Point of Retreat

Page 22


"You guys decide on anything yet?"
He's quiet for a moment. He inhales a slow, deep breath and exhales even slower. "I told her I was nervous about going through with it the other night. Told her I think we needed to weigh our options. She got really upset," he says. He sits back up on the couch and puts his elbows on his knees. "She accused me of thinking she would make a bad mom. That's not what I think at all, Will. I think she would make a great mom. I just think she would make an even better mom if we waited until we were ready. Now she's pissed at me. We haven't talked about it since. We're both just pretending like it's not happening or something. It's weird."
"So you're both carving pumpkins?" I say.
Gavin looks at me. "I still don't get that analogy."
I guess he wouldn't. I wish I had better advice for him.
Kiersten walks into the living room and sits down next to Gavin. "Know what I think?" she says.
Gavin looks at her, agitated. "You don't even know what we're talking about, Kiersten. Go play with your toys."
She glares at him. "I'm going to let that insult slide because I know you're in a bad mood. But for future reference, I don't play." She stares at him to make sure he doesn't have a response, then she continues talking. "Anyway, I think you should quit feeling sorry for yourself. You're acting like a little bitch. You aren't even the one pregnant, Gavin. How do you think Eddie feels? I'm sorry, but as much as the guy likes to think he's got an equal part in these kinds of situations, he's wrong. You screwed up when you got her knocked up in the first place. Now you need to shut your mouth and be there for her. For whatever she decides to do." She stands up and walks to the front door. "And Gavin? Sometimes things happen in life that you didn't plan for. All you can do now is suck it up and start mapping out a new plan."
She shuts the door behind her, leaving Gavin and I speechless.
"Did you tell her Eddie was pregnant?" I finally ask.
He shakes his head, still staring at the door. "No," he says. He continues to stare at the door in deep thought.
"Dammit!" he yells. "I'm such an idiot! I'm a selfish idiot!" He jumps up from the couch and puts on his jacket. "I'll call you Thursday, Will. I've got to go figure out how to make this right."
"Good luck," I say. As soon as Gavin opens the front door to walk out, Reece walks in.
"Hi-Reece-Bye-Reece," Gavin says as he passes Reece. Reece turns around and watches Gavin run across the street.
"You've got strange friends," he says.
I don't argue. "There's pizza in the fridge if you want some."
"Nah. I'm just here to grab some clothes. I already ate," he says as he walks down the hallway.
It's Tuesday. I'm pretty sure he and Vaughn went out for the first time yesterday. Not that it bothers me in the least, but things seem to be progressing a little fast with the two of them. Reece walks back through the living room toward the front door. "You work things out with Layken yet?" He’s shoving an extra pair of pants into his bag.
"Almost," I say, eyeing his overnight bag. "You and Vaughn seem to be hitting it off pretty well."
He grins at me and walks backwards out the door. "Like I said, I've got skills."
I sit there on the couch and ponder my situation. I've got an old best friend who's dating the girl I spent two years of my life with. My new best friend is freaking out about becoming a dad. My girlfriend isn't speaking to me. I've got class in the morning with the very reason my girlfriend isn't speaking to me. My parallel eleven-year-old neighbor gives better advice than I do. I'm feeling a tad bit defeated right now. I lie down on the couch and try to think of something going right in my life. Anything.
Kel and Caulder walk into the living room and sit on the other couch.
"You with wrong what's?" Kel says backwards.
"Wrong not what's?" I sigh.
"I'm too tired to talk backwards," Caulder says. "I'm just gonna talk frontwards. Will…can you come to school next Thursday and sit with me at lunch? It's supposed to be Dad day, but Dad's dead so that leaves you."
I close my eyes. I hate that he's so casual about not having a Dad now. Or maybe I'm glad he's so casual about it. Either way, I hate it for him. "Sure. Just let me know what time I need to be there."
"Eleven," he says as he stands up. "I'm going to bed now. See ya later, Kel."
Caulder walks toward his bedroom and Kel stands up. I watch him as he crosses the living room. He looks just as defeated as I do right now as he heads toward the front door. When the door closes behind him, I slap myself in the forehead. You're such an idiot, Will!
I jump off the couch and follow Kel outside. "Kel!" I yell when I open the front door. He turns around in the street and starts walking toward me. We meet in my front yard.
"What about you?" I say. "Can I have lunch with you, too?"
Kel tries to suppress a smile, just like his sister. He shrugs. "If you want to," he says.
I ruffle his hair. "I'd be honored," I say.
"Thanks, Will." He turns and walks back to his house. As I watch him close his front door behind him, it occurs to me that if things don’t work out between Lake and I, it's not just her I'm afraid of losing.
