I woke up with Veronica whispering just an inch from my ear and when I opened my eyes she put her finger on her lips and then she waved to me like saying ‘come here’ so I got up carefully and I looked at Naomi and she was still sleeping and I followed Veronica into the kitchen and since that was really just another part of the same room and maybe fifteen feet away from the bed she was still whispering when she said “Oh my god!” and I said “What?” and she said “You and Naomi? Oh my god!” and I said “What do you mean?”
“Darling,” she said. “I can give you a list of at least a hundred girls that’s been trying to get into Naomi’s pants since like forever. And my name is on it. It’s impossible. She’s like the holy grail around here.”
“Oh,” I said.
“Everyone wants to be her first. There are bets even. And then you show up and… ta-daa. First date. Not even a date. A ride home. Oh my god. I hate you.”
“Her first?” I said.
“Yup,” she said. “Congrats.”
“No,” I said. “We didn’t do anything.”
And she tilted her head and raised her eyebrows like she didn’t believe me at all and I said “It’s true.”
“What happened?” she said and I was telling her about it when Naomi woke up, and she rubbed her eyes and said “Hey, Roni” and Veronica said “Morning. I’m so pissed off right now,” and Naomi said “Yeah?” and Veronica said “Do you know how many times I’ve dreamed of you in my bed? And then it happens, and I’m not even here,” and Naomi just said “Yeah, I know. Can I use your shower?”
“Sure,” Veronica said and Naomi got out of bed clutching the duvet around herself and trying not to drop it as she picked up her clothes and then she shuffled to the bathroom door and opened it and when she was behind it and we couldn’t see her she dropped the duvet and we just saw her leg kicking it away so she could shut the door.
And Veronica just sighed.
And when she came back she said “Your turn,” and I took a shower too and then we had breakfast together and then Veronica made coffee and tea and Naomi and I cleaned up a little bit and then I picked my phone out of my jacket before I sat down at the table with them, with Naomi next to me and Veronica across the table and I checked the phone and I had gotten two texts during the night and one was from Lucy and one was from Cait.
And suddenly my heart was pounding in my chest and my hands were shaking and I was too scared to even read the texts and Veronica said “Darling, are you okay?” and I looked at her and tried to nod like it was nothing but now I was crying again and I didn’t want Naomi to see so I looked away and out the window and Veronica said “Cait?” and I just said “M-hm.”
“What did she say?” Veronica said and I just shrugged and she said “Darling, read it,” and Naomi said “What’s going on?”
And I wiped my tears away and read it but not out loud, and the first one was from Lucy and she had obviously sent the same text to both Cait and me and it said “Home in the morning. Can’t wait. The place is awesome, you’ll love it here! Love you, babes!” and now of course I remembered where they had been and why they would stay for so long and it was something we had talked about months ago and not just the day before they left and I felt like an idiot and Veronica grabbed the phone from me and I let her and she read it and just said “Oh,” and then she read the one from Cait and then she whispered “Oh, darling…” and she showed it to me and I looked even though I didn’t really want to and it said “You didn’t tell Lucy?? Or even Tobey? What’s wrong with you???”
And I hid my face in my hands and I sobbed, and then I said what I think I really came all this way to say; “Roni, tell me what to do. Please.”
And she said “Go home.”
And I looked at her with tears running down my cheeks and I nodded and said “Okay.”
And then we just sat there for a while, not saying anything and then Veronica said “Let’s go out, to a cafeteria or something,” and Naomi and I both said “Yeah okay,” and Veronica said “Just let me take a shower first. And if there’s no more hot water I’m kicking both your asses.”
And when Naomi and I were alone, she pulled her chair closer and took my hands and said softly “Hey,” and I tried to smile and she said “If you want to be alone with Roni, I get that.”
“No,” I said. “Look, I really like you. But I’m a mess, and I don’t think I could even tell you what it’s all about. But I want you to stay.”
“I get it, though,” I said. “If this is too much of a snag. And if I led you to believe something else was possible, I am soo sorry.”
She smiled. “It’s not,” she said. “And you didn’t.”
“And,” she said. “I really like you too.” And then she kissed my fingertips before she let go and leaned back and said “So, where’s home?” and I told her and then she said “And Cait is your girlfriend?” and I just nodded and she said “And now you’re going back to her?”
And I nodded again.
She didn’t say anything for a while.
Then she leaned towards me and took my hands again. “I do hope she takes you back,” she said and I said “Thanks,” with a lump in my throat and she said “But, if she doesn’t, call me. Okay?”
“I will,” I said. And I meant it.
“Oh, come on!” Veronica said as she came out of the bathroom. “You two only met each other last night!”
And she was right of course but it didn’t feel like it. It felt like I had known her so much longer and I can’t explain it but it did.
“Now get over here,” Veronica said. “Both of you. So I can kick your asses!”
