Chris and I had driven Molly back from her AA meetings before, but this one was decidedly the most awkward. Molly didn’t even wave as she saw us approach, she just got in the back and off we drove. I tried to make some kind of small talk while driving back, but Chris only responded with one-word answers, which as anyone who knew Chris would tell you, meant you should just stop talking. Molly didn’t make eye contact with either of us.
Eventually, we got home and Chris shut the car off. I turned around to face Molly. “Let us know if you need anything from either of us.” I told her. “We’re here for you.”
Molly politely smiled and hopped out of the car, shutting the door behind her. I turned to Chris.
“Didn’t mean to speak for you.” I piped up.
“Nah, it’s cool.” Chris shrugged.
“Do you still feel anything about her? Like, do you still care?” I asked him.
“Yeah, probably.” he answered. “I mean, if I didn’t, like, why would I be driving her?” He gestured around him. “It’s whatever. The whole situation – it’s just whatever.”
“She said some pretty hurtful things about you.” I pointed out. “I realize it’s not my place, but don’t you think you should… let her know she can’t talk to you that way? You’ve only been trying to help, she shouldn’t talk to you that way.”
“Well, clearly, my brand of helping her isn’t what she needs. Or at least what she wants.” he rebutted. “If it’s only hurting her, then yeah, I don’t have to feel guilty knowing my intentions were pure, but at a certain point, intention doesn’t matter when someone wants to see the bad in you. Or when she trusts people so little she can’t see anything but bad intentions.”
“You’re so quick to see how you’re bad for her, dude.” I mumbled. “She’s bad for you.”
“I could say the same for you.” Chris fired back.
“Yeah, but I actually did a lot of the stuff she’s angry at, and yet she still hates you more.” I pointed out. “Last night she said all of that shit to rile you up. Even if it made me feel guilty too, she directed everything at you.”
“Yeah, that crossed my mind. Thanks.” he replied bitterly. “I dunno. Maybe she assumes the worst in those that are good, because to her, there’s no such thing as a person with good intentions. And she assumes the best in you because, no offence, it’s inconceivable that anyone could be that selfish and mean. It’s like everyone is inherently a moderate person to her, and when they’re too mean or too nice, she shifts them back in her mind and overcompensates.”
“Ouch.” I laughed.
“Sorry, just thinking out loud.” Chris replied, tired.
“You might be right though.” I nodded. “I mean in most cases modesty is good, but you’re right – if you’re being truthful you were nothing but there for her.”
“And maybe my nosy involved way of caring is hurtful to her.” Chris mused. “Maybe that’s what hurt her, me being involved and her not getting to run her life. Or me trying to steer her back on course brings shit home. ‘Oh fuck, I did get back together with my-’ sorry, ‘rapist. Oh fuck, I did drink my problems away. Oh fuck, I did have a meltdown.’ Maybe my blunt style of ‘let’s acknowledge it and fix it’ was actually hurtful. Maybe I need to grow from this too.”
“Maybe it’s just… too much. Too intense.” I suggested.
Chris stretched in his seat. “It’s not like it’s going to be a problem from here on in. I am fiiiine with letting shit burn now. It’s kinda clear she and I aren’t going to keep in contact after one of us moves out.”
“What about us?” I asked.
Chris turned to me and smiled faintly. “I’m not sure.” he replied quietly. “Maybe. I want to, and I think you have grown.” He shook his head, smiling. “It’s like – aaah. It’s like, I want to dislike you for the things you did and I feel inherently guilty treating you like an equal but I also know there has to come a point where I accept you’re a different person and forgive you. But, like, that moment is never black and white, you know?”
“Totally.” I nodded. “I think I feel the same way about myself. Will there ever come a time Molly and I hang out and I don’t feel guilty? Should I just burn my bridges now and move to Australia or something? Start fresh?”
Chris snickered and opened the door. “Nice. Anyway, I’m gonna take a nap.”
“How’d Jerome take last night’s talk?” I asked him as he stepped out.
“You’re gonna have to ask Jerome.” Chris simply answered. “But he’s not around today.”
