song: always running out of time by motion city soundtrack
Jacob was really getting on my nerves. I completely erased the idea of hooking up with him, or even talking to him, for that matter. We walked across the street to the road house, my stomach growling angrily. Chewing on the same stick of gum for several hours just wasn’t cutting it.
Anton frowned at the menu, whispering something to Jacob, both exchanging confused glances. They kept saying the same thing in Swedish; it sounded something like, “Nay, do.” Whatever the hell that means.
Eventually, Anton looked at Lena, his voice a bit shaky, “Umm, Lena?”
She nodded, “Yes?”
“Uh,” he smiled, his cheeks flushing pink, Jacob nudging him, “We can’t understand the menu.”
“Oh,” Lena stood up, “We’ll help you.” Before I could object, she said, “Jade, you help Anton, I’ll help Jacob.”
I rolled my eyes as they switched places, Anton settling next to me, “Fine.”
Anton was very timid, which didn’t surprise me. I’d been yelling at his best friend for the past few hours. I spoke with him calmly, trying to make him feel comfortable. He glanced across the table wistfully at Lena, obviously preferring to read it with her than me. That was fine, I was used to being the more scary of the two.
After we placed our orders, they went back to their original seats. Lena’s phone started going off like crazy. We all looked at her questionably.
“Must be getting service here,” she said, going to her inbox, “Oh....”
I knew who was sending her messages. Anton looked a bit concerned, Jacob didn’t care. I downed half of my Coke the minute it was brought to me, I was so hungry. Lena barely touched her drink, scrolling through her phone and looking more upset with every text that rang in.
“Is he having a hissy fit because you’re not there?” I asked, sounding bored.
Lena pursed her lips, “He’s mad about more than just that.”
“Thought you were going to try for that internship,” I said quietly.
“He doesn’t want me to do that,” Lena replied, “Depending on where he goes after the draft...”
I snorted, “You’d follow that asshole to Siberia.”
The waitress brought us our hamburger platters and we attacked our plates like lions to a carcass; we honestly could not wait to eat. It was greasy but delicious food. I leaned back, satisfied, seeing the boys had eaten everything long before me and were chattering in Swedish to one another.
Lena’s phone suddenly went off again. The message on the screen must have been worse than the others before. I saw her face turn very pale, her eyes starting to water.
“I’m not hungry anymore,” she said, hastily grabbing her coat and purse, hurrying out of the restaurant. I noticed she’d barely touched her burger.
“Someone should go after her,” Jacob said, gesturing to me.
Anton took off like a rocket. We watched him run after her, almost desperately. Jacob and I exchanged glances before he settled his gaze on Lena’s half-eaten plate of food.
“If she’s not going to eat that...”
“Clearly not,” I said, crossing my arms.
Jacob reached across the table and brought it over to his own plate, beginning to devour it. Truly, the burgers we’d just eaten were huge. Where the heck was he putting it all?
“Do you eat a lot because you’re so big?” I asked him.
He smirked, chewing his food, “Athletes have to eat a lot, Jade. We have to eat big meals, snacks in between, and take lots of naps.”
“Oh,” I shrugged, playing with a wisp of my hair, “I should know that. Lena talked about dickhead so much, about how he couldn’t hang out because he needed his ‘pre game nap.’ Freaking child.”
“We need pre-game naps so we have energy!”
“And craploads of food won’t do that?” I scoffed, “Seriously, this is why I would never date a hockey player. You’re so anal about everything, and all you care about is the stupid game and who’s there to see you perform-”
“You’re still mad about the bird.”
“His name was Gary, and he was a duck.” I corrected him.
Jacob sighed, “You don’t have to deal with me when we get to Saskatoon. Least you can do is be nice during the time we have to spend together.”
“I don’t want to be nice,” I snapped.
“You’re not like the girls back home,” he muttered, “You’re a crazy person.”
“And you don’t even know me,” I told him, “Really.”
“Good,” he said, finishing the burger and pushing the plate away, “Don’t want to.”
“Are you finished with your meal?”
Thankfully, our waitress appeared at the perfect time. I told her yes, we were finished and ready to pay. Jacob went to reach into his wallet, but I presented her with a shiny Platinum MasterCard. His eyes grew wide as she took it to swipe, then returned with the receipt. I started to put my coat on while he stared at me with that same dumbfounded look.
“Where did you get that?” Jacob asked.
I replied cooly, “None of your business.”
“No seriously, I’m curious.”
“Thought you didn’t want to know me,” I said with a smirk, seeing he was still looking at me strangely as we headed to the door, “It’s my brother’s.”
