The girls and I were sat having lunch at La Piazza. I heard my phone vibrate on the surface of the table over the very little sound of the almost non-existent lunch crowd in the restaurant at the time.
It was a text from an unknown number and it read.
Could you meet me outside? –Richard
I looked at my phone, just a little more than surprised. I had no idea how he'd gotten my number. I hadn't a mobile before college and I definitely hadn't given it to him at any time since I'd gotten it because we hadn't talked in almost two years. Sure my memory fails me more often than not but I was 100% sure that he couldn't have had my number.
"Is everything alright?" Cher questioned. She was seated across from me and I looked to find her looking at me with concern.
"Fine," I said. But Cher and Leah both gave me a look that had me talking again. "I just got a text from Richard, he's waiting outside ..." I looked back down at the phone in my hand. I didn't know what to do.
"There's no need to see him," Cher immediately said. My head snapped to look at her.
I think noticing the look on my face, Leah who was sat beside Cher, stepped on her foot, to which Cher nearly jumped out of her seat. She didn't say anything further, rather just glared at Leah. It was as if she was trying to tell Leah something without actually speaking.
Regardless of whatever was going between Leah and Cher and not wanting to figure it out, I excused myself and picked up my coat before leaving the restaurant.
True to his text, Richard was indeed waiting outside.
He visibly relaxed upon seeing me coming out the restaurant.
"Hey," he said as I got to where he was standing on the other side of the small street, "sorry about coming out so randomly. I got your number from your dad."
"You spoke to my dad?" I inquired.
"Yeah, he was rather ... nice ..." he answered. It was like he couldn't be too sure about my father actually being nice to him. Truth be told, I couldn't either. It seemed very fishy.
"Right, anyway," Richard said speaking again, "I called you out here to ..." he paused while it seemed like he was searching for the right word, "... apologize to you for anything that I might've said or done the night of New Year's ..."
I looked at him for an explanation. The only things he'd said were that I was still the same old Nicole he knew and that he missed me, and the only thing he'd done was hug me. Why would be need to apologize for any of those?
"You look confused," he said.
"I am confused," I replied. "What exactly are you apologizing for?"
"Everything," he said quietly, looking at me and then quickly averting his gaze to the ground. He looked back up just as quickly.
"You don't get what I mean do you?" he asked. However, without waiting for an answer, he continued talking. "I – it's just that ... I might have been a little under the influence that night and all but that doesn't mean it was okay for me let slip any of what I said. It's not fair to either of us and I'm sorry."
"Don't be," I said. "It was nice seeing you and talking to you again ..."
"You don't get it," he mumbled. "I'm seeing this girl and it's not fair to her either if I'm telling you that I miss you. I mean sure, I didn't expect to run into you and I sure as hell didn't expect you to look so good and yes, Jessie and I, we're not exclusive or anything but even then ... it's taken me a long time to get over you and move on."
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