Recklessly Impressive Pt. III-A Short Story

“Wait, what?” I blurted out, hardly able to talk without spitting.

“Brothers,” She quietly repeated herself, almost whispering. Momentarily, I watched her stare at the navy carpeted floors beneath us, avoiding my eyes.

I felt a wave of nausea temporarily engulf the pit of my stomach. I braced myself in dreaded anticipation of that sick, unsettling sensation. Then, to my surprise, it passed seconds later, almost as suddenly as it had begun.

“Well,” I paused. “I’m not going to lie…I’m having a lot of really conflicting thoughts right now…”

“I know.” I watched my best friend hang her head. “I’m a really bad person. I already know it, I know what you’re going to say.”

“I mean, yeah, you kind of are,” I admitted. “That’s really messed up, and you probably shouldn’t be doing it. But it’s also kind of cool, not gonna lie. How many girls can say they’ve actually been with two brothers?

Selena patted her nose with a Kleenex, careful not to get the tissue material caught in her nose stud. While I hadn’t quite made her smile, I noticed that the corners of her mouth were turned up more than they were before. “You really think so? Does this make me hashtag #goalsasf*ck?”

“No,” I replied slowly and carefully.  “Hashtag #slutgoalsasf*ck’ maybe, but not goals goals.” I  told myself it probably wasn’t a good idea to glorify her behavior any further.

She furrowed her brow, looking both confused. “What?”

“It’s a goal that you can tell someone like me, because I’m not going to judge you. But it’s kind of a trashy goal, like I wouldn’t write home about it,” I replied. “But I’m both super repulsed by and super proud of you.”

Selena breathed a huge sigh of relief. “See, I knew I would feel so much better after talking to you. Phew, I feel so much freaking better, it’s not even funny.”

“I would say good, but I’m definitely not trying to encourage you to call me out of my house at the crack of dawn on a regular basis,” I said. I felt relieved. I honestly thought I’d heard the worst from her at that point. Stupid me.

“Sorry about that,” she answered quietly, before sitting up straight. “I’m so glad I told you  the truth about what I’ve been up to. Now that you know about Alex and Michael, I was hoping you could help me make a really important decision.”

“About?” I prompted her. I felt a lump forming in the back of my throat.

“Really, Jade?” Selena laughed, nervously. “I mean, which guy do I make my full time investment? Duh. What did you think I was gonna ask you?”

“Selena,” I began. “Have you lost your f*cking marbles?”

“What?” She threw her hands up in the air. I knew from previous experience that I needed to cover my ears and move farther away from her on the couch. “How are you going to give me a pat on the f*cking back and tell me it’s cool and then start treating me like there’s something wrong with me?! Dammit, Jade, what the f*cking f*ck!”

Her voice rose with every word she spoke. Seconds after she’d finished, we were interrupted by the sound of her baby son screaming and crying from his bedroom.

“I hope you’re happy,” I hissed at her, getting up to rush down the narrow hallway that led to his bedroom. “Stephan, I’m coming!”

By the time I reached him, his fine black baby hair was damp and stuck to his scalp. His chubby, naturally tanned cheeks were red, his blue eyes were too. I thanked God nearly every time I saw him that he looked like his mother.

“Come here, Stevie,” I cooed, lifting him up into my arms. He always felt heavier than he looked. “It’s okay, honey, it’s okay. Come on, we go see Mommy.”

“Stevie, Mommy’s sorry,” Selena said as she saw me approach the living room with Stephan in tow.

“Whatever, Selena. I hate when you scream like that, you sound like you’re freaking twelve,” I chastised her.

“I’m sorry,” she replied, her tone subdued and sincere. “I shouldn’t have yelled. I was just upset that you weren’t taking me seriously. I meant what I said about, you know, having to choose… I really like Alex, but Michael is just….really amazing. I love how together he is. Thirty one, it’s a great age.”

“You’re really trying to tear apart two brothers, Selena?” I began again. “You’re really trying to make some great karma for yourself aren’t you?”

“Oh stop with the karma,” she protested. “Don’t you think I deserve to be happy, Jade?”

“I don’t care about ‘deserve’, I think you need to get your life together,” I replied, trying to sound stern. “Selena, you have a son…It’s one thing to be fooling around with these guys, but you have to think about Stephan first…”

“Look, I’m going to choose between them regardless of whether or not you help me,” she retorted, with a flip of her curly black mane. “At least if you help me, it’s more likely to be an okay decision. You know?”

I shifted Stephan in my arms, setting him on my lap so that I wouldn’t have to carry him any longer. He sucked on his left thumb while I bit my nails pensively. “I mean that is true. If I help you out though, you have to really listen to me. I’m not getting invested in this whole thing if you’re not going to really listen to what I think. God, this is so f*cked up…”

“I always listen!” Selena glared at me. I couldn’t tell if she was feigning being insulted, or if she was serious. Her frosty blue eyes made for a magnificent poker face.

“Selena, you never listen,” I corrected her.

“Okay maybe sometimes I don’t,” She admitted.

“I’ll meet them,” I continued. “and I’ll let you know who you should pick. What if I hate them both?
“If you hate them both, I don’t want either one,” she assured me.

“You absolutely, 100% promise me now?” I desperately needed to confirm her sincerity.

“I will, okay? Pinky promise.” She offered me her little finger, and we linked our pinkies together. I won’t lie, I definitely felt my confidence increase, if only slightly, as the result of this exchange.

