Sunday, February 28, 2010

50.) Just Friends?

Soundtrack Song - Lady Antebellum, Need You Now

I didn’t say anything to Tubby right away—not even a “thank you” as he set down a plate in front of me with an assortment of all my favorite things. There were too many things coursing through my mind at the moment.

First of all, friends? I was angry at Kris, but I would have taken him back. I would have gotten over it. He apparently didn’t want to give me that chance. Maybe he wouldn’t have been able to handle being with me anymore. Maybe I had hurt him too much for him to get past it. But the question I was left with was: could I stand being just friends with him? Spending time with him in a strictly platonic capacity? I wasn’t sure. I still wanted him, still wanted to be with him, but he obviously didn’t feel that same way.

And then, I wasn’t sure how Tubby fit into this. I didn’t quite know what Kris had meant with his “nothing” comment. Tubby would have said something, if he had said something to Kris, because he knew how torn up I was about it. And, more so, Tubby knew I still liked Kris, so he wouldn’t tell him to “back off,” if that’s what Kris had meant. Tubby wouldn’t do that to me.

“Aren’t you hungry?” he finally asked, setting his fork down on his third cleared plate. I think he has four stomachs, like a cow or something.

I continued to play with my chopsticks, picking up a green bean and moving it to the opposite side of the plate. “Did you see that Kris was here?”

“Uh, yeah. I did.” Tubby scanned the now-empty room. “He still here? He finally apologize for being a dickweed?”

“No, he didn’t. And they all left about five minutes ago,” I sighed. I had seen them leave out of the corner of my eye, but I had actively avoided their gazes to minimize the awkwardness of the situation. Then I set down my chopsticks and looked Tubby straight in the eye. “Have you... talked to him? Since the hospital, I mean.”

I knew his answer was going to be no. I knew it, because he was my best friend. And even if he had temperamentally said or done something that I would have disagreed with or yelled at him for, he still would have told me—because that’s what best friends do. “Yes.”

“What?” I practically screeched.

“Calm the fuck down, Jo.”

I knew my mouth was hanging open, but I couldn’t believe it. “What happened? What did you say to him?”

“It was the day after your accident. You were napping on the couch, and he stopped over—”

“He came? He came to my house and you didn’t tell me?”

“You were still angry at him at that point, Jo, and I told him that and that he should give you some room to breathe.”

“But why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you say anything when I wasn’t as mad anymore?” I said with total exasperation. I grabbed onto my hat and pulled it over my eyes. My heart was pounding and I couldn’t catch my breath. I felt dizzy, like the walls were closing in around me. If only I had known. “That would have changed everything.”

“It changes nothing,” he growled in response. “He still left when you begged him to stay. You deserve someone who’s gonna be there for you, always. I can’t trust him with you. He fucked up twice, and you want to give him a third opportunity?”

“He said he just needed time to think. He took that time and came back. You don’t understand—I thought he didn’t give a fuck about me, like, at all. Not even enough to see if I were okay. How could you let me think that, Tubby?! You’re supposed to be my best friend.”

He started getting frustrated with me, I guess for not seeing things his way or agreeing with him. “I am, Jo-Jo—”

“Don’t you ‘Jo-Jo’ me. How could you?” I demanded to know. I felt... betrayed. Sure, I knew that Tubby wasn’t crazy about Kris, but I thought that our friendship meant he’d put what I wanted over what he wanted for me. He did have a habit of doing whatever he thought was best for me regardless of what I thought about it, like dragging me out of the house today, but this whole thing with Kris was such a big deal to me that I never thought he’d go so far to go against my wishes and then deceive me about it.

“Because it was just... easier.”

“Easier?” I started to cry. That was his answer? Out of all his possible reasons for keeping me in the dark over the past three weeks, he did it because it was easier—than what? Helping me be happy? Allowing me to make my own decision about what I wanted to do about Kris? “Easier to let my heart break?”

His expression softened as he moved from his side of the table to mine. “Jo-Jo,” he comforted, wrapping an arm around my shoulders. I tried to push him away, but he was too strong and pulled me toward him until I complied. “You saw him today. And did it make you happy?” I pressed my face into his shoulder and mumbled my response, which he couldn’t make out. “What?”

I turned my face so my cheek was against him and I could speak clearly. “I said, ‘I don’t know.’ I mean, yeah, I was still a little angry, but it was good to see him. It hurt, though, because I thought he was just trying to be nice....” I pulled back and quickly balled my hand into a fist, punching him in the arm as hard as I could. He didn’t even flinch. “If I’da known, I woulda been nicer!”

“Did it really matter?” he asked quietly, flattening my fist and setting it on the table before placing his own overtop. Like he needed to neutralize the threat. “If he didn’t apologize, I mean, then what did he even say to you? It couldn’t’ve been good, because you’re still upset.”

