Chapter Six: Possibilities
"How could you do that to her?" I asked Ryan. My hands were still entwined around his waist and I was resting my cheek on his shoulder.
"How could I not?" He asked in a low voice just before he bent down and touched his lips to mine again.
"But still…" I said with a soft moan.
"What's the problem?"
"Well… I've yet to decide whether this is romantic or wrong."
Ryan slid his hands down my arms and kissed my bottom lip, pulling at it gently. I sighed with appreciation.
"Definitely leaning towards romantic at the moment," I murmured.
"Dear Lord…" I muttered as Nadia helped a plastered Sam into the room.
"Yes, my child?" Sam slurred as he sank into the couch.
As if this night couldn't get any better. Not only was Katrina in my house at one in the morning, now Sam was here as well.
"Is he… drunk?" Ryan asked me.
"No, just lame," I said as I went to the kitchen to get a glass of water for Sam.
Sam was usually well behaved and loved to lord it over us that we used to love trying getting him drunk. We were generally unsuccessful, but it was always fun when we succeeded. Sam turned into such a chilled out character that we all joked that he must be repressing something.
"What happened to him?" I asked Nadia.
"I found him throwing up on the street and there were a whole bunch of burly guys standing around looking like they've just found their entertainment for tonight. I only know Sam through you, so…"
"Great…" I said dryly.
"Oh hey!" Nadia said cheerily to Ryan and Katrina. "I'm Nadia, nice to meet you."
"Hi, I'm Ryan."
Nadia continued smiling and then… she swerved her head around with a shocked expression as she made the connection. "Hey, you two hooked up! That's cute."
OK, not the right connection… Silence loomed and the awkwardness mounted, broken only by Sam's occasional hiccup.
"Am I missing something?" Nadia wondered out loud. "Katrina… Oh, the ex!"
"Ex-girlfriend," Sam pointed to Katrina, then aimed his finger at me. "Girlfriend." Finally he pointed to Ryan and said, "Bastard."
"Exactly!" Katrina said, finally cracking a smile.
"What?" I said.
"Hey!" Ryan exclaimed, furrowing his brows adorably.
"Good work," Nadia laughed where she perched on the arm of the couch and petted Sam on the head.
"Start from the beginning, we missed a lot," Nadia said, looking expectantly at the three of us.
"We're not your Friday night entertainment," I said and saw that Ryan nodded with me.
"It's probably really boring anyway," Nadia said with a pout. "Let's see, Ryan meets Erica, has a one night stand. Moves on to Katrina, has many nights together. Then he meets Erica again and decides the sex was better. You're quite the man-whore." Nadia said accusingly.
"Nadia, I like him. You're not helping…"
"Wait a minute… when did you two meet?" Katrina asked with a frown.
"Ooh, I know! Christmas party 2004," Nadia offered promptly.
Katrina looked furious and when I turned to Ryan, his knuckles were white as they gripped on the table ledge. I shared a glance with Nadia, who raised her eyebrow soberly when she met my eyes.
"Whooo…" Sam blew a ghosty tune. "This is like a whodunit, except it's more of a 'who-done-who.'"
"Who did whom," Ryan, Katrina and I corrected more or less at the same time.
"Spooky," Sam said. "Maybe you all did each other."
"Go order a pizza," I told Sam and pointed the way to the kitchen. "Nadia, could you go help him… dial. I don't want to pay for two hours of phone calls to Nigeria."
Nadia looked sulky. But she was a good friend and so followed my instructions.
"So all that stuff about falling for me at first sight and how you loved every moment we spent together that night, it was all lies?" Katrina asked with a tremble in her voice.
"Not technically," Ryan said shiftily.
"What does that mean?" she asked. Can't say I wasn't wondering the same thing.
"I said them… to the wrong person."
I think both Katrina and I were too shocked to say anything more.
Ryan pursed his lips and continued, "I thought you were Erica."
He sighed heavily when we still didn't say anything, "I found a phone number in my coat with no name, I had to try…"
"I would never have gone out with you if I'd known that."
"Me neither," Ryan said and belatedly realised that it wasn't appropriate. "I mean… I don't regret it."
"We dated for more than a year and you're willing to throw that away two hours after meeting her again. That says a lot about our relationship, doesn't it?"
I looked away as a tear slid down Katrina's cheek. I didn't want to be here nor hearing this. I just want to have fun with Ryan, maybe it'll last, maybe it won't. I don't want this heavy, dramatic stuff and I don't want anyone getting hurt because of me. I looked wistfully towards the kitchen where Sam and Nadia were huddled over the telephone and wished things were simple again.
"So you were in love with her the entire time we were together?" she asked painfully and tried to blink back the onslaught of more tears.
