Chapter 18 | Guy's Night Out - Part 1
| Mark’s POV |
“Is there a reason you’re doing that?” I lazily asked while watching Connor.
“Yes actually.” He casually stated while staring at me from upside down. “It helps me relax. It’s called yoga.”
I resisted the urge to laugh. “Yoga? You mean that girly shit?”
“It’s not girly! It’s actually very complex and takes real skill.” He finally flopped back over onto the ground and stood up. “Whoa, head rush.”
“That’s why we don’t do yoga.” I sighed shaking my head with a smirk.
“Whatever.” He rolled his eyes. “Red should be here soon. He’s got the alcohol.”
“Alcohol? I thought we were just eating wings and playing Call of Duty?” I rose my eyebrows. I have never been a real big drinker. Yeah at parties, I will have a beer or two, just to keep people off my back... but the truth is I could totally live without the stuff. One tends to feel that way when you have spent countless nights holding your mother’s hair while she throws up or kicking out her drunken one-night-stands and sometimes getting into physical altercations with them.
“Well we are, but who says we can’t also have a little extra fun?” He smirked just as the doorbell rang.
Connor went to answer the door, and seconds later, he and Red appeared. Red had two grocery bags and I assumed both contained alcohol.
“What about your parents?” I asked Connor.
“They are out tonight, won’t be home until late.” He shrugged.
“And Arabelle?” I asked, referring to Connor’s eleven-year-old sister.
“She’s staying over at her friends tonight. What’s with the questions?” He rose his eyebrows.
“Just curious. Hey Red, what you got in that bag?” I changed the subject.
“Lil’ bit of everythin’.” He smirked, holding both bags up into view.
“Sweet. Let’s get to it.” I stated, pulling one of the bags from his grasp and opening it to pull out a drink.
I settled on just a beer, not wanting to get smashed tonight.
Connor went to grab his Xbox to hook up Call of Duty, so I turned to face Red.
“So, how are things with Cal?” I asked, trying to start up conversation. I haven’t really gotten to know Red in the short time we have known him, and Callie is my friend so I figured what the hell.
“Aw she’s great man. A real firecracker. You would never know this from just lookin’ at her, but she’s very dominant!” He smirked, taking a swig of his Jägermeister.
“Well that makes sense.” I chuckled.
“What do ya’ mean?”
“It’s always the quiet ones.” I smirked, causing Red to let out a laugh.
“You got me there!” He smiled. “Nah, but for real, I really like her. I don’t know what it is.”
“I feel you.”
“Then again, you probably know all about it.” Red smirked. “I see you with Lucy; I know y’all got somethin’ going on.”
I frowned at the mention of Lucy. She has been a great friend to me the last couple of years and I know how much of a jerk I have been with her feelings towards me. I can’t keep leading her on. I need to tell her that I don’t feel that way for her, that I only see her as my friend.
I immediately replaced my frown with a smirk and nodded. “Yeah, she’s pretty cool.”
“Who’s pretty cool?” Connor asked as he entered the room.
“Lucy.” I stated.
Connor gave me a look I couldn’t quite read before asking, “How are things with her?”
“They’re alright. I think I am going to tell her that I just want to be friends though.”
Connor immediately perked up at that, and turned to look at me again.
“Really? How come?”
“I don’t know. I just don’t have those romantic feelings or whatever. To me she is just Lucy, my friend. I mean yeah I flirt with her a lot, and yeah she is hot... but I just don’t want to be in a serious relationship with her and I am certainly not going to lead her on. That’ll just ruin the friendship.” I shrugged, taking another sip of my beer.
“I say you’re giving up too easy, right Red? I mean you just barely started dating... give it time to settle before you go running off.” Connor casually stated.
“Trust me dude, if there is no spark now, there will never be one.” I defended.
“He’s got a point.” Red said to Connor, motioning towards me.
Connor discreetly rolled his eyes, but I still noticed.
“Why are you pushing Lucy so hard anyway? You’ve never cared before of who I date.” I questioned.
“No reason, I just think that you guys would be good together, that’s all.” He smiled, though I could tell it was fake.
“Well, sorry bro, but we aren’t. We are only good as friends and that’s how I am going to keep it.” I smiled back, also a fake one.
