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Only time can decide what life is going to bring us. It took time for me to realize this fact and even more time for me to accept it. I can't fight time and I was just really na´ve to think that I could. Yet, I've learned something, something not a lot of people figure out, time is an ally in life. It may seem like there is never enough of it and it may seem like sometimes that it takes too long to pass, but it is an ally to us all.
When Dana told me I would learn everything in time, she wasn't being spiteful she was being truthful, and hell sometimes the truth hurts. I wish it didn't and I wish that I was never affected by it, but it does and I am. Dana did nothing but tell me the truth knowing that I had to either accept it or stress myself out trying to fight it. So, I guess that because Dana was telling the truth that also meant that she was right-these two things don't always go hand in hand just so you know.
I once heard a song that had a line in it that said something like, "Time is marching on," then there was a brief pause and went on with, "And time is still marching on." It's really an awful song, the beats awful, the singing is awful, yet I can't help but have a special place for it in my heart. It's just one of those things that I accept about myself and choose not to over-evaluate.
Anyway, back to my original point of time, things take time and at that point in my life when time was running away from me, which was during my pregnancy, something happened that I am convinced would span the annals of time. I fell into the right kind of love and I didn't want to. I fought it, I denied it, I ignored it, I loathed it, I just about did everything to it except accept it.
That's right. Victorianna Elizabeth Ann Marcus fell hard. I actually fell so hard that I just couldn't withstand the impact. There I was pregnant, independent, and putting my world in order. I had cleared all the air out with Kel and my parents. I had even maintained my friendship with Richard even after he tried to propose to me.
I had a time table all made out for how my life was going to work out for the next few years and while I allowed the infrequent time for a date in that time table I never cleared enough time for L-O-V-E. Love was never part of my plan and far be it for me to deviate from the plan, but alas I did.
It all started when I sitting down in the middle of my community college campus reading a nice little book waiting for my mother to come pick me up so that we could go to a doctors appointment. I felt like I was in middle school again, but that was just how things were just going to be. Sam refused to let me go to any doctor's appointment alone. Her, Dana and Kel would take turns accompanying me. What can I say? I was loved.
So, I'm sitting outside in some beautiful weather when a relatively attractive individual comes to sit down next to me. I pay no attention to them and continue to read.
"Hey you wouldn't happen to know what time it is, would you?" Voice of relatively attractive individual asks me.
Annoyed I tear my eyes away from my book and take a gander at my watch, "It's twelve-thirty." I tell the relatively attractive individual not looking at said relatively attractive individual when I do so.
"Thanks," Relatively attractive individual replies. "I wouldn't want you to be late."
This statement catches my attention and I look away from the words I am reading to look into relatively attractive individual's relatively attractive dark brown eyes. "Huh?"
"Well, I've just noticed that every other Thursday or so you sit out here and wait for either one of three women to come pick you up. Today you are here later than usual, which I'm guessing means that whoever is supposed to pick you up today is late." Wow and kind of scary. Relatively attractive individual with the relatively attractive dark brown eyes seems to know my schedule.
Relatively attractive individual with the relatively attractive dark brown eyes flashes me a relatively attractive smile. "I just freaked you out didn't I?"
"Do I know you?" I ask hesitantly.
Relatively attractive individual with the relatively attractive dark brown eyes and relatively attractive smile shakes their head making their relatively attractive raven hair fall into their relatively attractive face. "I don't think you do. At least if you do, you haven't introduced yourself yet. Even though I've been trying to do everything I can think of to get your attention. None of it worked so I decided on the direct approach." Another relatively attractive smile is bestowed on me, "Is it working?"
"Do I know you?" My brain gets stuck in a loop.
Relatively attractive individual chuckles a relatively attractive chuckle. "Talli. My names Talli, but I'll let you call me Tal if you really want to." And then came the relatively attractive smile again.
"Or I could just call you Alli?" I tell my stalker.
Talli laughs light-heartedly. "You could call me that, but don't I strike you as a little more masculine than that?" Just to show his point he flexed his muscle under his relatively fitting sweater, which in turn caused me to burst out laughing.
"Aw," Talli's handsome face is now pouting. "You've bruised my fragile male ego."
His statement only made me laugh harder. "You really do like making a guy feel loved don't you?" And that's about when my laughter stopped. Talli had just uttered the "L" word to me, and that is a very dangerous thing to do. For some reason the thought of love made me get very uncomfortable during those days. I think I looked upon it like some type of complication that would make my life just that much harder and thinking about it gave me an undeniably strong urge to run.
