“…and then he just walked out like nothing happened.”
Uh huh? Talk about a lack luster response.
“I’m telling you about an extremely cryptic encounter I had last night and all you can say is ‘uh huh’?”
You know, for a best friend, I expected a little more insight from Sam then just “uh huh”.
“So is that ‘uh huh’ you’re not really paying attention to me or ‘uh huh’ I’m about to get another lecture in how much of a moron I’m being?” I asked, already knowing the likely answer.
This time I was met with silence. Well, silence and the sigh she tried to hide by covering her phone.
“Out with it already,” I said in annoyance.
She cleared her throat, which was never a good sign. Many a lecture started with the same simple little gesture so clearly I got my answer.
“How much did you have to drink last night?” she asked.
I rolled my eyes.
“Why is that relevant right now?” I asked in annoyance.
“Addison, you’ve been pining after this guy for the past couple of weeks. You haven’t seen or heard from him during that entire time and then suddenly he shows up at your door, all but declares his undying love for you then disappears into the night like some swashbuckler out of a cheesy romance novel. Are you sure you didn’t maybe dream this?”
I rolled my eyes.
“Don’t roll your eyes,” she said all mom like.
I hated when she did that.
“I didn’t dream it.”
“Are you sure? You just admitted to finishing off two bottles of wine by yourself after having a pathetic chick flick marathon. The combination of the two would certainly explain a lot.”
It was the next morning…well, maybe more like late afternoon, and I had made the fatal error of deciding to tell Sam about my night.
“I wasn’t drunk,” I replied lamely, which of course was complete bull. Well, I hadn’t been drunk at the time anyways.
I may or may not have polished off another bottle of wine after Kade left, which in turn may or may not have resulted in my sleeping until midafternoon with a stomach that pitched depending on the direction I was moving, and a banging headache that could rival the cast of Stomp. (Don’t judge me.)
Either way, I expected a little bit of understanding from my BFF. If she couldn’t understand my view point and my frustrations, then no one could. Summing it all up as a bottle of wine too many was really rubbing me the wrong way.
“…have done stupid things before when you drink too much. This wouldn’t be the first time you’ve managed to confuse fact with fiction.”
Bollocks. I wasn’t paying attention. I’m quite certain that would come back to bite me in the ass at a later date.
“Okay, I will admit there have been times when fact and fiction may have been blurred, like the time I was almost certain that Brad Pitt had given me his number and it really turned out to be a very butch woman in need of a shave, but despite all that, I’m not imaging this. He showed up in the middle of the night. He told me he wasn’t the type of guy I should ever be around and then he was gone.”
Okay, so truth time. I may not have been completely forthright in the information I was giving Sam. I mean, I wasn’t lying to her about anything. Everything I said was true, I was just leaving out little tidbits like the kiss. Sam and I tell each other everything, but for some reason, that little detail seemed too intimate to gossip about. Not to mention the fact she was more than likely going to turn the moment into nothing but a thwarted booty call and I just wasn’t in the mood to argue semantics.
“So anyways,” she said suddenly, “you still in for dancing and drinks with Stacey and Jill?”
Groan. I had completely forgotten about that.
“Would I be a completely terrible person if I said I wasn’t up for it and backed out?”
“Yes,” she said simply.
Mental eye roll.
“I’ve had a very long night, a lot to drink and not enough sleep. I have the hangover from hell that just won’t quit and the very idea of drinks and movement are making my stomach pitch. I’ll go out next time, I promise.”
“I believe you said that last time,” she retorted.
Okay, confession time again. I wasn’t exactly a fan of Stacey’s. Jill I loved. She was the type of person that got along with everyone and could talk about anything no matter the topic. Stacey walked around with stick up her ass most of the time and her holier than thou attitude made me want to punch her in the face more times than I would care to admit. If Stacey wasn’t going, I would down a bottle of Advil and be out the door. But since she was…pass.
I chatted with Sam for a few more minutes before hanging up. Since Stacey had gotten them into an exclusive club tonight, Sam declared the need for a new pair of killer shoes to go with her barely-there dress, all in hopes of catching Mr. Tonight.
