‘C’ is for coward

“Lilo,”  Erin sighed, putting her arm around my shoulder.  “You don’t know – it could be just an expression.  Like ‘Honey, I’m home’.  I say that shit to you all the time, but you know you’re not my honey.”

I inhaled deeply and looked down at my phone:

Jason:  (9:38pm) hey baby…meet u there in an hour, k?

Erin knew what this meant.  Jason knew what this meant…I knew what this meant.  I stared at my phone for a long while.  I thought about that first day I saw that goofy smile.  I thought back to the first time I spent the night at his house, waking from the nightmare of what John had done and how he held me as I cried myself back to sleep without ever pushing me to tell him why.  I thought about the moment I fell in love with him…when he came to pick me up and said, “I love that shirt on you.”.

I stood up, took two steps and hurled my phone at the cinderblock wall.  “Let’s go get fucking wasted.”
“Rock on.”  Erin nodded.

I put on the sluttiest top I owned, opened the door and said, “We ride.”

***

My relationship with “C” started out like most college relationships do – we were introduced by a mutual friend…that and he lived two doors down from me.  Lord knows I liked him immediately, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get serious right away.

But the more we were around each other, the more and more I found myself falling in love with him.  He understood me – listened to me.  He knew me in a way that no other man ever could or would and every time we parted ways I felt like I was dying slowly.

For what would I do if he left me like all the men in my life thus far?  What if he was exactly like the others?

***

“Can you tell me why I have to dress up again?” Erin moaned as I attempted to zip up her top.”
“Because,” I grunted, “ugh Erin straighten up!”  Erin took a deep breath and I finally unstuck the zipper that had been giving us so much trouble.  “And we’re going because everyone is going to be there and ‘C’ is going.”
“Ugh, Lauren.”  Erin whined.  She only called me Lauren when she had something serious to say, “Don’t you think it’s a bit hypocritical?”
“Don’t tell me you’re taking his fucking side.” I rolled my eyes as I affixed my ear rings.  “He’s the one who…”
“Who what?  He said he was sorry and that they didn’t even do anything!”

I was silent…I knew she was right.  Jason had called me numerous times after I received his rogue text message.  He knew I knew.  He knew he fucked up.  The only thing he didn’t know is if I was ever going to speak to him again.  And, in my mind, I had resolved to listening to sad music and attepmting to get over it after I was done being bitter.

***

It was three am on Saturday when Erin and I heard a pounding on our chamber door.

“WHAT. THE. FUCK.” Erin screamed.
“GO THE FUCK AWAY!” I screamed back.  “WE’RE NOT HOME.”

“Lauren!  Lauren Sharkey!”  I heard a familiar voice call, “Lauren Sharkey you open this god damn door right now!”
“Whaaaaa…” Erin mumbled, slightly frightened.  “Dude,” she whispered from across the room, “is that your dad?”
“No,” I whispered back, “my parents are in Buffalo visitng my uncle.”
“He knows your name though dude.” Erin said cringing.  Erin had a habit of being very paranoid in stressful situations – like the time we broke into the mansion (we’ll get to that later).

“Lauren!” the voice called.
“Identify yourself!”  Erin commanded, getting up and moving towards the door.
“It’s Jesse Fields now open this god damn door!”

I was fully awake now.  “Oh my god.” I gasped rushing past Erin to open the door.

There he was…goofy smile and all.

“What the fuck are you doing here?”
“Well, you wouldn’t return my calls.” he panted.
“That’s because I’m not your ‘baby’.” I said, attempting to close the door.  “Jesse, move.  Go home.”
“No…you don’t get to do this.”  he stammered.  “You don’t get to be the only one hurting right now.”
“I am hurting!  I’m the one who has to get rogue text messages to find out my boyfriend is scamming on some other girl!”
“Look, look, you’re right.”  he sighed, running his fingers through his hair in frustration.

“God damn it Lauren.” he said, punching the door.  “I fucking love you, okay?  I love you and I don’t want to be with anyone else.  I knew the first part but I didn’t know the second until I fucked up.”
“Good to know.  Good night.”
“Look, just wait okay?  Nothing happened.  We met for a drink after work and that was it.  I never had any intention of doing anything with her and…fuck I’m sorry.”
“Me too…I’m sorry I wasted my ‘I love you’ on you, you sack of shit.”

I slammed the door so hard that the people living next to us screamed, “God damn it!  Shut the fuck up already.”

“Lilo…” Erin said, “he did drive all the way down here.”
“It doesn’t change what he did.”
“It doesn’t change what he didn’t do either.”

I took a deep breath and fell into her arms.  “I love you man.”
“I love you too, my crazy Asian.  Now go out there.”

I opened the door, ran my fingers through his massively disheveled head and kissed him.  “I hate you.”
“I know.”  he replied.

Jesse took me to the hotel room he had rented for the weekend and we made love furiously before he left Sunday night.

“Lauren,” he said, before getting into that beat up Jetta, “I love you, you know that don’t you?”
“Yes.”  I lied.
“Good…” he sighed, relieved and kissing me one last time.  “Because it’s not going to change anytime soon.”

***

“Yeah, well, that was three weeks ago and he hasn’t fucking been here since.  Plus, ‘C’ made me promise I would come tonight.”
“Ugh.”  Erin scoffed, rolling her eyes.  “I fucking hate that guy.  I don’t know why you hang out with him.  He seems so sketchy.”
“Not sketchier than any other guy out there.  Let’s go…we’re late.”

“C” always got dressed up for parties – I guess it was because people always expected him to be there.  He was always referred to as “the caviar”. I hated the fact that I always had to share him with everyone…and tonight was no different.

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