“Alright you bunch of girls. Enough with the chatting... let’s get to killing.” Red motioned towards the Xbox and I laughed while picking up a controller.
“You read my mind!” I smirked, ready to beat them both, especially Connor.
After two hours of playing Call of Duty, Connor threw his controller down in frustration.
“Man that’s bullshit!” He huffed, crossing his arms over his chest. “So unfair.”
“All’s fair in love and war!” I smirked, peering over at him, which made Red laugh.
Red won a total of six times, I won a total of eleven times and Connor won at a whopping three times. I tried to give him so valuable pointers along the way, but he ignored each and every one of them.
“You should have listened to me man. You cannot just shoot me once and automatically kill me, unless it’s a head shot. You’ve got to hit me multiple times to get the job done.” I shrugged.
“Well, hand me a gun, I’m sure one shot right now will do the trick.” He smirked.
“No can do Stu. Once you lose, that’s it. No do-overs.” I chuckled, standing up to stretch my aching limbs from sitting for so long.
Red and Connor followed suit. “I gotta hit the John.” Red announced, heading towards the downstairs bathroom.
“Thanks for sharing.” Connor deadpanned.
“No problemo!” Red waved as he walked away.
Connor walked over to the booze and picked up another beer.
“Haven’t you had enough?” I asked, wondering why he was so adamant about drinking tonight.
“Relax, mom.” He mocked.
I held up my hands in surrender. “Suit yourself.”
He chugged the entire beer in one go and tossed the can in the garbage can.
“Here.” Connor tossed me a beer and I reached out to catch it before it connected with the floor.
“Uh, thanks.” I mumbled.
Deciding I didn’t care at all anymore, I opened the beer and took a nice long swig.
“Hey, what about that Marissa chick? I thought you liked her, why not get into that?” Connor suddenly asked, going for yet another can of beer.
Feeling fed up, I snapped. “What is it with your sudden obsession over who I decide to go out with?”
Connor scoffed. “I’m not obsessed. I just find it odd that you are interested in no one. You are always interested in at least someone.”
I looked away, unable to meet the hardened gaze of my best friend. I can’t tell him the reason why I am not interested in Lucy or Marissa, and I certainly cannot tell him that I am in fact interested in one girl, although that one girl just so happens to be his ex-girlfriend/love of his life.
“There’s really no reason. They just don’t spark my interest.” I casually stated, taking a few more swigs of beer.
“If you say so. I guess I will drop it then.” He rolled his eyes and downed the last of his beer, going for another one.
“Is there a reason you are getting wasted?”
“Does there have to be?” He challenged.
“Actually, yes. Mr. Hardly Ever Has a Drink Anywhere.”
“So I wanna have some fun... didn’t know that was a crime.” He shrugged. “I can hold my alcohol fine.”
“You got that right! Brother is LIT!” Red laughed as he finally rejoined us. Connor tossed him another beer and he happily obliged.
“So, what are we gonna do now? Let’s go out and paint this town!” Red smirked.
“And do what?” I asked. “This town is boring. I wish I was back home in Florida.” I sighed.
“You are probably the only person to ever refer to this town as boring. We are in California bro. The best state ever!” Connor held up his beer to cheers, but when no one else did, he frowned and pulled his hand down.
“Then how come everyone from up north, always travels to Florida for vacation? Oh I know... because Florida is the best state ever!” I challenged, flashing him my dazzling smirk to which he scoffed lightly.
“Either way... we are all here in Cali, so let’s go do something.” Red rolled his eyes at our childish and seemingly irrelevant argument.
“I wanna see Naveah.” Connor suddenly confessed with a frown. I assumed it could have been the alcohol talking, although hearing him mention her name like that somewhat bothered me.
She is not yours anymore.
Okay, now I sound like an asshole. Ugh.
“Hey, that’s a great idea. Let’s go see the ladies.” Red smirked. “I know Lucy is staying with Naveah, and I am sure Callie is there too.”
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” I asked Connor, concerned for my friend.
“Why wouldn’t it be a good idea for Connor to see his girlfriend?” Red asked, looking between the two of us.
“Because she isn’t his girlfriend anymore.” I answered quickly.
