I wake up with a jolt at 6:35 AM on Saturday. I always wake up early the morning after I drink. Shit. And was I drunk. Immediately I yank the covers over my head and groan, not because of my steadily growing headache but because of the flashes of memory from last night that have begun to resurface. I can’t believe I dragged Cam home and then passed out immediately!
Just to be sure, I peek out from under my blankets and check next to me. No sign of Cam. So he did leave last night. Part of me is relieved; it would have been worse if he’d stayed. I tend to snore when I drink—not the cutest habit.
My mind is racing as I put together the pieces of last night. I’d had way too much to drink, but I’d had fun. Cam and I clearly still have a spark, and even the copious amount of liquor I’d downed couldn’t make me forget our hot makeout session. It makes my toes tingle just thinking about it.
One thing’s for sure, though: I owe Cam an apology. A major apology.
The next thing I know, it’s four hours later. I’d passed out again. This time, light was flooding in through my window and my tiny headache had grown into a full-blown hangover migraine.
I practically crawl out of bed and open my bedroom door. Emma is sitting at the kitchen counter, a mug in her hands. At the sound of my creaky door opening, she turns and looks at me.
“Damn,” she says, “you look like you need this more than I do.” She points to a pot of coffee that smells like it’s been freshly brewed.
“Thanks,” I croak. It’s then I realize I’m still in my clothes from the night before. And then I remember that Cam helped me take my shoes off. I called myself Cinderella, for god’s sake. That man deserves a medal.
“Soooooo,” Emma starts as I search for my favorite giraffe mug in the cupboard. I know she’s eyeing me and she has every right to. My obviously hungover state and last night’s clothes scream hookup and we both know it. “How was your night?”
I still haven’t told her about Cam, but now seems like a bad time. I hate lying to her, but I know that sooner or later the time to talk about it will come.
“I went out for some drinks. A few too many, actually.” I pour the steaming coffee into my mug and inhale deeply. I love the taste of coffee, but the smell in particular is hypnotizing to me. The scent of fresh coffee is better than any candle, in my opinion, and I can feel its transformative effect already.
“I can see that.” I don’t have to look back at Emma to know the expression she’s making—the “you aren’t giving me enough information, so what are you hiding?” face that includes narrowed eyes and furrowed brows. Sometimes, if she really means business, she’ll curl her upper lip in an effective display of contempt. I’m almost positive her lip is curling now.
“How was work?” The change in subject won’t be lost on Emma, but she will recognize that I don’t want to talk about it. She may be nosy, but she’ll reign it in. For now.
“Same old, same old, except with a lot more obvious couples,” she laughs. I finally look at her and bring the coffeepot over to where she sits. Her cup, as I’d suspected, is nearly empty already, so I pour her some more. She smiles at me.
“Any breakups?” I ask, sitting down across from her. As usual, she still has last night’s makeup on, so we match. I’m sure my mascara isn’t as perfect as hers, though. The girl has a gift with mascara; it stays on for days.
Emma shakes her head. “No breakups! No marriage proposals, either, so a pretty successful Valentine’s Day in my opinion.”
We talk for a few more minutes about the budding romance between her coworkers and then she heads back to bed. Emma can drink a whole pot of coffee and take a nap right afterwards. I want to sleep, too, but know I have damage control to do.
My phone lies on my bed where I left it, facedown. I’m dreading looking at it, so I stall a bit first and change out of my tight jeans into some comfier weekend wear. Yoga pants always make me feel better—they’re like the clothing version of mac n cheese, except they make you look and feel hot instead of full and slightly disgusted with yourself. Then I decide that my emails just have to be checked on a Saturday morning. Finally, I tell myself that I am a grown-ass woman and check my phone.
Nothing. Not one single text.
I throw my phone back down on my bed and decide to distract myself. I know I need to apologize, but I’m so embarrassed and I have no idea what to say. While we weren’t officially together, things between Cam and I had been going well and I’d completely screwed that up. The worst part was, after all my suspicions about him drinking, I’d been the stupid drunk. Maybe I’m the one who needs to grow up, not him.
This was a lot of personal discovery for a Saturday morning, so naturally I immediately snuggled up on the couch with Netflix and my blanket, which had been my plan for the night before. I’d gotten through three hour-long episodes when Emma emerged again from her bedroom.
“How was your nap?” I asked.
She walked over to the couch and swatted at me. “Hey! What if I’d been working on an amazing grad school application essay?”
