So, as I’ve established last time, 50K simply isn’t possible anymore. However, I reevaluated my goal and am now targeting 25K. That should be manageable and I’ll be one happy little writer if I finish NaNoWriMo with that many words. So, without further ado, now another chapter of Dreamer. (As always just a little reminder that Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are already available!)
Clara checked her lipstick in the mirror for what felt like the millionth time. The words “I don’t want to do this” were running on repeat in her head as she was cursing Gabe and Mel for making her go on the date. She knew that they wanted to use their free time before the birth of the baby to do as much couple-stuff as possible, she just didn’t understand why it had to involve her most of the time. Clara loved her brother and sister-in-law and she would be lying if she pretended they weren’t her best friends, but they had changed a lot since Melinda got pregnant. They now had a plan for their life and with that she meant quite literally them having a timeline they were following, but deep down Clara knew they were freaking out. Gabe probably more so than Melinda, even though he would never admit it, but he got worried about money a lot lately. Mel was always the one earning more and they all knew it, but Gabe wasn’t quite ready to face what that meant for him after the birth. For now they were either frantically discussing baby books or blissfully ignoring what was to come by distracting them with their favourite pastime activity – setting up Clara.
Clara once more looked at the dark burgundy lipstick Bianca had lent her for the date and then went outside the restaurant bathroom. When she got back to the table, her brother and his wife were still the only ones waiting for her.
“He’ll be here soon.” Melinda promised even before Clara had a chance to sit down.
“You’ve said that 20 minutes ago.” She eyed Gabe angrily, but he only shrugged. Clara hated people who were late. Somehow it made her feel like they lacked respect for her and that was something she had a hard time dealing with.
The waiter made his rounds again and was eager for them to finally order food. Clara felt his pain, having done her fair share of waiting gigs in the past. She knew that right now, they were the worst kind of guests possible with their endless refills of water and their pretence of waiting for someone who might never actually show up. Well, she was tired of pretending.
“I’ll have the Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Fries and the Homemade Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert. Thank you!” The waiter’s face instantly lit up as he hurried to the kitchen to get her order ready.
“Why would you order food!? We are waiting for Lenny!” Mel glowered at her, while Clara emptied her second glass of Limonana, which was basically a virgin Mojito. If Mel wasn’t allowed to drink, no one was, but Clara didn’t really mind all that much anyway.
“Let’s face it, he’s not coming.”
“Yes, he is!”
“No, he is not.” It stung a little to say it, to get rejected without the person ever even meeting her, but she had to face the facts. She would get over it. This had never been her idea anyway.
“Ladies, ladies, let us settle this calmly. How about you just give him a quick call? See where he’s at and we can go from there.”
Mel grudgingly got up from her chair to call Lenny outside. As she walked away, Clara noticed how round her sister-in-law had gotten. It made sense, she was clearly in her last trimester. For the briefest of moments, she didn’t think about how pretty Mel still looked with her olive skin radiating and her frizzy hair made up in a sloppy bun. Mel was simply the kind of person with effortless beauty, which was Clara’s normal thought process, but now she rather wondered if she would ever have children of her own. The thought faded as quickly as it had appeared. She was only 25, there was plenty of time for that in the future.
“Clare-bear, why are you sabotaging this?”
“Because your wife is driving me crazy with those blind dates.”
“She’s your best friend.”
“You are my best friend.”
“I am your male best friend, but she’s your main girl.” He said with a silly grin on his face.
“Nope, that’s B.” Clara stuck out her tongue and they both laughed.
“Stop it already! We both know that you love Mel, so stop being so hard on her.”
“But why can’t she just stop setting me up with all those random guys?”
“She’s just worried about you.” Clara rolled her eyes until she saw the serious look on her brother’s face.
“Are you worried about me?” The conversation had suddenly taken a turn from their usual sibling-banter to a much more serious kind of topic and Clara didn’t know if she liked it.
“What? Why? My life is great.” She felt defensive now. Why was her life style suddenly being questioned? Clara had worked hard to get to where she was now. She had dedicated her life to school and work, to get what she wanted as soon as possible and she did. There was absolutely nothing wrong with her life.
“I know. I never meant to say that it isn’t, but I can’t help but wonder …”
“If you are lonely sometimes.” It felt like a punch in the gut. Lonely? That’s what he was worried about?
“But I have you and Mel … and Bianca.”
“That’s not the same and you know it. Look, you have proven to us all that you are more than capable of taking care of yourself. But maybe, and just hear me out right now, maybe it is time to let somebody else take care of you as well. It’s no sign of weakness to let somebody in. And even though you can handle everything on your own, you just really don’t have to.”
“You sound like Matthew Hussey or some other sort of dating coach right now. You should write a book.” Clara felt as if her guts had been turned inside out. It hurt to hear these things from her brother, the person she trusted the most, so she resorted to humour. Anything really to get the situation to a lighter note again. The thing was that Clara knew all this already and she had felt lonely, especially in the past months. As much as she was proud of her own success and accomplishments, she would have loved to share it with somebody. She would have loved to get home and have someone waiting for her.
“Maybe I will write a book.” Gabe told her with a faint smile just as Mel came stomping back inside the restaurant.
“He’s not coming.” Mel sat down, obviously furious with Lenny. “And don’t you dare tell me you told me so. I know that damn well myself.” The waiter was about to bring Clara her Shepherd’s Pie, but Mel snatched it before he had a chance to properly set it down. He looked at her with fear. “What? Never seen an angry pregnant woman?”
That had Clara laughing out loud again, which only made Mel even more agitated. But slowly she got affected by it as well and started laughing too. Clara ordered another Shepherd’s Pie for herself and Gabe. They ate their dinner with less conversation than usual, carefully avoiding the topic of Lenny. Before they left, Clara made sure give the waiter plenty of tip money. Mel finally promised to never set her up again, but only if Clara assured her in return that they would still go out for dinner on a regular basis. Clara didn’t feel like pointing out that she spent more time at Mel’s and Gabe’s place than in her own flat anyway, but she knew that Mel’s argument would only be about her desire to get out of the house. They left the restaurant on good terms and in the end, Clara was almost relieved that Lenny didn’t show up, whatever reason he might have had. But now she also knew that her brother was worried about her and that bothered her a great deal. It simply wouldn’t let her go the entire way home. She didn’t want her brother to worry, he had enough going on in his own life.
So, any thoughts? Since today is Thanksgiving, I just wanted to say that I am thankful for YOU and if you are celebrating it, I wish you happy holidays!!!