Being someone’s priority sucks too. For that priority is all that’s left to blame.
I sat on the floor scrubbing it clean for the past one hour. It had been months since anyone did that. Thomas had been complaining that he was not getting enough time to study and hang out with his friends since Amber announced her wedding date. Pitying him, I gave him a day off. Amber was out with Zack to deal with her wedding ordeals, so it was only me for the night. With Smith’s death, Amber and Zack had pushed their wedding dates a month forward, but they were running around since things had to be done either way.
I put the brush to the side, pushing the untidy curls to one side of my bun. I stood front and pulled the bucket of water towards my side, reaching for the other side of the room.
“Megan idiotic Taylor!”
I jumped up, pushing the bucket, hitting myself in the process. I swung my head swiftly, releasing my hair from the bun. I tried to stand up on my feet again, but I skidded through the wet floor and fell back on my butt.
“Ouch.” I groaned, pushing my hair from my eyes to see my disaster causer. “Can’t you be any louder?”
I turned my head towards the source of noise, simultaneously tying my hair. I didn’t dare to stand up just in case the voice shoots out another tantrum at me.
I slowly came in vision with a light orange coloured pencil skirt with brown belt holding the slender waist. The familiar brown wavy curls adored the oval face. It was Pamela.
“Pam!” I greeted, standing on my feet again, careful not to fall this time. “How have you been? It’s been months since we saw each other!”
As I made it safe and sound on my feet, Pamela pulled me into a hug. “I’m sorry, you fell hearing my voice. I didn’t know I had such an effect on people.”
I laughed hitting her shoulders slightly. “You have no idea what your voice can do to people do you?” I said, wriggling my eyebrows at her.
“You are becoming so dirty minded ever since you came back, Meg.” She pretended to pout but failed miserably.
I snorted. “What makes you to my humble abode?”
“You know, I wanted to see Hannah, since I couldn’t make it during Smith’s.” she explained. “So, took the first flight here as I became free.”
My happy face dropped a little.
“And you didn’t call!” she added, probably seeing my fallen mood. “I had been waiting for your call ever since you came here. But you, you never call, do you?”
“I was a bit busy you know.” I said. At least it was not a lie. “Come let’s sit down and talk. I’ll go and wash my hands.”
I lead her to the counter where there had been two stools for the customers. Since it was already six, there were very few people that came around. I pointed the stool that lay on the right as I made my way to the nearby sink to wash my hands.
“I heard about you too.” She said in a small voice, taking my hand in hers as I sat next to her.
“Some good things I suppose?” I lightly joked, even when I knew what she was about to say to me.
“You were suffering through panic attacks?” she asked. It was more like accusing though. “And you forgot to even mention it to me during the three years that we spent together?”
“Pam,” I lightly chuckled. “You are starting to sound like the one who is about to break up.”
“I’m serious here, Megan.” She pulled her hands away from mine and crossed it across her chest.
“What was I supposed to do?” I asked, sighing. “It was nothing anyway. So, how’s Edna?”
“She’s fine.” Pamela said, waving her hand in the air. “Was that the reason why you were so jittery when we went to that party?”
“What party?” I gulped.
“For God’s sake, Megan.” She held my hand tightly this time, just like the predators that hunt their prey. “Google knows you better than me. Do you know how that makes me feel?”
“You are just exaggerating.” I said, trying to get out of her strong hold. “But, really, am I on Google?”
“You were Miles Jackson’s girlfriend.” She said, ignoring all my protests. “It said everything about you—how you met, your love and all that. But it didn’t exactly tell how you two broke up.”
Talking to Pam was reviving my old memories. Thank god to those extra dosage medicines. My panics were in control and it was only ragged breaths till now. If she would have been talking all this before I had taken the medicines, I was sure I would have fallen flat on the floor on the very next second.
“It said that you went missing two weeks later and Miles had said that it was a minor misunderstanding.” Pamela went on. “The recent article tells that you have magically come back to town and doing your usual business, though.”
She made a face.
“What?” I asked, my voice too low.
“You look as if you swallowed a rock.” She let go of my hand and handed a water bottle from her hand purse.
I drank till I emptied the bottle. I was turning back to normal now. “Well, that’s all true.” I smiled cheekily as I handed her the empty bottle.
“Are you okay, Megan?” She asked concerned. “Hannah is worried about you.”
“I’m perfectly fine, till I hurt my bum as you shouted my name.” I hit her shoulder playfully. “Enough of my petty story. How’s that hot guy you were talking about?”
Her eyes shone brightly for a second before it dimmed down. “He is sweet, caring and all, but I don’t think it’s him.”
“Why do you think so?”
