I got a girl crush, hate to admit it but
I got a heart rush, ain’t slowin’ down
I got it real bad,
I got a girl crush, I got a girl crush
I don’t get no sleep, I don’t get no peace
Lord knows I’ve tried, I can’t get her off my mind
It was her secret. It was just a crush. This is all she can think as she sits at the bar contemplating how she got herself into this situation. She wonders how something so simple, something that should be joyful, got so complicated. It all started out so simple and innocent.
Mentally shaking her head she acknowledges that the secret wasn’t the problem because despite her best efforts to hide it, almost everyone knew her secret, everyone. She knows the problem arose when she admitted it. Now it feels like her simple secret has become this nefarious thing, a chasm has been created and she doesn’t know how to fix it. She can’t help but feel that it shouldn’t be this complicated.
It’s not as if she’s done something horrible, she hasn’t committed any crimes. Still, she can’t shake the feeling that there is no coming back from this. If she’s being completely honest its not just the secret or her admission that created the rift. It might have, may been, the horror and panic stricken look she got in return that left her embarrassed and feeling like a fool.
This is partly how she ends up at the bar; with a Jameson on the rocks in one hand and a Lone Star in the other. Not to mention she’s been hiding. She chooses to ignore the pointed look Alyssa is giving her. She’s not in the mood. Alyssa just sighs and proceeds to make her way to the other end of the bar, towards the waiting boy flashing a twenty. Without saying anything, she knows Alyssa already guessed what happened she doesn’t even have to ask.
She’s at her favorite bar and tonight is “Group Therapy”. Group Therapy is the busiest night of the week and tonight is no exception, it’s packed. Taking her drinks, she slowly makes her way towards the back of the bar. With each step she can feel some of the tension leaving her body, taking comfort in the nameless masses. She easily gets lost and forgets herself in the anonymity of the crowd. Getting a tray of popcorn, she puts money into the Jukebox making her way back towards the dart board, the perfect place to take out her frustrations.
She accepts a challenge from an overly confident boy, who took one look at her deciding this would be an easy win. So she finds herself standing with her legs slightly apart, left slightly in front of the right, arm in the air at a ninety-degree angle and the dart between her thumb and middle finger. She knows it’s an unorthodox stance but it works best for her. She hears snickering and can’t keep the corner of her mouth from turning up a bit. She loves being underestimated. Focusing on the board, blocking out all the commotion around her, she pictures the subject of her sleepless nights. Motivated, she pulls her arm back and then lets the dart fly, straight into the middle of that smile she can’t seem to forget. She hits the bullseye twice in a row and only needs one more to win.
Sipping her Jameson, she feels his presence behind her, standing closer than necessary. Close enough that his hot breath tickles her neck but it does nothing to her. Her body knows that his body isn’t the right muscular frame her body craves; leaning into her, pressing closer to her. His smile isn’t the smile she dreams of at night. She’s sure he means it as a ploy to distract her, an easy attempt to throw her off her game. She internally chuckles, taking a long pull from her beer.
Finally, after receiving no reaction, he takes a small step back, putting some space between them, conceding defeat. If he only knew, nothing has been able to distract her quiet like that smile not since her freshman year. Now taking a sip of her whiskey she is also reminded that nothing has been able to ease the pain it has caused either, not even Jameson.
She continues to ignore the boy, until she hears, “what’s a sweet thing like you doing drinking whiskey, anyway.” He leans a little closer again. She rolls her eyes, taking a small step forward. She doesn’t know why boys always think that girls want to drink overly sweet fruity drinks, the sugar always makes her feel kinda sick. Besides, she and her friends always had access to their parents’ stash of whiskey and bourbon, it’s what she has grown up on since the age of 16. It’s home to her.
Before she can answer, she suddenly hears her favorite voice say “real women drink whiskey” from behind her. She stills for a moment, her heart racing, she doesn’t know how she missed the addition. Her body is normally so in tuned to this presence she can feel it from a mile away. She is forced to slowly closes her eyes, taking a deep breath to steady herself, she’s been avoiding this for the past three days. It’s about this time, she realizes her song is playing on the jukebox.
You only need a roof when it’s raining
You only need a fire when it’s cold
You only need a drink when the whiskey
Is the only thing that you have left to hold
Slowly turning around, she looks straight into her favorite brown eyes. Time seems to slow down, as it always does lately when looking into those chocolate orbs. Everything else around her disappears. She can barely hear the song blaring through the speakers, she has no idea what’s his name is doing, all she knows is that smirk and gaze shouldn’t be here as a hint of pain rolls through her chest. Oh how she’s missed those eyes. And all she can think is she is going to kill Alyssa, as she swings her head towards the bar.