Stretching out on the couch, I debated the merits of actually getting off my behind and doing something constructive, like taking a shower. I was in need of one, but the idea of moving seemed like too much work.
With a sigh and a small struggle, I finally liberated myself from the couch and headed to the bedroom to find something to wear.
No one would ever guess that I was such a neat freak, I thought as I walked into my bedroom.
My bed was made (completely out of habit no matter how often I tried to break it), clothes neatly hung and folded and everything was literally in its designated space. A well ingrained habit I had learned in boarding school, which was just another dull chapter in my childhood I’d rather not dwell on.
A queen size bed sat in the middle of the room with a double wide closet off to the right, next to the bathroom. I had a dresser set by the door with a small mirror on top and a small upholstered chair crammed into the corner. The room, both colorful and tailored, didn’t offer a ton of space so I had been forced to store my great grandmother’s vanity until I moved to a bigger space.
The large picture window on the left of the bed bathed the bedroom in bright afternoon sun, and I seriously considered going back to sleep in my comfy overstuffed bed.
I tossed my new cell phone on the foot of the bed then wandered over to the dresser. The dresser was an old piece so it took a little effort to actually get it open. I had ruined many a pair of lace items yanking that stupid drawer open. Eventually I would buy something nice, more modern, but for now it suited my needs and would have to do. Grabbing a matching pair of blue lace trimmed bra and panties, I yanked open another drawer and scrounged around for a pair of jeans and a loose fitting sweater, then headed into the bathroom.
It was a fairly large space given the footage of the apartment. The shower/tub sat across from the door and the sink and toilet were set off to the right against the opposite wall. It was a fairly good space so I had bought a shelf and placed it in the corner next to the toilet. I didn’t have a linen closet so it worked nicely for towel storage.
I closed the door, and set my clothes on the counter. My neck was stiff so I stretched it out a few times. Hot water on my cramped muscles was going to feel heavenly. Grabbing a thick, oversized towel, I threw it on top of the toilet.
I had just grabbed the hem of my shirt when I heard the annoying shrill of my cell phone.
For a second I was tempted to just ignore it, but like shiny objects, I couldn’t resist it.
Yanking my shirt back down, I opened the door, tripping over the bath mat and stumbled into the bed. I made a grab for my phone, which was also on vibrate so it took a second attempt grab it as it started vibrating its way across the bed spread.
“Hello,” I said, shamefully out of breath.
I plopped down on the bed, realizing a little too late that in all my bumbling efforts to get to the phone, I hadn’t actually bothered to check the caller ID. With my luck, it was my mother again, who I had been avoiding for the past few days. I love the woman to death, but if she brought up the topic of Sean one more time, I would not be held liable for the string of obscenities that would likely follow.
“Addy,” came a deep voice on the other end.
Double damn. Speak of the devil and he shall appear.
“Hi Sean,” I said meekly, letting out a frustrated sigh.
“How have you been?” he asked.
“Good,” I replied. “How are you?”
He sighed. “Good. Confused, but good.”
“What are you confused about?” I asked, swallowing down a defeated sigh.
There was a pause and I knew a dramatic build up was in store.
“Us,” he said after a moment. “I’m still trying to process what exactly went wrong.”
This time I didn’t try to mask my sigh.
“You know what went wrong, Sean. On paper, we make sense. In reality, we were the poster children for dysfunction.”
“It wasn’t that bad,” he said defensively.
“No, at first it wasn’t. But even you have to admit that the last few months were extremely strained. We barely saw each other, barely spoke. When we did, we were either fighting over stupid things or you were talking down to me like I was your disobedient child and not your partner.”
“We can change all that,” he replied quietly.
I shook my head. “No, we can’t. I know you mean well Sean. And I know you’re trying and I appreciate that; I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate that, but these last couples of weeks have been a real eye opener for me. I have a better understanding of what I want. I want what’s best for both of us.”
There was a terse silence followed by a frustrated sigh that I was all too familiar with. I didn’t need the psychic network to tell me what was going to happen next.
“Addison, I think I have been very patient,” he said sternly. “I have tried to be understanding with this sudden need to demonstrate your independence, but enough is enough. Message received.”
I took a deep breath and stood my ground. “I don’t want a relationship, Sean. I don’t want to get back together. It’s over.”
