Chapter II: "I'm so sorry, Katherine."
The early sunrays pierced through the window just above Vincent's bed, reflecting against it's glass as it started to illuminate the room bit by bit. Vincent Brooks laid still in an awkward position with only his polka-dotted boxers on, beads of sweat settling on his forehead. These days he hasn't gotten much sleep and even when he does, he had been feeling so exhausted upon waking up that it didn't feel like he had gotten any rest at all.
"BAM! BAM! BAM!" The door to his apartment clang as an early morning visitor knocked against it which was shortly followed by a familiar voice. "Vincent, it's Johnny. Open up." The loud pounding was enough to awaken him, revealing abnormally bloodshot eyes for a split second before returning to normal. Vincent placed a hand over his forehead as he attempted to slow down his rapid shallow breathing. His eyes finally focused on his boxers while he tried to recall exactly what had happened last night. Coming home was somewhat of a blur and try as hard as he may, he couldn't even recall getting undressed and getting into his bed.
"Vincent!" Johnny's voice sounded a bit more impatient now, something that was unusual in itself since the guy seems to always be calm and collection.
"I'm coming, I'm coming!" Vincent called out as he sprung on his feet, picking up his pink shirt that was laying on the floor by his bed, putting it on as he made his way to his door. He struggled a bit with pulling the shirt over his head as his uncomb hair seemed poofier than usual then finally after successfully putting it on, he placed his hand on the door handle, opening it for his friend. "Mornin`" He greeted him with his usual side grin.
"Don't 'mornin`' me. What the hell did you do last night?" Johnny walked in, his hands in his pockets as he made his way inside Vincent's tiny apartment.
"Uhh... the usual." Vincent scratched the back of his head with his left hand and closed the door with the other before following Johnny to his bedroom aka the only living space in this tiny place. "I went to The Stray Sheep but none of you guys were there so I just had a few rounds by myself and talked to a few regulars." He added as he sat himself beside his friend on the edge of his un-made bed. His head throbbed as he tried to recall again what had happened that night, causing him to hunch over and rub his temples with his right hand to ease the pain.
Johnny looked over to him before letting out a sigh. "Are you okay, man?"
"Yeah, I'm okay. It's just a mild headache." He replied quickly as he rested his elbows against his knees, looking ahead.
"That's not what I meant." Johnny mimicked Vincent's posture, clasping both hands together infront of him. "You just haven't been yourself recently. Plus, you've been drinking a lot more than usual."
"I've just been so tired these days, I guess. I haven't been getting much sleep not to mention the situation with Katherine... and the other Catherine." It was Vincent's turn to let out a sigh as he started to rub his temples again with his fingertips. "Sometimes, I don't even know what the hell I'm doing either."
"Katherine called me last night asking if I was with you."
"Oh crap, crap, crap!" Vincent placed both hands on both sides of his head, ruffling his hair roughly with his fingertips. "She's going to be pissed."
"That should be the last of your worries. Look, the way you're living your life right now isn't healthy." Johnny sat up, retrieving a pack of cigarette and a lighter from his pocket. He tapped the box lightly until one popped up, grabbing it with his lips then covering the stick with one hand and lighting it with the other.
"You're really in no position to lecture me you know. Specially while you're smoking like a chimney." Vincent grinned towards his friend, lightening up the direction of their conversation a bit.
Johnny took a puff off his cigarette before retracting it with one hand, exhaling a thin veil of smoke in the air. "Look, smoking is one thing. Cheating is another."
"I know, I know." Vincent placed both hands behind his neck, giving it a light squeeze.
"At least you didn't see the other Catherine last night."
"Well... now that you mention it..."
"You've got to be fucking kidding me." Johnny placed his cigarette down on the full astray that sat on the small coffee table infront of them before turning to his friend. "Don't tell me-"
"No, no, nothing like that happened." Vincent cut him off, waving his hands infront of him to claim innocence. "I just recalled her coming to The Stray Sheep last night and talking while having a few drinks. Ugh, what the hell am I doing..." He brought both hands against his face, rubbing his eyelids frustratingly.
"You took the words right out of my mouth." Johnny looked away, retreiving his cigarette from the astray and giving it another drag. He fought to hide exactly how upset he is at the irresponsible man sitting beside him but at the same time, he couldn't help but feel sorry for his friend. In his head, he couldn't comprehend why Vincent continuously associates with the other Catherine when he always ends up regretting it afterwards. However, the part of him that knows and cares Vincent is able to sympathize with his situation. He let out a light sigh before finally breaking the awkward silence in the room. "Look, maybe you're just anxious about the situation that you and Katherine are in. There are people out there that even get cold feet a few minutes before getting married, maybe you're just going through that."
"That's just it, it makes me even more unsure about this whole marriage thing. I mean, if I'm being like this now, I can't imagine how much of a trainwreck I will be if I go through this."