“Chris….” she hears the hesitancy, as she swings her head back towards the voice. Quickly breaking eye contact, she lowers her head shaking it slightly back and forth. “Don’t, I’m fine.”
There’s a pause, the tension is palpable. Uncertainty and awkwardness surrounds them but she won’t look up, nothing ever good comes when she looks into those eyes. She’s always unduly honest, too apparent and the piercing stare always seems to see too much but never enough at the same time.
“Chris…” the tone is a little more formal, a little more stringent, a little more forceful and it makes her cringe. She misses the way her name was said with adoration. She still won't look up, she turns her head slightly to the side, eyeing the guy she was about to beat. He’s whispering with his buddies, interestedly watching the scene before him. He makes eye contact with her saying, “Still your turn”. Refusing to raise her head up she finds herself saying, “look, I’m almost done with this game and then I’m heading to Uris to finish my paper, I’m good. Just needed a study break”.
They’re in a stand off. The presence behind her willing her to turn around and she determinedly facing away. Eventually, she hears a sigh of resignation. Exhaling she feels the body behind her moving to the side casually leaning against the bar railing, watching.
Picking up her whiskey, she downs what is left in one gulp, pushing her teeth against the glass to hold what ice remains back. She then turns her body fully to the dart board and takes the third dart and blindly throws it, not even caring where it lands anymore. But she knows it goes straight into the center because since her freshman year she hasn’t been able to get away from that smile. She doesn’t even have to look up now to know that smile is mocking her now.
Hearing exclamations of surprise she immediately rolls her eyes while chuckling. Boys, they could be so damn clueless sometimes. Before they can ask for a rematch, or offer to buy her another drink, she picks up the Lone Star in one hand, grabs her leather jacket off from the stool with the other and walks towards the bar, steadfast ignoring the lithe figure leaning against the rail with wary eyes.
At the bar, her eyes are orbs of hot fire. Alyssa notices immediately, holding her hands up in surrender, before stating “it wasn’t me”. Tilting her head towards the booth near the front of the bar, “I’m not the only one here tonight”. She sighs as she glances towards the front and sure enough there they are. She just shakes her head in frustration, at herself for not noticing and at Alyssa for not telling her. “I get it,” she says, “can I just get my backpack, I have to finish my paper”.
Starting at her for a couple of seconds, Alyssa completely ignores the twenty or so college students frantically trying to get their five-dollar picture of beer with six kamikaze shots. She notices Alyssa’s gaze moving behind her, prompting her to forcefully say “Alyssa. BAG. NOW. I can’t deal with this right now”. Alyssa blinks twice and reaches down, hands her the bag over the register and holding onto it, gently but firmly says “I’ll see you back at the house”. It should be a question but it’s not. She quickly shakes her head in the affirmative, grabbing the bag, forcefully spinning around as quickly as she can, because she feels the other presence coming up behind her.
Pushing her way through the bar, fleeing towards the front door, desperate to get away all the while knowing that she is being followed. Mentally berating herself, because there is no one else to blame. Pandora’s box has been opened and the consequences must be dealt with, just…just not tonight. Rushing to freedom, she resolutely ignores the occupants of the booth even as she feels their eyes on her. She nods quickly at Pep, stepping outside into the fresh night air, the chilliness a welcome changed from the heat of the bar. She’s already breathing a little easier. Swing her backpack on her back she starts to head towards campus.
“Christen, wait” comes the voice again, sounding slightly exasperated and tired. She closes her eyes at the sound, it’s been three days since she’s heard the voice say her name. She won’t turn around, she knows she won’t be able to hide her emotions if she does. So she just continues walking towards campus, hoping to find her freedom. Instead, she can hear the familiar footsteps following her. Silently cursing, she knows won’t make a clean getaway, she’s going to have to say something. Stopping she looks up at the sky, almost as if expecting a divine intervention. She can feel the presence again, standing slightly behind her.
Finally, giving in she says “can we just not." There’s no verbal response but she hears a snort and feet shuffling impatiently. She knows her comment isn’t a satisfactory answer, so she continues after a pause “at least not tonight, I really do have work to do”. She hears the deep sigh over the loud and boisterous voices of the college students making their way from one bar to the next. Imagining the look of frustration directed toward her, it’s almost enough to make her give in, almost enough to make her turn around, but she knows she can’t. She just isn’t ready. So she decides to take the sigh as a sign of resignation, an agreement that this won’t be happening tonight.
She starts to walk on again when “Goodnight” reaches her ears and she can hear the reluctance and sadness. Turning slightly, but not enough to actually face her, she reverently whispers “Night, Tobin” internally cringing at her own smitten tone.
As she walks on, she thinks back to her freshman year, when everything was simple before she had a secret when she only had a girl crush.
I gotta girl crush, hate to admit it but
I got heart rush, it ain’t slowin’ down