It was difficult to concentrate in lectures. Liam had given me knowing looks while I raced around trying to get ready, and Jak had asked me whether it was official or not. I'd ignored them, and ran out of the house so that I wouldn't be late for my lecture, but now it was playing on my mind. Nothing had happened, but everything had.
I had been there for Sam emotionally when she needed it, and given her space this morning, for her to think about it. For both of us really. I was confused. Everything had been so tentative and now everything was.... off. I sighed and tried to focus on the slideshow. I had to pay attention for Ali too; she hadn't wanted to get up this morning. Still several months to go and she was already unavailable?
Too much is going on right now. I need to sort it out.
Anna. I had to let her off the hook. One less thing hanging around my brain and one less thing to deal with. Some form of normality. I slipped my phone out of my pocket and tapped a short message out under the desk.
I'm ready to talk, if you are.
I forgive you this time, but
I think we need to talk about
everything. You have to know
you can't keep doing this. Let
me know when you're free to talk.
I added kisses to the end for good measure and sat back. One down.
Out of the lecture I decided that after last night, I really should check on Sam. I didn't want to seem pushy, or expectant, or anything like that, so I went to her favourite bakery and got her favourite doughnuts, the ones filled with chocolate and cream. I sat outside Pieces, and got out my notepad.
I don't expect anything to have changed. You needed me last night, and I understand that, that doesn't mean you need me again. But I just thought I could try and make you smile, so these are for you. If you want to talk, about anything, I'm here, even if you don't want me to be.
I went inside and left them at the desk. I couldn't see Sam around, but then she was entitled to a day off after last night. I wished I could check on her, but she probably didn't need that now.
I was wrapped around a hot chocolate and a cheese toastie when the text came through.
Did you expect me to eat all this sugar alone?
I couldn't help but snort and roll my eyes. She'd never had an issue with a box of doughnuts before.
Not usually a challenge for you.
I finished my food and drink while I waited for a reply, and prayed that she was feeling okay.
The phone rang and I jumped, snatching it immediately.
"Cara..." Her voice was agonised, raw, probably from crying. I didn't know what to say. How are you? That was damned obvious. Do you want me to come over? Too pushy? "Cara she... she's everything that I struggled against. She's turned in to everything my mum wanted in a daughter."
"I think your mum would rather have the loving and intelligent daughter she has, over the two-faced, scheming letch I met last night."
There was a hoarse chuckle, and I smiled. I could still make her laugh.
"Sometimes... I'm not so sure. I mean, I started my own business yeah, but... what have I done, really? In the world. I... I'm just a business woman with an empty flat and-"
"Woah you do not get to blame that on yourself. Don't you dare. That was my fault. That was Kelly's fault. It had nothing to do with you. Anyone would be lucky to have you Sam. Don't you put that on yourself. It's the rest of us who messed up."
"You are nothing like her Cara."
"I didn't say it to get sympathy."
"It's not sympathy. You are... you have more love and integrity in your little finger than-"
"I let you down. Just like she did."
"No. She betrayed me. You... you ran. You got scared. I understand, even if it still hurts."
"Fuck, Sam." I could feel tears leaking from my eyes. I wanted to go to her.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry for whatever I did that made you feel like you couldn't trust me..." She was sobbing down the phone to me, and I started grabbing my shoes and shoving my feet in to them. "Whatever I did, it must have pushed you away."
"Sam no! No God it was all me. All of it. Don't you blame yourself, don't you dare!" I replied furiously, running downstairs and struggling with my coat. "Where are you? I'm coming to find you."
"I... You can't."
"I... I'm not... I don't..."
"Are you at the flat?"
"Stay there. I'm coming."
I was at the flat in record time, knocking on the door. It opened slowly, and Sam appeared. Her eyes were red and there was chocolate smudged at one corner of her lips. She stared at me like I might suddenly shout 'BOO' or something, so I made sure to walk cautiously as I went inside.
"You... you didn't have to-" She mumbled, and then came to an abrupt halt when I pulled her, gently, in for a hug. After a moments pause she wrapped her arms around me and buried her head in my shoulder.
"I will always come if you need me," I told her firmly. "Always."