Forgiven

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Girls' Night Out

Chapter 27:

It took a lot of convincing to get Alec to not burden Hannah with the task of looking out for Lesly. She told him that the three of them could handle themselves just fine if something wrong were to happen. He eventually relented. It was not because he found her argument convincing. No, it was more likely because he already figured out a different solution to the problem. He kept it to himself, of course, but Lesly knew what he was thinking. Every day she spent living with him helped her understand him a little. He was most likely going to send someone to keep an eye on the three of them just to make sure they were safe.

Hannah accepted the invitation. She even offered to come pick Lesly up from Alec’s apartment instead of meeting her at the bar. Lesly did not mind. The only problem was that she discovered that she did not know how to speak to Hannah at all. The woman was not much of a talker. She rarely showed any reaction to anything and most of her answers were short and direct. There was no possible way to engage her in a discussion. As such, Lesly found herself in one peculiar car ride that was filled with awkward silences. She could not wait until she got to the bar so she could let Michaela handle the talking. Her friend could make a wall talk if she put her mind to it.

When Lesly and Hannah arrived to their destination, they found Michaela waiting for them there at their usual table. She gave Lesly a warm embrace and did not allow her to sit down until she had examined her face to see how well her injuries have healed. Lesly introduced Michaela to Hannah and to her surprise, the two instantly hit it off. Apparently, Hannah had been to Europe on a trip before and the two immediately began sharing their experiences there. They would look at Lesly every once in a while and offer her suggestions on the best places to visit if she ever thought of going there. For a moment, it felt like those two had no idea that she was sitting at the table with them. Lesly did not mind, though, because it meant that she did not have to figure out how to talk to Hannah, or how to avoid the interrogative questions Michaela was surely going to ask sooner or later.

Lesly’s relief was short-lived. Hannah eventually excused herself and left the table in order to answer a phone call. This left Michaela alone with Lesly.

“So how’s everything?” Michaela asked casually as she took a sip of her drink.

“I told you already. Everything is fine.”

“Nothing has changed?”

“No.” Lesly shook her head. She knew what Michaela was asking about. She also knew that if she told her anything about the steamy moments she shared with Alec, Michaela would never let the matter go.

Michaela examined her friend for a minute. Then she asked the one question Lesly dreaded.

“How come you’re wearing a turtleneck?”

“Is that so strange?”

“For you, yeah. You hate turtlenecks.”

Lesly recognized the look on her friend’s face. This led her to rush to suppress whatever dirty thoughts Michaela was surely fermenting in her head. “It’s not what you think.”

“Okay.”

Lesly was surprised Michaela gave up so soon. She grabbed her glass and tried to enjoy her drink. What Michaela said next, though, made her choke on it.

“So, did you sleep with him yet?”

Lesly began coughing until tears came to her eyes. She looked at her friend in disbelief. “Michaela!”

“What? What did I say?” Michaela asked innocently.

Lesly glanced towards the corner where Hannah was standing and noticed that she ended the phone call. Great! More people are about to be included in the conversation. She looked at Michaela next and pleaded.

“Please don’t bring the matter up in front of Hannah. You have a serious boundaries problem.”

“She’s not here yet. Dish.”

“I told you it’s not what you think.” Lesly muttered emphatically.

“First time he’s marked your neck?”

“Do you realize how immature you sound?”

“Yes or no?”

Lesly realized that there was no way Michaela would let the matter go until she got an answer. She noticed Hannah walking back to the table, and she rushed to give her friend the confirmation she needed.

“Yes, but that’s all there is to it.”

“Was that so hard?” Michaela whispered with a smile of victory on her face before she addressed Hannah who was now taking a seat in front of them. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah.”

Michaela examined the two women sitting next to her with a mischievous grin. Lesly figured that she must be trying to make up her mind on whom she was going to mess with next. Her gaze eventually settled on Hannah.

“So Hannah, how long have you known Alec?”

“We go way back.” Hannah shrugged. “He was a law student in a legal clinic my dad went to for assistance.”

“I didn’t know he worked at a legal clinic.” Lesly commented.

“He did. I think he was on his final year of law school. He overheard my dad telling someone how he got injured and he told him that he could help him. You see, my dad got into a car accident and sustained an injury during one of his routs because of the company’s disregard for maintenance. The company tried to pin the blame on him. They refused to cover his medical bills, told him he should thank them for not pressing charges against him and even fired him.”

“That’s horrible.” Lesly said.

“It took the lawyer who handled my dad’s case a while to prove to the court that my dad had no hand in what happened.” Hannah added.

“Cases like these usually take time.” Lesly commented. “Add to that the fact that a legal clinic was handling your father’s problem. They’re usually understaffed and always swamped.”

“Yeah, for a while there we did not know how to cover my dad’s medical bills. Reid took care of the expenses.” Hannah’s face lit up at the memory. “He told us we could pay him back once we won the case. We eventually did. He then helped my dad get another job. The pay was better than before and my dad found the desk duty and the flexible hours more comfortable.”

