I woke up to the shrill ring of a phone. My hands fumbled in the dark until I managed to hit the answer button. “Hello?” I said hoarsely into the receiver.
“’lexis, promise to come bail me out,” I shot up, my bed covers crumpled with the sudden movement as I was abruptly sat upright, I opened my mouth to speak but nothing apart from an odd croaking noise escaped my mouth. My mind couldn’t believe that this was real, that this phone call was happening and my heart certainly couldn’t believe that the unmistakeably – weirdly calming – gravelly voice was who it thought it belonged to.
Somehow I spoke; “Gabe?”
“Who else is going to call you at two in the morning?” I heard him stifle a small laugh, “I’m at the beautiful Castwood’s local jail, so hurry up yeah?” ‘Click’ that was it, phone call over.
I jumped out of bed and picked up the first thing on my bedroom floor, I slid it on not paying much attention to what I was doing.
“Alex what are you doing baby?” My fiancé’s beautiful voice was thick with sleep.
I flicked the bedside light on and crouched beside his head, “Well, w-well, Travis…” his eyes were closed and his face was happily crushed against a pillow it almost made me not tell him anything, I knew he’d be rather annoyed at the news I was about to give, I tightened the grip on the purse I’d just picked up, “your Gabe called.”
As soon as the name ‘Gabe’ escaped my lips, Travis was on sudden full alert. “Where is he?”
I retold the conversation me and Gabe had had seconds before. Travis shot out of bed and got fully dressed; he didn’t say another word as he guided me out into the cold night and into his car.
After a very quiet car ride we found ourselves at the police station. I walked up to the counter and arranged to post bail immediately. I leaned against the counter keeping my eyes away from Travis who was pacing restlessly behind me. I pulled my dress down at the back; I regretted deeply not paying more attention to my dress choice. I’d picked up my favourite dress, which was totally inappropriate given the circumstances. It was low cut, pillar box red, strapless, clinging in at the waist then puffing out slightly before finally clinging onto the tops of my thighs. The only reason it was on the floor was because I’d had a lazy moment and simply didn’t have the energy to hang it up like I should have. I put my hands in my pockets and dared to turn round to look at Travis, he’d stopped pacing and was looking directly at me, his short blonde hair wasn’t its usual neat self instead it was pointing in different directions. I started to fiddle with the strap of my purse.
I looked at Travis again, he was wearing a crumpled t-shirt and jogging bottoms making him look very odd, usually he dressed to the nines, so to see him so casual in public made me stare at him in an odd way of captivation. My gaze flicked to his face; he looked furious.
“Sup?” I didn’t have to move to see who was talking, there standing in the tension filled air was Gabe, he looked so much older, so different yet in a way he hadn’t changed. His light olive skin still looked smooth, his eyes were still the same dull brown, his dark brown hair was still carelessly pushed back, his face still bore good bone structure and he was still the same old looking Gabe, except he now had slight muscles and a few cuts and bruises on his face. I knew what was different about my old friend; he was no longer wearing the bracelet I gave him before he left, so insignificant, so silly, yet to me it made him a totally different man.
“Why did you call?” I snapped at him, I was almost as angry as Travis. Here I was in the middle of the night in a tiny dress getting some cocky sod out of jail.
He shrugged then looked directly at me, “No-one else would have come ‘lexis…I just got in a fight, some dude tried to take my cab. Plus I haven’t seen you in a while.” He looked me up and down and I shoved my hands in my pockets and turned my attention to Travis.
“Listen,” Travis said through his perfectly straight teeth, “you up and leave for two years not telling anyone where you’re going, you don’t contact anyone for two whole years and then you just suddenly pop back up? What the hell?”
“I left for my own reasons Travis. But, yeah am back and am not going anywhere apart from maybe one of your houses? I’ve been staying in this motel and I…” he caught my eye and flashed me a quick, wicked smile that always worked.
Travis began a rant on how Gabe should start taking responsibility for his actions but I interrupted him, “stay at mine, I have a spare room.”
Gabe laughed loudly before pointing a hand at me in a position that resembled a gun and made a clicking noise with his mouth, “You’ve always been my girl haven’t you? Ha-Ha, come on then take me home.” He said the last part so suggestively I had to stop from laughing but he saw me smirk and he gave me a quick wink that Travis didn’t see.
“Come on then,” I said turning on my heel and walking out of the poorly decorated police station – it was literally the same as the outside, just all bare brick. I walked in front of Travis and Gabe who were having a conversation of sorts.
Something odd tugged at my stomach. I swallowed back the feeling of guilt.
