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“No. No no no no no no!” I yelled.
“Elliot, you’re overreacting,” my brother sighed.
“Yeah, Jelly Bean, it’s not that bad.”
I glared at him. “Don’t you dare call me that.”
“Look, your name isn’t on the lease so you don’t have a say in it,” Charles tried to calmly reason. “He needed a place to stay.”
“I’ll buy you a box, Jack,” I said sympathetically. “A nice big one.”
He rolled his eyes and plopped down on the couch. “It’s not that bad,” Charles chuckled.
“Not that bad? You’re letting my ex stay here! The only way it could be worse is if you let his little bitch stay too!”
“Actually, we broke up…just thought I’d throw that out there…” Jack mumbled.
I rolled my eyes. “I wonder why she left.”
“I cheated on her,” he smirked.
I felt my blood boil as I walked away.
“I’m just kidding, Jelly Bean!”
“So where do I sleep?” He asked my brother.
I slammed the bathroom door and sat on the edge of the bath. I knew Charles was friends with him, and I was okay with that. I almost never saw Jack after we broke up. I heard about him from my brother occasionally, but that was the extent of it. I didn’t think he’d eventually move in!
Jack cheated on me five months ago with his friend’s girlfriend. They deserved each other. His friend and I kind of bonded over that. We got really close afterwards. We never dated, neither of us ready to get back out there, but we became very good friends. After a while, I accidentally fell for him and he fell for me, but by the time we admitted it, it was too late. He was moving and that was the end of that week. I missed him a lot; I wished I could see him again. If I never saw Jack again, I wouldn’t mind, but because of his mistake it brought his friend and I together.
Suddenly I heard a knock on the door.
“You can’t stay in there forever, Elliot,” Charles said through the door.
“I’m not even here!” I heard Jack yell.
I opened the door to peek my head out. “Jack, you’re a bona fide moron.”
He curtsied from the living room. “Thank you, I try.”
“I don’t think you do. I think it comes naturally to you.”
He laughed as I shut the door again, but Charles’ foot was in the way. “I’m not asking you to date him. You don’t even have to talk to him. Just don’t hate me. He’s my friend.”
I rolled my eyes. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t hate you.”
He pushed a pint of Ben & Jerry’s inside the bathroom for me. I took it before he could pull it out again. “Do you forgive me?”
I opened the door all the way. “Maybe.”
“Well, where are you going?”
I stormed past Jack to the kitchen. “I need a spoon.” I walked into the kitchen and jumped up onto the counter after grabbing a spoon.
“You’re just as moody as last time I saw you,” Jack leaned again the door.
I scooped into the ice cream. “Last time? Oh you mean last time when I walked in on you and you said quote ‘I tripped and my dick landed in her mouth’. Yeah stupid me was really moody about the whole situ—“
“Elliot, stop.” He interrupted me. “I’m sorry, okay? I was stupid and I made a mistake.”
I put the lid on my ice cream and put it in the freezer. “Three words I’ve always wanted to hear. ‘I’m sorry okay.’” I headed for the door, but he blocked me.
“Your sarcasm doesn’t do anything to me. I know I hurt you and I’m sorry.”
I squared my shoulders and leveled my glare. “You don’t know shit what you did to me so quit acting like you do.” I shoved past him and headed to the living room to grab my bag. “Charles, I’m going out. I’ll be back later.”
He came out of the bedroom confused. “Did something happen?”
“Yeah we have an infestation problem, but you can deal with it. I’m going out.”
His shoulders slumped but I walked out, heading into the hall of the apartment. There was a Starbuck’s right down the street that was practically a second home to me. I used to go all the time with my friend, but now it was just me.
“Hey Elliot!” Rosie greeted me when I walked in.
I nodded in response, pulling out my wallet. “I’ll have the usual coffee frappuccino,” I sighed. “Make it a large.”
“My ex is moving in with me thanks to my stupid brother.”
She made a face. “Wow, so that kind of day?”
I exhaled trying to find a smile. “Yeah…how much do I owe you?”
“No charge today, Sweetie.”
I took the frappuccino gratefully. “Thanks, Rosie.” I found a large, comfy seat in the back and closed my eyes. I just needed to relax and breathe. He wasn’t staying forever right? Charles wouldn’t do that to me. I finished my coffee and continued to sit in the big chair, listening to the jazz music playing softly over the speakers. The sun went down and the lights on the streets were turned on. I sighed, knowing I’d have to go home eventually. I picked up my purse and left, waving goodbye to Rosie.
“Good luck,” she yelled sarcastically as I walked out.
