Act III, Scene XIII
By the time she passed the kitchen, her vision was blurry due to the tears clouding her eyes, and she cursed herself for her weakness. She did not even know why she was acting like a hormone-crazed teenager who had just found out true love didn’t exist. Tom was her friend – if he was even that after her horrible treatment of him. He did not owe her his undivided attention, nor his lap, lips, or any other body part. Nor did she want it. So why was she feeling so terribly broken?
Two hands gently took hold of her shoulders, and she was guided into an empty room before she full well realised it. When the lights flicked on, she noticed it was Bill who had taken her aside, no longer looking drunk, and he pulled her into a tight hug.
‘I’m sorry Anna,’ he whispered into her hair, his voice soft and sweet – and she wondered how she could have ever mistaken Tom’s voice for his. ‘I tried to warn you, but…’
‘It’s okay,’ she managed, but her voice broke in the middle of her “okay”. She allowed herself to lean into him for a moment, allowed herself to be weak, to let him hold her together for a moment. ‘I’m not… I don’t… I don’t care about him like that. I don’t know why I’m…’
Bill slowly guided her down on a sofa, rubbing soothing circles on her back. By now she knew Bill was no star at comforting crying girls, and he seemed terribly awkward while he rubbed her back. Despite his own discomfort, he still remained with her however, and she had to give the man some credit for it.
For a few minutes, he said nothing, waiting patiently as she tried to regain control of herself. ‘I don’t know if it’s any consolation, but he doesn’t care about them, you know.’ He wiped away a stray tear from her cheek, and offered her a sweet smile. ‘But somehow he came to care about you, even though everything I’ve heard and seen of you tells me that you are not his type. In fact, the more I hear and see I think you would be exactly my type,’ Bill chuckled, and Anna found herself smiling along.
‘I thought that too, once,’ she admitted, thinking back on the many posters of him that had covered the walls of her room at one point. The irony of his words was not lost on her, especially when she remembered that he had been the person her letter had been addressed to, to begin with. She could only wonder how things would have turned out if he had been the one to read it. She smiled, ‘Now I just think we would make great friends. As I thought would Tom and I.’
‘Don’t you think there could be something more? Between you and Tom, I mean,’ he hastened to add.
At Bill’s suggestion, she allowed herself to consider it. It was true, Tom possessed all the qualities that had attracted her to Ian. He was sweet, funny, and was someone she felt comfortable talking to. Yet, he was also a ladies men and a terrible flirt, and she wasn’t sure if she could handle that. Hell, she was pretty sure she couldn’t. But even if she could, even if he would love her, even if they would be great together, and even if she would want to be with him, she knew she couldn’t. ‘There can’t be.’