My stalling and diversion was the major reason why the two had never met. So this day, when no part of me wanted to talk to anyone, was arguably the worst possible day karma could pick to visit Maverick.
“Carl, did you hear me?”
I turned and realized that somewhere between the times I opened the door and composed myself, Winnie had made her way to Maverick’s bed. “What did you say, sweetie?” I asked.
“I forgot to bring my pen drive. Can you give me your laptop so I could copy the movies at my hostel?”
“Yeah. I’d have to charge you; my services aren’t free.”
“Yeah, right! Carl, are you alright?”
I realized that she probably noticed how nervous I was. As much as I hated Maverick and his little game, I wasn’t about to witness a showdown that could leave one person with a broken wrist, another in an ER and the third possibly in a morgue. I had to get her to leave as quickly as possible.
“Your boyfriend isn’t here.”
“Really? I told him I was going to come here today.”
“Well, he left about thirty minutes ago with OB and said he’d be back in about 2 hours.”
I had hoped that that would be reason enough, but this was one determined girl. “There’s no one in my room right now and I’d rather just sit here and wait. Plus, I really want a reason to be fussy today,” she said.
I walked casually and stood in front of the bathroom wall and made sure to scream “Winnie! You can’t be that mean!” just so the idiots in the bathroom would know that we had company. Thankfully, she had yet to figure out what was happening, so she just said, “I can and I am going to be.”
Realizing that they still weren’t making any sounds that suggested that they were going to come out, I screamed again, “Winnie, that’s just mean. I know he’s a royal ass and all but come on, just be nice. Do it for me.”
Still no responses.
“Carl, really? You want me to come after you if he acts like an ass when he gets back?” At this point, I decided that acting normal was probably a better idea. I got her some iced water and chatted with her for the next thirty minutes. These rabbits were still in there and any ear could hear them. I wasn’t sure whether Winnie was simply ignoring the obnoxious noises from the shower or she was simply deaf. In her defense, the water was running and so the noises were dampened; my paranoia just amplified them.
It had been two hours, my last two boxes of grape juice, and some really delicious banana cake from an otherwise very crappy café which made pastries, and still no sign of them making plans to come out. Winnie was enjoying my company but she had no intention of staying for more than two hours.
“Carl, I thought you said he’d be back in two hours.”
“That’s what he said.”
“So where is he, then?”
“Call him or text him or something, he’s your boyfriend.”
“Jealous? Sure you don’t want it to be you instead?” That last sentence was made up in my head but I half-expected her to say something like that in the cockiest of manners.
She texted him but he didn’t reply and then she turned to me with an all too familiar look. Maverick never knew this, but she had this look whenever she thought or felt that something was off and like a bloodhound, she would search and pry until she found blood.
“What exactly did he say?” I wanted to defend Maverick but I was not going to be his fall guy.
“I’m not entirely sure but Bill relayed the message to me.”
“So you have no idea if he’s really not here?”
I almost panicked because that question was laced with an unholy cocktail of emotions, and I knew that lying to her could be fatal. “No, I don’t but I haven’t seen him since I got back.” She looked back at her phone, a cue for me to feel relieved.
I tried to suggest the option of leaving to her but she brushed it aside again. Being a good staller involved having a sensible person to stall for and this guy was proving to be extremely good at being a fool. Why would he forget his appointment times? How the hell could he be so damn deaf? I had to continue to stall but I knew Winnie and I didn’t really have much left to discuss; the girl was already impatient.
As a last-ditch attempt to keep her from snooping around, I stared her right in the eyes. She arched her eyebrows. “What are you doing?”
I said nothing and continued to stare.
“What’s going on? What are you doing?” Her discomfort started to show. She frowned.“What on earth is going on with you?”
Finally, I said, “Will you…”
“Will I what?”
“Oh no, please don’t do this. Don’t finish the sentence…Wait, what?” Her last reaction was because while she was begging me not to say what she thought I was going to say, I asked if she would sing me a song.
The push she gave me sent me onto the ground. I feigned injury while she laughed and acted as though she were sorry. I asked for her help to pull me up but she just sat there and made faces at me.
I got up and pretended to be mad just so I could get her to sing and it would have worked if we didn’t hear the creaking sound of the shower door.
Ei, so Maverick is about to expose himself? Oh well, let’s see how this ends…