That next morning, I awake to the sound of groaning coming from the room next door. I immediately register it as Janice’s voice and realize that her hangover must be kicking in. Yikes.
I remain in my room reading my graduate book for the next hour, before I hear a knock on my door.
“Come in,” I call, and rise from my bed.
“Good, you’re up,” Janice says, as she comes in. “I thought maybe we could talk.”
Her eyes look red and although that could be because of her hangover, I get the inkling that it is something else.
“I want to apologize for yesterday,” she then says, running a hand through her hair. “I was pretty woozy last night.”
“Your telling me.” I smile. “It’s okay. At least I was able to get us home. Well, eventually.”
“Oh geez,” Janice shakes her head. “I’m really, really sorry about that. I didn’t do anything too crazy, did I?”
I pretend as if I am thinking things over. “Apart from dancing on the club counter, flirting with the bartender and almost kissing me, no. I’d say it was a normal night.”
“Oh Gosh!” Janice face palms herself. “I am so sorry!”
I burst into laughter. “It’s okay! It could have been worse. I’m just giving you a hard time.”
“I sure hope so. I shiver to think of what could have happened.”
“You were downing quite a bit of shots,” I then say. “Are you totally positive that nothing’s bothering you?”
Janice looks at me quietly for a few seconds and then she raises her hands. “Fine, there is something, It’s about Greg.”
“Oh no!” I think. If she says that, it could only mean…
“We kind of split up, and this time I think it’s for good.”
“What happened?” I ask.
“I don’t know, it all happened so suddenly. We were talking about the future and about us, and I stupidly brought up the subject of us getting married.” Janice sighs. “I don’t even know why! I’ve never been keen on marriage after seeing my parents.” She pauses and rolls her eyes. “Anyways, Greg got all weird and said he didn’t know if he saw us together that far into the future. I got really mad and we got in a huge fight. I then told him that if he didn’t see a future for us, we couldn’t stay together. I mean, we’ve been together for almost four years! If he can’t see us together now, when will he?”
“I see your point,” I say, nodding slowly. “I have to say though, I am surprised. You and Greg always seemed so in sync.” Just like my parents. They had been so in love and in sync too, and now they couldn’t even make eye contact. Love was really starting to feel like a lie to me. Maybe it was a good thing I had turned down Michael’s proposal.
“I thought so too,” says Janice, “but I guess I was wrong.”
I smile at Janice sadly and then pull her in for a hug. “I’m sorry.”
Janice hugs me back tightly and we stand like that for a minute. She then wipes a tear from her eye quickly, and forces a smile.
“Well, I should let you get ready. See you downstairs?”
I nod. “Okay.”
Two hours later, we have finished getting dressed and have eaten our breakfast of pancakes and mixed fruit. I decided to put on a summer dress since I heard Sandra and Elsie mentioning how hot it was going to be today. I even see Janice has slipped into a strapless halter and some shorts.
“So I was thinking that maybe we could do something fun today,” Janice says, after her sisters have cleared the table and left us to ourselves.
I look over. “What did you have in mind?”
“There’s a carnival being held at the beach today and I think it would be fun to check it out. They hold it every year during 4th of July week. There’ll be some fun arcade games and sometimes there’s some local performers.”
I grin. “That sounds like fun!” I happen to absolute love carnivals and my love of arcade games goes without saying.
We then head out of the house and are soon off to the beach.
It takes about ten minutes to drive over and soon we are walking down the sidewalk from the parking lot to the carnival. The warm breeze brushes over my shoulders as we approach the carnival gates and the scent of popcorn, fries and burgers, fills my nostrils as we enter.
After buying tickets, we decide to begin with the arcade games. Janice gets started with the basketball dunk shootout game and I try my luck with the water balloon dart game. I soon move over to the claw machine, but end up wasting a lot of tickets trying to grab a prize.
After a couple hours of playing, we both decide to take a little break and sit at one of the nearby carnival café tables. Beach style music is blaring from the speakers and I bob my head to the beat.
