Making It Work Ch. 03bycassandraharper©
To the Anon who suggested the monikers, thank you very much. I don't know why I didn't think of that in the first place.
Ananda: [looks at clock] Eight thirty in the morning? I don't think so. "Go away!"
David: "No, get up."
I stare at him in disbelief. What is he doing here?
Ananda: "It's too early for all of this. Go away."
David: [Crosses arms and leans against door] "I already told you no."
Ananda: "What are you even doing here? Don't you have a life to live?"
David: "Your parents called me up last night and asked me to take you to your doctor's appointment. They had an early meeting to attend and would probably be out all day afterwards."
He rolls his eyes as if I'm a moron or something. I'm not stupid. What does my parents being gone have to do with him being here? I can take care of myself. What? Did they think I would have a heart attack in the car on the way to the doctor?
David: "I'm babysitting you. You don't have a choice. Now get up."
I think not. When he learns to be more respectful I'll consider dragging my lazy ass out of bed. Until then I'm staying nice and warm and he can kiss my black ass. People can be so rude sometimes. Ugh!
Ananda: Uh-oh. I hate when he does that. "Don't you it." He does it. "Get off of me, David! I'm not leaving this bed until you apologize for being a jackass! Let go of my leg!"
David: "Dammit woman, you're so stubborn! Get out of bed right now! Your appointment is in an hour!" [grabs ankle again]
Ananda: "There's still plenty of time."
David: [drops ankle] "No there isn't, you dummy. It takes thirty minutes to get to the doctor's office, you still haven't even had breakfast or brushed your teeth yet. Now get up or I swear I—"
He has a valid point, but my bed is so damn warm and he's still a jackass.
Ananda: "Alright! Why didn't you just say so in the first place? You know that I'm not a morning person."
He's glowering at me and probably still deciding whether he should drag me out of bed or not. He's so sexy right now all worked up with those flushed cheeks. Sometimes I argue with him just to get this reaction. I'm mean, aren't I?
David: "Your damn breakfast is ready. Get dressed."
[slams door and stomps off]
Ananda: "Don't be slamming these damn doors! This ain't your house!"
David: "What was that?"
How the hell did he come back so quickly?
Ananda: [looks around nervously, picks lint off of blanket] "Nothing. I'm gonna get ready." Sneaky bastard.
This time there are no snide remarks. I'm panicking a bit. Why does David have to come with me? I'm still not over the incident with that horrible phone call and my sorry excuse of an explanation. My parents should have told me...then again, they probably knew that I would sneak out in the middle of the night. I'm just not ready for this, y'all. Come on ladies, am I being a pussy or am I right? Sometimes there are things that no matter how badly you want to say them just never come out.
I wish Barrett was here right now. He always knows what to do.
David: "Ana move your ass!"
Ananda: "All right damn it! Stop rushing me!"
I swear. I can't even say my own private thoughts in peace. I drag myself out of bed and get dressed. I'll just have to take a shower when I get back. It usually helps me with the waking up process, but David saw to that. I return to my room to make my bed then meet him downstairs.
Ananda: "What's this?"
David: "Breakfast. What does it look like?"
Ananda: "Too much healthy food, not enough sugar." He rolls his eyes and hands me a plate full of sliced fruits, a whole grain muffin, and something that smells like turkey bacon. I know what it smells like because my father loves the stuff. Me? Not so much. I prefer the real deal.
David: "Stop frowning like a spoiled brat and eat up. You're going for your one month check-up so it's wise to eat healthy beforehand. We leave in ten minutes."
[sigh of defeat]
Ananda: "Aren't you eating?"
David: [shakes head] "I'm not too hungry."
I eat all of the fruits, eat the muffin, drink some orange juice and give David the two slices of turkey bacon.
Ananda: "Happy birthday."
David: "You're an asshole."
He has the same look on his face as an older brother who's ready to beat the crap out of his younger sibling, but he takes the plate and eats the "bacon" strips. I blow him a kiss and proceed to put on my shoes and coat. David is right behind me without me having to tell him that I'm ready. His hand rests lightly on the small of my back, guiding me out the door before locking it.
