Hey stranger, am I ever going to see you again?
I stared at my phone hopelessly as I waited for Jonah's response. It was almost an hour since I sent it and I still hadn't heard anything. The last time I saw Jonah was when I stopped by his office earlier this week. With everything that was going on, from my hidden pregnancy to Rebecca's long stay, Jonah's hosting gig couldn't have come at a worse time.
It had been almost four days of us continuously missing each other. Jonah was practically working two full time jobs. After filming, he and his writers would start working on their material for the award show. That left us with a tiny slither of time between the two, but that was around the time Sarah, Henry, and I squeezed in some extra studying for our finals.
“Put your phone away” Sarah whispered. “You're stressing yourself out for no reason.”
I inhaled a long, deep, breath and exhaled slowly.
“I don't get it” Henry turned away from his text book and leaned in towards us. We had to be quieter than usual since our private study room was taken, forcing us to sit out in the open area of the library. “If the bitch is stressing you out why is she still staying with you?”
“Harry!” Sarah slapped his arm, “don't call her that!” he pulled his arm away and furrowed his brow.
“Because” I paused hoping Henry would do his usual eye roll and go back to studying. Instead he widened his eyes and brought his face slightly closer as he waited for my response. “I don't know!” I finally confessed. “Yeah, it's inconvenient, but it's not worth throwing away a ten year friendship. Besides, I'm helping her find a place. The sooner we find one the sooner things will go back to normal.”
“That's not going to change the fact that she's crushing on your soon to be husband.” Henry said matter-of-factly.
I crossed my arms over the table, “As long as she's doing it from a distance.”
Henry hesitated to speak, which was a first. “...Right” He glanced over at Sarah who was subtly shaking her head. She thought I couldn't see it, but I knew she was stopping him from making me feel worse than I already did. “Well, good luck with that then.” he sighed and went back to reading.
I griped as I picked up my pen and went back to taking notes.
My phone vibrated so loud everyone in our area looked up irritated that they had been disturbed. It was wedged between the table and under my book causing it to rumble much louder than usual. I scrambled to push things aside and checked my phone to find a response from Jonah.
I'm sorry my love! I can't seem to find a minute even for myself. No promises, but I can try to push some things around for dinner?
I smiled as I read his message. Not because he'd said anything special, but because he'd actually replied.
“You know what” Sarah reached over and grabbed my arm. “I just remembered, Jebrone knows a realtor who has some fabulous apartments in Brooklyn! He sublets them, so they're decently priced. I'm sure Rebecca wouldn't be able to turn them down if she saw them.”
“Leave Jebrone out of this” Henry whimpered. They were on another one of their many infamous “breaks”.
Sarah agreed to take Rebecca out to see the apartments so Jonah and I could have some alone time during dinner. I figured he was probably tired of eating take out at his office the last couple of days and decided to make him something myself.
“Are you sure you don't mind?” I whispered as I packed my book bag.
“Honestly, I don't! Besides Rebecca and I have been meaning to catch up since the last time we went out.” Sarah reassured me.
“Perfect!” I smiled. I stood up and felt a strain in my back. I grimaced as I silently wallowed over in pain.
Sarah jumped to her feet and held onto my back. “Are you okay?” I nodded my head and she turned away from Henry, who still hadn't known about the pregnancy, and whispered, “Isn't it a little too early to have back pain? You don't even have a stomach!”
“It's fine” I straightened myself back up “I must have just slept wrong or something.”
I left the library a little early to stop by the deli and grocery store. Since no one, besides Rebecca, was ever home the contents of our fridge were pretty pathetic.
I was just about to hop into a cab when a dress in a store window caught my eye. It was a deep blue with a sweetheart neckline and cut just above the knee. It was simple and sexy yet sophisticated.
It was so beautiful I couldn't stop staring at it. All I wanted was to own this dress. I took a step back when I realized it was a high end retailer who's window I was drooling in front of. I shook my head knowing the price would probably be something outrageous.
I turned around towards the street to hail a cab. As I stood there waving my hand I convinced myself I deserved the dress. School and Rebecca were equally stressing me out, I hadn't seen my man in days, things had been rocky between us the last few weeks, we were finally going to get some time alone, and who knew how long it would take me to get back to my figure after having the baby. If I was going to wear this dress, it had to be now!
I marched inside, asked the sales associate to pull my size and blindly handed over my credit card. That was the one part I wasn't brave enough for.
“Ooh” Rebecca sang as I walked into the apartment. “What's in the bag?”
“Nothing” I faked a smile and began putting away the groceries. “Just some things for dinner.”
“What are we having?” She walked over to snoop in the bags. “Va va voom!” She pulled my dress out before I could stop her. “What is this sexy little number for?” her eyes widened when she saw the price tag. “What ever it is, I hope it's worth it.”
“Stop” I rolled my eyes and snatched it from her hands. “It's for dinner. Jonah and I are finally...” my eyes looked up at her sharply as I slowly said the word “...getting some time together.”
She didn't get the hint. She walked over to the fruit basket, picked up a clementine orange, and peeled it. “Why hasn't he been here lately? Are things okay with you two?”
