The next week went by really fast. I managed to hand in my report on time, so did Jason. However, something unexpected happened during art though. Craig asked me out on a date for Saturday night. I had struggled to come up with an answer but he reminded me that I owed him after the whole Jason incident.
Today was the day. He asked me to go to the movies and after that go and grab something to eat downtown. I had told mum about it and she gave me “the talk” and it was really embarrassing because Tina was there as well. This was my first date ever. Mum was ecstatic and she revealed that she was starting to get worried that there was something happening between Tina and I in a romantic kind of way. I had laughed at her revelation.
It was around ten to seven at night and Tina was doing the finishing touches to my hair. She had straightened it and curled it inwards at the ends. I watched my hair in amazement. It was a rare occasion to straighten my hair. I glanced at my outfit in the mirror. I was in dark blue jeans, a red wool coat and some black leather boots. It was a bit chilly outside.
“My work here is done.” Tina announced dusting imaginary dust from her hands.
“Thanks girl.” I replied giving her a rib crunching hug. I was really nervous.
I turned around and exhibited my outfit to Tina. She grinned in response and gave me thumbs up.
“Woman, you’re so lucky.” Tina cooed, “You have two of the hottest guys in school going after you. What did your mamma give you? Craig is hot and very kind, whereas Jason is dark and mysterious which makes him irresistible.”
“I wouldn’t call it luck. Besides, I am going on a date with Craig. That means I shouldn’t be thinking about Jason at the moment.” I replied grabbing my purse from my bed.
“But are you going with him because you like him or to avoid Jason?” Tina raised her right eyebrow.
“I don’t know.” I replied, “Both I guess.”
“Mhmm.” Tina responded before reaching for my purse. She placed a piece of gum before closing it. “Just in case.”
We heard the door bell ring. We squealed together before rushing down the stairs. I quickly opened the door. My breath got caught in my throat. Craig looked amazing. He had on black chukka boots, blue jeans, a blue dress shirt and a leather jacket to top of the look. His hair was wavy as normal, but he had done something to it that made it glow an amazing gold colour.
“You look gorgeous!” He complimented.
“So do you!” I admired him back.
“Yes, I can feel the love in the air. Now, go you two, otherwise you are going to miss out on the movie!” Tina pushed us both out of the door before locking it behind her and throwing me the keys. “You’ve got your phone, right?” Tina whispered behind me as we descended down the porch stairs. I nodded after feeling my phone in my coat pocket, “Don’t forget the safety words SGS aka second guy syndrome.”
I nodded again, trying to stifle a laugh. I wondered where she got all of these random phrases from. They made no sense. Tina gave me another hug before warning Craig, “Take care of her or else I will find you and kill you with my own hands. I know where you live.”
I laughed as Craig raised his arms in the air in surrender, “Yes ma’am.”
He chuckled before grabbing my hand. It felt warm and comfortable. I followed right behind him towards his range rover sport. What was with these cousins and having amazing cars? I guess it made sense. After all, Craig’s father owned about ten Cibo Incredibile restaurants in the country. Craig held the passenger door for me before gesturing me to enter. I thanked him before taking my designated spot in the passenger seat. Craig rounded to the driver’s side and took the driver’s seat. I glanced at Tina, she gave me thumbs up before Craig cranked the engine. We backed away from the driveway and honked at Tina. Then we were off.
“The movie was great,” I beamed as we exited the cinemas.
We had watched an action movie. I usually wasn’t into action movies but this one brought it to a whole new level.
“Agreed! The visual and sound effects seemed so realistic it made me feel like I was in the movie with the actors.” He sighed before asking, “Where do you want to go for dinner? We can go to my father’s restaurant. I heard there is a cheap Saturday today.”
I opened my mouth to agree but I was cut off by the vibration of my phone. I fumbled in my coat for it before glancing at the screen. For a few seconds I just stood there not sure whether to answer or not.
“Who is it?” Craig asked moving next to me.
“Jason.” I whispered back.
