(n) appearing legitimate but actually being spurious
From that day, everything slowly went back to normal. Parker seemed to be coming to terms with the fact that he wasn't the one for me, and I fell more and more in love with Calum each time we were together. It all seemed to flow just right, and I couldn't be more happy about it.
Me and Calum went out a lot. He would smoke his cigarettes and I'd be getting drunk. That time with the vodka had been a one time thing, and hadn't been drinking after that, but he said he got his high from other things. Then he would take me back to his place where we'd hook up and fall asleep in his bed. His dad was never home anyway, but that only meant that his addiction wasn't getting better, but Calum still insisted that he could handle it and I tried to let him have it his way, even though I had a feeling that they were going nowhere.
But it wasn't all just sex and drugs and misery. There was a lot more to him, a lot more to us. He would wake up early a lot because he couldn't sleep, and he would wake me too even though I know he tried not to. Then we would just talk about everything and nothing, and I would trace my fingers along the edges of his tattoos. He never failed to amaze me. There was a hell of a lot going on in his head, and every once in a while he would tell me about it, but most of the time he would have his guard up. When he finally let me have a look at the mess behind those brown eyes of his, I finally felt like he might've felt towards me what I felt towards him. He never said anything about that, and some days it wouldn't bother me, but other days the paranoia was painted all over the walls, and I would have to remind myself that if he wanted to leave, he would leave.
Maybe it wasn't love just yet, but it was pretty close.
It was Thursday evening. Calum had invited me to drinks with his friends at a local bar, but I only really wanted to go because I knew he would be there. And who went out for drinks on a regular Thursday night anyway? I didn't have a shift the morning after, so I was in the clear, but still. It was a bit strange, but I'd gotten the idea that Calum's friends were quite the party people.
Parker had insisted that I shouldn't go, but I'd told him that if he could have run around in the streets for days, I could walk to the bar on my own and meet Calum there. There was nothing he could do to stop me anyway.
So I'd gotten dressed up all nice and was on my way out the door when he called my name from the kitchen.
"What?" I answered as I stuck my head through the door opening.
"Call me if something happens", he said. He was leaning against the kitchen counter.
"Like what? It's just Calum and his friends", I answered with a frown.
I couldn't help but sigh. Parker always saw the worst in those people and it was quite tough when you just wanted everybody to get along nicely. It didn't look like it would be that way in the nearest future, though, which sucked quite a lot.
"Could you just give him a break? I really, really like this guy", I then said with a pleading look in my eyes. Parker just looked at me for a bit before shrugging.
"I just have a bad feeling about him", he answered.
"Yeah, well, I'll see you later, Parker. Have a good night", I said, sending him a quick smile before once again walking to the front door and leaving the apartment.
I took the bus there even though it wasn't more than two or three stops. I just didn't want to walk all the way in heels. I'd never been to the place before, but I guess that was fair enough since I was still pretty new to the city. But when I arrived, I thought it looked like a nice place. A bit more classy than the usual nightclub, but nothing that special.
I walked inside and looked around for a bit until I spotted them at a table in the back of the room. There were six people there. Chloe and Will were facing my direction, but Calum had his back to me, so he hadn't seen me yet. I didn't know the other three people, but it was another two guys and a girl.
I only walked a mew meters before Chloe started talking. Not to me, though.
"Calum, what's up with that Ella girl anyway? She seems like such a bitch, honestly."
"Oh, and you don't" Calum answered and laughed. Chloe just rolled her eyes.
I'd stopped walking and a frown was forming on my face. Why were they talking about me?
"But are you guys a thing or what?" This time it was Will talking. He was sitting next to Chloe with a beer in his hand as always.
Calum leaned back in his chair and ran his fingers through his jet black hair. I could feel my heart beating in my chest. What would he say? The two of us had never even talked about where we stood, so I felt nervous to hear his opinion.
"Nah, it's whatever. I think she likes me, though. She's super clingy",
Whatever. It was whatever. Right. I felt absolutely stupid for just standing there.
"How cute", Chloe giggled, suddenly shooting me a look. She'd known I was standing there all this time, hadn't she?
"Yeah, it's a bit pathetic. You hook up once or twice and suddenly you're the one. Like, that's super weird", Calum continued. Every word felt like a knife to the heart. What on earth was he talking about? Why was he saying those things?
I took a deep breath and finally walked the last few meters towards the group, pulled a chair from one of the other tables over, and sat down at the end of the table they were sitting by. Chloe was sitting to my right, Calum was sitting to me left.
"Oh hey", Chloe said in her usual, annoying voice. A petty grin was painted across her face, making me want to yank those blonde extensions out of her hair. They weren't fooling anyone anyway.
"I'm glad you showed up", Calum said and took a sip of his beer. Then he nudged my leg with his underneath the table, but I didn't return the gesture. He'd said all of that shit not knowing I was there. Apparently that's what he really thought of me.
"Are you really?" I whispered after leaning in towards him ever so slightly. Then I sat back in my seat and sighed. I really regretted even showing up, but luckily the other's attention seemed to move on from me. I felt embarrassed. They all thought I was a complete joke. "Pathetic", as Calum had said so nicely.