It had gotten much chillier now that the sun had gone down. I wrapped my arms tight around my body and walked home. The lights were already off in the apartment. Charles always went to sleep early, but I’d always shut his door and turn them back on. The apartment was too quiet knowing who was there. I didn’t go looking for Jack; instead, I grabbed my bathrobe and headed for the bathroom to take a long bath. I flicked the light on and turned the water all the way to hot, pouring in bubble liquid. I stripped my clothes off and pinned my hair up, dipping my toes into the steaming water. It burned at first, but as I sank lower it soothed my tense muscles. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I turned the water off with my foot once it filled up as high as it could. Steam covered the mirror and air in the confined bathroom. I heard a soft knock on the door so I pulled the shower curtain closed to hide the tub.
I heard the door open gently and someone walk in. “I heard the water running and thought you might like some company,” Jack’s voice said.
I felt my anger rising slightly.
“And before you say anything, I didn’t mean me.” He put his hand through the curtain to give me the Ben & Jerry’s container and a spoon.
I took it and starting eating. “Why does every guy assume ice cream is a good peace offering?” I commented.
Jack chuckled softly. “You took it didn’t you?”
I couldn’t see him through the curtain, but I thought I heard him sit down. “How’ve you been, Elliot?”
I didn’t answer for a long time. “I don’t know,” I finally responded. “So Emily broke up with you?”
He sighed. “We broke up four months ago.”
“Why?” I honestly was curious.
He chuckled. “She accused me of not opening up to her.”
I laughed with him. “You never were one for opening up. We’d dated for seven months before I finally knew everything about you.”
“Well she thought a month was long enough for us to know everything about each other. What about you?” he asked, bringing the topic back to me. “Did you ever date after me?”
I sucked on my spoon thoughtfully. “No…I’m kind of off the stuff for a while.”
“You just never found the right guy or never looked?” he asked.
I shrugged even though he couldn’t see me. I didn’t know the answer. I thought he was the right guy when I was dating him, but then I was proven wrong so I guess both.
“I realized something after Emily left…” he said thoughtfully. “As corny as it sounds and even though it doesn’t make a difference at all…”
I listened intently for what he was trying to say.
“You were the best I ever had. I know you won’t take me back, but at least take my apology.” He pulled the curtain away to see my face. “Please.”
He leaned in cautiously, gauging my response to him. I closed my eyes and parted my lips as he kissed me. It was a brief kiss, but it was the first one in a long time.
He chuckled, his breath fanned across my face. “Your kisses still taste like chocolate. You wonder why I call you my Jelly Bean is because every time I kiss you it tastes like candy.”
I licked my bottom lip, putting a lid on the ice cream. I couldn’t quite make sense of what just happened. He just caught me off guard and took advantage.
I pulled the curtain closed and he sighed. “Elliot, please forgive me for hurting you.”
I didn’t speak, not trusting my voice. I pulled the plug on the bottom of the tub and the water started to drain. He handed me a towel and walked out of the bathroom with the ice cream. I wrapped the towel around my body and wiped the single tear that fell down my cheek. There was no way on this godforsaken earth that I would let him back into my life. After all the damage he did to me, why should I forgive him? He can’t just show up on my doorstep and kiss me, thinking everything is okay in his world.
I finished drying off and got dressed in my big t-shirt and boyshorts, ready for bed. I brushed my teeth and splashed water on my face. I couldn’t let Jack see what I was feeling. Quietly I turned the bathroom light off and padded to the living room where I slept. We had a futon I used for my bed while Charles got the bedroom. Since he paid rent on the apartment, it was only fair he got the room.
When I got to the living room, the futon was already pulled out and Jack was sleeping on one side.
“Get up,” I ordered.
He looked up and squinted. “Charles said we had to share the futon.”
I rubbed my temples to calm down. “Only until you get an air mattress, understood?”
He nodded with a smile, plopping his head back down on the pillow. “And that’s my side so move.”
He sat up and scooted over to the right side of the bed. “You look really good tonight.”
I quickly pulled my shirt down lower to hide my underwear. “Oh don’t act like I haven’t seen you naked before,” he chuckled.
I glared in the dark, getting on the bed. It squeaked loudly, not used to a lot of weight. Jack laughed under his breath. “Guess there’s no hiding anything we do in this bed.”
I pulled the covers tight, facing away from him. “All we’ll be doing is sleeping,” I assured him.
We laid in silence for about ten seconds before he started bouncing. The bed started bouncing loud enough for Charles to hear.
“I swear to god if you don’t stop right now, I’ll make it so you’ll be the one squeaking,” I said menacingly.
He continued to bounce defiantly so I kicked him hard in the groin. “Oh, Mary, Mother of all things wholly cheese and salty crackers that fucking hurt!” he cried.