"In my opinion, you should give yourself time to really sit down and think everything through clearly without the company of boose and... other things so you can come up with an answer you'll be happy with." Johnny took a last huff from his cigarette before putting it out against the astray. "I gotta get to work. Make sure to get back to Katherine as soon as possible, she sounded really worried about you last night." He placed both hands back into his pockets as he made his way out. "Oh and," He turned back to look at Vincent before opening the door. "while you're at it, you may wanna come clean with this whole cheating thing." He turned away, waving his hand slightly before taking his leave, closing the door behind him.
Vincent sat still on his bed for a while, hunching over with his forehead against his hands. He had gotten himself into some serious shit and it doesn't help that he is still constantly making the same mistake by sustaining a relationship with Catherine behind Katherine's back. He turned his head to the side to spot his cellphone blinking against the dark furnish of the coffee table. He let out a deep sigh as he reached for it, flipping it open to see that he had 3 messages and 1 voicemail. He clicked on his inbox and checked each text messages...
Hi, sorry for the late message. I had just left the company dinner party. I really wish it didn't have to drag on for so long. I didn't really see the point in the whole thing since we didn't really accomplish anything work related and it felt like a waste of time. Still, I guess socializing with my co-workers holds some importance. Anyway, what are you up to? Hope your day went well.
Upon reading her message, it made Vincent feel even worse about what he had done and what was going through his mind regarding the whole marriage thing. He knew he was lucky to have a girlfriend that posseses both beauty and brains. Many people wonder why such a beautiful and succesful woman is with a loser like him who doesn't even have a good paying job and can't afford at least a decent sized apartment. It's really no wonder that he comes over to stay at her place rather than the other way around. Scrolling down, he clicked on the next message.
Subject: Are you okay?
Hey, is everything alright? You didn't reply to my message and you're not picking up your phone. I hope you're not drinking again. Anyway, text or call me when you get a chance, okay?
'Man, did I drink so much that didn't notice my phone ring? I need to make sure I give her a call as soon as possible.' He thought to himself as he clicked the third and newest text message he received.
Subject: Sorry for leaving!
Hey! Sorry for leaving so early and not waiting for you to wake up. I would have wanted to spend more time with you and possibly do what we did last night again ~3 You were so... forceful but don't worry, I kinda liked it. 3 I had an appointment I had to get to but I look forward to seeing you again~
Beads of sweat started to form on Vincent's face as a terrified look crossed his features upon reading the message. 'W-w-w-w-what? I don't recall any of that at all! I don't remember bringing her home let alone doing things with her again! This isn't good-'
"Bzzt! Bzzt!" The phone vibrated on his hand, snapping him back to reality only to shock him again causing sweat to pour down his face as the words "Call Incoming: Katherine" flashed on the screen. He swallowed the huge, dried knot on his throat before hesitantly picking up the call. "H-hello?" He greeted with an uneven tone as he made a poor attempt to calm himself down.
"Vincent! I've been trying to get a hold of you last night!" Katherine's anger rung through her voice as she continued to demand answers from him, "What we're you up to last night? Don't tell me you've been drinking again?"
"I'm really sorry, Katherine," Vincent held the phone close against his ear with one hand as he scratched the back of his head with the other. "I just decided to call it an early night and forgot to text you before going to bed. I-I figured I should try to get more sleep since I've been really tired recently." He let out a sigh as he rubbed his forehead with his free hand. He didn't exactly like lying to Katherine but what other choice did he have?
"Oh, I see." Katherine's toned completely changed from that of exasperation to relief. "Maybe I overreacted." She continued apologetically and it was obvious from her voice that she was smiling now. "I'm sorry for being so naggy. I guess I just didn't have a good night yesterday and that may have attributed to how I reacted."
"Hey, hey, don't worry about it okay?" Vincent waved his free hand infront of him to calm Katherine as if she was there. Her saying she was sorry for behaving the way she had made him feel even worse for telling her a blatant lie. "It was my fault too for not checking in with you. Johnny dropped by a little while ago and told me how worried you were. I'm sorry for troubling you." It's times like these that he feels really happy to be with a girl like her. Though many people only see her calm and collected side, it always made him feel great whenever he sees this side to her - her being insecure, concerned, remorseful - it's a refreshing reminder that through her seemingly cold exterior lies a girl who earnestly loves and cares for him.
"It's alright, just try to remember next time okay?" Her soft voice resounded through the phone in response.
"Will do. Wanna catch lunch at the Chrono Rabbit later?" He offered as a pathetic means to make up to her.
"I would love to... but I have a lot of things to do at work." Katherine sounded disappointed and for a while there was silence on the line before she finally continued in an effort to save the situation, "But I'll try to finish as much as I can before lunchtime okay? I'll text you later to let you know if I can make it."
"That sounds great! I'll talk to you later then, Katherine." Vincent smiled to himself as he leaned his elbows against his thighs.
"Alright, see you later, Vincent." Click!
Vincent retracted to phone away from his ear, snapping it close. He allowed his arms to hang loosely infront of him as his head dropped down. A deep sigh escaped his lips, his weary eyes closing shut. 'I'm so sorry, Katherine.'