After hanging up with Louis, I punch in Meredith's number. As embarrassing as it is, I know she'll want to hear about what happened between Seth and I, even if it was almost two years ago. I'd like to avoid this conversation but knowing her, she will just bring it up another time, and if I call her, I can have the upper hand. After the fourth ring, I hear her cheery voice.
"It's about time you called me, bitch!"
I giggle at her colorful language, knowing she means nothing by it. "Hey, Meredith. So-"
"Hold on-sorry-but do you think I should wear my black heels or my nude flats with that red skirt I bought last week?" I can tell by her tone she's excited.
"Depends, what for?" I ask as I pull gently to a stop at a stoplight. In the parking lot of the little restaurant next to me, a skinny, pimply boy is spinning a sign that reads "Chuck's."
I hear her sigh on the other side. "Well, you remember that boy last night? Harry?"
An image of a curly-haired boy with striking green eyes assembles in my mind. "Yeah, the tall curly one."
She laughs lightly. "He kinda asked me out to lunch today."
I smile. Of course he did. Meredith has never gone to a party without attracting the attention of several boys. Only none of them have asked her out, really. She used to get incredibly disappointed, but then she realized she didn't want a boyfriend, or any other sort of commitment like that. I wonder what Harry could have possibly achieved to get her to say yes.
"That's great!" I exclaim. I'm happy for her, really. "So, I take it you're going?"
"Of course I am! Why wouldn't I?" She scoffs.
"Oh, come on!" She giggles. "Anyways, what did you want to call me about? Did it happen to have anything to do with what a certain someone mentioned last night?"
I know exactly what she's talking about, just as she knows she's right. "You mean Seth?"
"Of-fucking-course I mean Seth!" If she was with me right now, I'm sure she would be swatting my arm. "What the hell was he talking about?"
I shift uncomfortably in my seat, even though I know she can't see me. "For a few weeks after we met, we were kinda, uhm, fooling around."
"What?? Erin fucking Monello, the next time I see you, I swear I'll kill you!"
"Why? Jealous?" I teased.
She scoffed. "Of course not, but that doesn't make it any better!" I giggled at her exasperation. "Oh my God, my two best friends freaking slept together!" In my head, I pictured her slapping her dainty hand to her forehead and falling back dramatically on her bed.
I choked. "Oh, god no."
"Wait-so you guys didn't?" Was that relief?
"Of course we didn't! Just fooling around is all!"
Meredith groaned dramatically. "That doesn't make it any better!"
"It was before you knew him, if that helps."
"But I knew you!"
I grin sheepishly at her reaction. I hadn't really expected much else, but this was still amusing. "Okay, I gotta go, Harry's on his way over now," she tells me.
"Call me after?" I suggest, knowing she would even if I hadn't.
I smile to myself. "Good luck!" Right before she hangs up, I remember myself. "Wait-Meredith!"
"Erin, I have to go!"
"I just thought you'd want to know what shoes to wear...but if you're leaving..." I draw it out, trying to antagonize her.
"Tell me!" she begs, remembering her desperation.
"Wear the heels," I reply. "They make your legs look great."
With that, the line was dead.
That night, Seth called me and invited me over. I obliged happily, grateful to get away from my mother's mumbles about the marriage. When she told my Dad what happened, he threw his head back in a deep, booming laugh that filled the room and told me he was glad I could stand up for myself. I appreciated that immensely, because without him on my side, I was completely alone.
When I arrived at Seth's house, I was pleased to find that Meredith had just arrived. She was upstairs, lounging on his bed, still wearing her outfit from the date. "Wow, Mer!" I exclaimed. "That outfit looks great!"
She smiled gracefully. "Thanks." Looking down at her lap, she smoothed out her red skirt. "I liked it too."
"And did Harry?"
"Who?" Asked Seth, raising one eyebrow.
"The tall guy with the curls from last night," I explained. "He asked Meredith out."
"Damn. He must have been doing something right."
Meredith's beautiful smile sags. "To be honest, I don't think he actually paid attention to me," she admits.
"What? Come on, you're absolutely gorgeous!" Beside me, Seth nods in agreement. I subtly reach over and press my hand over his to thank him for his support.
"It's just-he kept eyeing other girls. It was kinda embarrassing, really. Like, here I was, actually on a fucking date for the first time in forever and he hardly even looked at me."