"Wasn't really trying to make you feel loved Alli." I was successful in keeping the nervousness out of my voice, I think.
"Are you okay?" Obviously I wasn't able to control my voice as well as I thought I could. "You just kind of went a little pale. Is it the baby?" He looked down to my belly, which at this point was nice and rounded.
"Baby?" This may sound odd, but I was actually thinking 'what baby?'.
Talli nodded his head and gently placed his warm hand over my belly. "Yeah. Is everything okay with your baby?"
His actions were in direct violation of the 'do not invade Tori's personal space' rule, but quite frankly I was still hung up on the "L" word.
"Did you need me to call someone for you, because you're really not looking too good?"
Aw?the guy was really concerned for me. I had a concerned stalker and, while I felt the sudden need to run away as far and as fast as I could, I thought that is some strange way it was kind of cute. Later on I would blame that feeling on my unbalanced hormones, but would eventually decide that I was a freak and would consider it cute until my dying day.
Eventually I got off the "L" word scare that I was on and tuned back into realty around me. "Nah I'm fine," I shook my head, "I was just zoning out there for a minute, you know, just thinking about when my ride would show."
Talli didn't believe my excuse, I could see it in his dark brown eyes, but he let it go anyway. "Well as long as you're okay."
"Yeah," I waved my hand trying to dispel any thoughts that he might have had that I wasn't okay. "I'm doing okay."
Before he could respond both my parents stepped out of Sam's Honda CR-V and approached me looking curiously at Talli. I stood up to greet them and gave each a brief hug. "Hey you guys are late?and what are both of you doing here anyway?"
"It was her fault," Dana pointed to Sam. "She was the one that couldn't leave Riana so that she could play at her friends."
"Hey, don't put all the blame on me. You had just as hard a time as leaving as I did." Sam added a good smack to Dana's arm for good measure.
My parents, always just on the verge of being certifiable. I couldn't help but let a very wide grin spread across my face. "Well, whoever's fault it was, you're late. That means we must hurry and leave now." I looked behind me to pick up my bag, but Talli had already gotten it and helped me slip it across my shoulders. "Thanks." I told him softly then turned to my parents who were looking at me rather oddly.
I ignored the looks and turned to Talli. "My rides here now."
He smiled. "I can see that."
"Good to know you're not blind then."
Talli shook his head. "Nope, I'm not blind."
Dana cleared her throat rather loudly which I guess she did to get my attention so I turned to face her. "Aren't you going to introduce us?"
"Oh yeah sure. Why not?" I turned back to Talli. "Alli these are my parents Dana Everett and Samantha Evans." I then turned back to Sam and Dana. "Parents this is Talli."
They all exchanged the proper greetings and then lapsed into that awkward silence that normally comes after strangers are introduced. I, however, was not going to wait around for the conversation to pick up again because I was late for a doctor's appointment and had to get going. So, without much thought to it I leaned over and gave Talli a brief hug then turned to my parents asked them if they were ready to go then walked to the car and got inside.
It took Sam asking me about Talli later that night for me to realize that I hugged my stalker before I left. I don't know the reasons why I hugged the man; I just kind of did it. There really was no thought involved and that scared the hell out of me. I met a person who didn't make me think! Now under normal circumstances that may be considered a bad thing and all, I mean who doesn't enjoy the chance to use a little brainpower, but for me it was something that was able to be terrifying and great at the same time.
Ever since my biological parents died I had a habit of over analyzing everything that happened to me. Actually, I think it started before that. But when it started really doesn't matter, what does matter is that I always thought through everything I did. I didn't make very many moves that weren't calculated and controlled. I guess I really started doing it when I realized that I was under the public eye and everything I did would be scrutinized.
I always had to think about everything. Sure, I've made impulsive decisions but those decisions were more based on immaturity rather than a lack of thought. Running away from home was a very impulsive decision, but it had more to do with me being young and na´ve than being spontaneous. I thought about what could happen before I left and made the conscious decision that I just didn't care.
The whole thing that happened with Kel was because I put too much thought into it. If I were to be completely honest with myself I would say that if I hadn't thought so damn hard than we would probably have ended up in an intimate relationship. I'm not saying that the relationship would have lasted and that we would have had a happily ever after, but we probably would have at least had a relationship.
I was about twenty years old at the time, I think, and most everything I did was calculated and controlled, not by anyone else just by myself. So you see, since Talli took the thinking away. He made me act simply on my body's impulses instead of my mind's acceptable reactions; and that was a very very scary thing indeed.