David: "It's a bit chilly out today. Are you dressed warm enough?"
Ananda: [rolls eyes] "It's an early spring morning, David. It's going to be slightly cold. The temperature will heat up later."
Ever the gentleman, he opens the door for me and revs the engine only after my seatbelt is buckled. I sneak glances of his side profile wondering what he's thinking about. Sometimes I feel as if I don't know him as well as I think I do. The distance spent between us after our horrible breakup did create somewhat of a rift that we haven't yet repaired. I don't know how. Do you have any advice for me?
David: "Are you going to keep staring at me or will you tell me what's on your mind."
Ananda: "I love you." It came out unexpectedly on a wispy breath, but now that the truth has slipped, I might as well keep moving forward.
David: "What? I didn't hear you. Any other time you'd be yelling at me and now you choose to whisper?"
He makes a left turn, briefly taking his eyes off of the road to look at me. My heart is pounding in my chest, I want to give up however I've been replaying Barrett's advice and I don't want to be afraid anymore.
Ananda: What are we doing, David?"
David: "We're on the way to the doctor's."
Ananda: "No, I mean us. What is this?"
He's tapping his finger on the steering wheel and once more I'm left wondering what's on his mind.
David: You're probably going to think that I'm pulling your leg, but I need you to expound upon whatever it is you're trying to tell me."
Ananda: "What are we doing? How hard is that to understand? One minute we're fucking and the next we're biting each other's heads off! What the hell is going on?! That's all I want to know, David! That's it! What is there not to understand?! Are we seeing each other? Are we friends with benefits? Are we even friends because sometimes I feel as if you can't stand to be around me?"
David: "You've got to be fucking kidding me. Ana—"
Ananda: "Don't try to blow things over like you always do. You want to know why I'm fucked up right now? It's because of you! I can't look at you without hurting. Every time I feel a stab in my heart and you don't seem to give a damn! You selfish bastard!"
I don't know where all of this is suddenly coming from. I don't know why I'm yelling at him. Why am I so angry? Why are there tears in my eyes? Why won't he say something more than my name? I should have kept quiet. [sobs] He slams on brakes and puts the car in park. We're at the doctor's office.
David: "Now Ananda, listen to me...Ananda!"
I'm a hypocrite. I just asked for an explanation yet I'm running. [slams car door]
David: "Hey damn it, I'm talking to you. You can't just act like some hysterical woman having a nervous breakdown then leave me confused."
Ananda: "Let go of me." My entire body shivers when he touches my face. I can't breathe. "LET GO OF ME!"
"Is there a problem, ma'am? Is this man bothering you?"
I need to calm down. I didn't notice that I had drawn a crowd. There's a very daunting security guard standing behind us, but David isn't threatened. He wipes my tears away ever so calmly although his eyes inform me that this conversation isn't over.
David: "Everything is perfectly fine. The lady and I are together. We were having a relational dispute. That's all."
The guard looks at me for confirmation and I nod my head in agreement. His brown eyes glare holes into David's hand on my waist and he looks at me as if to say "another sistah done strayed from the flock." I can literally see him shaking his head in disgust in my mind's eye.
Security guard: "Well, just keep it down."
He stalks off back into the building leaving us alone. I wrench away from David and follow behind him, checking in for my appointment. David takes his seat right next to me while I feign ignorance to his presence. I wish that he wasn't here. I shouldn't have opened the can of worms.
David: "Ananda, stop trying to avoid me. You're upset, I get it. Nevertheless, we need to talk. You started this so now you finish it. What you said in the car, was it true? Am I the reason why you're ill?"
David: "Answer me."
Ananda: "Yes, all right. Are you happy now?"
David: [balls hands into fists] "No, I'm not happy. Talk to me."
Nurse: "Ms. Ananda Lewis? The doctor will see you now."
Thank God for interruptions. I expected him to remain seated, but David gets up with me and follows me to the back. I shrug his hand off of me, smiling at the nurse when she turns about to direct us to my doctor's room. I know the procedure so I go ahead and unbutton my blouse, still ignoring David's unbreakable stare. For some reason inexplicable to me my heart is racing. I feel as if I'm undressing for him. As if at any moment his big hands will grab me and caress all over my body. [whimper]
David: "Are you okay? Do you need me to tell the doctor to hurry up?"
