I'd known Ali was a match but... it was almost a relief. Knowing that I didn't have to have that talk with her... discuss it, ask her to not do it... but something was up with her. I glanced at her, concerned, as we sat down, but Sam began serving and distracted me. She put the veg on the table, with a giant bowl of mash, and then started handing out plates with cajun salmon on it. I helped myself to mash, peas, beans and peppers then sat back to watch everyone. They all seemed to be ignoring Ali now, or throwing looks at her as they got their food, and I could see she'd noticed. Anna seemed concerned, kept glancing at Ali as though she was going to question her. Typical Anna... I smiled slightly.
"Happy?" Sam asked from next to me.
"Yes... thank you." I took her hand and kissed it gently.
"So is anyone a match?" She asked, squeezing my hand before letting go to reach for the mash. The table went a little quiet and awkward.
"Well I'm not getting a kidney from any of these lot. Not that I'd want one, bunch of reprobates, who knows what it'd do to me." I half joked to try and distract. Sam laughed, as did Liam, but the others either just smiled hesitantly or didn't really react.
"Am I sensing something happened while I was trying to save the salmon from the oven?" Sam asked.
"Ali's a match but she won't give Cara a kidney." Megan said.
"Which is totally fine because it's her choice." I said abruptly.
"But-" Sam looked at Ali frowning. "-Why would you..."
"...It doesn't matter." I said. "It's up to Ali. Let's eat because I really don't want this evening to remind me about it."
Everyone shut up and began to pick at their food. It was awkward. I glanced at Liam with pleading eyes and he pulled his thinking face.
"So Cara, I got a call from Kay. The manager loved us, as you know, but he can't for-see us getting a permanent gig until after Christmas because he's got things booked. He does say we're first reserve for drop outs, and that we can come and perform during the day - did you know during the day it was like a restaurant, performance space type place?"
"No. But that's really cool Liam. Maybe we should start expanding our set list guys?" I looked around at them. Callum agreed, Jak just nodded and focussed on his food. I could tell it was going to be difficult to change his mind. Ali sent me a 'thanks for trying look'.
"You should try some more acoustic songs. I loved the spontaneous number you did at your audition." Sam smiled.
"Yeah well that's because our lead singer is a soppy romantic with-"
"Liam you're not the lead singer, how many times?"I grinned. "You're lead guitarist. Honestly the amount you talk about yourself you'd think you'd remember."
"Ha ha." He snorted.
"How'd your date go anyway?" I asked. "Wasn't it last Saturday? I've been losing track of days."
"Oh yeah, great. She's great."
"Sounds great." Sam smirked, raising an eyebrow. Liam rolled his eyes.
"What's her name?" I asked.
"when do we get to meet this 'great' girl?" Sam teased.
"Hey, woah now... I've had two dates. Give me time. I want to make sure I'm sure about her."
"Aww he wants to make it serious before he brings her back to mum and mum." Callum said.
"Mum and... who are you talking about?" Liam said.
"Cara and Sam obviously." He said. They all looked at us for a few seconds. I flushed and looked down at my plate. Sam's hand crept under the table and squeezed my hand.
"Awwwwwww!" Liam said as dramatically as possible and everyone began laughing. I peeked up at Sam and saw her looking at me with a very serious face.
"What?" I muttered as everyone started eating.
"Nothing." She blushed and let go of my hand, turning back to her food. I frowned at her for a moment and then shook my head, returning to my food and the conversation. I'd ask her about it later.
When we'd finished our main Ali offered to help Sam with taking the dishes away and bringing in dessert.
"No it's fine." She replied.
"No seriously I can-"
"-Ali, it's fine." Sam repeated. I realised then she was still kind of pissed that Ali wasn't going to give me a kidney.
"I'll do it." I muttered, starting to rise.
"You sit. I can do it." Sam said, collecting some of the plates.
"Tell you what, I'll help." Jak said, collecting some of the plates. "I need to move anyway."
I saw Ali's face scrunch up, upset. Sam let him help, apparently fed up of arguing.
"Don't worry about it Ali." I said across the table.
Jak snorted and Ali stood up.
"Excuse me, I need some air." She went to the door that led to the fire escape and slammed it behind her.
"I'll go." Anna said, before anyone could say anything. "Can I take the pudding Sam?"
"Sure." Sam handed her two bowls and forks. The chocolate cake inside looked amazing.
"Yum, thanks." Anna left, carefully balancing the bowls as she disappeared outside. Before the door shut I could see Ali sitting on the top of the fire escape.
"I don't understand why she's upset and you're not Cara." Jak said.
"Because it's her choice to do this or not do this Jak. Don't yell at her just because she's decided she doesn't want to."
"But you might-"
"-AH!" I stopped him. "No. Don't put me off my chocolate cake."
Sam put a plate of it in front of me.
"There you go gorgeous."
"Too much Sam."
"Just eat as much as you can." She kissed the top of my head and continued passing out cake. Everyone kept glancing towards the door, wondering if Anna and Ali were going to come back.