Chapter Thirty Eight
“Vivian? Vivian blink if you’re still alive!” Lewiza cried out, “Wait-never mind I see the flaw in that. Say something if you’re still alive?” she begged.
I stared flatly at the person staring back at me. I did not expect to see him. “Lew, I’m fine. I just ran into an…old friend.” I rolled my eyes.
“Friend? Is that really what I mean to you? Honestly Hermosa, I thought we had something special.” Art pouted, wrapping his arm around me, and reminding me that even in the dead of winter a person could still smell ripe after a run.
“Gross!” I grimaced shoving him away. “You smell like you bathed in a homeless man’s vomit then slept with his wife, Carrie the cat lady.”
“Sorry babe, I thought all women liked a little stank on their men.” he smirked, running his hands through his jet black hair.
“Need I remind you that you have an actual girlfriend, thus taking you off the market?” I raised my eyebrow, “I’d love to see how Marie reacts to a cheating boyfriend.”
In all honesty, I was relieved Art found me in the park instead of Blake. There was only so much I could handle in a short time frame. I’d rather be hit on by a creep like Art than face my problems head on like a normal person. At least with this buffoon, I was distracting myself from the problems I was sure lied ahead.
“We have an open relationship now. She knew we were both too invested in the hoe life.” He answered bluntly.
“Hello? Who’s a hoe and why is it a way of life? Vi, are you still there?” Lewiza’s voice asked, though she sounded muffled. I furrowed my brows and placed the phone next to my ear.
“Still here.” I answered her, “I just ran into the virginator.” Art’s eyes brightened with humor, before I turned away from him. “I’ll call you later, yeah?”
“What’s a- you know what never mind. It’s a story for another time isn’t it?” She guessed, correctly.
“That it is.” I chuckled.
“Don’t be a hoe make sure he covers his joe!” Lew sang before her side of the line went dead. I grimaced as the idea of having any type of relationship with Art was as appealing as stabbing my eye and pouring salt on the wound.
I tucked my phone securely in my pocket, then proceeded to walk away from the park gates. My mini adventure was nothing more than a potential migraine if I stuck around Art too long. “I was serious about the open relationship!” Art called after me, and even though my back was turned on him, I could still feel his smirk burning at the back of my head.
“Bite me, Art.” I snapped, walking away.
“Feisty, I dig it.” He chuckled, as I heard his feet jog towards me. I groaned under my breath and chose to ignore him. “Something’s wrong.” he observed, scrutinizing me from top to bottom. I rolled my eyes and continued to ignore him. “What did you do?”
I paused and stared at him flatly. “I murdered a brown noser. Now I’m trying to figure out where to bury their body.” I answered shortly.
“There’s an alley between the neighborhoods of ‘Ty’ and ‘Blake’.” he retorted smartly. I froze in my spot and cursed my very existence.
“Is it that fucking obvious?” I cried out frustrated. “I’ve only been here a day and you, Soph, my brother, and Ty all know!” Art’s eyebrows shot up in shock, and I sighed running my hands down my face.
“I was just taking a wild guess…” he mumbled before he burst into a hysterical laugh. “O-oh my god, I can’t believe I cracked that code!” he cried out.
I stared at him flatly and waited for him to stop. I could really only blame myself for this. My big mouth really was taking a lot of hits today wasn’t it?
“S-sorry…” Art snorted, wiping the tears from his eyes. “It’s just that Marie and I had this crazy theory. You just proved it wasn’t all that crazy. Wait…did you say that Ty knows?” he back tracked in shock. I frowned and nodded sheepishly.
“I told him today and it didn’t go well.” I answered, as images of Ty’s back turned on me replayed on loop. He just left and there was nothing I could do to stop him.
I hurt him and I didn’t want to do the same to Blake. There was no way I was going through that again. I refuse it.
I’d rather wear a potato sack and use it as my new aesthetic.
“Don’t beat yourself up over it. That guy forgives way too easily.” Art said, surprisingly assuring me. It was the first sight of hope I felt since the confessional from hell.
“Thanks Art.” I smiled genuinely. “I should head home, the sun will be up soon and I have to beat it before mom wakes up.”
“He’ll come around, just give him space.” Art said before we departed ways. I stared at him silently and nodded then went home. Because that was all I could do at four in the morning.
“Vivian, Vivi wake up.” A soft voice said breaking through my heavy and much needed sleep. I groaned and hugged my pillow against my chest.
“No Mr.Gosling, I don’t want to wake yet.” I mumbled sleepily, hugging my husband.
“Try again…” the voice teased playfully. I furrowed my brows and opened my eyes.
“Oh no, it’s you.” I grumbled as my eyes focused in on Sophia’s cheery face. “Why are you in my room—why do you hate me?” I whined childishly.
“I’m here because I’m a great friend and great friends chat. So…” she trailed off, jumping in my bed next to me, “spill it King and don’t leave out any details.” she smirked, jabbing me in the ribs.
“Do you and Sawyer tell each other everything?” I asked incredulously, sitting up. Sophia nodded enthusiastically, way too chirpy for the morning.
“In the words of my mother, ’secrets don’t make friends’.” she answered with a broad smile. “Now tell me what happened.” she urged impatiently. Then I recounted the story in full to her. Sophia listened intently and waited until I finished before she said anything.
“Then he left and when I tried calling him all he said was to leave him alone.” I finished, with a weary shrug.
“He didn’t come home last night.” she said out of nowhere. Immediately I was struck with fear. When Soph saw how scared I was she shook her head frantically, “Oh no don’t worry.” she quickly added.
“Don’t worry? Soph, your brother never came home, how could I not worry? I may have conflicted feelings but I know I’ll always care for him Soph!” I rambled frantically as I clambered out of bed and dashed for the door. Sophia however was ahead of me and yanked me back to the room.