I sighed with a smile on my face. “Maybe now you have an inkling of an idea of how I felt,” I pulled the covers up. “Good night.”
He groaned. “Good night, Jelly Bean.”
“Call me that again, I dare you.” I felt good to make him cry after all the tears he drew from me. I closed my eyes and fell asleep, trying to ignore the fact that jack was just inches from me.
“Morning Jelly Bean,” Jack chimed.
I kicked my left out trying to hit him. I heard him laugh and I opened my eyes. His bright green eyes were staring back at me from off the bed. I rolled over and groaned.
“Enough with the moaning. As if the bed squeaking didn’t give me enough mental images of you two,” Charles gagged.
I shot out of the futon angrily. “No! You got it all wrong! We didn’t—That’s dis—“
“Don’t say it’s disgusting, we’ve done it before,” Jack laughed.
I glared at him before looking back at Charles. “Trust me, it was all him, by himself.”
Charles looked at jack questioningly. “Never mind I don’t want to know.”
Jack laughed going into the kitchen. “Well I’m off to work. Try not to kill each other okay?” He opened the door.
“No promises!” I yelled after him.
“So what do you want for breakfast?” Jack came back in.
I rolled my eyes and fell back onto the mattress. “I’ll take that as a yes to banana pancakes.”
I reached over and grabbed my Ipod and headphones. Last night in my dreams I practically relived five months ago. He was standing outside my parents’ house, yelling that he was sorry, but I knew he was only sorry he got caught. If he loved me, he wouldn’t have cheated; plain and simple. I couldn’t believe anything he said anymore knowing how easily he hid her. He was the first boy I ever loved and of course, he was the first boy to ever hurt me. After I broke up with him, I moved in with my older brother.
Jack didn’t act serious unless it was something really serious. Even being here after all the damage he did to me, he still found he could joke about everything. It was a quality I used to like about him, but now it showed how immature he truly was.
Last night when he asked me to forgive him was him being serious and he meant for me to take him seriously, but I had no intentions of doing it. He didn’t deserve forgiveness. I pulled the covers higher over my head to block the sunlight, but more importantly block out reality.
I fell back asleep listening to music, but was soon woken up by Jack nudging me. I tried to ignore him, but he continued faster. I pulled my headphones off and glared at him. “This had better be because you caught the kitchen on fire or something.”
“Actually the phone is for you,” he held it out for me.
I answered it angrily. “What?”
“Elliot? Do you mind coming in to work today? I know it’s your off day, but—“
“Yeah I’ll come in! What time?” I sat up.
“Really? You sure?”
“Well if you could make it in by one that would be great.”
I hung up and got out of bed. “Work?” Jack asked.
“Yeah looks like we aren’t gonna be able to spend the day together. I was really looking forward to us, too.”
He chuckled. “You’re really torn up about it, I know.”
I rolled my eyes, heading to the bathroom to brush my hair.
“You know you look really good with bedhead.”
“Yeah because rat’s nest is the new ‘do,” I mumbled, brushing it out.
He laughed. “Girls try to get every strand in place, but I love it messy. It’s sexy.”
I put the brush down and walked away. “So when do you have to be at work?” He followed me.
“Uh…” I looked at the clock. “Eleven.”
“Mhm gotta rush.”
“It takes you fifteen minutes to get to work,” he said suspiciously.
“Hence the rushing part.”
I stripped my shirt off, replacing it with a white tee and my pants next. Jack fixed the futon back into a couch position, trying to not be seen watching me. I put my shoes on and headed for the door.
Jack blocked it, his face void of humor. “Do you forgive me?”
I stared into his eyes for a while, not able to think like last night.
“Come on, Elliot, I made a mistake. I will never do that again. You have to believe me. I learned my lesson. I lost the one person that actually meant anything to me. I made one slip up and lost her,” he stared deep into my eyes. “Please.”
I didn’t know what to say. All this time, all I really wanted was for him to admit he was wrong. Even when I caught him in the act, he blamed her for coming onto him. I knew people made mistakes, but at least they took responsibility for their actions.
I didn’t respond. What could I say after five months? Poof I don’t hate you anymore.
“I still love you, Elliot.” He cupped my face, sending chills down through my body as I closed my eyes. He gently brushed his lips against mine, making the moment last. I inhaled through my mouth before pressing my lips to his in a searing kiss.
“What are you doing up here? The parades down there.” I walked over to where he sat on the edge of the building.
Jack looked up and smiled. “I like the view from here. It’s better.”
I sat down beside him. “I doubt the candy will reach us up here.”
He intertwined his fingers with mine and smiled. “So long as I have my Jelly Bean with me,” he leaned in to kiss me.
“Call me Jelly Bean again and I’ll push you off this building.” I chuckled against his lips.