Sorry, the phone you’re trying to reach is switched off…
I cancelled the call with seething frustration. I knew he was pissed off but come on, he should get over it. Sooner or later, he would have to talk to me; unless he was closure-allergic.
Karen entered the house to find my surly self on the bed.
“Don’t tell me you’re still trying to get in touch with Adam. It is a blessing he’s walking away with no drama. Your marriage is saved from a dramatic showdown,” she said, throwing a pack of Lays chips at me. I caught it and tore it open.
“I want us to talk it out. I don’t like us to end things like this. And he not talking to me doesn’t necessarily mean he’s walking away. He still has his partnership with Fitz pending.”
“Has anything being signed yet?” she asked, crunching on the chips.
“No. Fitz said Adam called to ask for some time to think things over.”
“Think what over exactly? He’s getting a big time mogul to skyrocket his career and he needs time to digest that?”
“Obviously it’s about what happened between us which makes it all complicated.”
“What happened between you?” Karen asked suspiciously. I stared blankly at her.
“I mean you know…our budding friendship. It was getting serious and it seems he was really into me and now he had this rude awakening that I’m someone else’s wife. It is quite a lot for a young man to take in, you know,” I replied. For a second, I saw a twinkle of doubt flash in her eyes.
“Well, it all boils down to this, it’s either he breaks it off with you and concentrate on his future that is sign the deal with Fitz which in my opinion makes more sense or refuse Fitz’s offer and continue whatever you two were doing which would be senseless,” Karen analyzed.
“You make it sound like I’m such a useless venture to enter into.”
“No offense but in all honesty, you are. What could you possibly offer Adam that would help his career that Fitz can’t in a hundred fold?”
“Well, I’ve proven to be a rich source of inspiration. He could write more hit singles drawing from spending time with me.”
“Oh don’t flatter yourself, Em. You’re not irreplaceable, you know. He could get himself another Emily with no sweat at all. A cute guy with a good voice and plays the acoustic guitar, he won’t even last an hour as single in the market if he was up for grabs.”
“So you’re saying it would be stupid of me to let go of him, right?” I asked hopefully.
“No, silly! I mean if you really care about him, you should let him go, Em. He has such a bright future and you are standing in the way of that. And you both decide to have your cake and eat it, Fitz will find out one day and it won’t be pretty.” I nodded.
“I guess it’s better that he’s avoiding me after all.”
“Okay, changing the subject….you know my birthday is coming up, right?” Karen asked.
I glanced at her.
“Of course it is.” I had totally forgotten which was unlike me.
“You forgot, didn’t you?”
“No, I didn’t. What on earth could make me forget my best friend’s birthday?” I asked, putting on my down face.
“Someone caught in the middle of two guys,” Karen said with a tight smile. I agreed with a nod. I made a mental note to remind Fitz of my request.
“Not going to campus today?” Fitz asked me after I had lazed about the house all morning. He was sitting behind his computer as usual.
“Nope. I’d rather stay home and spend time with you since you’re obviously not going to the office today,” I said, wrapping my arms around his neck and hugging him from behind.
“Aww…that’s so thoughtful. But today is Karen’s birthday, right? Don’t you want to share this happy day with her?”
“I’m sure she’d prefer to spend it with her sweetheart. I’ve been sharing her with him all year. It is about time I let him have her full attention for at least one day, don’t you think?”
“True; very considerate of you. But I got you the gift you wanted to give her.”
“Yeah, I’ll give it to her on Monday. Thank you, Fitz. I know it was on short notice but you still came through. I’m really grateful.”
“Anything for you, sweetie.” He pulled me onto his laps and touched my face.
“What did I do to deserve you?”
“You called me beautiful and got me an expensive gift.” He laughed. The sound of his laughter warmed my heart. He was such a good man. What girl in her right senses would still be unsatisfied with that? Perhaps I didn’t deserve him.
“What are you thinking about?” He asked, studying my face.
“Your mind wandered off for a moment. What is it?”
“Nothing; I was thinking that I should be the one asking you what I did to deserve you.” He smiled and kissed me.
A little after five o’clock, Karen called me.
“How’s the birthday girl doing?” I asked when I answered the call.
“Terrific. James has been such a sweet dude all day! Why have you been MIA today?”
“I wanted you to enjoy the day with James. Besides, you two deserve some quality alone time.”
“Oh please! You know my day won’t be complete without goofing around with you. Please come,” Karen pleaded.
“You know I would love to but Fitz is home today and we are having some quality time so…rain check? I promise to make it up to you the whole of next week.”
“I’ll hold you on to that. And guess what, Adam is performing on campus tonight.”
“Yep. A perfect way to end such a great day, right?”
“Uh huh. I guess you’d be there.”
“Of course. I hear he’d be singing to people’s requests as well. So I’d definitely want to hear him sing my personal favourite.” I smiled.
“That sounds nice. Have fun, honey and take care.”
