I deserve this, I persuade myself while looking in the mirror.
After two long years of pleasing him and catering to his every whim, I need some time alone. I need some time to recollect myself and to fix back my broken pieces.
I know that going to a night club is probably not one of the smartest ways to do this, but it will most likely ease my mind and help me to step back from the edge of the chasm that is my deep depression. Because I know that once I fall, there will be no returning; no turning back; no happy ending for me.
I don’t wear much makeup, but tonight I’m going all out – foundation, concealer, blush, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara and all the works. For me, this is a sure step-up from the usual eyeliner wings, mascara and lip balm.
I take another look at myself from head to toe. I am dressed in a cute LBD that flares towards the end. If by any chance I am to do any twirling tonight, then this is the perfect dress. What makes the dress even more perfect though, is the fact that it has two deep pockets sewn in on the sides. I let my hair loose, so it sits atop my shoulders in curly black strands. All my accessories – the black diamond earrings, the chain bracelet with the lone black rhinestone, all six of my charcoal midi rings and the black choker with the moon pendant – are from Forever 21. I am satisfied with the way I look. And that is a rare occurrence, so I must look really good.
I sigh deeply. Not only am I disheartened to leave the comfort of my home, but the fact that while I’m out I’ll be all alone aids in the feeling of me wanting to remain home.
I divert my mind from trekking down that dangerous path of thinking. Especially thinking about my best friend or ex-best friend, even if I still love her.
What she did completely shattered my heart and tore me apart. If I ever thought that I couldn’t be hurt to the point where my heart beat until I felt like it’d leap out of my chest and catching my breath was effortless and I couldn’t possibly eat because everything would eventually find its way out again, then now I know better.
What made it worse was the fact that we have known each other since freshman year in high school. She was the first person I ever talked to on the first day of my high school life and she held my hand through all four hard and painful years of college. And now because of this unfortunate situation, something so unforgivable, we refuse to speak to each other. Not that I wouldn’t in the blink of an eye.
Heaving another huge sigh, I leave the walls of my apartment and walk down the corridor then the stairs to leave the building. The night air is cool and refreshing as I walk along the sidewalk to the back side of the club’s building. Yes, it is very convenient that the club is just walking distance from my house. Because in this way, if I get drunk (which I totally plan to) then I don’t have to worry about how long it’d take me to get home. Emotions, the club I’m attending, is owned by my brother-in-law and my sister. That’s the main reason I own a key to the back door of the club. Now I realize how right Aiden had been when he said that I’d never know when I need to get into the club undetected. Tonight I just want to get in, have a few drinks, maybe dance a little and then leave before I get too inebriated that I don’t know my right from my left.
Slipping the key back to my pocket, I walk inside and close the door behind me. Lights glow green on the floor, just like the ones in an aeroplane when the lights are off. I follow the illuminated corridors to the centre of the club. The bass thumps in my chest, causing the blood to rush faster through my veins as I near the dance floor. The club is dimly lit, suitable for the sexy music playing in the background and the people gyrating around me uncontrollably. The waiters walk expertly through the throng of people, balancing trays with scotch glasses and champagne flutes.
I make my way over to the bar and perch on a stool. Jay, Aiden’s best friend, smiles at me while serving a next customer. I smile back at him, while tucking a stray tendril of my hair behind my ear. I tap my fingers on the counter and nod my head in sync to the beat of Beyonce’s Love on Top, while I wait for Jay to attend to me.
“Hey shorty, what’s up?” the familiar bass of Jay’s voice says above me. I roll my eyes while supporting my chin with the palm of my hand.
“I’ve told you, I’m not that short Jay. You’re like . . . a super giant. Besides, I reach you at your shoulder. That’s pretty tall for me.”
He laughs deeply, his eyes sinking into his head for a minute. I smile at the blatant look of happiness on his face, even if it’s at my expense.
“Whatever you say Van. How are you? I haven’t forgotten that I asked.”
I twiddle with my fingers while thinking of something to say. Something that won’t be too far from the truth but that won’t have me spilling my guts in a crowded room of sweaty people either.