Burying my face against him again, I muffled what I didn’t want to say. Tubby chuckled, trying to be lighthearted. He moved farther away from me on the seat so I had to sit up straight. “Mind trying that again, Jo?”

Exhaling deeply, I repeated, “He asked if we could just be friends.”

“And would you rather have heard that three weeks ago, when he showed up? Would you have wanted me to wake you up, just so you could have heard it then?”

“Woulda been better than having to wait in this emotional limbo for twenty-fucking-one days,” I moaned, picking up one of my chopsticks and stabbing a piece of chicken.

“Limbo? Fuck that, Jo. Listen to me,” he grumbled, grabbing my face and making me look at him again. “Three weeks ago, you would have kicked his ass to the curb for deserting you. You wouldn’t have wanted to see him again, ever. But now, all of a sudden, you’re upset that he wants to be friends? Like, just friends? I don’t fucking get it. So what are you going to do?” he demanded to know. “Are you going to be friends with him, because you miss him so goddamn much?”

“I don’t know.” I jerked my head, so he let me go. I restabbed the piece of General Tso’s on my plate. “I don’t fucking know, okay? I don’t know what I’m doing to do. I miss him, and it was nice to see him again, but I don’t know if I can handle ‘just friends’ with him.”

Tubby paused for a moment as I continued to mutilate my food, and then he sighed. “So are you going to eat that, or play with it? Because it’s already dead, ya know.”

“I lost my appetite.”

With another sigh, he reached across the table and grabbed his fork, digging into my plate. “Such a waste of money, to come to an all-you-can-eat buffet and not be hungry.”

“Then why did you bring me here?” I asked him, watching him scarf down on my food after he had already eaten plenty.

He shrugged dismissively. “I was really jonesing for some Chinese.”

When he was finished, he paid and carried me back out to his SUV. Tubby asked if I wanted to do anything else, since I was out of the house again, but I declined. He took me back home and I wallowed there again for the next couple days. Occasionally, he’d stop by to see how I was doing and ask if I needed anything, and he’s the one who took me to get my short arm cast taken off. It felt so good to have it gone; in a couple more weeks, I’d be able to get a walking cast. For now, though, I could at least maneuver around with crutches.

All the while, I had Kris on my mind. It was harder to be angry at him, now that I had known he had at least stopped by. He had cared enough to do that, even if it wasn’t caring in the capacity I would have liked. Kris was important to me, and I missed him—I missed more than just our intimate moments, although I missed those, too. Most of all, I missed spending time with him.

Finally, I caved and called him. It was quarter after eleven, and I didn’t know if he’d be awake, or if he’d be out with his teammates doing something, or worse—with another girl. The more I thought about it, and the longer the phone rang without an answer, the more I figured that this was a bad idea. I was just about to hang up when his voice came over the line. “Jo?”

For a split second, I thought about hanging up the phone and pretending I didn’t do this, but I overcame that sudden urge and said, “Hey. Kris.”

“H-how are you? I was starting to expect that I wasn’t going to hear from you.”

I closed my eyes, feeling overwhelmed by the gentle sound of his voice. There was hope there, and maybe relief, too. “Well, I wasn’t sure if I could do this whole ‘friends’ thing, but I mean, well... I miss you, Kristopher. It’s been a long month without you.”

“I miss you, too, Jo. Has it really been that long?”

“Yeah,” I replied, looking down at my bare left arm. In that span of time, my broken bone had healed, but my heart had not. “It has.”

“Does this mean... you want to be friends? You don’t hate me anymore?”

I laughed softly. “I never hated you, Kris.”

“I’m glad you feel that way. I’m glad to hear it.” He hesitated, and I tried to think of something to say, but I couldn’t. “So, do you, um, wanna hang out or something?”

“Sure. What do you wanna do?”

“I don’t know. I could come over.”

After hearing his answer, I looked around at the too-familiar living room around me. I was starting to hate this place. “I’m kinda sick of sitting here.”

“I could come get you. If you wanted.”

“And then what?” I giggled, shaking my head. “It’s still kind of hard to get around.”

“Well, then I guess it settles it. I’m coming over. I’ll see you in about fifteen.”

“Wait. Now?” I asked, surprised.

“Sure. Why not?” he questioned. “Unless you’ve got something else going on, but I just assumed, if you were calling this late, you weren’t busy....”

“No, I’m not busy. But I figured if it were this late, you’d be tired or something.”

“We’ve got a month to make up for. Might as well get started now,” he returned. “I really did miss you, Jo.”

I smiled, knowing he couldn’t see it. I let the good feelings wash over me, pretending that things were back to the way they used to be before the week from Hell. We quickly got off the phone, and I hopped around and tried to make the place look presentable. I tossed the empty Mountain Dew cans into the garbage and tried to straighten up.