“What does he want?” Craig questioned, anger filled in every word, “Don’t answer it.”
“I don’t know. What if he is in trouble?” I briefly looked up at him and back at the screen. “I’ll just find out what he needs and I’ll end the call as soon as possible.” I replied clicking the answer button.
I turned away from Craig, “Hello?”
“Hello? Finally,” A man’s voice that wasn’t Jason’s sounded from the other side of the line. “I have here a young man named Jason. I’m hoping you know him. You and another contact named mum are the only ones in this phone. Mum’s phone went straight to voicemail. Hence the reason why I really hope you know this guy.”
“I know him. What happened?” I asked worry slicing my veins.
“He has had a lot to drink and is passed out on my bar. He refuses to move as well. I can’t really serve other customers unless he moves. Would you be able to come and pick him up?” The man pleaded.
“Sure, I can come. Which bar is it?” I asked glancing at Craig. He was watching me closely.
“Thank God. My bar is located at the corner of Ross and Murry Street.”
That wasn’t far away from here. Maybe a five-minute walk.
“Ok, thank you. I’ll be there soon.” I replied before cutting the line.
“What happened?” Craig asked as soon as I finished.
“Jason got drunk and he’s passed out at a bar.” I informed him rushing out of the building.
“Are you going to get him?” Craig asked, still standing in the same place.
I whirled around and I could see hurt written all over his face. For the second time, Jason had come between Craig and I. However, I couldn’t just desert Jason. I could see hurt written all over Craig’s face and his eyes had a tint of red in them.
“Yes. Would you come with me as well?” I asked Craig hoping his hate towards his cousin would be set aside this moment.
Craig scoffed and shook his head with a hurt expression, “I can’t Mary-Kate.” He pushed past me, his attention towards the door.
“Why not?” I questioned him, hurt resonating in my words. I hadn’t wanted him to leave. Our date had been going very well and I was enjoying every moment of it. I grabbed Craig’s arm before he rushed out of the door. He whirled around to face me, he immediately turned his gaze away from me.
“I can never have time alone with you. Jason is always there to ruin my plans.” Craig continued, eyes downcast, “If you’re going to Jason then I’m going to leave. I don’t want to be second place all the time. So which one is it? Me or Jason?”
I didn’t know who to choose. I couldn’t leave Jason. I was the only person he had as his contact who could help him. I also couldn’t leave Craig. He had been nothing but nice to me and I was starting to like him.
I found it difficult to formulate an answer.
“Exactly. You can’t even decide what you want.” Craig snorted, “Come back to me when you’ve made a decision to be with me and not Jason.” He whirled around before I could stop him.
“Craig, wait!” I called out to him but he didn’t turn back.
I rushed towards the doors and Craig was already fleeing away in his car. I felt a small tear roll over my cheek. I didn’t bother wiping it off because more tears rolled down my cheeks. I guess, I did like Craig.
Feeling defeated, I started walking. I didn’t know where I was going but my feet just dragged me somewhere. Tears flooded my eyes and everything around me was distorted to comprehend where I was going.
“Excuse me, Miss?” I heard a familiar voice calling me.
I looked up at the owner of the voice. A tall and skinny man rested his frame against the door frame. His long brown hair was tied messily on top of his head. He looked to be in his forties. I gazed at my surroundings. I was at the bar Jason was supposedly passed out at. How had my feet known where to drag me?
“Are you Mary-Kate?” The man asked when he didn’t see me respond.
I nodded, wiping dry tears off my face. I must have ran out of tear supply before reaching the bar.
“This way.” He motioned for me to follow him.
I followed the man into the small bar and sure enough, perched on the tall bar stool and body rested on the bench top was Jason. I rushed towards him, nearly bumping a cup of drink from someone’s hand. I searched for his face under his dark locks. I parted the locks away from his face. He looked peaceful, resting on his left arm.
“How long has he been out?” I asked the bartender.
“About fifteen minutes.” He chuckled.
