Steph digs herself some deeper holes.
I sat by myself in the bedroom, perched on my bed with my back against the wall and my knees curled up to my chest. I was staring at the blank wall opposite, lost in my own many, confusing thoughts, when all of a sudden Brendon flew into the room, not even bothering with the courtesy of knocking first.
‘Hey, I could have been changing!’
‘YOU KISSED SPENCER?!’
‘Keep your voice down.’ I said in a panic.
‘Everyone’s downstairs.’ He said, with a brief wave of his hand as if dismissing my worry.
I sighed deeply. ‘Yes, OK, I kissed Spencer. Don’t ask me why, but I did.’
‘But I thought you liked Ryan!’
‘I do like Ryan!’
‘Then why are you kissing Spencer?!’
‘I don’t know Brendon! I don’t know. We were stood together, in the sea, and he had been saying some really nice things to me, and then I saw them – Ryan and Jane – kissing, and I was just so jealous and Spencer was just stood in front of me so I just went in and kissed him – I wasn’t even thinking. All I was thinking about was how angry I was, because, because... I mean her and Ryan was just there, in front of me, and they were just kissing! In front of me! Right there! And, it’s not fair because, I saw him choose the Cherry Garcia.’
I gave an aggravated sigh and hung my head as Brendon looked on at me, slightly baffled -- probably wondering how to reply to my breathless rant. He walked forwards and sat next to me at the end of my bed.
‘So, do you like Spencer in that way, at all?’
‘I-I don’t think so’ I said, looking up at him. ‘I mean he’s really sweet sometimes, and such a good guy, but I don’t think I’ve ever even looked at him that way before. Though Jane has been dead-set on the idea of him liking me lately, so maybe I just thought...oh I don’t know what I just thought!’
I pouted with furrowed eyebrows and rested my head on my hands, suddenly very annoyed with myself. ‘Why do I do these things?’ I said.
Brendon gave me a smile which seemed to hold some sort of emotion like affection in it. He reached his arm out, and I shuffled closer to him, letting him console me with a hug. ‘You’re a nutcase, you know that?’ He said, as he rubbed my back comfortingly.
‘I’m familiar with such a label.’ I mumbled into his shoulder.
‘Hey guys you need to-
Ryan paused as soon as he saw us. ‘Oh – sorry.’
I stiffly broke away from Brendon, a little flushed ‘No, its fine’ I said, trying to keep my voice normal. Whether or not I succeeded, I did not know. ‘Sorry, what were saying?’
‘Um, just that you should probably start getting ready, because we’re leaving in like 45 minutes.’
‘Oh, right—thank you.’
He nodded--kind of offhand--and left.
I turned back to Brendon. ‘The worst part is that you were right.’
‘Everything you said at the barbecue’ I sighed, leaning my head lightly on his shoulder ‘you were totally and completely spot on.’
_ _ _
I was dreading having to join everyone else downstairs once I was ready. I even took my dress to the bathroom to change in, in order to avoid Kate. I wasn’t ready for her questioning yet. Presuming of course Jane had told her about the incident – which no doubt she had. I knew they wouldn’t question me downstairs, in front of Spencer. But I was scared to be in the same room as him at the moment anyway.
But I couldn’t avoid him forever.
I heard a couple of gasps as I descended down the stairs (as carefully as I could in heels) to join them all in the hallway. Oh God, it’s worse than I thought.
‘You look amazing’ said Jane, surprising me.
‘Oh—thank you.’ I said my eyes to the floor.
‘Oh you are just a picture!’ Exclaimed Lucy ‘In fact, you kids are all looking so nice we should take a picture! Rick, go and get the camera would you?’
No matter how nice I apparently looked, this wasn’t exactly a moment in my life I particularly wanted to remember.
I managed to avoid any eye-contact with Spencer for the entire journey to the restaurant. I felt so unbelievably awkward. A feeling that remained with me for the remainder of the night.
The restaurant slash dance club was a pretty spectacular place. No doubt unbelievably expensive. I’d have to ask Jane what her dad did for a living someday. The place was illuminated by blue strobe lights and there were already a dozen or so people on the dance floor dancing to some random tune the DJ was playing.
