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“The Signature Room” (2) by Jeanette Jones

Jeanette Jones

The Signature Room

Lindsey must have been aware that Bryan was annoyed by me. Maybe she ignored it. Really, I didn’t want to go with her, because I knew it would be an awkward experience with the three of us. I didn’t ever speak to Bryan. Our brief encounters with Lindsey in the middle were not enough to make me feel comfortable eating at the same table with him. I’m sure he was tired of seeing me around anyway.

Lindsey thought she was looking out for me by always forcefully inviting me to hang out with her and Bryan.

We arrived at the John Hancock tower a little after 6.

“I’ll pay for her,” Lindsey assured Bryan as I walked behind them through the luxurious lobby to the elevators. Bryan looked in my direction and sneered at me. I wasn’t surprised.  I felt so stupid being on a date with them anyway. I wanted to run away and not be a burden. Lindsey glanced nervously between Bryan and me and grabbed my hand pulling me in line with them.

As we stood in the small titanium elevator, I couldn’t help but stare at myself through reflective buttons. I tried to distract myself.

“Isn’t it nice Erin?” Lindsey asked to break the tension.

“Yeah, it is,” I said.

I felt like I was taking away the love time between Bryan and Lindsay. I can only imagine how Bryan might have felt with his girlfriend dragging along her loser best friend to an expensive restaurant. I’m pretty sure he had planned this date for just for the two of them.

 

Once we arrived at the Signature Room our waiter seated us in a booth in the corner. The waiter briefly looked at me in dismay. I guess I could have looked nicer.

The view was spectacular. I spent most of the night focusing on the buildings that looked so tiny through the window. I tried to distract myself so I wouldn’t feel so awkward.

The waiter gave us our menus. I stared at the laminated little book. Everything  sounded so fancy that it was hard for me to understand what was included in every meal without reading the description.

“Erin, do you know what you’re gonna get?” asked Lindsey.

“Umm, yeah. I’ll get the fried shrimp.”

To think that Lindsey dragged me to an expensive ass restaurant to get a dish that we could have gotten from the corner store, I felt even worse. I didn’t want anything else on the menu so that’s what I chose. Ordering for myself was the only freedom I had all night.

“Good choice. I’m going to get that too,” Lindsey replied enthusiastically. I wasn’t surprised by her order. It annoyed me; apparently it annoyed Bryan too.

“Hey babe, wanna go look out the window?” urged Bryan.

“Yeah sure,”Lindsey replied. “Erin, I see you eyeballing that view over there. Come join us!”, Lindsey demanded.

“No, I’m fine. I think I’ll go to the bathroom really quick,” I said.

“Oh really? I think I’ll join you,” Lindsey remarked.

I walked briskly to the bathroom to try to get there before Lindsey. Why couldn’t she just stay there with Bryan? Why did she have to shadow my every move? I used to enjoy it when we were younger because it was a confidence boost. Now it is really becoming a pain. I had to find a way to tell her how I felt.

Lindsey walked into the bathroom. We were the only ones in there.

“Erin, I can’t wait to try the fried shrimp.” ,Lindsey said.

“Hey Lindsey, can I talk to you for a sec?” I asked.

“Sure, What’s up,” Lindsey asked.

I took a deep breath as my mind rehearsed what I was about to say to Lindsey.

“I think you shouldn’t have invited me to come with you two tonight. This is a date for just you and Bryan. I’m sure Bryan feels so annoyed by the fact that you keep dragging me with you to everything that you do. We can still be best friends without you inviting me to everything. I know  you think you’re looking out for me, but I’d rather be left alone. And honestly I’m just happy that you’re hanging out with Bryan because I know you’re happy.”

An awkward moment of silence grew between us. Lindsey stared at me as if she was about to cry.

“Oh man Erin. I noticed Bryan wasn’t thrilled with you tagging along with us. I didn’t think it bothered you so much. I figured he would be over the fact that we are best friends and no one would come between us.” Lindsey said in a soft voice.

“While the floor is open I want to get something else off my chest. You know David Sanchez, my supposed boyfriend earlier this year?” I asked.

“Yes” Lindsey replied.

“Well… he only went with me to get closer to you. He really didn’t like me. He even told me at spring formal that he only went with me to have more time with you. I didn’t take it to heart though. I figured so anyway. ”

Lindsey’s face turned red and her eyes began to water even more than they were. She walked into one of the empty stalls and locked the door. I was not sure if she really had to use the bathroom or what. I heard muffled weeping coming from her stall.

I was angry. I had never spoken up for myself especially to Lindsey. She had always spoken for me because it seemed like she knew what was better for me. I decided it was best if I gave her some space and got some too. I wanted to give her time to think and breathe on her own. I walked out of the bathroom and stiffly sat down at the booth.

“Where’s Lindsey?” Bryan asked angrily. He looked concerned.

“She’s still in the bathroom,” I replied nervously.

“Listen here. I don’t appreciate you mooching off my girlfriend. Yeah, I get it that you two are best friends or whatever but you’re taking away all of the time that I get to spend with her alone. Even when you’re not here she’s still always talking about you. I’m tired of this shit man. Every time I see you with her my stomach churns. Do you know you make her look bad? Better yet, you make us look bad. All of my friends are talking too. “Hey Bryan you never will get to second base as long as your girlfriends dragging around her ugly duckling, huh?” Bryan scolded.

 

“You know what? Won’t you just go and get out of her life. It’ll be better for all of us anyway,” Bryan added.

My face grew hot and my hands grew clammy. My throat began to go dry. I felt so stupid and embarrassed. I didn’t know how to feel. I knew I wasn’t as pretty, popular or great as Lindsey but Bryan clarified to me. I felt less than least. He didn’t know that I just talked to Lindsey in the bathroom. I already felt bad and he made me feel even worse.

The waiter walked up to the table and began serving out our plates.

“Is everything alright?”, asked the waiter.

“Yes, everything’s fine”, Bryan quickly responded.

I had to leave because now everyone knew I didn’t belong there. I got up and walked away.

With tears flowing down my face and my heart pounding at the speed of light, I stopped at the waiter’s stand. “You can put it on his tab.”

We all came to a realization after that incident. I realized I could be myself on my own but Lindsey on the other hand had a harder time trying to develop her identity without me.  I realized that Lindsey did not only drag me along with her and Bryan because I was her best friend but she needed me. I was a cockblocker to Bryan because she knew what his intentions were. It seemed as if her life went downhill from then. Lindsey and Bryan had broke up. She finally came to the realization that Bryan was just trying to land second and third base with her.

I couldn’t help but hear about her from time to time. That was the first real fight we had and we were best friends at one point in life. I joined volleyball and anime club. I started being more social and I made a new friend, Amy. To think that all I did was tell her that I didn’t want to be dragged along with her and Bryan. It was hard for me at first because I had gotten so used to her always being there, but I got the hang of going solo.  I was finally able to be my own person. I was able develop a sense of self. I was able to be Erin.

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