Travis had no idea that once every three months Gabe would send me a letter with an update on how he was doing, if Travis ever knew he’d hit the roof…especially if he found out I wrote back to everything he sent me.
I looked briefly over my shoulder to see Travis and Gabe’s little conversation going somewhat sour. I turned back and sauntered over to open the passenger side of my car.
“I’m getting a taxi, I’m just going to see you later Alex.” Travis’ hand rested on my back as he spoke, “I will call you tomorrow though,” he kissed me on the cheek before somewhat stomping away from me and Gabe. I went over to the driver’s side and got behind the wheel. Gabe got into the passenger seat. I started the engine.
“What’s wrong with him?” I asked confused.
“You’re the one going to marry him, shouldn’t you know?” he retorted.
I didn’t speak for the rest of the drive.
I threw one of my arms around Travis’ shoulders and put the other in my pocket toying with my bracelet, I’d had to take it off before the fight in fear it may have gotten snapped during my scuffle that had landed me in a jail for a few hours. Travis was furious with me, I could tell, I mean I hadn’t spoken to the guy since…well since I can’t remember. We’d left on odd terms, it’d been strange for me anyway, I’d left with him seeing my me at a vulnerable moment which I refused to relive in my mind, I’d confided a lot him that night and made him swear to some promises too.
Alexis walked past me and Travis and we followed her. My eyes lingered on Alexis’ bare back. “Posting me my bail in her favourite dress and now I’m back to hers for the night, ha, I might be in there,” I said jokingly.
Travis gave me a stern look, “Don’t talk about her like that.”
“Well why not? She’s still single right?”
Travis suddenly looked uncomfortable, “Things have changed since you left.”
“What do you mean? You’ve been looking after her like you promised right? She’s not with some jerk off is she?” I looked at her quickly as she glanced at me and Travis.
“Listen, we kind of got…” he cleared his throat.
“You’ve been hooking up with her?” I tried to sound as calm as possible.
I took my arm away from his shoulders and didn’t look at him. “Nice. You know she likes the bad boy’s right?” I felt one of my eyebrows raise, “and your attitude isn’t right, I mean the girl comes down at two in the morning, looking fine as hell for me smiling while she posts my bail. You seriously think you two our right for each other?”
Travis gave me a sly look before walking off to talk to Alexis, he left her looking dazed and confused.
I felt sick with annoyance and betrayal. I’d made him promise to look after her, I’d made him swear to make sure my girl was okay when I was away, but no, he’d took my place by her side; then again maybe I shouldn’t have left…but then again leaving was the best thing I’d done.
Two years ago
I stood with my bags at my feet and Travis looked at me with disbelief. “Listen, I have to do this, okay.” I felt the tears still beating down my face.
“It doesn’t look like you still want to do this man!” Travis went to go grab one of my bags but I pulled it away from him.
“If I ever want to get Alexis, I need to go. I need to leave, I need to get away and fix myself up and when I come back I’ll be able to be with her properly.” Grabbing my other bag I walked past Travis who had his hands on his hips.
“She already wants you.”
“Travis just promise not to let her date some jerk when am gone, get herself in trouble or forget me. Travis you better make damn sure you look after my girl, because I need your word before I go.”
“I promise Gabe.”
And with that I left for my taxi which was waiting outside the front of the club. I wiped my face and snorted up, after putting my bags in the back of the taxi I went to get in the back seat when I heard a voice calling for me, I turned to see Alexis staggering drunkenly toward me. “Hey! Where you of-f-f? I went back to you, your, that, that room, your dressing room or whatever it’s called…you going?”
My hands balled into fists, I focused on not grabbing her and taking her with me, “Yeah, am going. Going for another set…in err York, so I’ll be away.”
“Your sounding nervous Gabe!” she pouted her bottom lip before taking off a black rubber bracelet. “Take this baby boy, it’s pretty and it might be lucky!”
I pulled her into me and hugged her; I kissed her orange hair and moved back taking the bracelet with me. “I’ll see you when I see you.”
I left her standing there tipsy and swaying.
“What’s wrong with him?” Alexis asked me looking confused and annoyed. The car was already speeding through the streets.
I wanted to tell her everything right then and there. I wanted to spill my soul to her, I wanted her to hear what I’d done for two years, who I now was, what I would do for her, I wanted her to know everything but instead of being open and vulnerable like I should be, I went to my defensive routine of ‘arrogant/funny jerk’ “You’re the one going to marry him, shouldn’t you know?” I smirked and put my feet up on the dashboard in front of me.
I felt pretty good, I’d made it seem like I didn’t even care about their relationship but when I clocked the ring on her left hand I felt more vulnerable than ever.