Nicole gaped at me as she drained her glass of wine.
’He gave you his business card?′
I ran my finger around the rim of my glass, shrugging nonchalantly.
’You don’t think that is odd? He is our professor.′ She stabbed her fork into her pasta, chewing on it thoughtfully. She swallowed quickly when she saw the waiter passing us, flashing him a smile as she asked for another glass of wine. ’Its actually kind of hot. He is super gorgeous. I wish he would have given me his card.′ She pointed her fork in my direction as she spoke.
‘He is also married Nicole.’ I scolded, shaking my head with disapproval.
‘True. But anyway, its not as if you are single, you and Cal are practically married.’ She rolled her eyes as she finished off her pasta, quickly picking up the dessert menu.
‘Are you in a rush to get home?’ I asked, raising an arched eyebrow at her. Her eyes went wide as her smile gave her away.
‘Is it that obvious? Shit. I am meeting someone at ten.’ The waiter placed a fresh glass of wine down before her as he removed her plate, frowning as he realised I had barely made a dent in mine. I began to eat quicker then, annoyed that she had made plans during ours.
‘So, who are they?’ I asked with intrigue. Nicole had an incredibly varied sex life, sleeping with both sexes to satisfy her needs. She was such a warm soul, always smiling and I loved listening to her many tales.
‘He is someone from Tinder. We hook up occasionally.’ She let out a dramatic moan as she tapped the menu card in front of her.
‘Triple chocolate chunk brownie with caramel ice cream, you get me for dessert.’ She declared and I giggled.
’Have you really never slept with anyone other than Cal?′ She asked for the hundredth time since I had known her.
‘No, I still haven’t.’ I teased as she winked at me.
’You get so much attention, you are fucking hot. I wish he would just let you loose on New York city for a weekend with me. Your pussy would be in tatters.′
I gaped at her as I looked around us quickly, praying no one had heard her little outburst, tattered pussy didn’t do down too well with spaghetti.
’I don’t want to be let loose my love. He is fucking perfect. I want to be with him forever.′ I said dreamily, gazing into the distance as I remembered the first time he kissed me in the rain, because he knew it was something I had always wanted to do.
‘Urgh, pass me the sick bag.’ Her accent still tickled me.
‘So what are we doing for your birthday? The big two- oh. We should get a little apartment in the centre for the night, invite some hot guys and girls-’
I held my hand up to interrupt her.
‘If I do anything, it will involve Cal, so get the idea out of your head of me spreading my legs like the channel tunnel.’
She stuck her tongue out at me.
‘Ooh, I need to order dessert.’ She waved frantically as the waiter held back a sigh, taking her order. I gave him my plate, and passed on dessert.
Later, Nicole hugged me close.
‘Text me when you get home. I hate these streets after dark when you are on your own.’
I promised her I would and walked towards the subway station, wrapping my coat around me for warmth. I skipped down the stairs, tapping my card against the machine as it let me through, the stench of urine welcoming me to the underbelly of the city. There were a few people milling about as I boarded the train, preferring to stand considering I wasn’t too far away from home. The journey was relatively uneventful and I hurried up the steps back into the cold air, already dreaming of my warm bed. I heard footsteps behind me and I froze, certain I hadn’t seen anyone else get off at my stop. I walked close to the streetlights, my eyes peeled for any sign of life. I wasn’t that great at protecting myself, and I had pepper spray at home- much use it was there.
‘Hey, Gretchen, wait up!’ Called a voice as relief coursed through my veins. I turned to see Josh jogging towards me, pulling his earphones out as he reached me.
‘For fucks sake Josh, you scared me to death. Why are you out running at this hour?’ I frowned as he laughed apologetically.
‘Sorry babe. Couldn’t sleep. Nancy still isn’t home.’ His voice was small as he caught his breath. Nancy and Josh had been having a ‘secret’ relationship that we all knew about but that none of them would admit. Nancy refused to commit to anyone, despite clearly harbouring feelings for Josh. Josh only had eyes for her and had stopped seeing anyone else, which I think was his downfall. Nancy liked to be kept on her toes, and being handed it on her plate was not her style. We reached our street as he slung his arm around my shoulder.