"So how long have you known Talli?" Sam asked as she prepared dinner for the family which included Kel and whomever she said she was bringing to dinner, I think she said it was Megan.
"Well including today," I tapped my chin. "I'd have to say just one day."
Sam's face scrunched up in surprise. "Really? That surprises me. I would have thought that you knew him longer than that."
"Well you know," I shrugged. "I don't."
"You hugged him."
"Yeah so?" I tried to be as flippant as possible. "I hug a lot of people. I'm a huggy person. I hug."
Sam just crossed her arms over her chest and looked at me amused. "Did you just use the word 'huggy'?"
Damn I did. I think I over-compensated when it came to me trying to be flippant. "We're deviating from my original point." I glared at my mother. "My point was that I hug people."
"I don't think I've ever heard you say anything remotely like huggy before?" Sam shifted her pose so that she was leaning against the kitchen counter-top.
"Again." I held up my hands like I was holding a container between them and made a moving motion like I was shifting it from one place to another. "We have deviated."
"Okay." Sam nodded. "Then I'll just get back on the subject and ask if Talli makes you have huggy thoughts?"
From the smile my mother had on her face I bet she thought she was funny, but she wasn't being funny. No, she wasn't funny in the least. She was being annoying. "You know if you add a few more jokes to your 'harass Tori' act you could go on tour."
"Aw?don't you think you're being just a little sensitive?"
Before I could respond about my crazy hormones (because now I could blame everything I did on them) Kel entered the kitchen with Michelle (?). "Sensitive about what?" She asked as she approached Sam and gave her a peck on the cheek then moved on to me and repeated her actions and told her girlfriend (?) to take a seat then followed suit.
"Tori is just being sensitive about me asking a few questions about Talli." Sam explained then turned her attention back to the cooking food.
"What kind of name is Talli? And who is Talli?" Kel asked, I'm guessing anyone who would answer. By default I guess that would be me because Sam wasn't going to say anything more unless of course she got another opportunity to tease me. "I don't know what kind of name Talli is, but Talli is a guy that sat with me at school while I waited for Sam and Dana to pick me up."
"Oh yeah that's right you had a doctor's appointment today. How'd that go?"
Okay see, Kel and I really weren't at the stage yet where we could comfortably talk about our separate experiences in the potential romance department. Well really, she wasn't at that stage yet which would explain her completely grazing over the entire Talli conversation, which at this particular moment I was grateful for.
"She said that I was doing well and that everything was good." I smirked. "Were you expecting anything else?"
"I'm not sure," Kel seemed to be seriously considering this. "I mean you have been blaming everything on your hormones lately. I just didn't know if that was normal."
Damn, she figured me out. Oh well, it was good while it lasted and I'm sure the excuse will come in handy again when I really do start to have severe hormonal issues.
I chose to ignore my friend and turned my attention to my friend's friend. "So, how are you doing this evening? Kel hasn't been a complete ass all night has she?"
Kel tried to poke me in the side but I quickly squirmed out of her way. Well I squirmed as fast as a pregnant woman can squirm. Michelle (?) laughed and shook her head. "No, Kel really only just started to act that way." Ooh, give one point to the girlfriend.
"I'm not acting like an ass," Kel belatedly defended herself. "I just asked a simple question." She crossed her arms out in front of her. "If that's the price I pay for being inquisitive then I'm never asking another question."
"Aw Kel," I patted her on the back. "We'll have you trained yet."
Expectedly my friend scowled at me. "I think I'll just go into the living room with Dana and Ri where I know I'll be appreciated." Kel stood from her chair and turned to the woman whose name I had yet to really learn. "Are you going to come with me or stay here and talk about me behind my back?"
"I think I'll stay. Who knows when I'll get another chance to talk about you when you're in the next room."
Kel just shrugged her shoulders and walked out of the kitchen leaving Sam, Michelle (?) and me alone to talk about anything we wanted to talk about?anything at all. We could have talked about the weather or how pretty the stars would be if we could see them, but no my mother just turns to me and out of nowhere asks me by telling me, "Kel didn't seem that interested in hearing about Talli."
Now I would have expected that from Dana. I mean the woman doesn't have very much tact when it comes to certain situations, but to hear it from Sam almost gave me a heart attack. I mean Kel's girlfriend was there with us. I turned to look to see her response to the question/comment but she seemed just as interested in the explanation I would give just as much as Sam was.
