Monday, December 29, 2014

LbA: Annoyed

“They’re here!” I whispered, more to myself than to anyone else.  I was peeking out of the front entrance window, as I saw the rental car pull into the end of the driveway.  I grimaced to myself.  The dread and exhaustion was already setting in.  My parents had failed to tell me that Miriam was coming with Tom for Thanksgiving until this morning when I got to their house.  I had prayed they would’ve broken up by now.  I thought that if he saw all of the girls his age at Purdue, that he would’ve found a better option.   
Apparently Miriam had moved to Indiana with Tom.  Annoying.

I also was severely hung over, which definitely was not helping my mood.  Thinking back to the reason I was hung over, drew my thoughts back to the previous night and everything that happened.  I audibly groaned, picturing Amanda’s lips pressed against Chase’s. 

When I walked out and saw them pressed together, I could immediately tell that it wasn’t something Chase wanted.  He was clearly shocked and her gesture unwanted, as his eyes were wide open and his arms were quickly grasping her upper arms pushing her away.  I actually laughed lightly, for only a moment, because of how horrified he appeared.  His eyes darted over to where I was standing, still holding the door open.  He pushed past Amanda without giving her any sort of regard, heading towards me.

“Chase, wait!”  Amanda called after him.  “You know you don’t regret that.”

She grabbed his upper arm to stop him and I saw his eyes instantly ice over.  He turned around and I heard him growl, “Let go of me, right now, Amanda.  You were, and are, out of line.”

I felt frozen by my surprise and confusion.  I didn’t understand why he was alone with her.  But then again, he had every right to be.  We weren’t a couple.

Unfortunately/fortunately, we didn’t talk about it.  I had turned and walked back into the bar, with Chase hot on my heels.  When I got back to the table, I downed the rest of my drink as Chase was saying that he wanted to explain.

I turned to him, wiping the remnants of the drink from the top of my lip.  “No,” I slurred.  “Now is not the time.”

His shoulders dropped, but I think he realized that that was probably for the best, based on the amount of alcohol in both of our systems.  “Okay.  Let me drive you home.”

“No.  I’m going to take a taxi.”  I knew he was fine to drive.  He had drunk about a third of what I had.  He also had followed the smart drink ratio of one adult beverage to one water. 

He lightly placed his hand on my lower back.  His voice turned firm.  “Aleah, I’m not letting you take a taxi.  I promise we can talk about this at another time, but I’m driving you back to your apartment.  I want to ensure you’re safe.”

I obliged.  The ride home was quiet.  I actually almost fell asleep.  Everything was spinning, and I was starting to feel a bit nauseous.  Chase took my keys from me and opened up the building door and my apartment door and helped me in.  I vaguely remember him helping me to my room and kissing my forehead. 

I literally had dragged myself out of bed around 9:30 a.m., electing to shower and ready myself for the day at my parents’, because I sure wasn’t feeling up to it, yet. 

I had to pull over next to a field on the way there to throw up, but knew there would be an egg casserole waiting for me, because that was my mom’s traditional holiday breakfast that she made.  After hurling, I felt tons better.

And now, although hung over, I wasn’t feeling deathly, but was not looking forward to having Miriam present. 

I knew that Bart and Nancy (uncle and aunt) and their children would be coming over, too.  So would my grandpa and grandma (on my dad’s side).  My dad had other siblings, too, but Christmas was the big get together where everyone would be making effort to get together.  A couple of the families spent Thanksgiving with the in-laws or traveled.

I went to my room to shower and get changed, bracing myself for the day to come.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


I was eyeing Amanda suspiciously, as she got up and walked to the bathroom, leaving Amber at the table with all of us.  Except Chase.  Who coincidentally had just gone to the bathroom about 3 minutes prior. 
I could see the door to the hallway where the bathrooms were from the high top we were gathered around.  I frowned as I saw her disappear into the hallway, anticipating Chase’s return.

I went back to talking to Lexi.  We were discussing going Black Friday shopping together.  I normally don’t shop on Black Friday.  There is nothing that is worth getting up that early (or ruining my family time on Thanksgiving night)for that I won’t happily pay for full price.  And to not have to deal with the crowds?  Priceless.  All of my friends know that, so they don’t ask.  But Lexi apparently had exhausted all of her options and no one wanted to go.  She wanted to go around 3 in the morning Friday.  In my drunken state, I thought this was a great idea and told her I’d happily accompany. 

By the time we figured out where to meet and where we were going to go, I looked around and saw neither Chase, nor Amanda, had come back from the bathroom.  “I’m going to the bathroom,” I said to no one in particular as I stood up and pushed my way through the crowd back to the bathroom. 