“He’s too flirty with all his staff.” She complained and I had to suppress my laughter. “I mean I understand that you have to talk friendly with the staff and all, but flirting all the time? I walked straight up to him and broke off with him.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, Pam.”
“Nah, what do they say? Plenty of other fish in the sea right?” I laughed as she waved her hand in the air for more dramatic effect.
“So what plans now?” I asked.
“Um… you are not going to get mad at me right?” she asked, fidgeting with her hands. “Okay, just promise me that you will come with me, no matter what.”
“How can I promise you unless you tell me what it is?” I argued.
“For me, please.” She joined her hands together, praying to tell yes. “Have I ever asked you anything before?”
“Pam, you always use that sentence to get something from me.” I laughed. “What do you want now?”
“Just promise, alright!”
“Fine, fine, I promise.” I put my hands up in mock surrender. It was always nice to see her getting all irked up for petty things.
“I only Googled you after I did this. So don’t blame me.” She warned.
“What are you talking about?” I asked, serious this time.
“I was just checking out the best places to visit when I came here. That idiotic website said that I would be missing the whole point if I didn’t visit Jackson’s toast.” She said as I held my breath. “So… I booked a table there for today at eight.”
“Oh, that’s… that’s nice.” I said after a second. “You should definitely go.”
“No!” she said, crossing her right leg over the left. “I am taking you with me, I definitely can’t go alone.”
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to go there with me. You will not have a nice time there then.” I justified. “You should take Hannah or Amber or someone who’s not me.”
She rolled her eyes, there was not even a slight ray for pities. That was one of the reason why I liked Pam—she’s not the one who will judge you. But she’s not the one who will let you go either.
“I’ve checked with them all. No one’s free.” She wined. “Plus you promised.”
“How can you do this to me even after Googling me?” I asked, trying her to get off me. But I could tell that she was hardly bulging.
“You have to deal with that part of your life anyway.” She said. “But this time I’ll be there with you. I’ll kill him before he can say hi to you.”
“I don’t care what reasons you tell me but I’m not leaving here without you.” she said stubbornly. “I did pay a hell lot of amount too.”
“You don’t understand.”
“You understand!” She stood up. “You are coming and that’s final.”
I thought a lot about skipping that dinner with Pam in the forbidden hotel as I cleaned. Amber had been out with Zack and I doubted if she would return back for the night just for the sake of dinner. Hannah was still affected by Smith’s absence and I don’t think she would appreciate a night out. And Pamela didn’t know anyone else to let her go without me.
And he might be out of town with his own agenda of work, right?
Talk about luck!
When we were back in the apartment, Pamela insisted that I wear a dress since it was one of the posh hotels, but I reluctantly put on the same old pair of jeans and a faded denim tee-shirt. Though I heard her groan against it, she didn’t make any comments. She must have been grateful that I was going with her.
“Can you drive?” I asked once we were in the car. “I’m too tired.”
“Sure.” She said, taking her car keys. “I actually wanted to ask you that. Hannah asked me to stay at her place today and if you got your car, you would have to make extra rounds to drop me off.”
“Oh, that’s nice.” I said, “I had been there last week.”
“She blames herself for what happened to you.” Pamela said. “She thinks that she failed as a mother.”
I ran my fingers through my hair. I had this discussion with Hannah around a hundred times already, yet she clutched on to the topic like that stubborn squid. Guilt wrapped around me. I mean even my biological or the ones who adopted me didn’t know how I was doing in my life. All those ties had been but off, yet here was Hannah blaming herself because she failed as a mother. How ironic was that?
“It’s not your fault, you know.” She said, noticing my actions. “You were dealing with your problems while she was dealing with hers. No need to put your chin down.”
“Yeah.” I said as she started the engine.
The car ride was silent and I stared out into the dark. I had purposefully avoided this area giving all the decorations that took place here to Amber. I remember the walks I took with him as we completed our works at the same time. I remember the times we had our own little dinner at the roof top of the hotel with his special chocolate mousse.
“Megan, come on.” Pamela pulled me back to the present, standing with my side of the door held open for me.
“Sorry,” I said, tucking my hair behind my ear. The hotel was just the same as I remembered. But whenever I went I usually took the back door that directly lead to the kitchen, only staff area. I was the only person who was allowed to go there. Amber had to wait outside if she accompanied me.
I shook my head and gave a smile to Pam who was looking at me like a hawk. “You sure you are alright?”
I nodded my head, not able to speak. Pam did all the talking while I stood behind her with my dark night glasses on. I didn’t want anyone to recognize me and pull me into a conversation that I was not ready yet.