“He’s fine, Vivian.” She assured me sternly, “Tyson just needed some time to register everything. He came home this morning, and made breakfast for my parents and I. He didn’t want to tell me anything so I came straight here to get answers.” she explained plainly.
“Is he really okay?” I asked unsurely.
“He’s fine, really.” she reassured me, “I’m worried about you though.”
Sophia frowned sympathetically, and gestured to my unkempt look. “You have dark bags under your eyes, and you look like you’ve been crying for hours. Ty did you dirty girl.” she tsked, shaking her head. I frowned and tried to defend him when Soph swiftly cut me off, “Don’t try to justify what my did. He should have stayed and heard you out instead of just run away, like a dog with his tail tucked between his legs.”
“Soph, you weren’t there. You didn’t see how badly I hurt him. He kissed me and I think….I-”
Sophia narrowed her eyes at me, and pushed her fingers against my lips, silencing me. “Shhh-Shh say no more young wasabi.” she closed her eyes and dramatically rubbed the temples of her head, “Listen, I know he’s my brother but I don’t approve.” she said frank.
My jaw dropped as I registered the major blunt to the head. “What?”
Her eyes widened and she shook her head frantically, “I mean no offense Vi, I love you and all. But I can’t help but feel like you and Tyson care for each other in that brotherly way, rather than the romantic sense. I love my brother but I don’t think he’s the one for you.” she explained carefully as to not hurt my feelings.
“You and Dom seem to have the same idea.” I mumbled under my breath before the door to my room slammed opened. There at the threshold of my room, Sawyer stood there with a bowl of cereal in his hands.
“I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation.” Sawyer began innocently. I stared at him flatly and he quickly corrected himself, “Okay, so I got tired of standing outside of the door.” he sighed.
“Dude, not cool.” I chastised him.
“I’m team Ty, if anyone cares.” he interjected in without cause.
“What the hell is wrong with you people!” I cried out in frustration, “This isn’t the twilight saga. There won’t be t-shirts and big gulp cups from 7/11 with Ty and Blake’s plastered across them. This is our lives and it’s not about teams or ships. These are my fucked up feelings.”
“She’s right.” Sophia nodded, “We can’t just put their faces on t-shirts and cups—we need posters and memes too!”
“Oh fuck me softly with a chainsaw.” I sighed in agitation. “You guys aren’t getting it. This isn’t a competition, this is real. I-I can’t keep running around in circles trying to figure out my feelings. I don’t want anyone to get hurt.”
“Too late for that.” Sawyer mumbled under his breath, both Sophia and I glared at him but he was too oblivious to notice. “Have you told Blake anything?” he asked.
“No, I haven’t seen him. Thank god too, because I don’t even know where to begin with him. With Ty, it was disastrous and he’s my best friend. But with Blake, I don’t know how he’ll react. Or if he even likes me….he’s just a whole different level of complicated.” I groaned, rubbing the temples of my head, stressed out.
“That’s great!” Sawyer exclaimed happily. Sophia and I both stared at him dumbstruck before he elaborated his idea. “See, if only one of them knows then you won’t have to go through this again. I hate Blake, I honest to god do. I like Ty better and he’s way more stable that Orton will ever be.”
“Babe, my brother knocked you out.” Sophia pointed out incredulously. “How are you on his side on this thing?”
Sawyer pressed his lips and changed his whole demeanor earnestly, “He did it because I hurt his sister. If anybody understands that, it’s me. I trust him Soph, it’s Blake I don’t trust.” he answered solemnly.
“I grew up with Blake and for years he was just this brooding self loathing guy. He relied on my family a lot and it wasn’t until he met Vivian that things really did change. Whenever she’s gone he reverts into that brooding bad boy, but when she’s around he’s happy.” Soph retorted equally as serious as my brother.
“He’s not good for her!” Sawyer spat angrily.
“She’s good for him!” Sophia snapped, refusing to waver her argument.
“Uh, guys-” I cut in wearily, “I see I may have caused some kind of emotional altercation between you two. But let me be the first to say that I want no part in your emotional fuck pie.”
Sophia and Sawyer both ignored me, and carried on in their fight. “If you’re so worried about him, then why don’t you date him.” Sawyer challenged her with a cold glare.
“You can’t be serious, are you jealous?” Sophia scoffed, crossing her arms.
“Come one guys, peace and love.” I said in an attempt to extinguish the ensuing argument. But my peaceful pleas fell on deaf ears.
“I’m not jealous of Orton, I have way more than that guy!” Sawyer retorted, sounding arrogant. I sighed and just sat back and watched the rest unfold because that was all I could do.
It’s like when you see two housewives fight over the last cashmere sweater at a black Friday sale. It was painful to watch, but you didn’t want get throat punched trying to break it up. It was a conflict of interest.
“Then stop acting like such an ass!” she snarled.
“I don’t like you defending the same guy who liked you. Do you know how that makes me feel?” Sawyer argued. “How would you like it if I defended Nicky, you wouldn’t like it would you?”
I silently prepared my brothers eulogy after that. I knew he was a dead man and I would miss him. I wonder what being an only child feels like? Do I get more presents on holidays and my birthday?
“So you’ll go back to her?” Soph raised her eyebrow.
“At least she doesn’t defend guys who have a history with her!” Sawyer snapped.
Then she’d be defending an army of men. I thought to myself.
“You’re such a pig!” Sophia cried out, storming out of my room. Sawyer followed after her.
“Oink-oink baby!” I heard him yell out as their voices carried off until it was a faint distance.
I sat in the silence of my room and looked over at the clock. 9 a.m, it read, and one relationship was already on the rocks. What else could possibly go wrong?