“I’m glad things ended that way.”

Lesly noticed that Michaela was silently watching Hannah with an inexplicably intense interest the entire time the young woman was narrating her story. She had one of those brooding expressions that told Lesly that she found something in Hannah’s narrative that piqued her curiosity.

“Hannah, did Alec have anything to do with you becoming a police officer?” Michaela eventually asked.

“No. In fact, he was strictly against it.”

“What made you want to become a cop then?”

“It just sort of happened. I was not doing well academically, so college was out of the question. My dad objected to my decision at first. He tried to talk me out of it. He even called Reid thinking that he could change my mind. I went for it anyways.”

“So you and Alec are close?” Michaela narrowed her eyes at Hannah in curiosity.

“Not really. It’s just…” The young woman became flustered. “I’ve known him for longer than…,” Hannah looked at Lesly for a quick second, and then continued, “most people.”

“It does not bother you that he does not trust cops?” Michaela inquired.

“He trusts me. That’s all that matters.” Hannah smiled.

“That certainly puts things in perspective.” Michaela commented. “I remember now. He told me I could trust you when I first met you two at the hospital that day.”

“Did he?” Hannah smiled warmly. She wanted to say something, but her phone rang again. The young woman looked at Lesly and Michaela apologetically before attempting to excuse herself. “I’m sorry. I have to take this.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Michaela said assuringly. She then looked at Lesly once Hannah was out of earshot and said. “She’s in love with him.”

“What on earth are you talking about?” Lesly sighed in exasperation.

“I can’t believe how dense you are when it comes to these matters.”

“You’re reading too much into the poor woman’s words.”

“Honey, I know what I’m talking about. Trust me.”

“So what if she’s in love with him?” Lesly asked in frustration.

“It doesn’t bother you?”

“I told you, nothing is going to change between me and Alec.” Lesly stated emphatically.

“Says the woman with a hickey on her neck.” Michaela challenged.

“It’s nothing.” Lesly stressed.

“Hon. I know you.” Michaela began to reason. “If you’re letting him kiss you and do God knows what else, it means you’re right there with him. It’s not one-sided anymore. And by the way, I need to hear the details later.”

“Nothing has to change.” Lesly reiterated while stressing every single word. “I’m more comfortable the way things are.”

“So if he starts dating someone else, you’d be okay with that?” Michaela tried to reason again.

“Yes.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.” Lesly was emphatic.

Michaela glared at Lesly who began to casually enjoy her drink as if nothing happened. The redhead could feel her patience wearing thin and she wanted to yell some sense into her dense friend. However, a certain text that lit up her phone screen made her forget her train of thoughts. Michaela grabbed her phone with a smitten grin and began reading the text message she just received.

“Who is it?” Lesly inquired in an effort to change the direction of their current discussion.

“It’s this guy I met in the conference. John. I told you about him.” Michaela answered with a warm smile, but it was not long before her smile turned into a frown. “See? I share, unlike you.”

Fully intent on ignoring the jab that was directed at her, Lesly asked another question. “He’s here in Redlyn?”

“He works here. Didn’t I tell you that?” Michaela seemed genuinely surprised that Lesly did not know.

“You only shared details of your steamy encounters with the guy, unfortunately. I know nothing about him.” Lesly stated matter-of-factly.

“Well, you never asked the right questions.”

“I don’t recall asking any questions related to the physical chemistry. You volunteered those on your own.” Lesly corrected.

Michaela was triggered. “One, it was that good, so it merited mentioning. And two, girlfriends are supposed to share.”

“So?” Lesly took the hint.

“So what?”

“What does he do?”

“He’s a radiologist who works at Saint Joseph’s hospital. We hit it off instantly.”

“I take it things are going well?”

“Very well.” Michaela smiled.

Lesly was about to inquire further about the new man in Michaela’s life, but Hannah came back to the table, and Lesly was not sure whether Michaela wanted to talk about him in front of a woman she barely knew. As such, she decided to leave the conversation for another time.

“Sorry about that.” Hannah addressed the two woman before she sat in her chair.

“Don’t worry about it.” Michaela responded. “Boyfriend?”

“No.”

“Single?”

“Yes.”

“Now how come an attractive girl such as yourself is still single?” Michaela inquired while feigning innocence, but Lesly knew that her devious friend was trying to learn more about the nature of the young woman’s relationship with Alec.

“Haven’t found the right guy yet. The last one I broke up with was a nightmare.” Hannah almost shuddered.

“Really?” Michaela smiled as she filled Hanna’s glass. “Let’s hear more.”

