Chapter Five - The Date Part Two
Trying to get Micah to understand the word no was like trying to swat a fly with a handful of wet spaghetti - pretty damn pointless. I had no intention of going to Lila's with him. It was the last thing I wanted to do. I couldn't hang out with him just as 'friends', - he may have been mature enough to do it, but I wasn't. And lets not forget the fact that he was the one who had called things off between us, so he wasn't the one nursing some painful albeit invisible wounds. No, that would be me.
When my shift ended I quickly got changed out of my uniform and left through the back entrance, taking care to avoid Jayne. Micah's car was impossible to miss out in the parking lot, due to the fact that he had the stereo blaring and all his windows down. I ducked my head down and scurried off in the opposite direction hoping he wouldn't see me. But of course he did and within a matter of seconds he had jumped out of his car and was rushing over to me.
'Hey, Andi!' he called out. 'Please don't ignore me.'
'I'm not ignoring you,' I yelled back over my shoulder. 'I'm avoiding you!'
'Oh that makes me feel so much better!' He caught up to me quickly and rested a hand on my shoulder. 'Andi, come on.
'Didn't you hear what I said before?' I snapped spinning around to face him. 'I don't want to hang out with you Micah. I really, really don't. Can't you just leave me alone?'
Micah frowned, appearing genuinely hurt. 'You really, really don't?' he asked. 'Why?'
I glared at him. 'Because,' I replied in exasperation. 'You're my ex-boyfriend and I don't think it's the right thing to do.'
He gave a small sigh and crossed his arms defiantly. 'Do you realize how stupid you sound? We can still be friends Andi, there's no law against it.'
'Well there should be,' I grumbled.
He smiled, laughing to himself quietly. 'Just come hang out with me this one last time,' he began. 'One lousy hour, that's all I'm asking. If it's awkward and weird, we never have to do it again. But like I said, I don't want to lose you as a friend. I don't want us to drift apart just because things didn't work out between us.'
Hearing him say that made me think of Jesse and the way he and I had drifted apart. Did I really want that to be the way Micah and I ended up four years from now? More or less strangers whose only connection is a bunch of faded memories that don't mean a thing anymore? There really wasn't any chance of Jesse and I ever getting back what we once had and I didn't want that same fate to befall Micah and I. My face must have given away the fact that I was about to give in to him, because before I even opened my mouth to speak, Micah was grinning.
'We'll have fun,' he said, nodding his head back towards his car urging me to follow him. I sighed in defeat and headed towards the car. It felt kind of strange climbing into the passenger seat and knowing that it was now 'Sarah's seat.' For the whole time we were dating I always felt so proud to be seen beside Micah in his car - it was a spot that every girl in school coveted, and it had been mine. There was no denying the fact that it felt pretty good to be back there, even if it was just as a friend. I was sure Sarah wouldn't be too happy about it, but I really didn't care what she thought.
Ever since their relationship had become common knowledge I had noticed that Sarah always delighted in getting enthusiastically hands on with Micah whenever I happened to be in the vicinity. Like I had somehow failed to grasp the fact that the two of them were now closer than close, so she had to demonstrate the fact by rubbing herself against him and chewing various parts of his anatomy from his fingers and neck, to the top of his ears. I was actually surprised that Micah was putting up with it. If the person I had just started dating was using me as a public scratching post/walking hors d'oeuvre I would not be happy about it.
By the time we got to Lila's Micah had succeeded in putting me at ease. I don't know how he managed it but he did. He spent the entire journey telling me about random things that had happened to him over the week and it just felt so natural to be with him again. As we climbed out of the car he was telling me about how one of his friends had smashed their car into someone's bike and how his father had gone around to see the boy who owned the bike and got him to pay for the damage to his sons car, giving the boy some b.s story about how the bike had been chained to the rack at an odd, protruding angle, making it all his fault.
'Can you believe that?' he grinned. 'Jordon was totally in the wrong, but now he gets a new paint job thanks to that dumb kid.'
I frowned. Aisha had told me that someone smashed into Felix's bike on Thursday morning, wrecking it completely. I assumed it was true because I'd seen him walking to school the next morning. My mom stopped to offer him a ride but he just ignored us as usual. I knew that Felix and his mom didn't have a lot of money so he wouldn't be able to afford a new bike right away. And as for him having to pay for Jordon's' paint job, that was so unfair.
