I wake up at ten a.m, feeling surprisingly good for someone who had about seven drinks last night. I’m usually such a lightweight.
I check my phone for messages, frowning when I see a missed call from Sinn...and a voicemail.
My heart beats wildly as my finger hovers over the play button. I put it on speaker and quickly press it. I swallow hard as his voice sounds out.
′Hey Lils, whatcha doinggg?′ He slurs and I laugh, God he sounds mortal.
′We’re in Pure and the guys brought loads of girls over but I’m soo bored, why aren’t you here?′ He continues and I sigh at the thought of them surrounded by girls.
Pure is known for being a clam jam (female version of a sausage party).
My eyes widen as I see the message isn’t done yet.
′I’m sorry I didn’t realise you were there earlier, I hope you didn’t leave cause of me.′ He pauses. ′I want you to know the girl I was talking to is a client, we were discussing her ink, she’s wanting me to fill in this old tattoo on her ribs....Anyway, I hope you didn’t get the wrong idea....Dunno know why I told you that, hopefully I won’t remember this tomorrow, okay, byeee.′
The message ends and I stare at my phone in shock.
What the hell?
I slide out of bed and get into the shower, replaying his message in my head whilst I wash myself.
So, he wants me to know it wasn’t what it looked like with the woman?
Does he like me?
I push the stupid thought out of my head and get out of the shower.
I text Kira asking how she’s feeling and I’m surprised at her response.
Oh my God Lilah I’m dying. That kebab has given me food poisoning, I’ve been throwing up the past hour. Mum’s come round to look after me.
I told her not to eat that kebab!
I reply to her text.
Are you okay? Do you need me to come round?
No Mum’s here now it’s okay I’m sorry about the cinema I won’t be able to make it.
I groan as I remember our plans for today, we’ve booked the cinema at 2pm.
A thought pops into my mind. Sinn mentioned that he’s been wanting to see this movie, maybe I should invite him?
No, not after that voicemail, things might be weird.
But I don’t want to go on my own.
I get dressed and knock on Micah’s bedroom door, but there’s no answer.
Sinn emerges from his room, wearing nothing but a pair of low-riding grey sweats that leave little to the imagination.
Fuck. Me. Please.
‘He’s at Courtney’s,’ he explains and rubs his eyes sleepily.
‘Oh, right...What time did you get in last night?’ I ask amusedly and lean against the wall.
‘About 3, I was fucking hammered,’ he groans and runs his hand down his face.
Even hungover with bed hair, he looks so attractive.
‘I know, thanks for the voicemail,’ I reply.
His eyes snap open and go wide.
‘Oh, fuck,’ he groans and closes his eyes again. ‘I forgot about that.’
‘Don’t worry, it was rather funny,’ I comment and cross my arms over my chest.
‘I’m sorry, I don’t have any words,’ he whines and smiles sheepishly.
‘This is a bit random, Kira and I booked the cinema today, but she’s got food poisoning and can’t come. I know you mentioned that you wanted to see the movie, do you perhaps want to take her ticket and come with me instead?’ I offer, the words coming out of my mouth before I can think them through.
Sinn looks at me in surprise. ‘Are you sure?’
‘Yeah, why not? It’s a wasted ticket otherwise.’ I shrug and he smiles.
‘Then yeah, I’d love to. What time?’
I let him know the details and I return to my room.
Just before two, Sinn drives us over to the cinema.
I’ve kept my make-up simple and I’m wearing a jumper and jeans, so it doesn’t look like I’ve made lots of effort, like we’re on a date or something. This needs to be casual.
I show our tickets to the steward and Sinn insists on buying us popcorn.
We take our seats before the film starts and I begin munching away whilst Sinn replies to prospect clients on his phone.
The credits begin and he turns off his phone, I freeze as he calmly leans back and puts his arm around my shoulders.
I remain rigid, my hand frozen in the popcorn bucket.
What is he doing?
Stop being such a weirdo, it’s not a big deal.
But this is a boyfriend-like thing to do!
So? You like it.
Well, yeah, but it’s strange.
I snap out of the internal argument I’m having when Sinn’s hand brushes against mine whilst reaching for more popcorn. I force myself to relax and focus on the movie which is starting.
Throughout the course of the film, I find myself relaxing into him and my arm brushes against his chest.
Does he have to smell so damn good?
After the film ends, things go back to normal and we talk about the movie on the way home.
When we get back, Micah is on the sofa. Sinn goes out to see Chad and I sit down with my brother.
‘I wanted to thank you by the way,’ Micah says, taking me by surprise.
‘For making such an effort with Sinn,’ he states and I’m even more surprised.
‘I know you weren’t sure about having him as a roommate, but you’ve made an effort to make him welcome, so thanks,’ he says, genuinely grateful.
