Chapter Two - The Cliche Feeling of Inferiority
"The reason why I can't stumble so furiously into adventures, because she's always there. She is always, always there."
"Ooh, what about that one?" Rachel pointed out the next night as we sat at a table at our favorite club. I had finished the majority of my website design the night before after an all-nighter and endless cups of coffee. After sleeping most of the day, I had enough energy to go out for a night with the girls.
Mindy scrunched her nose. "Too skinny."
Right, because only asshole was her type. I took a deep breath as I took another sip of my martini. "Are we really only here to scope on men? I mean seriously, aren't the guys supposed to be coming up to us?"
Rachel scoffed at me. "Easy to say when you have Noah at your beck and call."
I rolled my eyes. "Not true."
"Come on, Bev. Face it. In fact, Be proud of it," Madison, another one of our friends, or rather, my best friend since elementary school said, and gave me a look.
"When are you guys gonna make it official?" Mindy wondered aloud. "And don't give me that 'we're official because we're sleeping together' because that is in no way valid."
Rachel snorted next to me. "If I had a dime for every one of my 'official relationships' according to you..." she trailed off and took another sip of her drink.
I sighed. "What do you want it to be, Facebook official or something? 'Bevin Gonzalez is in a relationship with Noah Wright?'"
"That'd be nice. And I bet he wouldn't mind it either," Mindy said.
"So what?" Rachel asked, getting my attention after I grunted a response to Mindy's comment. "Is he booty calling you or something?"
"I texted him."
Rachel laughed. "Of course you did." All the girls turned around to grab their next round from the bartender's tray. She raised her glass. "A toast to Bevin and her ability to be the man in every relationship. I don't know how she does it, but hopefully some day I'll learn," she said and took a big gulp of her drink, and all the other girls followed suit.
I shook my head at this, taking a big gulp of my drink as I got a text message. Speak of the devil. I quickly texted back my response. "I'm gonna go to the bathroom."
"I'll come with!" Madison exclaimed and followed me towards the bathroom. Someone tapped on my shoulder, and I turned around and saw scruff. And a Red Hot Chili Peppers t-shirt with a leather jacket. But upon squinting a little bit, I saw that he was hot. Very hot.
"Hi!" he said to me and smiled. "I was wondering about your friend...the redhead?"
I laughed to myself. Of course. I looked back at Mindy, clinking glasses with Rachel and laughing. I looked back at the guy, let's call him Cowardly Jackass. "If you wanna talk to her, do it on your own," I said, tapping his jacket and walking to the bathroom, Madison in tow. We went inside and went towards the mirrors.
"And I'm back in high school," I said as I rubbed under my eyes for traces of running mascara.
Madison smiled that smile of sympathy whenever something like this happened. Which actually hadn't for a while. "You're drinking. Emotions are heightened."
I nodded. "True." I looked at myself in the mirror, with my frazzled hair and wide green eyes, now completely free of running makeup.
"You're beautiful, Bev, stop that," Madison chided.
I looked back over at her. "What?" I asked, confused. She looked back at me with those reprimanding eyes when I used to look at myself in the mirror and wonder what I was missing that Mindy had that made all the guys go nuts for her. "Oh," I said, realizing. "Please." I rolled my eyes and turned to wash my hands. "I was not. I'm over that, Mads. For god's sake, I'm twenty six. I had to get over it sometime."
"Oh. Sorry. It just seemed like..." she trailed off.
"I know," I said, giving her an apologetic look for being so crass as I grabbed the paper towels. "You don't have to hear me go on and on about it anymore. Be happy," I said, touching the dimples on the side of her cheek that were striking even when she wasn't smiling. "Shall we?" I asked, holding a hand out to her.
Madison smiled. "We shall."
A few hours later, I carefully got off of Noah's bed and made my way towards the kitchen, no longer being able to ignore how thirsty I was. I looked at the clock on the microwave. 3:04. It was about time I got out of here.
As soon as I placed the glass cup on top of the counter and tilted the Brita, I felt arms wrap around my waist. I jumped, and the glass wobbled before staying in place. Noah placed a kiss on my cheek. "Sorry about that."
I finished pouring and turned to him as I took a sip of the water. Ah. I smiled at him. "I should get going."
"Why don't you stay?" Noah asked, for about the fifth time, by my estimations. I usually declined with a lame excuse about how I had to get working. One good thing about an inconsistent job: being able to lie about being swamped one day and completely free the next.
I stared at him for a second, starting to rethink whether I should say no, yet again, and mulling over what the girls said in my head. They were right, Noah was really into me. And I wasn't some heartless bitch that I constantly kept him at a distance. I just wasn't the biggest fan of commitment. And that included sleepovers.