“Right this way, ma’am.” The hostess said, with a fake smile that she was giving all day long. Thankfully she didn’t recall me as Miles’ ex and lead us to a table present at the corner towards the right. “Make yourselves comfortable. I’ll have someone attend to you.”
“Wow!” Pamela said, as soon as she was out of earshot. “This place sure looks like a freaking palace. Did you see the way they were serving in that table?” She pointed to the table that lay far across from us. I took my glasses away to see them properly. “It’s as if you are the queen of the world.”
I rolled my eyes with a smile. “They will surely ask a lot of money from the queen of the world for their service.”
She poked her tongue at me. “I told you to dress more like it.” she said changing the topic. “Look at everyone! You look as if you escaped from a prison break.”
I laughed. “I surely look better than the one who’s sitting there.” I pointed to a table that lay left to ours. “She’s been having trouble keeping her gown stain free.”
We both burst out laughing.
“Megan?” I heard someone say and immediately I cursed under my breath. “That’s you?”
I turned around to see Dylan, one of Miles’ best friends of all times. Instantly my face broke into a happy smile. “Dill!” I called out as he pulled me out of my chair for a bear hug.
“How are you doing?” He asked once he let me go. He twirled me, pretending to inspect me. “You have lost your weight. Well, you are in the right place alright? I will feed you today.”
“Dill!” I said, laughing, hitting his shoulder playfully. “It’s been so long since I saw you.”
“Yeah.” He said, his face losing its colour.
“This is Pamela, one of my friends.” I said, changing the topic, the first chance I got. “Seems that your hotel still stands at the top spot, you have got guest from far away land.”
“Hello, sweetheart.” Dylan pulled Pamela’s hand to give a quick kiss. I rolled my eyes. Dylan had always been the flirty one.
“The top spot is still in debate, though.” Pam said, making me giggle. “We have been here since fifteen minutes and no one’s been attending to us.”
“She’s a feisty one,” Dylan said to me, pointing his thumb finger at Pamela. “Have you guys decided what you want yet?”
“Actually we are still debating.” I confessed.
“That’s alright.” Dylan smiled at us. “I’ll let you girls select while I get Joe. He’s been missing you too.”
I nodded at him as he went his way to fetch Joe. I had been missing them too.
“How is that you know all the hot guys in town?” Pamela questioned, her dreamy eyes following the path that Dylan took a few minutes back. “He’s so hot.”
“Just select something to eat first.” I said, smiling at her. “His specialty is the pork.” I whispered as I shuffled through the menu.
“Well, well, well.” I heard Joe’s familiar voice as he stood behind me. “If it’s not the same florist we knew.”
“Joe!” I pulled myself up from my place and hugged him. “It’s so good to see you.”
“And you.” he said, holding me at arm’s length. “Still a black sheep, aren’t you?” He said, pointing my dress.
I laughed. It had been such a long time since I had seen them and I was immensely happy that I did agree to come with Pam. I always though meeting them would be difficult for me since they were Miles’ best friends. But neither of them once asked me about it and pretended that the whole three years didn’t happen. And that was the best thing about them.
“I’m Pamela.” Pam introduced herself, not waiting for me to introduce them. “One of the best friends of Meg here. I was the one to force her come here.”
“That’s the best thing you did!” Joe said, making her blush. “I’m Joe, by the way.” They shook hands as Joe winked at Pam, probably one of the traits that he had picked up from Dylan, while Dill only looked at him with a proud parents’ smile.
As I opened my mouth to give a teasing remark, someone rushed past me and caught Dylan off guard, holding him by his collar. Pamela let out a shriek and a few heads turned to our side. When they saw who it was, they gave a small smile and turned towards their table.
It was a little hard to process who it was as things were happening very fast. Joe went towards the two people trying to separate them. The guy who came in held his back towards me, while Dylan was facing him, pleading him to let go.
“Miles! What are you doing?” Joe gritted his teeth separating those two.
Miles? The only reason why I didn’t want to come was here and I stood there motionless. It was very difficult to unveil the scene that was taking place in front of me. Frightened, Pamela stood behind me, watching the boys.
I hadn’t seen Miles in over a month. The last I had seen him was when I had shut the door on his face. Neither did he contact me nor did I tried to apologize for my harsh behavior. His hair had grown longer and I realized that it was one of the reasons why I couldn’t recognize him when he was holding Dylan’s collar. But why was he holding his collar in the first place?
“I didn’t do anything.” Dylan kept saying but Miles was not in a position to listen to him.
“She’s with her friend.” Joe said in a low voice, not wanting me to hear, but I heard it none the less and everything seemed to fall back to its place. “You can’t rule the customers here, Miles.”