"That's probably because she actually wasn't interested in hearing about it," I decided to be as aloof as I possibly could. "I mean he's just some guy that I just met today. If he were really that important to me she would have heard about him already." Now, I thought that was a good response. It was a good safe response and it didn't say a damn thing about the reason why Kel really didn't care to hear about Talli. Of course, there was no reason for her to hear about Talli; I mean there was nothing going on with Talli.
Sam and Michelle (?) seemed to be satisfied with my answer, because it was a good answer. I quickly moved the topic along to something a little safer. "So, I'm sorry," I did my best to look contrite but that was kind of hard because of my relief, "your name's Michelle right?" Michelle smiled and nodded. "Well so, Michelle, are you a student or what?"
"Actually I already graduated. I'm looking to get a job as a reporter at the local newspaper."
Oh. She was a reporter. She was part of the media. She was the type of person that I constantly had to put my guard up when around.
Kel just couldn't have gone out with a person with?well anyone else? "Oh, so you must be very interested in journalism, obviously. Have you gotten any articles of yours published?"
"Nothing that you would have heard of," She said shyly. "I'm really just starting out. I still have a tall ladder to climb."
"Well I wish you the most success." Completely without thought, I turned into Victorianna. I heard the word reporter and my brain just automatically switched gears. I've got myself trained well. "I understand that it's a hard career to get into."
"It is," Michelle nodded. "But I figure I'll try to at least try to make it. It's something that I've always wanted to do."
"If this isn't too personal, may I ask why?" I'm thinking that Sam noticed my little change in demeanor and decided to stay silent. She was no big fan of the media either. Actually most of her problems with the media came directly from the fact that she had to hold them off of me when I was just a kid trying to deal with my parents' death. So, because of all that she was going to let me deal with Michelle in any way that I saw fit.
"Well," Michelle really appeared to be thinking about her answer. "I guess it's because I believe, above all else, that people deserve to know the truth. There's just so many wealthy and self-important people out there trying to screw over the little guy so often that I want to provide the little guy with the information he needs to make a choice that lets him stay true to himself."
Wow. That was a good speech and a good answer. It was a little idealistic and na´ve but it was a good answer. Michelle had nothing but good intentions. But didn't someone say that the road to Hell was paved in good intentions, or something like that.
I nodded my head sagely. "I really hope you're able to do that then. I know we can't always let the elite rule the world."
Yeah so I had more money than I could ever count and I was born of the elite of society, but I wasn't delusional and I didn't want to rule the world. Still didn't like the media though. It would take more than Michelle preaching about her desire to help the 'little guy' for me to change my opinion about them. It's not that what she said didn't affect me, it's just that it would just take a hell of a lot more for me to reevaluate my dislike for the press after what they had put me through for twenty years of my life. Call me bitter if you must.
"What about you?" Michelle asked. "What do you want to do with your life?"
She couldn't have asked about anything else? Maybe she could have commented on the weather? "I guess I'm a lot like you in the fact that I want to help people. I hope to eventually become a councilor or something, but with the baby coming I'll just have to put things on hold for a while."
"Do you live here with your family?"
At this point I'm wondering if Kel talked about me at all when she was with Michelle, not that I really expected her to. It's just that I figured Kel would have hit upon these main points.
"No I have my own apartment. It's closer to my school and it's good to have a place of my own. I'll certainly need one after the baby comes."
"So you're still going to school?" You know when I tell most people that they all seemed surprised. I wonder why?
"Yep. I have to graduate in three years. It was a stipulation in my parents' will."
Michelle took a quick glance at the still very silent cooking Sam. "Your parents?"
Okay so that settles it. Kel never mentioned me when she talked to Michelle. "Yeah, my biological parents." I looked at her curiously for a moment. "Don't you know who I am?"
"Should I?" She asked slowly.
I sighed and prepared myself for the gush that would undoubtedly come. "My full name is Victoriana Elizabeth Ann Marcus as in the Victoriana Elizabeth Ann Marcus."
Michelle's face formed that surprised "Oh" look and I could see all those gears moving in her head. I wondered briefly what she was thinking, and then decided that I didn't care.
"Kel didn't tell me that."
Obviously. "Well that doesn't really matter, because at my home and with my friends I just prefer to be Tori and since that's who you've met that's who you'll know." I smiled the best smile I could muster because I didn't really know what else to do. She was a reporter and I felt very uncomfortable with her, especially since she had met Tori.
Needless to say, the rest of dinner was almost awkward but I think that was more because Michelle wanted to yell and scream at Kel but couldn't do that and still be a proper dinner guest. I decided early on in the dinner that I was just going to spend time with my family and have fun, because that's what I came there to do. But when Kel left, I did feel kind of bad for her. I wasn't even sure she knew what she was in for. Oh well. C'est la vie.