I'm not sure how today is going to go. When I get to my first class, all I can do is wait. I'm hoping she doesn’t sit by me. Surely she knows that much. Most of the students arrive and the professor finally walks in and hands out the tests. It's ten minutes after the start of class and Vaughn still hasn't shown up. I finally let out a sigh of relief and begin to focus on the lecture when she bursts through the door. She never has been much for subtlety. Of course, after she grabs her test, she comes straight up the stairs and sits right next to me. Of course she does.
"Hey," she whispers. She's smiling. She looks happy. I'm hoping it has everything to do with Reece and nothing to do with me.
She rolls her eyes. "Don't worry. This is the last day I'm sitting by you," she says.
I guess she could see the disappointment clearly written across my face when she walked up.
"I just wanted to say I was sorry about last week. I also wanted to say thanks for being so cool about Reece and I dating again." She picks her bag up from the table and starts sifting through it, then takes out a pen.
"Again?" I whisper.
"Yeah. I mean, I thought you'd be pissed that we started dating right after you and I broke up last time. Before he left for the military? Actually, it kind of upset me that it didn't piss you off," she says with a strange look in her eyes. "Anyway, we decided to give it another shot. But that’s all I wanted to say."
She turns her attention to the test in front of her.
Again? I want to ask her to repeat everything she just said, but that would mean I was inviting conversation, so I don't. But again? And I could swear she just said they dated before he left for the military. Reece left for the military two months after my parents died. If he and Vaughn dated before that…that only means one thing…he was dating her right after she broke my heart. He was dating her? The entire time I was venting to him about her, he was dating her? What a jackass. Hopefully he and Vaughn have gotten to know each other pretty well the whole three days they've been 'back' together…because he's about to need a new place to live.
I expect to confront Reece about it when I get home, but he isn't here. The entire night is relatively quiet. Kel and Caulder are spending most of the evening at Lake's house. Kiersten is too, I guess. It's just me and my thoughts. I use the rest of the evening to perfect what I want to say tomorrow night.
It's Thursday morning…the day Lake forgives me. I hope. Caulder and Kel have already left with Lake. I hear Reece in the kitchen making coffee and decide now would be a good time to go have a talk with him. To thank him for being such a great friend all these years. Jackass.
When I walk into the kitchen ready to confront him, it's not Reece making coffee. It's not Lake, either. Vaughn is standing in my kitchen with her back turned to me. In her bra. Making coffee in my kitchen. Using my coffee pot. In my house. In her bra.
Why the hell is this my life?
"What the hell are you doing here, Vaughn?”
She jumps and turns around. "I…I didn't know you were here," she stutters. "Reece said you weren't here last night."
"Ugh!" I yell, frustrated. I turn my back to her and rub my face with my hands, trying to sort out how the hell to fix this whole 'roommate' situation. Just as I'm about to kick Vaughn out, Reece walks into the kitchen.
"What the hell, Reece? I told you not to bring her here!"
"Chill out, Will. What's it matter? You were asleep. You didn't even know she was here."
He casually walks to the cabinet and grabs a coffee cup. He's wearing boxer shorts. She's in her bra. I can't imagine what Lake would think if she walked in right now and saw Vaughn in my kitchen in her bra. I'm thisclose to getting Lake to forgive me. This would derail my entire plan.
"Get out! Both of you, get out!" I yell.
Neither of them moves. Vaughn looks at Reece, waiting for him to say something…or do something. Reece looks at me and rolls his eyes. "Let me give you a piece of advice, Will. Any girl that can make you as miserable as you've been this week isn't worth it. You're being an ass. You need to drop that chick. Move on. If you ask me, she ain't worth it."
This little piece of advice, coming from this man who could care less about anyone but himself, pushes me over the edge. I don't even know what comes over me. I don't know if it's the comment about Lake not being worth it, or the fact that I'm now aware he lied to me for months. Either way, I lunge forward and punch the shit out of him. As soon as my fist meets his face, it's agony. Vaughn is screaming at me as I back away from him, holding onto my fist with my other hand.
Jesus! In the movies it always looks like the one being hit is the only one hurt. They never show the damage it actually does to the hands doing the hitting.
"What the hell!?" Reece yells, holding his jaw. I expect him to try to punch me back but he doesn't. Maybe deep down, he knows he deserves it.
"Don't tell me she isn't worth it," I say, turning toward the refrigerator. I reach in and grab two ice packs. I throw one to Reece and put the other one on my fist. "And thanks, Reece….for being such a great friend. After my parents died and she broke up with me…" I point to Vaughn when I say 'she.' "You were the only one willing to stick around and help me through it. Too bad I didn't know you were helping her out, too."
Reece looks at Vaughn. "You told him?" he says.
Vaughn looks confused. "I thought he knew," she says defensively.
When Reece realizes I now know he dated Vaughn during the lowest point of my life, he becomes flustered. "Will, I'm sorry. I didn't mean for it to happen. It just happened."
I shake my head. "Things like that don't just happen, Reece. We've been best friends since we were ten! My whole damn world collapsed around me. For an entire month you acted like you were trying to help me get her back, but instead you were screwing her!"