A Phone Call between Diane Meer and Monica Sullivan:
Monica: Are you okay, Diane?
Diane: Yes, I am, Monica. And you?
Monica: You ran out suddenly, I was worried.
Diane: I just needed to get some air. I’m sorry we didn’t get to talk much after.
Monica: [pause] Diane, the man you loved- the one we talked about- he is my fiancé, isn’t he?
Diane: There’s no point in lying… is there?
Summer was staring at me from across the table days after the engagement-party-gone-wrong. I hadn’t spoken to Diane since but I wouldn’t put it past her to tell her friends about what happened that night. She, Summer and Yana are as close as David and I were so I knew Summer heard enough from her friends to know what was going on so far.
The problem was waiting for Summer to open the topic. And despite how good of a day it was—we had clear blue skies, and a reasonable breeze to boot—Summer Reese was just sitting there, across from me while I read a book. Inside a café for lunch with David and the rest of our group from University. Staring holes into my head and thinking.
That was already peculiar behavior for Summer – she was never just sat around and stared. It wasn’t her style.
“So…” she started again, and I felt my temper rising. I always disliked it when anyone waited an ungodly amount of time before speaking their mind so I decided to beat her to the punch.
“Summer, just say what you want to say.”
“Sorry. Monica’s your fiancé huh?”
I looked up from my book in surprise. She shrugged at my reaction and looked at me for a reply. I sighed loudly in response.
“Yeah, and what of it?”
It was her turn to sigh loudly. “Nothing, she was pretty cool when we hung out with her the other day. I was just wondering… you know.”
I waited for her to continue. She didn’t, she was just smiling cheekily.
“Wondering about what?”
She grinned. “Nothing.”
I shifted nervously in my seat. I don’t know why I was nervous, but knowing Summer and that smile on her face always unsettled me. I cleared my throat. “Where are Yana and- Diane?”
“David’s gone to pick Yana up after her class at graduate school, and Diane has a date.”
I cough to hide the choking on my cup of coffee, then frowned once I was sure my airway was clear. “A date this early in the day? Shouldn’t she be at the office or something?”
She shrugged. “And why not? She’ll be meeting us later tonight so I told her to go and meet with the guy I set her up with now before she could come up with reasons to not meet him ever.”
Summer eyed me suspiciously.
“Why are you so uptight about this, eh? I thought you weren’t the type to care for people falling in love and all that ‘crap’?” she said, making quotation marks with her fingers.
I sneer at her, closing my book and setting it aside. “I don’t care, Summer. I was just asking why she was out this early for a date. A question usually means getting an answer, and that was all it was.”
Summer rolled her eyes at me and leaned closer to the table. She clucked her lips and gave me a dirty look. I held her gaze steadily and waited for her to speak. She obviously had something on her mind, and knowing her – she was going to say it whether or not I wanted to hear it.
“You’re still as deluded as you were in University, Jared. I can see right through your little tough guy act and quite frankly, I’m getting sick of it. It was cute in University, Wyatt – but that’s over. This is the real world now and people still pride honesty.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
She shook her head at me. “Yes, you do. It’s the reason why Diane came home hiding her tears last night and why you’re so anxious to see her today.”
I sighed. Of course, I knew. I knew the moment I went to her house late that night after we saw each other again. I knew the moment she welcomed me back home. (But I could be wrong too.)
“Nothing happened last night. She found out about my engagement with Monica, and she told me I didn’t have to explain so I didn’t.”
“You could’ve done something!”
Yes, I could have. Monica seemed to think so too, but I didn’t follow her advice to follow Diane after last night.
“You could have talked to her or something. Anything to make her feel better.” Summer shook her head at me again, clearly frustrated. I was getting annoyed myself, but I was impressed by her fierce loyalty to her friend. Diane had the same fierceness in her when it came to her friends and the people she loved.
She continued. “You know what I know, Wyatt. Don’t pretend like you don’t. It’s only been four years… you should know more than anyone, that something like that doesn’t go away overnight.”