I made it to the hallway and saw no sign of either of them.  I busted into the women’s bathroom, and there was only one girl, sobbing and trying to fix her makeup in the mirror.  I rolled my eyes and turned to leave.  But my conscience got the best of me and I approached her cautiously.  “Are you okay?”

She sniffled loudly.  “Yes, I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?” I asked, cocking my head.

She started sobbing harder.  I internally groaned.

“My... my boyfriend (hiccup) was... (sniff) flirting with (wipes tears, smearing mascara more)... with the... (blows nose) the bartender!” She finished with a wail.

I immediately flipped the switch into drunk girl sympathetic mode.  Not that it was hard, since the room was spinning for me, as well.  But she was killing my drunken happiness.  “Oh.  My Gosh.  What a dick.  Are you sure?  Was she flirting back?”

“He... he handed her money (sniff) and then... (hiccup) and then he touched her hand with his.”
I stood there in silence, waiting for her to continue.  But she didn’t.

My patience quickly wore out.  “Wait, what?”  I grabbed the edge of the sink to steady myself.  “That’s it?”
Her eyes got wide and she turned to look at me.  She looked like she was going to fall over the edge of horror into despair, so I quickly changed my approach.  “I mean... girl, you are so beautiful!  I’m sure it was an accident and he didn’t mean it!”

She meekly asked, “Are you sure?”

I nodded my head enthusiastically.  “Oh yes.  I’m sure it was an accident, at most.  He’d have to be an idiot to not solely be focused on you!”

She lunged at me, wrapping her arms around me, almost knocking us both over.  She thanked me loudly and sniffled again.  I half smiled and pushed her out at arm’s length, to keep her from snotting all over me.
I decided to actually use the bathroom while I was in there.  After I escaped, I marched out back to where the group was, and noticed that some of them were missing.  Chase and Amanda still being two of them.  WTF.

Then I heard very loud, slurred music.  I turned, just becoming aware that the bar had Karaoke happening.  And there was Snoop.  Living it up.

He wasn’t too bad... but I’m sure the alcohol wasn’t helping his cause at the moment.  Male Model, Jack, and Lexi were still at the table.  I went and asked if they knew where everyone else was.  I received an obvious point towards the Karaoke mic at Snoop.  MMA and Amber were both up there, I could see their heads, looking through the book of song choices.  But that still left Amanda and Chase as MIA.

I asked if they knew where Chase was and they all shrugged their shoulders.

I maneuvered my way to the bar and didn’t see them.  I went back out to the main door, and saw Chase standing by the door, through the window, leaning against the window.  It looked like he was by himself, as he was looking off in the distance away from the door.  I pushed through the first set of doors, but stopped before going through the second.  Chase was standing really close to the door, but I realized then that he wasn’t alone.  Amanda must have been along the outdoor wall, where I couldn’t see through the window.  But I could hear their voices.  Or at least hers...  So I did what any normal human would do.  I strained to listen, standing up against the side of the door by the crack, but where neither of them could see me through the window.

“I know that, Chase, but I really miss you.”

“I’ve told you, already *muffled* and there’s a reason why we didn’t work out before.”

“We’re both older and more mature, now.”

“Amanda, I’m *muffled*.

I could hear the frustration rising in her voice.  “But how long have you two been dating and you still haven’t made it official?  Don’t you think that raises some red flags for you?”

Chase loudly said, “Amanda, just because it isn’t official yet doesn’t mean I don’t care about her and don’t want it to be.  I’m just waiting for the right time.  Why am I even explaining this to you?  Why can’t you just let it go?  Let me go?”

“Just, give it some thought.  I really think that we could make it work, if we started dating again, now.”

I’d had enough and decided now was a good time to interrupt them.  I pushed the door open and walked through, looking at where they were standing. 

Except they weren’t just standing there anymore... Amanda had moved and pressed her body against Chase’s, and I was just in time to see her push her lips against his.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

LbA: Thanksgiving Eve

Biggest drinking day of the year?  You know I went out.  With Chase.  And his friends.

He had asked me if I wanted to, and I said yeah.  Aaron and I had texted sporadically, but he wasn’t nearly as dedicated to daily contact as Chase.  We also hadn’t seen each other since our date.  With closing in on Thanksgiving, I had been busy with school and tennis practices and hadn’t had much time to spend time with either guy, although I’d seen Chase a couple of times. 

We were bar hopping at some dive bars downtown and circulating through Haymarket, too.  Since I knew there would be a lot of walking, I chose to wear Uggs, black leggings, an oversized gray sweater, a warm coat, and hat.  When I jogged out to Chase’s car to meet him and fell into his passenger seat, he looked me up and down approvingly, smiling.

“What?” I asked.

“You look good in a hat.” He grinned at me, and then backed out.

