I am sure I looked very stupid right now, with my jaw hanging open and my eyes as wide as they could be. “Uh, Bryce what are you doing here.”
“I was over at Millie’s and she got called in to some work emergency, so she asked me to come pick you up.” Putting the car in drive and pulled out of the driveway. “So where do you want to go.”
Looking over at him, he was looking at me smiling. “I just want to go home.” After saying this I could immediately see his face almost deflate now supporting a frown instead of his usual smirk.
“Oh, ok… uh I was just thinking maybe we could hang out. We could grab a bite to eat or do something, if you wanted to.” He was the last person I wanted to hang out with right now. Bringing up all these old feelings in therapy made me mad all over again. I had done so well at pushing down my feelings and avoiding him altogether.
“I’m not really hungry. We can stop if you need something, but I’d really like to just get home.”
“Ok, I’ll just grab something quick.”
Pulling out my phone I decided to text Beth that I was on my way home and she could head over. After getting a response that she would be there in 20 I sighed closing my phone. Looking up I realized we were almost at the small cafe we all used to frequent before the accident. Pulling in the parking lot Bryce parked the car and sat there for a minute.
“Do you want to come in real quick I know the old man has been missing you.” I just stared down at my hands, shaking my head no. I couldn’t go in there, I wasn’t ready to have all the memories come flooding back in. The cafe was owned and ran by Gus although we always referred to him as old man. He opened the cafe with his wife when they were newly married. We always loved hearing their stories about being young and inlove and doing anything to make there dreams come true. When they first opened the cafe they sold their house to afford it and ended up having to live in the cafe sleeping on old cots they had back in the breakroom. Everytime they told those stories they always looked at each other in a way you could tell that they were completely in love with one another. They were happy being able to do something they both enjoyed and be together everyday. I always wanted to find someone that would look at me how they always looked at each other. The saddest day was when we got the call that Margaret had passed she had been battling with cancer for many years and it finally won. This was a few years ago, but it took Gus a long time to get back to his usual self even now he always seemed a little sad.
We used to hang out at Gus’s cafe almost everyday after school and most of the time on the weekend. During the summer we practically lived here when we weren’t at the beach. He even let me and kate work a few weeks during the summer and some weekends during the school year. He always said if we were going to be there all the time he might as well put us to work. Also if we were working there we got free drinks and snacks.
I felt guilty but I couldn’t bear to go in there. I hadn’t been since before the accident and I knew it would be too painful to go in there with all of the memories that we had in there. Finally Bryce came out smiling. Getting in the car he handed me a bag and a drink. Placing his own drink in the cup holder and already snacking on a sandwich. Looking at him confused he just shrugged and started backing out of the parking lot. Looking in the bag I saw my favorite sandwich and a sugar cookie that gus makes that is the best thing you will ever eat. Taking a sip of my drink it was also a Caramel Frappuccino with very little coffee and extra caramel sauce just how I liked it.
“Did you tell Gus I was out here?” I felt guilty if Gus knew I was outside but didn’t stop in to see him.
Bryce seemed to be blushing a little and only just mumbled yeah and then continued driving.
“I guess I’ll have to make sure I pay him a visit and thank him soon.” He never answered me after that and we were both quiet the rest of the way home.
Pulling in my drive I realized there was already another car there, which I assumed was Bethany’s since it had been a little over 20 minutes already.
Bryce looking confused asked if I was expecting someone.
“Yes Bethany from our school, I met up with her at my parents party and we are hanging out today.”
“Oh, ok I was going to see if you wanted to hang out the rest of the day, but I guess you’re going to be busy.”
“That’s ok, maybe some other time.” I knew I didn’t mean that, it would be a few more weeks and he would move on back to his old life and how we were before.
“Yeah, I’ll see you around.”
With that I hoped out of the car and got my crutches from the back and made my way up the to the front porch. I saw Bethany sitting on our porch swing staring at my aunts SUV. Waving hello I started digging around to find my house key and let us inside. Bethany now got up and was making her way over to me still staring at the car.
“Is that Bryce Anderson?”
Looking at her questioningly I just mumbled yes it was. She then looked shocked. Raising my eyebrow at her I was waiting for her to explain I didn’t think it was that big of a deal to be riding home with him he was my best friends brother after all. I shrugged my shoulders and made my way inside throwing my stuff down by the door. Making my way in to the living room I realized she was following me and now was looking creepily happy.
“Ok, you need to tell me what is wrong with you. I am starting to second guess this whole friendship.” She just rolled her eyes at me.
“Alright, just hear me out before you judge or think I am a super creep.” I nodded at her letting her go on. Taking a deep breath she continued talking. “When my sister died as you know I became a bit of a loner at school. Well when you have no friends and no social life I learned you do a lot of people watching and become really good at reading people. I also think it helps that when you are a nobody people will say basically anything as if you aren’t even sitting there.” She paused so I nodded again encouraging her to keep going. So I always saw you and Kate and Bryce around and honestly I was rooting for you and Bryce to get together. I knew for sure he was crazy about you. I could never really tell how you were feeling about it honestly, and then next thing I know Valerie is draped over him like a throw blanket. I have never been more mad to see my Ice ship sink.” At this point I couldn’t help it I was busting out laughing the way she told the story at the end it was like she lost a member of the family and the way she said Valerie’s name barely getting it out and acting like it left a bad taste in her mouth was priceless. Now she was looking at me like I was the crazy one.