That. My heart feels heavier suddenly and I can feel my jaw tense up. I put two fingers on my forehead and sighed.—
“That right person you’re talking about… that person is not here.”
—She really didn’t have to remind me of that day.
I took another sip from my cup, quieting stilling my thoughts and organizing them. “I didn’t do anything wrong. She and I – she and I don’t have anything together. I don’t have the right to say anything.”
She looked at me, a sad expression (it was fleeting) on her face. “Diane… she gave you her heart.”
I looked away from her gaze and sighed. My heart felt heavy. “I know.”
“But she’s going to get her heart back, Jared.”
I glanced back at her surprised. Her sudden change of tone confused me. Summer gave me a bright smile, her trademark.
“She will,” she said, grinning and making me feel uneasy, “and you’re going to wish you didn’t have to give it back.”
A Phone Call between David Sutter and Diane Meer:
David: Hey, Piglet. We missed you today.
Diane: Yeah, I was out with the musician Summer told me to go out with.
David: Oh? How was it?
Diane: He’s nice, we’re going out for dinner tomorrow.
There is a lull in the conversation.
David: Diane, is something going on between you and Jared?
Diane: No, why?
David: He seemed edgy earlier, and I only left him with Summer for a few minutes. It seemed like she had said something.
Diane: And what does that have to do with me?
David: Jay’s usually a hard guy to read but it doesn’t take a genius to know that the only time he’s ever on the edge is if something’s the matter with you. [pause] So I have to ask… Dee, are you still…?
Diane: [quiet for a minute] I don’t know, David. I really don’t.
Michael Poe was a pleasant surprise, I concluded, after spending the day with him at an arcade. He was the latest of the list of men Summer seemed to want me to meet and so far, he was the nicest and easiest to talk to.
I laughed easily as he won me a cute little stuffed pig-rabbit-hybrid doll and felt better.
Yes, this was definitely becoming one of my favorite dates this year.
“You are fast becoming one of my favorite persons this year,” I said at a cotton candy stand, “I haven’t had this much fun on a date in a long time.”
He grinned, handing me my cotton candy and taking a huge chunk of it into his mouth. “Thanks. I’m glad you’re having a good time.”
“I take it you’ve been going out on bad dates this past year?” he asked, giving me a curious look. I shook my head.
“Not bad, just – not as energetic as today,” I replied, “most of them just took me out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. And I love to eat, but a childish date like this is something I prefer over a stuffy night at a restaurant.”
“Well, I’m glad I thought of a childish date!”
We walked arm in arm, observing the life on the streets that night. There were some people dancing nearby, and I watched them for a moment interested. Michael looked over to where I was looking and grinned, nudging me.
“Do you want to dance?”
I shook my head, laughing. “Oh no. I’m embarrassed and I really don’t do that kind of thing.”
He made a face. “What? You don’t dance? I think we should remedy that,” he said and pulled me into the crowd.
I yelped and held on to him as we swayed to the music. I felt my cheeks start to burn when I realized what song it was and I closed my eyes. It brought me back to a time… He led me quite gently around the floor, his arms around me and saying encouraging things in my ear.
I felt myself relax.
“See, you can dance!”
I drew myself out of my dream and found Michael’s smiling face looking down at me.
I smile (though the slight disappointment was there in my heart) and playfully swatted him on the arm. “I should be angry at you for forcing me to dance, but I’ll let you off for now. I haven’t slowdanced in years.”
Michael looked at me. “When was the last time?”
Four years ago… with Jared. “Four years ago. At a ball in University.”
“With a boyfriend?”
I wish—“No, with a friend.” Before he left for Japan.
I glanced at him and he had a curious expression on his face. He cleared his throat. “You really liked this guy, huh? Because, in my experience, girls don’t slow dance with people they don’t like.”
My cheeks felt hot. “Perhaps.” I tapped him on the shoulder, grinning. “And yet, I’m dancing with you.”
That infectious grin came back on his face. “Yeah, so you must like me too.” I shrugged, giving him a smile.
He kissed the tip of my nose, surprising me. “I like you too.”