We caught up since we had last been together.  Once we arrived at the first bar, Chase dropped me off at the door and went to find parking.  He always offered to drop me off, and I usually didn’t accept, but I had left my coat in the car, since I knew it would be packed.  I stepped inside the first set of doors and waited for him.  Chase came strolling up, kissing me, grabbing my hand, and leading me all the way inside.

We found his friends, which had obviously arrived much earlier than us, as there was an empty pitcher on the table, and two half filled pitchers, with lots of half empty plastic cups.  “Heey!” we were greeted with, by the whole group.

Chase’s friends present consisted of 4 guys and 1 girls. I am horrible with names and couldn’t remember any of them at first.  The guys were all friends of his from high school, and the 1 girl was 1 of the guy’s girlfriend.  They all seemed nice enough, although it seemed they made the saying “opposites attract” comes to life, just within their friend-group. 

One guy was short (shorter than me), was wearing a black Metallica shirt, super baggy jeans, and seemed quiet.  His head was shaved, his features a lighter dark (if that makes sense).  I guessed his ancestors were from Central or South America.  I learned he made music.  Like, literally, he rapped and had his own cd.  He performed at local bars every once in awhile.  He also worked at a factory, but his true passion was music.  I dubbed him Snoop.

The next guy, was also short.  Similar in height to Snoop.  His light brown hair was buzzed.  He had a thick body.  Built like a pit bull, kind of.  He looked like he at least worked out.  Mentally, I nicknamed him MMA, which turns out, was spot on.  He amateur MMA fights.  He worked at the same factory as Snoop, as well.  And it seemed out of these guys, those two saw each other the most frequently.  He also had a son and live-in girlfriend (baby’s mom), who was at home with said son.

The tallest of all of them, had super long, spikey hair.  He dressed and carried himself like a model, but I doubted that is what he did.  He had super sharp facial bones, and a strong jaw.  He scanned the room, consistently, and from what Chase whispered to me later, he was always on the prowl for his next conquest.  I referred to him as Male Model.  Which was way off.  He was living in his parents’ basement and not working. 

The last guy, and the one with the girlfriend, was similar in style/appearance to Chase.  His name was Jack, and he works for Gallup in Omaha.  He was the only one of their group that wasn’t still living in Lincoln.  Chase seemed the closest with Jack out of all the other guys.  I’m assuming because their lifestyles matched up more.  His girlfriend, aside from Jack, was named Lexi.  She was pleasant, and a natural beauty.  She didn’t wear a lot of make-up, and was dressed in an almost identical outfit to mine, minus the hat.  She works with Jack, and that’s how they met. 

The only reason why I was so interested in their differences, is because they were all, literally, so different.  But they all seemed like really nice guys, who would do anything for each other.  I knew it would be a fun night.

Lexi and I hit it off right away, and spent most of the night by each other’s sides.  By the third bar, 4 drinks, and a couple shots later, we had exchanged numbers and were talking about how we were soul mate friends.  Ah, drunken epiphanies. 

As we were exiting the third bar, we ran right into Amanda (Chase’s ex) and her bff Amber, entering.  Lexi wasn’t around for the Chase/Amanda era, so I filled her in on the little I knew.  Turns out Snoop and Amanber are pretty close with Snoop and go to his shows when he performs.  And also hang out other times.  Which (unfortunately) led to them joining out group and heading to the next bar.  Amanda on one side of Chase talking his ear off, him holding my hand and turning to me to roll his eyes periodically, and the alcohol in me feeling territorial. 
We entered the next bar, and that is when the fun began.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

LbA: Goodnight, Sweet Girl

“So, is it serious?” Aaron casually asked, taking a sip of his Bud Light.

I looked down at my hands, unsure of how to answer.  Unsure because I really wasn’t sure, and also because a part of me deep down in my secret desires spot didn’t want to give Aaron a reason to not ask me out again.

We were out for the drink that Aaron owed me... my prize, I suppose, for winning his game of I Spy.  Both of our schedules had conflicted, so we weren’t able to get together until a couple weeks after Halloween.  He had asked me what I had done, and I had just finished telling him about the night with Matt, Sarah, and Chase.  And I had mentioned how we were dressed as the Big Bang characters.  And how Chase is someone I’ve been seeing.

I glanced back up at Aaron, his expression unreadable.  “Well, we’ve just been dating.  He’s not my boyfriend.”

I saw a small smile play at his lips.  “I see.”

I had only agreed to a beer with him, but we were now each on our third.  Talking to him was natural, with playful, flirty banter intertwining the genuine “getting to know you” questions.  We had been at the bar for a couple of hours.  Or three.  He had picked me up from my apartment.  When we got to the bar, he had purposely sat himself facing the door, so he would always be aware of our surroundings and who was in and out.  Apparently it was a police thing.  Probably for the first time in a couple of months, I felt relaxed and protected, and neither Luke, nor Victoria, crossed my mind. 

