The next few days were spent in anxiety-ridden swells. I tried my best to not let my classes become affected by my mood, but I couldn’t help it. A couple of my regular ladies had asked if I was alright to which I gave them my best smile and let them know that I was perfectly fine.
Then on the day Jake was due to arrive, my phone rang. Jake’s name appeared and with a deep breath, I answered my phone, my finger swiping across the screen.
“Hey, I’m here,” he replies. I can hear that he’s smiling and I can only assume it’s because I’ve answered his call.
“Where are you?”
“I’m at the studio,”
“Oh ok, well I was wondering seeing as it’s my first day in Seattle, would it be ok if I asked you to lunch?”
“I-I don’t know about that, I mean I have back to back classes and—,” I’m stalling I know I am, but then I remember I agreed to this, I agreed to see him.
“Oh well, if you’re going to be busy, then no worries, we can meet up sometime during the week, I have to unpack anyway,” I can hear the disappointment in his tone and I instantly feel guilty.
“You know,” I begin as Amalia walks towards me, mouthing “is that him?” I nod, and turn my attention back to the call, “But you know— I can move things around, Amalia can take a class for me,” I tell him, much to the annoyance and frustrated flapping of her hands.
“Ok,” he chimes.
“No problem, I’ll see you at HoneyHole at say— one?”
“Perfect, see you then,”
“See you then,” I reply and hang up.
Amalia stands behind me as I turn in the chair, her mouth wide and open, glaring at me with folded arms.
“Oh, Amalia can take a class can she?”
“I didn’t know what to do, he sounded so disappointed and I just couldn’t,”
“But Amalia can cover,”
“Will you stop talking to me in the third person, you know how that creeps me out,” I tell her, standing and looking for my trainers.
“Sorry— but seriously, why are you even entertaining the idea of seeing him?”
“Because I agreed to it, and I won’t just leave him in a new city, on his own with no friends especially when he does know someone here,”
“You did it, you came here knowing absolutely nobody,”
“I know, but that was different,”
“How? You know what— never mind, I guess I’m covering your 1.30?”
“Please, it would help me out, and besides, take this as me getting my own back for you giving Oliver my number,”
“You said you weren’t angry about that, that’s not fair,”
“Well shit happens, but right now, I need my best friend to help me out,”
“Fine,” she pouts, folding her arms again and marching off into her studio. I hear music begin playing, but sigh as I turn back to the screen on the computer and carry on with what I’d been doing.
By the time it’s almost one, I’ve been to the bathroom twice, and then with a small smile to Amalia, who still wasn’t talking to me, I pull on my hoody and leave the studio. Headphones in, I walk along the street, purse across my body and phone in my hand, only this time my weekend playlist is on. Khalid sings sweetly in my ears, my anxiety easing by the second.
As I approach HoneyHole, it quickens again when I see Jake seated at a table, but he looks different. His hair isn’t long like it used to be, his eyes are bright and happy and he looks as though he’s been working out, and what are those on his arms— tattoos?
Opening the door, I nervously walk towards him and as he sees me, the smile he had while talking to the waiter widens. I feel so underdressed in my yoga attire, whereas Jake is dressed in a pale blue linen shirt, with skinny jeans and black boots.
He almost looks attractive, more so than when we were actually together. He stands, his smile still wide and wraps his arms around me. I silently gasp as his arms cocoon me, but I can’t help but feel soothed by them.
No Sunday— no, nothing is happening, nothing will happen, not with Jake, he’s number five— remember.
“Hey,” he says, pushing me back just a little to see my face.
“Oh— hey,” I reply.
“You look good, you doing ok? Here— sit, sit,” he offers the seat opposite him, his hand held out as I sit down.
“Thanks— I guess, you look good too,”
“Thanks, just threw this on, everything’s packed away still, so this was all I had,”
“Well you look good,” I tell him.
“So what do you want to drink?”