The two women obviously had a horrible dating record. They bonded over their past misfortunes and began drinking to make the task of talking about their horror stories bearable. They soon got drunk, leaving Lesly to be the only sober person on the table. Lesly watched in amusement as they shared one story after another. She was already familiar with most of Michaela’s stories. However, seeing her narrate those tales in her drunk state to Hannah put a whole new spin on things. Hannah’s dating record matched Michaela’s in its horridness. Her stories were just as outrageous and hilarious as Michaela’s. The two began patting each other on the back to show their support. Every time Lesly thought they were done, one of them would begin narrating another experience. Their stories soon began to develop a structure centered around different themes. They were beginning to sound more like cautionary tales. Hannah was currently warning her new companion in misery about the evils of narcissists.

“He would never stop admiring himself in the mirror. He thought every mirror in the house was different. One brought out his eyes better. The other made his hair shinier. I swear he was so in love with himself that I desperately wanted to take him to my friend’s lake house.”

“Why is that?” Asked a drunk Michaela.

“I was hoping he would catch his own reflection in the lake, see a different angle of his perfect self that he was not aware of before, fall in love with it and drown.”

“Honey this is nothing.” Michaela piled on in anger. “I once dated a guy I knew from med school. I used to help the idiot prep for his exams when we were students. I put up with all his flaws. I even trained him to perform different surgical procedures. He told me if we got married, I would have to stay home and look after our kids because he was a smarter and more accomplished surgeon than me.”

“No!” Hannah replied in an incredulous tone made more comical by her drunken state.

“Wait! There’s more. He collects lizards.” Michaela added. This elicited a dumbfounded look from Hannah. The redhead then looked at her best friend and asked. “Lesly, does Alec hoard lizards?”

“Not to my knowledge.” Lesly answered with a straight face.

“Call him and ask if he has lizards.” Michaela demanded. Then she turned towards Hannah and gave her another word of wisdom. “Always make sure they don’t have lizards.”

Hannah nodded.

“You two are clearly hammered.” Lesly stated matter-of-factly. “I think we should call it a night. Let me phone Alec and ask him if he can come pick us up.”

“Ask him about the lizards.” Michaela instructed.

“Sure.” Lesly said dismissively.

Lesly watched the two women with interest as she tried to finish drinking what was left of her second glass. Michaela finally rested her head on the table and shut her eyes. She fell asleep a few minutes later. Hannah was still awake. She was scanning her surroundings slowly and purposelessly with a dumbfounded expression on her face. Lesly noticed how the more drunk Hannah got, the more talkative she became. This prompted her to ask the young woman and see whether Alec had indeed taken extra precautions to make sure she was safe tonight.

“Hannah, any idea if Alec sent someone to keep an eye on us at the bar?”

“Yes.” Hannah said. Then she pointed at a guy wearing a blue cap. “He’s sitting over there.”

The guy noticed that Hannah was pointing at him. He tilted the cap down and tried to hide his face.

“Are you sure?” Lesly asked, smiling.

“I know him. His name is Michael, and this is not the first time he was asked to keep an eye on you.” Hannah sounded bored while she delivered her answer. She then turned towards the guy with the cap and waved. “Hi Michael.”

Lesly almost laughed when she saw the guy wave back reluctantly. She turned her attention back to Hannah and asked her another question. “What do you mean when you said this isn’t the first time Michael was involved?”

“He watched over the building where you stayed with Michaela after you were attacked. He’s also supposed to keep an eye on you while you’re at work. Jake didn’t want you to know because he didn’t want you to worry.”

“Jake?” Lesly asked in confusion.

“Did I say Jake?”

Lesly smiled warmly at the thought of Alec going to such measures to make sure she was safe. She wished he had told her. She also wished she could discuss the matter with him so she could sincerely thank him for everything he was doing for her. Unfortunately, there was no way she could talk to him about it because if she did, she would be getting Hannah into trouble.

Lesly picked up her phone and dialed Alec’s phone number so she could ask him to come pick them up. He answered immediately.

“How’s your girls’ night out?” He asked cheerfully.

“The girls are wasted, but we’re all in one piece.”

“Glad to hear it.” She could hear the chuckle in his voice. “Are you ladies done?”

“Yes, can you come pick us up, please?”

“I’ll be there in twenty minutes. Hang tight.”

“Thank you.” She said softly.

“Don’t mention it.”

Lesly hung up and began helping Michaela and Hannah check to see if all their belongings were in place. She wanted to make sure that their phones and car keys were stashed safely in their purses. Michaela was still asleep, and Hannah’s dumbfounded look was replaced with a sad one. Lesly looked at Hannah questioningly. She was about to ask her what was troubling her when Hannah spoke.

“You know what bothers me, Lesly?”

“What?” Lesly asked, concerned.

“No matter what I do, I can never be to him what you are to him. You saved him. I didn’t. I can’t compete with that.”

“Hannah?”

Lesly was genuinely confused. She wanted to ask the drunk woman what she meant. However, before Lesly managed to formulate a question, Hannah rested her head on the table and dozed off.

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