“Xander, this is Michael. Michael, this is Alexander. An old friend of mine.” I looked up at Xander. This isn’t over. I read. I just looked over at Michael and put on a smile.
I let myself fall onto the couch next to Michael as I rubbed my head and closed my eyes. “I don’t know. Why don’t you tell me, Phoenix?” Michael turned off the T.V. and averted his attention to me.
“I don’t know either. That’s the reason I asked you.” I sighed and thought really hard to remember what the fuck happened last night. “All I remember is having a nice chat with your adoring wife and then walking out.” I mumbled.
“At least you remember something.” Michael smirked. I just opened my eyes and smiled. “I remember finding you puking in a trash can in front of some bar. I called the police to report you missing, dude. I was worried about you, dude.” Michael placed his hand over mine and sighed. “Do you remember anything else?” He asked looking at me.
“No. I just remember running into one of my ex’s at the bar. We talked and then everything went fuzzy. Then you took me somewhere and I saw lots of colorful lights.” Little flash backs raced through my mind all at once.
“I brought you home.” He looked sad. I wonder what happened after I left him and his wife, Alicia?
“Hey, what happened after I left you and your wife? Are you guys okay?” I asked curiously. I don’t want a marriage to end because of me. I would feel like shit for the rest of my life.
“She’ll be okay. She’ll get over it.” He said sadly. I was beginning to have my doubts about Michael now. How was he going to help me if he can’t even help his marriage?
“Dude, I think you should go home and sort this shit out with your wife. If you want to help someone, you first have to help yourself.” I smiled.
“And I thought I was the one helping you?” He giggled. Suddenly little butterflies were fluttering in my stomach.
“Well, no one says I can’t help you. You just go home and save you marriage. I’ll be fine. I promise I won’t do anything stupid.” I smiled. I hadn’t realized his hand was still on mine until he gave it a little squeeze.
“Thanks, Phoenix. I’ll try and get Gerard or one of the guys to some over and check on you. They’re still staying for another week, so maybe they can come over and keep you company. And maybe I can convince my wife for you to come over for dinner. But I’m not making any promises.” He smiled. I just nodded and smiled back.
“So, I’ll see you later, I guess.” Michael got up and made his to the door, stopping to slip on his shoes and grab his jacket.
“Bye.” He surprised me by embracing me. Giving me a small squeeze before letting go and leaving me stunned. The door slowly shut behind him and I felt all gushy inside after that small show of affection.
So, it’s been over an hour since Michael left and I am sitting here staring at the small flower. It’s now dead just falling out of the brown clay pot, hanging over the edge. All dead and wilted and it looked very depressed. I am just sitting here staring, thinking of nothing but what I was going to do for the rest of the fucking day. Maybe if I called someone it would be more fun than staring at a dead flower on my windowsill. And I had just the fucking perfect person in mind. I quickly grabbed my cell phone and went through my contacts list till the name I was searching for was highlighted in green. I pressed call and put the phone to my ear. It rang twice till I heard a voice I haven’t heard for a while.
“Hey, bitch! What do you say about hanging with one of your best friends?” I smiled. I heard someone scoff on the other line. I knew that scoff.
“Who the hell is this?” Alexander asked. He always had a bad temper, and never liked people calling him a bitch.
“Well, who the hell do you think, dude? It’s Phoenix, bitch!” I laughed. I heard him gasp and then heard him yell.
“Holy shit! Phoenix?! How are you doing?” He laughed.
“I’m great! Hey, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind coming over? I’m in New York and really want to see you. That is if you still live in New York,” I frowned. I really hoped he still lived in town.
“I do, where do you live? You know, you should have told me sooner. I would have thrown you a kick ass party for you!” I could feel him smile. Even if I couldn’t see him I already knew he was smiling.
“I know. I was just really busy with the job that brought me here, and my boyfriend. Now my ex, but I’m not bragging.” I sighed. I could now feel a sadness fog over our conversation.
“Forget about that ass and tell me where you live! I need to come over and hang with you. I have nothing better to do anyway.” He giggled. I gave him my address and he said he knew where it was and would be here in half and hour. We both hung up and I waited.
While I was waiting I found myself staring at the fucking dead flower on the windowsill again. I started to think about how the flower felt to die, how it felt in the sunlight it sat in knowing one day the day was going to come it was going to die. My thoughts were kicked back to the knocking at the door. I was so eager to see Alexander again. He probably shaved since the last time I saw him, maybe he lost his glasses and got contacts like I told him to. But then again, he never listens to me.
I jumped up from the spot I sat on the couch and ran to the door. I unlocked it and flung it open, just to be disappointed by not Xander, but Gerard. “Hey, Gerard, what are you doing here?” I asked the waiting Gerard.
“Mikey told me to stop by and check up on you.” Gerard took a step forward when I stepped back to let him enter. Then I smelled something burning. I looked at me hands to see they were burning. The sun was seeping through and landing on my hands. I quickly slammed the door and hid my hands in my pockets from Gerard.
