Maybe Someday

Page 7


That’s a lot of time to invest in two people who were supposed to be the most trusted people in my life. I’m not sure if I would have ended up marrying Hunter or if he would have been the father of any future children of mine, but it hurts to know that I trusted him enough to possibly fill those roles, and he ended up being the opposite of who I thought he was.
I think the fact that I misjudged him pisses me off more than the fact that he cheated on me. If I can’t even accurately judge the people closest to me, then I can’t trust anyone. Ever. I hate them for taking that away from me. Now, no matter who comes into my life after this, I’ll always be skeptical.
I walk back into the living room, and all the lights are out except for a lamp beside the couch. I look at my phone, and it’s barely after nine. Several texts came through while I was in the shower, so I take a seat on the couch and scroll through them.
Hunter: Please call me. We need to talk.
Tori: I’m not mad at you for hitting me. Please call me.
Hunter: I’m worried about you. Where are you?
Ridge: I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner. Are you okay?
Hunter: I’ll bring your purse to you. Just tell me where you are.
I drop the phone onto the coffee table and sink back onto the couch. I have no idea what I’m going to do. Of course, I never want to speak to either of them again, but where does that put me? I can’t afford my own apartment right now, since financial aid doesn’t come in for another month. I don’t have enough money in savings to put down a deposit plus get all the utilities turned on until then. The majority of the friends I’ve made since I’ve been going to school here still live in dorms, so staying with them is out of the question. I’m basically left with two options: Call my parents, or enter into some odd plural relationship with Hunter and Tori in order to save money.
Neither option is one I’m willing to entertain tonight. I’m just thankful that Ridge allowed me to stay at his place. At least I’m saving money on a hotel room. I have no idea where I’ll go when I wake up in the morning, but that’s still a good twelve hours away. Until then, I’ll just continue to hate the entire universe while I feel sorry for myself.
And what better way to feel sorry for myself than while getting drunk?
I need alcohol. Bad.
I walk to the kitchen and begin to scan the cabinets. I hear the door to Ridge’s bedroom open. I glance over my shoulder at him as he comes out of his room.
His hair is definitely light brown. Take that, Tori.
He’s in a faded T-shirt and jeans, and he’s barefoot, eyeing me inquisitively as he makes his way into the kitchen. I feel a little embarrassed for being caught rummaging through his cabinets, so I turn away from him before he sees me blush.
“I need a drink,” I say. “You got any alcohol?”
He’s staring down at his phone, texting again. He either can’t do two things at once, or he’s upset because I had an attitude with him today.
“I’m sorry if I was a bitch to you, Ridge, but you have to admit, my response was a little justified considering the day I’ve had.”
He casually slips his phone into his pocket and looks at me from across the bar, but he chooses not to respond to my half-assed apology. He purses his lips and cocks an eyebrow.
I’d like to smack that cocky eyebrow back down where it belongs. What the hell is his problem? The worst thing I did to him was flip him off.
I roll my eyes and shut the last cabinet, then walk back to the couch. He’s really being a jerk, considering my situation. From the little time I’ve known him, I was under the impression that he was actually a nice guy, but I’d almost rather go back to my own apartment with Tori and Hunter.
I pick up my phone, expecting another text from Hunter, but it’s from Ridge.
Ridge: If you aren’t going to look at me when you speak, you might want to stick to texting.
I read the text several times, trying to make sense of it, but no matter how many times I read it, I don’t understand it. I grow concerned that maybe he’s a little weird and I need to leave. I look at him, and he’s watching me. He can see the confusion on my face, but he still doesn’t explain himself. Instead, he resumes texting. When my phone receives another message, I look at the screen.
Ridge: I’m deaf, Sydney.
Wait. Deaf?
But how? We’ve had so many conversations.
The last few weeks of knowing him and talking to him flash through my memory, and I can’t recall a single time I’ve actually heard him speak.
Is that why Bridgette thought I was deaf?
I stare at my phone, sinking into a heap of embarrassment. I’m not sure how to feel about this. I’m sure that feeling betrayed isn’t a fair response, but I can’t help it. I feel I need to tack this onto the “Ways the world can betray Sydney on her birthday” list. Not only did he not tell me he knew my boyfriend was screwing around on me, but he also failed to mention that he’s deaf?
Not that being deaf is something he should feel obliged to tell me. I just . . . I don’t know. I feel a little hurt that he didn’t share that fact with me.
Me: Why didn’t you tell me you were deaf?
Ridge: Why didn’t you tell me you could hear?
I tilt my head as I read his text and flood with even more humiliation. He makes a very good point.
Oh, well. At least he won’t hear me cry myself to sleep tonight.
Me: Do you have any alcohol?
Ridge reads my text and laughs, then nods. He walks to the cabinet below the sink and pulls out a container of Pine-Sol. He takes two glasses out of the cabinet, then proceeds to fill them with . . . cleaning liquid?
