I refuse to summarize, because a) I suck at it and b) no one reads this anyhow. Oh yeah, swearing.
"Okay, well I'm glad you're having a good time. See you tomorrow night?"
"Yep. Meet me at baggage. Love you!"
"Love you back."
As soon as I hang up with Lucy, my phone starts ringing again; it's Patrick.
"Hello?" I put it on speakerphone and set it on the counter, my now free hands reaching for a box of cereal.
"What, no sassy Alexis greeting?"
"Not today, sorry. What's up?"
"What's the noise?"
"I'm rummaging around for a spoon. Did you really call to listen in on my cereal soundtrack? Because if so, I'm hanging up now." Aha! My lucky spoon.
"Cap'n Crunch. Now really, what do you want?" Where is my milk? Do I not have milk?
"Well, I was calling to see if you wanted to get a hot dog, but since you're already eating..."
Patrick's voice finally wakes Tatum, who prances in, tail wagging, to greet him, only to plop disappointedly onto the floor once she realizes she's not here.
"Please. Like I'd ever let a breakfast food get in the way of consuming meat. Especially meat in a tube."
I poke the dog with my toe and she rolls her head to look at me, her big eyes imploring me to give her a biscuit for her troubles. I oblige as Patrick scoffs.
"'Meat in a tube,' Alexis? Grossest thing ever."
"No you're not."
"Okay, you caught me. Where are you?"
"Uhm... I'm at my mom's."
Now it's my turn to scoff. "You want me to drive half an hour, if traffic is decent, to get a hot dog with you? You really want to escape the parental deathgrip, don't you?"
"You guessed it. Coming?"
He's so clearly desperate I can't help but smile while reshelving my cereal.
"See you in an hour."
"So. Thanksgiving is next week."
"Yup." I dunk my fry into the cheese sauce and silently thank god for dairy farmers.
"Got any plans?" He sounds overly chipper, which means he's up to something.
"Christmas shopping. I guess Hanukkah shopping for Joseph, but I think he'll just get his gift on Christmas too. I'm not that accommodating. You?"
"Dinner with the family, of course. I conned Anna into coming, which makes it more nerve-wracking. Not that she hasn't met them, but you know how my mom gets around the holidays..."
I nod as Patrick babbles on, curious as to what he wants.
"So, anyway, you're not, uh, you're not doing anything special then?"
"Every moment I'm alive is special, Patrick." I wave flippantly with the remainder of my french fry before popping it into my mouth and grinning.
"Oh god, do not get philosophical."
I laugh as he shakes his head at me and resumes fidgeting with his straw.
"Well, since you're not busy, I was thinking you could come to dinner at my house. I don't like the idea of you being alone on the holidays."
I smush up my face as I choose my words. Tom already invited me to his family get-together, which I also declined. I'm not sure why everyone thinks I need a babysitter.
"Patrick, I really appreciate the offer, and you know I love your family. But I really do need to get some shopping done, and I'd hate to impose. Plus I've been feeling a bit under the weather lately, and I would really rather not be the sickly dinner guest. Especially in front of your whole family."
"It's no big deal, my mom would take care of you. It's what she does, she... /moms/."
I sigh and put my hand over his. "Thank you, Patrick, but no. Maybe another time."
He frowns slightly and nods. "Whatever makes you happy, Alexis."
"Lexi, it's me. We really need to talk about this. Please call me back." Tom hesitates for a moment, then the message ends and I sigh, tossing my phone onto the couch next to me.
Thanksgiving Day, he called in the early afternoon to check in, make sure I was feeling alright, all that. He quickly noticed I was drunk and asked me how long I'd been drinking, and I, thinking honesty would be the best policy, told him I'd woken at nine and started shortly thereafter. Of course, I refused to tell him why I wanted, really, needed, to get hammered. Subsequently, he flipped out on me. Basically, I'm an immature, selfish child who hides from her problems and would rather resign herself to being miserable and living in the past than consider ever moving on and being happy. As for Tom, he's a jerk, simply because he vocalized everything I already knew (and hated) about myself. Since the fight, I've been ignoring him, trying in vain to justify jeopardizing the only good relationship I've ever had. I finish my drink as I mull it over, laughing a little at the irony as I throw away another empty beer bottle. If Tom could see me now...
As if god had read my mind and was feeling particularly vindictive, the door clicks open and Tom walks in.
"I really should not have given you that key."
"Lexi, we need to talk."
"No, Thomas, I don't think we do."
"Are you drunk?"
"Absolutely not," I roll my eyes at his accusation.
"Yes. Yes, you are. God, Lex, this is exactly what I'm talking about. We should be working through this, getting over this stupid-ass fight, but you're home, avoiding me, and getting trashed. What is this? Do you really not want us to be together?"
"That's not the issue. I'm a grown woman, I can make my own decisions. I don't need you to sit around judging me."
He lets out a big breath and shakes his head. "I have never once passed judgment on you. But I feel like I have a right to be concerned about you, and I really don't think you're taking care of yourself. For god's sake, you're sick!"
"I'm not sick. I'm all better. The illness is gone, wiped clean from my body, expelled like so much waste!" I shout, waving my arms wildly.
"What the hell does that mean?"
"It makes no difference what it means."
"The more you talk, the less sense you make, you know that?" Tom remains the quiet one, seemingly calm, but I can see in his eyes that he's dying to scream back at me.
