Act III, Scene VI
Many thanks to Fielding, VampireMouse, and kilalala!
The next Monday she decided that she would take a break from apartment hunting for a bit. Although this particular decision, in combination with her resignation at the diner, freed up much of her schedule, she found herself keeping Tom at a safe distance. “I’m busy, call you later”, she had texted him the previous evening. And then “Work tomorrow morning,” when he had asked her to hang out that night. A part of her felt horrible for lying; the other, more rational part told her she was doing the right thing. Might as well slowly distance herself from him, it would make his leaving a lot easier to bear when it would inevitably happen.
Only it wasn’t easier. The truth was she felt terrible, not only for lying, but also because with nothing but time on her hands, she couldn’t help her thoughts. Couldn’t help thinking about Ian, about his eyes, his smile, his hands, his smell, his everything. Couldn’t help thinking about how she would never see him again. About how the hole in her chest may never heal. About how the bottle of sleeping pills seemed to appeal to her more and more after each sleepless night. About how no matter what job she got, what apartment she found, or how many friends she made, it wouldn’t change the fact that it would all fall away at the end of the day and she would be all alone again. So when that Tuesday she got a call from Josh asking to grab a coffee together, she had more than half a mind to turn him down. Tell him she was busy. That she had to work. She ended up showering and getting dressed reluctantly, and arrived at their usual hangout less than an hour later – and almost immediately wanted to turn back.
‘Congratulations on your birthday!’ Josh pressed a kiss to her cheek and a bouquet of roses in her hand. ‘I apologise for not getting you a real present; I must admit I had quite forgotten about it until I looked on my Google calendar this morning.’
‘Oh, I wish you hadn’t bought me anything,’ she said, waving the flowers around awkwardly. And she meant it.