“Is your brother rich?”
“Well,” I sighed, “He’s a hockey player, like you.”
It was pouring rain out. We stood underneath the awning, looking out at the wet, muddy gravel ahead of us. The road was slick and lit with a blinking streetlamp, clearly not belonging in the country where we were. Neither of us wanted to make the run to the hotel.
“Who does he play for?” Jacob asked, raising his voice over the rain.
“Washington Capitals,” I replied, “But he’s still on his junior team until the end of the year, and he’ll be playing for Team USA.”
“So you’re American, then,” Jacob concluded, “How do you feel about Team Canada?”
I narrowed my eyes, “Aside from a few....I hate them.”
To my surprise, he murmured, “Me too.”
"Lena!" I shouted, running after her in the rain, "Wait!"
I followed her into the hotel lobby, which was just a shack with a desk. I wiped the rain from my face, blinking as Lena obtained a key from the dirty-looking man at the desk. I nodded, indicating I was with her, and he grunted approvingly.
"Lena, please," I begged her, "What's wrong?"
She walked down the hall and shook her head, "None of your business. Go back to the restaurant."
Even as she unlocked her room and went to close the door in my face, I persisted, holding out my arm to stop it from closing, "Are you sure you're ok?"
"I'm fine, can you please leave me alone?"
At this point she was almost starting to cry. It was killing me. I hated it when girls cried.
"I know we're total strangers," I said slowly, "But...I'm a good listener. Maybe you need to vent?"
Lena scoffed, walking away from the door and dropping to the floor with her phone, "I can vent on my own."
"It's none of my business, like you said," I continued, "But you look like you could use a friend."
She stood up and came at me angrily, "I have a friend, and that's Jade. I don't need you or your pity, so please just leave!" I withstood her as she tried to push me out.
"Look, I'm not trying to give you pity, I just want to help-"
I stumbled back into the hallway, the door closing. She really was serious.
"Fine then," I told her, "Sit in your room and cry on your own. I was just trying to be nice. Where I'm from, guys are like that."
"I just don't want to talk to anyone right now!" Lena yelled from the other side, "Can't you respect that?"
"I can, I'm just worried about you!" Thank god for the door, because I was starting to blush.
"I'll be fine," Lena insisted, "Just go."
I sighed, "Ok, well...I'll be down the hall, if you need me." Defeated, I turned on my heel and decided to try and find the room I was going to be sharing with Jacob. There was a door open at the end of the hall and I figured he and Jade had heard the screaming match and decided to wait it out. Trying to think of a way to apologize for instuding on Lena, I walked into the room and saw something I wished I could've forgotten the second it happened.
Jade and Jacob, both on the stingy hotel bed, hands all over each other and making out like teenagers. I gasped in shock, didn't they hate each other? Jacob heard me and looked up, pulling Jade off the bed and onto the floor, him landing on top of her.
This really wasn't what I wanted to be dealing with right now.
"I'll give you two some private time," I said awkwardly, shutting the door as I ran out. It gave me the creeps to think of what they could have been doing had I walked in later.
I grabbed the doorknob of Lena's room and it broke clear off, so I stormed in, "On second thought, I think I'll stay here."
She was sitting on her coat on the bed, "Why?" Her eyes narrowed.
"Jacob and Jade are in our room," I explained, "Making out." I crossed my arms, "I'm just gonna stay here and wait until they're done with their...business."
"Fine," Lena shrugged, "Just be quiet." I watched her scroll through her phone, pursing her lips in frustration.
"Is your boyfriend mean to you?" I blurted out.
"Shut up," Lena snapped, "You don't know anything about me."
"So he is, then."
"I said shut up," Lena said angrily.
"I had a girlfriend like that once," I said, trying to level with her, "Well, she was a cheater, and she slept with most of my friends when we were in ninth grade. She was nasty, but I really liked her so I stuck it out...she dumped me for one of the exchange students from Germany. Fritz something."
"And?" Lena asked, "What's your point?"
"I'm trying to relate...and failing."
"Badly," she said with a nod, "I said I didn't want to talk about it."
I accepted she had won, "Sorry. Is it ok if I sit down?"
She pointed to the other bed, "Over there."
"Lena, I don't have a disease-"
A few minutes passed by in silence.
"Is Jade always like this?" I asked, "I thought they hated each other."
Lena sighed, uninterested, "She probably just wants him in bed, like every other guy."
I laid back on the bed, spreading my coat out, "I'm gonna sleep outside."
She laughed a little, "Good idea. Well, I suppose if she ends up staying there all night, you could sleep here." She looked at me. "In the other bed."