“Just sparkling water please, I have to be back in an hour,”
“Oh work— right, shame really, would have been nice to spend the afternoon with you,”
“It would have? Why?”
“Because we could catch up, give each other an update on how life has been for the last— what 6 months?”
“Life’s been good,” I tell him as the very same waiter reappears.
We order more drinks and food and sit in silence at first.
“So— you seeing anyone?” He asks boldly.
Just come right out with it Jake why not.
I watch as his eyes study me, looking down as the tip of my tongue rests against my top lip for just a second, relieved when the waiter comes back with our drinks. He smiles and quietly thanks him, watching briefly as he disappears and then turns his gaze back to me. I look to my lap for just a second but my eyes snap up when he begins talking.
“Listen, I just— I wanted to apologise again,” he starts, shifting in his seat as if he were uncomfortable.
“Ok,” I smile small, sipping on my water.
“And I know you must hate me,”
“I could never hate you Jake,”
“I behaved so poorly that day. I shouldn’t have expected so much from you, I shouldn’t have made out like you were to blame, and I shouldn’t have cheated. That was a complete dick move and you didn't deserve it,”
I nod, taking another sip of my water, licking my lips just after as I set my glass back down on the table.
“Apology accepted,” I smile to him, pushing back fallen strands of hair that have escaped from behind my ear.
“This is why I rang,”
“Because you wanted to apologise,”
“Yes, and just because— well just because I wanted to see you, I’ve missed you,”
My eyes widen a little and with a gulp, I quickly pick up my drink again and take another sip. I’m well aware I look like a madwoman, sipping constantly on my drink, but his sudden admission has left my mouth dry. I hadn’t really noticed him carry on talking, white noise almost ringing in my ears, but it’s not until the waiter comes back and brings us our food, sitting it down in front of us, that I snap out of the trance I’d fallen into and hear him ask, “So do you forgive me?”
My eyes dart up to meet his, watching as his eyes flit between my own.
“I do,” I say, relief washing over his face as his shoulders dip and his body relaxes.
“Great— that’s just,” he chuckles unable to finish his sentence.
“The food looks delicious, you were right to suggest here,” he beams as he pulls his fork up and begins to cut it.
As the hour passes, we both relax and the conversation flows freely, laughing at old memories, good memories, and before I know it, I have to go. After paying our bills, we walk towards the door and Jake, ever the gentleman, holds it open so that I can walk out first. I smile to thank him and stop walking when he stops.
“Can I see you again?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” I reply a little hesitant.
“No— no you’re right, just because you forgive me doesn’t mean it can be like it was,”
“Not really no,” I reply, his expression faltering, his eyes dropping to the floor as his left foot kicks at the ground, his hands burying deep into his pockets.
I don’t know what comes over me, but in that second I wrap my arms around his shoulders, his hands resting on my waist.
Pulling back, my cheeks immediately warm and pink as I realise just what I did.
“What was that for?” He chuckles, pushing the same fallen strands as earlier back behind my ear.
“I’m not quite sure, I don’t know why I did that,”
“I’m glad you did,” he smiles.
“Felt like it used to for a minute there,” his own cheeks blushing.
“Listen,” I begin, watching for his reaction, “Maybe we could out for drinks some time, you have my number after all,”
“That sounds good, I mean— great, really great,” he beams.
“Give me ring during the week, maybe the weekend. We can go to some of the bars,”
“Sounds like a plan Sunny,” he grins, his hands swinging a little at his sides.
Sunny. Haven’t heard that in a while. That was my pet name, I hate Sun, despite Amalia calling it me regularly, and I don't always like being called Sunday, so Sunny was Jake’s way of still being affectionate without irritating me.
“I’ll see you soon then, Friday— maybe,”
“Friday,” I smile back, our arms opening awkwardly this time, holding onto each other a little longer than we should have, then both chuckle as we turn and walk in opposite directions, both looking back briefly to give each other a small wave.