“I’m okay. I really am,” I say a little louder when he looks at me with bunched-up eyebrows. “It’s just that I get these flashbacks from time to time. Nothing too serious. But they remind me of when things were perfect between us. And . . . I kind of miss that.”
“I’m sorry Vanessa. But I think it’s better for you to just forget everything. I’m not trying to thwart your attempts at happiness, but it seems to me that you keep on getting hurt. And I don’t want that to happen to you. I love you too much.”
“I know. I know. And I’m trying.”
He offers me a smile as he places a warm hand over both of mine.
“Now what would you like to drink shorty? I have other customers waiting – I’m coming sir; can you just give me a minute? She’s a paying customer too,” he says to the impatient man sitting beside me in a business suit. I snicker quietly as the man hisses his teeth and turns his head away. “Anyways. Your drink?” he asks with a nod.
“Two shots of vodka please.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I’m a paying customer, aren’t I? I bet you don’t ask the others that . . . I’m just trying to forget Jay,” I say after a short pause.
He walks over to the opposite side of the bar, picking up a bottle of SKYY Vodka. A few seconds later, he returns with two shot glasses of vodka. I take them appreciatively when he slides them over to me.
“Bottoms up,” he says then leaves me, attending to the man beside me who hasn’t stopped sucking at his teeth every fifteen seconds.
I nod to no one in particular as I take up the first shot glass. Taking a deep breath, I stop hesitating and knock it back, along with the second one in a swift motion.
As the liquor slides down my throat, I shudder and a sudden chill rushes down my spine.
“Stop,” I say while giggling. “Stooop. Ryyyder.” I laugh loudly, my chest tightening and my sides closing in on my stomach. He stops tickling me when I launch myself at him, sending us both back into the bed at full force.
He laughs while I try to catch my breath. After he calms down from his laughter and I can breathe without my chest feeling like it’ll combust, he places a kiss on my forehead. I smile up at him from my position on his chest. He smiles back at me. Then he flips us over so I’m lying beneath him, his naked chest in plain view and his emerald eyes twinkling above me. I smile as he moves slowly towards my lips, his smirk becoming wider with every inch he moves. As he is about to connect his lips with mine, I turn my head away and start shaking with laughter.
His voice is like liquid gold; very smooth and amazingly perfect. He uses a hand to move my face so I’m looking at him again.
“Van. What are you laughing about?”
“I’m just so happy with you.” I reach up to touch his cheek and he leans his face into my hand. “I love you Ryder. So much. I love you.”
“I love you too Vanessa. You’re everything and more.”
He hugs me, almost crushing me under his sudden weight, even though I know he’s trying to support himself.
“Everything I do is in your favour. I love you that much; to put your needs above mine countless times. To tolerate and love you when I want to punch you in the balls.”
He chuckles slightly, rolling to his side so he can hug my body tighter to him.
“I love you Vanessa. You alone. I’m happy every time I’m with you. Everything I need is in you. You complete me baby.”
Even though his saying this to me isn’t new, I still find it in me to blush.
“Can I kiss you now?”
I nod as he moves closer to my lips once more, this time actually having the chance to capture my lips with his. I replace my hand to the side of his face as the kiss deepens and he parts my lips with his tongue.
Wow. That’s probably the fifth one this week. My heart is pounding in my chest. Beating so hard, I can hear it in my ears above the sound of The Weeknd’s Wicked Games playing in the club.
Maybe if I get up and stop thinking then the flashbacks will disappear. Yeah, maybe I need to go and dance. So, I hop off the stool I’ve been sitting on and make my way to the dance floor after gaining a weird look from Jay.
I dismiss it as I take a space on the floor between a sparsely dressed lady and a man in boardwalk shorts. I haven’t been dancing in a while, so I don’t know how this’ll work out. However, when I hear Work by Rihanna come on, I lose myself in the music, dancing with no one but myself.
A few hours later when my hair is drenched in sweat and my feet are tired and probably have the consistency of noodles; I find a couch and sit down so I can breathe properly after all that moving.
“Jelly Shot?” I look up to where the voice comes from. A waiter in a skin-tight T shirt stands over me with a metal tray in his hand.
“Sure I’ll try one,” I say reaching for one of the containers when he lowers the tray to me.
