It was a good thing I was drunk last night, or otherwise I wouldn't have gotten any sleep. Ever since that one memory lapse when Sophie sat on me, it seemed like anything I looked at brought something else about Sophie out of the crevices of my mind. Her laughing, her eating, Sophie in the car with me, she was everywhere.
And this was all because she drunkenly said she still liked me. The real question was though, was it the truth or just the brandy talking? Only one way to find out, I thought to myself, Go straight to the source.
I had to use the college map again to find where Sophie' house was, thankfully close enough that I was able to walk.
The morning was found to be oddly chilly after the equally unusual warm weather the night before. I pulled my thin jacket closer around me and began walking, mind drifting to what Zack said before I left.
"Well don't you look different?" His voice made him sound irritated, as hoarse as it was, but I knew that wasn't his intention. I wasn't the only one recovering from a hangover, "What's the deal man?"
I shrugged, "I don't know. How do I look different?"
Zack pulled a pre-wrapped joint out from under his pillow and lit it, "I don't know. You're giving off a strange new aura. A good aura."
I stared at him for a moment before laughing and taking the joint out of his mouth, putting it out by smashing it on an old dish, "I think you need to lay off the pot pal."
Was he right though? And if he was, then what was different about me? I dispelled my thoughts as I rang the doorbell for the fairly large pair of stained oak doors in front of me. Someone answered and I recognized her as the girl on the frat boy's back.
"Well aren't you just adorable?" she reached over and pinched my cheek, hard enough for me to give a little twitch of pain. She flicked her blonde hair out of her face and puffed her chest out, "What is your business here?" she gave a pout at the end of her question, probably expecting me to rip her clothes off on the spot, "Uhm, is Sophie here?"
The pout wiped off her face at that moment and turned instead to a scowl, "Let me check," then she was off, making sure she gave the door a good slam in my face.
I backed away from the door to get a good look at the windows, hoping Sophie will look out one, allowing me to see her.
There was movement at the top far left hand window, but my expecting smile disappeared when I saw the door girl again. The girl looked at me, mouth making words I couldn't hear. Was she talking to Sophie?
She disappeared again, then shortly appeared on the front porch, "She's sick," the girl rolled her eyes, "MRSA or something like that," she strutted towards me, "AIDS? Scarlet Fever? Mono?"
This girl was supermodel tall, easily passing the top of my head when she was standing in front of me, "But why leave? I'm free. You know you can-"
"No it's fine. I'll come back when she isn't sick. Goodbye...uhm..."
"It's Ali. You can call me whenever you want."
"Uhm...I'll keep that in mind. Thanks..."
The Ali girl creeped me out enough that I sprinted specifically to get away from her. When I was sure I was far out of her eyeshot I slowed down to an even steady pace. I didn't have anything else to do today, so I decided to just stroll around the campus.
Sophie's room mate, Bridget I believed her name to be, probably told her a small account of last night. And from even a small account I can see why Sophie would try to avoid me. After all, she was very drunk and very...honest.
"Why are you carrying me?" Although still conscious, Sophie was as limp as a wilting flower. She giggled again, a strange trademark for drinking, "I love being in your arms. They're so firm, so...tho strong."
"Soph, I'm carrying you because you're extremely drunk and I've never carried a weight in my life. I think you're confusing me with-"
I was distracted by her stroking my arms, “I still remember them like yesterday. Remember when we took our shirts off?" I felt her fingers curl on the bottom of my shirt, tickling my stomach, "We can always relive those memories, you know."
I tore her hand off my shirt, "No. What happened to being against drunken sex?" I scolded her, yet I still felt a sheen of sweat forming from the memories she named coming back.
She was quiet for quite a bit of time enough for me to think she passed out. But her rather annoying drunk giggle erupted again, "Oh you're so funny. You know, I don't fink Broderickkkk never ever was funny. Always talks about football, football, foooottballll. Oh, and his frater...fraternizing fraternity. So...yeah."
If it was possible for one as drunk as Sophie to express emotion, then she definitely appeared upset. Instead of looking at my face, she looked past me and up at the night sky, eyes bloodshot and lips in a sad, straight line.
I wanted to say something. No, I had the sudden urge to want to pull her close, make her straight line of a mouth curl into a smile, into a laugh.
But then again, it was probably the brandy talking to both of us.
"Look we're here. Can you get us in the door?"
Sophie did her giggle again, then reached between her breasts and pulled a key out, "Nature's pocket, eh?" she winked at me and the only sane thing I could do was roll my eyes and take the key from her hand, trying hard to ignore the warmth it shouldn't possess.
