Mornings did not agree with Lily, nor did she agree with them. For as long as she could remember, it's always been nearly impossible to wake her up and get her moving, smoothly. Well, to be fair, she didn't really remember any of it happening, because she would infuriatingly still be fast asleep. Combined with her bad habit of having a seemingly lucid conversation you, only for you to realize that she is still unconscious, made waking her up a daily struggle.
Keeping this in mind, Sierra cautiously opened the door to Lily's room. "Why couldn't Ellie just do me this solid, I didn't ask for much," Sierra whined as she navigated the minefield of strewn objects and misplaced things that had made their permanent residence on the barely noticeable hardwood floor.
Earlier that morning, Sierra had pleaded with Ellie to take her place in "waking the bear", a.k.a Lily, pre-coffee. An important distinction, when it came to trying to get Lily up in time, or at all. Ellie, of course, flat out refused, much to Sierra's dismay. "You're a horrible friend, just go wake her up, for me!" Sierra demanded, angrily motioning to the door. "Absolutely no way in hell am I waking her up, it's your turn!" Ellie exclaimed as she threw her arms up in defiance.
"Oh, c'mon! Don't be such a pussy! I'm only asking for a.. teensy-weensy little favor..." Sierra tried, but Ellie wasn't giving in to any guilt trips, bargaining, or black-mailing. "Sierra, it is your turn, this is why we made the board. The board exists for this very reason. I have shit to do, today, I need to get ready for that shit, so I'm sorry, I can't switch with you, today," Ellie stated, grabbing her purse and making her way into the bathroom.
"But, El-" Sierra began, but was cut off by a slammed door and the swift sound of a lock. "Not today, Sia," Ellie shouted from behind the locked door. "Ugh, fine!" Sierra relented. "And fuck you!" she yelled back. Now, she was only moments from having to do the one thing she was really not in the mood to do.
"Lily, you gotta get up, your alarm's been going off for like an hour, so it's my turn to come check and see if you're alive...," Sierra said, gently shaking Lily's shoulder. A groggy voice came groaning up from under the sheets. "Fuuuccckkk offfffff..." Lily grumbled sleepily. Sierra jumped back when she heard the bathroom door unlock and open. "Good luck!" Ellie said, and with that, she was gone. Now, it was just her and the Bear.
She approached the bed, again, and began prying the blankets off of her. Sierra fell backwards onto a pair of shoes when the blankets finally were released. "Stoooop! Go away!" Lily complained, eyes shut. She had curled into a ball and turned her back to her human alarm clock. Sierra quickly ripped the pillow away from her and stepped back. "Get up!" she ordered, smacking Lily with the pillow. "Ugghhh NO!" Lily complained, face first into the mattress.
Sierra tucked the pillow under her arm and grabbed the first shoe she saw off of the messy floor. She walked over to the door and opened it, pillow in one hand, shoe in the other. She looked at her friend, who was now sprawled out like a starfish, stomach and face down, on the bed. Sierra threw the pillow as hard as she could and made contact with Lily's back. "I'm awake!" Lily yelled into the bed. "What day is it?" Sierra asked. "Shut the fuck up day," Lily said.
Skeptical, Sierra primed the black converse sneaker for launch. "Augh!" she yelled as she chucked the shoe and slammed the door. "What the fuck!" Lily screeched, from the other side. "You sound awake, so if you fall back asleep, it's not my fault!" Sierra shouted and promptly vacated the premises.
The girls had left Lily to her own devices in the empty apartment, a decision that is never good. Sierra had never gotten Lily out of bed, so whether or not she had ever actually woken up is unknown. Regardless of how awake she was when the girls left, Lily was dead asleep by the time they were long gone.
Alex lazily rolled out of bed and made his way to the kitchen. The clock on the microwave read 12:37, a fairly reputable time to get up, in Alex's opinion. Tiptoeing towards the coffee maker, he poured the coffee into a cup from the cabinet, happy that it was still warm. He added milk, sugar, and a bit of vanilla creamer, then walked over to the couch and settled in.
Alex thought about watching TV, but ultimately decided that he didn't really want to deal with accidentally waking up his roommate, Carter. Carter was a total drama queen, who was very touchy about being woken up before his alarm. Contrary to his usual happy-go-lucky, energetic self, Carter without sleep was grumpy, sassy, and unpleasant to be around.
Unfortunately for Alex, Carter's alarm never went off on weekends, which meant that he was going to have to choose: either silence, or grumpiness. To be fair, Alex's alarm was shut off the second he rolled out of bed on Friday, but at least he got up around noon, unlike some people...
Sticking with his decision to not turn on the TV, Alex turned on his phone. As he often did when hit with boredom, Alex shot his best friend a text and waited for a response, though it was debatable if he'd even get one. As much as he loved Adrien, time had not been kind to their friendship.
