October 2012

30 5 4

"Aren't you glad you stuck around for the whole movie marathon?" Scott asked with a sly grin. The hours flew by without me even noticing, but I couldn't exactly put that down to the films. It was him and the deep, warm, comforting sensation he had cuddled around me. "It was awesome, right? The one about the monkey killer was definitely my favourite."

"You mean the one which disgusted Natalie so much, she actually left the house?" I stretched my arms high. "Yeah, real good that one."

I half wanted to send Scott away as soon as Natalie left, but by that time the panic had subsided and I'd slipped right back into the ease of just hanging out. For a moment it felt like all the other craziness hadn't ever happened and he was still just the boy I spotted across a bar, the one who asked me to help with his coursework.

That was easier, but of course, it couldn't last.

"So, what now? You got anything to drink around here?"

"Alcohol?" I scanned my eyes over the kitchen but couldn't see any evidence. "No, I don't think so."

"That's okay, I can make some hot drinks." He leapt up and flicked the kettle on. "You've got hot chocolate, right? You've always got hot chocolate."

"Yeah probably."

I knew it was time, the moment had come to really look at him and decide. I couldn't keep avoiding it and hoping my feelings would vanish, I couldn't keep Scott hanging on, or myself. I needed to make an informed choice which way our future would be. If I shut this down, there wouldn't be any going back. We couldn't do this dance forever, it was one way or the another. As scary as it was, the choice needed to be made.

"Which one was your favourite?"

"Hmm?" I got so lost in my thoughts I didn't notice he'd started talking to me. "Sorry, what did you say?"

"Where were you then? In some sort of dreamland? Planning your next novel?"

"Novel? What?" I shook my head, trying to clear my brain. "What are on about?"

"You do study English, right? You must write stories, surely. Or do you just sit around twiddling your thumbs?" He handed me my drink and gave me a curious look. "Are you alright, Carlie? You look like you're struggling with something."

I needed to say it, I had to say something but how could I when I had no idea what. A pounding sensation as my brain thumped against my skull left me almost deaf in both ears. I gulped, but the thick acidic ball was back, completely blocking my airways.

"I'm serious, Carlie?" Scott stiffened his back and knotted his eyebrow together. "What's going on?"

"I...I..." Nope, there were no words.

"Maybe booze would've been a better drink after all?" I tried to laugh at Scott's joke, but couldn't quite manage it. The noise was strangled, full of strain, almost painful to make. "It's been a weird thing between us, hasn't it? These three years."

"Technically two years. We're just getting into the third now."

"Right." Scott bobbed his head slowly. "Of course. It's only been two years. I guess it just feels like a whole lot more, doesn't it? Who would've thought when we first met on that fateful night we'd end up as jaded third years one day?"

I smiled to myself, recalling the moment I thought Scott was much older than me. I assumed he was about to leave uni just as I started of my journey.

"I guess I thought I'd have it all together by now, that I'd be more mature and I'd know what I was doing. But here I am...still as clueless as ever."

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