'Wait a second,' I said pausing on my way up the steps to Lila's. 'That "dumb kid" you're talking about is Felix.'
Micah nodded casually. 'Yeah, I think you're right.' He didn't seem in anyway bothered by the injustice of it which made me all the more madder. He hopped past me up the final few steps and reached out to open the door, but I quickly dived in front of him, blocking his arm.
'You jerk,' I began, my words were soft but colored by an angry disbelief. 'You think it's funny to con Felix like that? To make him pay for Jordon's mistake?'
Micah reached a hand up to the back of his neck and rested it there for a second as he gave me his devastatingly gorgeous 'lets not fight' stare.
'That's not going to work on me anymore Micah,' I informed him coolly, crossing my arms across my chest. 'I'm waiting for your answer.'
Finally he shrugged. 'He's an easy target.'
I felt my eyes grow wide with indignation and I had to fight back the urge to scream in rage. 'He's an easy target?' I yelled. 'And that's supposed to make it okay? That justifies taking money from him that he doesn't even have?'
Micah shook his head and began to speak, but I wouldn't let him. 'You know Micah,' I went on, my voice growing louder. 'Old ladies with cataracts are easy targets, homeless people who sleep on the streets are easy targets, does that mean it's okay to screw them over?!'
'Jordan and his Dad are opportunists,' Micah replied, his face taking on a more serious expression. 'I'm not saying it's right, I'm just telling you what happened.'
'Well I think it's disgusting,' I replied. 'It makes me sick.'
Again he nodded, but the expression on his face told me he was starting to regret asking me to hang out. 'You're right,' he began. 'I'll talk to Jordon about it.'
Oh, like that was going to do any good. Micah knew how I felt about the way people treated Felix. I had gone on about it enough times while we dating, and while I knew it bored him to tears listening to me, he'd always let me rant on and on without getting mad. One time he'd even actually tried to strike a conversation up with him, just to make me happy, but Felix wasn't interested. If Micah was to be believed, Felix actually hissed at him, but I think that was somewhat of an exaggeration on Micah's part. People just assumed that Felix was the kind of guy who would hiss at you, but he really wouldn't. As far as I could tell he didn't even like to breath just incase someone heard him.
'Can we just forget it and move on to something else?' Micah asked with a sigh.
'Whatever,' I replied. 'That kind of thing just upsets me, I can't help it.'
Micah cracked a dazzling smile. 'I know,' he replied in a whisper, leaning forward and running an affectionately playful finger along my nose.
I slapped his hand away in irritation. 'Stop it,' I grumbled. He was always trying to do that - diffusing tension by trying to act all cute and sexy. 'You really have to learn that all that stuff isn't going to fly with me anymore Micah.' I turned away from him to face the door and he stepped up behind me, pushing it open for me to enter first.
'I know,' he laughed. 'But it's going to be a hard habit to kick.'
'Well you better had kick it,' I replied. 'Unless you want me to kick something far more precious than your habits.'
He grinned at me again as he followed me through the door. 'If you did that, Sarah would be very angry.'
'Oh really?' I asked. 'More angry than she would be if she knew you were flirting with an ex-girlfriend?'
'Flirting is harmless,' he replied. 'It's not like we're going to be doing anything else.' He wasn't being playful anymore, instead he was totally serious, solemn even.
'Come on, let's sit down.' He started to head over to one of the very few booths that were free in the far corner. I caught sight of some of his friends sat on the couches by the window and reached out to grab him by the elbow.
'Wait,' I said, tugging at his sleeve. 'Nick and the others are over there. Don't you want to join them?'
'Nah,' he replied. 'If we sat with them we'd never get the chance to talk, period, let alone talk to one another.'
He was right - the only thing bigger than Micah's' friends ego's was their mouths. In all the time Micah and I had been dating I had probably contributed a grand total of twenty words to one of their group conversations, and it wasn't for lack of trying - I just couldn't get a word in edgewise. There were always at least three people trying to talk over one another or shout each other down. I was kind of glad that we were avoiding them.
As soon as we slid into the booth Micah waved a waitress over and I struggled to shrug off my jacket. Micah ordered us both a drink then turned back to me, breaking out in laughter at the sight of me flapping my arms awkwardly in my sleeves.
