Afternoon – by Odette

(note: this happened before “The New Normal”)

Its funny how things turn around. As soon as you finally decide for sure that you love and need someone, they stop wanting you. It’s like a seesaw. So when Chris walked off out the door and left me sobbing in my room I just hugged my pillow into my aching heart for a while then went back to sleep. He thinks my sleep-response means I don’t have emotion. What it truly means is that I can’t deal with the emotion. And when I woke up a couple hours later I thought I heard knocking on the front door. Good, a distraction. I stumbled out of bed, to Luna’s antique dresser with drawers that were almost impossible to open. There wasn’t much left clean in there… just a little behind with the laundry. I grabbed an old white t-shirt and a flowey, skirt, yellow as the sun, that was a little wrinkled, but not too bad. I tied my hair up in a ponytail and went to answer the door. Evan was standing there looking impatient. He saw me and crinckled his brow. My heart sank a little that he seemed disappointed to see me. I couldn’t blame him though. The last time I saw him was when I talked him into leaving Jake half-drowned on my bed, then kicked him out of my room. No one was happy with me these days. He said, “Is Luna here?”

“I have no idea” I said. “I just woke up.”

He looked at his phone, “It’s 11:00” he said. “We have a greek lesson now.”

“Oh. Well, the house is pretty quiet. I think everyone left.”

He looked around the living room and there were bags and guys clothes lying on the couch and chairs. “They were supposed to sleep in the guest room,” I said, “but it looks like some of them crashed out here last night.”

He walked past me and went to sit down on the couch, moving some socks out of the way. “Mind if I wait for Luna?” he said.

I shrugged. “Want something to drink? I’m getting water for me.”

“No, I’m good.”

“You missed a rager last night,” I said, walking over to the kitchen.

“Hey, aren’t you supposed to be with your husband right now? Didn’t he like, travel 20 hours on a tour bus to see you today or something?”

I was quiet while I filled up my glass with water. He looked over at me and I put the glass on the bar diving the living room and the kitchen and smiled at him. “Well, things don’t always turn out as one would hope,” I said.

He patted the couch next to him. It always aggravated me when he did that…so presumptuous, like I was a puppy dog or something. I ignored him and drank my water from the kitchen. I could see him just fine from here. I was glad he was being nice though.

“What happened?” he said. “Wait…did it have to do with some guy I saw you making out with on the beach…the same one I had to fish out of the water after you broke his heart?” He started to laugh.

I looked at him amazed. “Well I’m glad my life tragedies are funny to you” I said.

“Well does it?” he crossed his arms and looked at me, almost triumphantly.

I held my water while the ice clincked against the glass. “Yes”.

I walked around the bar and went to sit next to him on the couch, curling my legs under my body so I was sitting on my cold feet. I held my water with both hands and looked at him over the rim as I took a sip. “Chris hates me now. I’ve completely sabotaged our relationship.”

“How do you feel about that?” he asked, looking genuinely interested, his eyes almost twinkling.

“I thought I was going to die of heartache this morning when he walked out on me for good this time. But now I feel numb. I think I must be grieving for him, because I get these periods of numbness. It’s like a gift from the heavens. I don’t have to hurt for a few hours. But then it comes back, an unwelcome surprise and I have to endure it again.”

“Jesus” he said, rubbing his forehead. “I’m sorry, Odette. I wish I could do something to help.”

I shrugged and sipped at my water.

“Its kind of not fair to you” he said.

“What isn’t?”

“Well, these guys, they put you on a pedastal then when you can’t live up to their ridiculous expectations, you are the one who ends up suffering.”

I smiled. “I like that. But I don’t think that the expecation of fidelity is putting someone on a pedastal. I should have been able to live up to that.”

“But you’re not perfect. No one is. I just feel really sorry for you, all curled up there on the couch with your ratty old T-shirt”

“Hey!” I said. “Its not ratty.”

“Yes it is.” He ran his hand through his hair and smiled at me.

I put my glass on the floor and made a mental note not to step on it when I got off the couch.

Then the door banged open, making me jump, and Dave came walking in briskly. He looked over at us, frowned for a second, then looked around the room. “I need Chris’s wallet and phone.”

“They’re on my bedside table,” I said. I got up and slowly walked to my room. He followed me and I found the wallet and phone next to my bed and handed them to Dave. “What about the show tonight, should I even come to the amphitheater?”

He looked twitchy and irritated. Here was another person upset with me. He shrugged then said, “Well…normally I would say no lame distractions. But I think you need to do everything in your power to show Chris your support right now.”

