It has been weeks since Mark, and I spoke and it hurt. I found myself looking at his name on my phone and I was one step away from dialling but I had to remind myself that he was in the wrong, The fact that he is with Nicole and felt it was his right to go off on me about Curtis didn’t sit well with me. So over the next coming weeks Curtis and I spent a lot of time together, he was smart, funny, handsome and we had a lot in common I lied though when I told Mark I fucked him, I was angry and it just came out; I wanted him to know I wasn’t waiting around for him, that I had a life. Taking things slowly with Curtis before I jumped into bed with him, I was always cautious.
“Hi Baby, you nearly ready?” I look around and see Curtis smiling.
“Yeah, just getting my shoes on.”
He leans in and gives me a peck on the cheek. “You look stunning, come on, we are going to be late.”
We pull up to our favourite restaurant; we are chatting when Curtis asks. “Have you heard from your friend in New York?” I shake my head. “No, we still haven’t spoken since we had that fight.” Curtis reaches out and takes my hand. “You don’t seem yourself, do you maybe think you should reach out?”
Shaking my head, struggling to come to terms with our fight. “I won’t... I can’t... I know I shouldn’t be so stubborn, but he was angry when there was no need to be.”
Curtis squeezes my hand. “I just hate to see you upset, I know you’re close.”
I give him a smile that I know doesn’t reach my eyes. “It’s ok, maybe over time, we will make amends, but not right now.”
We enjoy the rest of our meal, and then we come back to my place. I wake up to the sound of my phone ringing, Curtis’ arm around me, and I try to slip out of the bed without waking him. He stirs a little but goes back over. Looking at the time, it’s just after five in the morning.
I answer as I walk towards the living room. “Hello?” I hear a voice that makes me stop in my tracks. “I am so sorry to call you so early Blake” I am fully awake hearing that voice.
“Mark, are you ok?” The next words that come from his voice shocked me.
“She was fucking Justin.”
“Nicole?” Mark corrects me.
“No not Nicole, Blake she was all over him at the club and when I confronted them she admitted it.” I am taken aback for a minute.
“Holy shit, I am so sorry.” he scoffs. “One of my best friends, can you believe it?”
I try to keep my voice positive, even though I am hurting for him.
“I don’t know what to say. It could have been worse you may have actually married her and then found all this out.” I can hear the smile in his words. “Forever my silver lining girl.”
Trying to lighten the mood. “I always try to find the positive.” I hear him sigh down the phone.
“I have missed you.”
I’m lost in his words when I hear a voice from behind me, startling me.
“Hey baby, everything ok?”
I move my phone away from my face. “Yeah sorry, Mark called he needed to talk. I will be back to bed in a minute.”
Watching as Curtis walks back to my room.
“I am so sorry, I shouldn’t have called you, so you two serious?” I struggle to explain what exactly it is we are doing. “We haven’t exactly put a label on things, but we are enjoying each other’s company at the minute.”
The line goes silent for a minute. “Are you happy?” I struggle to find the words.
“Yeah, I think I am.”
“I am so sorry for my behaviour. I was way out of line. Can you forgive me, Blake?” Pausing for a moment.
“Yeah, of course, I can, it’s all in the past.”
Over the next few days, Mark and I are back to our old ways, We chat at nights for a bit I tell him all about Curtis and he tells me all about Nicole; she seems lovely, and he is happy. Any feelings I have for Mark, I try to get over and we become firm friends. A few weeks later, Charlie and I are out on a double date with our boys, we are enjoying a quiet drink in a local pub, Curtis makes his way to the bar. Jake and Charlie look at each other with an intense look on their faces.
“Everything alright guys?”
Charlie’s boyfriend Jake keeps looking at the bar.
“Oh, shit.” Charlie looks at me.
“Don’t freak out, Blake.”
I try to remain calm. “Ok, asking me not to freak out, makes me want to freak out, what’s going on?”
Charlie looks back at the bar. “Curtis is talking to a girl at the bar.”
I look at Jake and Charlie and give a little nervous laugh. “Yeah, and no big deal. He is allowed to talk to other women. We haven’t really made things official, but we agreed we are exclusive.”
Jake shakes his head. “She’s not just another woman that’s his ex.”
I feel insecure at that very moment. “Oh, I see.”