He smiles then leaves. Just like earlier, I knock it back. It burns my throat slightly and the same cold chill runs down my spine.
I walk up the path to Ryder’s house smiling. I have so much to tell him about my first day at work. I push my key into the door, open it, walk in and close it behind me. I drop my bag in the sofa when I pass the living room. On my way to Ryder’s room I hear moans and sexual noises. But I don’t pay much attention to them; Ryder may just be jacking off. Then I listen closely enough to realize that the moans are high-pitched and girly. Ryder doesn’t moan like that. And I should know.Angered beyond reason, I barge into the room allowing the door to slam on the wall. I stop in my tracks. The sight in front of me is utterly unbelievable. I cannot even think of anything sensible to say. So I stand at the foot of Ryder’s bed with my mouth wide open.
“What. The. Actual. Fuck.” I hold my hands up in near frenzy. “I can’t believe that after two years you would think of cheating Ryder,” I whisper, turning my back to the scene in front of me. “And I refuse to believe that the girl in bed with you is Stephanie. That is not my best friend. Ryder you are not fucking cheating on me with my best friend.”
I turn around so quickly I almost give myself whiplash. Sure enough, the two people sitting up in bed with the sheets clutched to their chests are my best friend Stephanie Burgess and my boyfriend for two years and some weeks, Ryder Colton.
“Get the fuck out of my boyfriend’s bed!” I shout at her, tears stinging my eyes and threatening to spill over. “How could you do this to me? I trusted you Steph!” I continue shouting while she scrambles out of the bed and haphazardly drags on her clothes.
“Van . . .” I hear Ryder say from beside me, attempting to place his hands on my shoulders.
“Don’t. Don’t you dare put your fucking hands on me Ryder. This isn’t something you can fix with your smooth talking.” He backs up cautiously, and it occurs to me that he actually has a brain inside his head. Why that brain told him to have sex with my best friend? I don’t know. Do I even really want to know?
“How-how long has this been going on?” I manage to stutter out. The silence lapses for a few more seconds before I shout, “Somebody answer me before I go and get a knife! You both know I’m unstable; why would you do this?”
“It only started last week,” Stephanie says below her breath. “Vanessa I’m so very sorry. I didn’t mean to. I was experimenting. I realize now that I’m actually a lesbian. Ryder has made me realize that.”
“Fuck is that supposed to mean?” Ryder demands, and I almost laugh. Almost.
“Why did you have to experiment with my boyfriend? There are millions of men walking around in New York. You could have stopped one of them and told them that you needed a dick to bounce on to figure out that you like pussies. Are you even gay? You were obviously feeling something a while ago; your moans proved that. But why choose Ryder Stephanie?” I look at her, the fat tears in my eyes finally overflowing, spilling onto my cheeks and dripping off my chin.
“I’m sorry Vanessa. Baby please wait,” Ryder says from behind me as I walk out of the room, leaving Stephanie inside sobbing.
I grab my bag from the sofa and march angrily towards the front door. I pull it open forcibly and is almost through when Ryder grips my elbow.
“Vanessa can’t we work this out? I love you. That was a mistake.”
“No, this relationship was a mistake. I wasted two years with you. I’m terribly sorry I held you back from your true potential. I’m sorry everything I did was in your favour.”
I look at his face that is red with anger and embarrassment. I know that he loves me and I know that I love him despite my anger, but I’m deeply hurt. Maybe we could have worked it out if it wasn’t my best friend.
I shake my head, slip my bag over my shoulder and leave his house.
“Vanessa.” My breath hitches on its way out. I’d know that voice anywhere. I went to bed with it for two years straight. It told me how much it loved me countless times. It has let me down and built me up. And sad to say, I still love the damn voice of the person beside me. “Vanessa. I am sorry. I love you. I want to work things out.”
“Ryder,” I say, finally looking sideways at him. “Every time I told you that I loved you, what else would I say?”
“That everything you did was in my favour.”
I stand, anger boiling now, and smile.
I gather all my strength and raise my hand, slapping him across his face so hard, that an imprint of my hand is left there. He is left stunned, his mouth wide open.
“Yeah, but not anymore. It’s not in your favour anymore.”
Then I walk away from him and leave the club.