The following weeks after I met Michelle, Kel did start to talk to me about her. It wasn't really anything significant or personal, but she did at least tell me when they were going out or what they had done when they did go out. I took these little steps she was taking as a sign that she was making an effort to getting back the level of friendship that we had before.
I, however, didn't get the chance to really speak to Michelle again. I met her once and that was fine with me, because from what Kel had told me Michelle had gotten that job she was looking for. She was now a true journalist and although I wished her the world's happiness, her job bothered me and I judged her for the job she decided to have instead of the person she was. Was that wrong? Yes, of course it was, but I'm a realistic person and don't lie to myself about such things. I'm sure that if Kel and Michelle were to venture into a serious relationship then I would make an effort to look past Michelle's job so that I could see the person, but until that happened then I wasn't going to be making much of any effort.
I thought about talking to Kel about this, but in the end decided against it. I talked to Talli about it and he told me that what I said could effect Kel's decision on whether she wanted a relationship with the woman or not. He told me that Kel cared so much about me that she might throw away a really great relationship so that I wouldn't be upset over her choice in partners. What he said made sense, so I kept quiet. Actually, a lot of what Talli says makes sense. He's a very logical person.
Okay, so now I know what you're thinking, since when did Talli and I become such good friends. Well, I don't really know how. After I met him the first time I actually started to pay attention to him at school. Before, like he said, I pretty much didn't even know he existed, but once he just introduced himself to me I noticed him.
Eventually instead of just noticing him, I began to talk to him, which naturally progressed, into us sharing the occasional lunch. Then those lunches turned into dinners and then somewhere between point A and point B we became friends. It was something I easily fell into, because from the very beginning, Talli didn't demand anything at all from me. I hate to compare him to a little puppy, but in a lot of ways he was like that. He was just there anytime I needed him and never wanted anything from me, but maybe a little bit of attention.
Talli never asked about my past, even though he knew who exactly I was, and he didn't ever inquire about whom the father of my child was. It was like he just knew and understood everything that I had gone through in my life, even though I knew that was impossible. I did ask about his past though and he told me everything.
He was raised on a reservation in New Mexico and was glad to be away from that environment even though he missed his family terribly. His life was hard growing up, but he never let that hold him back. He had gotten a job and saved enough money to move to California where some of his cousins lived so that he could get away from the life he knew was waiting for him if he stayed on the reservation. He struggled though high school and just barely passed, but despite all that he decided to try out college and even though he didn't quite have enough money all the time to eat, because of his bills, he had his goals set on finishing college and breaking the cycle that had been laid out for him on that reservation. You know?maybe Talli did understand what my life was all about. We may have come from completely different backgrounds, but Talli and I were on the same path of trying to break away from what our lives were suppose to be.
Maybe that's how we became friends so quickly. On some basic level we just understood each other. Granted, my life had been significantly more comfortable than his had, but we basically did fight the same battle.
One night, I was actually thinking about this, for absolutely no good reason, and Kel showed up at my apartment with Michelle in arm. I had been expecting Kel, because we had made arrangements to have dinner together?I was the one cooking, but when I laid my eyes on Michelle, that was a bit of a surprise. I was actually so surprised that I immediately fell into being Victoriana before I had a chance to really think about it. Kel noticed this change in me immediately and I knew?more than anything that we would be having a lengthy conversation at the first convenient opportunity.
I pushed my unease to the back of my mind and decided to make that conscious effort to look past Michelle's job and look at the person because I was going to make a wild guess and say that since I was cooking her dinner, whatever was going on between Kel and her had turned serious.
"It's nice to see you again Michelle." I smiled pleasantly and offered her my hand, which she took gracefully.
"I hope that I'm not getting in the way of anything you've got planned," She smiled back at me. "I know Kel didn't tell you I was coming."
Okay, that statement was a little odd. I mean all I had planned was a dinner. I tried my absolute hardest not to look as confused as I was when she said that and immediately denied her ruining anything. "All I have planned is dinner and I don't think you being here ruins that. Actually, I made way too much food for just two people so the more the merrier."
"You always make way too much food," Kel commented from her place next to Michelle.
"And you always eat way too much of it, so your point?" I crossed my arms in front of me and looked at Kel saucily.
Kel shook her head. "Don't have one. I was just pointing out a fact."
I snorted. "No,' I drew out the word, "you were just being a smart ass."