I carried her up the stairs, following her instructions as to where her room was. When the door opened, Sophie might of well had exploded, "Bridget! You wouldn't believe what hap...happened!" She climbed out of my grip, but her legs were jelly and she collapsed.
The brunette in the desk chair whirled around, "What the hell happened to you?"
I literally backed up at that point. The brunette was instead an Asian and what was even more shocking were the icy evil-appearing eyes calculating the scene before her.
"Bridget! Guess what?! I likey mah Cooopppey!"
Bridget's eyes studied me, "What did you do to her?"
"The real question," Sophie still remained on the floor, yet still exclaimed in a loud tone, "Is what he wouldn't do to me. No kisses! No hugs! No sex!"
"Sophie! Oh God," Bridget's head fell in the palms of her hands.
I cleared my throat, "Broderick tried to rape her."
She brought her head up, "He? What? Broderick?"
"Is a slut. The pig stole my favorite damn thong! You can have it though Coopey," she crawled towards me and put her hands on both of my legs, gazing at me with what I believed to be a sexual look, "In fact, you can also have my-"
"When was this?" Bridget quickly interrupted Sophie, almost intentionally.
"At the party she was forced to attend."
Bridget got out of the chair and stood, eyes never leaving mine, "Ok, and did she get drunk at the party?"
"Well no, but she stole my brandy!"
"Which was delicious. Just like you were Coopey poopey," Sophie continued tugging on my pant legs, "I love you Coop," she spoke so truly to my shoe, caressing it.
Bridget ignored her room mate, "Look she's my friend. The only sane person in this sorority and-"
"Bridge-Bridge. I...I don't feel good."
"Shit," she pulled her drunken friend off the floor and dragged her over to the trash can. It seemed that as soon as Sophie's eyes met the bottom of the can, so did the contents of her stomach.
"I...I better go," I tried to leave in a non-awkward fashion, already feeling queasy from the sounds Sophie was making.
"Hey," I heard Bridget, "Hey!"
"Hey! Cooper!" It was Bridget. I snapped out of my reverie to see that I had wound up on one of the benches on school campus and Bridget was in an idling car in front of me, "Hey, I wanted to let you know. Most of the girls leave the front doors open for their boyfriends to sneak in at night. So if you still want to talk to her, you can."
Then, like that, she was gone. I looked down at my watch. 3:15. Good lord was I zoning that long? It didn't feel like that long, but I didn't care. All I knew was that I was heading back to Soph's.
She didn't seem that happy to see me, much to my disappointment, "What the hell are you doing here?"
"You're obviously not drunk anymore, are you?"
She closed her eyes passively, like a slightly annoyed cat, "Please Cooper, leave."
"No," I was easily able to squeeze myself in the space the open door provided, "Because I need to talk to you."
Sophie was wearing a Syracuse jersey, most likely Broderick's, but what caught my eye were the familiar sweatpants, "Aren't those mine?"
She flushed, "So what? I can wear whatever I want...do you want them back now?"
"Oh no it's fine I," I began pacing around their room, something I do when nervous, "you can give those back to me anytime," I looked over all the pictures sitting on her desk. There were a couple pictures of her as a kid, one of her and her brother, prom, Bridget and her smiling together, and my least favorite, Broderick behind Sophie with his arms wrapped around her. I wasn't sure where Zack was getting the strange idea of Sophie not loving that man; she looked pretty happy to me.
"Can you get to the point Cooper? You woke me up and I'm still trying to recover from this dang hangover."
"Well I...uh," how was I to begin? Hello, you were drunk last night and I just wanted to know if everything you said was true or not? No no that definitely wouldn't be the approach at all.
Then I saw it. Hanging from the picture of Sophie and Broderick was a necklace. Its brassy chain held a little ring with charms hanging off of it. There were two keys, one the same brass metal as the chain and the other silver with little diamonds on its teeth. Then there was a little sparrow and cup in the same brass, with a teardrop-shaped diamond beside it. Finishing off the unique necklace was a simple brass heart and thin silver chains.
There was only one necklace like this. It was purchased by me almost three years ago in an antique store where they surely don't make duplicates, "Is this the necklace I got you?"
"Obviously. Why would I throw it away?" she laughed and rolled her eyes, but I didn't feel the actions matched her real feelings.
"Do you still wear it?"
She tucked what short hair she could behind her ears, which were turning a shade of pink, "Eh, rarely. Only when it matches my outfit," she wouldn't look me in the eye, something I know she does when she's lying.
I narrowed my eyes, "Ok how about we are honest now?"
"I am!" she whined.
