That afternoon Liam and I were walking around London doing touristy things. I hadn't really had the chance to do anything fun since I had been in town I'd been so busy! We had just gotten of the London eye and we were walking towards the Waterloo tube station when I heard someone calling my name. I stopped and heard them yell again.
"Oh my god," I said quietly before turning around. Standing a few feet in front of me was someone I never thought I'd see again.
"I thought that was you," he said.
"What are you doing here?" I asked him.
"I'm staying with Charlotte's cousin."
I rolled my eyes at the name. My old best friend and Chris's older brother, Bobby, had married Charlotte right out of high school. Charlotte pretty much hated everything about me and so when they started dating she didn't want him to have anything to do with me. Over time we just stopped talking. Now Chris on the other hand…
"I'm Liam," Liam said interrupting my thoughts. After a pause he added, "Anna's boyfriend."
"Nice to meet you," Chris said looking totally calm. He always had been a great actor.
"Um we should be going," I said. "It was nice to see you again Chris."
"Yeah, I have to go grab a bite before I go back to the loft," Chris nodded.
"We were actually just about to go get something to eat. You should come with us, it'll give you two some time to catch up," Liam interjected.
"Oh I'm sure that he-" I started in.
"I'd love to!" Chris said cutting me off.
"It's settled then," Liam said smiling. I tugged my phone out of my pocket and texted Louis quickly.
"Where are you?"
He texted back quickly. "Um on the train? Am I supposed to be somewhere?"
"How close are you to Waterloo station?"
"It's the next stop. Why, trouble in paradise?"
"Yes. His name is Chris. Meet us at Pizza Express."
"Louis was pretty close he said he'll meet us at Pizza Express," I said. Liam looked a bit surprised. "I just thought I'd ask if he was around. The more the merrier right?"
We walked over a few blocks to the restaurant and got a table. Louis got there within ten minutes. He slid into the seat next to me. "You must be Chris," Louis said noticing Chris sitting across the table.
"Yeah and I guess you're Louis?"
"The one and only." He paused. "I think I dropped my phone! Anna, come help me find it. I had it right before I came inside."
He pulled me outside.
"Lou, you phone is in your pocket," I pointed out.
"I know that! We needed to talk. Who is that guy?"
"He's my old best friend's younger brother," I said trying to avoid the subject.
"We both know that's not all."
"The two of us kind of dated…"
"Oh! That's why this is so awkward, Liam doesn't know. Does he?"
"No. And you aren't going to tell him because…well did I tell you how I had to leave my high school?"
"I don't think I've heard this story."
"I dated this one guy Daniel for three years and when I broke up with him he wasn't too happy. Bobby started dating Charlotte and I kinda started to lose my best friend so I started hanging around Chris a lot more. Chris had always had a crush on me but the more we started hanging around each other the more I started to like him. When Daniel found out Chris and I had gotten together he started spreading all kinds of rumors around school. It got bad, really bad. Chris dumped me, Bobby wasn't talking to me. Hell I haven't thought about them in years," I said telling Louis the story. It had been a long time since I had to tell anyone about it.
"And then he shows up here."
"So Bobby didn't stick up for you or anything?" Louis asked.
"Not really. His wife, girlfriend at the time, is a total bitch and she hates me. He showed up at my house though a few weeks after I changed schools at 2am, drunk, and tried to hook up with me. That didn't go over well with the girlfriend but they must've worked it out since they got married." I shuddered. I wasn't about to go into the fact that I thought Charlotte was a gold digging whore and that Bobby could do much better. Sometime I still had to remember I wasn't the best friend anymore and I didn't get a say.
"This sounds complicated."
"It is! And Chris being here is not making it any less complicated. I thought I'd put all of that in my past," I sighed.
"It seems like that keeps happening. Just when you think you've forgotten something it shows back up. We thought Liam had almost forgotten about you and then you showed up."
"That wasn't exactly a coincidence. You guys are the ones that got it in my head to move to London. I never told anyone at home where I was going though so I don't know how this could have been anything but a coincidence. You know I went to that concert a month after I changed schools, that was the first time I had genuinely smiled since everything happened."
"We have that effect on people," Louis said laughing. "Oh hey look! I found my phone!"
He pulled me back inside to the table where Chris and Liam were talking like they had been friends for a while. Of course they would be. I sighed. I really hope this doesn't make a habit of itself.
"I got you some raspberry lemonade," Chris said.
"Guys and ordering my drinks for me," I said out loud. Inside though I couldn't help smile at the fact that he remembered my favorite kind of lemonade. I took a sip and then swirled the straw around in the glass. I could feel everyone looking at me expecting me to break this awkward silence. I continued to stir my lemonade.
