Author's Note: So after a whole two years, I back! The sad thing is that this chapter has been on my computer for that long. All I needed to do was finish the last few pages. Of course, I had to go back a re-read my chapters to make sure I understood that I didn't miss anything. Anyways, enjoy chapter seven, I promise that I won't wait another two years for an update!
Catch Me When I Fall
Chapter Seven: Rude Awakenings
A black lacy bra saved my life.
Okay, I'll admit that was a slight exaggeration, but it was an eye-catcher that no one can deny. The truth was that same bra only saved me from looking like a complete loser, but I'm sticking to life because it is much more entertaining to think of it that way.
The whole crisis started when I dropped my keys onto the ground, an action that was warranted given the circumstances. I was about to meet the lady that Noah spent the whole night with, lovely wasn't it? Feel the sarcasm? I kept telling myself I had no right to be jealous—I wasn't!—it's just that now I understand why Carla was affronted by the fact Noah wasn't considering her. Not that I wanted to be placed in the running, he's not that good looking. I scoffed at the thought; even I was able to hear the lie dripping from the thought.
I pushed my rambling thoughts aside as I leaned down to pick up my keys. If I was fast enough, I would be able to avoid the whole mess within seconds. My hands gripped the keys tightly as I told myself not to look. Nothing good would come out of seeing who Noah was sleeping with, but somehow my advice drifted out of my ears. My mind was already envisioning Noah involved with a beautiful lady he probably picked up at some random club, whose clothes probably could compete with Carla's when she was out on the prowl.
I realized that though I didn't want a confrontation with her—I had nothing to be angry about. I did have this strange urge to see what she looked like, but that was reasonable, wasn't it? Within those couple of seconds I came up with The Plan. So, maybe I rushed the whole thing because I didn't realize that planning should take more than a few seconds, something I wasn't so keen on at the time.
The Plan consisted of one thing. Be inconspicuous. I know it's not much of a plan and it sounds really easy, but being inconspicuous isn't as easy as it seems. It's not like I went to some spy training school where I could dive behind a corner so quickly that no one would notice.
To set The Plan in motion I loosened by grip on the keys and allowed them to fall on the floor once again. Now this probably looked like an odd move if anyone was watching me, but luckily the only people in the hallway with me was Noah and his guest and it's not like they are paying attention to me. As I crouched towards the ground for the second time, I specifically tilted my head towards the side to allow strands of my hair to cover my face. Inconspicuous, remember? With my hair concealing my stare I glanced towards Noah's apartment, even as I told myself not to.
Now this is the part where The Plan began to fail. Though I know the point of being discreet is not to draw attention to oneself that went straight over my head at the time. My tactful behavior was ruined with my gasp of outrage—and here I was trying to deny jealousy—it wasn't working.
I swiftly looked down when I saw Noah turn in my direction. With my eyes focusing on the set of keys that were inches away from my wandering fingers, I wondered if I could sneak into my apartment without any conversation. Inconspicuous, my ass, I thought. Gasping in shock, could this get any worse? I snorted with suppressed laughter. Who was I kidding?
The image of Noah leaning down to kiss that woman was forever imprinted in my mind. Actually it was only imprinted in my mind for a few minutes—the exact amount of time it took me to grab the keys and stand up. I already had the keys shoved into the lock when I heard her call his name.
I forgot all thoughts of subtlety. I glanced up to see Noah staring at me while his lips curled to form a slight frown. His guest was lightly tapping her foot on the ground, her gaze jumping back and forth between the two of us. "Noah?" she called again, her tone resonated her confusion.
I watched as his gaze fluttered shut, closing off any emotion that was there. When he glanced back down at his guest he asked, "Yes?"
"Who is she?" her eyes expressed guilelessness.
I was interested to hear how he would answer this. My mind already forming his responses, some of which ranged from the outrageous, but truthful 'the woman I am lusting after' reply to the straightforward-no-question-asked 'my neighbor' answer. Was I hoping to see her perfectly heart-shaped face with a cute little button nose to get red with anger or was I ready to be set in my place?
The elevator made three consecutive 'dings' just as Noah replied with an answer that tossed both ideas out of the window.
"She's no one."
A deadpan answer.
How exactly was I supposed to react to that? My mind made a quick list—there were only two options. I could either beat our dismissive relationship to death or I could walk into my apartment as if I was unaffected.
I decided to do both except out of order.
Acting as if I wasn't hurt I opened my door and walked in.
Indifferent to his response.
Inside I was breaking.
