Here & Now 7

13

“You’re only eighteen, right?” Meredith asked me once we made it to the bar. I blushed and nodded. “Don’t worry, Gary will buy us drinks.” She gave me a coy smile and motioned for us to follow her to a table towards the back of the room. There was a guy already sitting there and when he saw Meredith coming towards him, his whole face lit up. “Hey ladies!” He grinned as we took the seats next to him. “Glad you could finally join me.” He teased. “I’m so sorry we’re late…we got distracted.” Meredith winked at me. “This is my boyfriend Gary, Miriam.” She beamed at him proudly. It was my father. “Nice to meet you.” He lifted his glass in greeting but all I could do was stare at him. He ignored my gaping though…he seemed to only have eyes for my mother.

14

I eventually noticed how both Meredith and Megan hung on every single word Gary spoke as he told us about all of the crazy shenanigans that happened with his roommates. Then he began gushing about his new motorcycle and I felt my gut clench with anxiety. “Maybe you should buy a helmet.” I butted into his conversation. “I wouldn’t look as cool then.” He chuckled. “Well, just be careful out there…you never know what could happen.” I mumbled softly and avoided all eye contact. “You’re starting to kill my buzz but you know what, I promise to always drive safe. Is that better?” He couldn’t even keep a straight face. The last thing I wanted to do was argue with him so I agreed with shrug then went back to sipping my drink.

15

A little while later, Gary and Megan went outside for a smoke together and I finally had some alone time with Meredith again. “That’s a really nice locket.” I mentioned. “I have one just like it.” I reached up and realized it was missing from my neck. “I must’ve left it somewhere in our room.” She smiled happily at me. “Gary gave this one to me for our four year anniversary. I’ll never take it off.” Her face abruptly changed to a grimace. “Can you go see what’s taking them so long…suddenly I’m not feeling so well.” She pushed her club soda across the table and leaned back in her chair miserably. “Sure! I’ll be right back.” I hurried to the back patio and was shocked by what I found out there. Gary and Megan were talking intimately and to my horror, he leaned in and kissed her on the cheek. Without speaking a word, I turned then fled back to my dorm room.

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