Daniel stood there hunched over and disoriented. He had one hand covering his now bloody, and probably broken, nose. His opposite arm was wrapped around his stomach. The air in the room was thick with the silence that began to take over. Brendon slowly loosened his fist and lowered his arm. He turned towered me with questioning eyes.
“He’s not worth it” I said again “why exhaust yourself on scum like that?” He still didn’t move. “C’mon” I was starting to tug his arm. A minute passed before Brendon picked up the suitcase that he had dropped.
Daniel looked up, still heaving from the gut shot. “Just leave, you’re just going to come crawling back to me.”
I felt Brendon tense again, getting ready to strike. But I keep my hand at the crook of his elbow. I continued to urge him to leave. I started to silently plead with him. After a few moments he finally gave in. I still held on to his arm as we walked out. Neither Brendon nor I said anything until we were out the apartment.
“Can I ask you something?” Brendon said when we were in the empty elevator.
“Yeah, anything.” I assured him as I pressed the buttons for the first floor and the parking garage.
He hesitated for a minute, thinking over his words. He opened his mouth like he was going to ask it but closed it quickly. “Actually, never mind. It’s not important.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, it’s okay. So do you want me to take those two bags and put them in my car so you can go straight to the garage and get your motorcycle?”
I handed him the suit cases that I had been carrying and said “Kay, I’ll meet you out front.”
Silence fell over us. It was like that until we got to the first floor when the doors opened. I stepped to the side and helped Brendon out.
“Don’t take long, okay. If you need me I’ll be out-front with the car.” He told me as I told me as he began to walk away.
“I’ll only be ten minutes tops.” I promised just as the doors closed.
The parking garage for the building was located below the basement. Each resident had access to purchase one. I had one and kept my CBR600. That bike was my baby. I hadn’t ridden it forever. Six months ago Daniel told me that “no girlfriend of his would even be seen with something like that.” At the time I thought that he was just trying to make us look better as a couple. But now I realize that it was just another ploy to control me.
I fished the keys out of my back pocket and climbed on the bike. It rumbled alive. After kicking the brace up I backed out the space. Then I was speeding out of the garage. It took only seconds to reach the guard’s gate. I waved to the short security guard and he let me through.
The sun light was blinding when I came out so I didn’t noticed that Brendon had pulled up the entrance. I skidded to a stop beside his car. The driver’s window slowly rolled down.
“You ready to go?” Brendon asked.
“Yep, what time is it?”
He looked at the dash board clock and announced that it was almost five pm.
“Are you hungry for dinner yet?” I asked.
“Yeah that sounds good; want me to pick up something, like…”
“No” I interrupted him, “you aren’t going to do anything tonight. I am going to treat you to a home cooked meal. What do you want me to make you?”
“You can’t do that for me. I’ll just order some pizza or Chinese food.”
“Nope, I’m cooking and you are going to shut your face and deal with it.”
After a moment of thinking he finally gave in. “fine, but you have to make your famous tacos.”
I smiled in triumph. “I have to stop at the store. Knowing you there is probably nothing in your fridge but Red Bull, day old sushi, and more Red Bull.”
“You know me so well” he said with a smile.
After Brendon and I had arrived at his place we brought my bags in to the house and immediately went to the local grocery market. Brendon let me put my motorcycle in his garage.
We were about half way to the store when Brendon’s phone went off; filling the space with Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing. He pushed answer on the car’s Bluetooth console.
“Hello, the one and only B-den speaking. And who lucky caller number ninety nine” he answered.
“Dude, its Spence don’t you use caller ID. “
Brendon glanced at me out the corner of his eye. Don’t tell him I mouthed. Brendon nodded once, understanding. “Hey no need to be rude, I'm driving to the store, so I had to use the Bluetooth. No what do you want.”
“I was calling to see if you forgot about tonight. But if you’re going to the store then we’re still celebrating tonight?” Spencer asked.
“Yeah of course I didn’t forget. What time are you guys coming over?”
“About seven, seven-thirty. Do you need anything?”
Brendon thought for a second before answering. “Can you pick up dessert, like cake or something?”
“Sure, sure I’ll get a cake on my way over, anything else.”
“Um… not really.” Brendon paused then glanced at me again, “actually Ellie called me and said that she could make it.”
“Sweet so get enough for two extra people.”
“Nope just one” Brendon corrected with a smile.
“Kay, dude I got to go, see you later.”
“Continuer avec haute fortune.”
