I stared at my feet under the table as Sam returned from the counter, carrying two coffees. James was just behind him..
"Thank you," I said as Sam sat in the blue vinyl booth across from me and slid the cup across the table.
I looked at my cell phone. It was almost eight. Despite the growing lateness, there were quite a few people still lingering about. I turned my head to stare out the large glass window, watching the cabs make their way to various destinations. Absently, I wondered about the people inside the yellow vehicles.
"My parents are getting a divorce," I said calmly, interrupting the deepening silence between us.
"I heard," Sam said softly.
"I'm sorry, Nikki." James mumbled.
I looked back at them, not really seeing them, and shrugged.
"My parents divorced last year. My dad is an alcoholic, and mom finally got sick of it. It's not such a bad thing, though. Dad was never around anyways, so really, nothing much has changed. It's not the end of the world, Nikki." James said. I didn't think what he had to say would be comforting, but it was.
"I know it's not. I just never thought my family would ever be one of those broken families you hear about all the time. It's a slap in the face, I'll tell you that much." I seem to be getting a lot those, I thought darkly to myself.
"Is it because of what happened... yesterday?" Sam asked.
"Not really. I didn't tell mom about it, so unless dad told her, she still doesn't know. It's about money, the multiple affairs. There's no one reason."
"What happened yesterday?" James asked.
"It's a long story," I said, hoping it was clear that I didn't want to talk about it. I looked at Sam, hoping the simple gesture would remind him of his promise not to tell anyone about it.
The awkward silence relapsed, almost more uncomfortable than the last time.
"James, have I ever been cruel to you directly?" I asked suddenly, a wave of guilt crashing down around me?
"No... I've only heard rumors. I'll admit, I avoided you. But you're cool, now that I've gotten to know you a little bit."
"I'm sorry, anyway. Being on the receiving end is new to me, and if this what it felt like for everyone else Lucy decided was an outcast, I just..." I shook my head, unable to express myself clearly.
Sam said nothing. James absently played with his napkin. I sighed, staring at the table. My phone vibrated in my pocket, and the only reason I bothered checking it was because I thought it might be my mom. I was sorely mistaken.
Over the last week, I've received nasty text messages from the people I thought were friends, six missed calls from Gill every day, plus countless texts. I didn't bother to read any of them, or listen to any of my voice mails, deleting them as they came in. I'm gonna have to change my number, I thought glumly. I decided to turn my phone off for now.
"Well, should we go?" Sam asked. I nodded, eager to leave. Sam held the door open for us and an older couple entering the caffè.
"I'll see you guys tomorrow. Nikki, you should join us at lunch." James said as he hailed a cab.
"Thanks. I might take you up on that."