Red’s eyes widened. “The golden couple of Jefferson High is no longer afloat?”
“Nope.” Connor said, popping the ‘P’. “She dumped me like I was nothing.”
“I highly doubt that’s true.” I said, defending Naveah.
“How would you know? You weren’t there!” Connor glared in my direction, taking another drink of his alcoholic beverage.
“Because I know Naveah.” I simply stated.
“Oh do you? And just exactly how well do you know her?” Connor rose his eyebrows accusingly.
“As much as the rest of us, obviously. I am sure she had a valid reason for ending things.” I defended not only myself, but Naveah too. I wasn’t going to let Connor drag her name through the mud, just because she didn’t have the same feelings for him as he did for her.
“Right.” He scoffed with a weak smile, taking another drink. “Anyway, let’s go.”
Connor tossed the newly emptied can of beer into the garbage can, and grabbed his keys before heading for the front door.
“You are not driving!” I snatched the keys from his hands.
“Duh! I was just going to lock the front door... I thought we were walking.” Connor sighed.
“Okay, well I am still going to hang onto these.” I dropped his keys into my pocket.
I’ve had my experience in a car with a drunk driver before. Let’s just say, my mom never saw the harm in only going up the street to the convenient store for another 6-pack with her eleven year old child in the back seat.
“Suit yourself.” Connor chuckled.
I pulled my phone out to text Naveah to give her a heads up that we were coming by. I didn’t want three intoxicated males to just show up at her house unannounced. Especially if her parents are home.
Oh god, her parents.
“Um guys, you sure we should do this? What if Naveah’s parents are home?” I suddenly said out loud.
“Who cares?” Red replied.
“Her dad will care if three intoxicated males just show up at his house.” I deadpanned.
Connor stopped walking immediately.
“I didn’t even think about that.”
“Too late now, we are already walking there. I am sure if he is home, he will tell us to leave and then we will leave.” Red shrugged his shoulders, pulling Connor along.
Connor absent-mindedly followed Red, while I sighed and followed along too.
I felt my phone vibrate and I pulled it out of my pocket quickly.
I read Naveah’s text stating that her parents were out for the night at a fancy dinner, and were going to stay in a hotel room for the night so they wouldn’t have to drive home. I let out a breath of relief and slid my phone back into my pocket.
After about thirty minutes of walking, we finally ended up outside of Naveah’s ginormous home.
I’ve always been envious of her house, always dreaming that it would be the kind of house I would live in when I got older.
Shaking my head of my Ludacris thoughts, we made it to the front steps and rang the doorbell.
After a few moments of silence, minus Red’s loud burp, the door finally swung open.
“BABE!” Red yelled, jumping towards a startled Callie.
“Um... hello? What brings you guys here?” She asked, softly patting Red on the top of his head like a puppy as he placed his head into the crock of her neck.
“Just ya know... in the neighborhood.” Connor smirked. “Where’s Naveah?”
“She and Lucy are inside. Come on in. You’re lucky her parents are gone for the night.” Callie laughed, yanking Red along with her towards the living room as he happily followed.
Both Connor and I followed them into the living room, and when I saw Naveah stand up in her small booty shorts and crop top, I honestly had to peel my gaze off her perfect figure.
“What brings you here?” She said with a weird smile, probably feeling weird that we just decided to show up here. Drunk at that.
“Just wanted to hang out, of course.” Connor smiled, walking over to Naveah and abruptly pulling her into an awkward hug.
“Nice to see you too Con.” She chuckled, though her eyes were begging for someone to intervene.
I wanted to laugh at his sudden confidence boost. The sober Connor wouldn’t have forced his ex-girlfriend into a hug just for fun, even if it is Naveah.
“Hey Mark!” Lucy smiled, walking over to me and smiling.
I wanted nothing more than to have Lucy trade places with Naveah, but sadly I knew that would never happen with everyone around. So instead, I put on my best fake smile and slung my arm around her shoulders pulling her in for a hug.
“Hey Luc.” I smiled. “How are you doing?”
“I’m hanging in there I guess.” She shrugged beneath my hold. “Each day it gets a little less hard, though I know I will never fully get over it.”
“No one can blame you there. It’s completely understandable.” I sadly smiled down at her.
