So what happened after I got back from Eaglesvale?
I was staying over at Brooke’s place for the rest of Summer Break until the first two weeks after school opened for the new semester. I hadn’t gone back home but still kept in touch with Dad and Gran from time to time. I still needed time to get my act together and make peace with myself after what happened with Matthew. I also wanted to be able to be comfortable enough to be myself without making it obvious that I was hiding something from Dad and Gran because if they were to pick up something off about me, it wasn’t going to be long until they started asking questions.
I didn’t feel ready to face them when they eventually found out the truth without feeling ashamed of myself.
“You can’t keep avoiding them forever, Beverley.”
We were in the kitchen preparing dinner when I had asked if could stay for few weeks until school closed for half term break and she wasn’t happy about it. “I know I said that you’re free to come over whenever you want and stay as long as you want but I’m starting to think you only come here to avoid problems at home – specifically problems with Dad.” She said.
“What? That’s not true! I come here to check on you every once in a while.” I replied defensively.
“That’s because I always call you to come over and when you do come here it’s usually because something happened between you and dad.”
I opened my mouth to retort but soon closed it, not only because I had no retort but also because she was right. “Brooke, you know how he is.” I let out a strained sigh. “He allowed me to go on this trip because I gave him the assurance that I wouldn’t do anything stupid. He’s going to freak out if he finds out I had sex with someone and will think I was peer pressured to go.”
“For the love of God, Beverley. You need to stop letting him dictate your life and rely on me and Gran to fight your battles for you.” She exclaimed frustrated. “You’re old enough to make your own decisions and stand up for yourself. Act like it!”
The air stood still. The room was so tense that a knife could be dulled by the intense energy. I was hurt at her response more than I was surprised that she felt that way about me. I knew I had my moments where I was difficult but I thought she of all people would understand that this whole transition into adulthood was still new to me. I thought she off all people who understand why I felt that way since we both grew up in that house and saw the type of person dad was as we grew up.
It took her minutes for her to register what she had said and immediately regretted it. “Bev, I didn’t mean for it to come out like that – “
“It’s fine.” I cut her off with a fake smile tugging my lips. “You’re right. I shouldn’t take advantage of your hospitality. I’m not a kid anymore so I should act my age. I’ll leave by the end of the week.”
After that, I called Dad to come pick me up and take me home. Brooke and I hadn’t spoken much since then. She would leave a few texts here and there, checking how I was doing and asking if I was still hurt by her words. I would either leave curt responses or just leave her on read.
I hadn’t seen much of Maren when school opened. She was mostly busy with her dissertation and getting ready for her finals which made her unavailable for the most part but we still kept in touch. The only time I ever go to see her was when she’d come around my place after school if she wasn’t buried in schoolwork or when she needed a ride to Queens for her sessions with Matthew.
I hadn’t spoken to him after he dropped me off at Brooke’s place nor did I see him that much unless it was during his sessions with Maren. We never really talked – rather I never really talked to him. It was how it was like before Eaglesvale but difference was that I was keeping my distance and setting boundaries.
I had initially planned on avoiding him entirely, making excuses to Maren as to why I couldn’t take her to Queens like: I have some assignments to catch up on and a test to study on; I have a group discussion to attend to; I’m not feeling too well – any excuse to keep me from going to Queens and see Matthew there. But I realised that would draw suspicion so I resorted to switch between making excuses, dropping her off and picking her up afterwards and taking her there.
I was lucky that Matthew got too busy with work that he was unable to call her for sessions.
…for both of our sakes can we just forget it happened and move on?
That was easier said than done. No matter how hard I tried and how bad I wanted to, the memories of that night couldn’t fade away. The images, the feelings, every detail was stuck in my head like a fly suck in super glue.
It was my first time. I had given a part of myself to him and I didn’t know if I was going to get it back. What was worse about it was I gave myself to someone who thought I was someone else – someone I can assume was from his past and that in many ways was a hard pill to swallow.
“Hey, Bee.” Maren said.
She had come over to spend time with me at home after school. I didn’t mind having her around since that was one of the few times we got to hangout before she got busy and unavailable. As long as she didn’t disturb me while I was busy.
“Yeah?” I answered, eyes focused on my laptop as my fingers were moving around the keyboard.
“What’s going on between you and Matthew?” she asked.
“Nothing is going between us, Mare.” I answered, dismissing the subject.
“You know what I mean.”
I gave her a brief glance before looking back at my laptop. She sighed. “What I mean is, what changed between you too? Y’all were pretty tight back at Eaglesvale, but now…y’all are acting like stranger – or that you’re the acting like he’s a stranger. I asked him what’s up but he ain’t saying shit.”