My expression fell. He wasn’t around, and he lived here. Molly was clearly not the only person Chris was having to deal with right now. “I’m sorry.” I almost whispered.
Chris chuckled, albeit sadly. “You don’t even know what’s going on with us.” he replied.
“I know. But I don’t have to. Whatever’s going on… I’m really sorry. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.” I earnestly replied.
Chris stared at me, his smile eventually disappearing. His eyes eventually began to get misty and he sighed to clear them. “Can I have a hug?” he asked.
Without hesitation, I got out of the car and gave him a big hug. A lasting one. Chris buried his head in my shoulder, not crying, but also not saying anything, his frizzy Jewish fro getting all up in my face. He chuckled sadly as I tried to wave his hair away. A couple times he tried to break away from the hug, but I just held him, and eventually, his hold got tighter on me too.
“You’re loved, Chris.” I told him, not realizing I was the one to say these things. “Things will get better. Your friends are here for you in the meantime.” With that, I let him go and he flashed me a genuine, if sad, smile, and without another word, darted into the house, locking the car as he did.
I waited until he got inside and whipped out my phone. I dialed in a familiar number and prayed she’d be available, putting the phone to my ear.
“Aaron.” the cold, calculated tone of Daisy greeted me.
“Hey Daisy. I was wondering if you could do something for me.”
“I didn’t think you were calling me to see how I was doing.” she rebutted.
I sighed. “Are you doing well?”
“That wasn’t me asking you to ask. What do you need?”
Yup, this was Daisy alright. Apart from her voice sounding slightly different, slightly older, she hadn’t changed at all. “Are we cool? You willing to be on my side for a bit? I’m worried about something Molly’s doing.”
A pause echoed from the other end of the line. “I honestly have no answer to that.” she told me finally. “I can’t say.”
“Okay.” I ran my hand through my hair, thinking of what I could do, when a long shot of an idea hit me. “Can you go into Molly’s room?” After I said this, I walked into the house. Molly was in the kitchen, eating a sandwich. I waved at her but she wasn’t looking at me.
“Um, that’s an invasion of privacy.” Daisy replied as I waved to Molly. “I don’t even know the reason why you’d ask me to do this.”
I hurried downstairs into my room and shut the door before responding. “Look, Molly has… fallen into some bad habits, but I know my word for it alone isn’t enough. I want you to see for yourself, and I think you will if you go into her room.”
“You at least have to tell me what it is first, then I can decide if I believe you, want more evidence, or refuse to believe you. Especially if this concerns my sister’s well-being, you don’t get to make a detective game out of it.”
I nodded as she spoke. That was totally fair, and that courtesy slipped my mind. “Your sister’s an alcoholic.” I told her, a little less quietly just in case Molly came downstairs or something.
Another pause. “Was it… was it you?”
“I thought the same thing.” I replied. “I asked her. She said she’d been drinking long before the bad stuff happened.”
“I’ve only got your word for that.” Daisy told me.
“I know, that’s why I’m asking you to go to her room.” I replied hastily. “If it has been going on for longer, then some evidence would be in her room. She’s only been home a couple times since the bad stuff happened-”
“You raping her.” Daisy corrected me.
“Yup. That. Thanks. Since… that, so if there’s evidence of ample drinking you’d know it’s been happening since beforehand. Especially since you do the family recycling and would have seen it if she got rid of the evidence the usual way.”
“She could have been tidy and snuck bottles back to your place in her backpack or something.” Daisy rebutted.
“She doesn’t take a backpack. And you know your sister possibly better than I do. She’s not that tidy.” I reasoned.
I heard Daisy sigh. “I can’t believe I’m doing this.” she muttered. “Very well. I’m going into my sister’s room. I’m going to snoop through her things. This is the level of civility you’re dragging me down to, Aaron. You’d better be a better person by now for this.”
“That’s not up to me to decide.” I rebutted.
“Yeah.” Daisy muttered. I heard some rustling from the other end. “I don’t see anything. It doesn’t mean I fully don’t believe you, but, you do understand my position here.”
