I stood outside her building and smiled. She accepted it all so easily. My existence, my 'abilities', my presence. I liked her, I could easily see us having fun together. Of course platonically and with no biting, as per her rules.
I was pretty sure the others wouldn't understand my wanting to have a friendship with a human. To be honest I wasn't sure I understood it myself.
I didn't see Jack for the whole of the next week and my life was able to resume a somewhat normal character. I went to lectures, I went to cricket training, and I hung out with friends.
I told Meg about Andy-gate on the Tuesday. She got ridiculously excited about it much to my dismay. I was still feeling confused about the whole thing. I knew that I didn't see Andy in that way but I didn't want to lose him as a friend either if I hurt his feelings. Meg couldn't see my problem. All she saw was Andy's boy-next-door good looks and the fact that he was nice. She didn't understand that although I liked 'nice' in a friend, a boyfriend had to be more than just 'nice'.
"So what do you want in a boyfriend Scarlet? A cheater like Mark or a creep like the guy from the alley?"
Her reference to Mark stung, as it always did when someone mentioned his name. "No I don't want either of them. To be honest I don't know what I want, but I'll know it when I see it."
"I just don't get you. In my opinion Andy is just what you need."
"Can we just drop it please? You're not going to talk me into it."
"Fine, I have to go now anyway." She humphed out of my room, leaving me not convinced that she had to go and wasn't merely just having a strop.
I was grateful when Sunday arrived and I could spend all day in the nets taking my frustration out on unsuspecting balls. My coach was pleased with what she called my 'aggressive effort'. I called it stress.
I finished at about 9pm, exhausted, and wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed. As I rounded the final corner I could see a man leaning against the door to my building. I presumed it was Jack and despite my exhaustion I approached him smiling. As I got closer however, blue eyes looked back at me instead of black and my smile faded at the sight of Andy.
"I just want to talk Scarlet, do you mind if I come up?"
"Sure, why not."
He silently followed me upstairs and into my room. I sat on my bed and unlike Jack, Andy took the chair. We sat in silence for what seemed like an age. I began to get annoyed as the temptation of sleep was overwhelming, so I decided to put us both out of our misery.
"Andy, you're a great guy and I really value your friendship but what happened last week," I paused and looked at my feet, "it can't happen again. I'm sorry."
He carried on staring at the floor for another minute or so and I was afraid I'd really hurt his feelings, but then he looked up at me eyes blazing.
"Why Scarlet? What more does a guy have to do! I'm nice to you, I help you out with stuff, I deliberately don't mention Mark and Natalya even though they're two of my best friends." I winced but he continued his verbal onslaught. "You just lap it all up and lead me on, just so you can have the satisfaction of shooting me down!"
"Hey! When did I ever lead you on!"
He went to shout something back but his phone started to ring. He glanced at the caller ID and mumbled "I need to answer this," and with that he left the room.
As the door shut behind him I lay back on my bed an tried to blink back the tears. How DARE he say I'd been leading him on! I had never been anything but friendly with him, no different with him than I was with any of the rest of our group.
All of a sudden there was bang from my window and then a gentle tapping on the glass. I pulled open the curtains to see Jack sitting casually on the window ledge. I scrambled to open the window.
"Seriously? The window? Can't you at least act human, what if someone had seen you?"
"Whoa calm down there girly. No one saw me, and I don't have your number so I couldn't call you to ask you to let me in the front door of the building," he shrugged, "this just seemed easiest. So, are you going to let me in off this ledge, because otherwise someone might actually see me."
I moved back out of his way and he took his preferred spot on my bed. I slumped next to him.
"What's happened? You're tense as hell and I can smell that someone else has been in here." His tone was controlled, too controlled as if he was struggling to keep a lid on his true emotion. Before I could answer Andy walked back into the room. He saw Jack sitting next to me and froze.
"What the hell is he doing here?" Andy screamed at me. I jumped off the bed but Jack got there first. He held his hand out to Andy.
"Jack Culverhouse, nice to meet you. Now why don't you drop the tone a bit OK?" The first part was said in a light voice that dropped for the latter part, which was clearly a warning. Andy however was either to angry or too stupid to realise it. He ignored Jack like he wasn't even there and continued to yell at me.
"Is this guy another one you're leading on? Is this how you're trying to get over Mark, by dragging around as many of us as possible?"
Jack tried to intervene again but Andy shouted over his shoulder once more, "Goddamn it, answer me Scar!"
My head snapped up.