At that moment, Nadia and Sam came back. Sam brought with him the burger and fries I had bought for dinner and never ate.
"I found these, so we gave the pizza a miss." Sam held the brown paper bag up for everyone to see.
Nadia smiled at Ryan and said brightly, "It's your turn to say something."
"C'mon!" She laughed at our bemused faces. "Did you honestly think we wouldn't be listening?"
To my surprise, Ryan considered the options and said to Katrina, "Of course I wasn't in love with her the entire time. It was only when I saw her again."
Katrina didn't look any happier at that piece of information.
"By the way, that line doesn't work without the 'again' either," Sam interrupted, speaking with a mouthful of fries. I hit him with a nearby cushion. It was bad enough my ex-boyfriend was in my house, let alone having him turn our break-up into a joke.
"Thank you, Einstein," I grabbed the fries from him and popped the last few into my mouth, "Or should I say, Miss Piggy?"
"Anyways…" Nadia took up where Ryan left off. "So Ryan meets both Katrina and Erica at the Christmas party, he likes Erica, sleeps with her. Rings her up the next day—wait, you didn't think it was weird someone called Katrina was answering the phone?"
"I was nervous," Ryan said with a wince, "I just started talking."
"Right. So then you guys meet up and have a drink, talk, blah blah blah. You think she's fun, even though she's not amazing like Erica. You figure it wasn't meant to be and so you start dating Katrina instead. Then unexpectedly, Erica turns up and you don't know what to do. But you think it's a sign and dumps Katrina so you can be with Erica."
"The ending wasn't quite right." He turned to me. He meant his words only for me. "I tried so hard not to fall for you again and it still didn't work. I hated that you were messing with my feelings, I hated it every time you were with that guy, and most of all, I hated that you didn't even remember me when I couldn't get you out of my head."
"I'm going to go now." Katrina said. She paused by the door and said softly, "Bye, Ryan." Nobody stopped her.
My eyes left the closed door and paused on Ryan. I smiled at him across the room and suddenly it felt like everything else faded to a whisper. It didn't matter anymore that Katrina was unhappy, I wanted Ryan and he wanted me. That was the important point, even if it is beyond selfish.
"What are you thinking?"
"Was that wrong? Should I go after her?"
I didn't know what to say. Say 'no' and I felt heartless; while a 'yes' would be beyond me.
"I probably should've stopped talking earlier."
I nodded. "Probably," I said, trying to grin and yet not to let my emotions show so plainly all at the same time. "Or I might fall in love with you."
"Then I won't ever stop." Ryan grinned and I let loose my emotions and allowed a broad smile to show itself.
"Me too." Nadia said dreamily with her head resting in her hands.
Sam cleared his throat and broke the peaceful calm of both Nadia and I gazing at Ryan. "Um… still not me."
"Sooo…" Nadia said, dragging out the sound to fill the now whisper-quiet room after Sam's interruption. "I heard you were so stripper."
"What!" Ryan exclaimed.
"Hello!" Nadia clicked her fingers with attitude. "I'm Erica's BFF! I know everything."
"What does the extra F stand for?" Sam wondered aloud.
"Forever?" Nadia took a guess.
We all pondered over that for a moment.
"Sounds about right," Sam spoke for all of us.
"Now, back to the tattoo." Nadia wasn't one to be side-tracked.
"He's not a stripper, I think I was just drunk and didn't remember much."
"Are you sure?" Nadia asked unconvinced. "You weren't that drunk."
"I don't think Ryan's the type who would strip."
"Maybe he did strip… but just for you…"
"Man, I'm embarrassed by this conversation, and I'm not even you," Sam said and slung an arm across his eyes. I was too full of happiness to hit him with the cushion again, so Nadia did it for me.
"What a shame," I said, shooting him a dark look and checked my watch. "It's late—Actually, it's early, so maybe you should think about heading home?" I asked Sam hopefully. I looked towards Nadia, wishing she would stop studying her nails and look at me. When she finally raised her head and I almost gave myself whiplash giving her the signal to take Sam away.
"You owe me," she mouthed silently as she strode towards the couch and pulled Sam to his feet. He was a lot more sober now that he had finished my supper and spent an hour on my couch.
As Nadia and Sam got into a taxi safely, I closed the door and leaned back against it with a relieved sigh. It was just the two of us. Finally. I held out my hand and took a step forward as Ryan clasped it. I rested my palm against his chest and slid it upward behind his neck.
"Did you have something planned?" Ryan asked mischievously.
"Oh, I'm sure we can make something up if we…" I wrapped his arm around my stomach and walked towards my bedroom, "…head this way.
YES! I finally finished a story and it feels great! Thanks to everyone who has stuck with this story till the end, especially all those who's taken the time to review.
And if you have the time, check out my new story 'The Meaning of No.'