"That was amazing, Eric!" a guy said, patting me on the back.
"Thanks," I said vaguely. I was too busy staring at Daniel, who was standing in the corner, detached from the rest of the group. I didn't have a chance to talk to him after the play had finished, but he seemed to be avoiding everyone now. I told my admirers to go away, and I walked up to Daniel.
"Hey, Daniel," I said. He remained unresponsive. "I have to talk to you. About that moment in the play. About what I said -"
"I know," he interrupted. "You don't have to say it. I slipped out of character. You did what you had to do, to make me kiss you. If I were you, I would've done the same, Eric." He looked up at me, his sky-blue eyes shining. He tried to smile. "You were a really good, Juliet."
"Not bad yourself, Romeo," I choked out. Then I turned away, quickly wiping my eyes. I never used to cry, before I can here. I never used to cry, before I took this job. I never used to truly cry, before I met Daniel.
I locked myself into the changing room, and leant against the wall, my vision blurred with tears, half-laughing, half-crying.
Oh, Romeo, my sweet, sweet, stupid Romeo.
"Come on, cheer up man, this is your leaving party!"
I stared at Tyler dubiously. "I thought this was the cast party."
"Whatever, man! Look at all these girls! Do you like any of them?"
I stared around the beach, looking at all the girls. "No," I replied, bluntly.
"Stop being such a pussy and just pick a girl, and hook up. This is your last night with us. Don't you want to spend it with a bunch of girls, heavily intoxicated, and high?"
"No to girls, no to drugs, but I'll take the vodka," I said, grabbing the bottle from his hand.
"Whatever, dude," Tyler said, apparently giving up. "Your loss."
He turned around, about to return to the party, when I called his name.
"Tyler, now I'm leaving...can you do one last thing for me?"
"Sure. Name it."
I nodded towards the guy, laughing and warming his hands around the large bonfire we'd lit.
"Look after Eric."
Tyler stared at me for a moment and then nodded, slowly. "Sure...Sure."
We spent the whole night, laughing and dancing to the guitar Tyler had bought and was expertly strumming. At the other end of the beach, Daniel sat alone, facing the ocean. I didn't know if I should join him. He clearly didn't want any human company. But this was his last night...why weren't his friends spending it with him? He'd been my roommate for a while and so I had to say goodbye. Right?
I traipsed over the sand, barefoot. This suddenly reminded me of that night, when I'd almost drowned, and Daniel and I were ship-wrecked...A small smile formed at my lips. That's been fun...sort of. Apart from the drowning.
"Hey," I said, from behind Daniel. He should have the choice whether to face me or not.
After a while, his back replied. "Hey."
His tone wasn't overly-warm, but I'll take it.
"What's the party boy doing all the way over here?" I asked to his back, trying to keep my tone light. In reality, I wanted to cry. I didn't know how much Daniel truly mean to me, until he was about to go. Wasn't that true of most things?
"Party boy doesn't want to party," he replied, taking a swig from the bottle of vodka.
"You're going to go, Daniel," I said, my tone softening. "Don't you want to say bye to your friends?"
"Bye." His back was immobile, solid. His silhouette rippled with the ocean. What expression did he have on, right now? If only I could see his face...well, actually I knew. He was an actor, after all. His expression would be perfectly unreadable.
"Daniel..." Tears started forming again. I wiped them away, angrily. Why was I crying so much? I didn't even like Daniel, right? That's why I'd broken up with him. "You can't do that...you can't just go without saying goodbye."
He was utterly silent for a minute.
In the silence, I heard laughter and splashing. I glanced back at the party. They were waddling in the water. I turned back to Daniel.
"Daniel, everyone will miss you. You should know that."
I turned around, about to leave.
"Of course," I said, swallowing the lump in my throat. "Of course I would. Everyone would."