“I’m catching a ride, so I’ll just meet you there.” I turn to look at Harper, but she still has her eyes on her phone. We always take the train into work together since she moved in as neither of us has a car. I had my grandma’s, but I sold it to help cover the funeral cost. It wasn’t a fancy funeral, but I did the best I could with what we had. It was small, but I bet she’s cursing me for having it to begin with. She probably would have rather I saved the money, but I needed it. It helped give me some of the closure I needed.
“I guess I’ll see you there.” I turn to go back to my room, Harper never once looking up at me. I have no problem taking the train; it’s just a little rude for her to have a ride to work and not offer to take me. I always go out of my way for her if I think something might be helpful, so it’d be nice if she would do the same from time to time. Leading by example doesn’t seem to being paying off with her. But I find Harper to be a little self-centered. Sometimes I wonder if she even knows how she’s acting.
There are times she can be sweet. Like inviting me out tonight to hang out. I don’t have many friends. I had actually hoped when Harper moved in we would get to know each other, and that maybe I’d discover that underneath some of her snottiness there might actually be someone nice under there. That has yet to be seen.
I pull off my pajamas, put on a bra, and slip on a halter dress with a long-sleeved cardigan. I pull on some funky leggings to match and opt for simple boots to go with. I spend most of my day on my feet. I have a small office, but we’ve been short staffed, and I’ve been working the front counter most days. I need shoes that won't kill me by the end of the day when I’m making my way back home on the train.
I trudge to the bathroom and put on a little make-up and pull my hair up into a ponytail, not wanting to mess with it.
When I walk back into the kitchen, Harper is still standing in the same place, staring at her phone, but I know she’s moved because her clothes have changed. Her skirt looks a little short for appropriate work attire, but I keep my mouth closed. I learned the lesson of commenting on her clothes before. She might be quick to give criticism, but she isn’t great at taking it, and her responses tend to come back with a slap to my own ego.
“Well, I’m heading out,” I tell her, grabbing my purse and jacket from the stand by the front door.
“Oh, I’ll walk down with you. Nick should be here any second.”
“Nick?” I’ve never heard her mention this name before. I’m pretty sure it was a Ted the last time we talked about who she was dating. I think it was Ted whose ass I got to meet last week when I walked in to find them going at it right on the sofa. I haven’t sat on the thing since.
This explains why she’s done up more than normal this morning. Her make-up seems to have an extra layer to it.
“Like my dress?” She gives a little wiggle, and I can’t find it in me to give her a backhanded response like she would me.
“It’s really pretty,” I reply, because it’s true. It is pretty, just a little showy for my taste. It would look better at a club than at work.
“You should really let me dress you tonight when we go out. Maybe you could finally snag a man.”
She opens the door and I follow her out, locking it behind us.
“Sure. Sounds like fun.” This is all a first for me. I was shocked she even invited me out to begin with, but now she wants to dress me up. Maybe there is something underneath her hard snotty exterior, and it’s starting to finally show. It may just be that she has walls around her that need help coming down.
I’ve never seen Harper with other girlfriends, and it’s been so long since I had any of my own. It’s worth another chance with her. What do I really have to lose? It couldn’t get any worse than what we have going right now. I’m living with her, and it might make things a whole lot easier if we could be friends. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t need a friend. I need someone. The loneliness seems to be growing each day. While a lot of the grief of losing my grandma has started to fade, the loneliness seems only to be strengthening.
When we reach the bottom of the stairs and exit the apartment complex, I see a man leaning up against a red, fancy-looking sports car. He looks a little rough around the edges, and I have the urge to step further to my left so we can avoid him. I go to take a step as Harper darts right towards him, practically jumping into his arms.
His dark eyes turn to me, and a chill runs down my spine. Harper attacks his mouth, but as he kisses her back, his eyes are trained on me. I pull my eyes from him, the creepy feeling settling deep inside me. I swear she picks the strangest guys. It’s clear to me from the snake tattoo running up the guy’s arm that he can’t be the kind of guy one would want to tangle with.
Don’t be so judgy, Tessa, I scold myself. Maybe that’s why I don’t have any friends. But in all fairness, he’s what I picture when I think of a gang member, and I hope Harper doesn’t try to bring this one back to our place. Hopefully, he’ll be gone as fast as the other guys who run in and out of her life.
When she finally pulls her mouth from his, she introduces us.
“Tessa, this is Nick, my boyfriend.” Her eyes beam at me like she’s won some grand prize. Nick doesn’t seem to like that Harper just used the word ‘boyfriend,’ because I catch the tic in his jaw when she says it. But he doesn’t correct her, so maybe he doesn’t mind too much.