Seth and I exchanged nervous glances. To anyone else, this would be understandable to complain about. But Meredith was different. She had guys practically crawling after her and she turned every single one of them down. She had never really shown interest in a long-term relationship with a guy, yet here she was, hurt that a guy had looked at another girl. Why he even noticed anybody else was beyond me-but still.
"Do you think you'll go on a second date?" I ask, hoping to cheer her up.
"I hope so," she sighs, a small purse forming in her full lips. "Erin, I like him. I really, really like him."
Next to me, Seth inhaled sharply. Thankfully, Meredith didn't notice, but I swatted his arm anyways. "Are you serious?" I replied. She nodded solemnly.
Meredith usually was a genius at this sort of thing. She was great at giving relationship advice-only not to me. Like her, I chose to avoid relationships at all costs. A simple explanation of her irresistibility was just that the second a guy saw her speaking to another guy, they became jealous and their feelings simply intensified.
"Meredith!" I cried, realizing what needed to happen. She sat strait up, alarmed. "You should make him jealous!"
"Let him see you with another guy, and he'll realize he likes you too," I explained.
"No-I get it. But, that sounds so immature!" She protested.
"I actually think it could work," added Seth pensively. "I see you do it all the time."
"No I don't!"
"Well, maybe not on purpose, but it definitely happens."
She groaned and lifted her hands in the air just to drop them with a thud against her legs. "Erin, this is ridiculous. Who would actually make him jealous? I don't want to use anybody."
I grinned and eyed Seth. They were close enough to look like they were flirting-the teasing, arm-swatting, and occasionally sitting on each other's laps would work out nicely. Anybody else-aside from me, of course-would see a budding romance, but they would know better. What's more, they looked like a couple. They had the perfect height difference of about six inches and his blond curls were a perfect contrast to her dark hair and tan skin. Even his little stubble on his chin added to it. All they had to do was be together around Harry and everything would fall into place.
Meredith caught on before Seth. "What? No!" She gasped incredulously.
"Come one, Meredith! It would work so much better than if you used anyone else!"
Seth, who was stretched out on his side, propped up by his elbows, cut in. "Hold on-who would work so much better?"
Meredith glanced at me and promptly burst into a fit of giggles. I snickered behind her at Seth's blank expression. His bushy eyebrows were furrowed together and his mouth was pursed in a tight line. He stayed frozen in that position for a few moments until he realized we were laughing at him.
"You're serious?" He asked, smiling good-naturedly.
I nodded, still chuckling. "It would work!"
Seth shrugged his broad shoulders as if to say whatever's fine with me and looked up at Meredith.
"You can't be considering this!" She said, looking around like she was waiting for someone to jump out and say Gotcha! Can't believe you actually fell for that! "Seth, you're literally so far in the friendzone right now that I can't even begin to imagine pretending to like you!"
"No, but that's the thing! You don't have to pretend, because you already look and act like a couple," I explained.
"We look and act like a couple?" Seth echoed. "We do not act like a fucking couple, Erin!" His gentle smile told me he wasn't angry at his protest.
I raised my eyebrow challengingly at him. That shut him up.
"Just try it. Please?" To add to the effect, I pushed out my lower lip and did my best puppy dog face.
"Fine, Fine!" Meredith squealed, chucking one of Seth's pillows at me. "I mean, is this okay with you?" She says to Seth, remembering herself.
He shrugs, still smiling. "To be honest, Meredith, I don't think Erin would have it any other way."
Suddenly Meredith's phone buzzed in her lap. Looking down, a small smile spread across her dainty face. "It's Harry," She said, unlocking the phone. "He's invited me to a music festival on Tuesday!"
"Meredith, that's great!" I enthused as she typed a quick response. "What did you tell him?"
She simply looked up at me with a mischievous smile playing across her features. "I asked if I could bring a few friends," she told me, giving Seth a wink.
Seth rolled his head back in deep laughter before giving Meredith a highfive and saying, "Let's rock this bitch!"
(I wanted to say that I imagined Meredith as Phoebe Tonkin (with legs), Seth as Jeremy Sumpter (as he is now) and Callie as Kara Hayward. Ooh, and also, Erin's mother is Rose Byrne.)