Finally I was able to pull myself together and then I realized something else she said. “Wait what Ice ship sunk? Did people die? How come I never heard of this?” Now it was her turn to laugh at me.
“No, I mean you and Bryce’s relation-ship I gave your ship the name Ice it was the only way I could think of combining Isabella and Bryce.”
“You gave us a name, you know there is nothing going on between us right.”
“Yes and you should be grateful I did it, took me forever to think of, your names aren’t that easy to combine. Also I don’t believe that for one second, I saw how you guys used to be around each other there was clearly something there.”
“Yea I thought so too at one point.”
“Wait! What? Your saying there was a possibility of you two?”
“No not really, I just always had a huge crush on him, but it was never returned.” She was practically jumping up and down at this point.
“You need to tell me everything that has happened.” Looking at the clock I noticed it was almost 5 by now.
“How bout I order pizza first so we can eat soon.”
“Perfect I’m starving.” I made my way into the kitchen to find the menu and call and order. After making the call they told me it would take about 45 minutes. Hobbling back into the living room Beth was looking at her phone but immediately put it down when she saw me enter the room.
“Ok, the pizza is ordered and will be here soon, do you need anything else something to drink or anything.”
“No, now stop stalling and get over here and tell me what happened.” That is how I found myself for the second time today reliving my past with Bryce. I went into a little more detail with Beth because she would not stop asking questions.
“...So now he’s been trying to talk to me again, but I know as soon as everything settles down it will go back to before and I won’t have to deal with him too much.”
“Ok, one what do you mean he has been trying to talk to you.” I told her about the times recently we have talked and what has happened, even most recently when he asked what happened between the two of us I explained to her how it was different now that Kate was gone we didn’t need to be in each others lives. She looked shocked again. “You didn’t say that to him did you.”
“No I just thought it, it’s true though he is only doing this now because he feels sorry for me once everything blows over he will go back to Valerie and I will be left alone again.”
“This brings me to my second question.” I rolled my eyes at this she has asked way more that two questions during this entire time. “Don’t roll your eyes at me I am trying to help Ice here become a possibility and I need to know all of the details. Now why do you say that things will go back to before like you are hoping they will?”
“Because if I’m being honest I do like him alot and I thought there was a possibility, but that was just me being stupid and naive. He will never see me as anything other than another sister and a buddy. He always picks someone else over me and of course that someone would have to be the person that tortures me daily for fun.”
“Well I know you may not believe me, but I saw the way he looks at you. I’m not sure what happened, but I know there is hope for Ice to work.” Letting out a quiet laugh I just shook my head thankfully the doorbell rang at that minute so we could be done with this conversation. Grabbing the money off the table I went to the front door. I opened the door while looking down counting the money to make sure I had enough.
“Oh, what are you doing here.” Looking up I was surprised to see Matt standing there. I didn’t even think about that when I ordered the pizza from the same place my aunt always does. “You know I’m starting to think your stalking me.”
“What do you mean me stalking you I live here.”
“Mhmm sure if you want to tell yourself that. It’s ok you can admit you just wanted to see me again.” Knowing he was just joking around I let out a laugh and handed him the money while grabbed the pizza out of the bag. “So is this your house then.”
“This is my house I was at my aunts before.”
“Cool do you want me to carry the pizza in for you.”
“If you wouldn’t mind that would be great.”
“Lead the way.” Walking through to our kitchen I yelled to Beth the pizza was here she must have gone to the bathroom I didn’t see her in the living room.
“You can put it on the counter thank you.” Putting it down he looked around like he had more he wanted to say. Not just leaving. “Is there something else, I gave you the money already.”
“I just need you to sign the receipt, also if you want to leave your phone number that would be ok.” Laughing I signed the receipt and handed it back to him. Smiling at him. He smiled back and when he looked down his smile vanished losing his cocky demeanor but only for a second before his smirk was back. “Alright, I see how it is, I’ll see you around.” Odd I thought he would ask for my number again since I didn't give it to him, but he just turned making his way out. At the same time Bethany came into the kitchen, and they almost ran into each other. When they both saw each other they both just stood there and stared at each other.
“Oh Matt, this is my friend…”
“..Bethany, I know.”
“Oh you two know each other.” I looked at Bethany confused. I guess we all did go to the same school and he seemed to be popular. Bethany looked a little flustered. I wondered what happened between them.
Matt then said some lame excuse that they knew each other from school, but I feel like there was more to it that they weren’t saying. Then he quickly left and I soon heard the door close and his car pull out the drive.
“Ok, would you like to tell me what that was about.” Bethany still hadn’t said a word since she ran into Matt in the doorway.
