She had come back smiling; chatting away with Rennie and Consti like nothing had happened, like my world hadn’t just come crashing down around me. How had we gotten so far from where we started? How had we ended up like this?
We were both at fault, not that that made it any better - two wrongs don’t make a right, right?
She looked over at me and her smiling stopped, not because she saw me, but because of the look on my face. I realized that my face was twisted into anger; not at her, but at myself. I tried to change it, smile at her - but it was too late, she had already turned away.
She didn’t speak to me the whole day, and I didn’t speak to her. We avoided each other as much as possible without drawing attention to it. I couldn’t even focus during practice; I was that angry at myself. I kept running over the night before in my head, trying to figure out why I had said things so horribly. I should have told her that I loved her, that I wasn’t thinking, that the girl meant nothing and I would never do it again. I didn’t though, I had watched her walk away and I never bothered to follow her, never bothered to call her.
I tried to convince myself that I was giving her the space she needed but I didn’t know if that was true anymore.
She was so… unemotional when she was around me now, like being with me was just something she had to do before she could leave and be happy again. I love Carlie, loved her enough that I wanted to her to be happy; even if it wasn’t me that made her happy any more. The thought of her with him made me sick, I wanted to be the one that was there for her, I wanted to be the one she depended on; laughed with, cried with.
Leaving the ice I looked up into his face, and rage came boiling up inside of me. He was here - of course he was here - watching her. She was playing amazing and I couldn’t even keep up; he gave me a small smile and it took all my will-power to not throw myself through the glass on to him.
Every thought I had had for the entire day was gone; as I watched - watching me - I knew that she needed me. I knew her, I wanted her, I always had. He knew nothing about her; she was just some girl to him… she was my whole world.
I watched him grab her arm and pull her down the hallway. I exhaled loudly and looked around the room; everyone was either staring at the swinging door, or watching me.
I grabbed my jacket off the hook and threw the door open. I felt people moving behind me but I didn’t stop to see who it was. I stormed down the hallway, rounding a corner before coming to a halt. I slammed my fist into the wall, feeling it crack from the pressure. “FUCK!” What the fuck is wrong with me? Why did I just do that. Now I couldn’t play if it was broken; and judging by the shooting pain that ripped in my hand every time I moved, it was broken.
“Mattie?” I turned around and saw Consti watching me. “Let’s get out of here… you need to get that looked at.”
“I don’t want to go.” I slumped down on the floor, holding my broken hand out in my lap. I was pouting, I was being a baby, I didn’t give a shit.
I couldn’t believe that I had said those things to her; what is wrong with me? “Consti… I called her a whore…”
“I know you did but, you’ve always been a dumbass.” I stared up at him incredulously.
“I’m just saying… she’s probably more upset about the situation then the fact that you said something dumb… you always say stupid things.”
“You’re one to talk.” I retorted, looking away from his smiling face.
“Yah well, I’m not the one on trial here.“ He plopped down beside me and started laughing, “ok so, what was this about a Russian girl at the bar? Did you actually pick up?” I huffed out a sigh and continued to look away. Consti let out a low whistle in response, “wow, never thought you’d have the balls.”
“Damnit Consti! This isn’t helping!” I clenched my hands into fist and let out a scream. “Fuck!”, already forgot about the hand.
“Mattie, just calm down man…”
“Calm down!? Consti, I just told my girlfriend, the girl that I LOVE, that she was a whore and that she didn’t matter to me… and you want me to calm down?”
I pushed myself off the floor and spun around the glare at him. “That’s the worst idea ever! I need to do something… she’s leaving… with him .” I spat the last word out.
“Yah, but here’s why we’re not going to do that. Number one, he’s a big fuckin guy, and I really don’t feel like watching you get your ass kicked - because you will. Number two, Carlie’s gonna go wherever she wants to go.” He shrugged his shoulders, “if she wants to leave with him, we’re not gonna stop her… you know that.”
And I did. I knew there was no point in chasing after her, which was why I didn’t. I let out a groan and tried to keep my burning eyes from tearing up. “What if she sleeps with him?” I asked quietly, unable to keep the fear out of my voice.
“He might crush her… she pretty tiny but-”
“Ugh, Mattie what do you want me to say? So what? Who gives a shit? If she wants to sleep with him, then fine, let her. Are you still gonna love her if she does?”
“Then what’s the problem?”
“It’ll… suck…” I finished weakly, sitting down on the floor again.
“Yah well, it probably sucked when you got on some chick the other night.” He remarked thoughtfully.
“Well, it sucked when she made out with him the night before that!” I fired back.
He chuckled and shook his head, “you kids are quiet the pair, you know that?”
We both sat in the deserted hallway for a while, not saying anything. After what felt like forever, the throbbing in my hand had subsided; but it was swelling bad. “How did this get so fucked up?” I asked, not really directed at anyone.
“You punched a cement wall… shithead…”
“Not my hand!” I sighed and shook my head, “Carlie and me…”
“Oh… I don’t know. She’s in love with two people… that both love her; that’d fuck me up.” I nodded in agreement, as much as it hurt to think about, I had to admit that it was true.
I love Carlie and I knew she loved me. But she loved him too, and some part of me knew - even if I didn’t want to admit it - that he loved her too.
Consti pushed himself up and motioned for me to follow. I walked in step behind him as we made our way out into the Russian night. “Let’s go get that looked at; I think it might be a knuckle.” I nodded my head and glanced down at my hand again, while Consti flagged down a cab.
It was hailing buckets by the time we got in. Consti instructed the cab driver to take us to the hospital and sat back in his seat. “Consti…” I began, watching the hail pelt against the window as we took of through the streets. “I need to make this up to her… but I don’t know how. We need to start over…”
“Well I’m sure you’ll figure that out when the time comes bud.” I tried to nod in agreement; but it came out more as a shrug. I returned my attention to the outside world, watching the winter night pass by in a blur.
I felt the car screech beneath me as the driver tried to stop too fast at a red light. The rear-end of the car shot out sideways and lunged forward. My hand flew out and grabbed onto the driver’s seat as I braced myself for what I knew would be a crash.
I glanced over at Mattie who was braced similarly; noticing he didn’t have his seatbelt buckled. “Seatbelt Mattie!” I screamed as the front of the car slammed into something hard.
I looked up in time to see the world beginning to twist; as the car started to flip on the ice.
We turned a number of times before the car stopped; right-side-up against a guard-railing. I let out a huff and looked down at myself.
The roof was almost fully caved in and the window next to me was busted outward; the ice-air assaulting me as I examined the small-cuts around my arms. I reached up and grabbed my shoulder - under the seatbelt - it was soar, but not broken.
“Where’s the other car?” I asked as I undid my belt. “Hey…” I reached forward and shoved the driver gently on the shoulder. He flopped forward; dead or unconscious I wasn’t sure. “Holy shit, Mattie…”
I glanced to my right, looking for Mattie; he wasn’t there.
The car was crushed in worse on his side and the window was gone; his seatbelt sat, still unstrapped. “Mattie?” I yelled looking around the cab before crawling over to his side of the car.
There was blood on the seat but no Mattie; if he got thrown out… I said silently, refusing to finish the thought. I grabbed the handle and tried to open the door but it wouldn’t budge. I backed up and slammed my leg into it a few times before I felt the nausea hit. I fell backwards onto the seat as the darkness fell in around me…