Kel gasped. "You use such language in front of the baby." She reached down and placed the palms of her hands over my protruded tummy. I smacked her hands away and stuck my tongue out at her. Kel chuckled than took me in her arms and hugged me as tightly as she could. "You are so immature," she whispered into my ear.
I pulled back from her embrace and smacked her on the arm. "If you don't want to eat at all tonight then keep it up."
Before she had the chance to answer there was a knock at my door. I wasn't expecting anybody else, but that didn't mean someone wouldn't just show up out of the blue. Audrey and her husband Adrian, my parents, and sometimes various friends, would all show up when they knew that I was cooking. I didn't do it often, but when I did I certainly didn't lack guests.
When I answered the door, however, I was surprised to find Talli standing outside my door with a box in his arms and a bag slung over his shoulders. His dark brown eyes looked at me sheepishly and he shrugged his shoulders. "I was kicked out of my apartment and didn't have anywhere else to go. I can't afford a motel room right now."
I shook my head and chuckled. "Come in," I stepped aside to let him inside. "I cooked tonight, so you picked a good night to get evicted."
Talli walked into the living room and took a quick glance around. "I'm not interrupting anything am I?"
"Nope." I shut the door and moved over to stand next to the uncertain Talli. "Let me just introduce you to everyone." I pointed to Kel. "Talli that is my greatest friend in the world and tonight's smart ass, Kel. Kel, this is my boy Talli." Talli smiled at Kel and gave a small wave?or at least the best wave he could with a box in his hands. Kel smiled at him and nodded?I couldn't quite read her expression so I just moved on to Michelle. "The woman standing next to Kel is her girlfriend Michelle. Michelle, this is Talli." They smiled at each other but this time Talli didn't try to wave.
I moved passed Talli and started walking down the hallway telling him to follow me. "I'll show you to your room."
My apartment had three bedrooms and two baths. When I had decided to rent it, I was thinking about needing a baby room and a guestroom. Lucky for Talli I think about such things, because otherwise he'd be staying on my couch. Once we reached the guestroom Talli dropped the box on the bed and threw his bag in the corner, effectively making himself at home.
"Thanks for letting me stay here, Tor." He ran his hand through his long raven hair. "I didn't really know where else I could go. My cousin didn't exactly have room for me now that the baby came."
"It's not problem Alli," and it really wasn't. "You ever need any help with anything feel free to ask me."
Talli gave me a defiant look. "I'm not going to ask you for money Tor."
"Okay," I nodded dubiously. "You're just going to live in my home and eat my food and run up my bills, but you're not going to ask me for money."
"Look if you don't want me staying here?" Talli began to grab his box again, but I pushed his hand away and stood in front of the box. "Talli, you know I don't mind if you stay here. You can stay as long as you want, just know that if you ever need monetary help from me?you'll get it."
Talli sighed and reached into the back pocket of his black jeans. "Here," He handed me a slit of paper. "If I don't get that paid by this Wednesday then I'm going to get kicked out of school. I don't have the money to pay it, or at least I won't have the money by Wednesday."
I took the paper and looked at the bill then nodded. "I'll take care of it."
"Thanks Tor. I'll get the money back to you as soon as I can."
I smiled. "I know you will." I reached out and grasped his shoulder. He really wasn't that much taller than me, maybe only an inch or two, so I had easy access. "Don't feel bad about this Talli, we all need a little help sometimes."
Unexpectedly Talli pulled me towards him and hugged me. "This really does mean a lot to me Tori?so thanks?really."
I pulled away from him slightly. "I know how important school is to you and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure you reach your goal of graduating."
Talli pulled me to him again. "Thanks." He let me go and I could see that his dark eyes were glistening with unshed tears. School really did mean a lot to him.
"We should probably get back to the living room." I pointed to the door. "Kel's probably going to start eating the furniture if I don't feed her soon."
"Yeah." Talli nodded. "So that's Kel and Michelle, huh?"
"Yep," I nodded. "Michelle coming was a surprise actually. She told me that she hoped she wasn't getting in the way of anything I had planned, though. I have no idea what she meant."
"It sounds like she's jealous to me." Talli stated flippantly.
"Well Kel was going to come over here alone and you two were going to have dinner right?" I nodded. "Well to me that almost sounds like a date. Of course, because I know more about Kel and you then any person really should, I know better. From what you've told me Kel doesn't talk much about you to Michelle, so I'm guessing she doesn't know better."
I stared at Talli for a very long time then shook my head and began laughing. "You're probably right. The reporter is out to stake her claim."
Talli raised his brow at me and gave me a reproaching look. "What?" I asked. "What'd I say?"