“Uhh nothing I was just err.. surprised someone else was here, that’s all.” I could tell she was lying so I just stared at her with a blank expression. Avoiding looking at me she grabbed her pizza and went into the living room to sit down. Following her she was already sitting eating. I was not about to let this go something happened and I wanted to know.
“So you guys just new each other from school then?” I know I was being pushy, but I was curious about what happened. Matt seemed interested in me and I did not want to start anything if it would upset Beth. I didn’t want to lose another friend.
Sighing she started talking finally. “I actually used to be really good friends with Matt, back in high school before my sister died. I don’t like to admit this, but I started partying a lot and made new friends that were college aged and were not good people. Matt would always go to the parties with me and was doing all the same stuff I did. I eventually realized that what I was doing was really stupid, so I cut off contact with all the new friends I made. I tried to talk to Matt and get him to stop but he always said he was having fun and wasn’t ready to give it up.”
“Wow and you guys were just friends?” At this point I was feeling a little guilty it sounds like they had something and here he was asking me for my number.
“I heard him asking for your number it is ok with me. I used to have a crush on him but that changed when everything happened. I am just warning you be careful with him.” I could feel my cheeks heating up now embarrassed that she heard him and I didn’t know she was there. “Really it is ok with me if you date him what we had was long ago don’t feel bad about it, if he texts or calls you feel free to answer. Although I still am and always will be rooting for you and Bryce.”
“I didn’t actually give him my phone number.” I mumbled quietly.
“What was that I didn’t hear you.” Of course I know she did actually hear me she just wanted to embarrass me further.
“I said I didn’t actually give him my phone number.” Answering louder this time so I know she would definitely hear me.
I could tell she was trying not to laugh she was just staring at me. “Why not?”
“I don’t know, I just don’t really see why he would be interested in me so I figured if we did talk he would eventually ditch me after he realized how lame I am.
Now she scoffed at me. “Please, you could get any guy you wanted. He would be the lucky one to hang out with you even if only for a little, and if you really want to impress him I can help you with that.”
“No, it’s ok you don’t need to go through all that trouble.”
“It wouldn’t be any trouble and I haven’t done a makeover since I was on the cheerleading squad this would be so much fun.” I almost forgot that she was once a cheerleader and pretty popular. She didn’t act like it though she was nice and not snobby like all the other ones were. I didn’t even realize she was still talking.
“I’m sorry I tuned out for a second, what was that.” Looking at me annoyed she continued.
“Well I was saying that tomorrow we are going to the mall and getting you a makeover and some new outfits. Also since you couldn’t listen to me the first time we are going to get you waxed.” Ok, now she was starting to scare me I was NOT getting anything waxed.
“No, that is not happening I am not getting waxed.”
“Yes you are! That will teach you not to tune me out next time I am talking!” At this point I started laughing hysterically she was acting as if I killed her pet goldfish not simply tuning her out for less than a minute. Pulling myself together I muttered that she was crazy as I stood up heading into the kitchen to grab more pizza. As I was leaving I felt something hit my head turning around there was a chip laying on the floor and she was staring out the window whistling.
Turning and continuing to the kitchen once I passed the doorway I yelled “See CRAZY!” Her head snapped over to me and she looked like she was fuming, but I ran and closed the door before hearing what sounded like the bowl full of chips hit the door. “You are cleaning that up!” I yelled to her before laughing and grabbing the pizza. Walking back to the living room I passed Beth picking up the chips where she just looked up and glared at me. Rolling my eyes I stood there and waited for her to pick up all the chips. After she was done she threw them away and came back.
“We can go into the movie room and watch movies if you want.” She looked at me with big eyes.
“You have a movie room and I am just now hearing about it.” Chuckling I motioned for her to follow me. I led her to our basement it was basically a huge play room we had every type of game from foosball and air hockey to ping pong, we even had an old pinball machine my dad got passed down to him. Off to the side of that was what I called the movie room, it sort of resembled a small theater. There were these big love seats that were really deep almost the size of a Queen mattress so you could sleep on them which I often did after watching movies. On one side of the wall was a whole selection of movies and since my parents were pretty popular we often had movies that had not even been released yet sent to us. In the back there was a projector and a popcorn maker with candy and drinks that was always kept stocked incase my parents had a movie party or a viewing party happen here. I looked over at Beth and she was looking around amazed.
“Wow, this is amazing I might move in here.”
Laughing I told her she could as I was mostly left alone when my parents were away. They would never even notice most likely. Firing up the popcorn machine I told her she could pick whatever movies she wanted. She came back with a whole selection of movies some I have never even heard of, maybe they were new.
“How do you even have these there not even scheduled to come out for a few months.”
“My parents know a lot of important people.” I think she muttered that she was jealous but I ignored it while putting all the movies in so they would play and we wouldn’t have to get up. The rest of the night went just watching movies and pigging out until we eventually fell asleep. Which I was fine with because I knew we were going to have a long day tomorrow going to the mall.