“I do, yeah. I mean, I’m just trying to get someone on the homefront on my side here. It’s not really my problem if you don’t believe she has an issue, it’s hers. And no offense, but I’m not sure you’re the type to have a heart-to-heart about her alcoholism, especially since she’ll know it came from me.”
“Then why didn’t you phone my parents instead?” Daisy asked, her voice slightly distracted from her continuous search of Molly’s room.
“Because that would make her more uncomfortable.” I answered honestly. “I know it’s the right thing to do but Molly’s keeping this close to her chest. Telling you is a risk as it is. Molly wants to close her eyes and pretend it doesn’t exi-”
“Paydirt.” Daisy muttered. “Sorry for interrupting you.”
“Under her bed. Crown Royal, Grey Goose, you name it. All empty.” she sighed. “Well, if it isn’t obvious, I believe you.” Neither of us said anything for a while. “Okay, so what does this change going forward?”
“I don’t know. I just wanted an ally in helping her when I’m not around.”
“Well, you’ve got one.” she confidently told me.
“Just keep an eye out on her. Try and see if you can hide any alcohol or do what you can to prevent her from drinking. I dunno.” I told her, both grateful and saddened further that Daisy found further evidence at home.
“Yeah, I understand. I will do what I can.” Daisy replied. A pause filled the space between the phones. “It sounds like you do care about her. I really don’t know how to feel about you.”
“Yeah, no one involved with the situation between Molly and I do.” I replied with a chuckle. “Including Molly and I.”
“Is she doing any better? Since you found out about this.”
“Chris and I convinced her to go to AA. We’re getting support from her, it just takes time.”
“Okay.” Daisy replied. “I suppose that’s all I can ask. I suppose this means I need to be okay with her being around you, conveniently for you.”
I could only laugh politely in response. “I guess so.”
“I need to process this and formulate a plan. Was there anything else you needed to tell me?”
“Nah, I’m good for it.” I replied. “You take care of yourself, Daisy.”
“You as well, Aaron. And do what you can to take care of her.” I heard Daisy cough in discomfort at something she was trying to say. “She’s my sister.” she finally admitted in a low voice.
“Yeah.” I replied in an equally grave voice.
“This is hitting me emotionally harder than I thought.” Daisy blurted out in a voice that I’d never heard from her before. “I have to go.” Without me even being able to reply, I heard her hang up the phone.
I huffed, staring at the wall. I was thinking everything and nothing, all at once. I stared at the wall for a good few minutes before I heard the creaking of footsteps down the stairs. I snapped out of my trance and opened the door to my room.
“Oh, hey.” I said to Molly, feigning surprise at seeing her, pretending I was on my way upstairs.
“Hey.” she told me softly, nothing expressed on her face.
“Was the sandwich nice?” I half-heartedly joked, moving past her.
“Yup.” she quietly replied. I was nearly all the way up the stairs when she cleared her throat. “Hey.”
“Hey hey.” I turned around to face her.
“Not terribly. What can I do for you?”
“Do you just want to… keep me company?” she asked shyly.
“Uh, yeah, totally.” I replied coolly, coming back downstairs. “Kitchen, your room, my room..?”
“My room’s fine. Thanks.” she replied, going into her room. I followed, and took my usual place on the bed. She took her desk chair.
“I was meaning to ask, have you booked to see a counsellor?” I asked her.
“Yeah, I have.” she replied with a small smile. “Thanks for asking.”
“I… really fucked up with Chris, didn’t I?” she asked with a hurt smile. “I really hurt him.”
“That’s a question you’re going to need to ask Chris. If you can bear to talk to him.” I replied honestly.
“I want to be able to. I get that he doesn’t mean to be a bad guy. It’s just… he made mistakes and hurt me. And I made worse mistakes, I get that. I’m not… I guess I’m not the good guy here.” She shrugged defeatedly.
“In his situation, as much as I want to support you, I’d agree with that. You were unreasonable.”