"Thanks," I replied, "I think I'll sleep in my clothes. It's really not clean in here." I quickly added, "In this hotel, I mean."
"I'm not judging here, but you seem to very opposite to Jade. How are you two best friends?"
"We grew up together, our parents were friends," Lena explained, "She moved to Windsor when we were little. Her brother, playing hockey, wasn't getting what he needed in the US so they came to Canada."
"I see," I said, "I didn't know Jacob until we were both on the same team, when we were fifteen. I was really shy but he helped me out with a lot. Had some major problems I was going through." My mind glazed over when I thought about it; the day I found the papers.
"He seems like a nice guy."
"He is. Very classy. I'm surprised he's tonguing your friend in their, to be honest." I paused. "Jacob is a star back home. He saved our team from being knocked down to the lower league. He's probably, next to two other guys, the most wanted player on our team."
"Yeah, he's so lucky. I'd love to play more than ten minutes a game."
"Well, you'll get your time, I'm sure."
"If I was half Jacob's size, maybe."
"I'm sure you're really good."
Now I was blushing badly. I looked around for something to change the subject. Thankfully, I noticed something in the corner.
"Hey...your room has a mini bar."
Lena sighed, "So?"
"So, ours doesn't," I hopped off the bed and wandered over to it, beginning to rummage through, "Gin, whisky....ABSOLUT VODKA! I love this stuff!"
I went to set the bottle on the counter and Lena's hand swiped it away, cracked it open and took a swig.
"Well ok then. There aren't any glasses anyway."
Lena smacked her lips, handing the bottle back to me, "I'm good to share anyway."
I smiled and took a swig. Most people think straight vodka is disgusting, but I never had a problem with it. Getting up and going back to the other bed with the bottle in hand, I watch Lena turn off her phone and then, search me, she came and sat next to me.
"What?" I asked.
"You have booze," she quipped, "Share."
I handed her the bottle, feeling a bit nervous. I never thought her to be the one to drink. It seemed to change her a little; she crossed her legs and groaned.
"Taylor's looking for me and because I won't answer his texts, he's pissed off."
I looked at her. She looked at me.
"You haven't been able to get service, none of us have."
"You think I don't know that? Well, I'd love to tell him, except all these texts keep flying in and I can't get a word in." Lena sighed, reaching for the bottle again, "Please, I need it..."
I wondered if Lena drinking was such a good idea. She seemed to loosen up and started to talk to me, which I liked, but I wondered if she'd end up revealing too much. I wasn't sure if trying to take the vodka away from her was a better plan, though. Lena could bite when she wanted to.
"You're drinking a lot, save some for me." I said quickly.
Lena grunted, turning her phone back on and handing it to me, "Here. Take a look."
I scrolled through the messages, reading only a few:
Taylor: 10:43 pm : u better answer me u little bitch
Taylor: 10:44 pm : otherwise i will tell ur friend nazem u fucked his brother
Taylor: 10:44 pm : i know u like him
Taylor: 10:44 pm : look i waited all night for u 2 text me
Taylor: 10:45 pm : what is ur fucking problem lena
Taylor: 10:46 pm : if ur with some1 else i will kill u
"This is disgusting, Lena," I replied, stating my distaste, "No man should talk to his girl like that."
Lena closed her eyes, "When he's good, he's really good, but when he's bad...he's terrible."
"Stand up to him," I told her, "Tell him he's hurting your feelings."
"You don't get it, do you?" she snapped, her eyes starting to fill with tears, "I...I love Taylor. He's everything to me, we've been together for years..."
"He shouldn't treat you like this."
She started to sob quietly, bringing her hands to her face. I wanted to put an arm around her, comfort her, but I was afraid to. She chugged the rest of the vodka, throwing the bottle at the wall, letting it shatter into angry glass shards on the floor.
And then she leaned up against me, slurring her words through her tears, "Anntonn...I know you don't me and I don't know you...but I need....I need..."
I gently touched her hair, "You need what?"
"I need a friend...someone to just...just hold me...until it all goes way...far away..."
Her body was shaking uncontrollably. I knew she was drunk as hell, but she was still upset never the less. I put both arms around her and we both fell back on the bed; she snuggled up to me in her drunken state while I did my best to soothe her.
I rearranged the stained pillows and put both of our coats down. Somehow we were able to get comfortable. My hand ran through her dark brown hair, calming her down. Lena put her head on my chest, her tears beginning to flood and soak my t-shirt.
"Sorry about your shirt," she slurred, "I'll...I'll buy a new one..."
Sometime after that, she passed out.