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“Good morning?” He said as he opened the door to his apartment. What was usually a statement came out as a question, as he looked at Alyssa’s expression and gauged how she was feeling about their fight the night before. Was she still angry at him for how he acted? Was she contrite for the things she said? Did she suspect that he had woken up in another girls bed a few hours ago? The latter couldn’t be true, as she didn’t immediately slap him, and instead wore a sheepish smile. It appeared it was going to be a good morning.
“Morning babe,” she responded as she entered his place and stood near the couch? “Is Jared here?” She continued, clearly deciding whether she could be comfortable talking in the living room, or if the presence of Eric’s roommate would dictate that their private discussion occur in the bedroom. Eric assured her that he was out of town this weekend and sat next to her on the couch.
They looked at each other in awkward silence, sitting in the rigid, formal fashion every couple adopts right before a serious discussion, as though guarding themselves so as to not let emotions cloud their thought process. Not that it would work. Eric stared at his girlfriend, a half-smile on his face, attempting to hide the internal turmoil he was in.
“Fuck, I feel guilty,” He thought. “From her text this morning, I know she feels apologetic from last night, and I’m going to have to sit here and accept her apology and reassure her that our relationship is fine, knowing full well that I’m the piece of shit that should be apologizing. Damn it, no. I can’t think like that. It was just a drunken mistake. Come on, Eric. Just act normal for like, a five-minute conversation, and then we can move past this and our relationship will continue like it never happened.”
His train of thought was interrupted as Alyssa put her hand on his and spoke. “I’m sorry about last night. I’ve never thought of Bryce as anything but a friend, so when you started talking about how he hugged me and how I went to formal with him in college I felt like you were accusing me of something that was so obviously untrue, it felt jealous and controlling.”
“I know, babe, and I’m sorry I –“ Eric’s apology was cut off as Alyssa squeezed his hand and kept talking.
“Buuuut,” She continued. “I can totally see that from the outside it looked inappropriate. In my mind, it was just a friend of mine hugging me, but when I talked to my friends about it, they asked how I would feel if I saw you hugging a girl like that, and I understood. I should have explained the situation and how my relationship with Bryce has been nothing but platonic without getting defensive. I’m sorry.”
Eric stared into Alyssa’s eyes, but the sparkling green that usually brought him joy offered nothing but shame today. They had had their first big fight as a couple, and while she had spoken to her friends, taken the time to see his side of things, and ultimately apologized to him, he had cheated on her. Worried she would see the guilty expression plastered all over his face, he wrapped Alyssa up in a hug and kissed her forehead.
“Thank you for apologizing,” He said, feeling the bitter irony of his words on his tongue. “And I’m sorry also. I was drunk and maybe a little jealous, and I shouldn’t have made a scene at your friend’s party. Hopefully I didn’t ruin anything or make your friends hate me.” He knew that a girlfriend’s friends hating you was the kiss of death for any relationship. Even the strongest emotions can’t overcome the constant snark and “leave him” half-jokes from a friend group.
Alyssa laughed and kissed him, alleviating that concern. “No, they don’t hate you at all. Most of those lushes barely even noticed we were arguing at all. Actually Bryce was the only one that even said anything, unfortunately…”
She trailed off with a strange expression on her face, prompting Eric to respond. “Unfortunately? What does that mean? What did he say?”
Alyssa sighed as she spoke. “Welllll, apparently you’re a better judge of intention than I am. After you left he tried to ask me what was wrong and started, like, badmouthing you under the guise of ‘being a good friend and making sure I was being respected.’” She rolled her eyes mockingly as she continued. “Then, when I told him you were great and it was just a dumb fight, he finally admitted that he had a crush on me or whatever, and I –“
“Woooooow,” Eric said, interrupting her. “I knew it! That little fucker. I told you no one huge their friends like that. I – sorry.” He abruptly ended his gloating as he saw the expression his girlfriend’s face. She spoke slowly, picking up what she had been saying before his outburst.
“…and I told him that I had never seen him as more than a friend, and that it was rude and disrespectful to you to even be talking to me like that. And then of course he got all huffy because he’s a boy who got his feelings hurt and he got super drunk and we ended up having to tell him to leave.”
“Ugh, I know.” She said, reacting to his expression. “You were right. I was wrong, I knowww. But the important thing is I obviously didn’t share those feelings towards him and I shut him down, right?”
Eric smiled, partly with pride at how his girlfriend had handled the situation, partly out enjoyment at the thought of that Bryce douchebag being shut down, and partly out of a sense of fulfillment that he had been right. He hadn’t even notice it, but the guilt and shame that had been felt bile in his chest had dissipated.
“Well, as long as we both agree that I was right, because I’m smarter, and cooler, and – “
His cocky monologue was cut short as Alyssa smashed a pillow in his face before jumping on top of him. Just like that, everything felt normal again. .