That's the sad thing about becoming adults, you stop having time for each other. Alex jumped in his seat at his phone vibrating. He reached for it and looked at the notification on the screen. It was a notification from the messages app, a rare text from Adrien. He quickly unlocked his phone and went to the thread.
- Messages -
Adrien Fox: hey man whats up
Alex smiled. He was Adrien could finally message him back from all the way in across the globe. Exploring the Swiss Alps meant there wasn't any time, or cell connection, to keep old friendships alive, unfortunately. Even if that friendship was forged in the fires of childhood delinquency.
Alex Summers: Just wanted to know if you were free to talk for a bit
Alex Summers: Chat about life backpacking through Europe or me in Boringville, USA
Adrien Fox: sure man im down!wife and i are at a stop rn, refueling before we head off for another stint on the e-paths
Alex Summers: How far in are you?
Adrien Fox: just finished number 8 n only got 4 to go, it's pretty sweet
Alex Summers: That's awesome, man!
Adrien Fox: i gotta go soon tho
Adrien Fox: next stop is e-9 goes through a crapload of countries, and stopping for too long isn't good for our rhythm
Alex Summers: Oh, okay
Alex Summers: How's Sheila doing?
Adrien Fox: oh she's great! been taking these mountains like a real pioneer
Adrien Fox: sometimes i swear she belongs here and one day shell leave me to go back to nature you know XD
Alex Summers: Don't tell her I laughed X,D
Adrien Fox: i won't say nothing if you wont ;)
Adrien Fox: but ill tell her you said hi
Alex Summers: Yeah man, thanks
There was some typing and deleting, before Adrien sent his next message.
Adrien Fox: Sheila and ive been thinking about settling down a little after finishing up the 12 e-paths
Adrien Fox: maybe buy a house and start a family you know
Adrien Fox: adventure has to stop somewhere but that doesn't mean the adventures have to stop altogether you feel me
Alex looked up from his phone and stared into his coffee cup. He was excited and proud of Adrien's accomplishments and how he was living his life, but he just seemed so... put together, like he had everything going for him, everything figured out, meanwhile all Alex had was... well, none of that.
Alex Summers: That sounds nice, I'm happy for you!
Alex Summers: Good luck finishing the hikes! I'm sure it's a lot of fun
Alex sighed. It seemed like him and Adrien just kept growing further and further apart. First he got married, which wasn't so bad. But, then, they started traveling the world, leaving Alex behind. Of course, he wouldn't have gone, if they offered. He knew he'd just be a third wheel.
He was happy for the two of them, sure, but that doesn't take away how lonely it can get when your best friend is thousands of miles away with shitty to nonexistent reception. It wasn't a lie, but it someone felt like it. He really as happy for them. It just hurts, feeling like your best friend gone.
Adrien Fox: Alex
Adrien Fox: i know its been hard, me traveling and all
Adrien Fox: im sorry that i havent been able to be there for you
Adrien Fox: when i left, i was hoping that andrew would be able to fill in for the both of us, but
Adrien Fox: well, you know
Adrien Fox: have you talked to him since what happened with hanna?
Alex's heart stopped. Andrew Jameson and Hanna Ramirez were names that he hadn't had to see for a long time. Flashbacks of his hands running through curly black hair, bright red lips dancing on his, the sound of her voice so close, so sweet, as it whispered into his ears.
Anger and resentment washed over Alex in waves. The image final of her on top of Andrew burned deeply into Alex's mind, finalizing the end to his involvement with the both of them. He had left them like that, on top of each other. He would never forget the looks on their faces when he walked in.
Adrien Fox: Alex?
Alex thought long and hard about his answer. He typed and deleted, until something fitting came to mind.
Alex Summers: I have absolutely nothing to say to him that won't end with me punching him, Adrien
There was silence for a few moments.
Adrien Fox: Alex...
Adrien Fox: give the poor kid a shot
Adrien Fox: youve never heard his side of things, its not fair to judge without the whole story
Alex Summers: What's not FAIR is me finding my GIRLFRIEND on top of my BEST FRIEND on my FUCKING DININGR ROOM TABLE
Alex Summers: Look, he's had PLENTY of time to try and tell me his side, I've given him more than enough opportunities to say what really happened, but he's never denied anything! Why should I talk to him if all he's going to do is say he's innocent and "it's not what it looks like"
Adrien Fox: thats because you never let him!
Adrien Fox: every time hes tried to tell you what happened, you just start yelling at him!
Adrien Fox: he has tried so many times to explain himself, but youve never given him the chance, you just yell and curse and storm off, before he can even try, Alex
Alex rolled his eyes and slammed his phone onto the coffee table. After Alex had caught Andrew and Hanna making out, hands underneath clothing, some clothing already off, there was no was he was going to give Andrew a chance. He didn't know if Andrew and Hanna were still together, nor did he really care.
All he knew was that they were dead to him. Years of friendship built, only to be flushed down the drain. A message popped up and Alex grabbed his phone.
