I can’t sleep. I toss and turn in bed for hours, unable to get my mind to shut off. When tossing and turning doesn’t seem to work, I make my way downstairs for a glass of water. My eyes take in Kaleb, who still sleeps soundly on my couch. He’s probably the reason why I can’t sleep. I’m restless having him here at my house.
I prop myself up on the island, facing away from him. I hold the bottle of watertight in my hands. I don’t know why I can’t get the look in Kaleb’s eyes out of my mind. Finding him on my front porch earlier flashes through my mind. He looked broken and scared. I can still picture the blood dripping down his face vividly. I closed my eyes and took in a deep breath.
I spin around quickly, almost dropping my water in the process. Kaleb is sitting up on the couch looking at me with big, confused eyes. He rubs his eyes and stands to his feet. He sways for a moment before he steadies himself. He crosses the living room and stops several feet away from me.
“What am I doing here? What happened?” His voice is raspy and filled with confusion.
I clear my throat, “You don’t remember?”
He shakes his head, leans against the door frame, and rubs the back of his neck. “I just remember...” His eyes go wide as he trails off.
“Remember what?” I question.
“Forget it,” He snaps, “I don’t know why I’d come here.”
“You showed up on my front porch bleeding and totally hammered,” I explained, my fingers were still shaking. I hoped he couldn’t see them.
“I’m sorry, it was a mistake.” He tells me.
I don’t know why, but his words hurt. I don’t speak, because I don’t trust myself.
“I’m going to leave.” He tells me and stumbles towards the door. He must not be completely sober yet.
“Kaleb, stop,” I call after him, pushing myself off the bar stool. I grip his arm. “I called Irene already and told her you were staying here tonight. I thought you’d be out cold until the morning.”
He spins to face me, “You called her?”
I nod, “She has your phone. I told you this earlier, but you were really drunk. I was out with Bash and she called me from your phone. She was frantic, Kaleb. She asked me if I’d seen you. She said that something had happened and you took off.”
He closes his eyes and sighs, “I didn’t want her to call you.”
“I know.” I release my hold on him and cross my arms over my chest. “But for some reason, she thought you would show up here. I guess she was right. You’re clearly not okay to drive yet, so you can stay on my couch still.”
“I can’t.” He shakes his head and takes an unsteady step back towards my door. He places a hand on the wall to support himself.
“Kaleb, stop being an idiot.” I snap. “You’re not leaving.” He stops moving but doesn’t turn around. He stays facing the door, his hand gripping the wall for support. “Please, stay.” His shoulders visibly tense at my last words. He turns around slowly and catches my eyes. “You don’t have to like it and you don’t have to talk to me, but please don’t walk out of this house right now.”
We stare at each other for a minute before he nods reluctantly. I step towards him and guide him back to the couch. He sits down slowly, his eyes never once leaving mine. I leave him there and quickly grab a bottle of water from the fridge. When I came back into the living room, he was messing with the band-aid at his temple. I handed him the water and he gulped it down.
“You went out with pretty-boy?” He says slowly, his eyes focused on the water bottle in his hands.
I did not want to have a repeat of this conversation, “His name is Bash.”
“Did you have fun?” He asks, catching me off guard. Earlier, he’d made fun of Bash.
I nod, “I did, yeah.”
I sit down on the other side of the couch. Silence works its way through the room. A few minutes later, I’m aware of Kaleb staring at me. I look over at him. His eyes aren’t as glassy as they were before, but I can tell he’s still slightly drunk. He looks exhausted.
“I’m sorry about what I said about your dad at Pete’s,” Kaleb says in a soft voice.
“It’s alright, you didn’t know.” I say with a sigh.
“I said something about your parents when I showed up at your house to.” He reminds me. “You should’ve told me then.”
“It’s not something I just go around telling people, Kaleb. Specially not people I barely tolerate.” I explain.
He nods, “You’re right, I’m sorry.”
“I know what it feels like,” He tells me. My eyes snap to his. “Not having parents.”
I want to ask what happened to his, but I keep my mouth shut.
“We’re both lucky though, to have someone we care about take us in.”
I nod, agreeing.
I don’t remember falling asleep, but when I wake up the next morning I’m still on the couch. I sit up and a blanket falls over my shoulder. I hadn’t had a blanket last night. When I look over, Kaleb is gone. I stand to my feet and look around my empty house. Leo isn’t home yet and I’m all alone.
When I step into my kitchen, there’s a takeout cup of coffee and a brown bag from The Bean sitting on my counter. A smile breaks across my face. I pick up the coffee and notice a post-it note stuck to the side. The hand writing is messy and small.
Thanks, Dork. -K
“You’re welcome.” I say out loud to no one. I take a sip of the coffee and dig in the bag before me. It’s a strawberry pastry. I smile and take a bite.
I spend the rest of the day doing absolutely nothing. Leo hasn’t returned home yet. He called me earlier to check in, but didn’t say when he would be home. Adam is out of town with family this weekend, so I can’t hang out with him.
I’ve been texting Bash all day. I apologized once again for what happened on our date. I don’t tell him the details, for some reason I don’t want to mention Kaleb. Thankfully, Bash doesn’t question me about it.
It’s around three o’clock that I get a call from Bash. I answer it quickly, “Hey, what’s up?”
“You busy tonight?” He asks me.
“Are you asking for a do over on our date?” I say, fidgeting with the pillow I have in my lap.
“Kind of.” He says nervously.
“I’m not busy.” I tell him.
“Great, would you be interested in attending a party?” He asks.
“A party?” I question.
“Yeah, my buddie’s house is throwing it. He promises it will be fun.” He says quickly.
“You mean a frat?” I ask.
He pauses before answering, “Yeah, it is a frat, but I promise that it’s not a crazy one.”
“I don’t drink.”
“That’s good, I don’t either.” He tells me. “What do you think? Will you go?”
“Yeah, it’ll be fun.”
He can tell I’m a little nervous about it, “You can say no, Greer. I’m not forcing you. And if you do decide to go, then I’ll take care of you, I swear.”
“Alright, sure. It sounds fun.” I say, feeling better about it.
“Awesome! I’ll pick you up about eight then?”
“Okay, cool. Bye, Bash.” I hang up the phone.
I run up to my bed room and dig around in my closet for something to wear. I can’t wait for tonight. I’m going to a college party with a college boy. I’m a little nervous about it, but I’m going to keep my cool.
Hopefully, my second date will go better with Bash than my first one did.