Too much to take.
I took a huge deep breath and walked up the steps. I knocked timidly thinking that if I didn't knock loud enough he wouldn't hear me and thus not answer the door. I counted to ten silently in my head.
The door whipped open just as I was about to turn down the stairs.
I looked at the person in front of me confused and then looked up at the numbers making sure I had the right address.
"Hi. Izzy right? Patrick told me you would be coming," the curly, dark haired women said to me.
I felt as though someone had smacked me right across the face. I was an idiot to come here.
"Hi," I said still very confused.
Ok, it was time to run now.
"I'm Alex," she said holding out her hand.
I looked at her confused and then down at her hand. All of my social skills had flown out the window.
I suddenly snapped back to reality and took her hand in mine.
"Izzy, but you already know that," I said in a more snotty tone than I intended. Or maybe it was intended.
"Please, come on in," she smiled warmly at me.
I hated her.
"IZZY!" I heard loudly as I entered the town home. Suddenly I heard loud footsteps running towards my way and I wasn't sure what course of action to take.
Joe came running in and grabbed me tightly spinning me around in circles. Now my feeling of puking was rising up into my throat. This wasn't good.
"Joe, hi," I said as he put me down and I tried desperately to see straight.
"It is so good to see you," he said sincerely.
I looked at him shocked and confused. Why in the world was he being so nice now, when not more than twenty-four hours ago he blew me off?
"I'm really sorry about last night. I was in shock and I had no idea how to react. Forgive me?" Joe asked looking down on me and giving me a pouty lip.
I shook my head and smiled. He was too cute sometimes.
"It's ok Joe. I think we were all a little shocked," I said squeezing his shoulder.
"Have you met my lady friend?" Joe asked grabbing Alex around the waist and kissing her neck sweetly.
Suddenly I felt extremely sheepish for being so rude to her earlier.
"You're with Joe?" I asked pointing at the two.
"Well of course. Did you think I was with Patrick?" she asked laughing now.
"Well, I guess I just assumed," I said trailing off. Yup, I feel like an idiot.
"Izzy, that's a riot!" Joe said laughing loudly.
I just rolled my eyes.
"Sorry," I said quietly.
"Iz," we were interrupted by his voice.
I spun around and saw Patrick there with a huge smile on his face.
"Patrick," I replied.
We stood there staring at each other not saying a word.
"Well, we are going to pick Andy up. It was good to see you again, Izzy," Joe said breaking the tension in the air.
"You too, Joe. And nice to meet you Alex," I said smiling at the both of them with their arms around each other. They looked so cute. I didn't hate her anymore.
After Joe shut the door behind them, I turned back around and faced Patrick.
"Come in, please," he said motioning for me to enter.
I just nodded and walked into his very open town home. I looked around in shock. It was very spacious and surprisingly clean.
"Nice," I said simply.
"It keeps me warm and dry, so I can't complain. Coffee?" he asked.
"Please," I said and sat down at the breakfast bar as I watched him search his cabinets.
I watched him with a curious look on my face. It seemed as though he had no idea where anything was.
"I have no idea where anything is," he said frustrated answering my thoughts.
"This is your place, right?" I asked hoping this wasn't some trick to get me with Pete.
"Yeah, but I'm never here and Alex got tired of there never being anything in my cupboards, so she keeps them stocked for me," he said searching in the cabinets on the floor.
"Well, I would check for the coffee in the freezer and the coffee maker and filters under the microwave," I said pointing to a cabinet that he missed.
Patrick raised his eyebrow at me and did as I suggested. Sure enough, there was everything I said in the place where I said it would be.
"How'd you do that?" he asked leaning over the counter slightly.
"Well, it's common sense and though I have my concerns about her being a smart girl since she is dealing with Joe, she's female. It's a genetic code to have common sense," I explained.
"And us males? We lack that?" he asked pouring water into the coffee maker.
"Basically," I replied.
Patrick's head popped up and he smiled over at me. I just sat there. He just shook his head and went back to concentrating on making coffee.
"You sound bitter," he said quietly not looking me in the eyes.
"Can ya blame me?" I asked bluntly.
"No. No I can't," he said getting more and more quiet.
We sat there in silence listening to the coffee trickle into the coffee pot avoiding one another's glances.
We were broken out of our thoughts by Patrick's phone buzzing on the counter. I saw the screen light up with four letters I didn't want to see. Pete.
Patrick looked at me almost scared and reached for his phone quickly.
"Yeah," he said into the receiver.
His eyes never left mine as he talked to the boy that I had given my heart to so long ago. I couldn't breathe; just knowing that Pete was on the other side of that phone conversation was almost too much to bear.
"Tomorrow night? Yeah, sure. Ok. Bye," Patrick said and hung up the phone.
"Pete," I said simply.
"Yeah," Patrick breathed out.
I just looked down. Why was I here?
"Why am I here?" I asked out loud.
Patrick looked over at me with a hurt expression.
"Because I missed you. I want to try to get back something if anything of what we used to have, Iz. God, don't you feel the same way?" he asked irritated.
"I did. I felt it for five years. Five years, Patrick. I wanted nothing more than to have my life with you guys back, but at one point I had to stop living in the past and start living for myself," I said upset.
