Wednesday 14th January 2009by Tina
“So maybe I don’t really have to keep on going out, you know.”
I pushed the door of Dairy Queen open and motioned for Pia to go ahead while I hold the door open for her. It was a rare afternoon that I finally “caught” my best friend free from any of her responsibilities — family, restaurant and boyfriend alike. In moments like these, it’s just right to drop everything, which is why I am out eating Dairy Queen Blizzard with her rather than doing my laundry.
“So you’re breaking your resolution?” Pia asked. We started walking as we ate our ice cream, no obvious destination in mind. “You’ll forfeit to Mitchie?”
“Forfeit?” I repeated, looking at Pia questioningly. “Why, is there a prize here? An agreement I might have signed that I don’t know off?”
Pia’s face remained serious while she took a spoonful of Brownie Explosion in her mouth. She just looked at me without a word. Was she serious?
“Pia!” I wailed.
Her face broke into a grin. “Kidding, kidding. Of course there’s none. Now for your officemates, I’m not so sure.”
I rolled my eyes. “You know what, I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually have an ongoing bet on me.” We stopped walking briefly as some kids ran in front of us, their laughter ringing out loudly into the sunny afternoon.
“So…if you’re stopping dating, then…what happens with Ian?” Pia asked slowly. We started walking again.
“Huh? What about Ian?” I asked, focusing on my Blizzard. I scraped some of the ice cream off the sides of the cup and mixed it with the rest of the stuff inside. I avoided looking at Pia since I know she can read me like a book, but even then, I can feel her eyes on me.
“Well?” Pia prodded. “Aren’t you guys, er, dating?”
My reaction was so sudden and so violent that Pia actually stopped in her tracks to look for me. “No,” I said, more calmly this time. “I am not dating Ian. Ian and I are not dating. Nope. We’re just friends.”
Pia picked up her pace again, watching me as she did. “Well…you certainly don’t act like it to me. But that’s only me, and I’ve only seen you guys together what, twice? Mitchie, on the other hand…”
I groaned. “What about Mitchie?”
Pia raised a hand to stop me from ranting. “Now, you know how hopeless romantic that girl is –”
“Hopeless, you mean.” I grumbled.
“– and how much she cares about you,” Pia continued, looking at me pointedly to shut me up. I tend to start being mean and grumpy when I get cornered. “And she sees the two of you hang out a lot at work, and she’s wondering if there was something…you know. Maybe he likes you? Or do you like him?”
I shook my head vehemently. “No. Nothing. We do hang out, but it’s usually work related, and we’re both in the anniversary event together, so it’s just normal.” Well…maybe except for that last coffee break we had last Friday. We didn’t talk about work, yes and it was actually…quite fun. But then Pia doesn’t have to know that, right?
“Well…we did have coffee last time,” I blurted out. No use hiding secrets from my best friend.
“That’s it!” I exclaimed. “Just coffee. It’s not some kind of tryst! My team knows I went out for coffee; I even invited them.”
“Who initiated it?”
“Uh-huh,” Pia gave me a knowing look. “Angelo used to do that to me too.” She added gently.
I opened my mouth to object, but closed it when I remembered how Angelo, her boyfriend, kept on asking us out to eat lunch and snacks back in college. I already had a feeling that he liked her, but since the two of us usually comes in a package back then, I often tagged along. I know, third party, but it took them more than four years before they got together anyway, and at least I also got to know my best friend’s current boyfriend so I can give him the seal of approval.
“Well,” I said after a moment’s silence. “Honestly, I don’t know.”
“You don’t know what? That you like him or if he likes you?” Pia’s words made my stomach flip, and I never saw that as a good thing, especially with romantic matters.
“Either,” I said. “I don’t know. I mean, he’s very nice, and I guess likable, but I don’t feel like I know him that well, even if I knew him as an acquaintance before. I have to admit he’s been extra sensitive to me for the past weeks, plus there’s that all save Ruth from the crazy ex thing last week.” I shuddered at the thought of that weird date I had.
I turned to look at the people on the other side of the street. There were families sitting in restaurants, enjoying a late afternoon lunch. A group of friends sat at Brother’s Burger, sharing their fries and gabbing like there was no tomorrow, while some dog owners converged at one side, talking to each other while their pets went around sniffing at each other. And then there were the couples, the ones who I’ve taken into watching quite recently. They were mostly eating, and talking, their tender looks and entwined hands reminds me of how empty mine was.
I turned to Pia again and saw her watching me with an amused smile on her face. “Well, I personally think that he likes you, and I can’t wait for you guys to finally start going out.”
Prompt from Three Word Wednesday: entwine, forfeit and tryst