“I think that is being supportive in this context, Aaron.” Molly mumbled. “Support doesn’t always mean taking my side. I need to know when I need to change. All of us do.”
“Yeah, all of us have made mistakes here.” I muttered back.
She smiled at me. “And yet we’ve all stuck around for each other. That’s got to mean something.”
“It meant last night happened.” I told her with a serious laugh. “I don’t think we can say it’s entirely for the greater good all this has happened.”
“We all live together. We just have to suck it up and make the best of it.” she shrugged. “Maybe it’s good we started having sex instead of only being weird around each other. Just avoiding each other sounds… exhausting. Especially since that’s now Chris and me.”
“Yeah, but, like, we’re having hate sex. That’s been kind of weird.” I told her honestly.
“It’s better than avoiding each other and being all awkward.” she rebutted.
I made a face. “Is it?” I asked rhetorically. “I don’t think it is.”
Molly met my gaze, then shrugged as she eyed the floor. “Well, we’re not stopping anytime soon, we kind of made that clear.” she muttered. “Maybe we should… change it up a bit.”
“Well, if we know the dam is going to break, we may as well beat it to the punch before we get too horny and say stuff we regret again. And maybe we should… y’know, try something more happy and meaningful. Like… tender. Like…”
“Romantic?” I asked incredulously. “Molly, no offense, terrible idea. Terrible for so many reasons. I could have been born in Chernobyl and not have enough fingers to list why that would be a bad idea.”
Molly threw up her hands, me-style. “Well, nothing else we’re doing is working! And we know that the hate sex is toxic and bad. Maybe… maybe the alternate would be better.”
“It would send mixed signals and both of us would move back to where we started.”
“As if what we’ve been doing for the past little bit isn’t as regressive.” Molly argued, coming to sit on the bed beside me. “Clearly we can tell, the hate sex plus me drinking leads to blowups. And I want to never have a blowup like that again.”
“Then stop drinking.” I told her with a nervous chuckle.
Molly smiled slightly. “It’s just not realistic, Aaron. We have to start small. And I think this will help.” She gestured to the door. “Look, if you disagree with anything I’m saying, I’m not going to trap you here. There’s the door.”
“But for now…?” I asked.
Molly was smiling at me, a genuine, meaningful kind of smile. I couldn’t help but smile back, even though I had no clue whether I was going to leave or kiss her. I closed my eyes, allowing my brain to focus for a second. Either option would lead to consequences… Molly and I both knew that, as she said, we were just going to have pent-up hate sex if we let this drag on, as much as neither one of us wanted that. But to just keep going with it and pretend there was romance there when there wasn’t, just to stave off a meltdown… neither option seemed right.
Eventually, I just shut my brain off, expecting my muscles to autonomously make the decision for me. And they did. I couldn’t say I was surprised as I felt my lips touching Molly’s, my eyes still closed. Molly gladly kissed back and sighed contentedly as she wrapped her hands around my back.
She broke the kiss. “So how passionate do you want to make this?”
“Like, do we just want to be passionate, or pretend to be boyfriend and girlfriend or something?”
I couldn’t help but laugh in disbelief. “Let’s just be passionate, Molly.” I told her. “Let’s just be ourselves, but be… okay with these sudden feelings. Afterwards we can let what happened exist, but we’re beyond it. It’s like one of Chris’ drama classes.”
“Okay.” Molly nodded. “But if we’re being passionate, there’s something I always wanted to do.”
Grinning, Molly replied by getting up and standing in front of me, then straddling my lap. She sat on me as I sat on the edge of the bed, then she grabbed my shirt with both hands and pulled me close. “This,” she breathed right before kissing me again, with just as much passion. I took the hint and grabbed the back of her head as I kissed her back, with my tongue boldly probing the entrance of her lips. Molly was getting excited as she eagerly allowed me in, wrestling my tongue with hers as we waged a war of who was more eager to please the other.
