It was around 6 O’clock in the evening when my mom entered the house. She had been out all day, which I guess makes a nice change for her, seeing as she usually spends the majority of her daylight hours sleeping. She carried several carrier bags, one of which emitted a strong and unmistakable mouth watering smell of a takeaway. My stomach rumbled in excitement, and I realized I hadn’t eaten since breakfast.
I watched her enter from where I sat at the bottom of the stairs. She set down the bags, which seemed to contain either food or clothes, and slipped out of her heels - Her best heels. I noticed that she appeared to have made quite some effort to look nice today; her make-up was applied immaculately, her long fingernails were newly painted, and her shirt was ever so slightly less revealing than usual.
‘I got us an Indian.’ She said.
‘Cool.’ I replied.
She picked up the bag containing the takeaway and carried it into the kitchen. ‘Sorry that was my mom. I think we’re having dinner soon.’ I said into the receiver.
‘OK, cool.’ Kate replied. ‘I should probably let you go then. How long have we even been talking for? It feels like hours…’ – her voice trailed off as someone spoke in the background- ‘Yes Dad! Alright already, I’ll be off in a second…Jesus. Ugh’ -her voice became louder as she moved her mouth back to the speaker- ‘he’s in such a grouchy mood today! Seriously, I would have gone crazy by now if I hadn’t been able to speak to you. This house at the moment is just so…ugh!’
‘Are things still bad between him and your brother then?’ I asked, forgetting about the delicious smell that was now wafting from the kitchen for the first time since my mom stepped in the door.
‘Worse’ she sighed. ‘Ryan’s not even speaking to him anymore. But what’s weird is it’s like my dad is acting kind of …guilty around him’ –she lowered her voice – ‘I have this feeling that something bad happened here when I was round yours the other night.’
‘Like what exactly?’ I asked, frowning to myself.
‘I don’t know… I guess maybe they had an argument that went a bit too far. My dad seems to have really offended Ryan somehow anyway. Of course he won’t speak to me about it at all. I can’t get anything out of him so I guess I’ll never kno’-
I pulled a face, confused as to why she had stopped so suddenly.
Then I realized another voice was speaking in the background. I assumed it was her dad at first, but then I noticed that I recognized it indefinitely. I listened very carefully and tried to make out what he saying, but it was an inaudible murmur. Kate said ‘Sorry, I wasn’t...’ and then ‘Steph’, so I presumed he had asked who she was talking to. ‘Uh, yeah OK’ I heard her say, before putting her mouth back to the speaker ‘Ryan wants to know if Spencer’s called you yet?’
‘Uh’ I said ‘He hasn’t called since yesterday.’
‘She says he hasn’t called since yesterday’ Kate repeated for Ryan’s benefit.
I heard him murmur something. ‘Have you heard anything about tomorrow?’ Kate said to me.
‘No, what’s tomorrow?’
‘No, what’s tomorrow?’
‘Spencer was meant to tell you about it…Jane’s organizing a ’- She paused ‘You know what maybe you should just talk to her yourself. Yes! Come on…’
‘Steph?’ Came a voice which, ridiculously enough, I couldn’t help but smile upon hearing.
At that moment my mom walked out of the kitchen carrying a tray of takeaway tubs and two plates, with a single drinks can balanced on each of them. She paused in front of me ‘coke or lemonade?’ She asked.
‘Coke’ I answered and she nodded and proceeded on into the living room, but not before pausing and enquiring who I was talking to.
‘Don’t worry, it’s not Melanie’ I sighed ‘It’s just a friend.’
‘Sorry’ I said as my mom left ‘Hey Ryan.’
‘Hey. So basically Jane’s organized a kind of movie night tomorrow round her house for you, me and Spencer. Spencer will probably call you about it tomorrow, but anyway if you think you can go, I can give you a lift in- if you wanted?’
He said it so fast that it took a few moments after he’d finished just for my brain to catch up. When it did, I gulped. The fact that it was just the four of us meant it counted as a double date, which means that technically, it’s the first date I’m going to have with Spencer.
Not only do I have to spend the night as the girlfriend of a guy I have no feelings for, I have to do it in the presence of the guy that I do have feelings for - and his girlfriend.
His girlfriend, who is presumably still his girlfriend, and has therefore not broken up with yet. I was counting on it happening; it was the only thing I could be relatively glad about right now. It was a small excuse for a silver lining, but it was all I had.
A million different (and pathetic) excuses quickly began playing themselves in my head, but of course I ended up agreeing to go. ‘Thanks, yeah that sounds good, what time?’
