His phone buzzed on the desk next to him as he was finishing homework, he looked up at it and saw it was Leonie calling. Should he answer? Before he knew it, he was holding it and had pushed the ‘Answer’ button.
“Yeah?” he said.
“Hey Liam …” her voice sounded surprised and tentative.
“Hey.” he did not know what else to say.
“Right. Do you have time to talk? Like face to face? Tonight?”
“Sure.” he did not know why he agreed.
“I was thinking somewhere public. I mean like in the middle between Newcrest and Brindleton Bay, so it’s fair.”
“There is nothing between here and there. I can come to Newcrest, no problem.”
“OK, how about that diner down the street from my house? Like at 9?”
“OK. I’ll be there.”
“See you there.”
Liam leaned back in his chair. What would she want to talk about? And why the hell did he just agree like that?
Oh well, he thought, got up grabbed his phone, wallet and keys and poked his head into the living room.
“Hey, I am going out for a little bit. Won’t be long.”
“Liam! School night.”
“Yeah yeah.” he already had the door handle in hand and was gone.
Sitting in his car he hesitated for a moment before he stuck the key into the ignition and turned the car on. The engine roaring up sounded about as displeased as he was about his uncertainty. Too late now, he said he would be there, so he’d have to now.
The drive there seemed longer than usual, giving him way too much time to let all the thoughts having to do with Leonie which he had suppressed over the past weeks stir back up. He had not spoken to her since that night, but seen her around school. It was awkward, for both of them. They even ran into each other at a party. He had been there with the boys, she with some of her girlfriends. Thing was, she didn’t seem to have an easier time with this than he did.
He made it to Newcrest and drove past Leonie’s home on his way to the diner. Parking wasn’t a problem at this hour on a school night, as the place was mostly frequented by the younger crowd and not many parents were so understanding about their kid venturing out that late as his parents were, but then again, he was a vampire and nighttime was his thing.
“OK, let’s do this.” he mumbled to himself after a big sigh, when he exited the car and walked up to the “Please wait to be Seated” sign. No Leonie yet. Should he wait for her? A hostess came and told him he could just wait at the table when Leonie arrived.
Once seated they ordered their drinks and sat in silence for a moment until Leonie inhaled and looked at him.
The waiter brought the sodas already. Leonie took a sip of her water, looking at Liam who was staring at his coke can. When he still did not say anything, Leonie spoke again.
“You’re wondering why I wanted to meet, right? Look, I’ll cut through the chase, I do not know how pissed you still are at me, but I hate how it all ended last time. I am not even sure if we are still together or broken up now. All I know is that I miss you and that I get now why you were so upset. I am sorry I hurt you, I didn’t mean to. I was just excited and wanted to share, didn’t even consider your feelings. Really Liam, I am sorry.”
He just nodded. He had been under the impression they were broken up since that night, and that was what he had been telling people. His mind was busy processing the new facts.
“This would kinda be a good time for you to say something, Liam.”
“I wouldn’t know what.” he shrugged, still intensely staring at the soda can.
“How do you feel about this? About us?” Leonie helped.
“I think you know that. Nothing really has changed from my point of view.” Liam was now playing with the can, turning it in circles between his hands.
“So … you just want to call it quits? Just like that?” Leonie pressed on, Liam halted and looked at her.
“What do you want to hear from me now, Leonie? What is there to say? You know I do not want to break up, but what else is there? We have a few more weeks of school left, then you are off to Europe for a year, only to come back, graduate, pack the rest of your shit and leave for the next 4 years. Or forever. I am not sure we are at a point in our lives where a long-distance relationship or whatever this would be, makes any sense. Plus, the rest hasn’t changed. I am still a vampire loser with no ambition and a criminal record.” his voice had raised up and Leonie put her index finger to her lips looking around at some other patrons turning their heads into their direction. She briefly covered her face with her hands, shaking her head in despair.
“I never called you a loser. I am ok with you being what you are. But you cannot hold me down because of it. That’s all I ask. But if you cannot wait, if you need a girlfriend in your life THAT badly, I guess you are right, no use even trying to make it work. That way you can get a new girl before school’s even out.”
“You think that is what this is about? Someone to hang on my arm and warm my bed? For heaven’s sake Leonie, you know how much time I gave you until you were ready for more, without me even pushing once? This is not about sex or arm candy.” Liam was angry, all his suppressed feelings surfacing.
“Yeah, I do know. But it seems that you just need someone right there, no matter what. If not, there is Skype, works in Spain, too, you know? The better part of our relationship we spent that way.”
“And I am not sure I want to have to do that again. Who’s to say you don’t meet some hot Spanish dude and don’t come back at all? And college, I mean, come on now. I don’t even have the money to visit you, either in Spain or Bridgeport.”
“Thought your mom’s got a good job and your dad’s band is really successful.”
“My dad’s band still costs more than they make, and my mom is basically footing the rest of the bills, plus dad insisted to pay for part of Ben’s wedding. We just don’t have that kind of money.”
“Hello? Neither do we, my dad’s a glorified policeman, well, not even that anymore, once he gets out. He’s never going to be a cop again.”
“How’s things with him anyway? Did your mom serve him with the divorce papers yet?”
