The game goes on
The study rooms were cold and dank. Some police interrogation rooms must look nicer than these lifeless blocks. I was fifteen minutes early for my study session with Dan; I suppose the nerves were getting to me. I couldn’t help feeling that this was going to be a disaster. I pulled out my books and began to work, guessing that I wouldn’t be able to achieve anything significant once he was here.
“Abby, working already? You’ll make me look bad.” I just gave a dismissive laugh without looking up at him, still focusing. I couldn’t help noticing that he had dropped using my last name. It had become a habit of his for the last two years and I’d actually grown to like it, but using Abby had to mean something? Perhaps that I was in for two hours with my Dan rather than his puffed up prince like replacement.
“I was thinking that we could look at a philosophers opinions, I mean it’s a little off base but I think we could link it in and I for one would like to get an A on this assignment,” I said trying to show him that I was all about business.
“Yeah we both need one after you screwed up the debate.”
“Excuse me?” My head shot up to see a merry grin playing across his face; he was teasing me. “Oh very funny,” I wasn’t going to rise to the bait.
“Well I had to say something, I was beginning to think you weren’t going to look at me at all. I like it when you look at me. Besides while you may not have screwed up, I couldn’t help but feel that some of those remarks were about us, were aimed at me.”
“You may not be entirely off base, but if you will act like a jerk you can’t blame me for treating you like one,” I offered as an explanation.
“Guess not. I didn’t mean to hurt you at the cafe, I just wanted to get the guys off my back and I really thought you were sure to say no so I didn’t see any harm in it.”
“I should have said no and not just because it was a joke but I don’t know what I was thinking. We come from different worlds now, I can’t keep expecting it to be like it was when we were kids.” I sighed. I hated playing the diplomat but I wanted this project to end peacefully.
“Hey things aren’t that different, I still know you. Do you remember when we used to go off while everyone else was having drinks in the main hall. We’d hide in the church; play music on our phones and dance singing along like we didn’t care who saw us.” I did remember. I smiled at the ease of that time. “Music did always bring out the best in you, that’s why I came to the concert I guess, to see you dance again but I think I ruined it for the both of us”
I stared at him feeling like I had just had a flash burn run over my skin leaving it both burnt and frozen at the same time. I spoke without thinking. “Why do always hide from me, caring what everyone else thinks, acting so cold?”
Dan waited a moment before he responded. “I guess I feel like two different people and I don’t know how to be what you need but I want to be.”
I tapped on my collar bone; my nervous tick, as my mind worked hard. I understood what he meant. I had basically argued the same with Mark the other day, but still part of it didn’t make sense. “I’m so confused, since when do you want me?”
“I’ve always wanted you, that’s why I’ve always kept you close”
“If by close you mean feeding me just enough to keep me interested, but never actually doing or saying anything about it. This is the first time you have ever been direct about your feelings or admitted that you have feelings.”
“Yes, well the game is fun but eventually one team has to make a daring play in order to win,” Dan said grinning
“Wait, you think that’s what you’re doing? Beating me?” I continued his metaphor trying to understand what was happening.
“No silly, you’re the point of the game, not the opponent. My opponent well, he didn’t have me worried that’s for sure. He has had his moments, he has his certain qualities and he definitely got closer to you than what I expected, but he can’t give you what I can. Our past aside Stoke is really no match for me.”
“This is about Mark.” I said as he laughed, clearly not picking on my emotions.
“You didn’t even notice him, I’m flattered. But guy to guy I can tell he is close to making a move on you. He has been sniffing around you like a puppy and I wasn’t about to give him the upper hand.”
“Upper hand? Game? So, so you made up some trumped up competition with Mark and that’s why you’re even saying all of this? I’m just some trophy to you.” I was fuming now.
“No, Abby I care about you,” he said reaching for my arm to calm me.
“But why now? Why say all this now. Is it because you don’t want Mark to win?”
“It’s more that I worry that I’m losing you. The past couple of days, I have never seen you lose it like you did in the debate yesterday. I’m sorry, I guess I must have hurt you more than I thought.”
“Did you think about it?” I really wanted to understand what was happening. He was worried about losing me but did that mean we were getting together?
“I don’t know, I guess I just wanted the others to shut up about it. They just saw the way you reacted at the door and thought it would be funny, I don’t get why they were so interested.”
“They’re interested because they don’t think we belong together, because they think we’re from different worlds, and that you shouldn’t care.” I sighed, realising I had just handed him his escape card.
“But I do,” he stated and he did, only about them.
“Ok so you care, but what about tomorrow when we’re surrounded by everyone? I mean this is just a joke to them, that’s why they put you up to that bet isn’t it? So what now? We hide and carry on pretending?”
“No. I mean I don’t know, Abigail I just want you to know what I felt.”
“So life goes on as normal then.” I sighed trying to push back tears as I finished. “We continue the game.”
About the author:
My name is Rowena Redman and I am a third year Creative Writing student here at Bolton University. I wish to be a freelance writer after leaving university writing pieces for magazines and other publications about topics that I am interested in. Also I wish to become a published author as I have already written one novel and am currently writing a second.