Every once in awhile, when it was appropriate, he would reach out and lightly touch my hand, when making a point or when teasing. 

“Are you hungry?” he asked.

“I am!” I giggled.  “Plus, all this beer is catching up to me, and if we don’t get something solid in me, I’m not going to last much longer.”

He smirked, “That’s what she said.”

I rolled my eyes, but laughed along with him.  Seeing as how we were at a sports bar, we ordered a couple of appetizers.  Specifically, mozz sticks, potato skins, and a fried veggie basket.  “What are you doing for Thanksgiving?” I asked him.

“Oh, that is in two weeks already.  This year has flown.  Nothing big.  I’m actually the on-call detective , so I’ll probably go to my parents’ house, but don’t anticipate actually being able to stay the whole time.”

“So are you on-call just for your unit?”

“No.  When on-call we have to cover anything that comes in.  We try to slap a Band-Aid on it, if possible, until normal hours, but covering the full investigation if the situation calls for it.  So I could be responding to property crimes, homicides, domestics, child crimes, just to name a few.  It kind of mixes it up a little for me, which I like.”

“When you’re on call, are you usually busy?”

“It’s really hit or miss.  It just depends on how naughty people are being.” He half-smiled at me and winked.

I blushed.  Something about his winking at me seemed... flirty.  Though the topic definitely wasn’t.

The waitress arrived then, with our appetizers.  Every time she had helped us, she had been more than friendly to Aaron, all but ignoring me.  And every time she focused on him, he managed to not awkwardly turn the attention back to me.  She asked, while batting her eyelashes and staring directly at Aaron, “Does everything look good?”  Her body was even positioned more facing him. 

He smiled kindly at her, and then looked at me.  “I think it looks fine, what do you think, Aleah?”

His eyes never left mine as I responded, “Absolutely delicious.”  The waitress turned her head towards me, but looked annoyed that I even existed right then.

“I swear,” I muttered after she walked away.  “You’d think I was invisible!”

“Well, when you’re hanging out with someone with as killer hair as mine, you get used to kind of falling into the background.”  He looked completely serious when he said it, but I could tell by the glint in his eyes, that he was teasing.

“I see,” I knowingly said, while obviously eyeing his hair.  “I mean, it is pretty nice... but I think you’ll know how it feels when we have a male server sometime.”  And it was my turn to wink at him.

He leaned forwards, finishing the bite he had in his mouth, looking at me intensely.  “So, are you trying to ask me out on a second date?”

I blushed, not realizing my words when they had come out previously, and also at the fact that he considered this a date.  My heart did a little leap of joy.  I was worried he really had just viewed this as hanging out with a friend, having won a “bet.”  “Oh wow, um, I wasn’t trying to... I guess I didn’t mean my words like that.”

I saw a look of disappointment flash across his face.  But before I could identify if he was really hurt or it was a joke, it was gone.

So I rushed on, “I mean, oh gosh. I didn’t mean it like that.  I mean, I’m having a really good time, I just don’t normally... I’m not really that bold.”

He laughed, smiling at me.  “Aleah, slow down.  I was just kidding with you.  Partially.  I was joking about you asking.  I wasn’t about this being a date.”  I bit my lip at his modest confidence, yet how he was able to reassure me without even knowing the waves of insecurity that were lapping at my confidence.  My confidence usually shown through in normal conversation, whether it was genuine or forced.  But apparently not when I was taken aback by a handsome suitor.

He was studying me, as he took another bite.  He raised an eyebrow, and I could tell he was waiting for me to say something.  “A date?  Well, I can’t say that I’m disappointed by that.” 

We continued talking throughout the eating, and before I knew it, it was almost midnight.  He drove me back to my apartment and got out, walking me to the door.  “Have your keys this time?”

“Eh, you’ve got jokes I see there.”

He bumped his shoulder into mine.  “Detective by day, stand-up comedian by night.”

I shook my head and chuckled at him.  “I had a really great time tonight,” I shyly looked up at him.

“Aleah, I really did, too.  Would it be okay if I took you out again sometime soon?”

I nodded my head, my smile splitting my face.  “It would.”

He placed his finger tips lightly on my chin and nodded my head up towards his.  He leaned down, at the last minute moving to the side and his lips grazing my cheek.  He stood back up to his full height and smiled at me.  I swear my heart had stopped, yet was pounding out of my chest at the same time.  His smile, a simple smile that said a thousand words.  “Goodnight, sweet girl.”

And as I watched him turn and walk back towards his car, I breathed out, just realizing I had been holding my breath.