“No. She is giving him another try.”
“Look, they think he has some form of PTSD. There was an incident, many years ago and – let’s just say it was very tragic and apparently he played the role of ‘strong man’, but didn’t work through it right and it messed with his head. Somehow you reminded him of it, or your dad, I don’t know but it triggered it. He was always on the stricter side, but did not use to not be such an asshole, that is pretty new.”
“Still. How do you feel about it?”
“Not sure. Aside from that night, he never really did anything to me before. I went to see him last week with mom and he pretty much broke down and cried. So, I really don’t know, Liam.”
She looked at him, those beautiful almost turquoise bright blue eyes still got to him. No, he did not want to break up. He did not want her NOT to go, but also did not want her to go.
“Maybe I can talk to the agency and maybe they have a last minute placement available and you can do an exchange year too? It’s a long shot, but I’d try if you want me to.”
“In Spain? The only Spanish I know is ‘Taco’. Nah, I’ll pass.”
“That’s why you do this, to learn.”
“No, really no.”
“Wanna go for a walk?”
He paid, and followed her outside. He had thought she wanted to walk home, but turned the opposite direction.
They walked next to each other in silence for a while, before Leonie stopped and pointed.
“See that house there, the huge white one?”
“Pretty hard not to.”
“It’s the original Auditore Mansion. You know your rich neighbor, he was born there. Still belongs to his family. That’s what I want one day. Something big, to show the world I made something of myself and that nobody can tell me what to do anymore.”
“I don’t know about whoever lives there, but our neighbor gets told what to do by his wife all the time.” Liam grinned.
“Ha ha. You know what I mean.”
“Yeah, you wanna marry some rich guy and be his trophy wife.”
“Wrong. I want to make that money. Maybe have a trophy husband. Any takers?” she winked at him.
“I am not sure they take applications from criminal vampires for that kinda job.”
“On the contrary, you could be that tall, dark, handsome, mysterious bad guy to contrast my angelic side.” she joked.
“Hey sign me up. Just skip Spain and go to college now, so we can get this trophy dude thing going sooner.”
They laughed, when she turned to him and gently put her hand on his shoulder looking at him in a certain type of way. In a reflex he put his arms around her.
“I love you Liam. Don’t give up on us, please. We can make this work, I swear we can.”
He closed his eyes, then pulled her close.
“What if I don’t go to Spain? And you move with me to college, we can have a small apartment together, you work and I go to school.”
“No, I don’t want you to give up your dreams. You should go. Just as you planned.”
“Thing is Liam, I am not sure I want to anymore. Just seeing you again, talking to you, I realized that there are things more important to me than my plans. And like I told you, we can make it work. I can make it work somehow. I think I want to stay here, finish school here. If I go abroad there is still the chance that they make me retake the last year again here anyway, so I would not be able to go to college after anyway and have to reapply. I tell you what Liam. You have to tell me if there is hope for us. If you want ‘us’. If you do, I will send out my application for San Myshuno University and we’ll make them decide. If it is a ‘yes’, I’ll go here, if no, resume as planned in Bridgeport. But I think I am not ready for Spain. I may have to get a job so I can pay mom back for the money she had to pay for the program, but it’ll be worth it. Just say the word.”
“I cannot decide for you Leonie. If I do, and it does not work out – or maybe even if it does – it may come back to bite me later, if you are not happy with your choice.”
“You are not deciding for me, you are supposed to tell me if you are team ‘Liam AND Leonie’ or team ‘Liam, single’.”
“Stupid question, what do you think?”
“You’ll have to say it.”
“Team Leonie and Liam all the way. Always have been.”
“So … are you going to kiss me or what?”
No need to tell him twice …
Liam felt a hard slap on the back, then saw Corbin’s face, grinning at him
“Hey man! Wanna hang out tonight? We can all meet at my place, I can whoop your ass at foosball and maybe watch some TV and shit.”
“Can’t. I kinda told Leonie we’re hanging out tonight.” Liam slammed his locker shut and turned around.
“Huh? Why are you hanging with your ex?” Corbin frowned at him
“Yeah, thing is, turns out we never really broke up … and we talked last night … so we’re kinda still together.”
“Oh shit. Was great knowing you man, see you at the next break up.” Nathan had joined them with Channing.
“No not like that again. Still hanging with you guys. How about I bring her? Maybe she can bring her friends and we can all hang, if you guys don’t mind.”
“Are her friends hot? Any single ladies?” Channing asked.
“I don’t know.” Liam shrugged.
“What? You got a girlfriend and now your hotness-radar is retired?” Channing laughed.
“No, I really don’t know her friends.”
“Dude, you seriously are some shitty boyfriend.” Nathan claimed.
“Well, I wouldn’t date you either, you ass.”
“Fine, bring the chicks, the more the merrier right? Maybe there is someone who would put up with this idiot’s shit there.” Corbin, play-punched Nathan, who was still single.
“More like put out.” he joked, the boys laughed.
How did Blaine and I find out? By me walking into Liam’s room with his laundry and noticing the pictures of him and Leonie were back up at the walls. So I asked. When I told Blaine all I got was
“Told you he would figure it out himself, babygirl.”
Sometimes I really do not mind Blaine being right.