How dare he accuse me of not wanting to rekindle our relationship.
"Look, Iz, I know how hard it was for you," Patrick started with a more soothing tone.
"You know? You don't know! You have no idea what I went through. It was hell, Patrick. I had to sit there for three years just wondering what you guys were up to, listening to the rumors, and hoping one day you were going to call me. But you know what, Patrick? You never called," I said trying to remind myself to breathe.
"I know and I'm sorry. It's complicated. Everything is complicated," Patrick said sounding defeated.
"Life is complicated, Patrick. But we deal with it. We don't hide from it and we sure as hell don't try to avoid it by taking a bottle of pills!" I spat out.
"He was upset and he didn't know how to deal. He regrets that now. He knows now that it was a mistake," Patrick said in almost a whisper defending his best friend.
"What ever. He's a coward and so are you," I stood up to leave.
"Izzy, please, stop," Patrick pleaded and grabbed my upper arm to stop me from storming off.
I just looked at his hand gripped on my arm and then back at him. I'm sure if I had a death glare, he was receiving it at that moment.
"This is definitely not how I wanted today to go," he said loosening his grip and sounding quite sad.
I softened my features.
"Please sit down," Patrick motioned for me to return to my seat.
I took a deep breath and sat down.
"I'm sorry. I guess I have a lot of pent up anger. I shouldn't have taken it out on you. You don't deserve it," I said fidgeting.
"No, I do deserve it," he laughed setting a full cup of coffee in front of me.
"Thanks," I whispered and reached for the cup.
Our hands brushed together slightly and I felt an electric wave jolt over my entire body.
"So, is he in love?" I asked looking at the dark substance in my cup.
"He thinks he is," Patrick said shrugging slightly.
"You don't?" I asked looking up at him.
"No way," Patrick said laughing.
"Why do you say that?" I asked at his reaction.
"Because she is the complete and total opposite of you," Patrick said simply.
I looked over at him confused.
"Pete was obviously in love with you, so how could he love someone that was the complete opposite of you," Patrick rationalized.
"People change, Patrick. We've all changed," I said taking a sip of my coffee.
"Not that much," Patrick stated.
I just shook my head. I couldn't help but get the feeling that Patrick was up to something.
"So, are you in love?" Patrick asked turning the tables.
"I love JB," I said nodding.
"But?" Patrick asked knowing there was more.
"We've only been together for a year, Patrick. There's more life we need to share together before I go off and get married. No use in rushing things," I said avoiding his accusing glances.
"A year is actually a long time, Iz," he said laughing slightly.
I just shrugged.
I ran down the steps of the stadium as the National Anthem was being sung over the PA system. I could see that JB was staring in the opposite direction as everyone else. He was looking at my empty seat probably worried about where I was.
I finally got to my seat as the last note was hit on the word Brave. JB's face lit up and he smiled over at me. I waved and mouthed sorry to him. He just nodded his head and winked.
I slumped in my chair taking a deep breath. I had lost track of time while at Patrick's. It was odd, but even after the five years of not seeing him we were able to fall into the same old routine. I missed that and I felt oddly refreshed.
Patrick apologized up and down for allowing our communication to be lost. And in a way I understand why he did it. Pete had an intriguing personality where he could get anyone to do anything just by his charm.
Before I could run out of the town home with apologies of leaving so abruptly, Patrick and I promised to see each other again before my trip to Chicago was over. It really was good to see him again.
"So, some of the guys and their significant others were thinking about hitting a club tonight. What do you think about that?" JB asked after their third win against the White Sox.
"Tonight?" I asked.
"Yeah, we have a two day break before we play the Cubs. It might be fun," he suggested as he rubbed his hand lovingly up and down my arm.
"Sure," I shrugged smiling down at him.
He smiled up at me with his baby face features. I could loose myself in his smile.
We entered the club with the music blaring loudly.
"Did I tell you that you looked stunning?" JB asked in my ear sending shivers down my spine.
I looked down at my black and white dress that showed off my calves. I turned around and put my arms around him.
"No, you didn't mention it," I said kissing his lips.
"Well, you do," he said kissing me again.
"You too," I said continuing our display of affection.
"Get a room," I spun quickly to see one of JB's teammates standing with a flavor of the night hanging on his arm.
"Hey, Marcus. Where are the other guys?" JB asked.
"Upstairs," he pointed towards a staircase that had a rope tying it off.
VIP, it was one of the perks when you were dating a professional baseball player.
"Come on," JB smiled at me grabbing my hand tightly and pulling me towards the stairs.
We made ourselves comfortable and partook in drinking some beer. It was nice that the boys had swept the White Sox. They were in a much better and care free mood than before the series began.
"Let's give a warm welcome to our celebrity DJ for the evening, bassist of Fall Out Boy, Pete Wentz," I heard blare over the speakers.
I nearly choked on my beer causing me to start a coughing fit.
"Babe, you ok?" JB asked rubbing my back.
"Yeah, wrong tube," I choked out.
I couldn't believe it. What were the chances that in all the nights and all the clubs, Pete would be doing a DJ appearance at this one? I couldn't believe my luck.