I try to turn around and look at them; they are very close together and their body language is screaming at me; they are still into each other, Curtis and I never became official. I was happy enough with that. My red flags are going up all over the place. Her hand is on his and they are in deep conversation. After about twenty minutes, I make my way to the bathroom. I won’t be the jealous girl, I chase no man and I won’t be made a fool of... period!
I yank my phone out of my bag and send a text.
Charlie, I am leaving, don’t worry, I am ok.
I read her message.
I am so sorry, hun, completely understand, he hasn’t come back.
I walk back to my place, I can’t be arsed with dating this is why I had Mark he was my night time filler. My phone goes off in my pocket, I look at the caller ID Curtis Calling.
I hear the concern in his voice. “Where did you go?”
“I’m just heading home.”
I hear the disappointment. “You weren’t even going to tell me you were leaving?”
I don’t have the energy for this. “Not to be bitchy you didn’t appear to notice if I was there or not.”
Curtis snaps. “It’s not like that.”
I decide for brutal honesty. “Curtis, I know what I saw, that’s your ex, and you two were super cosy, look maybe there was a reason we didn’t take this any further so ... just let this be done.”
Curtis has a hint of irritation in his voice. “So you’re just breaking up with me?”
“We were never officially dating anyway, so it’s kinda hard to break up.”
Curtis pleads with me. “Give me a chance to explain, please?”
Wanting this over and done with. “You have ten minutes, I will be at my place.”
Curtis arrives at my place, he looks dishevelled. Standing at my doorway, reluctant to bring him in, my gut is telling me something happened, he won’t make eye contact with me.
“I am sorry Blake, it is just when I saw Charlotte it took me by surprise it’s been a while. I didn’t want to come across as a dick so I wanted to hear her out and the next thing I know she kissed me, I pushed her off me and told her about you, please it meant nothing, I want to give this a proper go.”
I listen to him and try to rationalise things maybe Charlie and Jake seen what happened and can tell me what actually went down; he has come here and told me what happened right away; Curtis chased after me; he did nothing wrong; he was just talking to an ex she kissed him. I am so torn about everything right now. Then I give him an answer that even surprises me.
“I will give this a try.”
He pulls me in for a hug and whispers in my ear.
“Will you be my Girlfriend Blake?”
I missed her so much I hadn’t realised that until she was back in my life. Those weeks we didn’t talk were long. I am sitting in my office when Marcus and Scott call in. Scott sits drinking a coffee. “Alright man, how’re things going?” I shut my laptop. “I’m still getting over things, but getting there. How’s his fucking face?” Marcus looks at Scott and I. “Still swollen, black and blue. Are you ever going to be able to get past it?”
I shrug. “I don’t know? What would you do if it was you?” Scott looks at me solemnly “I really don’t know, if I’m honest.”
Marcus follows. “It would take time but I can’t hold a grudge, it’s entirely up to you man but you were friend long before pussy came on the scene.” I look at the doorway and Nicole is standing with a big grin on her face.
“Hi Marky, thought I would bring you some lunch. Hi, boys, sorry didn’t mean to crash the pussy chat party!”
Scott gets up from his seat. “That’s ok Nic, we were just leaving.”
I nod at both Marcus and Scott. “Thanks, guys I will see you at the weekend.” Nicole comes across running her fingers through my hair “You Ok? I know it was a lot to take in, but it will get easier.”
I smile up at her. “I know you’re right, thank you for lunch you’re a wee star. How about I take you on a date tonight?”
Nicole looks down at me, placing both her hands on my face. “Oh honey, I can’t I have a flight out tonight for a meeting in Boston first thing tomorrow morning.”
I look into her eyes. “Sorry, it slipped my mind, how about this weekend Marcus has the restaurant opening are you able to make it?”
Nicole bites her lip. “About that, I forgot it’s my parent’s wedding anniversary and they are having a family dinner. I’m just not ready to take that step just yet, you know, meeting the family. I don’t mean to hurt you, but it’s just a huge step.”
I take her hands from my face. “That’s ok, I understand you think it’s too soon. I can respect that, well how about Sunday we meet for brunch?”
Nicole moves away from me. “That would be perfect, I gotta go, I will call you later.”