We settled on a tie. After a few minutes of kissing her mouth, we broke the kiss and my kisses traveled down her chin and onto her neck, where my kisses turned into gentle nibbles. “Oh, Aaron…” Molly panted as she started to grind on me. As I travelled down and moved her shirt out of the way to nibble on her collarbone, the grinding intensified, and we enjoyed our foreplay until it was clear to both of us that it was time to move on.
Molly hopped off of me and started to undress herself before I got up and hald up a hand. If we were going to play passionate, we may as well play by the rules. “Allow me,” I told her tenderly as I began to take off her shirt, then her bra. I smiled at her with a smile full of trust as I began to take off her pants, and lowered her underwear down. She happily stepped out of them and began to do the same for me.
She playfully scoffed as she removed my shirt. “You know, you have such a good body.” she told me quietly. “It’s not fair.”
“Molly, your body is amazing too.” I told her, looking her nude frame up and down as she removed my clothes. And it was true, there was no way I’d prefer Molly look. I don’t know if she was the perfect body type for me, or my feelings just made it so that the body type Molly had became the body type I liked the most. All I knew was that it – no, she – was exactly what I wanted.
She smiled at me as she completed my disrobing, then we worked together to apply the condom. I motioned for her to get on the bed first, and she shook her head, smiling at me.
“Sit on the bed.” she ordered me. “Like you were before.”
I did as she told me, sitting on the bed, my protected manhood sticking up into the air. Smiling nervously, she began to straddle me again.
“This is probably going to be a more awkward position than missionary or doggy or something.” I forewarned her.
“I don’t care.” she told me. “I’m not looking to have you rail me until I die this time. I just want…” She lined herself up with me and began to sit down on me. “…to feel you – ah – inside me. Fuck. Fuck, fuuuuck.” All of me ended up disappearing into her as she winced in concentration and eventually opened up her eyes lazily, staring me straight in the face.
“See?” she asked, our faces inches apart. “And now I can do this…” She kissed me deeply. “…while you’re inside me.”
I felt warm and happy inside as we continued kissing and Molly continued grinding on me. It felt so amazing to be as close as we could physically be as I felt the warm passion of Molly’s womanhood accepting me all the way inside her, as well as her sweet soft lips accepting mine. I practically melted in her embrace, and she in mine. She was right, this felt really nice.
I was all too aware of how good it felt and what it might do, and put a mental blockade on even saying “I love you” out loud. I tried as hard as I could to just enjoy the moment when I realized there was a bit of a way to cheat the system.
“I love doing this with you, Molly.” I let her know as I kissed her cheek, neck, lips, anything that my mad-with-adoration lips could find.
Molly gave a guttural laugh. “I love doing this with you too, Aaron.” she replied, evolving her grind into moving her hips back and forth and using her feet to move herself up and down slightly on top of me, bouncing on my cock. It wasn’t crazy fast, I wasn’t demolishing her insides, but neither one of us wanted that. This was perfect in the moment, this felt right. This was how we wanted it to be.
We continued to make out with me gently sliding in and out of her, occasionally moving faster, occasionally moving slower as I cradled her head in my hands, or she experimentally kissed my neck (which wasn’t easy with the angle) or a few other quirky passionate experiments. Eventually, after a few more minutes of that, we gave each other a final kiss and she gingerly got off of me. Neither of us came, but… that wasn’t really the goal. We got what we wanted, and that much was made clear by how much we were smiling at each other after we finished, and even after we got clothed afterwards.
We spent the next few minutes spooning. “Okay, yeah, that definitely felt better.” I admitted.
“Told you.” Molly replied, looking back at me, giggling. “Switch.”
We both flipped over and I became the little spoon as I got lost in thought. “Okay, so I have a question for you. Possibly invasive.”
“A little bit ago you told me about how you were having sex with other guys. How many, and when did you start? Because that one time we went bareback, so should I be concerned?”
“Oh, uh, yeah.” Molly sheepishly began. “That. You, uh, you don’t have to worry about that.”
“Wait, so did you have sex with anyone else or didn’t you?” I asked, confused. “I mean, go you, live your life, but I just need to know for-”
“No, yeah, I get it.” Molly replied, rubbing my shoulder. “Just one. I, uh, went back to Carson for sex. Just for sex, nothing more, and he knows that.”