“So, what’s up?” I asked Gerard, leading him to the living room to sit on the couch.
“Nothing much. Are you okay? You seem disappointed.” Gerard removed his shades and pushed them onto the top of his head.
“I was just waiting for my old friend to show up. He’ll be here in a while.” I tried to smiled. An awkward silence fell upon us and we just sat there looking anywhere but each other.
“Should I go? I mean, if he’s coming I don’t want to interrupt anything or just be a third wheel.” Gerard stuttered. Why was he so nervous? He was trembling and was stuttering all over the place. I think he’s even sweating.
“No, dude. It’s okay. We can all hang together. And I will never have a third wheel or make anyone a third wheel. I’ve lived through it and it fucking sucks. I include everyone and if I don’t want you here I will tell you. It’s straight up and flat out.” I smiled at his half smile. I felt him suddenly relax and get more comfortable. She’s nice. Mikey picked a good one. What did she say she did for a living? I heard him, but his lips didn’t move. I had read his mind. I can still read minds. I haven’t done it for a while I almost forgot I could. Another knock at the door and this time I knew it had to be Xander. I jumped off the couch and ran to the door. I could smell him, I knew for sure it was Alexander. I quickly opened the door and threw my arms around him. He just picked me up and carried me inside before I burned anymore. He slowly closed the door and put me back down on the ground. I let go and saw him for the first time since our high school’s ten year reunion. God knows how longs that’s been.
“Hey, bitch! I see you lost your glasses.” I smiled. “You finally took my advice.” I slapped him on the arm.
“Actually,” He bent over and picked something up. “I just got new glasses.” He carefully cleaned them with his shirt. “It’s nice to see you, Phoenix.” He pushed his glasses onto the bridge of his nose.
“I missed you, Xander.” I hugged him again. I felt like I was going to cry. I was happy to see him.
“Don’t cry.” He whispered as he rubbed my back and swayed from side to side as we held each other. “Now, let’s catch up. I want to know what you’ve been up to.” He let go and I led him to the living room where Gerard was still sat on the couch fiddling with his hands.
“Gerard, this is Alexander. Xander, this is Gerard, one of my new friends I made here in New York. Xander is an old friend.” I smiled. “Sit, dude. You guys want anything? Anything to drink or eat?” I offered as I ushered Xander to sit on the couch as I made my way to the kitchen for anything they wanted.
“Coffee would be nice.” Gerard smiled.
“Coffee does sound good right now.” Xander agreed. I just nodded my head and went to the kitchen to put on the coffee pot for them. After I had made their coffee I headed out with three mugs for the three of us.
“Here you guys are. Nice and black just like you guys like it.” I smiled and handed them their mugs full of nice warm coffee.
“Thank you.” Gerard smiled. I just smiled and took a seat in the recliner across the couch.
“So, what have you been up to, Phoenix?” Xander asked as he took a sip of his coffee.
“I just broke up with Jim.” I nodded sadly. Xander just gave me a sad smile and waited patiently for me to continue. “I just got promoted into the AP Industry interviewing bands and taking pictures.” I smiled at Xander and Gerard nodded, “And I am currently getting help from Gerard’s lil’ bro, Michael.” I smiled as a picture of Michael flew by through my head. The butterflies came back and I tried to make them stop, but couldn’t.
“That’s cool, Phoenix. Well, as for me, I am currently engaged to the love of my life, have a steady job as an auto mechanic and painter, and have a baby on the way.” He grinned. I eyes grew wide and I just jumped up, careful not to spill the coffee, and gave Xander a big hug.
“Oh my gosh! I’m so happy for you! Congratulations!” I let and couldn’t help but feel jealous of Xander with a hint of envy, and pity on me that I didn’t have a love of my life. But I was still very happy for him. I don’t know how but his grin grew wider.
“Thanks!” I could feel he knew I was jealous but kept to himself. We still had Gerard in our presence and I knew he didn’t want to cause a scene in front of our guest, and neither did I.
“What about you, Gerard? Anything new with you?” I sat back down in my chair and simmered down.
“I actually have a kid on the way too.” He nodded as he just sipped at his coffee.
“Yeah! I wish I had a kid! I love kids!” I actually did. Gerard smiled hesitantly as I entered his mind and he remembered the story about my baby long ago. He felt sorry for me.
After talking more Gerard had to get going. We said our goodbyes and he was out the door. “Phoenix, I need to talk to you.” I just stared at my best friend from where I sat in the recliner to where he sat on the couch. “I sensed your jealousy.” He frowned and looked down at his half empty coffee mug through his rectangular glasses. I just sighed and knew this would come up sooner or later. “I’m sorry. I…” He was at a loss of words. And I didn’t know what to say either.