I sighed. "Michelle," I drew out her name. "Better?"
Talli smiled and nodded. "Yes it is." He held his arm out to me, which I took. "Now let's get back in there before they think we've gone and run away."
We walked back into the living room arm in arm and were met with Kel and Michelle seating on the couch talking quietly. I couldn't catch a word they said but as soon as they saw us they stopped talking. Kel looked at us oddly and gave me a pointed look. Michelle looked at us satisfied and moved closer to Kel. Before I had the chance to burst out in laughter, having chosen to look at the situation humorously instead of like it was a disaster just waiting to happen, Talli dragged me into the kitchen where I then proceeded to burst out in laughter. This most definitely had to be my life, because I'm sure this could never happen to anyone else.
While I was laughing Talli made his way over to the stove and made sure that nothing was burning. He added a few spices to the contents on the stove and when he was satisfied turned back to me. "You know some people would think you've gone insane."
"Come on," I continued to chuckle. "This doesn't strike you as a little bit funny. I mean here I am, the least normal person on this planet, with my best friend who is trying to get over being in love with me in my living room who happens to have brought her current jealous girlfriend with her and then you show up with a bag and a box of your stuff to move in." I waved my arms indicating the space that surrounded us. "This is funny."
Talli shook his head but he did chuckle. "You're a very special person Tor. You do realize that right?"
I winked at him. "Always have been always will be."
He shook his head again then walked over to me and started pushing me towards the kitchen entrance. "Go in there and do some damage control. I'll finish dinner."
"Is this your way of telling me that you don't like the way I cook?" I tease.
"No. This is my way of telling you that I rather not face your friends out there right now."
I look into his dark brown eyes for a very long time then nod. "Okay. Call us when the food's ready then." Talli nods then moves back over to the stove.
When I walk back into the living room Kel and Michelle are sitting the exact same position they were in before when I left. They weren't speaking and obviously were waiting for me to come back. I smiled at them and shrugged my shoulders. "Talli is going to finish cooking." I pointed over my shoulder towards the kitchen. "He wanted to give me a break."
They each nodded but didn't say a word. I ran through all the things I could say in my head and came up with nothing.
"So Michelle," I pointed to her briefly, "Kel tells me you got that job you were after. Congratulations. Do you like the job so far?"
Michelle looked slightly surprised but quickly recovered. "It's a lot better than I imagined it would be. I'm learning a lot of things that I didn't even know about journalism before."
"Well as long as you're enjoying what you're doing." I moved over to them and sat down on the other end of the couch, which actually put me right next to Michelle.
"I am." Michelle nodded. "You know, they have a cover with you on it hung up in the office. They said they put it there to inspire the journalist."
"Really?" I asked doubtfully. "Why?"
"I wasn't really sure at first, but I asked somebody and they told me that every one in that newsroom just wants to get a chance to get a story out of you. They told me that they know they really were the best in their profession when they get an interview out of you."
I wasn't quite sure whether I should be offended, flattered, or just plain pissed off. I also didn't know if Michelle was too ambitious for her own damn good. "I haven't given an interview in two years and I don't plan on giving any, any time soon. You might want to advise your fellow employees to take down my picture, because they're looking towards a goal that they will never reach."
Michelle looked at me inquisitively. "Do you mind if I ask you why you find the media so abhorrent?"
Well let me count the reasons why? "I understand the role that media plays in our society today and fully support that role. I just feel that sometimes the media believes they have certain rights to information which, in reality, has no basis to be made public."
"I may be an amateur in my field, Tori, but that's the most diplomatic answer I've ever heard." Michelle leaned closer to me. "I asked you why you hate the media, not the role that the media plays in our society."
I looked at Kel who looked like she had no clue what to do. Finally, after what seemed like eternity, Kel decided to do something and placed her hand gently on her girlfriend's back. "Michelle, why don't you leave it alone? This conversation isn't going to get either of you anywhere."
Michelle turned and looked at Kel indignantly. "I think I deserve an answer." She told her girlfriend forcefully. "Your friend obviously seems to have a problem with my chosen profession and I would like to know why."
"Michelle, I'm begging you not to pursue this," Kel pleaded. "You're not going to get anywhere and people are only going to end up getting angry."
"Fine." Michelle said testily then turned to me. "You don't have to answer." She then turned back to Kel. "So why don't you tell me Kel why you don't hate the media as much as she does even though you've been under the media's eye just as much as she has?"