I hated that she thought we were something more than just friends. I hated playing with this girl’s emotions while she’s going through something so tragic.
“Hey Luc, can I talk to you privately for a sec?” I asked, causing Naveah to give me a discreet hard look.
“Sure!” She smiled, grabbing my hand and pulling me up the stairs.
Once we entered the guest bedroom, I closed the door behind me and turned around with a soft smile on my face.
“We need to talk.” I began.
Her eyebrows furrowed and then suddenly it clicked. “I know where this is going...”
“I just... I only see you as my friend Luc. My really, really, really close friend but that’s all.” I began. Her smile faltered, but the ghost of it still lingered on her lips.
“I know you are probably going to hate me, but I just didn’t want to string you along. Especially at a time like this in your life. You are going through something very hard right now, and I don’t want to add to that.”
“I guess I understand.” She slowly sat down on the edge of the bed. I walked over and sat down beside her, placing my arm around her shoulders again.
“You’re beautiful Luc. Amazing personality. Smart as hell. You really do mean a lot to me and I don’t want this to change that. I want you in my life completely, but I don’t think there is anything romantic between us, not like it should be. You have to feel that to?” I asked.
“I mean yeah a little. You just always wear this expressionless face, so it’s hard to tell sometimes how you’re feeling or what’s going through your mind. I know you aren’t trying to hurt me Mark, and I appreciate you being upfront and honest with me. That really means a lot.” She smiled up at me.
“Can I ask for something though?” She looked down at her lap anxiously.
“Anything.” I smiled, though she couldn’t see.
“Can I have just one kiss? Just as a goodbye dating and hello friendship kiss... if that makes sense.” She chuckled, fidgeting with her fingers.
I smirked at her request, but decided it couldn’t hurt to oblige.
“Your wish is my command.” I lifted her head up with my finger and looked at her for a second before tenderly placing a soft kiss against her lips. We sat like that for a good two seconds, before I slowly pulled away and then I pulled her in for a hug.
“Thank you.” She mumbled against my chest.
“Of course.” I replied, softly stroking circles on her back.
We pulled apart and both stood up. “So, are we cool?” I smiled.
“We’re cool.” She smiled back, and so we both left the guest bedroom and went downstairs to join the others.
Upon entering the living room, we found Callie and Red making out on the couch, and Naveah oddly sitting next to Connor on the other end while he tried pulling her close to him.
“Come on Naveah. Why are you so tense?” He slurred.
“Connor please. You’re drunk and it’s not very flattering.” Naveah sighed, trying to scoot a little further away from him, but Connor kept closing the distance between them.
“You’re acting like I am some creep. What’s your problem?” Connor asked, his voice getting louder.
“Bro, it’s called personal space. She feels awkward.” I casually stated while sitting down on the recliner.
“Oh sure Mark, because you know everything when it comes to Naveah right?” He scoffed.
“No, I really don’t.” I said, casting Naveah a quick glance.
“Could have fooled me. All you do is try and dictate how I d-do things whenever it comes to her. I’m starting to get the feeling like there’s something more you b-both aren’t telling us.” He slurred, trying to stand up from the couch but stumbling.
I was surprised when no one seemed to catch what he said, other than Naveah and myself. Just as Callie peered around Red and looked at me, Connor fell over and on top of Naveah, causing both of them to fall to the floor.
“Ow! Connor get off me!” Naveah yelled, trying her best to push him away.
I quickly stood up and ran over to them, grabbing Connor and yanking him up and off Naveah.
“Don’t touch me.” Connor spat in my direction. “I can take care of myself!”
“Clearly you can’t bro. Just calm down and let Red and I take you home.” By all the commotion Red and Callie had stopped making out and were now tuning in to the current scene taking place in Naveah’s living room.
“Yeah, come on man, let’s get you home.” Red said, standing up and heading over to help me carry Connor.
“Fine.” Connor huffed.
He turned to look at Naveah who was currently rubbing her elbow from the fall and he gave her a frown.
“I’m sorry...” He mumbled just loud enough for everyone to hear.
After that, Red and I each slung an around over Connor’s shoulders and we said our goodbyes to the girls before leaving Naveah’s house and heading back home towards Connor’s.
This is going to be a very long walk home.