Kris let himself in, just like I had instructed him to do. By the time he walked through my door, I was back on the couch, with my left leg resting on a pillow on the coffee table: my usual position as of late. He came into the room, sat next to me on the couch, and dropped a bag on my lap. “Sorry I’m late. But I got you something. And your cast’s off.”

“Yeah. A day or two ago, it came off.” I looked at him carefully as my fingers dug through the plastic to discover what he’d brought. Laughing, I held up the DVD box. “Season one of Ice Road Truckers? Seriously?”

He shrugged. “I thought you liked it.”

Not wanting to tell the truth, I told a little white lie. “I do like it, but mostly I think I liked watching it with you.”

Kris smiled. “Then let’s watch it now.” He took the package from me and ripped it open, sliding it into the DVD player and coming back to sit with me on the couch. He sat a respectable distance away, close but not close enough to touch, with his elbow resting on the back.

We made it through the first episode, but I used the remote to go back to the menu so I could skip the second since we had seen it before.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“We’ve seen that one.”

“So? We should watch them in order, the whole season. That’s the point of having the whole season.” He reached over me for the remote, but I flung my arm to the opposite side.

“My TV, my present. You don’t get a say in this,” I teased.

“What kind of a hostess are you? Shouldn’t you appease your guest? Seeing as though I was nice enough to come over, and nice enough to bring you the present in the first place?”

“If you wanted to watch it, Kris, you should have kept it for yourself,” I laughed as he stretched across me again, his long arms almost grabbing the remote from me. “Be careful,” I warned. “Don’t hurt my leg.”

“Then just surrender the remote,” he chuckled. I leaned away from him and his body followed mine, until I was lying down on the couch and he was on top of me. His fingers curled around my hand, grasping the remote, but neither of us was paying attention to what was on the television screen anymore.

The pressure and weight of his body felt good over mine. I adjusted my position underneath him, so I was fully on my back and my cast was hanging comfortably down the side of the couch; Kris likewise shifted so his broad chest was hovering over mine, his face inches above me. He pulled the remote from my hand and, without looking away, set it down on the coffee table.

When his hand came back, he caressed my cheek. I closed my eyes, savoring the feeling and hoping that it would never end. I held my breath and waited. Just as I was about to open my eyes, his lips brushed against mine. I let him kiss me for just a second longer before I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed back, with everything I had.

12 comments:

  1. So glad to read this post after the depressing events of the game. You're such a tease though, ending right when it started to get real, real good. lol

    -elle

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  2. So, so happy. The fight for the converter turned kisses - unbelievable.

    Can't wait for you to pick up where you left off!

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  3. I loved it such a great chapter to end a great day for Canada!!!!!!

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  4. i love the fighting over the remote, but did it have to end as a cliffhanger!?

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  5. agghhhh. Thank goodness that ended the way it did! Awesome!

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  6. HELL YEAH BABY! The ending of this just totally made my afternoon!

    Play fighting that turns into kissing is just absolutely adorable!

    You nailed it on this one, Jay. (:

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  7. YAYYYYYYY!!!
    finallllyyyyy!
    that was adorable, btw.

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  8. WWWWOOOOOOOHHHHHHHOOOOOOOO!!! Thank you for making my morning, day & night!

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  9. Ok I feel like the worst person in the world because I don't think I've commented on here in FOREVER! But anyway... trying to fix that now, annnnnnd here we go!

    "I think he has four stomachs, like a cow or something."
    ^^ LOL ok really not an appropriate time to laugh... given the situation and the emotional turmoil that's surrounding it... but that's just funny. Plus, it's so true for like... 99% of the male population.

    Tubby. Enough said? I love him so much like... I can't even deal with it. I don't agree with him not telling her until right now, but he has the best intentions at heart and you just can't fault him for that.
    After all, Tubby sometimes knows what Jo needs, better than she does... and maybe he was right. Maybe if he had of told her then things wouldn't have worked out correctly... maybe they'll work out now, because Tubby waited to tell her.

    I love that Kris came right over. Like, no hesitation at all. Heart =)
    Also, with that being said... I really don't think that they have the ability to be 'just friends'. Like... Kris and Jo do not fit into the 'friendship' capacity. They're too right for each other.

    "I let him kiss me for just a second longer before I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed back, with everything I had."
    ^^ Awww ok! I loved everything. I love that Kris got that for her, I love their argument over the 'my house' vs. 'being a hostess'... and loved how they fought over the remote.

    She kissed him back and I'm so happy... Plllllllease let them be all happy, happy, bliss, bliss now.
    I could totally go for some good ol' Jo and Kris vibes here... no joke.

    Can't wait for more... I really hope that they make-up... please?!

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