'Here,' he reached across and helped me out of my predicament. 'Now pull.'
I pulled back my arm as he tugged on my jacket until it came off. With a lazy grin he tossed the jacket back at me across the table.
'Thanks,' I grumbled.
'No problem,' he replied, still grinning.
'So where's Sarah tonight?' I asked. I couldn't let myself forget about Sarah's' existence. Being with Micah was too comfortable, it would be all too easily to fall for his charms without him even trying them out on me. I could not forget that he wasn't my boyfriend anymore. I wouldn't. No matter how much I wanted to.
'She's with her friends,' he replied dismissively. 'But lets not talk about her. I want to know what's happening in your love life.'
Oh perfect. What a virtual kick in the guts he had just dealt me. I mean, really, your ex-boyfriend - that you still aren't over - practically kidnaps you from your workplace then subjects you to torture by asking you about your non-existent love life. The love life that will more than likely be forever crippled thanks to the way he broke your heart. What was I supposed to say? He continued to look at me, waiting patiently for a reply.
I shrugged. 'Um...fine, I guess.'
'Just fine?' he asked. 'You're not dating anybody?'
'That's really none of your business,' I replied.
'Oh, okay,' he nodded with a smile. 'I'll just take that as a "no Micah, I'm not dating anybody".'
God, he could be so infuriating. If only he wasn't so hot, too...
Carly had been talking non-stop for the past twenty-five minutes. I hadn't had the chance to mutter a 'really' or even an 'oh' in response to the never-ending tales she was regaling me with, so I had just stuck to nodding my head. There's only so many times you can nod in a twenty five minute period without it becoming tiresome, not to mention the inevitable development of a sore neck.
Carly had just switched topics for what felt like the millionth time - wrapping up her insightful monologue on Ashton Kutchers hairline and starting on the hilarious events that led up to her making her most expensive purchase on EBay ever. Was this torture ever going to stop?
Without thinking I reached up a hand to the sore point in my neck, wincing in pain a little as I did so. Carly was so absorbed in her story that I didn't think she would notice my discomfort, but surprisingly she did. Unsurprisingly, she saw it as her opportunity to pounce on me, and did so without a second's hesitation.
'Are you in pain?' she chirped, leaping up to her feet and hurrying around to my side of the table without even giving me a chance to reply. 'Here let me.'
Before I knew it, she had shoved me along the bench so I was pressed right up against the wall with her pressed up against me on the other side. She reached her hands up to my neck, prizing my own hand away and began rubbing the sore spot with gentle but insistent pressure.
'Better?' she whispered seductively, leaning ever more close to me.
'Not really,' I replied awkwardly, shoving her away not too gently. I felt like one of those girls you see in movies, stuck in a car with their dimwitted horny boyfriends who were forever trying to get them to compromise their virtue.
Carly giggled, obviously not receiving the get-your-hands-the-hell-off-me signals that I was trying to send. 'Oh don't be shy,' she smiled. 'Let me work my magic.'
She started to slide her way back along the bench towards me, her eyes locking on mine like a snake who was trying to hypnotize me. I held back a frustrated sigh and turned my gaze over her shoulder, desperately looking for something that I could point out to her as a distraction.
And that was when I saw Andi. Immediately my face broke into a smile. I was saved! 'Look,' I said suddenly. 'There's Andi!' Carly's face was hovering dangerously close to mine and she didn't seem to have heard what I'd said, either that or she was ignoring it. I grabbed hold of her head and turned it to face the booth Andi was sitting at.
'Look,' I pointed out. 'Over there. We should go and say hi.'
Carly's shoulders slumped and she gave a disgruntled sigh. 'What is she doing here?' she mumbled. 'She was supposed to be working tonight. And who is that she's with?'
I averted my eyes from Andi to the person sat opposite her. I couldn't see anything except the persons leg because the back of the booth reached the ceiling and whoever it was had their back to us. It was definitely a guy though.
'Oh my God,' Carly gasped suddenly. 'I think it's Micah! It is! It's Micah! Awesome!' A grin about a mile wide appeared on her face and she began to clap her hands together excitedly. 'Oh this is beyond excellent,' she continued. 'I wonder what they're doing here together?'
