I really couldn’t argue with her at that point. When I finally made it home after spending the day with Jim the day after the party, I was completely ecstatic that she’d finally done the deed. I almost shed a few tears when she told me how she hit it and quit it and never looked back. My girl was finally all grown up and taking a page out of my book. Minus the whole getting knocked up at a frat party thing.
“Fine, so he was a nice guy. I still think he needs his ass kicked on principle alone. For your sake, we’ll do this nice and civilized. We’ll ask around and we’ll find him. I mean, how hard can it be? Ohio University isn’t that big. We’re bound to find someone who knows who this guy is.”
Claire took a few deep breaths and wiped the remaining tears from her face. She put her chin up and had a look of determination on her face. “You’re right. How hard can it be?”
I grabbed Claire’s purse from the desk next to our bunks and handed it to her, throwing my own over my shoulder as we headed for the door to pound pavement and find her baby daddy.
“No matter what happens, I’m going to be here for you, okay? I know it really sucks right now, but you’re not alone. That baby is going to be the coolest kid in the entire fucking world because he has you for a mom and me for an aunt.”
Claire smiled at me as I held the door open for her. “We should probably try cutting back on our swearing before this thing gets here. I don’t think its first words should be ‘fuck’ or ‘kiss my ass’.”
I shrugged as I locked the door behind us and we headed downstairs. “Could you imagine having a kid who repeated everything we say? Kid would be a Goddamn genius, I’m telling you.”
“YOU CAN’T IGNORE her forever.”
I look up from a pile of paperwork at my desk and scowl when I see Jim standing in the doorway of my office at Seduction and Snacks. Now that Gavin and Charlotte both worked at headquarters, Claire and I had been able to spend more time lately in our flagship store, our baby and where we loved to be.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I tell him.
I look away from him and back down at my paperwork so he can’t see my eyes and know I’m lying. It’s stupid. I know it’s stupid. He knows I’m lying, I know I’m lying, EVERYONE knows I’m lying.
Claire has been home from the hospital for three days and I haven’t gone to see her. I’m ashamed of myself but what the fuck am I supposed to do? I’m scared to death. I have no control of this situation and it makes me want to scream.
“I talked to Carter last night. He said she’s doing really good and sleeping a lot,” I tell him.
“Hon, you have to go see her. She needs you,” Jim reminds me.
I slam my pen down on top of the desk and stare at him. “She doesn’t need me! She needs a fucking cure for what’s happened to her and I can’t give that to her. For the first time in our friendship I can’t do anything to help her and it’s fucking killing me!”
I swallow back the tears, refusing to cry. I know once I start, I’ll never be able to stop. I’ve been working like a maniac since Claire got out of surgery and the doctor told us she was stable and the surgery went well. I didn’t know what else to do. After Carter’s breakdown in their kitchen and the shaved cat incident, I drove right to Seduction and Snacks and buried myself in work. Working takes my mind off of things I can’t control. Work is the only thing keeping me sane right now. Who knew that organizing orders of butt plugs and anal beads would actually keep my insanity at bay?
“She doesn’t need you to fix her, Liz. She just needs you to be there for her,” Jim tells me softly as he walks across the room and squats down next to me.
He grabs onto the seat of my chair and spins me so that I’m facing him.
“It’s too hard,” I whisper.
Jim rests his hands on my thighs and rubs his thumbs comfortingly over my skin. “I know it is, babe. You guys have been through a lot together but this is the worst. Through thick and thin, isn’t that what best friends are all about? What would Claire do if the situation were reversed? I’m guessing she’d be all up your ass and pissing you off so much that you forgot all about what was happening. That’s all she needs from you right now. She just needs to know that you’re there and you care.”
Of course I care. It’s absurd for anyone to think otherwise. She’s my person, my other half. I care so much that it’s killing me right now not to be there for her, but I don’t know what to say and I don’t know what to do. That whole saying about actions speaking louder than words runs through my mind and just like that, I know exactly what to do. It will most likely piss Claire off, but maybe it will take her mind off of things and in my own way, I can show her that I’m sorry for flaking on her the last few days.
I give my husband a quick kiss and grab my phone, calling Jenny and getting her on board with my plan.
“DO YOU KNOW how hard it was to get an appointment at the last minute?” Jenny complains as we walk up the sidewalk to Claire and Carter’s front porch.
When I called her earlier, she was about two hours away meeting with a new marketing company and said she wouldn’t be able to make it back in time to join me for my own appointment. I wouldn’t let myself get discouraged though and told her to just do it on her own and then we’d meet up later tonight at Claire’s house.
“Quit your bitching, Claire is going to love this,” I tell her as I knock a couple of times on the door to announce our presence before walking inside.