Second(6)By: Chantal Fernando
“It’s all you had to drink besides milk,” he says, smirking. “Which was off.”
“Oh,” I mutter as he opens the door for me. I haven’t exactly thought about being a great host when all I wanted to do was be alone for the unforeseeable future. My parents dropped by once before they had to fly back home, and I don’t think I was great company. In fact, I should probably call them and apologise for being an arsehole. We’re not that close, but they still came to see if I was doing okay, but all I wanted was to be alone. Even under the circumstances, they are my parents and I shouldn’t have been so rude to them. They probably shouldn’t have left so soon too, but that’s a whole different story.
“Are you okay to drive or do you want me to?” I ask him.
He closes the door behind him, and I pull out my key to double lock it.
“I’m fine to drive,” he says, patiently waiting. “We’ll take my car.”
I turn around and see just what his car is. My jaw drops open. “Oh my God. It’s beautiful,” I whisper, rushing over to it and running my hand along the hood. The brand new black Range Rover is amazing. I suddenly feel like driving. “Can I drive?”
“No,” he says, opening the passenger door for me.
“Why not?” I ask, deflating. “I thought you’re here to try and make me happy. This will make me temporarily very happy.”
He ignores me and gets into the driver seat. I close my door and put my seat belt on, eying the interior. When he starts the engine, “Never be like you” by Flume fills the car, bringing me back to the reality of my life. I rub my chest, wondering why things have to be this way. I know bad things happen to good people. I know not everyone gets what they want in life. What I don’t know is how I’m meant to deal with losing someone so close to me. So many things I took for granted, so many times I acted a certain way and now wish I hadn’t. There were times when I thought I wasn’t even happy, but now? I wish for those times once more. Dean turns down the volume and I can feel his gaze on me. “You okay?”
“Yeah.” I nod, forcing a smile. “I can’t hide forever, right? I need to face what my life is now.”
I need to conquer it.
“You’ll get there,” he says, sounding confident. “You’ve always been strong, Sabina.”
I’m glad someone thinks so. He’s probably referring to the fact that because I don’t have a close relationship with my parents, I’ve basically done everything alone. When I turned eighteen, they basically told me it was time for me to move out, and that’s when I moved in with Ben.
I lick my suddenly dry lips. “Can we stop at the bottle shop?”
He glances at me, then back at the road. “Yeah, I guess so. What do you want to get? You aren’t going to get shit-faced tonight are you? Because I kind of told Kate we’d come over for breakfast tomorrow.”
My head snaps to him. Kate is Ben’s mother. My mother-in-law, or at least she was, and to be honest, she isn’t one of my favourite people. She’s not a nice person, and since Ben is no longer here, I shouldn’t really have to deal with her. Ben and I have no children; he was my only tie to Kate. She’s Dean’s aunt though, so I can’t really say any of that.
“I don’t want to go,” I tell him, crossing my arms over my chest. “I don’t want to have a fucking family breakfast, Dean. Ben is gone, and I’m not going to sit there at his mother’s table and pretend everything is okay. She never even liked me.”
And I never liked her, although I was never rude or anything like that. I was raised to respect my elders, and I gave her much more respect than she deserved, because she was Ben’s mother.
“Don’t make me go alone, Sabina,” he says quietly, tone almost pleading. “I don’t want to go either, but I’ve avoided them enough. I don’t need another lecture from my own mother about the importance of family.”
I scrub my hand down my face, wondering when my life became so miserable. I’m not even in this family anymore. Okay, I sound like a bitch, but I just feel tired. Drained. Exhausted. And seeing Kate is not something I want to deal with. I can’t exactly throw Dean to the wolves when he’s been so good to me though. He even changed my bed sheets, putting a fresh white set on without a complaint.
“Fine,” I tell him, dragging the word out. “But I don’t want to hear any judgement when I leave the bottle shop with more alcohol than I could possibly consume.”