Being the type of person who likes knowing what went wrong, I thought of the past twenty-four hours. Here I thought our bantering actually meant something, boy was I wrong. I felt my purse slide off my shoulder and drop to the ground. Seconds later, I followed. I slumped towards the ground, my back pressed against the closed door. My hand still held the empty cup in a loose drink, but I barely spared Tristan a second thought, my mind already focused on why I was wallowing. With that came the beating of a relationship—or lack of relationship—to death.
"It's not like he hurt me," I said vehemently, but the silence that followed mocked at me. I glared around the room and for the first time this morning my eyes landed on Noah's toolbox. The lovely reminder of yesterday, I thought.
For the next five minutes, I mulled over the idea of tossing his toolbox over the balcony, but the thought of getting stuck again, warned me away from it. I could always take it to him, but I didn't want to give the impression that I would use any excuse to see him. On the other hand, keeping the toolbox was like holding a huge sign saying 'I want you to come see me.'
Giving the toolbox on last glare, I began to formulate a new plan. Any coordinator of The Plan (capitalized letters and all) would realize is that no plan is perfect. So within the seconds, I already formed Plan B, the second most extraordinary plan ever. Curl up into my couch and indulge in a nice tub of cookie dough.
Kicking off my shoes, I walked towards the kitchen to grab the main ingredient to the 'get out of my head' wallow-fest. Armed with the five pound tub and a spoon, I dropped the cup into the trashcan and walked out. Flopping down on the plastic covered couch, I raised my feet onto the coffee table and tried to relax.
Tried, being the operative word.
After two scoops, there was a knock on the door. I considered ignoring the persistent knock, content in the consistency of scooping the cookie dough and chewing.
"Robyn? It's Noah," he called.
I paused, the spoon dangling in front of my mouth as I turned to stare at the door. Either Noah really wanted his toolbox back or he was a bigger idiot than I thought.
"Will you please just open up the door? I don't think you want this to be hashed out so loudly?" he said.
I snorted. Now he's worried about what his neighbors would think? Where was this consideration last night? With plans to ignore him, I went back to the cookie dough.
"Robyn! That's her name," another voice exclaimed loudly. Hearing another person, I pried myself of the plastic-covered couch.
"You don't even know her name and you're holding that!" Noah all but yelled.
With that, I marched towards the door and threw it open. "As if you're any better!"
"What the hell is you're problem, Robyn? I'm trying to help you out here." Noah said.
An annoyed Carla stalked out her apartment, and ambled into the hallway near us. Carla launched into her argument before I could even get another word in. "Just when I was about to go to sleep, I hear you guys arguing," she said before turning to glare at Noah. She treaded in his direction, pointing a finger in his chest as she loudly said, "And next time you decide to have some fun between the sheets, tie a cloth in the girl's mouth because if I ever hear a moan that loud—especially if it's not coming from me—I won't be responsible for my actions."
Noah's brows drew together in confusion, "What are you talking about?" Noah took a step back, staring at the both Carla and I, his perplexed expression turning into another frown. "I really have no idea what you guys are talking about."
I laughed. "Are you really going to deny last night? Don't you think that it is going to be kind of hard since I just saw her leaving your apartment?"
"You're talking about Marcy?"
Carla shook her head. "I'm gonna have to agree with Robyn here. You're an idiot." With that settled—at least in her mind—Carla turned her attention towards me. "Who was he?"
"Who was who?" I asked, puzzled by her question.
"The only reason why you would suddenly hang up is because of a man," she answered proudly. Her eyes were twinkling with delight as she subtly glanced in Noah's direction. Following her gaze I saw Noah frown darken as he tried to follow our conversation.
I couldn't help the small smile that crept towards my lips. "His name is Tristan Crowley and I have a date with him tomorrow night."
"You met him at Beans, didn't you?" At my nod, she sighed. "Why is it that you have all the luck?" she asked teasingly. "I've been going there for the past three weeks and not once have I been picked up."
"Try bumping into the stranger in front of you, works like a charm," I answered, sweetly.
"You have a date so quickly? You just broke you with Gregory last night." Noah said, grimacing at either the date or the thought of Gregory. Not that I cared…
Carla snorted, "You blew your chance last night."
At the sound of a throat clearing, the three neighbors turned to see the other gentleman rubbing the back of his neck with one hand. "Sorry, I didn't realize that I would come in an inconvenient time. I just wanted to drop something off to…Robyn," he finished, reinforcing the name.
Giving Noah a quick glance when a low growl erupted from him, he smiled sheepishly as started to raise his left hand. I felt my eyes widen when I saw that he was holding out a black bra.
"I found it under my bed and since you ran out of my room so fast last week, well I…"
As I reached to grab the bra, I heard Noah let a quick and cynical chuckle.
Wincing, I realized that the bra had the wrong effect.
Save me from looking like a loser?
I don't think so.
Reinforce the idea that I am apparently as bad as Noah.