The call ended and there was silence. An awkward tension seemed to settle with in the car. I pulled my knees up to my chest.
Brendon spoke first “Ellie, please don’t be mad. I had totally forgotten about this. Spence and I planned a movie night for our friend-anniversary.”
I giggled “no it’s fine I am the one intruding on your life.”
“You are not intruding. Trust me, if you were intruding I would have told you. It’s just that I have one little request for you.”
“Please request away.”
“Instead of a dinner for just two, do you think that you could add four more?”
“Hum… a taco dinner for six sounds a bit demanding,” I said teasingly, “but I think I’m just that great I can do it.”
“If I could kiss you right now I would.” Brendan said as his face lit up.
For some unknown reason I stated to blush. Not wanting Brendon to catch it I turned and looked out the window.
“That smells delicious” Brendon called from the living room.
“I know I made it” I said, setting the patter of tacos on the kitchen table.
“Nous parlons peu, voire pas poussés par la vanité.”
“What is with you and all of the French references?”
“Don’t be jealous because I have culture.”
I leaned against the door way and watched as he scrambled around. “You know” I said “cleaning up doesn’t mean chucking stuff under the couch.”
“God I thought I would never hear something like that again when I moved out of my parents’ house.”
I made a face at him and turned down the hallway. “Don’t touch the food while I’m changing.” I yelled as I went in to the back room.
Once behind the closed bedroom door I stripped down and went to my suit case. I picked the first one I saw and laid it on the bed. Without thinking I pulled out a red sun dress and slipped it on. It was light and airy. Also it came down to my knees so the harsh bruises weren’t visible. Next I went in to the bathroom and freshen up a little. I was just about to join Brendon when I noticed my cheek. Wanting to avoid curious questions I brushed a little concealer over it. I was going through another one of my bags, looking for my favorite black gladiator sandals, when there was knock on the bedroom door.
“Ellie can I come in, I need a new shirt.” Brendon called from the other side.
“Didn’t I tell you not to eat anything” I said as I snatched the door open.
Brendon rushed pass me and straight in to his closet. “They looked so tempting. It took all my will power to only eat one.”
I rolled my eyes and went back to the shoe hunt. With success I found them and put them on. As I was putting everything back in to the bags Brendon came back out wearing an unbuttoned dress shirt with a red tank top underneath.
“How do I look? I figured it would be fun if we matched.” He asked.
Sexy was the first word that came to mind. Thankfully before I could say something I would possibly regret the doorbell rang. So this is what they mean by saved by the bell.
“I’ll get it.” he grumbled. Brendon disappeared down the hall way.
I turned back to the pile of clothes that were on the bed. I stuffed them back in to the bags and left the room. When I came in to the living room Brendon had his hand on the door ready to open it, but when he heard me coming, he turned around to face me with a serious face.
“Are you sure you don’t want to say anything to him.” he asked
“Bren I’m sure, I just need tonight to forget about everything for a few hours.” I looked responded, not sure if I really meant it. But it seemed good enough for him because he put on a smile and swung open the door.
“Happy tenth friend-anniversary.” Brendon nearly yelled.
“Fifth teen years of dealing with you how did I not start to grow grey hairs already.” Spencer said hugging Brendon.
“Hey Natasha” Brendon said greeting Spencer’s longtime girlfriend.
“Hi Bren,” she hugged him and stepped in the house along with Spencer.
“Spence” I called as I threw myself in to his arms.
“Ellie I didn’t know you were here yet I didn’t even see your bike.” He said.
“Yeah… I told her to put it in the garage so there would be room in the driveway.” Brendon said, saving me.
“Should we tell her now or surprise her.” Natasha asked Spencer.
“Tell me what” I questioned.
“I guess now” Spencer told her.
“What” Brendon asked, now also intrigued.
“Well” she started joyfully “when we were at the gas station we saw Daniel.”
Brendon and I both drained of color. “Oh, what did he say,” I asked trying my best to keep my composer.
Her smile was radiant and happy. If only she knew what her next words meant. “I asked if he was absolutely sure if he couldn’t make it. And he said that he could move his appointment around so he can join us.”
“Yay” I croaked meekly. Possibility after dangerous possibility ran through my head. Each idea only brought on a new wave of nausea. Natasha went in to the kitchen to put the cake box she was holding down.
“This might be the best night ever,” Spencer said looping his arm around Brendon’s shoulder, “I have my best friend and…” he paused and pulled me in to the embrace “my best baby sister!”
Why was it my life that chose now to fall apart?