"It's not happening."
"Because I'm not in the mood."
"You're never in the mood."
"I think our history suggests a different story."
"Not what I meant Sam." I rolled my eyes, ignoring the flush that suddenly felt like it had spread across my entire body. "You can't let this beat you again. We've been patiently trying to help you, but now it's time for you to get out. I don't mean just coming to mine or Lexi and Myra's, or going back to work. I mean that was great, don't get me wrong, but you need to do more."
"Why do you even care?" Sam crossed her arms, sulking on the sofa.
"Asking stupid questions won't help you either. You're acting like a child."
"Cara just... just leave me alone. I can do this on my own."
"Oh I know. But you don't have to, and you're coming out to celebrate Liam's birthday."
"I love Liam, but I know everyone is being... weird around me, and I don't like it. They're trying too hard to make sure I'm comfortable."
"Am I doing that?"
"...Well then you can hang out with me until everyone loosens up a bit."
"Lexi and Myra are coming too."
"Are you going to let me say no?"
She glared at me, but then relented.
"I have a feeling you'll kidnap me if I say no."
"Maybe." I chuckled, reaching across to nudge her with my foot. "But then I don't think it's kidnapping if it's to take you somewhere for you to enjoy."
She rolled her eyes at me, but I could see a small smile on her lips.
"Do you know what? I think you've gotten cheekier since we..." I bit my lip and deliberately didn't look at her. Every time the break up was mentioned, it made me wonder why... why it had happened, but also why she kept bringing it up. "I didn't... sorry."
"No that's... that's okay."
"Guess there are other reasons why we might be awkward around each other."
"I know I know... I can't help it. It's like I have to bring it up or else..."
"Or else what?"
I looked at her with pursed lips for a moment, and then decided to joke out of it.
"You're just trying to get out of dinner tonight. I have to go back, get changed. Do you want to meet us there or should we swing by and pick you up?"
"I'll meet you there."
"If you don't show up, I'll come and find you anyway."
"Good good. See you at seven."
I couldn't help but wonder why Anna hadn't messaged me back. I sent her another one, asking if she was okay, as I got ready. Liam was excited, playing loud music and singing along as he got ready to celebrate his birthday. Ali was coming to the meal, but not coming out.
"You almost ready... wow. Cara..." Ali stared.
"You look... hot. I guess Sam's coming?"
"Don't say that. Please don't."
"You know why not."
"You've been spending a lot of time together."
"She needed me."
"You still love her, idiot."
Sam was already there when we got to the restaurant, looking the best I'd seen her in weeks.
"Sam, you look fab!" Liam engulfed her in a hug, and then took a seat. I'd warned them all to just be normal, and not try hard.
"Hey." I murmured, smiling. "You look good."
"I'd say the same, but you look... you look more than good."
Blushing again. Thank goodness for long hair that I can hide behind. It had grown so long now that I could curl it without it becoming a stupid bob. I'd added hair extensions, and the curls sat on top of my chest, bouncing as I walked. THE CURLS. Honestly, get your mind out of the gutter.
We chatted, and sang Happy Birthday very loudly. Lexi and Myra kept making everyone laugh, including Sam, and it felt good, like old times. Lexi, I think, still hadn't forgiven me. She didn't speak as easily to me as others, but she didn't exactly cut me out of conversation. I guess she was okay since I'd been trying to help Sam.
"You're making that little scrunched nose face you do when you're thinking too hard." Sam murmured next to me.
"Sorry." I blinked and tried to make my face normal.
"I always thought..." She paused, as she'd been doing a lot recently, as if what she had been going to say would make a big impact.
"Maybe I my family evolved from rabbits." I joked, to clear the air, and made a sniffle motion with my nose. She laughed, and it made me smile even more.