I nodded before turning my attention back to Jason. “Jason?” I called out to him shaking him. He groaned, opening his eyes. When he glanced at me, a small smile formed on his lips.
“Am I dreaming?” His voice slurred, “Because you look like an angel.” I would have been flattered by his words if he wasn’t drunk. A strong smell of alcohol filled my nostrils. How much had he drank? I ignored the urge to cover my nose from the stench. “Your hair is so beautiful. It looks so soft. What did you do to it? I want to touch it.”
“You’re dreaming.” I lied to him stopping his right hand from reaching my hair. I clasped it with my left hand before asking him, “Can you stand up?”
“Yes I can. I can’t disappoint you my angel.” He replied attempting to stand up but failed miserably.
“Where’s your car Jason?” I questioned him, bringing him back from his daze.
“My car. What car?” He whispered tapping his chin, “Oh, my car! I don’t know where the keys are.”
“Here’s everything he threw all over the bar.” The bartender said handing me Jason’s car keys, his wallet and a photograph.
“What? He threw these?” shocked, I asked him. I glanced at the photograph. It was Jason but younger, maybe ten or twelve. Next to him, a man with a similar face stood next to him smiling. Was this Jason’s father? He looked so much like Jason. They had the same hair, eyes and smile. The only thing that was different was their noses. Suddenly a realisation hit me. Was it his father’s death anniversary? Was that why he drank so much?
“Yes, that’s why we called you. He was so angry we thought he was going to hurt himself or other people.” The bartender chuckled pulling me out of my thoughts. I stuffed the picture in my coat. “You seem to calm him down though. Are you his girlfriend?”
I shook my head and answered a quiet, “No.”
“Such as shame. You two would make a great couple.” The bartender smiled genuinely. Me and Jason? “Do you need help to carry him to his car?”
I nodded in reply. The bartender took Jason’s other arm and I grabbed his belongings with my free hand. We dragged him out of the bar. I clicked the unlock button of his keys trying to search for his car. It was parked across the street and due to its colour, it was a bit hard to see. We struggled until we perched him in the passenger seat. I wrapped the seatbelt around him before closing the door.
“Thank you, sir.” I said towards the bartender.
“No problem, take care.” He replied before crossing the road towards his bar.
I made my way to the driver’s side. I had my license with me so I could drive Jason back to his apartment. I opened the car door and settled myself in the driver’s seat. Jason was sleeping next to me, his head lolling all over the place as he mumbled stupid things. I hesitated, would Jason appreciate me driving his car? I started the engine and the car roared to life. I didn’t even know where I was going. I turned towards Jason and shook him.
“Jason, where do you live?” I whispered. He groaned in reply before turning away from me resting his head against the window.
I could ask Craig. I shook my head. He had made it clear that he didn’t want anything to do with Jason. Frustrated, only one idea popped in my head. I put on my seatbelt and put the car into drive. I carefully drove all the way to my house. I pulled the car into park in the street in front of our house. I couldn’t raise suspicion if my mother was to come back from work and find his car in the driveway. I pulled Jason from the car. He was a bit more awake now but he was still mumbling nonsense.
I opened the house door and gestured for him to come in but an invisible force seemed to be blocking his entry.
“Come on in.” I said dragging him by the arm. I closed the door right after me and locked it.
I dragged him upstairs towards my room. I couldn’t leave him in the living room because my mother would see him first thing when she got into the house in the morning. I couldn’t put him into the guest room because that had been turned into my own study room. After about ten minutes of struggling with Jason’s heavy body we made it to my room. I locked the door behind me before dropping Jason onto the bed. Unfortunately, his hand pulled me down with him. I tried to lift his hand from my stomach but he whirled me around to face him. Panicked, I didn’t move for a while. I was face to face with his chest. I swallowed not sure what to do. I glanced at his face. He was sleeping.
“Jason.” I whispered but he didn’t reply.
I tried to wriggle myself out of his grip again but he only held onto me tighter, “Don’t leave me angel.” He whispered.
He was still dreaming. I sighed before giving up.