'Let's go find out,' I said, starting to get to my feet.
'No! We can't!' Carly shoved me back down onto the bench. 'They need their privacy.'
I could tell that she didn't really want to give them any privacy. She was itching to go over there and find out was going on, it was written all over her face.
'I'm sure they wouldn't mind,' I replied. 'Come on.'
'Well... alright!' In a flash she was out of her seat, linking an arm through mine and dragging me over to their booth. They seemed to be deep in conversation and Andi looked as though she was trying really hard to keep a smile off her face. I'd seen her do that a million times when we were younger. She'd be mad about something and I'd try to cheer her up with lame jokes, but she would refuse to crack a smile even though I could tell she was dying too. I was wondering why she was refusing to smile now, and what Micah was saying that made her want to smile in spite of herself.
Neither of them noticed us as we approached, they seemed way to wrapped up in one another, like they were the only two people in the place. That all changed the second Carly and I stopped at the edge of their table.
'Hi!' Carly squealed happily. Immediately the two of them broke the look they had been sharing, their eyes turning to see Carly stood there clinging to my arm like a limpet. Neither of them looked happy to see us. Micah looked kind of aggravated while Andi just looked uncomfortable.
'Hi guys,' she said quietly. She looked from Carly to me quickly, a small forced smile on her lips. I smiled back at her but she didn't see it because she'd already turned her attention back to Micah. God that was annoying. I'd never had to fight another guy for Andi's attention, it felt weird having her treat me like a casual acquaintance while all of her focus was on another guy. I should have expected it, but it still kind of hurt. I felt like an idiot for feeling that way but I couldn't help it.
I was too busy watching Andi to notice that Micah was eyeing me up and down assessingly. Carly was still grinning, her eyes darting back and forth between Micah and Andi with an excited glimmer.
'New boyfriend Carly?' Micah asked, relaxing back in his seat and cocking his head in my direction.
That got our attention.
'Yeah!' Carly grinned at the same time as I yelled, 'No!'
Micah laughed, which really grated on me. Even his laugh was sexy. I really did not like him. He turned to me with a big open smile and extended his hand out to me.
'You're Jesse, right?' he asked.
'Uh, yeah,' I replied, reaching out to take his hand in an absent-minded reflex. I was intending to give his hand a half-hearted limp shake, but instead he turned it into this big manly nice to meet you kind of thing. Which it was most definitely not. Nice to meet him I mean. I'd seen him around school, but we'd never spoken, he'd never even acknowledged me, and I didn't know him from when I was younger because we'd never attended the same schools back then. It made me wonder how he knew who I was. Maybe Andi had mentioned me. The thought ignited a flicker of hope within me, but it was squashed by his next words.
'I remember you from Spanish,' he said nodding. 'I'm Micah.'
I just nodded back at him stiffly. I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of letting him know that I knew who he was. He was the guy who had broken Andi's heart, the guy who Andi was in love with, they guy who had replaced me as the person who could make her want to smile even when she was mad.
'So what are you guys doing here?' Carly asked, letting go of my arm and nudging Andi across the bench so she could sit down.
'Just hanging out,' Micah replied. He moved along too so that he was facing Andi again, leaving room for me. Reluctantly I sat down. We'd gone from one form of torture to another. I almost wouldn't mind going back to listening to Carly's random ramblings about celebrity hairlines and winning online auction strategies.
'Hanging out?' Carly repeated. 'Huh. Really. So where's the whore?'
Andi almost choked on the drink she had suddenly become so interested in, turning to Carly with a death glare.
'I don't know who you're referring to,' Micah replied, his face utterly blank.
'Oh, yes you do!' Carly went on. 'Of course you do. I'm referring to that dirty little bitch who always seems to be molesting you these days.'
'Oh, you mean my girlfriend,' he replied. His face was still blank although a small smile was playing on his lips. 'She's hanging out with her friends, same as me.'
What an idiot. Someone had just called his girlfriend a dirty little bitch and a whore and he seemed to find it amusing. Andi was better off without him. I turned to look at her. She had her head tilted downwards, her eyes glued to a smudge of dirt on the table, biting her lip. She wasn't trying to hold back a smile anymore, in fact she looked like she was trying to hold back tears. I felt like I had to say something to her, something that would cheer her up and take her mind off what was upsetting her. But my mind drew a blank. I couldn't think of one single thing to say to her - the one person who never had me at a shortage for words was now like a stranger to me.
