Friday 10th May 2024

by Tina

“Okay, Cassie, spill,” Maia whispered in all seriousness but with a smile. “Are you and Jon together?”

Laughter rang out in a distance, where Cassie and Maia’s other friends were gathered around a table with buckets of alcohol and food in front of them. It was another one of their spur-of-the-moment dinners which were often followed by drinking sessions. They have been at it for a while, and from the looks of things and the number of bottles yet to be consumed, they will be there for a while.

Cassie was more than glad to go with them after a long and stressful week at work. And even if she knew she wouldn’t drink more than three bottles (because drinking more guarantees a bad hangover), she still wanted to be there, because Jonah would be there and she had been looking forward to seeing him all week.

Even if she had seen him last week. And the week before.

And even if they have been talking almost all day, almost everyday for so long that Cassie couldn’t remember when it started.

Still, no one else in the group knew about it — and she wasn’t planning to let anyone know about it, especially after they have been teasing them together for so long — so when Maia joined her when Cassie excused herself to go to the restroom to ask her that question, it totally took her off-guard. How did she know?

Cassie’s eyes widened. “What? No.” She said, almost with a scoff. But inside her heart fluttered, and despite her apprehension, she wanted to ask why Maia was asking.

Maia gave her a skeptical look. And, if Cassie hadn’t known better, she seemed to look disappointed, too. But Maia was one of those people who teased them relentlessly too, so disappointment was expected.

“Are you sure?” Maia asked, fiddling with the pendant of her necklace. She looked over her shoulder towards the table where their friends gathered, and Cassie followed suit, her eyes zeroing in on one person, who also happened to just glance at their direction. Cassie found herself smiling, and when she looked back at her friend, she saw a grin on her face, too.

“I refuse to believe there is nothing happening between the two of you,” Maia insisted. “I saw him glance at us, and I saw you smile. Do not tell me that is just coincidence.”

A giggle escaped Cassie’s mouth — she couldn’t help it. “Well, I don’t know about him, really.”


“We’re not together,” Cassie said, and she saw Maia’s face fall. “But,” she added  and just as she expected, her friend’s face lit up. “We have went out. A couple of times.” Okay, six times. But who’s counting?

Maia covered her mouth with her hand and suppressed a shriek. Cassie giggled again, and she watched her friend’s grin widen. “Seriously? Like, on dates?”

Cassie shook her head slowly. “No. Well, we’ve never called any of it a ‘date’,” she made quoting actions when she said the last word. “I could call them all dates, but I don’t want to. You know? We never really talked about it.”

Maia nodded knowingly. “Well, finally something is happening.”

“Oh, but don’t tell anyone else, please,” Cassie replied urgently, lowering her voice. “I don’t know what he thinks, and I’m not even sure if any of this is really real, so you know? And I don’t want to say anything unless Jonah says anything…so…”

“Chill, Cassie. I won’t say anything,” Maia said, raising a hand up to silence her. “But I’m pretty sure there must be something. I had to ask you because I saw how he looked when you arrived. He looked different, like his face lit up because you were there. Just like how you smiled earlier.”

There was that fluttering again. She’s been feeling that for a while now, and this time that fluttering caused her cheeks to heat up and her lips to quirk up into a smile. “Really?” So much for being subtle.

Maia grinned. “Aw, you’re so cute.” Cassie laughed and started walking back to their table, Maia following closely behind. There were about ten people present tonight, including them. Some of them were having their own conversations but majority of the group were talking quite loudly about, well, what every group of buzzed people take pleasure in talking about — relationships.

Cassie went back to her seat — beside Jonah — and reached for some chips as she tried to follow where the conversations were heading. There seemed to be a pretty heated debate going on, and Cassie found herself mildly curious about what Jonah’s responses were. Cassie, being inexperienced in the whole relationship arena, didn’t have much to offer except for some ideas that were idealistic at best.

The conversations continued, and there were the telltale signs of people getting even more buzzed, perhaps even drunk. Some were laughing a bit too loudly, some were speaking up more often than they used to, while some seemed to be more quiet. Jonah belonged to the last category, Cassie noted, although he still interjected some insights every now and then. Insights that Cassie was more than ready to store in her memory.

“So, Jon, why aren’t you in a relationship yet? Don’t you fancy anyone?”

It was Maia, and Cassie could hear her clearly over the other conversations around the table, even with the one she was having right now. She looked up quickly and caught her eye. Maia winked at her before looking back at Jonah, whose back was turned to Cassie. Cassie was in the middle of a listening to Dave sharing something to her and she found herself immediately distracted while waiting for Jonah to answer the question.

She felt and heard Jonah laugh softly after Maia dropped the question, and Cassie strained to hear his answer, while giving absentminded nods. Yes, it was rude, but this was one answer from Jonah she could not miss.

“Right now?” Jonah repeated. He shifted in his seat, took a swig from his bottle, and finally spoke up. “Nah, no one. I don’t think I’m ready for a relationship now.” He laughed again.

Cassie’s hand jerked, and her bottle toppled over on the table, causing everyone to look over at her. “Sorry!” she said, giving an apologetic glance to everyone as she grabbed tissues to mop up the mess. Jonah’s hands came mingling with hers as he handed her more tissues and righted her bottle.

“You okay, Cass? Drunk already?” he said.

Cassie nodded, words failing to form in her mouth. “Yeah. I am. Okay, I mean. Not drunk.”

Jonah smiled at her. It was that smile again, the one that made her notice him the first time she met him. Cassie smiled back, but inside, she knew



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