Michelle was effectively wearing out her welcome. "Michelle, I hate the media because they took my life away before I was even born. My parents were famous, I wasn't. I was just a child, but I was raised so that I could deal with reporters and journalists who insisted on focusing on every aspect of my childhood. I pretended to have a life I didn't live because of the media and when my parents died it was the media I had to answer to and had to mourn in front of. I was twelve at the time, Michelle, and let me tell you?that wasn't a very fun thing to do. I've always been placed in front of the public eye, even though I didn't want to be, and never get a break from it. The media has attacked my family, my friends, and they have attacked me on numerous occasions questioning every action that I've ever taken in my life. My whole entire life has been under a microscope and the MEDIA is a big part of the reason why. So Michelle I hate the media because they have been feeding off my life like piranhas and after twenty years that can get a bit tiresome. I hate the media because, because of them I'll never have a private life and I'll never know what living a life in peace truly is." I glared at the shocked woman sitting across from me. "Do you have any other questions you want me to answer?"
Just then Talli poked his head into the room announcing that dinner was ready. He looked around quickly then moved back into the kitchen?a wise move, if I might add.
Michelle didn't say anything for a long time and I took that to mean that she didn't have anything to say, and if I were in her position I don't think I'd be opening my mouth anytime soon anyway. I stood up from the couch and straightened out my shirt. "Shall we go eat then?" I smiled briefly then started to walk away not caring if either one of the women on the couch decided to follow me.
As soon as I entered the kitchen Talli had his arms around me. "I'm guessing you heard," I spoke into his shoulder.
"Yeah, I did." He answered as he started to rock me. "I'm sorry about that. But I think you managed to shut up Michelle about the issue indefinitely."
Even though I really didn't feel like it, I laughed at his comment. "I really didn't want to butt heads with her Talli."
Kel walked into the kitchen as Talli and I were still embracing. We didn't break apart on her account. Kel stood there and stared at us for a moment then cleared her throat. "I'm sorry about what happened out there."
I finally released Talli and turned towards my friend. "I know you are Kel." I pinched the bridge of my nose between my forefinger and thumb and sighed. "But I really don't like being attacked in my own home, especially since I get attacked by those in her profession so often outside of it." Kel was going to say something but I quickly cut her off. "I don't care what you have to say right now Kel, just get her out of my home. I'm not saying that she'll never be welcomed here again, but she's just not welcomed now."
Kel nodded her head in understanding. "I really am sorry Tori, and I'll make sure Michelle knows not to bring the subject up again."
"We'll talk later," I pointed to the living room. "Just get her out of my home now."
Kel nodded once more and moved towards me with her arms out like she was going to hug me but drew back as if thinking better of it. "We'll talk later." She then turned and walked out of the kitchen and after only a few minutes I heard the front door open and close.
"How are you doing?" Talli came up from behind me and folded his strong arms around me.
"I think I'm more upset that Kel didn't do more than she did to stop Michelle from asking her questions than I am that Michelle tried to force me to answer her in the first place." I answered honestly.
"I understand that, but that must have been a tough situation for Kel. Plus, I'm sure she thought you could handle yourself."
"You know, I think that's the first time she chose someone else over me." I leaned back further into his embrace. "There was this one time when one of her ex-girlfriend's walked into her trailer on one of her movie sights. The girl put me down and Kel told her off. She actually told the girl to get lost and to grow up." I paused for a long moment. "She didn't do that this time."
"I would take that to mean that Michelle means a lot to her," Talli said reasonably.
I smiled and said ruefully, "Or that I don't mean as much."
"I'm sure Kel doesn't care any less for you."
"I know. But sometimes letting go is hard to do." I turned around in Talli's embrace so that I could look him in the eye. "I just want to know why she chose that woman to love."
"I'm sure if you ask you she'll tell you."
"The thing about that is, I don't think she would."
Talli looked down at me obviously at a loss of what to say. "Just talk to her."
I rolled my eyes and pulled away from him. "Fine, I'll talk to her. Just like I planned on doing anyways."
Talli grinned. "Good then, I'm glad I could help. Why don't we eat before the food gets cold? I worked damn hard on this meal."
I shook my head and sighed. "We certainly wouldn't want your hard work to go to waste." I moved over to the table and sat down. "So feed me, I'm hungry."
Talli set about getting a plate full of food in front of me then we sat down and had a very nice meal. The rest of the night we didn't mention Kel and we didn't mention Michelle. So I'd say since I ended up having dinner with a man who was quickly becoming one of my closest friends and we ended the night having a relatively good time, the day wasn't a complete disaster, and I'm always in favor of days that aren't disasters.