“Something’s up with Emily.” Brooks said to Mike, when he couldn’t take it anymore.
Cosmo had fallen asleep almost two hours before and was now safely tucked away in her crib; but Mike was still hidden amongst the multitude of blankets and chairs that he’d used to build their fort. “What do you mean?” Came the muffled reply from somewhere below a layer of cotton.
Brooks sighed and glanced into the living room, towards the tent-like structure. He tried to ignore the fact that his grown-ass roommate was sitting in a blanket hide-away, and continue with his very serious conversation. “Were you not paying attention at dinner? She was dropping hints left and right… but I don’t know what she wants.
What was all that shit about relationships and cheating and break-ups?” He wasn’t even really talking to Mike directly, but he needed to say the words out loud in order to try and figure out their meaning. He thought that by bouncing them off Mike, he might be able to discover some hidden piece of information that he was missing, but he was wrong.
“I dunno.” Was the only thing Mike could think to say.
“Mike, can you come out of there for a minute! Please?” Brooks sighed, exasperated.
Mike crawled out of an opening a minute later, careful not to disturb the any of the chairs that were holding up the blankets and throws.
When he surfaced and was far enough from the structure that he could stand, he turned to look at Brooks, expectantly.
Brooks just rolled his eyes and continued on. “I don’t know what I’m suppose to do right now.”
Mike thought it over for a couple seconds before he spoke. “Go… have sex with her?” He didn’t actually think that was a good idea, but he felt the need to have an answer, and he figured he might as well tell Brooks what he wanted to hear.
“Did you forget about the whole ’giving her proof that I don’t just want to sleep with her’ thing?”
“Go… ask her out?” Mike shrugged, turning back around to readjust a sheet that was beginning to fall off the top of the fort.
Brooks sighed deeply, feeling like this was getting him no where. “But everything she said Mike! All that stuff about cheating and all that… fuck! Were you even listening to me at all?”
“What?” Mike asked absently, peeling his eyes away from his fort long enough to glance at Brooks.
“Never mind…” Brooks grunted, setting his third empty beer bottle down on the table and pushing his chair away from it. “I’m gonna go for a walk.” He added, but Mike was already disappearing back into the makeshift tent.
As soon as Brooks was in the hall, he subconsciously headed towards Emily’s house and knocked without planning on it. He didn’t have anything to say to her and had no idea what his intentions even were; but he knew he wanted to see her.
When she opened the door she was wearing an old tank-top and a pair of PJ pants. Her hair was wet and loose around her shoulders, her face was freshly scrubbed of make-up.
“Hey.” She said, her voice airy and surprised.
“Hey. Can I come in for a second?” He said quickly, hoping that if he could just get inside her apartment and sit with her for a minute, the words would come to him.
Emily didn’t answer him, she only nodded, stepping back and motioning for him to enter.
He walked into the immaculately clean kitchen and took a seat at the table. She joined him, pulling out the chair across from him. “So, to what do I owe the pleasure?” She teased, a small smile playing around the corners of her soft pink lips.
Brooks cleared his throat, opening his mouth to speak words that he was still undecided about. “Umm…” Was the only thing that he managed to choke out before Emily jumped up.
“Oh god! Ok wait I was in the middle of straightening my hair and I totally left my flat iron on my bed.” She squealed, taking off down the hall towards her room.
Brooks watched her go and tried not to think about all the other things that were also in her bedroom, things beside a flat iron - whatever that was.
“No worries, take your time.” He yelled after her, glancing away from the hallway towards the living room.
“Are you sure? I don’t mean to be a bitch… it’s just that… if I don’t straighten it now, it’ll get all frizzy.” She giggled from her room and Brooks yelled back his affirmation.
He settled back in the chair, allowing himself a few minutes of luxury in order to figure out how he was going to go about things. Should he just straight up ask her what her issue was with the guys on his team? Should he reiterate the fact that he would never do that to anyone - never do that to her? Or should he just ask her out and see what happens?
That would also open him up for her to say no, though. He wasn’t afraid of rejection, at all, even though he was sure it was a possibility. He was afraid of ruining any chance he had with her.
He’d pushed her too far before and ended up having her avoid him for weeks, he didn’t want to risk that again.
Before he could get any further in his attempted epiphany, the phone rang loudly beside him, causing him to jump slightly. “Can you get that Brooks? Do you mind?” Emily called from behind her bedroom door, but Brooks was already reaching out for the receiver.
“Hi, I’m looking for Emily Campbell?” Came the perky reply from the girl on the other end of the line.
“Umm… she’s busy now, can I take a message?”
“Sure. My name is Michelle, and I know it’s really late, but we’re a bit behind.” She giggled before continuing. “I was just calling to remind Emily of her monthly check-in tomorrow with Dr. Kustin at 10:30.”
“Umm… ok sure.” Brooks answered, hanging up the phone and taking his seat back at the table. For some reason that whole situation didn’t sit well with him. Monthly check-in?
What kind of person had a monthly check-in with a doctor?
A sick one.
That was the only thing that came into his mind as he began to think about what the implications of that phone call could be. He became so lost in his wandering mind, that he didn’t even notice when Emily plunked herself across from him at the table. “So who was on the phone, anyone important?” She asked absently, drawing him out of his contemplation.
“What? … oh… no, just someone from your Doctor’s office calling to remind you that you have a check-in.” He answered slowly, studying her face for some kind of reaction.
“Oh! Well, thanks… I almost forgot.” She giggled, before biting her lip and looking away, colour creeping into her cheeks.
“I should head back before Cosmo wakes up…” Brooks sighed, pushing himself away from the table and standing up. He headed to the door, without a backward glance, until Emily called after him.
“Wasn’t there something you wanted to talk about?”
“I forget what it was… I’ll see you tomorrow.” He added before he headed down the hallway.