The longer Charlie and Lexie dated, the worse living here got for me. I couldn’t even use the library. Last time I did, I heard them in the closet. It seemed like Charlie was constantly letting me know Lexie was all his by marking his territory in my usual spots. I wanted to get in his face and tell him to calm down. I got it. Lexie was his girlfriend. I didn’t care.
Except that was a lie.
I did care. I fucking cared too much.
The worst thing about all of this was I’d lost her as a friend. I’d give anything if she’d just talk to me again.
It was a typical Saturday night. Charlie asked me to make us drinks before we settled down, getting cozy on the couch.
Usually Charlie would make the drinks but he wanted to get right into a video game with Maddox and Kaluah. That left me to deal with my clumsy self. Can you say ANNOYING?
I didn’t drink much, so I made a non-alcoholic version for me. At least, I tried to make it.
But then I noticed James looking all lonely in the corner. He avoided me at all costs. Honestly, I wanted to make up ages ago, but it felt weird like there was this huge wall I’d built between us, and I couldn’t break it down to even say one word.
It was waaaay too awkward. I wanted him to say something to me first, but he’d just either flash angry eyes or sulk. That’d just shut me down, and I’d dive into Charlie or flee to the other room.
Aww…and he was reading the sci fi book I’d given him when he was living with me as Jenny. I wanted so badly to ask him how he liked it. I missed him as my best friend. He was the only one of my friends who would tell me I looked like a dweeb with what I’d picked out of my closet or if I still had spinach on my teeth. I missed our giggle sessions when we’d talk about the latest gossip or our insightful conversations on politics.
But how could I break down that huge wall? My stomach squeezed just thinking about walking up to him right now. I couldn’t force myself to do it.
And so we lived as strangers in the same room. He’d sit on one side of the wall and I’d meander and trip on the other.
That needed to change.
I thought about this for weeks and didn’t get a good idea until it was the Simmy Music Awards night. The Heartthrobs were nominated for a record five Simmys. Charlie said they probably wouldn’t win anything. Most boy bands were snubbed by the awards committee but I thought it was exciting anyway. And they were asked to perform. It was kind of a big deal, so I needed a beautiful dress. This was how I’d break the ice with James. I decided to wear the worst outfit. Well, even for me, so that was going to be pretty awful. James wouldn’t be able to take it, and he’d be forced to help me out.
I was proud of myself for putting this ensemble together. Dom helped me out with the gloves.
I walked up to Domina, looking like someone threw up a Valentine’s Day shake on me. “So, Dom, what do you think? This dress is soooo dope, huh?” ACK! Was I being too obvious? I could tell I was overdoing it by the way Dom was blinking at me.
She shrugged. “Eh…I think you should wear one of my dresses. You know, the one with the vampiric collar. That would set off your green eyes.”
“Oh my GOD! Dom, you’re right. And I think Elara has a wig I could borrow to go with it! Oh wait…I don’t think Charlie would like that. This outfit screams ‘classy’, you know?”
James glared at me.
It was working! I could tell he was about to bust a vein!
But he didn’t say anything. So, I had to send him over the edge with, “You agree, don’t you, Maddox?”
“Huh?” Maddox said, still watching the news.
Like a pent up powder keg, James finally blew. “Seriously, Lexie? You’re going to ask Maddox for HIS opinion? Who do you think styles him? I can tell you HE didn’t pick out that vest or his scarf. It was me. I’m the one around here who knows style and yet you won’t talk to me or ask me how you look because if you did, I’d tell you that what you’re wearing is the most hideous form of over-the-top nonsense I’ve ever seen. The designer who even thought up a dress like that should be fired.”
He added, standing in a huffy way. “Come on. I can’t allow a Heartthrob girlfriend to run around looking like an advertisement for heart shaped bubble gum. In your room. Now.”
I obeyed immediately, not saying a word. He took the bait exactly like I thought he would. Maybe this was the first step on the road back to our friendship. I hoped so, anyway.
I didn’t know Lexie had set me up until I opened her closet and saw a $10,000 Wera Vang original sparkling in it. Charlie must have had it sent over. I acted like she was too stupid to notice the dress, and threw it at her, snapping my fingers for her to put it on. She laughed and skipped to the bathroom. Once she was finished dressing, I ordered her to her vanity, and held out my hand for her to give me the makeup brush. I told her I would do her face since she would make herself look like a clown. She giggled, pleased with her little plan for us to become friends again.
What I didn’t realize until that moment was being friends was never going to be enough. I was in love with her. The ache I felt in the pit of my stomach gnawed at me. Maybe avoiding her was a good thing after all.
But she wore this silly smile I could look at all day. At least she was happy.
“Want me to do your hair?” I asked, gently.
She nodded, grinning up at me. “That would be awesome! Thanks, James!”
I put a bit of gel in her hair and combed it back into a tight bun, leaving some strands to frame her gorgeous face.
When I was done, I asked, “How’s that?”
I wanted to say, “You’re perfect.” But that would make things awkward. Stunning was more the word.
Charlie was lucky as hell. And I was the dumb shit who lost her.