Rick, and what I guess was the owner of the place, greeted each other like old friends- which I presume they were, and he lead us to our table for eight.
I sat myself down next to Kate. Only just realizing we hadn’t actually spoken a word to each other for the entire afternoon, despite the fact that I had sat next to her in the car on the way over here. I guess I had been too absorbed in my thoughts the entire time.
‘Hi’ I said simply, looking at her.
‘Hey.’ She said, giving me a smile which quickly faded from her face.
‘Is everything OK?’ I pressed.
‘Fine’ she said, a little too quickly to be believable. But I was distracted from delving into it any further right then, as someone’s foot collided sharply with my ankle.
‘Oww!’ I yelped, looking questioningly up at the culprit who sat across from me. As did the rest of the table.
‘Sorry’ I said, before mouthing ‘what?’ across the table to Brendon.
He stared pointedly at me and did a lot of dramatic eyebrow raising and head twitching, as if he was trying to communicate something with me. Though I was finding it hard to grasp what.
‘Can I take your orders?’ An Italian looking waiter asked, before I could question him. Brendon and I ordered first. When we were done, I indicated to him to pay attention, and turned to Kate, with him watching.
‘Just having a bathroom break’ I said, before standing up. Brendon cottoned on. ‘Yeah, me too actually.’
We got directions from the Italian waiter and walked off together to the other end of the restaurant, stopping outside the bathroom doors.
‘What?’ I said.
‘I was trying to warn you that Spencer is planning on talking to you sometime tonight about what happened earlier.’ He explained ‘What are you going to say to him?’
My insides squirmed with anxiety. ‘I don’t know. I mean...I guess I’ll just apologize and tell him that it’s OK, I don’t have feelings for him, It was just a ...spur of the moment thing, and that I don’t know why I did it, but that I hope I haven’t made things too awkward between us...’
‘Stephanie, you could cut the tension between you guys with a knife. I mean, we can all feel it. I think you’re past awkward.’
I gave a dismal groan, ‘Ugh! You’re right.’
‘Always am. When is anybody going to realize that?’
_ _ _
The holiday had been going so well until now. Why oh why did I have to ruin it? Typical! Poor Spencer. If I had never moved to Vegas in the first place, he would never have met me, and become subject to my silly ‘harum-scarum nature’ (as my Gran calls it), in which I seem to feel it’s OK to randomly kiss my friends without reason, and he would not, as a result of my rash impulses, be sat a few seats away from me right now, with a look of total discomfiture on his face (that probably mirrored mine exactly), instead of actually enjoying the last evening we had here in California.
But I did, and he was, and I am a moron.
The food was finished a long time ago. The once, gentle and relaxing background music had since turned into ear pounding disco tunes that were being blasted out by the DJ. Most people were dancing now – including Rick and Lucy, who kept returning to try and persuade us to join them – but all of us refused. I wanted this night to end quickly and painlessly, and I didn’t want to risk putting myself in a position where Spencer had a chance to ‘talk’ to me. I know it was cowardly, but I was nervous, and still trying to think of a way I could explain it all with something that made the slightest bit of sense – that didn’t involve the part about my seething jealousy when seeing Jane and Ryan, of course.
‘Come on, what is up with you kids tonight?’ Rick asked us. I glanced up and saw that it wasn’t just me and Spencer that were acting detached, but everyone else sat at the table seemed sort of glum too, as if our offhand demeanour had rubbed off on all of them. As if I wasn’t guilty enough for ruining one persons holiday!
Kate had been acting oddly all night, and she just sat now with her shoulders slumped, staring into space, which was a far cry from her usual bubbly self. I wondered if she was upset with me because I hadn’t told her about my feelings for Spencer, which don’t actually exist anyway.
And I would have thought Ryan would naturally be most worried about this, but he seemed too pre-occupied with his own thoughts to even notice. He sat slumped over the table, chin on his hand, lazily swirling his straw around his glass of coke with his eyes glazed over in the same way as his sister’s.
Jane sat awkwardly next to him, seeming slightly confused about his quiet mood, and rather dejected by the fact her attempts to begin a conversation with him, were failing dismally, as he would only shrug or mumble in reply.
