Beside You – Part 11


Chloe had left after Brenda decided to come back to the house. She looked sad in her face, but also looked happy within herself. Which was a change the sisters had seen in her. Did the slight happiness mean she was through with John’s ways for good? Claire sat on one of the empty bar stools and watched her older sister sway back and forth between the walls in the living room. She had decorated this entire house to fit John’s needs and what her daughters needed to stay safe and comfortable. As much as she wasn’t sure about wanting to be in the same position their mother was in, while their father left them. She knew it in her heart that no matter how hurt she tried to deny it, it was headed down that road. Claire was scared for both of her sisters. Brenda was now on the road to become a single parent and her marriage was definitely over. While Chloe was a newlywed and ready for the life a head of them. She believed in love as if she didn’t see everything crumbling around her. And Claire sat alone, watching her baby nieces and wondered if the choices she had made in the past were the right ones to make. She was the cheater in all of her relationships, but that didn’t mean she never cared for her partners. Especially Matt.

Matt was everything to her. He had been her friend for years. While in school, they had become such good friends that after every relationship she ruined, he would let her cry on his shoulder. As any best friend would do. He never expected much out of her, as she was never the type to carry her heart on her sleeve. Just crying out loud made her feel vulnerable. Her family and friends thought of her as not caring about anybody but herself, but that was far from the truth. She loved all types of people. She was blessed with looking like her momma, but having her father’s ways to about thinking about her next fix and screwing love more times than it screwed her. Matt was different for her though. After graduating from high school, he went away and went to school upstate and she was left alone. Before she and Matt decided to give their relationship a go, Matt was dating some little redhead named Samantha, and when everybody came home for Thanksgiving break, Matt seen Claire at their annual school function as they each had nieces that went to the same school and they sat two rows away from each other. Matt had Samantha wrapped his finger and they held hands walking around, once Matt saw Claire and Brenda. They hugged, but the girls only shook hands. Claire has never felt jealous before, but she could feel the fire through Samantha’s red hair. Claire was a natural-born blonde and blue-eyed girl and for a long time she thought that’s what Matt liked, but looks like he had changed his standards.

“Claire?” Brenda said, as she slowly tapped Claire’s shoulder gently. “Huh? Oh Jeez, Brenda. I’m sorry I spaced out.” Claire said as she wiped her eyes with her thumbs. Thinking about the past was what she was trying to wipe away, but knew that would be too easy to come true. “No, it’s all right. What were you thinking about?” Brenda said, as she walked into the kitchen and grabbed the handle to the fridge and grabbed a can of Sprite and cracked the can open. She took a swig of it and put it on the counter next to her younger sister. Brenda took a seat on the opposite side of her sister who still seemed as distance she walked into the kitchen. “Nothing much. Wondering about Chloe and Hank.” She lied through her teeth because it wasn’t like Claire to still care for an ex, even if they were best friends. “Yeah, did she leave?” Brenda said as she probably regretted what she said to her before she left to meet up with ¬†John. “Yeah, about an hour ago. She said she wanted to go back to the house and get some sleep.” Claire said as she sat back up and jumped up off her seat and started walking over to the kitchen table. She could hear a faint buzzing inside her bag full of clothes. She put her hand inside and pulled out her phone. She expected to find a text from Chloe instead it was from Matt. They had intended on keeping in contact for the sake of their friendship, but it had felt weird to continue on it, if she had the burden of cheating on him. The text had read, “Hey, I’ve been thinking of you and wondering how things were with Brenda?” Word travels fast in a small town.

Claire was convinced that Matt’s text was a comeback to her like, “I told you so” because he believed in karma. She had done him wrong that her troubles in her love life that it transferred over to her older sister’s life. She brushed it off and texted him back with, “She’s dong fine and I’ve been thinking about you too. What are you up to?” Claire was honest as she’s ever been with a past breakup. She didn’t know if he had seen Samantha after they broke up. Matt was back at school when Chloe’s wedding was taken place. She really wanted him there and Chloe had even sent him and his family an invitation, when Chloe and Claire only saw his parents and Matt was nowhere to be seen, Claire seemed more broken-hearted. She braved a brave face for the sake of her older sister Brenda and her nieces. Inside though, she was breaking just as much as Brenda and Chloe were. She’s never had a relationship ever affect her like the one. Five seconds later, Matt texts her back with, “Well that’s good. I’m glad to hear that. I’m not up to much. Been studying and working a lot at the gym.” Matt was the last person to be seen at a gym, but since he’s been going to college upstate, he’s been working out and even though ugly Christmas sweaters were getting in the way of seeing how much muscle he has in his upper body, there was still improvement. ¬†Whatever drove Claire to ignore him while they were growing up, sure made her start to wonder when she moved back home and Matt came back on break. It was like nothing she had experienced before. Love was never her friend before, but when her best friend was involved she was still afraid to commit to somebody who was willing to love her anyways.

When Claire didn’t text him back. She felt bad, but then again she didn’t have anything to say to them. He was mostly concerned for Brenda, not her. Was he over her already? Could he have gotten back with Samantha? So many questions filled her mind all at once and it started to scare her. She wasn’t ready to fall in love and wasn’t ready if he decided to give up on her fully. At this moment, Brenda looked at her younger sister, wondering what could possibly be going on with her mind right now. Even though Brenda had a lot to think about at the moment. She wanted to hear something new about her baby sister. She knew about her relationship with Matt was close to home, but she started noticing that she was still thinking about Matt and talking about him too. She knew before they even decided to date each other, they were best friends. Brenda remembered how she was told stories of parents being best friends growing and Chloe and Hank were best friends too. Claire was too afraid to love anybody want to settle down, but she was only nineteen. She had plenty of time to still date and not think about a family of her own. However, Brenda also knew that if things didn’t start to perk up soon, seeing the happiness in Claire’s eyes won’t come back again and she’s just give up on everything that she should have with somebody who cared about her, even if that meant being Matt.