Begin Again

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Two: Swipe Right

Why hadn’t she replied to me? I spent the last two hours refreshing my Facebook and waiting for Violet to accept my friend request, but there had been nothing at all. I responded to her original message by saying that I would happily meet her. Though I had no idea where this girl was living, I would do whatever I had to in order to see her face to face and find out more about Jade.

I was becoming desperate for a response of any kind, but it was like Violet disappeared as soon as she messaged me. The anxiety was too much to handle and no matter how many beers I downed my stress didn’t lessen in the least.

2:00am came fast and I was somehow triggered, desperate to get a response. It made me feel close to Jade somehow and I feared that nothing would come of it. My coffee table was now filled with empty beer bottles, I would have more if I didn’t already drink what was in my fridge. I wasn’t tipsy, I was drunk. The words on my phone screen became blurred and even if Violet did message me back now I wouldn’t trust myself to reply in this state.

It was time to call it a night, though I may not get much sleep with so much on my mind, staring at my phone wouldn’t do any good.

A knock came at my door just as I stood from the couch. Who on Earth would be at my loft at two o’clock in the morning? Should I get a gun? Maybe a baseball bat? No. If someone tried anything my fist would do the job just fine.

My feet stumbled as I made my way to the door. When I looked through the peep hole, I could only pick out a figure - not enough detail to know who was waiting on the other side.

“Whaddya want?” I slurred as I opened the door, coming face to face with Jenna. Of course if anyone would be bothering at me this house of the night it would be Jenna.

She looked stressed from what I could understand on her face, which was very little. Her black hair was pinned into a high pony tail and she wore a tight black dress. That was one detail I didn’t miss out on, Jenna’s body was always the first thing to get my attention since we met in high school.

“You didn’t answer me so I got worried,” Her eyes glanced at the coffee table and she sighed in disappointment, “Obviously with good reason.”

She closed the door and walked into my loft, starting to pick up the empty bottles without saying anything else to me. I, on the other hand, had plenty to say about her barging into my apartment without permission, “Jenna... Why are you here? By my coffee table and... cleaning?”

“You are drunk,” Jenna pointed out the obvious, “Thomas, this isn’t going to help you. What about your therapy?”

“My therapy is fine, thanks.”

“Then why are you drinking right now?” She insisted on getting an answer, “This much alcohol is a clear sign of a breakdown and I don’t want you hurting yourself again.”

I flailed my arms in the air, becoming irritated quicker than usual, “I just want to drink without people thinking I’m going to spiral again. I’ve come a long way, Jen. You know that more than anyone else.”

Jenna stared at me, her eyes said more than her words. She was concerned and maybe she did have a reason to be, “I know that. But I also know that you’re still hurting.”

“You’re right,” I admitted, falling back onto the couch and groaning at the room spinning around me, “But I’m admitting it and.. that’s progress, right?”

The smirk I made must have worked because she smiled at me and sat next to me, placing her hand on my shoulder, “It is. I’m proud of you, Thomas. Now drink some water and go to bed, okay?”

“Come with me.”

My eyes wandered down to Jenna’s cleavage and I moved closer to her, feeling her hand press against my chest quickly, “You’re drunk.”

“I am... But it wouldn’t be the first time,” I smirked at her again, turning on my charm as best as I could given my current mental state. In the back of my head I knew this was wrong, but my judgement was clouded after consuming so much alcohol and that was by far the lamest excuse I could use for this situation.

I kissed her. I kissed my brother’s fiancee and I pushed my luck further than I should have.

Though our lips against one another’s felt familiar and if I had it my way Jenna would be in my bed right now, she was the sober one. She was the one thinking clearly. Not me.

Jenna shoved me away and slapped me across the face, staring at me with a look of complete disgust, “How dare you kiss me on the night I got engaged to your brother! I don’t care how much you’ve had to drink, you know better than that.”

As she stood up, I grabbed her hand to stop her and sighed heavily, “I know, Jen. I know... I’m sorry, I just...”

“You just what?” She asked me, “You’re drunk and horny? That’s not a good enough excuse. I came here to check on you but I’m not risking my relationship to do that.”

“I won’t do it again,” I told her as she stared down at me, “I promise.”

She stayed silent for a while and looked away from me. I hurt her. I didn’t mean to but I did. One split second decision and I caused her pain for no reason or than the fact that I’m lonely and wanted a distraction.

“Go to bed, Thomas.”

“Jen-”

“I don’t want to talk to you. Please just go to bed and we can talk when you’re sober.”

That seemed like a fair request, but I hated the thought of going to bed with her angry at me. She had every right but that didn’t make me any less desperate to get her forgiveness, I knew that wouldn’t be possible now but I would own up to my mistakes first thing in the morning. There wasn’t a chance in hell that she would hear me out right now so all I could do is wait.