"Anyway, what does it matter to you if I'm drinking? It's my body."
"What does it... Jesus, you're right," he scoffs. "How fucking stupid of me, to worry about my own girlfriend. Do me a favor, huh? Call me when you grow the fuck up." He slams the door behind him and I slump down on the kitchen floor, debating whether or not I should go after him. Tom's never stormed out like that (granted, we've never fought like this before), and judging by his last words, chasing him down in the rain might be a bad idea.
Sighing in resignation, I stand up and head for the refrigerator, grabbing a beer and walking upstairs to my bedroom. It may not be the intelligent choice, but if he's going to accuse me of being a drunk, I'm damn well going to live up to it.
"Come on, wake up," I mutter, digging my hands deeper into my pockets and glaring at the clouds. I've been banging on the door for five minutes, hoping Lexi will open up before the impending snowstorm hits. Finally I call it quits, pulling my driver's license from my wallet and popping the door open, thankful that Lexi rarely uses the deadbolt.
"What do you want?" Her voice filters out of the dark and I see her, bundled up on the couce watching A Walk To Remember.
"Shitty movie. Why does it smell like cookies in here?"
"I baked. What do you want?"
"Oh. To find out why you're avoiding everyone. Tom's worried."
"Tell him I'm sober; maybe he'll stop running his fucking mouth," she spits, her voice more bitter than I've ever heard.
"So, you baked?" I try to change the subject, since her rocky relationship with... well, everyone is clearly not a good topic.
"Cookies, brownies, fucking apple pie. Help yourself." Her voice is gravelly, as if she's been alternately smoking and screaming for a week straight. Knowing Lexi, that's a valid possibility.
"So what brought on this Suzy Homemaker stint?" I try to keep my voice light, so as not to let on that I'm a little scared right now.
"I'm trying my hand at sobriety. Baking seemed a logical replacement until I found myself eating half a sheet of cookies every damn time I wanted a drink. Also, I'm running out of storage room."
She's not kidding. My vision pans slowly around the kitchen, taking in counter tops covered in various baking dishes, baggies, and Tupperware containers. "Whoa. Have you slept at all, or are you just Martha Stewart-ing nonstop these days?"
Her only response is to turn up the volume, and I glance over to see Lexi crying, the light off of the television making her tears flicker.
"Hey, it's okay, calm down." I sit down and wrap my arm around her shoulder. "Where's Tatum? Maybe she can cheer you up."
"She's hiding. She only comes out to eat or go to the bathroom. I think she's afraid of me; I've taken to throwing things lately."
"Oh," I blurt, unsure of what to say. "What's wrong? I mean, really? I know it's not just Tom. I can tell."
She shakes her head sadly and I hug her tighter. "Talk to me."
Lexi starts to speak, but before she can form an intelligible word, her voice cracks and sobs wrack her body. I pull her to me, blown away by her outburst. I've never seen Lex this distraught, and quite frankly, I'm shocked.
"Do you want me to call someone? Patrick, Lucy, anybody?"
She doesn't answer, only cried harder, and I fish my Sidekick out of my hoodie pocket. As I'm scrolling to Lucy's number, Lex puts her hand on my arm.
"Please don't," she whispers amid sniffles. "I can't see her. I don't want to see anyone right now."
"Well, I'm not leaving you like this, so you'll have to put up with me. You don't have to talk, but I'm staying."
Lexi nods and leans back into the couch, her whole body radiating exhaustion. She's calmed down, although tears are still running down her face, and that puts me at ease, if only a little.
"Stay here," I tell her, as if she's going to run away or something. I hurry into the kitchen, hoping she doesn't break down again while I'm gone. Quickly filling a glass with water and snatching up a plate of what looks like peanut butter cookies, I walk back to the couch, where Lexi has finally stopped crying.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
She wipes her face on her sleeve and takes the water from my outstretched hand, taking a sip before staring desolately into it. She attempts a smile while shaking her head when I offer a cookie, so I grab myself one and set the plate on the coffee table.
"Come on, Lex. I hate seeing you like this. It's killing me. And I know for a fact that you'll feel better if you let it out. I promise, I won't tell anyone if you don't want me to."
"Promise?" She makes eye contact with me for the first time since I got here, and my heart breaks when I see how lost and scared her eyes are.
"I swear on my life. And on this cookie; it's delicious." She doesn't say anything and I feel bad for trying to joke when she's obviously hurting. "Really, I promise. What's the matter, kid?"
Lexi clears her throat and looks around nervously, as if someone could be hiding in a corner, listening in. "You remember, a couple days before Thanksgiving, when I went to the doctor?"
"Yeah. You had the flu, right?"
"Not exactly, no. I mean, no I didn't."
"What do you mean? What happened?"
She takes a shaky breath and wiggles her toes. "I was having really bad stomach and back pains. And, uh, and bleeding."
"Bleeding? What do mean, bleeding?"
Her jaw tenses and she widens her eyes, as if imploring me to shut up and think.
"But I... oh. Oh, god."
She nods and looks down at her hands, folding and unfolding in her lap, and the terse silence inspires a sinking feeling in my stomach.
"Lexi, what happened?"
The tears start again and I watch her try to swallow them back, my throat tightening more each second.
"I, uhm, I miss..." She visibly attempts to relax, and I brace myself for what I know is coming. "I had a miscarriage."
Chapter title from "The Kids Are All Fucked Up" by Cobra Starship.
I go swimming now.