The voice on the other end of the phone is not the voice I was expecting to hear, but even better. It’s Lindsey, and she’s talking kind of fast, but the gist of it is that Scott asked her to call me to ask if I could pick her up and watch her for a little while. I say of course, I would love to hang out with her, and that we can solve the middle part situation in her hair. But really, on the inside, I’m more upset that he had Lindsey call me instead of picking up the phone himself, and that he had the nerve after blaming me for what he did.
Lindsey hangs up abruptly, so I shrug and head out to my car, driving right back over to Scott’s Scones. When I pull up to the curb, she starts to walk out to my car, obviously ready to go. She climbs in, and I take off as soon as she’s buckled, trying to avoid Scott for now. I do feel bad, though, since I’m not helping clean up. Raven and Ben have a lot of work ahead of them.
I take Lindsey back to my place, and as I’m driving, she’s staying fairly quiet. “How’s your dad?”
“I bet. Do you know why?”
“Because no one showed up. He said he has no money left.”
I chew on that for a little bit. I never really considered how much money he was putting into ingredients and decorations, even though I did get him a discount through Target. It never occurred to me to ask where the money was coming from. I find it odd since money used to be the focus of my old job, but I dismiss it and answer Lindsey after a thoughtful pause.
“He told you that?”
“Yeah,” she sighs. “He said we’re gonna hafta move.”
My heart leaps into my throat but then floats back down slowly. “Where?”
“I don’t know,” she says. “He might’ve just said it because he's mad.”
I frown. It makes me wonder how mad he is. Is he food-throwing mad or intensely-silent mad? “So you called me?”
“Yeah, I don’t think he wanted me to see him like that anymore so he gave me his phone and told me to call you.” She kind of slumps down in her seat. I don't press her on it any more, so the rest of the drive is quiet, and even when we arrive at my apartment, we keep it that way.
With few words I direct her to where to sit, and I find my comb. I squat down in front of her and study her face. Would she fit a right-leaning part or a left-leaning one better? I try both ways, and decide the left looks better. Her hair is pretty thick, so it keeps falling back to the natural way it was. I grab a few clips and pin her hair the way I want it. A straight, left-leaning part, and she looks beautiful.
“Okay, Linds, this doesn’t stop after today. Every morning you have to brush your hair back and get it to look just like this. After a while, it will be trained to stay that way. Forever.” I stare at her and laugh evilly, but it’s only half-hearted. I’m not really in the evil-laugh kind of mood.
She smiles. She, too, only doing so half-heartedly. We’re both sad, and I only have one remedy for that available to me. Food.
“Are you hungry?”
She nods, big head motions, letting me know that she’s starving.
“When is the last time you ate?” I ask, growing worried for her poor stomach and her energy level. I remember that Scott gave her a granola bar at the restaurant because she doesn’t like scones or anything, plus he didn’t want her on a sugar high. I don’t know if she’s eaten since then or not. This makes a knot tie in my stomach.
“Raven and Ben brought me back some food, but it wasn’t enough.” The knot loosens itself. Okay, good, she’s been fed.
I bring her out to the kitchen with me. At least that wasn’t terribly long ago. “I’ll whip up something quick, okay? You have a snack in the meantime.” But as I’m searching my cupboards, I really don’t have much. I grab her an apple, she makes some comment about how her dad slices it for her, so here I am cutting up an apple just because that’s what she prefers. Afterwards, I look for a dinner that could serve both of us. Really the only thing is noodles, but I don’t have spaghetti sauce or anything, so I boil those while scouring my fridge for some butter and parmesan.
With Lindsey in her quiet stage and me just wanting the day to be over, there’s not much for us to say, mainly because we don’t want to. I’m almost thankful when there’s a knock on my door. I get up from the table, halfway through my plate of buttered noodles, and open it. Scott is standing there, looking miserable but fresh. He’s in different clothes and has obviously showered, yet his blotchy face seems to be more from tears than a hot-water shower.
“I’m here for Lindsey,” is how he greets me.
“We’re eating dinner right now.” He doesn’t say anything. “But you can come in. I have extra if you want some.” My dad’s words are echoing through my mind. He doesn’t need my drama right now. He needs support.
“No thanks,” he says, but I know he hasn’t eaten all day so I make him a small plate and serve it in front of him when he sits down.
Lindsey doesn’t say anything to him, which I support because I don’t really want to either. Scott pretends to be interested in the food and takes a bite or two out of politeness. The dinner stays silent and extremely awkward until they leave. They leave right after dinner, but not before Scott makes Lindsey say thank you, and I tell her to keep that side part in her hair. As soon as they’re out the door, I audibly sigh to myself. Thank God I’m finally alone.
At 10:30, just when my aching legs are screaming for me to go lay down, I see my phone light up beside me. I don’t know who I expected it to be, but I didn’t expect it to be Scott. But it is, and I answer nervously. Half of me wonders if it’s Lindsey again.
“Mitch?” It’s quiet, but it’s Scott.
“Hey, it’s Scott.”
“I just wanted to, you know, call, and thank you for helping me today.”
“You’re welcome?” And seriously, it comes out so much like a question, that I didn’t even realize I was that confused until it was out of my mouth.
There’s a beat of silence. “And apologize for treating you the way I did. Your friendship is way too important to me to lose you over something like that.”
I let myself cherish those words, like I’m being rewarded or something. “I know, Scott. It’s okay.”
“It isn’t okay. I was… I was angry at myself, and it transferred over to you. Right after you left, Lindsey made me realize that you didn’t deserve that.” He chuckles softly. “She really stuck up for you.”
I smile, big and embarrassing. “I’m glad.”
“Yeah, but no, I, I was mad that no one was showing up, and I spent all my money towards this party. But I’ve had time to think and it’ll be okay.”
“Lindsey said you might be moving?” It comes out as a question again because I’m not really certain of anything.
He sighs. “I wasn’t going to tell you yet because it’s not a big deal. But yeah. We’re downsizing to a smaller place with a lower rent so I can try to keep my shop above water.”
“Oh, yeah, right down the road.”
I release a small, happy sigh. “Do you need any help moving?”