***

Bacon. I would recognize that smell anywhere but why was I smelling it while I’m laying in bed? Jenna stayed here, I’m sure. But Jenna doesn’t cook which made the smell of bacon even more confusing to me.

I sat up in bed, the ache in my head slightly better than before but it was still there.

After a few minutes of trying to wake myself up, I managed to get out of bed and head towards the kitchen of my loft where I saw Mason making breakfast. Oh fuck. Mason is here but Jenna was nowhere in sight. He was going to let me have it and I deserved it.

“Mase...”

Mason didn’t turn to look at me but he responded quickly, “Jenna had to get to work but I figured you’d need a good breakfast to get your day started.”

What was he doing? There’s no way that Jenna didn’t tell him what I did. He should be punching me right now but instead he was making me breakfast which made no sense.

“Dude, I did something and--”

“I know what you did, Tommy.” Mason finally turned to looked at me and he sighed softly, “I’m not mad at you, okay? I don’t think you kissing Jenna was by any means okay but I get that you’re going through something and the fact that Jenna let me know right away made it easier for me to recognize that.”

“Punch me or something, come on, Mase. I deserve that much,” I begged him, the guilt was overwhelming and I wanted him to lash out in some way, “I fucked up. I swear to god that I don’t see Jenna that way... I was drunk and stupid. I had so much on my mind after Jade’s cousin messaged me and I drank way too mu--”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Stop right there.” Mason turned off the stove and took a few steps towards me, folding his arms over his chest, “Did you say that Jade’s cousin messaged you?”

Did I say that? Well, he would have found out eventually anyway.

“Yeah... It’s strange but last night I received a message from a Violet Cooper. She’s Jade’s cousin and she said that she wanted to meet with me to talk about Jade. I wasn’t sure where this came from but I gotta see her, it’s like I can have some kind of connection with her now that she’s gone.”

Mason furrowed his eyebrows as I spoke and it was clear that he was skeptical, his next words confirmed what I thought, “Tommy, do you think that’s even healthy? She isn’t Jade. You know that, right? Meeting with a stranger isn’t going to bring Jade back.”

“You don’t think I know that? I’m not stupid I just... I have an opportunity to learn more about her, so why wouldn’t I?”

I didn’t like how Mason reacted, he made it seem like I was making an irrational decision but if he were in my shoes and lost Jenna, I know for a fact that he would do the same. There was no harm in seeing what Violet had to say if she decided to ever message me back.

It wasn’t hard to tell that Mason wasn’t one hundred percent on board with my choice to see Violet, his face said it all but he remained open minded, “It’s up to you but I think you need to consider this a little more. Meeting her could just push you back in this healing process.”

What healing process, exactly? I wasn’t healing and its been four year so if I hadn’t healed yet maybe I never would. My family tried hard to see progress in me and maybe I did a good job showing that on the outside but on the inside I’m still the same broken-hearted guy who lost his girlfriend in a freak accident.

“I’m not going to do something that I’m not sure of,” I assured him as I walked to the counter and took a piece of bacon from the frying pan and shoved it into my mouth, “I don’t know, man. I’m tired of living life with no purpose. Jade gave me a purpose and since she left me my life has lacked it... Maybe her cousin can help me in some way. We both share our love for Jade in common, she could understand me better than anyone else.”

That was a lie. I wasn’t sure about how good meeting Violet could be for me, but I also wasn’t doing as well as everyone in my life thought I was so it wouldn’t be the first thing I’ve lied about.

***

Swipe right. And again. Again. And swipe left.

I sat at my desk, going through my Tinder matches. Believe me, I know that Tinder is far from classy but I don’t use it to find love, I use it to find sex. An occasional hook up but absolutely no strings attached. It’s true that I’m broken beyond possible repair but a guy needed sex, everyone did.

My Tinder was filled with messages but some days I didn’t have the energy to connect with women on that level, so I would choose one on a random day and invite them to my loft with clear intentions to hook up. That was it, nothing more.

Just when I was giving up hope on Violet messaging me back, my phone notified me again and I had never unlocked it faster in my life. There it was, an approved friend request from Violet Cooper. A moment later an unread message popped up on my screen:

Hi Thomas,

I’m so glad that you got back to me. I’ve recently moved to New York and I see that’s where you’re living. Would you be available to get coffee at the Starbucks near Bryan Park sometime?

Violet

I wasn’t going to linger and wait for her to disappear again. I replied as soon as my eyes scanned her message, there was something in me that needed to meet her. Sooner rather than later.

‘I can meet you right now’ was my reply and she read it right away, sending a simple ‘Okay’ with a smile emoji.

Four years. Four long years I have been searching for a purpose and finally I may just get it after all this time. Jade was sending me a sign, even being gone I truly believed that she sent her cousin here to help me through all of this. I wanted to feel okay again and that possibility seemed so close now.

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