As quick as she walked in she is back out the door. As much as I like Nicole, there is just something missing, when we spend time together with each other it’s “nice”. It’s not really a good word to use when dating someone. This feels more friends with benefits. Maybe it’s just all in my head and after Blake, I am being more cautious than usual.
Marcus is opening his new restaurant venture this weekend, and we all got invited. He told me he invited Justin. I was pissed at first, but we have been friends since school. I decide to be the bigger person and not cause a scene and just let it be. As long as he stays away from me, it will be fine.
“Are you nervous about later?” I try to calm myself down. “Not going to lie, it’s going to be shit seeing him, I promised Marcus I wouldn’t ruin his night.” Blake gives me one of her pep talks.
“You can do this, I know it stings the deceit, but you are better off knowing the truth and moving forward. You have a future with Nicole, you’re happy, Justin, as shit as what he did, you can’t help who you fall in love with.”
I think about the last part. “Yeah, me and Nicole, I don’t really know what’s going on there? Things are weird. Do you think they are in love?”
Blake quizzes me about our topic of conversation, the women in my life. “Have you spoken to Nicole about it? Maybe if you just talk to her, you would feel better. As for Justin and Blake, it would need to be love for what they risked. He lost you as a best friend after twenty years and she gave up everything she had with you. Blake and you built a life over seven years that’s a long time. It was risky. Do you maybe think you should talk to her, find out exactly what happened, wouldn’t you want to know?”
I can feel the anger rise in my voice. “Why would it matter?” Blake tries to reason with me. “It might not be as bad as you think, maybe it was only a few weeks instead of years of lies. She could have gone ahead with the wedding knowing her heart was with him.”
I rub my hand down my face. “I don’t know if I am ready to hear it just yet.”
Blakes’s voice comes out as a whisper. “Just give it a little think!”
I arrive at the venue; the place looks amazing there is a photographer, servers are handing out food and drinks. I am at the bar with Scott when I see Justin walk towards us, Scott steps forward. “This isn’t the time, Justin.” He puts his hands up. “I am not here to cause drama, I just wanted to say how sorry I am about everything. If you would give me a chance I need to explain, it doesn’t have to be now, but maybe when some time passes.”
I just stare at him, I’m not doing this, not tonight. Eventually taking the hint that now will not be the time, he sulks off thankfully for the rest of the evening we don’t cross paths, I actually don’t see him at all. The next night I am chatting to Blake about last night, she is eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate.
“I swear your life has more dramas than the Jerry Springer Show.” I try to change the subject.
“Ok enough about me how was your double date? How’s Charlie keeping?” Blake sits up, grabbing more popcorn. “No way, we are not done talking about you yet, mister? Have you talked to Nicole yet?” I shake my head. “No, I haven’t spoken to Nicole yet and stop diverting back to me!” Blake goes quiet.
“What aren’t you telling me?” she shrugs. “It’s all a bit weird.”
I look at her with my eyebrow cocked. “Weird how?”
She pulls her bottom lip in with her teeth. “Ok well one minute I’m pretty much telling Curtis it’s done and then the next he is asking me to be his girlfriend.”
I am more confused than ever. “Wait, what?” Blake tells me all about Curtis and the Ex and my mind is screaming that she’s going to get hurt. The little subtle touches that Curtis’ ex gave him the fact she kissed him, that’s a person not over their ex. I should know at one point I was trying to win Blake back. I am about to warn her about his ex when I see Curtis walk in.
“Hey, baby.” He walks in and kisses her on the cheek.
He looks at the camera and smiles. “Hi, Mark.”
I remain civil, but something just isn’t sitting well with me.
“Hi, Curtis.” Blake looks at Curtis. “Is everything ok? You are a little late?”
Curtis shrugs at her. “Yeah, sorry, I got caught up at work!”
Curtis’ phone goes off and he walks off into a different room I am 3000 thousand miles away and that room is like the fucking Arctic that was ice cold, no emotion, even the kiss felt like an obligation not a need or want, not wanting to have this conversation with Curtis around I call it a night. “I am going to head on Blake, take care.” Blake gives me a brief wave.
“Bye Mark, talk soon.”
I have to remind myself that I only hear Blakes side of the story and that Curtis is a nice guy; he doesn’t seem the sort that would be a bad guy. At least I hope not. There is just something off about this situation, but I could be wrong and I hope that it’s just my judgement clouded because of my past.
But my gut is screaming different.