“So let me get this straight,” Jessa was laying on my bed, her hand in a big bag of Doritos. “Ya just met them, and they invite you on a family vacation?”
I was packing minimally for the trip the next day, keeping Jessa entertained until it was time to visit her boyfriend. We were the only ones in the house, so the door was open, letting in the nice summer breeze of the afternoon.
“I guess I touched their hearts," I shrugged and put a black tank top in the small duffel I was bringing.
Jessa chuckled and said something to herself.
“Huh?” I leaned forward to get a better idea of what she said.
“You’re so oblivious sometimes.”
“What do you mean?”
Jessa rolled her eyes. “You’re either extremely aware or very oblivious. There is no inbetween.”
“What are you going on about?”
“You’re usually the one to catch these things so I’m surprised it hasn’t crossed your mind.”
I was getting impatient with all the build up.
“He likes you, mamas.”
“Not really, no.” That thought always crossed my head.
“Very oblivious!” Jessa raised her arms in a jazz hands motion.
I shook my head in disbelief. “He does not like me that way. Besides, he knows—”
We both paused when we realized what I was about to say. Shit. Here come the waterworks.
I inverted my lips into my mouth to lick them, bounced my leg, anything to keep me from crying.
“College trip! Parks and Rec! Disney World!” When she knew I was sad or getting sad Jessa would list a bunch of things that made me laugh or made me happy.
I thought of the college trip, and how it’d been my favorite school trip to date. A smile crept onto my lips.
“Good girl.” Jessa smiled in relief.
I continued to toss random necessities into my duffel. “I’m looking forward to getting back knots untied and clearer skin.”
“We have to do that for one of our birthdays.” Jessa sat up. “It’ll be like the trio all over again.”
“That’d be nice.” I happily agreed.
The buzzing of my phone startled us both. I checked to see who it was, and to my dismay it was Brexton. He claimed to be outside my house. My heart skipped a beat.
“I have a visitor.” I quickly dismiss myself from Jessa and rush downstairs.
Sure enough, Brexton was on the other side of the gate of my house.
“What’re you doing here?” I hiss.
“What’s this I hear about a vacation with some other dude?”
My eyes widened. “Have you been fucking stalking me?”
“I have my sources.” Brexton vaguely admits. “Is it with that kid you claimed to be finding a bathroom for? Because strangers don’t go on trips with each other’s families.”
“Brex, relax.” I rolled my eyes. “None of this has to do with you. It’s my life and I do what I want. You’re not my parent.”
“That’s not what I’m talking about,” Brex cocked his head back. “You know Zander is going through a hard time yet you pull shit like this?”
“What in the fuck does he have to do with anything?” I shriek.
“You’re making things worse!”
“I did that before we broke up!” I heard my voice break. Tears were welling up in my eyes. “He said so himself that I was giving him anxiety and making him sad so he left! Why the fuck should I care about anything he’s doing?”
That was a huge lie. Of course I still cared about him strongly. But if I wasn’t making him happy, then he must do what he can to make himself happy. It broke my heart, sure. But I did want him to be happy.
“You don’t understand.”
“Yes I do!” I gripped the gates harder with every sentence. “He loved me enough to tell me, even though I knew he kept some feelings from me.”
“What makes you think he stopped loving you?”
My breath caught in my throat. “He broke up with me because of his deteriorating mental health. Claimed I was somewhat part of the problem. Why would he still love me after that?”
Brex remained silent for a moment.
“I still love him too,” I sobbed. “But I’m waiting for him to get better. And while that happens, I can’t just stop my life again like I did the first two months we were broken up.”
“Running off into another dude’s arms isn’t the way to go.”
I cackled. ”That’s what you think I’m doing? You just assume that?”
“Well, yeah. It’s not a coincidence you go with another guy after your breakup.”
“All of you can fuck off.” I said through gritted teeth.
“Ellis.” He sternly called out. “I don’t like that kid.”
“Any reason?” I crossed my arms.
Brex said nothing else, so I shrugged and went back inside, wiping away my tears.