Tick Tock (20)

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Chapter Twenty

Robbie

It was half past eleven when my world came crumbling down around me.

The party had been perfect, thus far. I was having a really good time with Tiffany and I was talking to people that I wouldn’t have the chance to see when I was living in Glasgow.

The hardest part of leaving to go to university was not leaving my girlfriend behind – no, I knew that I’d be able to visit Tiffany most weekends, and she could visit me sometimes too. The worst part would be separating from my brother from another mother. He had been there for the majority of my life, but now he was going to the Windy City – Aberdeen – and I was going to a place that could possibly result in my getting stabbed repeatedly – Glasgow.

But, at about half eleven, I was left watching, disbelieving, as Darren – my best friend – and Jamie – my little sister – slow dancing together. They were pressed right up against each other. They were looking directly into each other’s eyes. They were both leaning their heads forward, closer and closer.

Almost in slow motion, the two people that I had known almost all my life pressed their lips against each other. I was horrified. I was shocked. But most of all, I was angry.

I growled under my breath and made to make my way onto the dance floor to rip him away from her and punch him, so hard he wouldn’t regain consciousness until next week.

What an utter betrayal. How long had this been going on? How long had they been dating behind my back?

As I stepped forward to kill my best friend, Tiff put a hand on my chest, preventing me from doing so.

“Don’t,” she said simply.

“Do you not see that?” I asked, outraged. “Do you not see what is going on, on that dance floor?”

“Yes, I see it,” Tiff told me calmly. “But it’s not as big as a betrayal as you think it is.”

“You knew?!” I asked, almost speechless. Great, so now my girlfriend is lying by omission. What did I ever do to deserve this?

“I knew Jamie had an epic crush on Darren. She has done for years now. She’s been fascinated by him ever since she hit puberty.”

“How long have they been dating?” I asked, as calmly as possible.

“They haven’t,” Tiff shrugged.

“What?” I asked, dumbfounded. “So Jamie’s make over for that bloke she had a massive crush on –“

“Darren.”

“And her reasoning for hanging out with us…?”

“Darren.”

“Darren?”

“Darren.”

”So how am I meant to react now?” I asked, not sure what to do. Looking out on the dance floor, I saw they were still at it.

“Just wait,” Tiff said, shrugging. She then picked up her bottle of pear cider and took a drink, still watching Darren and Jamie with a twinkle of knowing in her eyes.

I didn’t know what was going on that she wasn’t telling me, but I knew that all would fall into place soon, and things would ultimately be fine.

I was still angry though.

“Hold the phone,” I said, as I watched my best friend and little sister stop playing tonsil tennis and instead make their way off the dance floor and out of the room. “I’m not having that! Where do they think they’re going?!”

“Chill, baby,” Tiff said. “They’re just going to talk. They’ll be back soon.”

“How do you know all this?” I asked my girlfriend.

“Because I know Jamie,” she replied, simply.

* * *

He walked towards me without his new tonsil tennis partner. He was looking directly at me, with sadness and happiness, as well as a touch of remorse. I merely watched him, a strong dislike in my eyes. I was still not happy with how the two of them had behaved, and I was going to make sure Darren knew it.

“Look,” he said as he came to my side. “I’m sorry, man. It was a spur of the moment thing, and I just acted on it.”

“You pulled my sister,” I stated.

“Robbie, I realised the other day that I really had the hots for Jamie and –“

“You’re not doing a good job in convincing me you’re right for her.”

“Okay, I’ll make it more PG –“

“Oh, God,” I moaned. I really didn’t need to hear that he’d been having non-PG rated thoughts about my little sister, whom he had known for practically all of her life. It was too gross to handle.

“Well, I recently realised that I have strong feelings for your sister that weren’t just physical –“

Please!” I moaned.

“– and I can’t go around denying who I am and who I love. I wanted to let Jamie know how I feel about her before I leave for Aberdeen, and we were dancing, and she’s just so beautiful, and I couldn’t help it. And let me tell you, I was by no means forcing myself upon her! That girl was giving as good as she got –“

“For fuck’s sake, Darren!” I said loudly, cutting him off. “Did you ever stop to think about how I might feel about all this? Ever stopped to consider your best friend? And why did you think it was a good idea to confess these feelings just before you’re about to move three hours away? What are you going to do now? You can’t have a long distance relationship when you’ve just started up. And God help me, I know you’re my best friend, but if you cheat on her, I will kill you. In fact, if you do anything to hurt her – physically or emotionally – I will hunt you down and tear your head from your neck, but only after I have torn all your toenails off, one by one, and your fingernails, too.”

“If you’d let me explain something that’s pretty important, I’d appreciate it,” Darren said quietly. I crossed my arms and waited patiently as a signal for him to proceed. “We’re not going to date. She doesn’t want to be with me.” He paused before looking at me with sadness filling his eyes. “She said she loves someone else.”

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Let's just clarify: this was a horrible chapter. But I leave home tomorrow, early, so I wanna get this finished before 10pm tonight. Look forward to the last chapter coming your way in the next 12 hours!

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