VII

Pastries. Gloriously amazing pastries. Some of which just melt in your mouth. It’s like heaven in a 4×5 inch box. Alex’s father is a God! He dropped me off to my aunt’s four hours ago and all I can think about are those damn pastries. I feel as though he has introduced me to cocaine.

As I stare up at the ceiling, I remember Alex’s parting question, whether or not he will see me at his sister’s reception tomorrow. I still don’t know what to do.

On one hand, Alex has been amazing these last few days. If it weren’t for him, I think I would be deep in a depression and a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream right about now. But on the other hand, that depression is sitting under the surface. When I’m by myself, I find myself ruminating on what was missing that drove him to sleep with all those women. Was I lacking someway, somehow, in something? Or was it actually just him? And these thoughts just make me want to crawl under the covers and sleep forever.

But when I’m with Alex, I don’t think about him or how he hurt me. I just feel happiness, and joy, and excitement. And that in itself terrifies me even more. Alex has been married before, and I don’t even know why he isn’t anymore. I can feel myself growing attached to him but there is an expiry date for his place in my life. What if my happiness, and joy, and excitement are reliant on him and if he leaves me, when he leaves me, I will be nothing. I will be officially alone, again, for good.

I continue to stare at the ceiling blankly with these thoughts on a circular setting in my mind. At some point I doze off, feeling as though I just blinked and somehow the sun is peaking through my curtains, which means I’ve probably slept much later than I planned too. When I roll over, I see that it is twelve o’clock. The reception starts in five hours, and if I actually do want to go, I have nothing to wear.

I lay in bed for another hour internally debating whether or not I should go to the reception when I hear my phone vibrating from my purse. The only reason I answer the call is because my phone bill is under my ex’s name and I set up automatic billing before I left. I look at the caller ID before I answer and see that it’s Steven.

“Hey Stevo,” I roll over onto my stomach and rest my chin on my hands. “What’s cooking?”

“Oh, I just thought I’d call you from the hospital, where I am right now, because I have to get some glass removed from my hand, after mom and dad bailed me out of jail.”

I sit up instantly, eyes wide. And before I can even ask the question Steven says, “I saw him. Well obviously I saw him, because he came to my fucking house. I opened the door and he was just standing there like the last three fucking years didn’t happen. And before I knew it, I clocked him. And then I walked up to his beloved car and put my hand through the window.”

“Of the Benz?!” He fucking loved that Benz, most definitely more than he loved me.

“Yep, then I walked back over to him and gave him one swift kick to the nuts. Then I grabbed the crow bar from my garage and I went to town on the fucking car.”

I’m smiling at the thought, I’m a sadist. “Did someone video tape it?” I ask sarcastically, but I really do wish someone did. How I wish to be a fly on the wall.

“Yea, Todd, that 15 year old two houses over. He heard the glass shatter and came out and filmed it. I think it’s on Worldstar now, not the greatest for the charges, but it’s okay. It was for you.”

“Stevo…” I can feel the tears welling in my eyes.

“It’s okay Sloane, whatever happens, it was for you.” He clears his throat of the emotion and adds, “You should go watch the video though before my lawyer gets it taken down. I can’t lie, I look like a fucking boss.” I can hear the smile in his voice.

“I’m already searching for it.” I say as I clear my throat and wipe a tear away, scrolling through the home page of Worldstar videos. And then I see it, a frozen image of my brother’s a-game baseball swing form, crowbar in hand ready to go. I click on the image and the clip begins. And there it is, Steve walking towards my ex, who is in the process of getting up, and he kicks him right in the jewels, shattered glass sprinkling the sidewalk. Then Steve disappears into the house and ten seconds later emerges with a crowbar and walks right up to the prized Mercedes Benz E 43, sans passenger side window, and just starts swinging. “You are. My fucking hero.” I say as I burst into laughter at the video, which comes to a close with my ex running towards Steve and tackling him to the ground to stop his assault on the one and only thing he truly loves. The title for the clip, I must say, is the cherry on top of a great video. ‘Crazy suburban beat down.’

“No, just your twin brother, doing what should be done for his sister.”

“Whatever, you’re my hero. And you know what would make you even more my hero, if you could get Todd to email me that video, so I can watch it over and over and over again, and have it play at my funeral.”

I hear Steve’s familiar laughter and it makes me smile. “You’re an asshole.” He finally says when his laughter dies down.

“Yea me, I’m the asshole, sure.” The line goes quiet for a few seconds. “Thank you.”

“I know you’re crazy ass would do the same thing for me.” Another pause, “So how are you?” This is the first time I’ve talked to Steve since I landed.

“I don’t know to be honest. I’ve made a friend, and he is honestly carrying me along. Invited me to a wedding reception today and I just… don’t know Steve.”

I hear him sigh heavily. “Stop it Sloane. Just stop thinking for once and just fucking live. Just fucking live.” I can hear talking in the background and the phone ruffles slightly. “They just called me up. Go to the reception, Sloane. If this guy, if he seems worth your time, just friend, more than a friend, whatever he is, don’t let what that dickwad did keep you from just living. But I really gotta go, I love you Sloane, don’t be afraid to live.”

The line goes dead. I think about Steve’s words and decide that before I start living, I’m going to watch that video a few more times.

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