But we had been seeing each other for a few months now, and he was really smart and interesting, which was hard to come by. He worked as an assistant curator for the MoMA, so we had a lot in common. And he was pretty easy on the eyes, not that I was superficial or anything but come on, it helped.
So I found myself smiling and agreeing. The smile that broke out on his face was worth it. I had made him happy. All the implications about my decision would come later.
As I hailed a cab the next morning, I thought about what Rachel had said that night. It wasn't that I was the man in every relationship, per se. I just dated like a man. No emotional attachments unless necessary. And even if I was emotionally attached, I never acted like it. I had done it for as long as I can remember, and it always seemed to work for me.
Don't get me wrong, I wasn't some girl that made all guys follow me around like a puppy. It's not like that. It's just about holding on to some dignity. My mom wasn't around to teach me how to act like a girl in relationships, so I got advice from my dad on how to be a boy. My brother did too, although I suppose guys are supposed to get it from their fathers while women got it from their mothers. But I never had a chance. Not since I was seven.
As I walked into my apartment, the first person I spotted was the now-familiar Jacob. Now here was one guy that definitely didn't date like I did. I had seen him around work a couple of times, and I greeted him with a polite smile and he responded in kind. But if I was with Mindy, forget it. He pulled out the full smile wattage effect. Now that he was in my apartment, I couldn't just walk away without a care. "Jacob," I said in greeting, a little surprised he was here.
"Bevin, hello. How are you?"
"Good, thanks. Um, what are you doing here?"
"Finishing up our project from Friday," Mindy said for him as she walked into the living room.
"Ah," I said, and nodded. "You're both so dedicated to your work."
Mindy laughed. "And he comes all the way from Brooklyn, isn't he the greatest?" she said, and smiled over at him. His face lit up yet again, and I'm pretty sure I just witnessed his heart stopping. He was a drool and tail wag away from turning into a golden retriever right in our living room.
"By the way, the walk of shame looks good on you," she said, interrupting my thoughts. I looked over at her smirking at me, motioning to my dress and heels from the night before.
I smiled at Mindy, but flipped her off for good measure. "I'm gonna go shower. Have fun." I practically ran into the bathroom, and let the hot water run over me for what seemed like forever. I decided to go to the supermarket so I changed into a tank top and jeans once I got to my room. I threw my hair in a bun and slipped on some sandals. I walked to the kitchen and ripped off the shopping list. When I went back into the living room, I saw Jacob alone again.
"Where's Mindy?" I asked him as I grabbed a colorful scarf and wrapped it around my neck.
"Oh, she went to get some supplies quickly," he said, and looked back down at his treasured poster board. I considered simply leaving, but I couldn't resist.
"So," I started, and he looked up. "You came all the way here from Brooklyn on a Sunday morning?"
Jacob nodded. "Like you said, I'm dedicated."
I laughed. "Right, I'm sure that's it."
His brows furrowed. "What do you mean?"
I sighed. Was I really gonna do this? I looked down at him, eyes wide like a little boy's and figured he could use some outside enlightenment. "Come on, Jacob. Cut the crap. It's obvious you like Mindy. It's alright, it's fairly common." He was speechless for a second, and before he could muster up the words to respond with, the home phone rang. I didn't know why we still had it, and who important would even call on it, but I ripped it from its home station anyway. "Hello?"
"Let me speak to Mindy," the male voice said on the other line. Apparently, politeness wasn't their forte.
I wrinkled my nose. "May I ask who's speaking?"
My mouth dropped. "Are you fucking kidding me? Dean? How dare you call her after you totally screwed her over?"
"Who is this?"
"This is Bevin. So if you think I'm gonna let an ass like you speak to her ever again, you're sadly mistaken."
"Save it, asshole. You're not gonna speak to her. Oh, and a word of advice? Shave of the faux-hawk, you're thirty-six years old. Grow the fuck up," I said, and hung up.
"Is everything okay?" I heard Jacob's voice after a few seconds of glaring at the phone.
I looked up at him. And when I did, I really looked at him. I saw the side part, glasses, Cornell t-shirt, jeans, and loafers. Jacob was a normal, good guy, and the guys that Mindy dated, like the dick I had the pleasure of talking on the phone with, were not.
And then a thought hit me. Jacob liked Mindy, that much was obvious. And even though he was a good guy, Mindy didn't go for guys like him. But what if Jacob came off as an asshole? Mindy would go for him, and once she really got to know him, would fall for this great guy. I mean, he looked desperate enough to try just about anything.
"Bevin?" Jacob asked again, probably wondering why I'd been staring at him for the past ten seconds.
A smile spread over my face. "I have a proposition for you, Jacob."