“Don’t be sorry. Maybe a family just isn’t in the cards for me. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised love wasn’t in the cards. Looking back at my shit relationships I never really felt love.” I smirked. I looked at him and he was still staring down at his mug. He was down about something other than just me. I could feel he was holding something back. I got up and sat next to him. Leaning my head on his shoulder I waited for him to say something. And when he didn’t I opened my mouth just to let it close again. “What is it? I know something’s bothering. I can feel it, it’s also in your eyes.” I looked up at him, but he just didn’t take his eyes off his mug. He opened his mouth, but in the end closed it. He finally sighed and looked up.
“What kind of help are you getting from Michael? What’s the problem he tends to?” He asked.
“Well, he’s helping me with my drinking. He’s helping me do good and not loathe myself like I have come to do.” I smiled.
“Does he know?” He asked quietly. As if someone would hear. I knew what he was getting at.
“No.” I said sadly. Xander has always known I hate lying to people. I hate lying period. “And I don’t plan on telling him soon.” I frowned.
“If he doesn’t know, how is he suppose to help you? He doesn’t know where you come from or where you stand. Maybe I can help you. I know what you are, I can relate and understand. I’ve been there, and I’ve known you longer.” He suggested, but I didn’t want him to help me. Michael already was.
“Alexander,” I sighed. “There’s something about Michael that is different than anyone else helping me. He actually cares and won’t give up. He promised.” This was getting hard to explain.
“I actually care!” Alexander stood and yelled. He was pissed and I didn’t know why. He was yelling at me for no reason I knew.
“What the hell are you talking about? I know you care!” I yelled from my spot on the couch. He just paced in the center of the living room as I just watched. I tried breaking into his mind.
“Don’t do that, Phoenix! You’re not getting in!” He stopped to tower over me. His eyes were a crimson red. I could feel his hot breath on my face.
“There is just something different about Michael. I know he can help me. He promised and I know he will keep it.” I said softly. Xander just started pacing again.
“What happens when he doesn’t live up to his promise? What happens then, Phoenix?” He tried not to yell, but failed at keeping his temper under control.
“I don’t know.” I frowned, averting my eyes down at the rug.
“If he leaves or dies what happens then? You would be left again! You haven’t learned anything, have you!? This shit gets old, Phoenix! You’ll call me and I come running to fix your problem!” After he said those words I was about to jump on him and tear his head off. I hated his lectures and speeches on humans. “Humans never hold up! You know that! God, my fucking son knows that, Phoenix! And he’s not even born yet!” Xander just rambled on as I stared down at the rug, drowning out his words and thinking about Michael.
“Get out.” I whispered. I didn’t even know what I was saying. I just opened my mouth and it slipped.
“What!?” Alexander stopped. Looking over to me his eyes were burning a hole in the side of me face. Then there was a sudden knock at the door. I looked up at the door and so did Xander. I got up and slowly opened the door. Michael was standing there waiting for me to move so he could enter. I did just that as he entered I led him to the living room without a word.
“Xander, this is Michael. Michael, this is Alexander. An old friend of mine.” I looked up at Alexander. This isn’t over. I read. I just looked over at Michael and put on a smile.
“Hi, Michael. I’m Xander. It’s nice to meet you.” Xander’s eyes softened and they shook hands firmly.
“Hi, it’s nice to meet you too.” Michael smiled.
“Want anything, Michael?” I asked softly. I looked over waiting for him to answer.
“No, I’m good , Phoenix. Thanks.” He smiled at me. I gestured for him to sit on the couch. I took the place next to him as Xander took the recliner. After talking for a while Xander finally left but said he would be back tomorrow. I will be sure to not be here all day tomorrow. The day didn’t really end how I would have liked it to.
“So, dude, what’s up? What happened with the wife?” I asked curiously.
“We’re good. She said she would start over if you would like to come to dinner tonight.” He smiled again and my heart melted. No, I can’t have these feelings for him. He’s married and is in love with his wife.
“Yeah, I would like to come and have dinner. When?” I asked.
“Tonight at our place. She’ll order us pizza or something. She really isn’t much of a cook. We either order something, take-out or I cook.” He shrugged. Wow, what wife can’t cook? I cook, and I don’t even eat it.
“Okay, what time do you guys have in mind?” I asked another question I needed to know.
“I was thinking eight o’ clock. Is that okay?” He looked a little worried.
“Yeah.” Wait, I can’t really eat anything. Why did I agree dinner? Why would I go to dinner but not eat it? “Wait, um….” I was stuck. How the hell was I going to do this?
“Yeah?” He asked once I didn’t continue my sentence.
“I…can’t eat.” I stuttered.
“What do you mean?” He asked as confusion took place on his face.
“It’s complicated. I can’t really tell you now. I just can’t eat.” I frowned looking away.
“You can tell me, Phoenix. Just say it. I’m sure I’ll understand. And if I don’t, I’ll try.” He was so caring I had to tell him. But it was too soon. Should I tell him?