Adrien Fox: have you ever thought about if hanna played him as much as she played you?
Alex rolled his eyes even harder than the last time.
Alex Summers: No. No I haven't. And I don't care. The feelings were clearly mutual, Adrien. At least Hanna had the decency to pack up her things and leave me alone. She knew she was guilty and that there's no point in trying to lie about it. That and she probably didn't even care.
Alex thought about Hanna. About Andrew. About Adrien and Sheila. About how everyone was leaving him, one way or another. Suddenly, the girl from last night jumped into his brain, hijacking his thoughts with her dark blue hair and deep hazel eyes. Suddenly, Alex wasn't thinking about Hanna, or Andrew, or Adrien, or Sheila. Instead, he was thinking about her. About her short temper and the look on her face when, for a second, it seemed like, maybe, she cared.
Alex felt his phone vibrate, pulling him back to reality. The smile on his face faded away, without him even realizing it was there, to begin with.
Adrien Fox: Alex look, i gotta go
Adrien Fox: bus leaves in 10 and we cant miss it
Adrien Fox: i wont have service so i wont be able to help you with this, but you really should unblock andrew and give him a call
Adrien Fox: meet him alex, hear him out
Adrien Fox: promise me that youll at least let him explain the whole thing from his perspective before you start yelling?
Adrien Fox: give the kid a chance and if you still dont like what he has to say, then you can disown him
Adrien Fox: but hear him out first
Alex stared skeptically at his phone, before making a decision.
Alex Summers: Fine.
Alex Summers: He gets one shot, but that's it
Alex Summers: I'll let him say whatever he wants, but I won't forgive him if he really did do what I know he did, Adrien
Adrien Fox: thats good enough for me
Adrien Fox: ill text you when im out again to see how things went
Adrien Fox: dont let me see that bitch control your life and push you away from Andrew
Alex sighed, heavy and pained. He knew he'd made a promise, but reconnecting with Andrew, even just for a chance to hear his side of things, was agony.
Alex Summers: A promise is a promise, I'll hear what he has to say
Alex Summers: But the second he confirms my suspicious, I'm out of there, and I'm never talking to him, again, Adrien.
Adrien Fox: thank you
Alex Summers: I'm only doing this so you'll shut up about it, okay? Don't get your hopes up
Adrien Fox: i only want you to talk to him
Adrien Fox: thats enough for me to stop bugging you
Adrien Fox: i just want you to listen to him and then decide if you hate him or not, okay?
Alex Summers: Okay.
Adrien Fox: bye Alex
Adrien Fox: ill talk to you when im at the next stop
Alex Summers: Bye, Adrien
Alex Summers: We'll talk then
Alex sent one last text, before turning off his phone to sip his, now cold, coffee in silence. The microwave read 1:03, and Carter's room was still devoid of any signs of life. Alex picked up his phone and scrolled in his settlings to blocked numbers. Sifting through the spam numbers, his thumb hesitated when it came to the only two names at the bottom of the list. Alex clenched his fist and hit the button.
He opened messages and started typing the last text he never thought he'd ever be writing.
New Message to [Andrew Jameson]: Adrien and I talked and he convinced me to hear your side of things. I'm willing to listen, but I swear to God, if you actually did what I saw you doing with Hanna, I'm going to (…)
Alex stopped himself. Andrew hadn't even gotten an answer to respond to and Alex was already yelling at him He took a deep breath and tried again.
New Message to [Andrew Jameson]: Adrien and I talked and he convinced me to hear your side of things. I've thought of a lot of ways to word this, but none of them are coming out how I want them to, so I'm just going to put this plainly. I'll listen to whatever you have to say, but I'm not promising that I'll do anything but that. If all you're going to say is that it wasn't what it looked like and that you'd never do that to me, don't even bother showing up. The only answer I want to this text is okay. If you're done with trying to say you're innocent, don't answer. I'll be at the bench under the old tree next Saturday at 5 pm. I'll wait until 7 for you to show up, after that, I'm assuming that we really are done and that I was right. If not, I'll see you, then. I'm giving you one shot, Andrew. Don't blow it.
Alex hesitated, then hit send. The message had been delivered. Alex laughed. He didn't even know if it was his number, anymore. Adrien would have told me if the number changed, Alex thought. He got up, grabbed a handful of ice from the freezer, and slipped it into his mug. He took a few sips and sat back down on the couch. Alex almost spilt his coffee when his phone blared the tone for a new message.
Without even thinking, he slammed his cup down and lunged for his phone. He opened it to see a text from Andrew.
Andrew Jameson: Okay.
Alex's heart raced. As much as he would never actually admit to it, he was excited. Maybe Adrien was right. Maybe, Andrew really was just another victim of Hanna. Alex shut off his phone and stared into the room. He absentmindedly drank the remnants of his morning coffee, distracted by the turmoil in his head.