‘The fuck am I gonna do Red? I know she wants to be with me. She just won’t shake off these other guys.’ I slipped my arm around his waist and sighed. We had all been friends for long enough to feel like family, and I hated seeing him hurting like this.
‘Ah I feel for you, I really do. I don’t even know what to suggest. Have you tried calling her bluff? Like saying you’ll end it if she doesn’t stop seeing other people?’
He looked down at me with a sad smile on his face.
‘Yeah I started to, once. She just shot me down, said if I didn’t like it I knew what to do.’
I frowned then as we reached my house to see someone sitting on the front porch, drinking a bottle of beer. I stopped and stared as Josh stiffened beside me.
‘Who the fuck is that?’ He muttered unhappily as we walked closer.
The figure was definitely male, well built and handsome in a rugged way. I peered at him and I shrugged at Josh.
‘I don’t know who that is, at all. Was he there when you left?’ I hissed and he shrugged, wide eyed.
‘Of course he wasn’t. The door was locked though, and now its open.’
‘Dude. What are you doing?’ Josh asked in a low voice as I wrapped my arms around myself suddenly cold.
‘Whats it to you boy? Hey, pretty lady. Come sit with me.’ He rasped, rubbing his crotch crudely.
I stepped back repulsed, as Josh stood in front of me protectively.
My phone started to vibrate in my pocket and I saw on the caller ID it was Cal.
‘Cal, I need to call you back. Theres a random guy here and we don’t know who he is.’ I bit my lip as I whispered into the phone.
‘What the fuck?’ He spat angrily, ‘Are you on your own?’
I heard the fear in his voice as I quickly told him Josh was with me.
‘Pretty much on your own then. Can you go inside? I am on my way, I am almost there.’ His voice dripped with sarcasm.
My heart swelled with love for him, the fact he was driving to me anyway made me feel weak with adoration.
‘Not really. He’s like, in front of the door.’
Cal growled as I heard him curse.
‘I will be there as soon as I can.’ He ended the call and I noticed Josh was now arguing with the guy, seemingly about Nancy.
‘Red lips, dark hair, great dancer. She’s hot as fuck in the sack. Think I wore her out though, so you may need to wait a while if you are wanting some.’ He winked at Josh.
′ What the fuck? You slept with Nancy?′
The man frowned then, squaring his shoulders as he glared at Josh.
‘Nancy, thats her. Saucy little bitch. We didn’t do no sleeping. Did everything else though. Whats it to do with you? She your little sister or something? Are you her little sister too? I’ve got more ammo in the bank if you are wanting to play baby.’
I saw headlights in the distance, becoming clearer as they sped up the road, screeching to a stop outside of our house. Cal stepped out, surprisingly in a suit, his beautiful face flawed with anger. He looked at me quickly assessing that I was ok before storming over to the two men.
‘You, whoever the fuck you are, leave now.’ He spoke quietly, his voice laced with venom as the man shrunk back slightly, taking in the crazed look in Cal’s eyes as his eyes fell onto Cal’s waist.
‘Fuck, she has some crazy ass family.’ He stammered, suddenly sober.
He pushed past Josh before making his way down the street, without looking back. I felt the familiar anxiety in my stomach as I knew Cal was absolutely about to lose his mind.
‘Where is she?’ He snarled angrily at Josh who held his hands up.
’I don’t fucking know. I went for a jog. I was gone about an hour max.′ He stared down at the floor as I put my hand on Cal, his arms taut through the suit as he breathed heavily. The problem with being with Cal was that he was damaged by experience, which made him react badly sometimes.
‘He could have been here when you arrived back, alone.’ He shot at me, without turning around.
‘Cal, I’m fine.’ I reassured him as he shook his head.
‘You can’t live with her. She’s a fucking nightmare.’ He pulled my hand into his as he walked towards his car.
’Cal, what are you doing?!′ I hissed as he swung open the door, indicating for me to get in. It was then that I saw a glint of silver in the moonlight, and I saw what was tucked in his waistband.
Was that a gun?