He woke up this morning to a dull throbbing in his head. He looked around and realized he was in his bedroom, in his bed, but he couldn’t recall how he got there. Memories of the night before came flooding back. When he thought about how much alcohol he had consumed last night, he was surprised his headache wasn’t much worse. He could deal with his head hurting, but the pain in his heart… well that was the real issue. He hadn’t meant to go to the bar, but he knew she’d be there. He planned to leave it alone for a while, let things settle down. After all, it’s not every day you tell your best friend that you’re in love with her. But he’d said it. After months of agony, trying to muster up the courage to tell her his true feelings, he’d finally done it. He wasn’t sure what he expected her reaction to be, but he thought she’d say something. Instead, he saw a fleeting smile that was replaced immediately by a look of pure shock and then she just turned and walked out the door without a word. It had been five days. She wouldn’t return his texts or answer his calls. They hadn’t gone a day without speaking, in one form or another, in the last three years. He just couldn’t leave things unfinished. So here he was, sitting at a booth in her favorite bar, just watching her. He knew he probably looked like a creeper, but he couldn’t help himself. He had to see her. So he watched while she talked with her friends, while she turned down drink after drink that was sent to her from multiple guys and he saw how her face looked pained every time she glanced in his direction. Was he the cause of that pain? With that thought, he ordered his third pitcher of beer. And that was all he remembered.
She couldn’t believe he was here. She wasn’t ready to face him or her feelings. They’d been friends for three years. They had been there for each other when relationships ended, through struggles with other friends and struggles with work. He was her rock when her mom had died. He knew her relationship with her mom hadn’t been anywhere close to normal. He knew she had unresolved issues where her mom was concerned. He knew everything. He held her when she had cried, he let her scream at him when she was angry and he assured her he’d be there for her no matter what. And he was. Then he had to start with that I love you stuff. Not I love you like you’re my best friend, but I love you and I want more than friendship stuff. She had imagined him saying these things to her, but never thought it would actually happen. Happiness hit her first and she tried to hide her smile, and then pure fear took over. She had to get out of there, so she turned around and walked out. He’d called her several times, texted her over and over in the last few days, but she didn’t know what to say. And now, here he was. At first, she thought about joining him in the booth so they could talk, but she wasn’t brave enough yet. And when he ordered that last pitcher of beer, she knew it was too late. He very rarely had more than a few drinks when they went out, but the same thing always happened. She always took him home while he argued with her the entire way and had absolutely no recollection of the events the next day. Last night was no different. She saw him leave the booth while trying to fish his keys out of his pocket. She followed him out the door and told him that he couldn’t drive. He spouted something about her pretending to care. She could easily manipulate him when he was angry drunk, eventually she got him into the passenger seat of her car. He continued to argue as she drove him the few miles to his house, led him up the walkway toward his front door and then up the stairs to his room. He argued while she undressed him and put him in bed. He was still yelling at her when she walked out and closed his bedroom door. She was in the kitchen making a pot of coffee when she heard him moving around in his room. She was half tempted to run for the door, but decided she’d stuck it out all night and she needed to face him this morning.
She poured two cups of coffee, sat down at the kitchen table and waited.
As he brushed his teeth, the aroma of coffee slapped him in the face. He thought he was imagining things, but then another thought hit him. She’s here! He finished brushing his teeth, pulled on a t-shirt and a pair of shorts and headed for the kitchen. There she was, sitting at his table with coffee waiting. She looked up, their eyes met and his heart jumped into his throat. She was so beautiful, but he couldn’t read the expression on her face. Was it fear, anger? He was about to find out.
She looked up, her eyes met his and she whispered, “We need to talk.”