“Can you come over?” I finally asked.
“Absolutely. I’ll be right there.”
“I don’t want to impose. If you’re doing something—like working—”
“Anna, shut up,” he said lightly, “I’m coming right now.”
The phrase is that he came over in a ‘New York minute’. Is that right? Anyway, so fast it seemed like he was right outside my building.
I opened the door and he held up a few bags. “Chinese food and drinks.” He walked in and put the bags on the kitchen counter.
I caught myself in the mirror and I looked haggard. My eyelids were heavy, dark circles under my eyes prevalent, and my hair—whoo, don’t even get me started. Does he not see how messed up I look? I’m so confused.
He turned around. “How are you?” Pieces of snow fell off him.
He sighed. “Worried and trying not to be.”
That got my attention. “Why?”
He rubbed the back of his neck and pulled me next to him on the sofa. “I got a call from the one and only.” I furrowed my brows, not knowing who he meant. “Adam,” he simply said. “You should really lock your phone.”
I moaned for a second and stuffed my face in my hands. “Oh. Why didn’t you say anything?”
Daniel smiled. “Because I know you, Anna. I know you have a tendency to push away when I come close. That in times where you’re not you, I let you be. And if you wanted to go to…Adam—” he ground his teeth so slightly and momentarily I almost missed it— “then that’s where you need to go. I get it. He explained everything to me.”
Oh shit. Did Adam tell Daniel about the almost kiss?
“I’m sorry,” I said, even though I was referring mostly to the stupid actions I made, he rubbed my leg in comfort.
“Don’t worry about it. I just…” he licked his lips, hesitant to go on further, “I just wish it was me, you know? I just remember when Jade died, all I wanted was you. And I just wish that I was the one there for you this time.”
I stared at him. Eyes wide and red. My mind boggled. He was completely right. What the hell am I doing going to Adam if the person I want to spend the rest of my life with is right by my side, right in front and right behind me? Daniel could’ve done what Adam did, and even better. Why did I want to hurt myself so badly that I was blind to Daniel who can heal me? There is something wrong with me.
“Hey,” Daniel shook my leg. “It’s okay. I just want you to know that.”
“I’m really sorry. I should’ve went straight to you.”
“You don’t have to apologise,” he shook his head. “This isn’t why I wanted to tell you this. I’m not trying to guilt you, I swear.”
“No, I know. It doesn’t change the fact that I did something wrong.”
I think I saw a hint of him relaxing at that. Like he never thought that I’d recognise a certain flaw to my behaviour.
“On that note, take some time off work.”
I smiled. “David practically threw me out. Stella is taking over.” I rolled my eyes at her name.
“Fuck everybody.” Daniel shot up and went into my room. Coming out, he slung my blanket over me and then headed for the Chinese food. “You work like a dog and never get time off.” Then he mumbled begrudgingly, “Let’s see how well they do without you.”
“Do you think it’s weird I haven’t cried yet?”
“Not at all,” he shook his head. “It’s completely normal.”
“Mmm.” I stopped in thought. “Want to hear about my dad?” I finally asked.
Daniel smiled, walking over with the food. “Of course.”
No offense to Adam, but it felt more right, more real, more true, and so much better talking to Daniel than him. We got into bed pretty early and Daniel went to sleep before me. I couldn’t. I kept thinking about one thing…
Okay, so I know I’m supposed to keep my interactions with Adam to the bare minimum, but I just had to text him:
‘Thanks for calling Daniel. Umm…do you think I should tell him about what I almost did?’
Within seconds he got back to me. ‘No. It wasn’t you. It was a mistake. It never even happened. Don’t make a big issue of it and just move on.’
Should I leave it at that? I went to sleep with the question unanswered, and my mind not completely made up.