“You must have Jonah on a tight leash.”
Nathaniel said as he threw himself onto our couch.
“Actually” I rolled my eyes and laughed. “He's the one who kept pursuing me! I pushed him away at first.”
“True story” Jonah agreed with my statement just before taking a sip of his drink.
Nathaniel, or Nate as Jonah called him, was his old Harvard buddy. They'd met at freshmen orientation, roomed together their second year, pledged the same fraternity, graduated together, and eventually became room mates for a brief period of time after college. In Jonah's words, “He's the brother I never had.”
So, of course when Jonah filled me in on Nathaniel I couldn't say no when he asked if he could stay at our place. I mean, it was just as much Jonah's place as it was mine. I was excited to meet him. I'd gotten the apartment ready and stocked the fridge with goodies to accommodate our guest.
Nathaniel was an international businessman. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, where he still currently lives, but his work always has him flying all over the place. Once he'd gotten some time off from his busy schedule he decided to pay his old friend a visit. We'd only planned for him to be with us for a night. But, one night turned into two, and two was just about to turn into three.
My level of tolerance was right on the edge of finding his stories interesting and wanting to strangle him. He'd sucked Jonah into some sort of nostalgia. The last 48 hours consisted of horseplay and reminiscing about college. It was cute in the beginning, but it was becoming irritatingly unrelatable. I knew how much this meant to Jonah, that his girlfriend and college bestie become just as good friends. So, I sucked it up, laughed and rolled my eyes every time I had to stop myself from losing it.
“Did Jonah ever tell you he was voted Campus Stud?” Nate bellowed over laughing.
Jonah's ears turned pink as he remembered. “Oh come on. She doesn't need to know.” He tried to shut Nate up.
I scooted forward in my seat and pushed Jonah back. I was actually interested in this. “No, no, I NEED to hear this!” Jonah tried to say something, but I covered his mouth with my hand. “Campus Stud?” I asked Nate.
He saw my excitement and Jonah's embarrassment and that gave him every reason to continue. “Part of our pledge week we had to see who could rack up the most dates. Every girl was crazy over him. I don't get it. I still don't get it!”
“Shut up, bro!” Jonah took a pillow from our couch and threw it at Nate.
Nate caught it before it could hit him in the face and threw it back at Jonah. “He had every girl on campus. Even the ones we'd gotten to agree to go on dates with us. Our frat brothers said they'd never seen anything like it. Needless to say he was pledged immediately.”
“Wow” My eyebrows were halfway up my forehead. “Is that so?” I looked at Jonah questioningly.
“What?” He looked concerned. “You don't think it's possible?”
“I mean...you definitely don't seem like the type of player Nathaniel is making you out to be.”
“Well, I was good with my words” Jonah said as he stood up and grabbed the empty dessert plates off the coffee table. “I guess” He mischievously smiled.
“Yeah, I'm sure that was it.” Nate shouted. The boys both tried to stop their laughter.
“It couldn't have been. You were barely able to form a sentence when you met me.” I returned Jonah's mischievous smile as I took the plates from his hand. He bit his tongue and shook his head in defeat.
“Ooh” Nate teased Jonah as I walked away to the kitchen.
They continued their conversation as I cleared the dinner plates and loaded them into the dishwasher. It was still early in the night, but I was quickly wearing out from pretending to know what the two were talking about. I cleaned up the kitchen and headed to bed.
The next morning I'd woken up to the sounds of Jonah and Nathaniel playing Call of Duty. I tossed and turned and covered my head with every pillow in arms reach. Nothing could block out the sound. I forced myself out of bed and into the shower.
“Good morning” Nate cheerfully sang as I walked out of my room
“Good morning, sunshine.” Jonah's voice followed after.
“Good morning boys.” I tightened my robe as I walked out into the living room. “I'm surprised to see you two up so early.”
“Well, I'm still a little jet-lagged, so I couldn't really sleep.” Nate said without taking his eyes off the screen. “Ooh did you see that! That was a straight head shot!”
“That was fucking amazing!” Jonah shared Nate's joy. They cheered and high fived each other as I waited. Jonah finally noticed me standing there. “Oh, we had breakfast already. Hope you don't mind.”
“I see” I said as I looked around the messy kitchen. There were open cereal boxes, a splash of milk on the counter, dirty plates, and half eaten waffles. This was definitely not how I'd left the kitchen last night.
The boys had gone back to playing their game and forgot about me once again. I sighed and silently cleaned up their mess.
Once I was done, I went back to the room to get ready. The weather the last few days hadn't been too tourist friendly. The snow was causing us to stay in and I was going stir crazy. I needed to get out of the apartment and away from these guys who were still stuck in their college days.
“Where are you going?” Jonah asked as I was walking towards the front door.
“I'm just gonna go to Jaime's for a while. Maybe go out for lunch or something.” I said as I walked away.
Jonah caught my drift. “Hey, count me out of this round” he said to Nate as he handed his controller over. He jogged towards me and pulled me aside. “Is everything okay? You've been acting weird since last night.”
I sighed. “Everything is fine.” Jonah raised his eyebrows waiting for me to continue. “Fine, I can't take another throwback moment, okay. It was fine the first couple of days but now it's just starting to go over my head.” I smiled at Nate as he turned back to say something to Jonah. I continued as soon as he turned away. “He's been here for almost a week now Jonah. I'm trying hard but I feel ignored and excluded.”
“Lynn” Jonah pinched the bridge of his nose. “I didn't mean for you to feel excluded. I haven't seen Nate in years. We're just trying to catch up. Besides, tonight's his last night.”
I cut Jonah off. “And that's fine...I just need to get out.”
“Okay” Jonah sighed. “Will you be back for dinner at least?”
“I'll be back for dinner” I confirmed.
I headed over to Jaime's place. I didn't find much peace there either. Jaime was too busy cleaning his apartment and studying for his upcoming exam. We talked briefly, but most of the time I was quizzing him or helping him clean.
Later that night Jonah planned dinner out for Nate at our favorite restaurant. Afterward Jonah and Nate went out for drinks with their friends from the City. I had class the next morning so I called it a night and went back to the apartment.
The next morning as I was silencing my alarm I felt something by my phone. I opened my eyes to find a folded paper. It hadn't been there the night before. So I rolled over interested to see what it was.
“Surprise” Jonah cooed in his groggy morning voice.
“What is this?” I asked as I read the letter. “Jonah!” I grabbed his hand and held it tighter with each word I read.
“I feel horrible about how left out you felt while Nate was in town, so I wanted to make it up to you. A whole weekend with just you, me, and the white sandy beaches of Mexico.”
“Jonah I was just being a brat. you really shouldn't have!”
Jonah laughed, “I know you're a brat, but you're my brat and I love you.”