Coffee. As soon as my hands cup around the paper cup I feel instantly better. I haven't even sipped it and yet the caffeine seems to already have seeped into my body. As the heat from it warms my fingers the energy runs through my arms and over my shoulders relaxing me instantly. It's warm outside, but waiting in line at Starbucks in the air conditioning has made me start to feel as if I have arthritis in my joints. I'm getting old, or at least I start thinking that until the liquid is actually consumed. I feel even better.
That is until I hear a certain southern accent behind me. I literally cringe when I hear a soft and perky woman's voice along with the very familiar voice.
"Is it bad to have ice cream for breakfast?" she asks him behind me.
"No," he says with a laugh, "It's horrible that we're having breakfast at almost four in the afternoon. Reminds me of Vegas."
I sigh remembering the days when we would wake up late due to our schedules and sit around and eat whatever junk food was in the area. It was normality that made living with all the rest worthwhile. Having to stand on the far side of the velvet rope for so long wasn't something that I wanted to do, but I did it because I had moments like these with Lance, when we were normal together, when we were together in the first place.
"I'm so glad that we're together," she says with a listless tone.
I don't know how long they've been together, but she makes it sound way more serious than I thought she'd be sounding at this point in their relationship. We had months and months of experience with each other before our conversations started sounding like that.
"I'm going to miss you when you go out of town," he says.
Feeling horrible about eavesdropping I move away from them, trying not to make eye contact. I'm normally not one to shy away from meeting people. I couldn't do my job if I had that phobia, but right now, standing here in my sweats and running shoes and messy hair after work-out self I'm not wanting to be in anyone's company that I might see again.
I turn towards him and smile. His arm is around her and they're leaning towards each other. I don't know how long they've been together, but they look tight. They look really tight and guilty too for some reason. Nervousness covers their faces and they instantly move closer instead of farther away. "Hey." I try to look surprised as if I didn't recognize their voices over my shoulder.
"I thought that was you, but I wasn't sure," he said moving his arm around so that he can touch my arm for a moment. The tingle that radiates from his hand touching me scares me a bit and I move back a few inches. "How've you been?" He starts looking around.
"My brother is at home, safe and sound with his wife," I say watching Addison's eyes widen at that remark.
"Oh," Lance finally says, "Addison, this is Tammy. Tammy, Addison."
"We've met," I say quickly. I don't want to bring up the fact that the other night was just a little more than strange, but I can't ignore the fact that we've seen each other before. "Although the formal introduction is nicer than being caught up in security rules. I'm--"
"No worries," Addison says and slips an arm through Lance's arm. She's very possessive. I'm not sure if it's because she's generally insecure, but it seems as if she knows that Lance and I were a couple before. She does all the things that a woman who is trying to stake her claim on someone would do.
"Well, it looks like you have plans today," I say noting that they're dressed for the beach. Lance is in long board shorts and a white t-shirt and Addison in a tank top and a pair of short shorts. "I should let you go. You look like you're on your way somewhere and I've got some errands to do before work."
I don't want to let them go, or rather, I don't want to let him go. I know I screwed up calling my brother the other night and I want to tell him that, but I'm not about to start that conversation in front of Addison. She doesn't know me and I don't want her knowing more about my former relationship with Lance than she needs to. If Lance wants to tell her then that's fine with me, but I'm not about to offer up more information to her.
"We're headed to the beach," he says quickly, "We should get down there before it gets too hot. Have a good one, ok?" He doesn't look comfortable with the idea of leaving, but he leaves anyway.
I watch them back away and leave. Lance looks back at me once they are outside and catches my eye. He lifts a hand to wave at me and I duck my head as soon as Addison notices what he's doing.
I wait a while before I go to leave. I want to make sure that they're totally gone before I leave. I don't want to run into them again. I've had enough stress for one day and the rest of the day is going to be stressful, something that I don't need.
When my phone rings I pull it out and put it to my ear. "Hey."
"Hi Timothy," I say and look around wondering if someone he knows has seen me and Lance together. As the months have gone on I've felt more and more uncomfortable with the idea of my brother being so protective. Sometimes it's nice, but on a trip to get coffee I don't need anyone looking over my shoulder.
"You're coming tonight, right?"
"Yeah," I say, "I just went and worked out and I need to go and get a shower. Why, do you need me to come early or something?"
"No," he says quickly.
"Why wouldn't I come tonight?" I ask knowing instantly that he's been tracking me down today. He probably called home to check on me since last night was so stressed.
"I don't know. I called and Clark said you had plans."
"I have plans to be at work," I say trying not to sound too snippy at him. He's probably assuming that I'm going to go and hang out with Lance or something. He would assume that. He doesn't realize that now that I've screwed up my relationship with Lance that there really isn't a way to fix it. For me to get back with Lance would take a lot of alcohol and a lot of what I would consider homesickness. I haven't dated since him and I've been missing being a part of a couple.
"You ok?" Timothy asks.
"Yeah," I say, "I'm tired. I think I'm gonna go home for a few hours and take a shower and nap before tonight."
"You want me to pick you up tonight?"
"Naw," I say, "I'm fine." I leave the coffee shop and head to the car. "You need anything else?"
"Nope," he says, "I've invited Patch tonight to hang out with you."
"What?" I ask. Patch McConnell was my brother's friend's little brother. He's totally someone that my brother wants me to start dating and while Patch is a great guy, a great security guard and bodyguard, I'm not sure that he and I should date. Too many family connections could screw that up.
"Calm down," he says, "He was going to work the event anyway and I figured you'd be more comfortable teaming with someone you know rather than a new guy."
I want to strangle him. I want to reach through the phone line and get him because really he's being way too overprotective. "Fine."
"Go on home and rest up. Tonight should be interesting so you'll need to be on your toes."
"On my toes. Hmmm. I wish that he would just say what is on his mind instead of trying to act like everything is ok with the way he's been treating me.
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Last updated: 07/04/04.