‘No problem,’ I reply numbly, feeling like an awful sister who only thinks from between her legs.
His one rule has always been no messing about with his friends, he can’t handle it. It freaks him out and he doesn’t like his mates joking about it either. He once punched his friend when he kissed me at a party in school, I was fifteen. They weren’t friends after that.
The next few days pass without incident, I don’t see Sinn or Micah much. Kira has recovered from her illness and is in the lectures with me.
On Thursday, I receive a text from Freddy, the guy I’ve been talking to on and off for the last two months.
Dinner at that new restaurant Luciano’s at 7pm tomorrow? Need to see you.
I smile as I see his text. This is what I need, a distraction from pining over Sinn, a guy I can never have, who would never want me.
I tell Kira about my date, expecting her reaction. She doesn’t like Freddy, she says I can do better.
I know he’s not the right guy for me, he’s too strait-laced, probably someone my mother would pick for me. The thought of getting a tattoo would mortify him, he’s the opposite to Sinn. But he’s sweet and funny and happy to go to movies, dinners and events with me.
On Friday night, I pick out a pretty red dress and do my make-up, mainly because I like dressing up. Freddy isn’t fussed by what I wear or how much make-up I put on, this is for me.
Kira is an angel and drops me off at the restaurant. She frowns when she pulls up on the pavement.
‘Do you need a lift home? This is quite far out,’ she comments and it’s true, we’re in the outskirts of the city. There’s no taxis about.
‘I’ll be fine, I’ll get an Uber,’ I tell her, knowing that she’s off to spend the night at her Grandma’s for her 80th birthday.
I’m not going to disturb that.
I go inside the restaurant, it’s an intimate Italian and my stomach growls with the thought of pasta.
Freddy stands up from the table he’s at and ushers me over.
‘Thank you for coming,’ he greets me and gives me a quick hug.
I slide into the seat and my brows furrow. He’s acting strange, why is he thanking me for coming on a date? It’s not like we haven’t done this before.
‘Are you okay?’ I ask, noticing that he’s fidgeting with his hands.
‘There’s something I want to talk to you about,’ he says and I get a nagging feeling.
‘Look, I know you and I never talked about what we were doing, or put a label on it, we never said we were exclusive,’ he starts and I don’t have to hear him finish to know what he’s going to say.
I lean back in my chair and prepare to be dumped.
‘I’ve met someone. We’ve been talking for a couple of weeks now and yesterday, I made things official with her. I didn’t want to break things off over text, you deserve more than that. So, I thought I could buy you dinner one last time,’ he says.
I can see that he’s genuinely uncomfortable telling me this.
‘Oh, right.’ I can’t find any other words.
I understand what he’s saying completely. He’s right, we never did say we were exclusive. But for two weeks he’s been seeing her, as well as me. I feel a bit put out, I wish he’d mentioned this before.
‘When did you first meet her?’ I ask and he flushes pink.
‘Three weeks ago,’ he replies quietly.
‘But you slept with me two weeks ago?’ I bite out and he goes even redder.
‘Yeah,’ he mutters and I inhale sharply.
‘Please tell me you’ve not slept with her and then me? I know we didn’t say we were exclusive but that’s just gross and risky,’ I say and he looks shocked.
‘No! I um...slept with her last week, you and I haven’t done it since that weekend so...’ He trails off, looking extremely uncomfortable.
The waiter comes to take our drinks order and Freddy asks for another minute.
His phone lights up with an incoming call and he looks guilty.
‘Is that her?’ I ask and he nods.
‘Answer it,’ I tell him and he quickly does as I suggest.
I realise straight away that it’s serious. He stands up from the table and puts his finger in his other ear to hear better. He steps to the side of the restaurant, his face concerned.
A few moments later, he comes back over.
’I am so, so sorry to do this to you, Lilah,′ he apologises.
‘Her father has just collapsed and has been taken to hospital, I need to go and be there for her,’ he says and I stand up.
‘I get it, you should go,’ I tell him.
I walk over to the waitress and tell her that we’ll be leaving.
We step outside and he turns to face me, looking both forlorn and guilty.
‘I’m honestly so sorry about this, about everything. I should have told you sooner that I was getting feelings for her, I just got caught up in the moment and I kinda...forgot,’ he admits to forgetting about me and I sigh.
‘It’s fine, Freddy. You were right with what you said, we weren’t exclusive. I hope you’re really happy together, and I hope her dad is alright,’ I reply, forcing myself to be decent.
He gives me a brief hug goodbye and then jogs over to his car, luckily for him, the hospital is only five minutes away from here.
I pull my thin jacket tighter around my body and I get out my phone.
This evening sucks.