And so, now it really begins?
Get Mentally Prepared for the Consequences
May 26, 2006
Lindsey stood outside of the large wooden door leading to Andy's apartment and tapped her foot on the tiled hallway floor. She wasn't exactly sure what to expect inside. She wasn't exactly sure what there was for her to say besides "Thank you, but I must be leaving." That was the only thing she was good at after all: running away.
When she had finally worked out how to the goodbye conversation would go in her head, how she would insist she had to leave and not take anything but agreement in reply, she knocked softly.
"You're home!" Andy smiled opening the door wide.
She shifted uncomfortably in the hallway. She didn't like that word; she didn't have a home. "I'm back yes," She corrected, "But not for very long."
Ushering her into the apartment, Andy led her to the dinning room with pure excitement dancing in his eyes. He had almost been afraid she wasn't going to return to him. As the sun set and he hurried through a vegan cookbook he hardly ever used he had already convinced himself that she was gone for good, just so if were true he wouldn't feel so abandoned. His sanity couldn't afford to be left again. Although after knowing the girl a day, he felt crazy for thinking she could affect him so much. "I made dinner." He announced.
"I'm really not hungry." She lied. She hadn't eaten anything but that croissant all day, she was starving, but staying for dinner wasn't part of her carefully devised plan. She was to say goodbye and collect her things and then walk until she found somewhere to sleep for the night. Maybe she wouldn't sleep at all. "I just came to grab my things and..."
Andy laughed noticing her voice trail off at the sight of the dinner he had made.
"What is it?" She asked crinkling up her noise.
"Pan fried tofu, with steamed kale, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. I've got some Eggplant Lasagna I can heat up if you don't like it though." He explained.
Lindsey looked hesitantly at the two plates on the neatly set table. He had gone to some much trouble for her, but who in their right mind would actually eat what he had set out for them.
"I'm more of a cheeseburger and French fry kind of girl," She admitted.
He laughed and pulled out the nearest chair so she could sit down, "I'm vegan."
"Oh." She replied taking a seat. There was no other response that could be formed over the screaming in her head. She needed to leave, there was no time for small talk, there was no time to try and stomach this dinner. She had to get away. Andy smiled at her from across the table. She sighed and quietly placed her napkin in her lap.
"So you'll at least try it?" He asked hopefully. She nodded cringing as she pierced the biggest mass with her fork. She held her breath and raised the fork to her mouth. Andy looked as though it was difficult not to watch her. She really hated being seen.
The first bite didn't go down as smoothly as she had hoped and the carrot juice with cinnamon didn't wash it down any better. "So you eat like this all the time?" She choked out pushing her food around her plate.
"Most of the time it's Mountain Dew and whatever I can heat up in the microwave," he admitted, "I promise, mock meats are a bit more carnivore-friendly, you'll hardly tell the difference."
Lindsey didn't like what that implied. He was making it seem like she'd be around long enough to try it. But she wouldn't, she couldn't. She needed to leave as soon as possible. Even if she was stuck in Chicago until she got her car back, she couldn't stay with him, she couldn't let anyone get close to her. She had to maintain the isolation she had worked so hard for. Andy made that impossible.
"Where are your friends tonight?" She asked feeling a bit more confident after swallowing a few more bites.
"I'm pretty sure they moved the video game tournament to Joe's apartment. They can get a bit overwhelming," He laughed more to himself then to her, "I wouldn't want their antics to scare you off or anything."
"What makes you think I am that easily rattled," She scoffed. Andy gazed at her apologetically. It was impossible to predict her reactions yet he blamed himself every time her voice stressed in reply to something he said.
"I'm sorry," Lindsey muttered over the sudden silence, "I now I'm a bit hard to get along with most of the time, but I was hoping that it might be okay if I stayed just a few more nights."
Andy adjusted his glasses and took another sip of carrot juice. At least she didn't completely hate him.
"I'm working to get my car back, so I can get back on the road. I promise I won't be too much trouble."
"Where are you headed exactly?" He asked out of pure curiosity. She didn't reply. Fair enough. "That would be fine." He said gently.
