As Bad as I Thought

I watched Sam fold his clothes.  "You're really not gonna help me, even a little bit?"

"Pfft.  They're not my clothes.  And there's no way I'm touching your boxers."

"Really?  'Cause you're wearing a pair right now."  

I looked down, and realized he was right.  "That's different," I tried.  He rolled his eyes at me, grinning.  "Fine." I said, getting up.  I went into his room and put my own pants back on.  When I returned, I threw them at him, and he caught them, shaking his head at me.  

"You didn't have to change, you know."

"Nah, I was getting cold anyway."  He shrugged with a Whatever.  

"Are you hungry?  I'm hungry?"  He nodded.  "I could go for some food, yeah."  

I went into the kitchen to see what food he had, and I was disappointed to discover that his cabinets and fridge were empty.  "You guys are going to starve," I called.

"Oh, yeah.  I think dad is out grocery shopping now, actually."

"Well, we're eating at my place then.  I actually have food."  I came back to take Sam's hand and pull him with me.  

"I'm not done yet.  Dad will seriously kill me if I leave my clothes here."

I sighed.  "Fine.  Come over when you're done."

While Sam was taking his time folding, I decided I could use a shower.  When I was done, my clothes were still in my room, so I wrapped myself in my towel, surprised to find Sam sitting on the couch in my living room.  

"Close your eyes," I said, before I entered the room.  He complied, and I hurried into my room, slamming the door a little harder than I had intended.  I ditched yesterday's pants in favor of a dark pair of boot-cut jeans that fit really well.  I grabbed the first tank top and bra I found, trying not to take too long with Sam outside, but I was a little pickier with my shirt.  Finally, I decided on a simple form-fitting sweater.  It was the first time I'd really tried to look presentable since mom sprung the news of divorce on me two months ago.  I wanted to look nice, but I couldn't overdue it.  Sam had already seen me in all the worst ways; I didn't want to look like I was trying too hard.  

Not that I should be trying at all, I scolded myself.  I quickly towel-dried my hair as best as I could, and shook my head about quickly, not wanting to waste time with a blow-dryer.  My hair is so long and thick, it would've taken a half hour.  Although air-drying it would take all evening, at least I could actually spend some time with him while it dried.  

I finally deemed myself presentable and came out of my room, Sam's shirt folded neatly over my arm.  

"Here's your shirt," I said, offering it to him.  He shook his head.

"You can wash it first."  

"But it's your shirt."

"But you wore it last."  I rolled my eyes and said, "fine," going back to my room to toss it in my basket.  Sam materialized behind me as I was turning around and I walked right into him.  He gripped my shoulders to steady me.  "Sorry," he murmured.  

I only shrugged and walked around him, back into my kitchen, digging through my cupboards.  "Do you like macaroni and cheese?" I asked Sam.  Our stomachs growled in unison, and I said, "Right.  Mac'n'cheese it is."

I stared with horror as I watched him douse his macaroni with ketchup, and he laughed.  "I've been eating it like this since I was little.  I used to hate it; it was the only way my mom could get me to eat it."

"Is it any good?"  I asked, skeptical. 

"Yeah, here.  Try a bite,"  He said as he held his plate out to me.  I did try it, cringing, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be. 

"It's okay, I guess.  To each his own."

We ate and talked on my couch.  Saving Private Ryan was on the T.V., but neither of us were paying any attention to it.  

"Can I ask something personal?"  Sam said after a minute of silence.

"You can ask, but I won't guarantee an answer," I told him cautiously.  

He nodded his understanding and continued.  "What did you ever see in Gill?" 

I half smiled, relieved that it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.  "He was my first real boyfriend.  The first guy who ever took me on a real date, the first to kiss me...  my first love, I guess you could say.  We dated off an on since seventh grade.  He really was a sweetheart until he became captain of the football team.  Everyone started noticing him, and it went to his head.  He used to bring me a single flower every week, until then.  His friends said he was whipped, and he's a control freak, and he didn't like people implying that he wasn't in control, that he didn't do anything without my permission."  I absently twiddled my thumbs in my lap.  I was looking at the wall, but I wasn't seeing it.  

"Why'd you put up with it?"  

"I thought I loved him, that we were forever.  You can't imagine how relieved I am to be wrong."  I smiled, peering up at Sam from under my eyelashes.  He didn't smile back.  "What's this about, Sam?"

He shook his head.  "Nothing, I was just curious, is all."  I knew he wouldn't tell me the truth no matter what I did, so I dropped it.  

I sighed and closed my eyes, and I think I fell asleep because when I opened them, it was dark outside and my mom was standing in the kitchen, removing her coat and saying something to Sam.  

"Hey there sleepy head," Sam said as I sat up and stretched.  

"She's awake?  Oh, good.  Nikki, when Sam goes home you need to do some laundry."

"Sam, you can't go home," I told him.  He cocked his eye brow again, smirking.  I bit my tongue to keep my focus.  

"Nice try."  My mom interjected, and I rolled my eyes, irritated.

"I really should go, though.  Dad's probably home by now."  I sighed.  "I'll see you later, 'kay?"  I nodded my consent, and he went back home.

"I wasn't expecting you to have anyone over today.  A warning would've been nice,"  My mom said. 

"I wasn't expecting him to come over either," I said.  "He saw me out on the fire escape earlier, and we've just been talking."  I failed to mention just how much earlier we had met on the fire escape. 

"Well, I'm glad that you're having friends over again.  It's been a while.  How's Lucy and Brittany, by the way?"  Mom asked. 

"I haven't spoken to them in two months.  We're kind of on the outs," I said, wishing I could just hide out in my room. 

"That's too bad.  Why?" 

I looked at my bare feet, not wanting to answer.  "Honey, you can tell me if something's wrong."  I shook my head as mom came over to sit beside me on the couch.  "Is it because of the divorce?" she asked, her voice soft.  She wrapped her arms around me, and as I sighed, a sob escaped my mouth, surprising me. 

I was still angry with her, but before I knew it, I was telling her the whole story of why I had broken up with Gill in the first place, and Lucy's role.  I told her about all the nasty text messages and voice mails I had been receiving over the last two months.  She asked to see them, but I'd already deleted them.  I told her why I had started packing my lunch every day, how I sat in the practice room to avoid the cafeteria.  Soon, she was crying with me, and we were hugging, and I realized just how much I had missed her. 

"I think we should get your number changed, honey."  I nodded my consent, and we just held each other for the rest of the night. 


The End

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