One week passed since my return from LA and it was already November. My communication with Chloe obviously was not the same, we hardly were speaking with each other, only when it was necessary. Over the week we twice went for lunch with Dean and Megan. I guess, he noticed that something was wrong between me and Chloe, but because my relationship with him became awkward, he didn’t ask me anything. I couldn’t bear this atmosphere, so I stopped to go with them for lunches. As I was busy with preparations for the New Year party, work was my savior. But as was time to go home, I felt miserable. I deserved this, but it wasn’t easy. Especially as Tasha refused to talk to me.
I woke up early on Sunday and received a call from Jake.
“Hey, Jake.” Not awkward, at all.
“Listen... Fuck, Vera, this is stupid.”
“Why am I the only one, who understand that yours and Tasha’s behavior are stupid?”
“You’re not the only one. But you know your girlfriend, she’s stubborn as a bull...”
“And you’re not?” Jake laughed. Good sign!
“I am too.”
“Well, I am inviting you to have lunch with us. I will order something to eat. Will you be up for it?”
“Does Tasha know that I will come?”
“Jake? I don’t want to be thrown away from your house...”
“She will never do this to you!”
“Ha! You obviously don’t know about our arguments, when we were in high school.”
“You have no idea.”
“Come, Vera. She misses you and so do I. She will sulk, but I believe you could manage it.”
“Okay, I will be there. Thank you, Jake.”
So now I was standing before their door and waited for Jake to open it for me. Suddenly the door opened and Tasha was staring straight at me. She frowned.
“What are you doing here?”
“Hello to you, too.”
“If I wasn’t clear before, I will be now. I don’t want to talk to you.”
“Tasha, I miss you. And I am sorry for stepping in for Tyler back then in the café. It was stupid.”
“Did you sleep with Douglas again?”
“Then, you can come in.”
And just as I walked in their house, I knew that everything will be okay within minutes. Jake grinned like an idiot when he saw me and Tasha entering the room together. We sat at the table and ate Chinese food, which Jake ordered for us. I was mostly silent, listening to their news. I was so happy for them, because for me it was obvious, that they are perfect for each other. I started wondering when they will decide to marry. I hoped it will be soon. Tasha and Jake were two pieces, which suited each other perfectly. Looking and listening to them, made me also self-cautious. Will I ever find someone, who will be looking at me like that? Right now, I really thought, it was impossible.
After lunch, Tasha grabbed my arm and rushed me on their couch. She sighed and looked at me with a small smile:
“I hope, we do not tire you. Did we?”
“Of course, not! I love both of you too much and just feel happy for you. That’s all to it.”
“Good. Holy crap, how much I missed you! But I am also dying from curiosity. How are you, Vera? Honestly?”
“You know me. I am an open book for you.”
“I can read your emotions, but only when you’re letting me see them. You’re too good with hiding everything about your feelings when it comes to love.”
“You’re right.” I smiled. “Well, I think that maybe I have a boyfriend now, kind of... We didn’t speak about us. But as we spent this time in LA together...”
“Whoa, Vera. Keep your horses down, can you? I don’t follow. Who are we talking about?”
“Oh, right. It’s Nate. He arranged for me to go to LA with Amanda. He ignored me for a couple of days because he was too busy with his work and his father... I even persuaded myself, that everything between us is over. But he came to LA, said he was sorry and I gave up. I like him, he likes me... So I just decided to give it a real try this time. Who knows?”
“Was it hot and heavy, Vera? Your friend here needs more deets...”
“You have no idea. I don’t even remember when was the last time when it was so good. I spent almost two whole days in his bed and in his arms. Nate enveloped me, Tasha. I felt happy and content.”
“God, I am so happy to hear it! But Vera, what about Chloe?”
“It’s a bad part of this story. When I returned from LA, I decided to be honest with her... But she had already known. Someone from the LA office sent to her photo of me and Nate, when we were hugging, so... It made her realize that her “feelings” for Nate were fake, so jealousy isn’t the issue there. She felt betrayed by me and add to this that Mitch dumped her out of the blue... I apologized before her, but she needs time and I understand it. But she and I are a wreck and the atmosphere in our apartment is almost unbearable. I miss her, but at the same time, I know that I deserved this... She could have thrown me from our home and I wouldn’t blame her.”