Ananda: "I'm fine."
Because it's only a check-up to see if my condition has improved, I don't don the gown sitting on the table for me. I sit down in only my bra and jeans waiting for my doctor to come inside and join us.
David: "Ana, I—"
Ananda: "We'll talk about it, but just not now, please. For once don't argue with me."
David: "Fine. I'll drop it for now." She looks relieved even if it's only temporary. What she said earlier is still ringing in my ears. I need to talk to her and clear the air. I've dreaded the day when we would finally breech this subject. What are we? Definitely more than lovers; she's my best friend, my confidant, my Ana. And I don't hate her in spite of what she believes. If I did, I wouldn't drive myself crazy so much trying to maintain a reasonable distance from her. It's difficult. Lord knows I've tried to stay away, but with us living in such close proximity, it's nearly impossible. We talk almost every day—unless we're arguing. We see each other every other week except for our regular movie nights. We're close. Sometimes too close which actually doesn't work out in our favor when we're trying to get our feelings situated. We'll talk about it then I'll keep my distance.
Her doctor arrives to do her check-up and he seems worried about something.
Ananda: "What is it, Dr. James?"
Dr. James: "Well, your blood pressure is high and your heart rate is unstable. Is something the matter?"
Her eyes glance in my direction before she tells him that we argued before her visit and that she was still upset with me which is the reason why her levels are so elevated. He's nodding then kindly asks me to wait in the waiting room until Ana's examination is over. I wanted to say no, but that would have been rude so I leave. I'm left sitting for about twenty minutes before Ananda joins me. I pay her bill beforehand, giving her her jacket when we're ready to exit the building. The security guard doesn't like me. He's been scowling at me from the moment we walked in. I don't care, as long as he doesn't open his mouth with some sort of nonsense. I'm not in the mood.
David: "What did Dr. James say?"
Ananda: "That all is going accordingly. I'm fine."
David: "Then let's get to business. What you said earlier really has me in a foul mood. First of all, I don't hate you. You damn well know that. I can't believe you would even dare to utter such gibberish. On the other hand, you're right about us. The lines between love and friendship are blurred, but what do you expect when we're always up under each other?"
Ananda: "Is that such a bad thing?"
David: "Of course not, I enjoy spending time with you. We've been in each other's company since we were eleven, it'll seem strange if we don't see each other."
Ananda: "And the sex?"
Sex is a known complication. Once you get intimate it's impossible to go back to the way things used to be. Ana and I didn't have sex until college, but I had been in love with her long before then. Remember, I told you about that ass? I lusted after her because of it and eventually as I began to know her and respect her, that lust transformed into desire and then love. I used to lay awake at night wishing that she would pay me some kind of attention. I loved when I was sick because she would rush home afterschool with my homework and spend the afternoon in my room.
We would talk about anything, plan to do everything, there were no limits to our friendship. Then she found out what it meant to have a crush and began to forget about us. I despised all of her boyfriends. I loathed the fact that they were seeing another side to her that I probably would never know. I became angry, always in a fight, always arguing with Ana because I didn't know how to express myself. And then one day I just couldn't take it anymore and I kissed her. It was accidental. We were arguing as usual, but unlike the other million times I had the strong urge to grab her and shake some sense into her, only the shaking was quickly replaced with the thought of kissing and after that incident neither of us was able to deny that there was an attraction between us.
Ananda: "Do you even love me, David?"
David: "How could you even ask such a question? Of course I do. You know that I do."
I don't know why she doesn't believe me. I do love her. I love her so much that it hurts. My stomach feels jumbled and I can't think straight when she enters a room. I love her so much that I go out of my way to argue with her if only to have a small fraction of her attention. I love her so much that it's been hard to truly let her go.
Ananda: "No, I don't doubt that you do, but it's not the same way that I love you. So we still have sex, there are lots of people who still find their ex attractive even if there isn't any real emotions left."
David: "Wait a minute."
