Terrence wasn’t sure how he felt. On the one hand, he was glad that Alanna had come out to the dance; that she seemed so comfortable with Damon and had had a good time. But that is exactly what bugged him as well. Up until tonight, he had derived a secret pleasure from knowing that Alanna didn’t feel as comfortable with Damon as she did with him. It was like they shared a special bond that she couldn’t with Damon. Now it seemed like that was no longer the case.
He knew it was selfish of him. He’d accepted that he wasn’t going to be more than a friend to Alanna. But it was a comfort to him to think that she was able to relax around him when she couldn’t seem to develop a rapport with any other guy she knew. For a minute, he resented his best friend. Damon never failed to get the girl he wanted. And while this had never been a problem before, Lana was special to Terry in way that no other girl had ever been. Terrence hadn’t dated much in high school. It wasn’t that he was picky or had ridiculously high standards. In fact, he couldn’t explain his uneventful dating history.
Then Alanna had entered the picture. She was pretty sure, but that wasn’t what was attractive about her. There was a fragility there, tempered by a curious strength. She was definitely breakable but she seemed determined to hold herself together no matter the cost; even if the cost was a lack of friendships and a life behind an impenetrable emotional wall. It took a peculiar fortitude to accept the fact that the only way to be happy was to be alone; to isolate oneself on purpose. But it was also a weakness, to hide from the world, to give it the power to determine how and when you could be happy. Alanna was a bundle of contradictions to be certain; and had she possessed a proud character or inflated sense of self-worth, he wouldn’t have thought her worth the trouble.
Terrence sat lamenting the state of his love-life and taking his frustration out on various Janus henchmen as he played GoldenEye on his N64. He owned a PS3 and Wii as well but the N64 would always be his favourite gaming system thanks to Mortal Kombat 4, SuperSmash Brothers and, of course, GoldenEye. Usually, he was quite good at the game but as he died for the tenth time that morning (he hadn’t slept since coming home from the Gala), Damon walked in the door with a smile on his face and a bounce in his step despite the lateness of the hour.
Damon dropped on to the sofa next to his roommate, not noticing the scowl that briefly marred Terrence’s features. Terrence sighed inwardly and reminded himself that it wasn’t Damon’s fault that Terry hadn’t owned up to his feelings for Alanna when he should have. He had given Damon permission to pursue her and now he’d have to deal with the consequences.
“You look like you had a good night,” he said, not taking his eyes off the television screen.
“Ya, but not in the way I expected.”
Terrence turned to Damon now.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, even though we decided to go just as friends, I guess in the back of my mind, I hoped it would evolve into something more. I expected to be disappointed when it didn’t.”
“And what happened?”
“Well, we did kiss.” Terrence took a deep breath here but Damon was too busy reminiscing to notice.
“But, then she said she just wanted to be friends. And I think a couple of months ago I would have been disappointed, angry even. But I’m just happy she didn’t throw me out of her life altogether. Is that weird?”
“For you? Yeah, it is weird,” he told his friend.
Damon ran his hand through his hair and continued with a thoughtful expression on his face.
“It’s like I need to be in her life, in whatever capacity she’ll allow. Do I hope she’ll give me a chance one day? Yea, definitely. But I’m willing to wait for that day, no matter how long it takes. And the worst part is, I know that I sound like one of those saps from a romantic comedy but I mean it and I don’t care. It’s like when Michael Corleone met Appollonia. What’d they call his infatuation?”
“Yea, it’s like that.” Damon sat back in the sofa and put his feet on the coffee table.
“I’ve been hit and there’s no going back.”
Terrence smiled sadly while Damon closed his eyes briefly.
He knew this meant that he had to let Alanna go once and for all. He still wasn’t sure what to do about his relationship with Maria but he knew friendship would be the farthest he and Alanna would ever go. He’d work on the jealousy. Damon was a good guy and he could relax knowing that Alanna would be taken care of.
One day soon, that wall would come tumbling down and he’d only be a little sorry that he wasn’t the one to shatter it.