Stevie marched over to Rose Apothecary with a fierce determination to give Patrick a piece of her mind. Her best friend was suffering like she’d never seen before and it was all Patrick’s fault. Stevie knew all about David’s past relationships and how he’d been treated like a doormat solely because he had money and a giving heart. She also knew that his so-called friends dropped him immediately when the money was gone. She’d thought Patrick would be different and in fact, had even told David “I like this for you.” Patrick treated David with respect and kindness and gave David no reason not to trust him. But now… well, he’d broken that trust and Stevie wasn’t sure David would be able to recover from it. For the past three days, David slept the hours away, only materializing during mealtimes to grab something to eat or to shower. Even Alexis started spending more time away from their motel room, claiming it was “so depressing in here, David,” and was currently spending her nights at Twyla’s.
When Stevie finally arrived at Rose Apothecary and entered the store, she found the main shopping area sans Patrick. She stomped over to the check out counter and began pounding furiously on the bell by the register. “Hello, Stevie,” Patrick deadpanned, emerging from the back. Stevie opened her mouth, ready to read him the riot act, when she took in his haggard appearance.
Patrick looked as though someone had sucker-punched him in both eyes. They were bloodshot and deep, purplish bags sagged beneath his lower lids, which stood out in stark contrast to his ashen face. His hair was askew, and he looked like he hadn’t shaved since the barbecue. His normally well-ironed button down was rumpled, and Stevie noticed he’d missed a button.
“You look like Hell!” Stevie blurted out, her previous anger forgotten.
“Gee, thanks. I haven’t been sleeping well the last few nights,” Patrick mumbled, his voice coming out gravelly. “What can I do for you?”
Stevie looked down at her shoes and shrugged. “Uh…mm, I came over here to give you a piece of my mind but… well, you look worse than David does.”
At the mention of his boyfriend’s name, Patrick’s face crumpled, and he leaned over the table, putting his face in his hands. He let out a heart-wrenching sob and Stevie felt her stomach drop.
“Shit! Um…” she said in a panic. Stevie went to front entrance, flipped the sign to closed and locked the door. Then she hurried over to Patrick and put a comforting hand on his shoulder. “C’mon, Patrick. Let’s go in the back and sit, hmm?”
Patrick stood up and nodded. He allowed Stevie to lead him into the back room where he promptly dropped in a heap on the couch. He pulled his knees up to his chest and wrapped his arms around them protectively. Stevie watched as Patrick plunged forward once more, pressing his forehead onto his knees. She had always viewed Patrick as this calm, collected individual, yet here he was falling apart at the seams. Stevie sat beside her friend and wrapped him in and awkward side hug, placing her chin on his shoulder. She could feel him trembling as he sobbed and squeezed him tighter. “I’ve got you,” she murmured quietly. They remained like that for what seemed hours before Patrick’s sobs began to die out. Stevie removed her arms and Patrick slowly uncurled himself and turned to appraise Stevie with puffy eyes. “S-sorry, S-Stevie,” he mumbled.
“It’s okay. Do you… do you wanna talk about it?”
Patrick shrugged. “I r-really fucked up Stevie. And I honestly wouldn’t b-blame… I wouldn’t blame D-D-David if he hates me n-now. I hate me…”
Stevie inhaled sharply but remained silent while Patrick continued.
“I was supposed to be better than this. I was supposed to be someone he could trust; someone he could depend on. I mean what the Hell was I thinking keeping my engagement to R-Rachel from him? And now… I might have just lost the person who makes m-me feel truly m-myself. Stevie, what am I gonna do without him?”
“Patrick. You haven’t lost him yet. Yeah, you hurt him, badly. And I’m not going to pretend like I’m not super pissed at you right now for doing that to him. I mean, I was on my way over here to yell at you. But I see now that you never intended to hurt him.”
“No… no, of course not. But… but I did. I really hurt him…” Patrick stood up in agitation and began pacing the floor, running his fingers through his hair nervously. “Stevie, how am I gonna fix this? How can I make this b-better?”
“I don’t know…”
“What if I can’t fix this?” Patrick went on distractedly. “Maybe I should just let him go. He d-deserves better and I…” he trailed off abruptly and he placed a steadying hand on the wall, face paling.
“Patrick?” Stevie said apprehensively. Patrick waved her off.
I’m f-fine. Just feel a little diz-“ Patrick trailed off and time seemed to slow as Stevie watched Patrick sway unsteadily on his feet before collapsing unceremoniously to the ground in a crumpled pile.