Then suddenly I thought of something. 'Hey Andi,' I began. 'How's Marnie?'
She looked up at me in surprise, obviously not expecting me to ask but seeming grateful at the same time.
'Oh she's fine,' she replied with a smile. 'A lot bigger now. Obviously.'
'Do you think she'd remember me?' I asked.
'Probably not,' she said with a shake of her head. 'I'm sure Danny would though.'
'Yeah,' I agreed. 'I spoke to him at school yesterday actually.'
'Really?' she asked. 'He didn't mention it.'
Micah leaned forward in his seat, coming between mine and Andi's eye line and blocking us from each other's view. 'Hang on,' he began. 'You guys know each other?'
'Kind of,' Andi replied. 'We knew one another when we were younger.'
'Oh,' Micah said. Seeming satisfied with the answer he slumped back in his seat and checked his watch. Immediately Andi and I did the same. Carly seemed like the only one who was actually comfortable with us all being huddled around the table together.
'It's getting late,' Andi said. 'I should be getting home.'
Micah nodded, reaching for his car keys and swinging them around on his first two fingers. 'Yeah, lets get out of here.'
Carly and I moved to the let them past. Micah waited patiently as Carly reached out to grab Andi. She cupped a hand over her mouth and whispered something intoAndi's ear before pulling back to let out a howl of excitable laughter. Andi seemed to blush a little, but just rolled her eyes at Carly. She walked up to Micah who rested an arm around her shoulders, only to take it away a second later raising his hands up in kind of an "I'm sorry" gesture.
Carly just stared at them grinning in delight.
'See you guys later,' Andi said tiredly.
'Nice meeting you Jesse,' Micah said giving me a quick friendly slap on the shoulder.
I gave him a brief nod of my head. 'Yeah,' I replied. They turned to leave and I couldn't help but watch them as they went. I let out a tired sigh and propped up my head with one hand as they disappeared together through the door.
'Don't they look so good together,' Carly began.
'No,' I mumbled. Although that wasn't true. They looked great together, and it made me feel kind of sick.
'That's what I want, you know?' Carly went on.
'What?' I asked.
'A relationship like Andi and Micah have, it's like... fairytale love.' She sighed and looked up at the ceiling dreamily.
I stared at her like she was crazy. 'Are you nuts? They're not even together anymore,' I replied. 'And he seems like a jerk to me. I mean he lets people call his girlfriend a dirty little bitch and a whore. I don't know what fairytales you've been reading but give me the names of them so I can be sure my children never get their hands on them.'
She looked back at me, the huge dreamy smile still plastered on her face. 'You don't understand. They love each other but they just don't realize how much. Micah just got scared of his feelings for Andi and that's why his going out with Sarah now. She's such a brainless little scab that he could never develop those kind of feelings for her, and that's why he's with her. He likes the comfort of having a steady girlfriend, but hates the fear of falling in love. Sooner or later he'll realize he can't live without Andi.'
'Interesting theory,' I muttered.
'It's not theory,' she replied proudly. 'It's fact. I'm not just a pretty face you know. I've made some pretty astounding insights in my time and they are always validated eventually.'
I hated to admit it to myself but Carly was probably right. Micah did seem like the kind of guy who would dump a girl because he was scared of falling in love. I just hoped that Andi saw through him. She didn't deserve to be with someone who was determined not to love her.
'We should probably go too,' I said to Carly, as I climbed out of the booth not wanting to continue the conversation. 'I'm really tired.'
Carly shrugged, tossing her mane of curls over her shoulder. 'Okay,' she replied. 'But next time we should go somewhere we can't be distracted. We were having such a great time until Andi and Micah got here.'
I disagreed with what she'd just said in so many ways but I didn't have the energy to get into it. All I could think was, next time? Please, no....
A/N: So sorry for the late update! Thanks so much to everyone who has reviewed! I'll try and make the effort to make more regular updates, but um, I can't promise anything! I'm kind of busy with another of my stories which has more readers and it's kind of a struggle to update both of these stories as well as my others and my fan fiction, but I'll do my best not to neglect this!
THANKS AGAIN!!!!! xXxXx