I hope you enjoyed the little Christmas flashback sex because things are going to get worse from here on… But there will be a happy ending, I promise!
A fierce urge to vomit interrupts my brain’s trip down memory lane and I make it to the kitchen with seconds to spare. I hear my phone ring, it’ll be Mum no doubt, but I’m too busy emptying the meagre contents of my stomach onto the small pile of dirty dishes in the sink to consider answering.
Later, after a shower and what feels like my five hundredth cup of peppermint tea that week, I ring Mum back. I promise her that I will go see the doctor on Monday and that I will come see her after lunch with the girls tomorrow. I also tell her I’m off to bed shortly to get a good night sleep
It’s a lie, of course, because while I am going to bed soon I know sleep will be elusive. I’ve had cramps all day, expecting that time of the month to arrive with a bang, and the constant nausea and vomiting aren’t helping. I don’t tell Mum of course, she’s worried enough as it is.
I wake up late the next morning, surprised that somehow I managed some decent sleep even though I’m still feeling sick and crampy. I consider texting London to tell her I can’t make it but she’s been so looking forward to introduce her guy to us, I can’t do that to her.
I manage to keep down a smoothie and some painkillers. An extra long hot shower seems to work at making me feel almost human again…
I know it’s the first time I’m gonna meet London’s not-boyfriend but I don’t have the energy to get all dolled up, I hope London can forgive me.
My favourite jeans, a top and Donovan’s hoodie and I’m ready to go. I give a fleeting thought to leaving my handbag at home and just taking my driver’s licence, bank card and phone, but I’m increasingly aware of the fact that I’ll need supplies in hand should my period decide to show up.
Lacey is the only one there when I get to the restaurant, I guess I’m a bit early, even though I slept in. She’s at the bar chatting with Chris, which doesn’t surprise me. I smile at the both of them as I walk over to them.
“Hi sweetie.” Lacey hops off her barstool to give me a hug.
“What can I get you?” Chris asks me with a smile.
“Just icy water, thanks, I’m sick of peppermint tea.” And oh my God that is the truth.
He’s just poured my super fancy drink when London rushes in, looking like a million bucks as usual.
“Ladies, Chris,” she says, plonking herself in the barstool next to me with a sigh. “Can I get a whisky and dry, please? Make it a double.”
Uh oh. That’s her ‘I’m pissed off’ drink of choice.
“Men are jerks,” London starts, looking at Chris as he puts her drink order in front of her. “Present company excepted.”
“I guess it’s just us for lunch then?” I say, hoping she’ll feel like sharing a bit more than a broad statement with which I agree.
“Yes… somebody decided to take an out of town assignment because, after all, we’re just two adults having a bit of fun.” She punctuates that statement by slamming her empty glass on the bar and signalling to Chris to make her another one.
“Ah, the whole I’m an artist, I won’t be tied down routine… I’ve heard that one before,” Chris says, surprising the three of us and we stare at him.
He shrugs. “I used to date this chick who was in a band. I thought we were exclusive and could build a future together. She felt differently. No big deal.”
“Aww, bub.” Lacey gives him a smile so full of love and promises that it makes even my broken shrivelled heart swell with hope.
“No risk of that happening with Lace, the way you two have been carrying on,” London says with a grin and I snort.
“Yes, I’ll need at least three months notice if you want me to make your wedding dress, Lace,” I say innocently.
Lacey chokes on her whisky and dry while Chris moves away to serve other customers and London nearly falls off her stool laughing.
I sip my water, enjoying my friends’ company and trying to ignore the pain crippling me, both emotional and physical. I check the time on my phone. Another two hours at least until I can take more painkillers.
“Any more gross texts?” Chris asks when he comes back and I shake my head, because no, strangely, I haven’t. I’m not exactly surprised that Lacey told him about it though.
“Did you find out how they got your number?” Lacey this time.
“Yes.” I take a sip, wishing the usually delicious smells coming from the kitchen didn’t make me want to throw up. “Someone left my number on the wall in the men’s toilet at Devil’s Den, because apparently I’m a cock hungry slut who wants to see dicks.”
“OH MY GOD!!” Lacey exclaims next to me. That’s when I realise I forgot to tell her about finding out but then she was busy last night.
“Yeah, I ended up texting one of them back last night asking where he’d found my number and he sent me pics of the wall.”
“I am sure we all know who is behind this, even if we have no way of proving it, right?” London pipes up over her third whisky and we all agree. Not a doubt in my mind, though I wonder why it suddenly stopped.
“Right,” Lacey and I say at the same time.
“I have better things to spend my energy on than trying to prove it was her,” I add.
My phone starts ringing and it’s my bitchy boss. She gave me the day off and I feel like death, no way am I picking up. I stare down at my phone until it goes to voicemail. “One of those things is avoiding my boss apparently!”
“Talking about bosses, mine is giving me that look. Would you ladies like to pick a table and order some lunch?” Chris announces with a smile that seems a bit on edge.
