“You’ve reached Olivia. Please leave a message and I’ll get back to you.”
Gray hung up the phone without leaving a message. He tossed the phone onto the other end of his couch with a sigh. He hadn’t heard from Olivia since the day before and he was more than slightly annoyed, but he didn’t know if it was from the fact that she said she would call but didn’t or because of the fact that her phone was going straight to voicemail. His mind had already concocted one hundred and one things that he did wrong in the last few days and it had also concocted all the things that had happened to Olivia. It did include a highly impossible alien abduction, bleeding to death in the street, and the conclusion he really didn’t want to happen was that she just didn’t like him now that they had slept together. Sighing, he leaned across the couch and grabbed his phone. No new messages or voicemails. Staring at his phone, he quickly pressed the speed dial button for Ellie’s number. He was still a bit angry with Chris and knew that he would only aggravate his already annoyed feelings.
“What’s up?” Ellie’s voice said on the other line.
“I have a weird question for you,” he admitted.
“All right. Shoot.”
“Have you talked to Zane today?”
“Um, no,” she answered. “Why?”
Hearing the hesitation in her answers, Gray sighed. “I haven’t heard from Olivia today.”
“Gray, it’s only ten in the morning. Let the girl sleep in,” Ellie suggested with amusement.
“I haven’t heard from her since she left my apartment yesterday at lunch,” he moaned. “She hasn’t returned any of my calls and then suddenly yesterday afternoon, her phone started going straight to voicemail.”
“So?” Ellie asked. “Did you two fight or anything?”
“No, and what do you mean so?” he asked, feeling his annoyance turn towards her. “It’s not like her. If she says she’ll call, she calls.”
“You’ve only known her a few weeks Gray.”
“Ellie, it’s not like her to not keep her word. She said she’d call after her lunch with Dean, Simon, Susan, Heather, and Ross and she hasn’t. What if something has happened to her?”
Feeling more amused by the situation than she should have, Ellie asked, “Do you want me to call Zane?” Though she heard the genuine concern in Gray’s voice, she couldn’t help but think he was over reacting.
“I’ll call you back in a few minutes,” she sighed. “You know, I’m surprised you just didn’t go to her place.”
“I thought about it,” he confessed, “but since I have made it a habit to show up at her house uninvited I figured it might not be as cute as it had been.”
“I’ll call him,” Ellie sighed. “You are acting like a girl right now.”
“I care okay.”
“You’re in love and it’s making you a girl,” she chided.
“Call me back.” Gray hung up the phone with Ellie before she could call him a girl again. Dialing Olivia’s number, he waited as her voice mail finished. “Hey, it’s Gray. I haven’t heard from you and I’m kind of worried that you might be hurt or something so call me and let me know that you’re okay.”
Climbing the steps to Olivia’s door, Gray saw a sticky note taped to the center of the door. It read GO AWAY! Looking over his shoulder to where his car sat, he looked back at the sign and knocked. He heard someone fumbling with the locks and then the door open. “Hi,” he said to a male face he didn’t recognize. Jealousy quickly reared its ugly head in his stomach. “Is Olivia here?”
The man nodded. “I’m Kyle,” he said, extending his hand.
“I’m Gray,” he said as he shook Kyle’s hand. He instantly felt the jealousy in his stomach disappear.
“Come on in. Dean’s told me a lot about you and Olivia,” Kyle replied, closing the door behind Gray. “I’ll go tell her you’re here.”
“Okay,” Gray replied as he scanned her place and seeing nothing out of the ordinary. “Is she okay?”
“Yeah,” Kyle answered as he crossed the living room. “You know, just embarrassed more than anything.”
“Of course,” he said though he had no clue what Kyle was talking about. He watched Kyle disappear into Olivia’s bedroom and a few moments later he and Dean both came out. “Hey Dean,” he said, trying not to act surprised by seeing him.
“Hey,” he said, “take it easy on her okay. She’s really sensitive right now.”
“Of course,” Gray replied more curious than ever about what was going on.
“We’re going to leave now that you’re here,” Dean said with a sigh. “We’re all on beyond tired. Just make sure she eats something before she passes out. She hasn’t eaten since lunch.”
Gray nodded, “Will do. Can I go see her now?”
“Oh yeah, sure,” Dean said. “Kyle and I will lock the door behind us.”
“Thanks and thanks for looking after Olivia,” he said as he walked towards her room. When he reached the room, he saw the door open so he knocked on it. When Olivia didn’t answer, he peered inside and saw her bathroom door open. Walking to the bathroom, he saw her sitting in the tub with her knees drawn to her chest and her head resting on them. He knocked on the counter but she didn’t look up. “Olivia,” he said.