He looked at me for a second and furrowed his eyebrows a bit at what I'd said. Was he playing dumb or something? He'd literally just been bashing me in front of all of his friends, but he couldn't figure out that I'd heard it. Maybe he weren't that bright after all. He didn't say anything either way.
The conversation went on, but I couldn't relate to most of it. They mostly talked about people that I didn't know and parties that I hadn't attended. The girl that I didn't know was named Skye. The two boys were Jacob and Tyler. I'd never heard Calum mention them before, but he didn't speak much about his life in general so that wasn't anything new. I really didn't get why he'd even told me about his problems with his dad when he didn't care for me in the slightest. I tried to just keep telling myself how much of a dick he really was, but it was hard when I'd thought so differently of him up until now. He'd always been unpredictable, yes, but I had no idea that he would be fake like that. He sure had fooled me.
"You want a drink?" Will suddenly asked me, interrupting my train of thought. I'd completely zoned out, but he was the only one who'd seemed to notice me anyway. He was nice, really, we'd just started off quite roughly.
"No, I'm good", I answered, really not feeling like getting drunk.
"She's a prude too, huh", Chloe snorted and laughed. At that point I'd absolutely had it with her.
"What about you shut the hell up?" I asked, the worst bursting out before I could think, but I was pretty content with what I'd said. She was absolutely awful. She'd had something against me since the first time we'd met. Maybe because she wanted Calum to herself, maybe because she was just straight up terrible of nature.
"Sorry, did you say anything?" she answered and looked at me with her eyebrows slightly raised. Everyone at the table were looking at us. Calum seemed tense, Will just had this stupid "ooh"-face.
I just rolled my eyes at her. She was full of shit.
"Why are you here anyway? It's clear that nobody wants you here", she added.
After a moment of just looking at her, I think I saw red. I got out of my chair faster than I could process it, grabbed the glass in front of her and poured the beer all over her. Then I put the glass back down as she was gasping and screeching. Calum had gotten up too but didn't say anything.
"I was just about to leave", I finally said. Then I took a quick look at the others before turning around and storming out of the bar.
I got outside and I was absolutely furious. Calum thought I was his little fucktoy and Chloe... I didn't even want to get started on her. I started walking down the streets towards the bus stop, but suddenly I heard steps behind me.
"What was that?"
I looked over my shoulder and it was Calum, just as I'd expected. But for the first time ever, I felt sick just by looking at him and I didn't want him anywhere near me. He wasn't any better than any of his friends, but most of all, he'd broken my heart. He was the only one who'd ever really done that, and he'd managed to do it multiple times. Maybe that was because he was special. Or was supposed to be special. He'd ruined that for himself.
"What was that?" I repeated as I stopped and turned towards him. "Didn't you hear the way she spoke to me? Are you stupid or something?"
Calum seemed taken aback, but I didn't give a shit. I didn't want to care for him anymore, but I also knew that it wouldn't be that easy. I couldn't just care one day and not the next. People didn't work like that, or maybe it was just me who was strange.
"You sure have an attitude today, are you aware of that?" Calum commented and frowned a bit. He then crossed his arms across his chest when he finally reached me. His words angered me even more, though. He really had no sense of the situation at all. If it had been any other day, I'd just rolled my eyes at him, but this was just too much. Wrong place, wrong time.
"What about you mind your own damn business, Calum", I snapped back at him. I was so angry that I was on the verge of tears, but that would be more than just embarrassing and I'd had enough of that for one night.
He just kind of shook his head, not seeming to understand, so I just continued speaking.
"Why do you even care?" I then asked. "Since I'm... What was it... Weird and pathetic, right?... Why do you care?"
Then it suddenly seemed to click inside of his head and he let his arms fall down along his sides once again.
"Is that what this is about?" He quietly asked and stepped a bit closer, but I just took a step back, increasing the distance between us once again.
"Of course not, I'm totally fine with being used and humiliated."
"That's not at all how it was, Ella, you're being ridiculous."
"I'm being ridiculous?" I asked, my heart pounding in my chest. I didn't recognize this side of Calum at all. He couldn't be less compassionate and he surely didn't seem to see anything wrong in what he'd done to me. What an absolute asshole he was.
"You told them that we'd just hooked up once or twice, and that I for some reason was obsessively in love with you. What was that, Calum? Would you tell me that? Because as far as I'm concerned none of that is true. As far as I'm concerned we have history. You told me of all of your issues or whatever you want to call them, ut maybe you do that with all of the girls you screw over? I'm sure Chloe is a great listener."
This time I was the one stepping closer, trying to make my words come through loud and clear. The tears were burning in my eyes, but I refused to let them fall. Not in front of him. I didn't need yet another reason to be called pathetic in front of his friends.
"You fucked me over, Calum. Maybe I was just being stupid, but I thought we had something. I thought we were friends at the least." My voice was quiet to prevent it from shaking. God, I hated that this affected me so much. I wanted to just not care about this. About him. But I did care. So much.
Calum didn't say anything for a while, but when he finally spoke, it sounded like every other line in every other cliché love story.
"I can explain", he said, but I immediately shook my head.
"Leave it. I'm done."