"Bobby misses you," Chris said finally breaking the silence.
I laughed. "Right."
"He does, he talks about you a lot."
"Oh I bet Charlotte loves that."
He looked like he was about to say something else but he stopped and there was another silence.
"So you guys are both from Texas?" Liam asked.
"Yeah we've known each other since we were little kids," Chris said. He launched into a story about when the three of us had snuck out back in middle school. I smiled; those were the days when the three of us had been inseparable the good old days before everything went to shit.
"Don't forget how you ran into a stop sign while you were trying to get away from the guy you thought was a rapist," I added.
"You ran into a stop sign?" Liam asked laughing.
"Yeah," Chris said laughing. "I almost forgot about that."
"How do you forget about running into a stop sign? That noise woke up the entire neighborhood!"
Chris laughed and nodded.
"I miss those days!" I said honestly.
"Yeah me too," he said. The moment instantly grew serious and I stood up.
"I have to go to the restroom."
That night I was sitting in my flat flipping my phone in my right hand and my fourth screwdriver in my left. The mostly empty bottle of Absolut Mandrin sat on the coffee table, taunting me into my old high school ways. I sighed; ignoring him wasn't going to make him go away.
I wrote a quick text to Chris. "We need to talk."
He responded quickly. "Yeah. Where do you want to meet?"
I thought about that for a second before texting back. "Just come over." I gave him my address. It would be easier to do this on my turf. Plus I wouldn't run the risk of someone snapping a picture on the streets somewhere and turning it into a big deal.
"I'll be there in 10 minutes."
I stared at the wall trying to decide what I was going to say. I poured the rest of the bottle of vodka into my glass forgetting about the orange juice. I must've been sitting there longer than I thought because there was knock on my door. I got up off the couch and went to answer it. Chris was standing in the hall. I almost closed the door in his face.
"Come in," I said.
He walked in and I closed the door behind him.
"Why are you here?" I asked him, cutting to the chase.
"I told you, I came to stay with Charlotte's cousin," he said.
"Oh just cut the crap," I said rolling my eyes. "How'd you know I was here?"
"Someone at school who's obsessed with your boyfriend recognized you."
"So you thought it would be ok to show up in London?"
"You said it yourself that we needed to talk," Chris said.
"The only reason we need to talk is because you showed up here. I'd finally put you and your brother and everyone else in that stupid town behind me. But then you had to show up and fuck everything up."
I looked straight at the ground avoiding him and took a deep breath trying not to let lose the tears that were threatening to fall. I felt his hand on my arm and shrugged it off. "Don't touch me."
He pushed my face up to look at him. "I still love you," he said quietly.
I opened my mouth to say something but he stopped me.
"I was a jerk, I know. But things weren't just tough for you. I thought that if I got away from you things would settle down. For both of us. I was stupid, I shouldn't have run away. I'm sorry."
Tears welled up again. I never had really blamed him for any of it. Who would blame someone from running away when people were yelling at you as you just tried to walk into school? Every day there was a new story going around the school adding another 5 guys to the list of people I had supposedly slept with. I knew that Chris hadn't left me because he believed the rumors; he left because he just wanted it to stop. Who could blame him for that? But he did leave me.
"You probably hate me," Chris said.
"It didn't stop it never did. I had to delete my facebook, my twitter, change my number, anything that would cut those ties between me and them. I don't blame you for leaving, I never did, but that doesn't give you the right to show up here. I deserve to be happy! I was happy until you showed up and reminded me of everything I've been trying to forget."
"I'm sorry. I don't know how many different ways I can say it. If I could go back in time and change everything I would. I screwed up but I never stopped loving you." He paused. "I love you."
"You don't have a right to say that anymore."
I stepped away from him and turned around. He grabbed my shoulder, turned me back to face him and kissed me. I was shocked and more than a little tipsy and I was emotional too which didn't help. I couldn't think straight and I kissed him back for a second feeling like I had never left that first moment when we'd kissed in the back of Bobby's car in the Wal-Mart parking lot. It was as if those first few weeks before Daniel had found out had never ended. I was back when everything was perfect.
I opened my eyes to realize I was alone. No one was in my apartment and that was good.
I got up out of bed and walked into my bathroom. I leaned against the mirror and stared at myself. What had I just done? It had been a mistake bringing Chris over here. I thought I could handle being alone with him but…
When Liam finds out he's going to hate me.
I can't lose Liam I just can't.
I looked around the flat for my phone and found it under the couch. I dialed Louis number and bit my lip as I waited for him to pick up.
"Anna?" He answered sounding sleepy. I must've woke him up.
"Louis I messed up."
Hi. Review? Love ya.