I slammed the door and marched over the grass to the fence that surrounded our garden. I gave it gigantic kick, and then collapsed on the floor, crying. Liam hurried out.
"What the hell is going on Cara? Are you okay?"
"I am going to kill her. I am going to fly to America, and kill her with my bare hands."
"Anna? What's she done?" I glared at him. "Oh hell. She got in touch with Sam's friend didn't she?"
"Yes." I hissed.
"Well shit." He paused for a minute. "Want me to hold her down for you?"
"Come on. Get up."
"You're coming inside. We're having a drink. And you're going to rant until you have it all out in the open."
"Make it two drinks." I grimaced, standing up and realising that my foot was throbbing.
We went back inside and Liam put a drink in front of me. He was going to go upstairs and turn off my laptop, but he appeared only seconds later..
"Ali's giving her an earful."
"Good." I said, taking a gulp of beer.
"So tell me what she said."
I repeated the conversation to him and he frowned.
"Look I know you don't want to hear this now, but I'm going to say it for peace of mind later. She was trying to help you." He raised his hand when I opened my mouth; furious. "She's a complete moron, but you already know this. You're friends with her anyway. You both worked damn hard to repair your friendship, and you did that knowing what she's like. So just keep that in mind before you pummel her to death."
"I'm thinking sniper."
"However you intend to kill her. Look she did a stupid thing, out of love. Much like you did a stupid thing out of love when you hid Sam's letter."
I stared at him.
"What the fuck Liam?"
"Am I wrong?" I glared at him. "Didn't think so. Look, don't forgive her. Seriously, make her feel bad about this. Stretch it out for a while. But you'll forgive her eventually because you always do. But sure, feel free to throw around the anger for a while. Might make you feel better. Might not. But you've also go to wonder whether this friend of Sam's has messaged her yet or not."
I bit my lip. We'd actually managed to text each other a couple of times in the last few days. Apart from yesterday, when I'd finished work to find a text, I'd usually been the one to start the small conversations. Always something small, like a 'hi, how are you?'. Sam was polite, but we both seemed to be holding back. It was tentative, reaching; testing the boundaries to see if we could be friends, I guessed.
What if Anna had blown up everything? What if Sam thought I'd asked her to get in touch with her friend? I had wanted to let her set the pace. For it to be on her terms. And Anna had just fucked everything up.
"Fine, I won't kill her. Can I maim her?"
"Are you going to fuel tonight's performance with this anger?"
"No. But I'll use the anger to fuel me through. Don't worry, we've not really got any angry songs."
"We could write one?"
"Yeah? Anna suggested I write a song about her. Maybe we should." I gave an evil grin.
"Sure. We have a couple of hours."
We didn't write a hate song about Anna. We just practised for the evening, wrote a post on the Facebook page Jak had created for the band, advertising the gig, and then got ready.
"You look great!" Ali grinned. She had told me everything she had said to Anna, and what Anna had said in return. I was still fuming, but I no longer wanted to kill her. I was going to hold on to the grudge for as long as possible, and no way in hell was she getting a phone call, but I was more worried about what to tell Sam. Did I text her out of the blue? Did I wait to see if she messaged me about Anna's interference? Perhaps it would be a good idea to get in ahead, if her friend hadn't talked to her yet. I decided to give her a text or call as soon as I woke up the next day. Tonight I was too furious and worried to have an adult conversation with her, and I needed to show her that I was past freaking at the smallest things.
We were playing the first half of the set, where everything was slow because people were eating their dinners, or just starting on cocktails. I was enjoying myself, trying to not think about the potential disaster that awaited because of Anna.
But then she was there, Sam, with a group of people who looked like they were in a meeting. She was already looking for me when she walked in, when I caught sight of her. The waitress leading them to a reserved table offered her a seat, which she stared at for a moment before sitting, and glancing back at me. She was facing me. She would be for the entire meal, or drinks, or whatever they were here for. God. Something like panic filled me at the slight frown on her face before she turned her attention to her table, and I knew her friend had gotten in touch.
DAMN YOU ANNA.
Sam had stayed when her meeting had finished. They'd been at it so long we'd had our break and moved on to the second set. I'd stared anxiously at her back for the entire of our break, and watched as she moved from wine to a beer when her table had gone. She moved to the bar when they moved the tables and stayed there as people came in for cocktails and pre-club drinks. I couldn't wait for the second set to be over. What if she left before it had finished?
The audience cheered as we finished, and although I thanked them, it didn't take me long to slip from the stage and rush to the bar. She wasn't where I'd last seen her, and I sagged against the bar in despair. Fuck.
"Cara." I looked up so fast I almost got whiplash.
"You're still here!"
"Yes." She was searching my face, frowning again. I was reminded that she knew.
"Look, I don't know if you have or not, but you might be getting a message from your American friend and-"
"I already did. You think I didn't give you enough chances?" Sam's frown deepened.
"Oh god, no! No you gave me more than enough. No, I told Anna, I told her not to. I didn't want her sticking her nose in, I wanted you to have control over whether we spoke or not. I wanted you to be in control of everything and she went and did it anyway."
Sam studied me again for a moment, then her lips twitched in to a small smile, and she shrugged.
"That's Anna for you."
"You're not mad?"
"I know what she's like Cara. I remember. I should have guessed you wouldn't try something like that." She leant on the bar, looking ahead. Then she glanced quickly at me. "Are you angry with her?"
"Yes. I've been looking at flights to America and where I can purchase a sniper rifle." I grunted. She chuckled, and it had been so long since I'd heard the sound that it startled me. I smiled at her tentatively. "Liam offered to hold her down."
"While you used the sniper?" She raised an eyebrow.
"While I pummelled her to death."
"So you've imagined an array of deaths for her." Sam smiled again. "Well now I'm confused. I feel like I ought to warn her."
"She knows." I said dryly, before flashing a grin at Sam.
"Yes... I'm sure she does." Sam mused. "I have to go. Early start tomorrow."
"Sure." I agreed, knowing that it was a miracle that we'd spoken so much already. "I understand."
"Cara?" She murmured, "About what happened... at the flat..." She looked pained, and unsure.
"Clean slate?" I asked.
"Yes." She let out a breath and looked relieved. "I... I like texting you."
"I like texting you too." I grinned. "And you and Mikey... that photo was brilliant." I chuckled.
She laughed and shook her head, and then looked at me with soft eyes for what seemed like forever.
I almost, out of habit, reached forward to draw her in to a kiss. But I stopped myself, and settled for a smile.
"Goodnight Sam. Sweet dreams."
I wasn't sure if she'd heard the last part; she was turning away and the music was getting louder. But as I returned to the group, all of whom where throwing knowing looks at me, my phone buzzed.
Sweet dreams. x