Just as I am about to take my seat, I hear a familiar giggle from nearby. Looking up, my jaw drops.
Abby is standing right in front of me, with Charls off to her side.
I am totally speechless. “Abby? Is that you?”
Abby laughs and nods her head with excitement. “In the flesh!” she says. “How are you?”
“I’m okay. Wow!”
I quickly run over and pull her into a hug.
“It’s so good to see you! What are you doing here?”
“I’m here for my internship! My group got selected to come to Marina Beach and the other one was sent to Luckie Palmas! Didn’t you get my message?”
“No, I didn’t,” I say, letting her go. “But then again, my phone has been off the past couple days.”
Abby frowns. “Really? Why?”
I shift my eyes toward the ground. “It’s a long story.”
Abby smiles. “You can tell me it later.” She then laughs. “I’m surprised to see you here so early though. You told me you weren’t coming until the 16th.”
“I know, but things at home prompted me to come sooner.”
“It’s about your parents, isn’t it?” When I just blink at her, she shrugs. “My mom mentioned something about it when I came home to pack my things for the internship. I was going to ask you, but I figured I’d wait for you to tell me.”
“Yes, it is,” I say. I then give her a quick overview about everything that was going on with my parents. “So I just figured that I needed to get out of there.”
“I can imagine, But why didn’t you just go stay with Michael? I can tell he’s been itching for you to move in with him.” Wasn’t that the truth.
“That’s another story,” I say slowly. One that I really don’t want to divulge in at that moment.
It is then that I glance down and notice something shining brightly upon her hand. Is that what I think it is?
“Abby,” I say slowly, “Is that-”
“An engagement ring?” Abby’s face lights up. “Yes, it is!” She then squeals and I can’t help but squeal along with her. What were the odds?
“Oh my gosh Abby! When did this happen?”
“Over the weekend! When I came home to pack for the internship, Charls came with me. When went to the Aberdale summer fair on Sunday, and while we were there, he took me to this spot decorated with balloons and popped the question!”
“Wow! And clearly you said yes.”
“Of course!” Abby looks at me as if I have said something completely absurd. “He’s the love of my life! Why wouldn’t I?”
That was a very good question. If you loved someone more than anything, why wouldn’t you agree to marry them? Why would you allow anything to get in the way of that?
“Well, I’m very happy for the both of you,” I say, tapping her shoulder lightly. “You’re going to be a beautiful bride.”
Abby smiles shyly. “Thanks. Would you believe my mom is already making wedding plans? She’s telling everyone and even picking out dresses for me from the Bridal catalogues! Charls and I haven’t even set a date yet!”
I laugh. “She’s just excited. Marriage is a wonderful thing.” At least while it lasts…
Abby grins and gives me a shove. “You should watch out too. One these days it may be Michael asking you.” If only she knew.
We both then hear laughter and look to the side. Charls and Janice are deep in conversation and upon listening, sound to be talking about giving the pie contest a try.
“Hey, you two!” She calls over to us. “You want a challenge?”
I am a bit unsure, but Abby gives me a nudge.
“It’s all in good fun!” She says.
Ten minutes later, we are all lined up and ready to begin. Janice and Charls are standing toward the end and I can tell there is coming to be some serious competitiveness with the two of them. Goodness.
After the announcer shouts “GO!”, we all drive into our pies, eating as quickly as we can. Being still a little full from breakfast, I feel myself starting to fill up even though we are only halfway through. Abby seems to be the same as me, while Janice and Charls seem to be going for the gold. Pie pieces are flying everywhere as we rush and I can’t help but laugh. We look totally ridiculous, but Abby was right. It was all in good fun.
With all his best efforts, Janice manages to finish her pie in time and quickly rises to show the announcer her plate.
“And the winner is, Number two!” the announcer calls, and we hear the people watching, break into applause.
I then stop eating, feeling like my stomach is about to pop.
