We Need To Talk
Alec had been gone for alittle over two weeks and my next doctor visit was coming up. I was angry and disappointed that he wouldn’t be there. I had all these bottled up feelings that wouldn’t go away and i knew we needed to sit down and talk.
Brian had kept his distance after our last encounter and I was thankful. My head was spinning, there was just to much going on at the moment. Thankfully I didn’t have to work today.
My phone rang and my heart skipped a beat at the name of the caller, Alec. Taking a deep breath I forced myself to answer, “Hello?”
“Good morning beautiful”
I found myself smiling and even feeling a tad better, hearing his voice almost washed away all the bad thoughts I had been thinking. Almost. “Good morning handsome”
He chuckled sending a shiver of pleasure down my spine, “I’m sorry I couldn’t call sooner, I’ve had to put way more effort into this sales pitch than what I normally have to do”
“So you had to beg” I teased.
I knew he was grinning from ear to ear, “Yes, I had to beg”
I laughed and clutched the phone tighter and let out another deep breath, “I have another baby appointment tomorrow and I wish you could be there”
“I wish I was there to”
“Alec... when you get back I think there are some things we need to talk about” there I said it. Although the weight on my chest was still there it was a short relief.
There was a long drawn out silence on the other end and I had to check to make sure he hadn’t hung up before putting the phone back to my ear “Alec?”
“Cas... are you... are you breaking up with me?” There was a slight tremor to his words and I sunk onto one of the kitchen chairs.
This time it was my turn to be silent as I wasn’t sure what to say. I didn’t want to break up with him, I was just confused. My head was spinning. I was being fed doubts and it was weakening me.
“No” I finally said and listened as he let out a harsh breath. I kind of felt relieved and reassured that our relationship meant that much to him.
“Shit Cassandra” I could picture him rubbing his face with his hand, tired and exhausted “I- I should have stayed behind I shouldn’t have left. I shouldn’t have snapped at you”
I fiddled with a lonesome one laying on the table, twirling it around on the table top “I hated that you had talked to me like that. I hated it. I feel like you make decisions without thinking of me, when all I do is think about you. But this conversation is for a different time, we need to talk when you get home”
“I agree. I’m going to try my best to get back to you sooner than what we’d planned.”
“What about your boss?” I didn’t want him to lose his job because of me.
“I’ll deal with him”
“Ok” the tension that hung threw the air was slightly awkward as now we didn’t know exactly what to say to each other. “I really appreciate you calling me Alec, I was worried”
“Worried about what?”
“Worried about you dummy” I said letting out a small laugh. He laughed along with me. We talked for a few more minutes before hanging up.
There was a small knock on the front door and I glanced up, contemplating whether or not to answer it. Finally after they knocked again i rose from the kitchen table and walked across the living room to unlock and open the door.
I blinked up at a hesitantly smiling Brian. This felt like deja vu. “Hi” he said with a small wave.
I signaled him to come in and stepped back as he did so before closing the door. “What are you doing here?” I asked.
He shrugged, “Honestly?”
I gave him a look , “Well um... let me think... yes?”
He chuckled and ran a hand through his hair, “Okay okay. I just wanted to hang out, to spend some time with you” he said.
I was skeptical on my feelings for Brian. I found myself liking him as more than a friend, there were small feelings in my heart that clenched when he smiled and came to keep me company. I found myself drawn to him, to his personality. He made me laugh which was something that had been exceedingly difficult to do lately.
“Well I have to go grocery shopping”
He shrugged, “I’ll come with and help”
I thought about how lonely I’d been without Alec, how lonely I had been without anyone to talk to, to spend time with. I didn’t have many people in my life and at one point I preferred it that way, I’d had two best friends that had always come over when I needed them and now I had nobody. Except Brian, who despite everything that had happened around him was still here.
I nodded grateful for the company “Brian... I wanted to apologize ”
He looked dumbfounded “For what?”
“For pushing you away after I found out about you and Sarah. I reacted badly, it wasn’t like you were cheating on me or relaying information to her. I don’t know, I just... I’m sorry” I said peeking up at him, guilt holding my shoulders down.
He waved his hand, a nonsense gesture “I get it. I was angry at you as well but it’s in the past. We’re friends now and that’s what counts” he said letting a kind smile lift his lips.
I nodded, feeling grateful. “I need to shower and change and then we can go” he nodded and grabbed the television remote, making himself at home as he switched it on. I walked away to get ready. The warm water helped wash away my vigorous thoughts. Just for a moment, one single moment, I wanted to forget. I wanted to relax, to let go of everything that was weighing on me. After getting out and drying off, I pulled on a pair of yoga pants, a Pink t shirt with a small pocket on the front before pulling on my tennis shoes.
My mother would yell at me if she knew I was walking out of the house with wet hair, but I just wanted to get to the store, get my things and come back home. I didn’t want to dry my hair, I was feeling lazy.