“I’m sorry Sean,” I said quietly.
My stomach clenched tightly. It was the same nervousness I had been feeling for the past few months of our relationship. Always waiting for the dam to burst. Always waiting to get read the riot act. Always feeling the need to take additional steps back just in case.
“You don’t want a relationship or you don’t want a relationship with me?” he asked coldly.
“I…,” I began.
“Because I very much doubt your late night visit with your new neighbor was just a friendly chat.”
“How do you know about that,” I whispered.
He gave a humorless laugh.
“How the hell do you know about that?” I asked again, my temper rising. “Are you watching me?”
“Watching you? I don’t need to sit outside your window to know you were acting like a bitch in heat. Trust me. Word gets around pretty damn quickly.”
“Lucky for you that isn’t your problem anymore, isn’t it,” I replied angrily.
He laughed. “Come on Addison. You can’t really be this stupid. You think he wants anything serious with you? You’re just the random fuck of the week. You’ll be begging me to take you back the instant he gets bored with you and finds his next flavor of the week.”
I flinched. His words hit a little closer to home then I would particularly like to admit, but damned if I was going to make him aware of it.
“Go to hell.”
I stabbed the end button on my phone and tossed the phone across the room. Man I missed the old days when you could slam a phone down in someone’s ear to get your anger across.
I wasn’t sure what I was more upset about. The fact that he appeared to have been stalking me last night or the fact that he had been so verbally abusive. He had always been a self-absorbed asshole who didn’t really care how offensive he was, but he had never been outright abusive. He had reached a whole new level, and I had to admit it scared the hell out of me.
I sat shaking on the bed for a few minutes, gathering my composure and letting my anger simmer. Sean was an asshole who was lashing out because he had been dumped. His perfect record had been tarnished and he was taking the juvenile route to get back at me. Sadly it was working.
After a few calming breaths, I decided Sean was a complete douche bag (actually I had decided that months prior, but it’s always nice to get final confirmation), and decided to let it go. Arguing with him or my family wasn’t worth the price of admission. I would gain nothing by it. I had learned a long time ago to roll with the punches, so I was going to do just that.
I got up calmly and made my way back into the bathroom, careful to avoid the bathmat.
I stripped out of my t-shirt and tossed it on the floor by the door. I would worry about throwing it in the hamper later. Reaching behind me, I turned on the shower. The pipes creaked and groaned for a few seconds after it started, but luckily it was temporary and ceased once the hot water started kicking in.
Grabbing my brush from the counter, I started to comb through my thick tangled mane as steam started to envelope the room. This was always my favorite part of the shower: the sauna effect. It was so soothing and relaxing, and exactly what I needed.
I yanked my brush through roughly. I hated combing through this mess, but it was a necessary evil.
I stopped suddenly and listened.
Weird. I thought I heard a door close.
I listened for another moment and chalked it up to hearing things when no other noises followed.
I pulled my hair back into a messy bun. I may have found the energy to actually comb my hair, but I was not willing to spend an extra half hour trying to wash and untangle the mess later.
I had just pulled back the curtain to adjust the water temperature to something slightly below scolding when I heard another noise. This time I was positive that I heard something and my heart started beating double time when I realized the sound had been close. As in right outside the bathroom door.
The sound had been quiet but distinct, like a metallic click, similar to the sound of a zippo opening or closing. I retreated a few steps back by the toilet and shelf, looking around for anything I could use as a weapon if necessary.
Wouldn’t you know it…nothing.
I stood motionless, waiting to see if I could hear it again, but what I heard instead was more terrifying.
A loud explosion suddenly filled the air as the door I stood just a few feet to the left of splintered apart in three different places. Natural instinct took over and I dropped to the ground, covering my head and screaming as if my life depended on it, which based on the fact I was almost positive those had been bullet holes, seemed very likely.
Heavy footsteps headed toward the door and I scrambled from my fetal position on the floor and reached over quickly to lock the door. The handle rattled for a second before I heard retreating footsteps that stopped suddenly.
Fearful of what was to come next, I quickly crawled back to the other side of the bathroom, just missing the next two bullets that shattered the door knob.
I was trapped.