I’m not the only one, for I see Abby step to the side holding her stomach.
“Ugh,” she says, swaying a bit. “Maybe That wasn’t such a good idea after all.” Now she tells me.
After resting our stomachs for a while, we all then go back to playing the arcade games. I am very addicted to the whack-a-mole game and end up getting a very high score.
Janice challenges Charls to the shootout arcade game and Abby cheers on the side as he tries his luck against her. He nearly comes close to beating Janice, but he misses by just one point. I’m telling you, that girl is unbeatable. It doesn’t matter who. A lot of times I wonder why she didn’t become a professional athlete.
“Too much stress,” I then remember her saying once. “It’s no joke going pro. I like the feel of training someone and seeing the progress from start to finish.” It’s probably why she has gone into sports training. I’m sure one of these days she is going to nurse some start off into a professional star.
After we finish the games, we all make our way over to the dance floor. Some fun pop music is jamming from the speakers and we all can’t keep from moving to the beat. As much fun as we are all having, I can’t help but feel like something is missing and as I think about it, I realize that it isn’t something, it’s someone.
“Geez, I didn’t think we would stay here that long,” Janice then says after another hour has passed. “It’s already seven.”
“Really?” Abby glances at her cellphone. “Oh wow, you’re right.”
“I was thinking we would head back to my house for dinner. You two want to join us?”
Abby and Charls look at each other and then agree, so ten minutes later, we are on our way back to the Calbury sisters’ house.
Strange enough, Sandra and Elsie have ordered in pizza, so we end up all piling around to eat it before later heading into the family room.
Abby and Charls cuddle together on the back sofa and I can’t help but resent them a little. They are engaged and look so happy. That could have been me and Michael, if only I had just said yes. Instead, here I am thousands of miles away and ignoring his calls. I seriously am a train wreck.
At that moment, Abby was gushing about how Charls popped the question.
“It was so romantic,” she was saying. “It probably didn’t look it, but it was to me.” She then turns to him. “It was the same spot that you asked me to be your girlfriend, as cheesy as it is.”
Charls laughs. “It totally was. I guess you bring that side out of me.”
“Have you two set a date?” Janice asks. I can tell by the look on her face that she is trying really hard to look supportive, but deep down, I know the conversation is really hitting home for her.
Abby shakes her head. “Not yet, but we were thinking sometime next year.”
“Not too late I hope,” Charls adds, and Abby gives him a peck on his lips.
Abby then looks over at me. “You’re awfully quiet, Liz. Everything okay?”
I blink. “Oh yah. Just spacing.” I start praying that Abby won’t say another word. The last thing I want is to hash out my problems with Michael in front of everyone.
“You know I had an idea for tomorrow if you guys are free,” Janice then interrupts. “It’s supposed to be really hot, which would make it a great day to take my grandfather’s boat out. I was going to take just Lizzie, but the more the merrier.”
Abby looks thrilled. “That sounds amazing!”
“Thought you’d think so. I know you have your internship thing until later, so maybe you two can meet up here at three?”
Abby nods. “Agreed.” She then checks her phone again. “Charls and I should head back to the hotel though. It’s already nine and I want to be able to get to the office by eight tomorrow.”
Janice then stands from her chair. “I’ll drive you guys back.”
After saying goodbye to Abby and Charls, I head upstairs to my room. After everything from today, I am totally exhausted and need some definite sleep. I then change into my p.js and when Janice gets back from the hotel, I go into her room to wish her goodnight. I could tell that Abby’s good news had tugged at her heart strings and that she probably needed to sleep it off as well.
I then go back to my room and before slipping into bed, I contemplate turning back on my phone. I have not spoken to Michael since Friday night and I can’t lie, it is starting to get to me. Not to mention what he must be thinking.
I then sigh and just slip under my covers. I just cannot do it. I am not ready to talk to him yet. That said, I know I have to do it soon. If I keep him on edge like this, I might just lose him…and for good.