Miles was angry at them because he seemed to think that they were the ones to call me here in the first place. Anger and sorrow wrapped me, slowly making it hard to breath. He hated me to such an extent that he couldn’t stand to see me anymore.
You were the reason for it! my mind shouted back at me.
“We will leave.” I said, raising my voice and all the four of them turned towards me. “It was nice meeting you both.” I picked up my purse and glasses and Pam followed me.
“Stay Megan.” Joe said. “Miles will leave.” He said looking pointedly at the two of them who were both breathing heavily. “You are scaring our guests.”
Miles pulled Dylan by the collar and went to the farthest most corner where there was a balcony attached to it. Joe sighed as they went.
“I’m sorry Megan.” He said, for the first time referring to Miles. “He’s been a bit stressed lately. Anyway, you girls must be starving. I’ll get you the usual? Bacon and the French salad with the chocolate mousse?”
The word chocolate mousse brought memories from the past and I soon, changed his choice of food for me. “I will have some wine, Joe.” I looked at Pam, as we sat down again. She nodded at me still confused at what had happened.
“I’ll have this one please.” Pam said pointing to the menu.
Joe noted down the items and looked at the balcony where the two of them had disappeared. “Don’t worry about it.” He said before he left us alone.
Pam looked at me and I shrugged at her, not able to talk as I gulped the pain in my throat.
As soon as we entered the balcony, before I knew it, my fist went up in the air making contact with Dylan’s jaw. He was not expecting it and he took a few steps backward, holding the spot where I hit him.
“The hell, dude!” he shouted.
My breathing was heavy and my hands were still itching to hit something. It was all because of him. “Asshole!” I shouted at him, walking towards him with my hands up in the air for another blow.
Dylan ducked it and hit me on the eye that let me fall on the floor. The anger in me doubled and I stood up not giving up. Before I could give him another punch, he held me on to my collar while I did the same with him.
We were both inches apart from each other, breathing fire. How could he do this to me even when he knew the entire story? Hell, I should have known it. He had called me early in the morning to come back to the restaurant while he set me up with Megan without contacting me about it.
“How could you?” I asked with gritted teeth. “Aren’t you the one to call her here?” I shook him holding his collar. He pushed me aside and I let him go. He brushed his tux that he wore while he waited tables.
“Are you freaking mental?” he asked, inspecting his lips. They were little torn and he wiped the blood stains with his handkerchief. “I did no shit like that!”
“That chick came!” He said pointing to the table.
“What did you call her?” I asked, holding my fists at him.
“Dude!” he cried. “That chick brought Megan along with her! You think I would call you here if I knew she was coming?”
I ran my fingers through my hair. What is she doing here? Why did she have to come? Didn’t she tell that she didn’t want me around the last time she saw me? She couldn’t even figure out that I would be here in my restaurant if at all she showed up? And she seems fucking happy!
“As soon as I came to know that she was here, I went to the receptionist to ask if she was the one to book a table.” Dylan explained. “It was under the name Pamela, the one who she’s with.”
“Don’t you dare lie, Dill.” I said in a low voice. “You were the one acting to be the cupid here. Weren’t you the one giving advises?”
“The hell I was!” he shouted. “Have you looked yourself in the mirror? Have you seen her? You both look as if you are living dead already!”
“Dill, don’t you cross your lines. I’ll—”
“You have both made your share of mistakes! I know!” He continued not caring for my warnings. “Have you ever tried to stay and let her cool down?”
I turned away from him. Why should I stay when she clearly kicked me out of her apartment even when I was the one who rode her there?
“Of course not!” Dill cried. “Why don’t you for once, stay!”
“Don’t you fucking tell me what to do!” I cried, not able to listen to his words. They were too much for me to take in.
Dylan let out a sigh. “Just let her put everything out and hear her explain. How can you expect her to let you explain when you are not there to listen to hers?”
I closed my eyes, trying to avoid the conversation. “Dill, just go. Please go.”
I heard him sigh and a few moments later he was gone. I stood in the balcony facing the busy streets. The words Dylan said was too much to hold on. How can he expect me to stay when the person didn’t need me anymore? It hurts to stand even when I’m not in need.
I hit the railings hard. It was frustrating. I agree that I was the one to be responsible to drain her emotionally, but I did make an effort to stay, but she closed the door on my face, telling me that she did need me anymore.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath before I walked out of the balcony into the tables. I kept a straight face and made it to the kitchen. “George, get me a glass of rum.” I said.
Joe came by my side. “You haven’t drunk in a long time.”
As if I didn’t already know that. I stayed silent, not wanting to let my anger get to me.