“You too, Em.” The line went dead. Adam was coming to campus. What an opportune time to talk to him. I wish I could be there. I had to think of something.
“Honey?” I looked up.
“I’ll be engaged in a video conference call for about an hour. I hope you don’t mind,” Fitz said.
“Of course not. Actually, it seems I have to go to campus after all. Karen called and pleaded with me to come. I said no but since you’d be occupied, it wouldn’t hurt if I passed by campus and came back later, right?”
“Of course not. You should go. I told you she’d want to be with you. Send her my regards, all right?” Fitz said.
“Sure. I’ll head to the study room now.”
“Okay; I’ll get myself ready.” He closed the door behind him. Yes! I exclaimed happily in a whisper. Surely, where there is a will, there’s a way. I quickly got dressed and particularly made sure my makeup was flawless. This face of mine had worked wonders for me before and I’d need it to come through for me tonight.
I quietly opened the door to the study room and found Fitz speaking to the others on the screen. He glanced at me and I waved. I blew him a kiss and closed the door. I sighed. I couldn’t wait to get to campus. I checked my bag one last time and found Karen’s gift in it. I sat in my car and drove off.
“Here you go,” James said, giving Karen her second kebab.
“Thanks. Look, Adam is about to sing!” she said excitedly. Her phone beeped.
“Em is on campus. She wants to know where we are,” Karen said, typing her reply.
“I thought we were going to have an Emily-free day together. What happened?” James asked, disappointed. Karen laughed.
“I asked her to come. She said no so I wonder what made her change her mind.”
“She promised she’d stay away,” James mumbled.
“Did you ask her to stay away today?”
“Would you blame me if I did? You two are always together. Sometimes it feels we’re sharing you.”
“You’re sharing me and I don’t mind because you two are my best friends.”
“She has you for the rest of the year.”
“That’s not true. Hey, here she is!”
I walked into her open arms and glanced at James who was obviously not happy to see me tonight. I mouthed a sincere “I’m sorry” before drawing back from Karen’s hug.
“Have you seen him?” I asked Karen.
“Who?” Then it hit her. “Huh, so you didn’t come because of me after all, right? I can’t believe you.”
“Today is for you and James exclusively and I mean that. I just need to get him alone.”
“That would be after the show which would be pretty difficult because most girls would want to take photos with him and all.”
“I know, right? But I’m here now and I won’t leave till I’ve spoken with him.”
“All the best, girl.”
“Before I forget, I brought you your birthday present.”
“Aww…you did?” Karen asked, feeling excited. I reached into my bag and brought it out.
“Whoa…what could it be?” Karen looked at James who only smiled.
“Can I open it now?”
“Of course; it’s yours.” She unwrapped it and gasped when she opened it.
“Oh Emily! I can’t believe this!” She asked, stunned.
“You got her an iPhone 6? Seriously, are you trying to snatch my girlfriend from me?” James asked. Karen and I burst into laughter. Karen hugged her boyfriend and kissed his cheek.
“You’re cute when you act jealous, sweetie.”
“Don’t worry Jay; Karen is all yours.”
“I guess I should thank God you’re not gay.” We laughed harder.
“They are asking for song requests now. Excuse me for a minute, ladies,” James said and walked away.
“Does James seriously see me as a threat?” I asked, still recovering from the fit of laughter.
“Oh don’t mind him. Every guy would feel scared when his girl’s best friend gets her a more expensive gift than what he could get her. But seriously Em, thank you.”
“Thank Fitz. I asked him to get it for you. He sends his best wishes by the way.”
“Oh really? I’d have to call him and thank him.”
“Yeah, you have to.” We both turned when we heard Adam’s voice over the microphone.
“So this is for Karen. I hope it is the same Karen I have in mind. Your darling boyfriend wants me to sing this song for you and he tells me it’s your birthday. Happy birthday, Karen.”
“Aww…” Karen said, palming her cheeks. I rubbed her back. When he started, Karen moaned in delight, “He’s singing my latest favourite from Anthem Lights!”
“Nice song. What’s the title of the song?” I asked, taking out my phone.
“Give me a lifetime. Isn’t it sweet?”
“Adam singing it makes it even sweeter. Remind me to get the album.”
“I have it on my laptop.”
“Wow…what a friend I have. You know sharing is caring, right?”
“I’m sorry; songs never seem to come up when you’re around. I promise to let you have it.”
“You better. It is a nice song.”
After an hour of soothing music from the latest sensation in town, it was time for me to get down to business.
“I’ll see you two later. I need to grab him before someone else does.”
“Sure and thanks for coming…even though I know I wasn’t the primary reason.” We hugged.
“Thanks for the phone, Em.”
“I kind of owed you that. Remember the incident at the supermarket?”
“Yeah; is that why you got it because I asked?”
“You’ve been drooling over it ever since it came out. I knew I had to get it for you. And do remember to call Fitz.”
“I definitely would. Take care, dear. She’s all yours, Jay.”
“Finally.” We hugged. I waved them goodbye and began my search for Adam.