I nodded. I was now a ‘lame distraction’, great. “Did you talk to him? Is he ok?”

“His face is a mess and and he’s an emotional wreck. You have that effect on people,” he mumbled angrily, as he brushed past me. Then he stopped and turned to look at me. “Who’s that guy out on the couch?”

“Luna’s Greek teacher.”

“You do realize he likes you, right?”

“No!!”

“And I’m going to say one thing to help, then its up to you to figure out how to hold on to Chris. Right now you are rid of your boyfriend and your husband is done with you. This is the perfect time for a guy like him to swoop in and ‘take care’ of you. Don’t trust him.”

I shook my head and was about to tell him again that he was wrong, but I knew he was probably right. I sighed and put my hands up on my forehead in dispair, “That leaves me with no one left to talk to.”

“Don’t you have any friends?”

“I suppose, but I can’t talk to my friends about this. Mostly because they all like Chris better than me.”

He looked at me inquisitively for a second, then a small smile broke across his face. “Oh, Odette. I know how that feels actually. You seem OK though,” he said. “Chris is over there barely holding his shit together and you are here entertaining a guest on the couch.”

“Well I’m sorry I’m not sobbing in front of you but I’m more private with my feelings” I scowled. “And I told you, Evan’s here to see Luna. They had a greek lesson but she forgot.”

“Does she usually forget her commitments?”

I sat down on my bed. “No. I suppose not. But he wouldn’t just come over and make up a lie.” I sighed.

He held up the wallet. “Im gonna go. Are you going to be OK?”

I nodded. “Tell Chris I’ll be at the amphitheater tonight if he feels like speaking to me. Someone needs to text me a ticket if I’m banned from the guest list again.”

“You’re on the guest list.” Dave said. He pointed at the sliding glass door. “Can I go out that way?”

“Sure”, I said.

Then he stopped. “On second thought, I’ll use the front door.”

He put Chris’s stuff in his pockets and headed off into the hallway. I was curious about his sudden change of mind, so I followed him out and waited in the hallway. I heard the front door open and then I heard him say, quietly, “stay away from her.”

Evan said, “Or what?”

“She’s trouble” Dave said. “You don’t want to deal with that.”

My heart started to pound with anger, how dare they talk about me like that?

Then Evan said, “Neither does Chris.”

“Chris can make up his own mind” Dave said. “And she is his wife.”

Then I heard the door slam.

I walked out there and looked at Evan on the couch. He smirked at me. I noticed his hair was perfect instead of the usual messy do. His glasses were not crooked for once and he had on a crisp gray button-down and nice cakihs. He was sitting there with his arm up on the back of the couch his ankle slung over his other knee and black converse on his feet. He raised his eyebrows at me.

“What was that all about?” I said.

“That guy is a control freak.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. I walked over sat down next to him. He smelled good. He was an ally in this mess. “You know, Evan, there is something extremely irritating about being called, trouble. I’m not some character to be labeled.” I flickered my eyes over at him and he nodded and smiled.

“It’s quite fitting really,” he said. “Especially with what I have witnessed after such a short time hanging out with you.”

I thought about how everytime he was around me, something dramatic was going on. Thank goodness he wasn’t here for last night’s brawl. “That stuff doesn’t define me,” I said. “My life is usually pretty normal and boring. You know, I never thanked you for pulling Jake out of the ocean.”

“I will be your own personal life guard any time. I’ll follow you around the beach if you want.”

I felt my cheeks flush. “Yeah. I don’t know what I would have done without you yesterday.” I suddenly started to breathe heavily. I felt the emotion building and I looked at Evan with embarrassment. He saw the tears come spilling over and he took my hand. But I remembered Dave’s words, about not letting Evan “take care of me” and I pulled my hand away. “I’m going to go for a jog on the beach now. You can stay here and wait for Luna if you want to.” I headed off to my room to put on some sweatpants. My phone buzzed from my bed comforter, but when I looked down I saw it was Chris’s phone. I realized I must have given my phone to Dave…great.

The text meant for Chris said, “Stop moping around the house asshole and get over here to The Floridian for some lunch. – Alex”

I guessed Chris was not with his band mates then. He must still be at Dave and Lucy’s with Zoe. Maybe I would jog over there to switch phones with him now.

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About Odette

Odette's character is written by Emmerson Grace Hayes. email: ungratefulbliss@gmail.com If only small talk could be replaced by dancing...
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