Brian turned off the television and stood up from the couch as he heard me come down the hallway, “You ready?” He asked and I nodded walking into the kitchen to grab my purse from the kitchen counter, “My car or yours?” He asked.
“Let’s take yours”
He twirled his car keys around his finger, “Sounds good”
I followed him out of the house and into his car. I took a deep breath as we pulled out of the driveway. I was nervous. After our last confrontation at the shop I had a hard time feeling completely comfortable around him as I had before. But I forced myself through it, I didn’t want to lose the only friend I had.
“So how was work?” I asked.
He shrugged, his eyes concentrated on the road in front of him as we drove threw the small downtown. “It was okay. The orders are slowing down, atleast for now. There’s something going on with my mom though.” He said sounding concerned.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well she’s been forgetting a lot of things lately. I mean she’s old but she’s not that old yet. A few years ago she had an episode where she looked at my father and walked away as if she didn’t know him and today, I was helping her prep and she just stood there at the table staring at nothing. It was like she completely blanked out and when i managed to get her attention she stared at me for awhile.” He paused and i snuck a small glance at him. His brows were drawn together as he recalled the memory of today, his lips were turned down ever so slightly and I could see the worry clearly written across his face “She forgot who I was. I know she did. She denies it but I know she did. And I’ve talked to my father about it. He’s talked to her but she refuses to acknowledge our concerns. She’s hell bent on ignoring it.” He said as he pulled into the small family grocery store. Bockmans was written in large bold white letters across the wide brick building.
He parked and I laid a comforting hand on his arm, he swung his gaze to meet mine and my heart went out to him. He looked lost and i wish I had encouraging words for him but I was at a loss as to what to say. “I’m sorry Brian. I know it must be hard for you and your family. She needs to see a doctor.”
“She won’t. She refuses and there is nothing we can do. We can’t force her to go get checked out if she doesn’t want to”
“I know” I said giving him a small sad smile. He looked away from me and stared ahead. We sat in silence for awhile. Each in our own thoughts.
He gripped my hand in his and squeezed, “Come on. Let’s go get your groceries”
I nodded and we both left the vehicle.
I hated and yet loved this town. I loved the familiarity of it, I loved how comfortable of a life I had here. I hated how everyone knew everybody’s business. I hated how everyone stared at us as we walked in, knowing what had happened.
Brian grabbed a cart and we walked threw the automatic doors, veering to the left to grab bananas and blueberries first “Don’t pay any attention to them. They’re all just nosy ass people with nothing better to do than gossip about a situation that doesn’t even concern them”
“It’s ridiculous. I can’t go anywhere in this town anymore without being watched And ridiculed” I said letting the irritation and anger take over.
A few workers turned to stare as we made our way down the aisle, two of them were people we’d gone to school with. “It’s none of their buisness.” He said raising his voice and directing a stern look in their direction. The workers and a few shoppers fell silent, color rushing to their faces before they turned and scurried away.
I smiled, “thank you” Brian was making it hard not to like him as more than a friend.
We continued threw the store , picking up things off my list as well as a meal for dinner. We passed by the bakery section and my stomach churned. I swallowed thickly trying not to breath in the scent of whatever it was that they were cooking. I stopped walking and stood still as stone attempting to gain some control. I really, really didn’t want to throw up in front of all these people who were watching like hawks.
Brian stepped closer to me, his hand landing on mine as I gripped the cart right “Are you ok?” He asked.
I stopped walking, panic was setting in and I could feel the tears welling up “I’m gonna be sick” I ran from him, leaving the cart and the contents behind. I dodged people and almost didn’t make it. The entire way to the bathroom I could feel the heat of their judgmental stares on my back.
I pushed past the girls bathroom door and ran into a stall, I fell to my knees scraping them hard against the rough tiled bathroom floor and threw up the contents of my breakfast into the white porcelain toilet bowl.
My back, forhead and palms were sweating. I suddenly felt exhausted and I really didn’t want to move but the thought of sitting on the floor of a public bathroom didn’t sound to appealing. I rose slowly, steadied myself before heading out of the stall to wash my hands.
I made my way back out of the bathroom and immediate spotted Brian standing nearby , a look of genuine concern on his face as he stood with the shopping cart. He walked away from the cart and strode towards me. He pulled me close and I let him. I needed it. I cling to him tightly feeling safe despite the quiet whispers.
He pulled away and rubbed my back affectionately “Come on. Let’s finish up and get out of here”
I gave him a small warm smile “thank you”
He leaned back and chuckled before pulling me forward towards the cart, throwing his arm around my shoulder “Oh and we should probably get you a breath mint or something to drink”
My cheeks flamed and I felt exceedingly embarrassed. My breath stink to high heaven and I’d looked right at him and tried to conversat.
He laughed and we continued on our way.