“What the hell are you doing?” I ask.
When he doesn’t turn around, I slap myself in the forehead, remembering he can’t hear me. This will take some getting used to. I walk to where he’s standing. When he sets the Pine-Sol down on the counter and picks up both glasses, I grab the bottle of cleaning solution and read it, then arch an eyebrow. He laughs and hands me a glass. He sniffs his drink, then motions for me to do the same. I hesitantly bring it to my nose and am met with the burning scent of whiskey. He holds the glass out, clinks it to mine, and we both down our shots. I’m still recovering from the awful taste when he picks up his phone and texts me again.
Ridge: Our other roommate has an issue with alcohol, so we have to hide it from him.
Me: Is his issue that he hates it?
Ridge: His issue is that he doesn’t like to pay for it himself and he drinks everyone else’s.
I nod, set my phone back down, grab the container, and pour us each another shot. We repeat the motions, downing the second one. I grimace as the burn spreads its way down my throat and through my chest. I shake my head, then open my eyes.
“Can you read lips?” I ask.
He shrugs, then grabs a piece of paper and a pen conveniently placed on the counter next to him. Depends on the lips.
I guess that makes sense. “Can you read mine?”
He nods and takes the pen again. Mostly. I’ve learned to anticipate what people are going to say more than anything. I take most of my cues from body language and the situations I’m in.
“What do you mean?” I ask, pushing on the counter with my palms and hopping up onto the bar. I’ve never met anyone who couldn’t hear before. I didn’t realize I was full of so many questions. It could be that I’m already feeling a buzz or I just don’t want him to go back to his room yet. I don’t want to be left alone to think about Hunter and Tori.
Ridge sets the notepad down and picks up my phone, then tosses it to me. He pulls one of the bar stools out and sits on it next to where I’m seated on the counter.
Ridge: If I’m at the store and a cashier speaks to me, I can mostly guess what they’re asking. Same thing with a waitress at a restaurant. It’s pretty simple to gather what people are saying when it’s a routine conversation.
Me: But what about right now? This isn’t routine. I doubt you have many homeless girls spend the night on your couch, so how do you know what I’m saying?
Ridge: Because you’re basically asking me the same questions as anyone else who initially finds out I can’t hear. It’s the same conversation, just different people.
This comment bothers me, because I don’t want to seem like those kinds of people at all. It has to get old, having to field the same questions over and over.
Me: Well, I don’t really want to know about it, then. Let’s change the subject.
Ridge looks up at me and smiles.
Damn. I don’t know if it’s the whiskey or the fact that I’ve been single for two hours, but that smile does some serious flirting with my stomach.
Ridge: Let’s talk about music.
“Okay,” I say with a nod.
Ridge: I wanted to talk to you about this tonight. You know, before I ruined your life and all that. I want you to write lyrics for my band. For the songs I have written and maybe some future songs if you’re up for it.
I pause before responding to him. My initial response is to ask him about his band, because I’ve been dying to see this guy perform. My second response is to ask him how the hell he can play a guitar if he can’t hear, but again, I don’t want to be one of “those people.” My third response is to automatically say no, because agreeing to give someone lyrics is a lot of pressure. Pressure I don’t really want right now, since my life has pretty much taken a nosedive today.
I shake my head. “No. I don’t think I want to do that.”
Ridge: We would pay you.
That gets my attention. I suddenly feel an option three making its way into the picture.
Me: What kind of pay are we talking about? I still think you’re insane for wanting me to help you write lyrics, but you may have caught me at a very desperate and destitute moment, being as though I’m homeless and could use some extra money.
Ridge: Why do you keep referring to yourself as homeless? Do you not have a place to stay?
Me: Well, I could stay with my parents, but that would mean I’d have to transfer schools my senior year, and it would put me about two semesters behind. I could also stay with my roommate, but I don’t know how much I’d like to hear her screwing my boyfriend of two years at night while I try to sleep.
Ridge: You’re a smartass.
Me: Yeah, I guess I’ve got that going for me.
Ridge: You can stay here. We’re kind of in search of a fourth roommate. If it means you’ll help us with the songs, you can stay for free until you get back on your feet.
I read the text twice, slowly. I shake my head.
Ridge: Just until you can get your own place.
Me: No. I don’t even know you. Besides, your Hooters girlfriend already hates me.
Ridge laughs at that comment.
Ridge: Bridgette is not my girlfriend. And she’s hardly ever here, so you don’t have to worry about her.
Me: This is too weird.
Ridge: What other option do you have? I saw you didn’t even have cab fare earlier. You’re pretty much at my mercy.
Me: I have cab fare. I left my purse in my apartment, and I didn’t want to go back up to get it, so I didn’t have a way to pay the driver.