My back was turned to her as I was putting things in the fridge. I rolled my eyes so hard that I was worried they wouldn't go back to normal. “He has that big award show coming up, remember? THE award show for television?” I finally looked towards her and squinted my eyes hoping she'd realize I was mocking her exaggerated response to when Jonah told us his news. “And, FYI, things between us couldn't be better so...”
“Hmm” Rebecca shrugged her shoulders and walked away.
“What is that suppose to mean?”
“Oh nothing” She sat in the living room with her legs crossed and a magazine in her lap as she continued to eat her clementine. “It's just, the last time he was here you two were fighting.”
“What?” I tossed the reusable bags in my hand onto the counter and walked over to stand in front of Rebecca. “First of all, we may have misunderstandings, but we don't fight. And second, why the hell were you eaves dropping on a conversation we were having in the privacy of our bedroom?”
“Sorry!” Rebecca said sarcastically as she held up her hands. “I wasn't eaves dropping. I forgot my phone on the coffee table so I came over to get it and that's when I heard Jonah.”
We stared at each other for a good five seconds before I grunted and walked away. There was so much I wanted to say to her, but I had to stop myself. I knew that if I did it would end our friendship in the worse way without room to salvage it.. If there was any part of me that had changed since moving to the city, it was learning to be the better person.
I went back to the kitchen to get dinner ready. There was an awkward silence before I took a deep breath to calm myself. “Sarah should be calling you soon. She said she knows someone who has some apartments in Brooklyn that you'd like, so she wanted to take you later to go see them.”
Rebecca furrowed her brows as she flipped through her magazine. “Brooklyn? As in over the bridge away from the city, Brooklyn? No way, I'll pass.”
“You can't afford to 'pass' Rebecca.” My voice grew loud with each word. “You told me the last few places we saw in the city were out of your price range. This is the next best option.”
“Why do you want me gone so badly?” She tossed the magazine back onto the coffee table and crossed her arms.
“I'm just trying to help you, Bec. You're the one that wanted to move to the city. You can't just intrude on a couple and expect it to be okay.”
“Is that what you think I'm doing?” She stood up and walked towards me. “Is that why you two were fighting? Because I'm 'intruding'?” I blinked my eyes slowly so she'd come to the conclusion herself. “Why would you have a guest bedroom if you don't want anyone to stay in it?”
“Wow” I dropped the bundle of asparagus from my hands into the sink. “You can't be that naïve, can you?” I could have sworn I saw a smirk on her face, but maybe I was just seeing things in the heat of the moment. “I know you Rebecca, I know how easily you can manipulate people.” It was true. She may have been the Switzerland of our group, but I always had a feeling she had a hidden agenda, whispering in everyone's ears, and that's why she was so easily able to back out of situations. I was starting to think my theory wasn't too far off. “A guest is someone who drops by. You've been here for three weeks Rebecca!You know damn well you've overstayed your welcome. And you're not even making an effort to get the hell out!”
She was standing with her arms crossed and her cheeks sucked in. Her eyes narrowed in on me before she flipped her hair and walked towards her room. “Fine! If that's how you feel I'll just get that shitty ass apartment in Brooklyn!”
It took every bit of me not to pick up the knife that was next to me and throw it at Rebecca's door. The nerve she had to yell at me in my own apartment when I've done nothing but welcome her.
I felt a pinching nerve in my back again.
I marinated the steaks and set them aside before I took a warm bath to relax. I sat in the tub replaying our conversation over and over. I found myself grimacing as I imagined what I really wanted to say to her. At the same time I felt weird. I never fought with Rebecca before. Sure, she irritated me from time to time, but it was nothing like this. Even though I had a bad feeling about her stay this turn of events still felt wrong
After I left my aggressions aside, I dried off and started getting ready for dinner. I slipped into my new dress and curled my hair into waves just how Jonah likes it.
When I came out of my room I noticed that Rebecca had already left.
I threw on an apron and started making dinner. It took me a while, but I was done with enough time to spare. I knew Jonah was only stopping by to eat before he'd have to leave again, so I plated the food ready for him to eat.
It'd been half an hour since the time Jonah said he would be home. I texted him, but didn't get a response. I rolled my eyes at my failed attempt. I knew something must have came up and he would be home sooner or later.
I was starving, so I took the bowl of extra mashed potatoes and sat in the living room. I flipped on the TV hoping to find some half hour prime time comedy that could take my mind off of the day I'd been having.
Two and a half episodes later and my phone finally vibrated with a text from Jonah. He said he wasn't able to push back his work and that he'd be coming home late. That he was sorry he stood me up.
I went into the kitchen and pulled out some Tupperware to pack away the uneaten food. A single tear rolled down my cheek as I forked over the asparagus. I felt like such an idiot. I'd set myself up. I was so desperate for Jonah's attention when I knew he wasn't able to give it to me.
With all my built up emotions I just had to give him a piece of my mind. I sat on the bar stools waiting for Jonah to come home. I waited and waited until eventually I felt myself fall asleep.