“Don’t start.” Molly chuckled exasperatedly. “I know. Believe me, I know. I just… do you need me to explain?”
“You don’t have to explain anything.” I replied nurturingly, grabbing her hand and bringing it close.
“Thanks.” Molly replied. “I didn’t mean it when I said I was banging a lot of other guys or whatever. I’m probably going to cut off things with Carson soon as it is.”
“So then why’d you say it?”
A pause filled the air. “I don’t know.” Molly finally said, seemingly puzzled herself. “My brain is saying because I wanted to make you jealous. Since we were having hate sex anyway, I figure that’s okay to say.”
“I dunno what the implications of that are.” I told her honestly.
“Me neither.” she said.
I watched the bus leave my line of sight, the sun setting in the distance. As usual, I thought about Molly. She’d been on my mind a lot these past few days, ever since she said she wanted to make me jealous. I had a few days to think about it and still I wasn’t 100% sure what I could take from such a sentiment. Maybe I was just overthinking things. Just like Chris.
I walked back to the house and opened the door, looking forward to taking my backpack off, and speak of the devil, in the kitchen, there was Chris, with what definitely looked like a bottle of vodka in his hand. My brow furrowed as I planned how to enter and what to say.
I composed myself and walked into the kitchen. “Hey,” I casually threw out as I dropped my backpack to the floor and went to look inside the fridge.
“Hi.” Chris’ defeated voice greeted my ears.
I gave him a sideways glance and playfully smirked, albeit with worry. “I’m not sure if this house has enough room for two dangerous alcoholics.” I told him.
Chris snickered. “Yeah, I figured you’d say something like that, sweetie.” he told me. “Don’t worry, I see the danger of the situation too. I just wanted an out.”
I took some leftovers out of the fridge and threw the tupperware onto the table, not bothering to microwave the stuff. I stared at Chris for a bit before also grabbing some orange juice and a glass. “Can’t be much fun doing it alone, if you’ll have me.” I offered, motioning the glass towards him.
Chris smiled as he poured me a bit of vodka. I poured the orange juice into my glass and got a second glass for him, and he mixed his own drink. “So, we already know we’re gonna talk.” I let him know. “Where do you wanna begin?”
“I know exactly where.” he told me, with barely a hint of slur to his words. “I used to have this friend. Sweetest thing on the planet. She’d do anything for me, I’d do anything for her. We were inseparable.”
I took a drink and winced. “Let me guess, one day something switched and suddenly, no more friendo?”
“You know, that might have been, like, less painful?” Chris vented. “Nope, it was over time. I went through all five stages of grief. I denied we were getting more distant about it, I confronted her, I tried being sweeter and hanging around her more, and then I got real sad.”
“Five stages.” I reminded him.
He gestured to the bottle. “I drink to accept.” he joked. “At a certain point, she just started to change and become a different person and I was there, just being myself, powerless to stop the inevitability that once she was finished bursting out of this pupa, she’d be a beautiful butterfly that wouldn’t want the fuck to do with me.” He lightly slammed a hand down on the table. “Right up until that point I was running through scenarios in my mind where we’d just suddenly snap back and be best friends again. And the only switching was done by me. One day it snapped to me and I suddenly realized she was gone and I had to just accept my friend moved on. Now I was just going through dates in my head I’d prefer to travel back in time to. Like, ‘Oh hey, if I could be back in April 2009 again, here’s what I’d change.’”
I chuckled and nodded. “Yeah, some days I go through that with Molly too. Obvious reasons.”
Chris finished off his drink and poured himself another. “Yeah. I can’t stop myself from feeling sometimes like the more people get to know me, the more likely they are to just get distant and leave me. And God knows I can’t tell people this. Especially lovers. You ever tried telling someone who thinks they love you that you think love is a bait-and-switch? They get concerned for themselves, they get distant, it’s a vicious cycle, and God knows I can’t break it.”