I paused what I was doing, taking in what she had said, and went back to what I was doing. “It’s nothing for you to worry about. I just don’t want to overstep my boundaries with him whilst he’s working.”
“Okay? So explain to me why he sent you three texts in you Instagram DMs begging you to talk to him, which you left on read by the way.”
I looked up from my laptop and found her scrolling through my phone. How does she keep figuring out my passcode?!
“What in the name of everything holy on Earth are you doing on my phone?” I said, putting my laptop aside and walked towards her.
“Just investigating.” She answered.
“Well you’ve investigated enough. Hand it over.” I tried to snatch my phone from her but she dodged.
“Aren’t you going to answer him?”
“I will but not now. Give me back my phone.” I tried snatching it again but she dodged.
“I dunno what’s going on between you two but you need to resolve it.”
“And I will. Just not now, okay? Give it back.”
“Well if you ain’t gonna do anything about it I will.”
“And how are you going to do that?”
“Giving him a call.”
My eyes widened. “You wouldn’t.”
With no hesitation, her thumb tapped the call icon.
Next thing that happened was me chasing her around the house trying to retrieve my phone. “YOU’RE A DEAD BITCH WHEN I GET MY HANDS ON YOU!” I yelled.
“MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” she laughed.
By the time we ran back to my room the call was already answered.
“Hello?” his voice boomed from the loudspeaker.
My heart started beating at supersonic speeds. “Hang-up the phone.” I mouthed, gesticulating her to cut the call.
“Hey, Matt. It’s Maren calling from Bev’s phone.”
I threw my face in my hands and groaned. I need new friends.
“Oh…hey…Is there something you need?”
“Nah, but I do want you and Bee to kiss and make up so over to you, Honey Bee.” She tossed my phone towards me. “You’re welcome.”
“Fuck you.” I hissed through my teeth, flipping her off.
She blew me a kiss as she exited my room and closed the door on her way out. Sighing, I removed the call from loud speaker in case she was at the door eavesdropping – which I was pretty sure she was.
“It’s been a while since we talked.”
“Yeah, I was busy with school.”
This is getting awkward.
“Okay. Since there ain’t much to say, I guess I can just hang up and pretend this conversation never happened. Sorry for wasting your time.”
“Wait! I actually do want to talk to you.”
My eyebrows knitted together affecting confusion. “What for?”
“We haven’t talked after Eaglesvale.”
He was silent, probably not expecting my blunt response or that he thinking of what else to say. “I was worried about you.”
Normally a person would be touched and moved by such words. Such words gives them the assurance that the other person at least cared and put their feelings into consideration. But that wasn’t the case with me. I was mad. Madder than I was confused at what he said.
Didn’t he ask to forget what happened and leave it there?
Didn’t he ask for us to move on and act like it never happened?
He was so dead set on trying to make things normal between us instead of asking and wondering what was keeping us from doing so in the first place.
“Why should you be worried about me after that?” I asked.
“You’ve been acting different since then. You’re not talking to me. You’re avoiding me.”
“You wanted us to move on and act like that night happened and I’m doing just that.” I answered. “And whether I’m acting different or not is my business. Not yours.”
There was silence.
“Are you mad at me for what happened that night?”
“What are you talking about?” I asked. “I’m not mad at you for what happened.”
“It feels that way. It feels like you’re mad that I took advantage of you while you were vulnerable which was not what happened and you know it.”
I was startled by his response. “That’s not it.”
“THEN WHAT IS IT, BEVERLEY?! WHAT IS IT THAT’S MAKING YOU COLD TOWARDS ME?! I DIDN’T FORCE YOU TO SLEEP WITH ME! YOU BASICALLY OPENED YOUR LEGS TO ME!”
There was a long and dead silence.
“Beverley, I didn’t mean – ”
“Fuck you, Matthew.” I spewed venom in my words and hung up.
I tossed my phone on the nightstand and sat down on my bed, raking my fingers through my hair, and pulling it a little as the feeling of stress and frustration washed over me like an ocean wave. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I wanted to grab something, anything and break it but I was too overwhelmed to do anything.
“You okay, Bee?”
I looked up and saw Maren standing behind my door, concern written all over her face. I sighed and gave her a tired but bitter smile. “Just peachy, Mare.” I answered drily.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Maybe I can – “
“I think you’ve done enough, Maren.” I cut her off. “Just drop it.”
“Bee, you can’t just drop this. I’m just trying to help.” She said.
“Help?” I crowed sarcastically. “You being in my business with no regard of my feelings is anything but help. It’s selfish.”
“I wasn’t being selfish – “
“I don’t want to hear it.” I said standing up and grabbing my hoodie.
“Bee, I’m sorry.” She said as I passed by her. “Bee!”.