Ananda: "Just let me finish. I've been bottling this all up inside that I'm afraid that if I don't let it out now I'll never do it again. What I feel for you is the exact same thing I felt the first time I saw you in Chemistry class as if the lights finally came on and I could see clearly after looking through smudged glasses. How I feel for you is like the time you took me to Carowinds and you forced me to ride that damn roller coaster. It was exhilarating and frightening all at the same time and when the coaster ride finally ended, all I could think about was how much I wanted to do it again. Even though it made me cry, even though I screamed until my lungs got hoarse, I wanted to do it all over again and I would continuously even if it meant I would die."
"Why I feel for you goes back to the night that my dog died. You sat outside with me at his grave until our mothers had to drag us in the house and we got into trouble for sitting outside without a coat and catching a cold. I've never stopped looking at you, but sometimes you don't seem to even notice me. It hurts knowing that I love you more than I can express with words, David. Yet no matter how much I love you, will it ever be enough to open you up to me? You're always giving me a half of yourself. Always hiding away as if I could never understand you. I need clarification and I need closure. It's either we're going to be together or we're going to draw the line, but I can't stay in between. Not when it hurts so much, David."
[voice breaks] "I can't be the only one in love alone while you're taking a stroll on Easy Street. It hurts. I need to know and you're the only one who can tell me."
What should I say in response? The truth of the matter is that I can't give her a clear answer. I refuse to say something that isn't truthful only to appease her. I owe Ana more than that. I can hear her quiet sobs and all I can say is that it's tearing me up. She hates crying and she hates it even more when I see her cry. I don't really know how to cheer her up so I do the first thing that comes to mind. I bring her to my gym for a spa day. She can relax and release stress while getting pampered. This in no way means that I'm avoiding our discussion. I need to get my mind right before.
Ananda: "What are we doing here?"
David: "I have a few things to take care of and you can spend time at the spa until I've finished. Is that okay?"
I leave her downstairs on the first floor with instructions to see to her every need then I escape to my office. My desk is so cluttered that I want to go back home instead of working. I have a little too much on my plate, but seeing as how my assistant is on maternity leave I'll just have to make do.
"David, ever the diligent worker."
David: "Doors are made for knocking, Tommy. What's up?"
Tommy: "Just informing you that the new ad for the gym is ready. The interns are working on advertising for the power bars. AND the new office in Washington has called for the twentieth time this morning."
David: "Oh no."
Tommy: "Davy, they need you man. You're the only one who knows our vision on our expansion."
David: [swivels about in chair] "Don't call me Davy and what about the new gym on Beltline? Who's going to see to its completion if I'm gone for five years?"
Tommy: "Isn't that why we're partners? I'll stay here and man the fort while you set up another headquarter in Washington."
Tommy: "Come on Davy, you know that I'm not good with all that architecture mumbo jumbo. You're the brains and I'm the beauty."
David: "I thought I was both?"
Tommy: [false laughter] "Funny smart ass. Just think it over. They've been asking for you."
David: "Five years is a long time for me to be away from my father. He's old and he needs me."
Tommy: [chortles] "Are you talking about the old man who beat the crap out of that kid hitting on the waitress in Olive Garden the other night when he couldn't take no for an answer? He'll be fine. I'll be here to take care of him...and apparently so will Ananda. Damn that woman is gorgeous. What is she doing here?"
David: [walks to office window] "I brought her to get some pampering. She's on sick leave, I figured she could use it."
Tommy: "Is she still single? I've been wanting to take her out since junior year when we played against Clemson. Unless it's her boyfriend she's on the phone with right now."
Tommy: "Stop growling, I was only teasing you. I wouldn't lay a hand on her no matter how hard it becomes during your five year absence. Is that why you're hesitant? Davy, think about it, if the schedule proceeds faster than we anticipate, you could be back in three and a half years tops. One and a half in Washington and another year and a half in Georgia, it'll all be over before you know it."
David: "Stop calling me Davy! I hate that fucking name. You know that. I've been telling you since sophomore year."
Tommy: [sigh of contentment] "Speaking of our college days, we're still on for tomorrow night right? Jason has something that he wants to tell us. We all have to be there. You're coming right?"