Whilst the rest of us sat like lifeless zombies, Brendon was fidgeting in his chair every way imaginable; tapping his feet, drumming his fingers, using dessert spoons as drumsticks ...obviously feeling uncomfortable and agitated with the sullen mood that surrounded him.
Due to me.
Jane sighed and turned to Ryan 'Do you want to dance?'
'Sorry' He said, quite sincerely 'I just really don't feel like it right now.'
'You'll dance with me, won't you Steph?' She said, turning to me instead.
I pulled a face. 'Uh- I'm still quite full from the food-'
'That we had an hour ago?' Jane said folding her arms in skepticism.
'Really? It's been an hour?' I said, quite surprised. Time sure does fly when you're immersed in a perplexing jungle of thoughts that make you doubt there being any reason for your existence.
'Yes- longer actually, and I don't think I can sit here in such a...dispiriting atmosphere anymore. We're dancing' She ordered, and I didn't even bother to argue.
I'd already guessed she would steer me through the dance-floor and out the other side again to lead me to a quieter corner.
'Yes?' I sighed.
'Why aren't you and Spencer talking to each other? It makes no sense!'
'I'm sorry- it's just... things are a little awkward right now.'
'Look- i understand. You're worried about ruining your friendship right? But you've kissed him now- it's done. You can't just ignore it. Your going to have to tell him how you feel about him. Steph, it'll all work out for the best.'
I groaned. 'But how I feel about him-'
I turned to see, almost to my horror, Spencer standing there biting his lip and scratching his neck in uneasiness.
'I'll see you guys back at the table...' Jane said, giving my shoulder a squeeze as she passed me and whispering 'good luck' in my ear.
'Hey...Spencer' I said, trying and failing, to sound as breezy as possible.
'So...um, don't you think it's time we kind of...you know...talked about what happened earlier?', He said, staring fixated at the floor.
'Right' I sighed. 'Look, Spencer, I'm sorry. I don't know why I did it...I'm so stupid. The last thing I want is to ruin our friendship over this, but I just-'
'It's OK' He cut 'you don't have to be sorry about it...it just came as kind of a shock to be honest. But I mean, I need to ask you something, but I just want to be certain first...that you like me yeah? I mean' - He was tugging on the end of his sleeves in anxiety 'I know you- at least I think you made it pretty clear by the fact that you kissed me but I just...I mean well, I like you too.'
He seemed slightly more relieved when he said it at last. I wish I could have the same feeling, but it had the exact opposite effect on me- my brain was going into panic mode.
He wasn't meant to tell me he liked me! He was meant to tell me he just wanted us to stay friends, and I would agree, whilst being extremely embarrassed, and then we'd all be near fine, but this, this wasn't meant to happen at all. And the longer I stared blankly at him, trying to form some sort of answer, the more pained his face became, and I realized I must be putting him in total agony right now, making him wait so long for my reply- but I still could not form a single word with my mouth.
'I-I don't know what to say' I finally choked out. At least it was a truthful sentence.
He smiled sheepishly, he seemed unperturbed by my response. 'So uh...I guess all that's left is to ask if maybe you wanted to be my girlfriend?'
My eyes almost bugged out of my head. I was back to putting Spencer in an agonizing wait for my answer. I was only just beginning to comprehend what he'd asked me. 'Take your time' He said, sincerely, averting his eyes back to the ground. He looked quite terrified.
What a smart person would have done right now, in such a situation, would be to ignore the heart-breaking look of torment he wore on his face and say something along the lines of 'I'm sorry, but no', because despite feeling like they'd just kicked a puppy, they would know that at least everything could be cleared up now, instead of causing a web of even more complications later on.
A smart person.
Me, on the other hand, of course did no such thing.
I would like to take this precious moment, to thank everyone who has reviewed- your words are truly motivating.
Panicatthediscoluvr, panicfobacademy26,alex_nods,smilin_tj (I update so you dance), iluvsmiliez, XxicecreamHeadachexX (noWAY can you be jealous, your stuff is fabulous), doyleangel, lovetah...
...I love you all.
And those are just who've reviewed recently...i hope I didn't miss anyone out. I STILL LOVE YOU.