“Come here.” Tasha gestured for me and I leaned in her embrace. “I honestly think, that you deserved this, but... I know you. You would never do this to her intentionally and I also understand why you were hiding the truth from Chloe. You don’t need doubts, you need the only certainty and it was the reason why you were silent. You decided to tell her when you were ready to accept to be in a relationship with Nate. You always doubt yourself and others too much.”
“Do you believe that my relationship with Chloe will become like they were?”
“Totally. But honey, I wanted to ask you one more thing. And please, don’t wear your mask and don’t hide from me your feelings. I want an honest answer. Will you manage?”
“Yeah... I kind of know, what you want to ask. Go ahead. I am ready to answer.”
“Vera, I know you for too long and I know the real you. This meeting with Douglas... Hell, I was angry at you, but not because you defended him. I was angry because I saw the old you. Your eyes were sparkling when you looked at him. It was like you still have feelings for this asshole. Was I right?”
“I don’t know.”
“When I was texting with him, it was like to have my best friend Tyler back. And I felt happy. He was the big part of my life and he was a great friend to me.”
“Yeah, dickheaded friend...”
“Tasha... I just have a feeling, that I need him in my life. He makes the picture whole.”
“So, I guess the answer to my question is yes?”
“It’s not like that! I missed my best friend Tyler and I am glad to have my best friend Tyler back. But you need to understand, that I don’t know how to reduce from this flirting and longing between us. It feels natural, I guess for both of us. As for your question... When he’s not around me, I am sure that I don’t have any feelings for him except for friendship.”
“And when he’s around?”
“I...” I held her gaze and then sad smiled appeared on my lips. “I do have feelings for Tyler. I can’t control it. He was my everything and fucking hell, I was ready to give him everything... But he didn’t need it. I always was his backup plan and always will be. Even now, he’s engaged to some wealthy Italian chick. But he keeps telling me that he wants me back... He’s playing with me again. I have a feeling that he bored and I am his conquest... I don’t want to lose him as my friend, but I am afraid if I will keep him near me – I will get hurt.”
“Shit, Vera... I will cut his balls if he will make you cry again.”
“No need for that, he already did it. We kind of had a real fight over the phone the other day in LA. I was sad because of Nate and called Tyler. It was the worst decision I could have made. I wanted to make him suffer for his and Nate’s mistakes. In the end, I was the one who suffered. Ty could be very cruel... He apologized before me the next day, but I told him that I need time. Guess, he’s giving me that. Because since that day there was silence between us. I just hope, that my relationship with Nate will grow into something special and I will forget about Tyler and any stupid feelings that I have for him.”
“Yeah, I will hold my fingers to that. I want you to be happy. Even if you will end up with some douche. Even with Douglas. But only if your man will love you to the moon and back and will never hurt you or your feelings. I think that you had too much drama in your life, so you deserve a happy end.”
“Here is hoping. But I don’t believe in happy ending with Douglas. He’s too much for me. Too much pain, too many tears and too much drama...”
“Yeah, but don’t forget that I saw how he looked at you too... He cares about you and I guess his longing for you never faded away. If circumstances...”
“Stop it, Tasha! Please! I don’t want to hear about Tyler in that way! I want to concentrate on Nate and my relationship with him.”
“Okay, okay! It was wrong of me. I will shut up. For now.” Tasha smiled at me and held me even closer to her. I hugged her back.
“Maybe we could watch some movie or tv show? I don’t want to go home yet... This tension between me and Chloe gets the best of me and I really missed you too much!”
“Of course we could. What do you think, if we invite my boyfriend back?”
“As if you need to ask. He’s maybe your man, but he’s one of my best friends too. Jake? Will you watch with us some tv-show?”
“Only if it won’t be Bachelor or Bachelorette and if there will be booze.” Jake smiled, walking to the room with beer bottles.
Of course, I ended up sleeping at their house and went to work the next morning from here. My mood was light and I felt happy. Mostly because I was relieved to have Tasha back. But also because Nate said to me that he will be back on Wednesday. He invited me to have dinner with him at his place. Even the thought about it sent shivers down my spine. And I loved this feeling