“Sure thing, bub,” Lacey replies and we hop off the bar stools with our drinks to go get a table. I manage to get the seat furthest away from the kitchen.
A waitress we haven’t seen before comes to take our orders, steak sandwich for London, steamed mussels and fries for Lacey, a bowl of fries for me. I don’t think I can stomach anything more substantial and I’m hoping the nausea finally stops.
Our food arrives and as much as I know that Lacey’s lunch must smell and taste delicious, because I adore mussels, I find myself closing my eyes and having to breathe through the sleeve of my hoodie to stop myself from being sick.
“Ok, lady, what the fuck is wrong with you?” London asks, putting down her knife and fork with a clang. “I love you, but you look like shit and you just turned white as a sheet when the food arrived. Have you eaten anything this week?”
I shake my head and manage to let out a word before concentrating on my breathing again. “Smoothie.”
“London is right,” Lacey says. “You’ve been complaining about feeling sick for nearly a week. I know you hate it but don’t you think it’s time you went to see a doctor?”
“I promised Mum I’d go on Monday.” I sip some water, hoping it will help, but it doesn’t.
“Is there any chance you might be pregnant?” Lacey asks out of the blue, a concerned look on her face, and I nearly choke on my water.
“What? No! Don’t even go there!” What if? says the little voice in my head but I shut it down. “I have a IUD in, have had for years, surely if I was going to get pregnant, it would have happened in the past three years.” Not after losing the man I didn’t know I was in love with to a nasty blonde bitch…
Lacey shrugs, looking down at her meal. “It happens. Maybe ask the doctor when you go in on Monday.”
I look over at London, who seems to find her meal reeeeaaaally interesting all of a sudden and that leads me to think she agrees with Lacey. Great.
“I will mention your theory to the doctor, but I think you’re wrong. The universe can’t hate me that much.” Please, no. As much as I refuse to give it thought, the idea takes root in my mind and I feel the tears threatening once more.
“Aww hun.” London notices and reaches across the table to squeeze my hand. “You know we’re there for you, right? No matter what.”
I nod, blinking away the damn tears and it’s mostly working. I can’t be pregnant. I can’t. But what if you are? that little voice in my head says again, providing me with images of the happy ending I’m craving. Donovan finding out I’m having his baby and realising it’s me he wants, not her; Donovan telling me he loves me; Donovan holding our tiny little baby that looks so much like him in his arms…
I push away my untouched bowl of fries and rest my head on my hands on the table. This was a bad idea. I should have stayed home, or gone straight to Mum’s. As much as the physical pain is bordering on too much, it’s the pain in my heart that is the worst. And if Lacey is right and I am pregnant with Donovan’s baby, it’s about to get even worse.
“Oh my god, it is her!”
My brain recognises the woman’s voice and when I look up in the direction it came from I make eye contact with the stick insect herself. She’s with an equally blonde and skinny friend and they’re both staring at me.
“That’s the bitch who stole your boyfriend?” Stink Insect #2 exclaims and I sit up in my chair while London and Lacey turn around to face the intruders. “Are you sure it’s her? She doesn’t look like much.”
“Didn’t your mother teach you that if you have nothing nice to say, you should just shut the fuck up?” London asks the judgy bitch and the woman stares at her with a shocked look on her face.
“There’s no need to be so rude!” she says and if I didn’t feel so sick I’d laugh at the irony.
“I think there was, actually,” Lacey pipes up. “First you call her a bitch and then you accuse her of being a boyfriend stealer. That’s pretty nasty stuff to say about a person you don’t even know.”
“She is a boyfriend stealer,” the stick insects replies with a glare in my direction. “But then, what else would you expect from a cock-hungry slut like her.”
Woah. Shots fired. Theory confirmed.
I stand up and have to grab the back of my chair for support because my head is spinning. I guess the week of barely eating is catching up with me. I have to get out of here before I pass out, or throw up on someone.
Her eyes narrow and she takes a step towards me, pointing at my chest. “That fucking hoodie again! I knew it, you bitch!” Her screeching is so loud she catches the attention of Chris at the bar and I see him make his way towards us, to check on what is going on.
“I have to go,” I tell the girls, picking up my handbag before letting go of the chair. Big mistake. The room starts spinning again and I feel my stomach clawing its way up my throat.
Knowing I don’t have long, I drop my bag on the floor and run past the stick insect and her friend, pushing them out of the way in my rush to get to the bathroom before I embarrass myself in front of this woman who hates me.
I make it in time and while I let my body do what it needs to do, I hear screaming from back in the restaurant, a lot of screaming and yelling.
What the fuck is going on out there?
I wonder how big of a scene the stick insect is causing as she was clearly spoiling for a fight.
The commotion stops and I hear footsteps on the other side of the door.
“Selina? Sweetie? Are you ok?”
(onto Part 11 we go and it comes with a **TRIGGER WARNING**)