I raised my eyebrows. “Okay, so I wasn’t,” she admitted. “I was sleeping. But I could have been working!” She eyes my computer and says, “Sleeping is better than watching TV.”
Laughing, I shove her back. “Hey, I’m watching Scandal. This is practically educational,” I inform her. There’s a few minutes of comfortable silence while I check my emails (again) and Emma stares off into space. I love when a relationship gets to the level when words aren’t necessary and silence isn’t uncomfortable. However, I also have known Emma long enough to figure out what’s coming next.
“So Ryan,” she starts, “it would take a complete moron not to recognize that something has been going on with you.” Emma glances at me and offers up a reassuring smile. “Since I can be kind of a moron sometimes, I’ll admit that I didn’t put the pieces together until, oh, this morning when I saw you do a walk of shame from your bedroom to our kitchen only without a man.”
I laugh. I can’t help it; Emma is so good, so nonconfrontational, that I already want to tell her everything.
“Do you want to talk about it?” At this, I nod, and Emma leans over and rests her cheek on my shoulder. Prime listening position. It’s easier to spill your guts when you don’t have to look someone in the eye.
I try my best to be as detailed as possible. I tell her about the Christmas party hookup, our increased texting, the date, and end with Valentine’s Day. “I was such a mess, Em. Such a mess,” I repeat, and put my head in my hands. Strangely enough, I’m laughing. It’s such a ridiculous situation. By now Emma is laughing too, which has to be a good sign.
“You know, I always thought Cam was kind of an idiot,” Emma tells me. I roll my eyes. “No, no, hear me out! He was definitely an idiot for doing what he did to you. But maybe now he’s less of one.”
“We’re all idiots, Emma,” I deadpan. Still, her words resonate with me. In her own roundabout way, is she telling me to give him another chance?
I’m quiet for a minute. “It’s weird. I’m starting to think I acted like that, a drunk idiot, because I was nervous. I didn’t want to be the one making a mistake and going back to a doomed relationship. If I screwed it up before anything got too serious, it would be all on me but at the same time not my fault at all, because forgiving a cheater is hard.”
Emma’s nodding, somehow understanding my rambling. “Well, if you think you want to give him another chance, I’ll stand behind your decision no matter what.” Making a fist, she smacks it into her open palm with a faux-menacing glare. “But if he dares hurt you again, he’ll have hell to pay,” she whispers in a creepy, horror-movie voice.
I can’t help but laugh. There’s a reason Emma and I have been unwavering friends for years, and that’s because we support each other without question or (much) judgment. We’ve both made our fair share of mistakes and have gone through more hookup and dating scenarios than we can count. It’s easier learning your lessons the hard way when you have a good friend by your side.
Emma and I watch an episode of Scandal and then I know I can’t stall any longer. I need to text Cam. Quickly, I snatch my phone off the sofa and check my messages. Still nothing.
“Ughhh,” I groan. “Do I really have to do this? I hate being an adult.”
Emma pats my shoulder sympathetically. “I believe in you.” She stands up and grins. “And if he acts like a baby about it, he isn’t worth it anyway!”
As I open Cam’s contact information, I see the ellipsis which indicate that he’s typing. Talk about crazy timing! “Em,” I hiss, “he’s texting me!”
Emma zooms back over to the couch. “What’s he saying?!”
“No idea yet.” We both stare at the screen for a solid sixty seconds, but the ellipsis remain.
“Maybe he started to type something and then put his phone down,” Emma says. I roll my eyes. It’s situations like these that remind me that while Em and I have graduated college and are technically adults with salaries and health insurance, we still sometimes act like college freshmen. Nothing like some good ole fashioned contact with boys to turn grown-ass women into giggly girls at a slumber party.
Eventually I send a quick text: “I had such a great time last night, but it looks like I need to lay off the liquor for a while! Can’t wait to see you again.” Short, sweet, to the point, and without any groveling. Even Emma approves.
The two of us spend the rest of the day and most of the evening talking and watching trashy TV. We order Thai and Emma drinks cheap beer, which prompts her to tell half-hour long stories about her coworkers: who is sleeping together, managerial power struggles, and my personal favorite, the recently-turned-21-year-old who hits on Emma nonstop. I’m convinced it’s true love, while Emma vehemently denies anything (“He just started drinking legally, Ryan. He has so much life left to live!” “Says the 23-year-old,” I retort). It’s the perfect way to spend a Saturday, and by the time the two of us pass out before midnight, I’ve forgotten that Cam never texted me back.