“The girls have gone.” Joe said, not leaving me alone. “And Dill’s got a bruised cheek.”
“I’m sorry, alright!” I shouted. When George came to hand me a glass of rum, Joe shook his head at him and George took the glass away with him. “Fine!” I said, leaving the kitchen.
I walked past the tables where people were giving me weird looks.I was sure I was making the front pages in the morning papers tomorrow, but I didn’t care. I didn’t give them a second glance as I strode towards my car. I pulled the door and locked myself in running my hands over my hair. I looked myself in the mirror and I could see my red eyes staring back at me.
The next moment I knew I was driving the same path I hadn’t taken since a very long time. The roads were leading to her apartment. As soon as I saw her apartment, I halted and wondered if I was doing the right thing. Then the words that Dill told me ran over and over in my head.
I shook my head and got out of the car. Before I knew it I was banging at her door. As soon as the door opened, I saw her in the same clothes that she had been wearing to the hotel. Her hair was messed up and her eyes were red from crying. When she recognized me, her eyes widened and she tried closing the door.
I pushed past her and went in. “Megan.”
“Just shut up!” she shouted. I could tell that she had been drunk. “Why are you here? Get out!”
Just let her put everything out and hear her explain. How can you expect her to let you explain when you are not there to listen to hers?
I closed my eyes, trying not to get out. When I opened my eyes again, she had slumped into the ground, crying. “Megan.” I called again.
“Miles no!” she cried. “You hit Dylan just because I was there! Do you hate me so much?”
“Every time I try to… try to forget things… you make it so hard.” She buried her face in her hands. “How many more times do you want to hurt me, Miles?”
Though I was terribly mad and angry at her for making me go through things, I still couldn’t get over her. There was a part of me that liked her and a sinner part of me that hoped we could be together, if either one of us dropped our pride and ego. The moment I looked at her and the fact that I was the reason behind those red, puffy eyes, I knew I was doomed. I didn’t care anymore if I was the one losing my ego first - after all she was once mine. Though she had walked on my heart, it was still with her.
“Megan, look at me.” I said, crouching next to her, pulling her hands away from her face. “I have never meant to hurt you.”
“Why did you lie to me?” she withdrew her hands away from me. “The mystery guy was you in the first place, why didn’t you tell me?”
“Megan, please stop crying.” I tried to grab her hand again. But she pushed me away.
“All this time you made it seem as if it was my mistake.” She continued, wiping her tears. I could tell that she was really drunk. Her eyes were dilated as she rubbed it against her sleeve. “Y-you made it sound as if you didn’t mean a-anything to me at all. D-did you at least know how much I cared for you?”
“I’m sorry.” I reached for her again, but as expected, she pushed me away. But I was not giving up this easily. I pulled her with much greater force towards me even when she was protesting. All the crying and drinking had made her weak and after a few minutes, she gave up. “I’m sorry.” I repeated again, as I hugged her.
The lonely feel that always crept in my heart was replaced by her. Suddenly, it all felt right. I pulled her into my arms, caressing her hair as she clutched my shirt tighter. She said something but it was all muffled in my shirt as I stroked her hair.
“You know that I would do anything to see you happy right?” I asked, pulling her into my lap. I didn’t wait for her to answer. “Those notes came the same way. You were happy and that’s all mattered to me… even if you left me.”
“M-Miles…” she said, looking up at me. I smiled at her. Her hair was a tangled mess and her eyes a bleeding red.
“I know, I know.” I said, rolling my eyes. “It’s just that you were so mad at me and I thought you going away from me were a good thing for you. Now I know that I was an idiot to think that.”
She let out a snort and I relaxed against her. She cuddled under my arms, resting her head on my chest. She closed her eyes as I concentrated on her breathing.
“But I’m really sorry for everything.” I said again. I stared at the wall straight ahead of me. I remember the day she laid unconscious in my arms having another one of her panic attacks. I remember her face being so pale which had faced many dark sleepless nights. I should have figured it all out before; it was my mistake from the very beginning.
“I wish I was there with you when you were suffering.” I murmured against her hair. “I wish I could have taken all you pain away and see you smile at me. I wish I had run behind you when you left me. I wish we never had to stay away from each other. I meant it when I said I had loved you. And… I still love you. Will you forgive me?”
I waited patiently for her answer, holding her close to me. When she didn’t respond, I started to get jittery feeling that she had gone into one of her panic attacks again. “Megan?” I shifted her head to see her face, but she rubbed her tear stained face and turned over. She was sleeping.
I smiled at her as she soundly slept in my arms. I kissed her head and hugged her tighter. I was not letting her go this time.