I couldn't resist chuckling, "I really doubt you're being truthful."
Sophie pouted like a small child, "Ok so what if I wear it often? It's just a piece of jewelry."
Crossing my arms across my chest, I smirked, "How often?"
Crossing her arms around her chest, she glared, "Does it matter?"
We stared at each other, her glare staying strong, but I knew it wouldn't be like that for long.
And I was right. Sophie's shoulders fell and she sighed, "Ok so I wear it everywhere, except to bed and in the shower."
"What do you mean why?" Sophie was closing up again, snapping in defiance at this question.
I shrugged and changed the subject altogether, "What did Bridget tell you?"
"I was drunk last night. Simple as that," she padded to a mini-fridge in their room, retrieving a jar of bread-and-butter pickles. She set the jar on the small kitchenette counter, trying to twist the top off.
I made it over to where she was struggling in three strides, "Soph," I placed my hand on top of the one that was losing the battle with the jar's top to get her to stop and focus, "I...I've missed you."
Those words made her head shoot up and her eyes lock with mine, only to fall to the pickle jar again, "Cooper...not this again. Please. I...don't know if I can handle this anymore," she removed her hand and hurried away to look out the room's window.
"No Sophie you don't understand," I followed her again, "It's different. No it's not. I missed you then too."
I even still recalled the last time I tried getting Sophie back. It was one or two years ago, the summer Sophie turned 18, the summer before she went to college.
I felt hell bound to tell Sophie how much she meant to me, how much I missed her.
When I rang her doorbell she didn't answer, but I knew not to despair, it was just quick walk to her backyard and up the stairs to her deck. With a grin to myself I jumped up to the roof that covered the deck partially. As I pulled myself up a surprised Sophie gave quite a reaction, "Cooper! How the hell did you know I was up here?!"
"Uhm," I began, finally sitting cross-legged across from her, "I'm the one that knows you best. It's a beautiful day and you of all people would want to spend it outside, plus you have the tendency to prefer higher ground. Also, you mentioned how cool it would be to hang out on a roof, which it is," as to point that statement out even more I took a moment to take in the splendor of the warm summer.
"So why are you here?" she snapped. Even after a year she had problems with me, but perhaps that was due to my ignorance of her in hopes I'd stop loving her.
Obviously, the only outcome of that plan was a very irked Sophie, "You know I still love and care about you, correct?"
As I said this I reached over to take her hand but she moved it and turned her face away, "Cooper, don't."
My hand jerked back with pain that began shooting through my chest, "But...why?"
When she turned her face to look at me, her cheeks were already wet, "Do you know how long it took...is taken me to forget you? To forget how you threw everything away and for what?"
"I...I don't know."
"And now you're here to say you love me?" she stood up, brushed the dist from the shingles off shorts, and opened the bathroom window, "Perhaps you should try again next year. For now, please go, and don't come back," she crawled into the window, "Goodbye once again," Sophie looked down at the floor inside her house now, "Perhaps we'll see each other in a year or so."
And all my hopes felt like they were crushed as the window fell shut.
So I used that to my advantage this time, "What about two years ago? In the summer? You said maybe."
She found more prominent of an interest in the carpeting instead of answering my question.
"Just answer this though. Please," I was so shocked when Sophie turned around and cast her look upon me, trouble and tears brewing in the usually lively green eyes, that I smiled. But the happiness faded with the knowledge that this was no time to smile, "What you said when you were drunk, was that the truth or not?"
She was staring at the carpet again, "I-"
And Bridget burst through the door, "Oh God you wouldn't...oh!" she interrupted herself when she took in the full situation, "I'm so sorry I'm interrupting this," her mistake brightened the mood enough that we all chuckled a little. But as soon as Bridget left, so did the brightness, "Sophie?" I pressed her. Did I dare do more?
I did in fact by gently placing my hand around her chin to left her face so she'd look at me instead of the stupid carpet. Would she answer now?
Tears were beginning to fill her eyes almost to the overflowing point and for a moment I thought to wipe them away, "Sophie?" I asked again.
Then she practically collapsed into my arms in tears, "Soph," I chuckled, "It's ok."
"No," she was shoving her face against my shirt, "No no no you have no idea how much I missed you."
I chuckled again, "I know. And you have no idea how much I missed you."
And with that, we decided to both be silent and just take in the atmosphere. I wrapped my arms around her and laid my head on top of hers, feeling so complete with being able to do this action once again.
And we just stood there. Neither of us wanted it to end, but the annoying glimmer of the engagement ring on her desk was a reminder to me that something was going to have to end.