'Perhaps it's fate.'
I could hear Ady's voice ringing in my ears. I shut my eyes and shook my head slightly. I didn't believe in fate.
I looked over towards the dance floor and saw him standing in the DJ booth with headphones over his ears. I felt my breath hitch in my throat and my heart skip a beat at the sight of him. I then looked past him and saw the rest of the gang in a roped off area on the ground level. They looked like they were having such a great time and I found myself longing to be down there with them.
"What are you looking at?" JB asked looking down towards the dance floor noticing that I wasn't partaking in the conversation anymore.
"Nothing," I smiled and patted his knee.
I tried with all my might to pay attention to what was going on right in front of me, but I couldn't help but stare down at Pete.
"Do you wanna dance?" JB whispered in my ear causing me to forget about Pete.
"Sure," I said back.
JB grabbed my beer from my hand and set it on the table in front of us.
"Where are you guys going?" Marcus asked.
"We are going to dance," JB said matter-o-factly.
He put his arm around my waist and led me down the stairs to the dance floor. We flowed into the crowd of people dancing along to what ever music Pete had blaring over the speakers.
JB grabbed my hand and pulled me into the middle. He spun me around in a circle and put his hands around my waist pulling me near him. I wrapped my arms lovingly around his neck as we grinded and swayed to the music.
He leaned down and kissed me not caring who in the world would see us. That's what I liked most about JB. He was the most open person I ever dated. It killed me that he could be more open with me than I could him, but I felt that my past in Illinois would only hinder our relationship.
While lost in my thoughts, my eyes darted open at the feeling that we were being watched. I looked over and saw Pete's eyes on me. Again, his face showed no emotion and I broke away from JB's kiss.
"You ok?" he smiled at me.
I looked over at Pete, who was now not playing any attention to me, but his music. I then looked back into JB's eyes.
"Yeah. I'm fine," I pulled him closer to me.
"We're gonna slow it down for you guys now," Pete said into the microphone.
I looked back over at him and met his gaze once more as the opening chords to the song started.
"I've decided that I'm never going to grow up," I said looking through some stupid gossip magazine that my mother had bought.
"Yeah, ok," Pete said sarcastically.
We had just finished our sophomore year of high school and we were still at the point in life where we had little to no responsibilities. I certainly didn't have a reason to worry about growing up quite yet.
"No really. I mean obviously I'll have to take on responsibilities and shit like that, but I'm not going to grow up. I'm going to always remember to have fun. You know, stay young at heart," I explained my decision to Pete.
"Well, I think I'm going to stay young forever. I'm never getting old. I'm never going to take on responsibility. Being an adult does not appeal to me," Pete said back.
"Are you saying you're going to stay young in the flesh forever or are you just saying that you are going to be young at heart like me?" I asked looking over at him.
"Young in the flesh forever," he said smiling up at me.
I just rolled my eyes at him.
"Yeah, well, when you do find the fountain of youth, let me know. We'll paten that shit and get famous," I laughed.
"Right on," Pete agreed and nodded as he reached over for my stereo.
Suddenly my room was being filled with the sounds of Youth Group singing 'Forever Young.'
"Well, that's just not a coincidence," Pete said staring at my radio.
"No kidding," I said in shock.
We sat in silence for a moment listening to the lyrics.
"Well, there ya go," he said looking over at me.
"What's that?" I asked confused.
"That's our song. It's fate," he said shrugging as if there was no question.
"Do best friends have a song? I mean that sounds like a couple thing to do," I said to him even though being a couple wouldn't be the worst thing in the world in my mind.
"Who cares about the norm, Izzy? Since when do we follow the crowd?" Pete asked.
"True," I said and smiled over at him and Pete returned my gaze with his ever charming smile. I melted.
That was it. We had our song. We were going to be forever young and we were going to be forever young together.
I broke away from JB and started to walk towards the back. I started to feel faint and I needed to get out of that room.
"Iz, hey!" Patrick said shocked to see me in the club.
I stopped dead in my tracks and stared at him.
"You ok?" he asked concerned.
"Izzy?" JB asked from behind me.
This was too much. I turned quickly on my heel and walked past a very confused JB towards the entrance and the bathrooms. I could feel JB walking closely behind me.
I finally dodged the crowd of couples dancing closely to the song that Pete declared ours so many years ago. He knew exactly what he was doing.
"Izzy, stop," JB said grabbing my arm to stop me.
I was so close. I could see the signs for the restroom just up ahead.
I looked over at JB and saw the concern in his eyes. He had no idea what was wrong. How could he know? Suddenly my gaze went past his when I noticed another set of eyes showing concern. It was Pete. JB noticed my gaze and turned his head and noticed Pete standing not too far behind him. Pete was staring at me directly in my eyes. My eyes averted even more to see Patrick standing there staring at me. This was the point where I just couldn't take it anymore.
I felt JB's grip loosen from around my wrist and I bolted for the bathroom.
AN: Well, I updated and I just want you all to know that this chapter is up due to the fact that Mother Nature dumped a shit load of snow on me and had me snowed in, so I couldn't go to work today. So you should all thank her for that.