I nodded meaningfully, staring at him as he downed another decent gulp. I didn’t have anything of substance to add, so I just let him talk.
“When N- when my friend met me, she was in a bad place.” Chris continued explaining, his words now starting to slur a little. “She was clingy as fuck, as a friend. She just needed someone. As I supported her, she came out of her shell and grew into the person that she probably was meant to become. And, like, that’s great, I was so happy for her, but it was clear she grew into a person that didn’t need me anymore, and as soon as she didn’t need me, she didn’t want me. She just moved on with her life, met some other friends, I was just a past chapter. A side character.” He took another gulp of his drink. “It’s hard not to feel unloveable when that keeps happening. People get closer to me, I finally let them in, then they leave me.”
“Yeah, I agree. It’s hard.” I told him supportively.
“And, like, my friend needed to grow up. She couldn’t just be emotionally dependent on others forever. She needed to find her independence. But… as awful as this sounds, I just… didn’t want her to grow up. On some level. She was so happy around me, and we were the bestest of friends. Some part of me just kinda wishes that she didn’t find her independence and we just stayed the kickass crime-fighting duo we were. It’s stupid and selfish for not wanting her to change, but… I just… wish she didn’t change. I wish she was the same. I wish the good times would never go away.”
I sighed. “I know, I understand that, but life moves on.” I told him. “All good times have to end at some point, but your life moves ahead. You know, if you ever want to reconnect, that’s an option. You have Facebook, don’t you? Just shoot her a message. ‘Hey, how’s life? We haven’t spoken in a while.’”
“I can’t.” Chris shook his head.
“Oh, come on. I think you can.”
“It’s literally not a possibility.” Chris insisted.
“Okay, okay.” I conceded, putting my hands in front of me. “Different boundaries. But even so, life moves ahead. Some good times end but other good times will take its place. You still have Jerome, you have the now, you gotta… live in it, man.”
Chris looked up at me and laughed slightly, shaking his head in sadness.
“Uh oh.” I mumbled. “How bad?”
“He’s staying at a friend’s tonight and he’s not returning any of my texts.” he informed me. “Nothing’s set in stone, God knows we haven’t, like, communicated about it or anything, but yeah, it looks like Jerome and I are finished.”
“I’m sorry, Chris.” I told him.
“So am I.” he replied flatly, taking another drink. “This is what I’m talking about, darlin’. Welcome to Unloveable, USA, population: me. It’s just how it goes, he’s gotten to see me and know me and there he goes. I can’t even tell what I did wrong. Whenever we bring it up he tells me it’s nothing I did. That’s what she said too. That’s what they all say. And when I’m clearly the common denominator, and it’s nothing I did, you know what that tells me?”
“That it’s something I am.” Chris told me, taking another drink. “I just wish…” His eyes clouded. “I just… I just wish I was enough for people. Ever.” His voice quivered as he said the last few words.
“Chris.” I instinctively responded, reaching across the table to grab his hand. “Listen to me, you fuck. Don’t you think about that anymore. Don’t think about that for another second. Look at me.” His eyes slowly traveled up the table to meet mine. “I love you. I want to spend time with you. Tomorrow, clear your schedule. I won’t go to class or whatever. Let’s just take a day. Me and you. Fuck everyone else, we’ll go do something, we’ll take a hike or something, and we’ll have a good time. And I know it’ll be a good time, because I’m spending it with you. You’re my friend. You’re more than just enough, I want to be around you. Okay?”
Chris smiled slightly. “Okay.” he told me. “Thanks. You’re a sweetheart.”
I could tell it wasn’t enough to quell the storms of pain he was feeling, but I doubt there was anything I could say that would quell them at this point. Chris deserved love just as much as anyone else, and God knows he wasn’t getting it. Hell, everyone deserved love. That included myself, and that included Molly. The trouble was, we all didn’t know what we wanted, or how to get it, or how to get it healthily. And maybe some of that was our own faults. Maybe some of this stuff was on us. Maybe we had to face uncomfortable realities. Maybe as long as I was acting exactly the way I was, Molly would never get the love she needed.
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