Continued from part 1
“Funny running into you this way, Sean,” Anna chuckled upon recognizing her old friend.
“Wow, I get we haven’t been talking as much for a while, but if you had a problem with me, you could’ve just picked up the phone. Trying to murder me seems a little over-the-top. I don’t know, maybe I’m just old-fashioned like that,” Sean joked back to her. “Did I hurt your little car?”
Anna bent down to inspect the bumper of her beloved Mini. Sean tried not to notice her bent over in front of him, until he realized that she was bending over that way just to get him to look.
“Yes Anna, we know,” Sean laughed.
“No, it looks okay,”she sighed, “How are you feeling?”
“I’m sore. I think I might need a new shin. No…ankle with this car. Toe?” he laughed. “Seriously though, I’m alright. Probably nothing more than a bruise. What are you doing in town?”
“I guess you really don’t check on me anymore,” Anna began, “I’ve been posting about this trip all over my Facebook for weeks now. I’m here to visit family and some friends. What are you doing over here? I thought you hated this section of town?”
Dodging the pitfalls of the question, Sean pointed at the hotel and told her,”I was about to check in over there, when some crazy lady who can’t drive in the rain ran me down.”
“I’m so sorry, Sean. Really. Let me make it up to you with dinner!”
“No, that’s okay, my hotel is right there. I’d say it was good to see you, but you ran me over,” Sean told her.
“No. Get in the damn car,” Anna insisted. “I’ll bring you back here after, and you can stay in your weird little hotel and not tell me why if that’s what you want…but you’re coming to dinner with me.”
Sean threw his duffel into the back and got in the car. He laughed to himself as he started to wonder if he really should be riding with her, given the accident. He smiled as he noticed the rain begin to let up, and the storm drains catch up with the squall.
Anna got in the car and started driving.
“Where are we headed?” Sean asked her.
“McDonald’s,” Anna told him.
“Okay,” believing her for just a second until he realized they were driving an awfully long time to get to a McDonald’s.
They pulled onto the familiar street and he suddenly realized he was underdressed for such an occasion.
“I assume you have a nicer shirt in that bag of yours,” she said to him as she parked the car.
“Listen,” he started to tell her, “I don’t know about this. This place is awfully expensive. Besides, don’t we need a reservation?”
“I don’t,” she smiled.
Sean got out of the car and walked over to his bag, getting out an undershirt, a nice dress shirt, and a tie. He walked back around and got back into the car to change. He took off his NOFX t-shirt and grabbed his undershirt. As he lifted the undershirt over his head to put it on, he felt Anna’s hand on his chest.
“Fuzzy,” she cooed.
“What the hell, Anna?” he asked in feigned outrage.
“Oh come on,” Anna laughed, “That was fucking hilarious. If you could’ve seen how you froze. And the look on your face!”
“That wasn’t funny, that was assault!” he shouted as he attempted to maintain a straight face. “I know you want me, but it’s called consent!”
“Ba!” Anna snorted, “I think you have that backwards. Weren’t you the one pining for me?”
An awkward silence befell them as he finished changing. He knew it was true, it was he who had carried a torch for her. For years. He tried to get with her more times than he could count. Each time, thinking he was getting a little closer before his hopes were crushed once more.
Eventually, he came to the conclusion that she wanted him to want her, but didn’t actually want him. He couldn’t live with that. He wanted someone who wanted him. Who made him feel like he mattered. He didn’t need to be the center of her universe, but he wanted to be an important part of it.
While he was gradually pulling away from her, he met Bethany. He wondered how she was doing.
Anna broke the silence when he finished adjusting his tie. “Are you ready?” she asked as she opened her door.
He got out of the car and walked around to meet her. They made their way toward the entrance.
In the restaurant, the hostess greeted her with a hug. They were immediately shown to a table. A bottle of wine was brought without word.
“The owner is my uncle,” Anna said as she noted the confusion on his face.
“Ah… I didn’t think you had been elected Queen yet,” he laughed.
“Queen’s aren’t elected, they’re anointed by divine province,” she retorted.
“Listen, strange women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony,” he replied, quoting Monty Python.
They laughed and talked, over their impeccable meal. All the while he thought that as much as he enjoyed her company, he just didn’t feel the way he used to about her. He told her why he was going to the hotel, about Bethany, and everything that had happened.
“I always thought it was going to be us,” she told him, looking down at her plate.
“So did I. I wanted it to be. For a very long time. More than anything. But, I had to let that idea go. It hurt too much,” he told her.
“I’m sorry that I hurt you,” she said.
“I can’t say you hurt me when you never let me near,” he said back to her.
She reached across the table and took his hand. “I guess I just don’t know a good thing when I have it. Let me make it up to you?”
There was no mistaking her intent, but he took his hand away. “Well I do,” he said, looking at his hand and thinking of Bethany.
Anna began to cry softly. He looked up from his hand in an attempt to comfort his crying friend. As he did, his eye caught Bethany and another man at a table in the corner.