“I told them to tell you to go away,” she said without looking up at him.
As he started to lean against the door, Gray changed his mind and walked to the bathtub. He stepped inside of it and sat on the opposite end of it. Pulling his knees to his chest as she was doing, he wrapped his arms around them and just looked at her. “Did I do something to make you mad at me?” he asked.
“Why didn’t you tell me that you and Ellie dated?” she asked without looking at him.
“Is that why you’re in the tub?” he asked with a sigh of relief.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” she asked, looking at him.
Gray was surprised to see Olivia’s puffy and red eyes looking at him. “I don’t know why I didn’t tell you,” he answered. “We haven’t had the chance to discuss our past.”
“Did you love her?” she asked, sucking back a sob.
“No,” he answered feeling his annoyance from earlier in the day come back. “We went out on three or four dates over the course of maybe two weeks. On our last one, we had decided it would be the night we would kiss. It was very awkward and weird.”
“But you were attracted to her.”
“I thought I was, but I wasn’t. I realized it the moment our lips met. She did too.”
“And does Chris know?”
Gray shook his head. “No. We were embarrassed to tell him that we even kissed. It would have been like admitting that I had kissed my sister, and I have never done that.” He watched her run her hands through her hair and lean her head against the wall. “Where’s all this coming from?”
Olivia shook her head.
“It’s coming from somewhere,” he said. “You have been ignoring me since lunch on yesterday. What the hell happened? I have been worried sick about you?”
Wiping her tears, Olivia looked at him. “I got all of your messages.”
“And you couldn’t call to tell me you were okay? You just let me worry about you?”
“It’s not like that at all,” she answered. “Heather told me at lunch yesterday that you and Ellie had dated and I got jealous.”
“So your punishment to me was to ignore me for not telling you?” Gray asked as feelings of anger slowly seeped into him.
“I won’t ask you not to be mad,” Olivia said. “I should have called, but I wasn’t punishing you.”
“You ignored me for over ten hours, how is that not punishment.”
Sighing, Olivia bit at her lower lip. “Because I was in jail okay.”
“What?” Gray asked in shock.
“We were at lunch and Ross had seen a protest going on as he came in. After lunch, Dean, Heather, Ross, and I decided to go see what they were protesting about. We were at the wrong place at the wrong time,” she answered. “It was a scene straight out of a movie. Some man passed out and the crowd went wild. We all tried to help him and one thing led to another. That started a fight, the crowd was kicking each other’s ass, the man was still down, and all hell just broke loose.”
“And you got arrested?” Gray asked, wanting to laugh but didn’t.
“We all got arrested. They were going to charge me, Dean, Heather, and Ross for instigating a riot, but thank god Kyle’s best friend is a lawyer and he got us out of it.”
“What were they protesting about?”
“I still don’t know,” Olivia answered. “We were all released early this morning. I didn’t call you because I was embarrassed. What was I suppose to say? Don’t be mad that I missed your call. I was being someone’s cell bitch for the last few hours.”
Gray laughed out loud until tears sprang from his eyes. “That would have at least been funny,” he said.
Staring at him, Olivia eased her leg out and gave him a playful kick in the shin. “I was so afraid you were going to think less of me.”
“Come here,” he said, holding out his hand. When she reached out and slipped her hand into his, he pulled her to him and kissed her forehead. “I called Ellie and made her call Zane, and then I found out they didn’t even dig each other that much which made that phone call awkward for her. I owe her for that. I was so afraid you were hurt or abducted by aliens, and then I even thought that you might not want anything to do with me since we moved the relationship up a notch to a relationship with sex. More than anything though, I was worried something had happened to you.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t call and I’m sorry for making you worry,” Olivia said, letting him wrap his arms around her. “And I told Zane that Ellie would chew him up and spit him out.”
“That’s what she said about him,” Gray admitted. “Maybe they have more in common with each other than they think.” Stroking her hair, he was relieved to have her in his arms. “I made a promise to Dean to make sure you eat something.”
“I will,” Olivia said, putting her arms around him. “Can we just stay where we are for right now? At least for a little while longer?”
Nodding, Gray held onto her tighter. “We can stay here as long as you want.”
“Forever would be nice. I wouldn’t get arrested again for being the in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
This page copyright © 2009 Shelia Taylor
All rights reserved | This is a rough draft and not the final version
Categories: The Dumbing Down of Love