"I just have one condition," She announced placing her fork and napkin in her plate.
"Shouldn't I be the one with the conditions?" He joked.
Lindsey maintained her serious demeanor. "I can't possibly take your bed from you again."
"I can't just let you sleep on the couch," Andy argued. The couch was lumpy and uncomfortable. It was impossible to sleep soundly and no matter how hard you tried to avoid it, you always woke up with a horrible crick in your neck.
"I insist." She said standing with her plate in her hand. Her eyes asked exactly what to do with it.
"Well, when you put that way. I guess I have no choice." Andy shrugged. Lindsey smiled, satisfied. She had been born a burden; it was a habit she was trying to break. "Here let me take that for you." Andy suggested toward her plate.
"No, no, I've got it." She nodded following him toward the kitchen.
Andy filled the sink with warm water and simply watched as Lindsey took both plates and stood before the sink. With an odd sense of resentment for the food stuck to the porcelain, she shook her hair out of her face so she could concentrate on scrubbing. Fearing that if he insisted she was a guest and hardly needed to worry about something as trivial as washing the dishes she would only snap at him again, Andy hopefully suggested something else.
"Do you want to watch a movie?" He asked hopefully.
Lindsey paused a sponge in one hand and a plate in the other and just gazed at Andy. She couldn't remember the last night she just stayed in at night to watch a movie. The comfortable familiarity of just the thought pushed any inclination of escaping from her mind. "That would be nice." She smiled. She almost seemed normal when she smiled.
With arms crossed tightly around a pillow, Lindsey shielded most of her face from the movie Andy had chosen. The darkened room was almost as haunting as the scene lit up on the screen. Lindsey closed her eyes tightly as the main character let out a murderous scream and the thud of another dead body echoed on floorboards.
Andy's laugh sounded haunting from beside her. "I thought you weren't that easily rattled," He teased.
Opening her eyes just long enough to reply she pulled the pillow away from her face so he could hear her. "This is a bit different." She said pointing a nervous finger towards the TV, "How can you even watch this?" She asked choosing the wrong moment to direct her attention back to the screen. Blood splattered against what had become a tranquil scene causing Lindsey to shriek.
"Come here," Andy placed an arm around her protectively drawing her into his body. That only made it worse. Lindsey curled her legs up beneath her as her head rested on Andy's shoulder. She still clutched the pillow closely to her chest and avoiding looking at the television. Even with her eyes closed, her body shook with fears. Too many nights had past accompanied by the sounds of horrified screams. They were the kind of screams that haunted her thoughts and murdered her dreams.
"Goodnight Lindsey." Andy whispered removing his arm from around her. She murmured quietly when he made sure she was comfortable on the couch. The movie had been over for over an hour, but Andy just couldn't leave her. Even asleep her body trembled and she whimpered quietly. He had to ignore the soft tears that had soaked into his shirt.
Not long after Andy disappeared into his bedroom, Lindsey stirred on the couch. Her eyes fluttered open nervously. The apartment, which in daylight seemed welcoming, made her uneasy in the dark. Shadows blew past the window laughing at her before disappearing into the night. Her heart beat with insecurity.
As the door emitted a sound that seemed reminiscent to every poorly made horror film Lindsey hurried from the couch into Andy's bedroom. Closing the door quickly behind her, Lindsey stopped to lean against it as her chest shuddered with heavy breaths.
"Lindsey," Andy spoke calmly through the dark, "Is everything alright?"
"The door," She replied alarm evident in her tone.
"It was probably just Patrick getting back from Joe's." Andy assured her.
"Oh." She sighed turning back to the bedroom door, "Okay." She sighed turning the knob slowly. "Alright." She gulped now that the couch looked so far away.
"Lindsey." Andy yawned, "If it would make you feel any better, you can stay in here tonight."
She closed the door slowly behind her. That was one of the most horrible ideas she had ever heard. "Stay. In Here. Right." She murmured slowing climbing into the spot Andy had made for her. Yes, this was absolutely a horrible idea.