#38 Talk to him
Who do you talk to when all your friends are bias?
Shaughna would be beyond excited that I had a moment with Joshua and tell me to go for it. Dshawn always agrees with anything his girlfriend says when he doesn’t have an opinion of his own about his subject, and I think my love life falls in that category. Aston would just make a joke about bedazzled dicks instead of being helpful. Thomas will try to sway me to drop both James and Joshua so I’m free to date him. Yord and Marcia were Joshua’s friends before they became mine, so they will probably pick his side, if there are sides here.
I don’t even know what Joshua wants or thinks. For all I know he’s disgusted by me, because I did touch him and stare at his groin while he was asleep. That’s messed up. Or maybe… just maybe he was going to kiss me back in his kitchen. He was trying to tell me something. It could be that he liked me, but it might also be that he wanted me to know that what happened meant nothing to him, just like it meant nothing to me.
Or at least it shouldn’t mean anything to me. Truth is it does. When I’m with James I can stop thinking about Joshua, but when I’m alone I’m not that lucky. I spend a lot of time staring out the window, wondering what might have happened had I been single.
Right when I think I’m going to lose my mind, I remember that I do have a friend who doesn’t know Joshua nor James, and who might have a fresh perspective on this. And she definitely won’t make jokes about bedazzled dicks.
Destiny meets me in the cocktail bar from last time, hugging me before sliding into the booth beside me. She looks very different in a dress, not at all like the serious doctor she is in the ICU.
“What’s wrong?” she asks me immediately, putting a hand on my arm. “You sounded off on the phone, and now that I see you… Have you been sleeping at all?”
I shake my head. I don’t even remember how I got through my last shift in the ER, to be honest. Candice sent me to have a long lunch halfway through my shift, because I just stood there with the needle and the thread, not making any move to start stitching up this guy that came in with a cut on his arm. I don’t remember ever feeling like this, not even when I was going through my dark period of trying to get Aston back.
The only time I’ve ever felt worse was when my Dad died, but I’m definitely not thinking about that right now. If I do, I will start crying and I might never stop.
“I think I sort of cheated on my boyfriend,” I tell Destiny, stirring my drink.
“Oh boy,” she breathes, motioning over a waiter to order me another Sex on the Beach. When she orders a virgin mojito for herself, I turn to her with wide eyes.
“You’re not drinking,” I breathe.
“No, I’m not,” she agrees with a twinkle in her eye.
“Oh my God, congratulations!” I hug her and squeeze her tightly, beyond excited for her. “How far along are you?”
She puts a hand over her stomach and smiles. “Only three weeks. No one knows yet, aside from my husband and my sister. And you.”
I feel really fucking special being one of the only people she’s confiding in. “I’m so happy for you! That’s amazing. Did you end up going to a fertility specialist?”
Destiny shakes her head. “In the end we just decided to get out of our heads and remember why we were trying to have a kid in the first place. Because we love each other. We went out on a date for the first time in a year, and we ended up getting drunk and having the most amazing sex since we first got together.” She smiles and pats her belly. “And now there’s a tiny little baby in here. Alcohol surely isn’t what I would advice my patients if they are looking to get pregnant, but hey, if it works, it works, right?” She nods at my drink. “Let’s talk about you now. Why are you drinking like it’s your last night on earth?”
I tell her everything, from start to finish. How I met James, and Joshua, and every single thing that came after. Thomas, Leonard, Aston, every single guy I’ve ever dated comes up in conversation at one point, and I tell her about that weird sex with James as well, that time that I still feel icky about, when I basically asked him to punish me.
Destiny is silent for a long time when I’m done, watching me down my newest drink. Yeah, I’m drunk, on the verge of slurring my words. I don’t care.
“I hate to say it, but I think you can’t put this all on James,” Destiny says thoughtfully. “I mean, yeah, his jealously is a little much maybe, but he did tell you about that from the start and you agreed you’d help him work on that. He seems pretty open about his emotions, that’s a rare thing. He told you from the start he was going to mess up every once in a while, and so far he’s always apologized, he hasn’t punched anyone, didn’t yell at you… I think he’s been doing alright.”
I nod. I came to that same conclusion myself. “I just… I’m also so afraid to do something that will put him off me, or something that will upset him.”
Destiny nods. “I get that, and you should definitely talk to him about that. The coaster thing, the looks he gives you when you drink a beer, those are small issues that you can probably easily resolve by just talking about it. Honestly, I will slap you silly if you break up with him because he wants you to use a coaster.”
I grin. “Fair enough.”
“Franny…” Destiny hesitates. “I know we haven’t been that close until recently, but I did watch you go through all that shit with Leonard, so I do know a thing or two about what you’ve been through. I think that you worrying about putting off the only guy that’s ever been all in for you may not actually be about James. Maybe that’s just about you. I think you’re scared and you’re not sure you’re doing a good job of being in a relationship, of being a good girlfriend. You may be 26, but this is your first real relationship. James is honest about his issues, but are you truly honest with him about yours?”
I blink and take a sip of the glass of water Destiny ordered for me so I’d at least stay hydrated while getting shit-faced. She’s right, I realize. I have issues too, and I haven’t been facing them.
“One more thing,” Destiny says softly. “You didn’t cheat on James, Franny. You didn’t kiss Joshua, let alone do anything worse than that. Yeah, you should feel guilty for what happened, but mostly for not telling James the truth. You didn’t end up in Joshua’s bed on purpose. From what you told me about how you came back to James that day, and the sex you had… I’m pretty sure James thinks you cheated on him. I get that you don’t want to hurt him, but telling him the truth might actually make things better instead of worse. Talk to him.”
“Yeah, I should do that,” I agree, nodding.
“And talk to Joshua,” Destiny adds. “He’s been a good friend to you. He deserves better than for you to run out him like that and not answer his calls for days. You’re playing with him and the rest of the band on that birthday party in a few days, right? You’ll need to see him then anyway. I think it would better for both of you if you had a heart to heart before then. You’re trying to figure out what he thinks and feels without even talking to him. That’s never a good idea. That’s like diagnosing a patient by only looking at the outcome of a test, without talking to the person who’s actually experiencing the symptoms.”
“You’re so smart,” I tell Destiny, finishing my water and setting the glass down with a loud smack. “I’m going to talk to both of them right now.”
She laughs softly and shakes her head. “Not now, Fran. You’re drunk. I’m going to drop you off at your place and you’re going to get some sleep. In the morning, when the worst of your hangover has subsided, you can start by talking to James. I think that would be a good place to start.”
“You’re so smart, Destiny,” I slur, taking her hand in mine.
“Yes,” she agrees with a smile. “I am. I guess that’s a good thing too, since I’m going to become a mother in about eight months.”