We spent almost the whole day outside even though it was really cold, at a coffee shop and then in a park and then just window shopping and I actually had a good time because Naomi was so wonderful and Veronica is always fun to be with and Naomi held my hand when we walked around, and it felt kinda like we were together even though we weren’t and she probably just did it to make me feel better, to show me that she cared.
But I knew I had to call them, Lucy and Tobey and even Cait. Today. And I kept checking the time and counting backwards to figure out what time it was back home, and it would probably have been better if I had called right away but I kept putting it off and I tried to imagine what was going on with them and if I had called just as soon as it was morning there, maybe I would have been the one to tell Lucy and Tobey before Cait did, and that was the only right thing to do of course and I wanted to do that and thought about what to say but before I had figured out what to say I thought she had probably told them by now and so I imagined what she had said and how they had taken it and what they were talking about now and I thought if I called now, at least I wouldn’t have to go through that part and maybe that was better and I could tell them how sorry I was and we could all talk about it together. But I didn’t, and then I figured she had told them and they had had plenty of time to talk about it so the shock had kinda passed and I could basically just ask what they had decided and that was probably the best anyway and I would tell them I would do whatever they wanted, even if that was that they didn’t want me to be with them anymore and then I would say “I understand”.
But then as the hours went by I just wondered why none of them had called me yet, and a part of me was actually a bit angry that they didn’t call because why shouldn’t they? Why did it have to be me? How was that fair? This was hard for me too, couldn’t they see that? And this was Tobey’s fault too, not just mine.
And then in the afternoon we had gone back to Veronica’s place and Naomi said “I guess I have to go home,” and she said it like it was a question and I said “Will you be okay?” and she smiled and just said “Aww, you’re so sweet,” and Veronica rolled her eyes and put a finger in her mouth and pretended like it all just made her hurl.
“I’ll be fine,” Naomi said. “And if not I’ll move back to my brother Charles in Luton.”
“How many brothers do you have??” I said and she held up four fingers and then she said “All with different dads. I mean, Nate and I have the same dad but the others, it’s kinda anyone’s guess.”
“Wow,” I said and she said “I know, right?” and Veronica said “You can live with me,” and Naomi said “You wish.”
Then she looked at me and said “Do you want me to stay a bit?” and I said “Well, yeah but…” and then Lucy called.
And my hands were shaking like crazy when I picked up.
And Lucy was crying. Almost hysterically.
“Don’t do it!” she said. “Did you do it? Please god, don’t. Please say you didn’t. You can’t! You don’t have to!”
And I didn’t understand what she meant, and I couldn’t say a word and she said “You don’t have to,” again and then she said “It’s okay. What you did. But I’ll never..!” and she screamed the words. “Never ever! Ever speak to you again if you did it!”
And I still didn’t understand what she was talking about but she had said “It’s okay what you did.” And those words made me wail, and I cried and cried and all I could say was “Lucy, I’m so sorry,” and Lucy said “You did?! Oh god, how could you??” and she cried more and I said “No, Lucy, I don’t understand. Did what?” and she sobbed and tried to stop crying. “Your message,” she said. “What you wrote. On the fridge. You wiped it but it still shows.”
I tried to remember what I had written but I couldn’t. “What message?” I said and she said “I’ll take care of it”.
“What?” I said and she said “You wrote ‘I’ll take care of it’. But you can’t. It’s wrong! And it’s not just your call. How could you??”
And now I remembered, and I understood and I said “No. Oh god, Lucy no. I didn’t. It said ‘Take care’. Just that.”
“What?” Lucy said.
“Just ‘Take care’,” I said. “Like, to you.”
And I just heard her sobbing for a bit and then she said “You haven’t..?!” and I said “No,” and she said “So you’re still..?” and I said “Yes. And Lucy, I’m so sorry, I really am.”
And she said “I know.” And then she said “Baby, can you please just come home?”
And I said “I will.”
And maybe it was because of those words. “It’s okay what you did.”
Maybe if she hadn’t said that, maybe if she had said “We’ll talk about it when you’re back,” or something, then maybe I would have thought it through. Because now I really felt like everything was okay. And that everything was okay with Cait too.
And when I had hung up, Veronica just said “See?” and smiled and Naomi smiled too, like she was so happy for me, and she took my hand and caressed it. And then she said “That’s so great. But… who’s Lucy?”
And I sighed and said “Yeah, she’s…. uhm…” and then I said “Maybe you can stay after all? I’ll tell you everything.”
Cait texted me not long after I had talked with Lucy, and it said “Are you coming home?” and I wrote “Yes. I love you.” And she didn’t answer that but I didn’t really realize it, and I sent her some more texts as if everything was back to normal and I even told her about Naomi, and Naomi was going to spend the night again and we even had some wine and so because of this deal that Cait and I had, about if we could sleep with someone else, and the deal was ‘Only girls’, and ‘Ask for permission first’.
So I asked Cait for permission. And it took her such a long time to answer, but she had never said no before and so when my phone beeped and I climbed out of bed to check it and it was a text from Cait with her answer and it said “No!!”, it was too late.