‘I’ll probably be there about 10 to 7, is that OK?’
I nodded, and then realized he couldn’t see me ‘Uh, yeah that’s fine. Are we spending the night or…?’
‘Um. I don’t think so. We were meant to originally but I, uh…couldn’t, so…I don’t know if you guys…’
‘Oh OK.’ I said. I highly doubted Jane would want me and Spencer round for the without Ryan. And I was pretty sure I knew why he ’couldn’t’ make it.
‘How’s the foot by the way? I heard you were on crutches.’
I smiled slightly to myself at his concern ‘It’s doing fine- it should be totally healed by next week hopefully.’
‘Cool. So yeah… I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then?’
‘Yeah, see you then.’
When I had finished saying goodbye to Kate, I hung up and instantly headed into the lounge where dinner awaited me. I heaped a generous amount on my plate from the little plastic tubs and sat down at the opposite end of the couch from my mom. We sat eating in silence for a while. I was almost finished when she cleared her throat.
'So I uh, got a job today' She said, still looking at her plate.
I stopped eating and looked over at her.
‘As a casino bartender in the city. I start tomorrow. ' -She shrugged -'Gives me something to do during the day I guess.'
I let out a ‘puh’ and returned back to my food. Of course she would alwaysstill be occupied during evening hours.
_ _ _
I sat at the kitchen table, frequently shooting nervous glances outside the window. The streets were shadowy and the sky was acquiring that purple tinge to it again. I jiggled my uninjured foot around nervously. I used one hand as a chew toy and the other to hold my cell to my ear. ‘Brendon’ I whined ‘I really don’t want to do this.’
All I heard from Brendon’s end was the sound of Doritos’s crunching, so loudly that I had the move the phone an inch or so away from my head. ‘Brendon?’
‘’Orry’ he mumbled with his mouth full. He swallowed loudly. ‘I just typed in ‘in love with best friend’s brother’ on my computer. Did you know there are support groups for people in the same situation as you?’
‘Brendon, I doubt anyone is in exactly the same situation as me. In fact, I’m probably the only person in the world who could get themselves into a situation as ridiculous as this. Besides, I’m not in love with him.’
‘You told me you were.’
‘Brendon, when have I ever told you that?’ I asked in exasperation.
‘You told me everything I said at the barbecue had turned true, and I definitely recall saying that you’d fall in love with him.’ He said, and I could just imagine the smug smile he held on his face right now.
It took me a few moments to form my reply. ‘Look, I have no Idea if I’m in love with him or not. I mean, I’ve never been in love before so how do I know what it feels like? But personally, I’ve always thought of falling in love to be somewhat of a big deal. I’d have to be certain I am before I say I am. Anyway, can we just forget the whole idea for a while please, and focus instead on how I’m actually going to get through this evening?’
Ryan was due to be here in less than ten minutes, and I was now convinced that going tonight was a really bad idea. I’m talking diabolically so. If the last time I was subjected to watching them together was anything to go by, then knowing me, the evening could turn out catastrophic.
‘Brendon, why haven’t they broken up yet? You said Ryan wanted to dump her!’ I demanded, aware that I sounded slightly demented.
‘I guess he just hasn’t found the right time yet.’ Brendon hurriedly tried to assure me ‘If he’s not into her anymore then hopefully you can count on the fact that seeing them tonight will be slightly more bearable. I mean, did you see them the other night before the blackout? I don’t think they touched once.’
I contemplated what he said, and realized that he was actually right. I felt slightly more at ease, and I the kept thought in my head until Ryan pulled up outside.
I hung up on Brendon and did a last minute appearance check of my reflection in the back of a spoon I had been recently using to eat some Ben & Jerry’s with. Ice-cream is not my first choice of comfort food, but I had finished the skittles off last night.
I was surprised to see Ryan open the door and climb out of the car. He usually waits inside and beeps the horn to announce his arrival. He didn’t come to my door or anything though; he just stayed there leaning back against the side of the car.He looked like some sort of ridiculously sexy car model.
I stood up, supported by my crutches. He saw me, then smiled and waved.
I gave a feeble smile back.
Again, not what it was originally meant to be, but i think its better this way. next chapter WILL be better. Sorry for the long wait. I'm having a huge birthday party (my b-day was last month but I'm having joint with a friend) on saturday. I hate throwing parties.DJ & live music, from the band i mentioned aaaaaaaaaages back. I am going to ask them how they're doing on the whole touring-with-panic at the disco front.
Also, i have now written 30 chapters, which means this is the longest story i have ever written, ever. So i think we should have a party. Come to review box with lemon cakes and tea.