Selena slid closer to me on the couch and kissed me on the cheek, before also kissing her son’s face. Stephan reached out to touch her mouth and she kissed his little fingers.  “Dios Te Bendiga, Preciosito,” she said, before giving him one last kiss. Part of me thought it was weird for her to be giving her son God’s blessing after talking about her extravaganzas with two, full-blood brothers. I told myself that this was my best friend, who I loved unconditionally, and that I should try my best to refrain from being too judgmental of her.

Selena laid down on the couch next to me and laid her head down on my lap. “I’m so glad you’re going to help me. Now I’ll be able to sleep tonight.” She closed her eyes. I always noticed how her long, naturally black un-mascara-ed eyelashes were. In a matter of minutes, I heard her breathing thicken as her chest begin to rise in slumber.

“No, honey,” I gently scolded Stephan, as I carefully pried the handful of my wavy dyed-auburn hair that his determined little hands had grabbed on to out of his grip. His lower lip began to quiver. I had a matter of seconds to stop the tears from flowing.

“Shhh, Stephan,” I tried. “It’s okay honey. You want me to sing you a song? Rocka-byeeee Steeeephaan, on the treetop…..”I rocked him back and forth as I sang to him, as softly and quietly as I knew how. He passed out even more quickly than his mother. I felt like I was seeing double, with my best friend on my lap and her mini-me in my arms.

I closed my eyes, and I prayed. “Please God, please help me through this sh*t she’s always putting me through. Pretty, pretty, pretty please with a cherry on top. Love Jade. Amen.”

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Recklessly Impressive Pt. I- A Short Story

She called me up crying at approximately three in the morning that Saturday.

My boyfriend Mark groaned when my iPhone began to ring. “Is that your f*cking alarm?” he grumbled, referring to the timer I always set to wake the two of us up for work during the week. “It’s Saturday, why is that going off?”

“No, it’s not my alarm, ” I snapped, crankier from my sleep having been compromised than from his words.  I never took them personally. I knew that he loved me; he was just extremely impatient at times. “Sh*t,” I said,  as my best friend’s name and picture played on my caller ID screen. “It’s Selena.”

I stepped outside of our bedroom and  into the hallway with the flashlight setting enabled on my iPhone. Why is she calling me so early, I thought to myself, annoyed. Something better be seriously wrong for her to be hitting up my phone right now. I paused and felt guilty for only a few seconds before sliding the phone to “answer”.

“Hello…” I mumbled, practically delirious from my sleep disturbed stupor.

“I need you right now,” I could hear her gravelly, cigarette-y voice, slightly muffled by the sound of her crying hysterically.

“Selena,” I said, trying to sound stern. With her, I had to be. “What’s going on? Are you okay? Are you sick? Is something wrong with the baby?” I instantly thought of her beautiful ten and a half month old, my god son, Stephan. My heart began to pound hard in my chest, like the beat of a drum played by a musician with plenty of anxiety and no rhythm whatsoever.

“No,” she sobbed. “It’s me, Jade. It’s me.”

“What’s going on?!”  I repeated, almost yelling.

“I just feel so guilty, I can’t sleep,” was her response, so full of tears I could just about understand it.

“Guilty?” I repeated.  I could feel my stomach churning, full of  little fluttering butterflies. “Why do you feel guilty? You mean you’ve done something wrong?”

“Yes,” she gasped, choking on her words. “Please come over. I’ll tell you everything- I need to talk to you so bad, please.”

“What have you done?” I demanded. “Calm down right now, and tell me what is going on. You’re scaring the sh*t out of me, you know that?”

“Just come over, please. I can’t sleep, I need you to come and be with me.” I could hear the desperation in my best friend’s voice. I hadn’t heard her sound this way since the night/ early morning she found out that she was pregnant with Stephan. She had called me around the same time that day.That’s when it dawned on me-

“Wait…you’re not pregnant again,are you?” I blurted out.

“No , I’m not f*cking pregnant,” She practically barked-cried at me. “Would you please stop asking me offensive questions and just come here? I need to talk to you. I already told you, I need you to come and be with me. Please just get here.” The call ended suddenly.

“Your calling me at this ungodly hour is more offensive than my questions,” I muttered to myself. I walked back into the bedroom so that I could get dressed.

“What was that all about?” Mark wanted to know. He was sitting up in bed with his arms crossed. Just as I expected, he wasn’t annoyed anymore; he looked more amused, like an innocent civilian watching a train wreck about to happen.

“Something’s wrong with Selena,” I told him, quickly throwing on my black Charlotte Russe sweatpants with holes and splatters of kelly green paint from the time we  painted our bathroom together.  I had gone to bed half dressed, sporting a royal blue t-shirt that cleverly read F*ck You, You F*cking F*ck.  “She says she needs me to come be with her.”

“Don’t even tell me her ass is pregnant again,” He snorted, rolling his eyes.

“She said she’s not,” I replied. I hovered over him for a kiss, which he promptly planted on my lips.

“Good luck with that one,” he said, and kissed me again. “I love you.”

“Thanks, I’ll need it. Love you too,” I replied.

See, I told you he was nice.

I collected my purse, my cell phone, and my car keys and headed out the door to my black 2013 Honda Accord that I had purchased on Craigslist just six months prior. I turned the key in the ignition, shifted the gears, and embarked on the eight to ten minute journey to Selena’s apartment. I was going a solid twenty to twenty five miles over the speed limit to try and cut my time in half. As much as I loved my best friend,  I felt myself resenting her mildly for leaving me in suspense. Here I was, at 3 am on a Saturday morning, practically sleep-speeding to go and see her without a damn clue as to why.

“I hate this girl right now,” I said out loud, to no one in particular. “I love her. But God, I f*cking hate her.”