Chapter Six

Carter walked around his office, furrowing and un-furrowing his brow over and over in thought. He didn’t know why, but he couldn’t stop thinking about Lucy. Why did she not fall weak to his tricks like all the others? Was it him? Was it her? He wanted to know, but he could think of absolutely no way to figure it out. He was concerned by how much her lack of interest was affecting his confidence, but he would never admit that it even was in the first place. He couldn’t let one uninterested girl mess his game up. He played girls like cards; it was his thrill, his hobby. It was a way to escape the boring life of managing money and sitting in an office all day.

His job paid well, but it wasn’t what he loved. In all truth, he didn’t really know what he loved. He had never known, so when he graduated high school, he decided that it was best he go into something that made him money. Carter had never been one to outwardly show that he had deep thoughts (that wasn’t “manly”, you know), but he did. He thought about things all the time. He was one of the frat boys in college who partied a lot and chatted up the ladies, but he was one of the small fraction of those partyboys who were actually intellectual and able to think independently on a higher level.

He wished that people took him more seriously, but he had no one to blame for that but himself. He knew all too well that if he said what he was thinking even half the times he wanted to, he would be seen as an entirely different Carter. But he couldn’t do that now. It was too late. He had already established himself as a jerk. If he tried to turn that around, no one would believe him. No one, especially not Lucy.

He knew she had some degree of trust in him, but that was only enough to keep him around so he could do his job. He had a substantial work ethic and did his job well, but he knew that that was all he was good for. Now that he realized that, he was disheartened. He realized that life for him held no deep meaning whatsoever, and even he knew that that wasn’t a healthy way to live. He needed to find a reason to change. He needed to find a little piece of meaning...

Diedre sat in her office, typing away at the computer. She was working hard, but her mind was undoubtedly elsewhere. She was thinking about her best friend and the emotional suicide she had just brought upon herself. She knew what Jesse had in mind. There was always that one percent chance that she was wrong about the situation, but she usually wasn’t. Ever. She was very logical and realistic. She had her own personal dramas, but she knew how to handle them. In that way, she and Lucy balanced each other out. That was how they were so close. She loved Lucy so much.

Diedre heard the continuous rustling in Carter’s office and decided to go check it out. She knew he was there, but what he was doing to make such a continuous noise was beyond her.

She didn’t bother knocking because it didn’t sound like he was busy doing anything productive at the moment. She grabbed the door handle and shoved the glass as hard as she could and marched in.

“What in the world are you doing?” she asked. He was in mid-pace and looked liked some form of a deer in the headlights when she barged in. He wasn’t afraid, but deep down he was because he was scared someone was about to find out about everything he’d been thinking about while he was pacing over that office floor.

Diedre was insightful. She wasn’t the nerdiest one of the bunch (that spot was reserved for Lucy) but she had interpersonal skills like he’d never seen. She probably knew what was going on right then just from looking at him.

“Carter, what’s wrong?” He groaned. She was too good at this. He didn’t want to answer that. He had been perfectly fine all this time keeping up this facade. He had gotten so good at it and used to it that it had become real to him. It had taken him until now to was all just a big front.

“There is nothing wrong, I promise. I just knocked over a stack of papers and was trying to get them cleaned up. It’s no big deal.”

He thought he would try one more time to fool her. He knew better, but it was worth a shot. She had never gotten him like this, but he had seen it happen to other people. She gave him knowing glances constantly, especially when he was “big-talking”. She knew better.

“You don’t have to pretend. I know that you aren’t as satisfied as you let everyone think. Sure, you have all these nice things and go out with all these beautiful women...but you can’t possibly be truly happy living life that way.” She walked over to his desk and sat down after she closed the door. He was still standing, dumbfounded by the occurrences of the last two minutes. Diedre knew something was wrong. If there wasn’t, he wouldn’t have been so shocked when she busted in. She could tell he felt defeated but didn’t want to say anything. She wondered if he even knew how to talk about his feelings. Probably didn’t. He had probably never had to.

“You don’t want to know, trust me...I’m fine. I’ll manage just fine without any help.” He didn’t mean to sound so rude, but he felt vulnerable. He didn’t like that. At least he knew that Diedre wouldn’t be offended. He was already acting weird, so she would excuse the behavior. And if she didn’t, he didn’t care. He was too preoccupied to care.

“No. Trust me. I do. I can tell something’s wrong and you know how I worry about people. It’s hard for me to leave a situation unattended. Maybe that makes me nosy, but I don’t care.” She looked at him as she had never looked at him before; for the first time, he looked weaker than he ever had before. Confused, he was, like a lost puppy out in the rain wondering how to get home. She knew and now he knew...that all his life he had been running this who that wasn’t truly who he was. He admired Diedre because she could be herself and be totally comfortable with that. But now that he had come to this revelation, he was at a point in his life where he was going to have to build from the ground up. He had to start anew. Carter was still Carter, but was no longer the Carter of before who had to beef everything up, show off, and hold back his creativity because he didn’t want to appear fruity. Diedre was seeing Carter as no one had seen him before. He knew he could no longer keep up this front. He was going to have to let it down sometime, and who best to help him do that than Diedre? This was the dawning of a new era in his life, and it was going to take some getting used to.

“I just...I don’t know how to explain it. I’ve floated through life, not holding meaning to anything, not doing anything just because I wanted to. I’ve never known what I wanted. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ve never wholly lived...and that’s devastating. I just don’t know how to fix it.” He knew how he wanted to fix it. He wasn’t quite ready to spill ALL of his guts to Diedre...but he wanted someone to share his life with who would bring some spice to it. Someone who would bring some passion into his life. He had seen his parents have this kind of love, but he had never really admitted to himself that he wanted it too. He cycled through the girls because he could and he didn’t know what else to do. he wanted to change, but he was embarrassed and scared that no one would take him seriously. He knew they wouldn’t.

She wasn’t sure what to say for a moment. She was in shock. Although she knew something like this was coming, she figured she’d have to fight to get it out of him. Carter was a very stubborn person anyways, so she didn’t assume he’d be too eager to share his feelings to her like that. After she got over the shock of Carter Brooks, “I-don’t-care” extraordinaire, telling her what was on his mind, she leaned off of his desk and gave him something he didn’t genuinely get very often.

A hug.

The End

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