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Mistletoe & Memories Chapter 7

Three Days'til Christmas

I'd eaten approximately three boxes of mince pies by Wednesday, plus a few of Kara's mum's homemade ones. The bonus was, I'd started going to the gym to burn off the stress of Declan not contacting me since Sunday so I'd eaten a ton of baked goods, but I actually looked better than I had before.

Monday was the longest day of my life. I kept my phone glued to my side while I went out to finish my shopping, and left it beside me on the table while I wrote my Christmas cards and made a start on wrapping my gifts. When the evening rolled around, I genuinely convinced myself he'd call me. He'd be home from work, there was nothing stopping him.

I sent him a quick text on Tuesday morning, a simple hello and how are you. Nothing.

His lack of communication made me restless and listless in equal measure. One minute I buzzed around, determined to keep busy, the next I was sprawled on my bed, or the floor, or collapsed in a chair, berating myself for things I might have done wrong, and then for being such a complete and utter loser.

God, what was I thinking? Wanting it to be special with the Christmas lights shining on us? All I'd done was cast an ugly shadow of a time that was supposed to be filled with happy.

By Thursday, completely at a loss for what else to do, I called Kara and Lucas over for some advice. After explaining everything that had happened, and watching my two best friends almost have seizures when I told them I'd slept with Dec, I felt... worse than ever. Confessing made it real. More real than me remembering the way my skin tingled when he touched me, and how easy it was to keep going when falling off the sofa could have been enough for us to stop and re-think everything.

“I can't believe this,” Kara said, staring at me, dumbfounded. “I know I teased you about the kiss, but I didn't think you'd move that fast.”

“I didn't intend to. I didn't even intend to kiss him again until I knew what he... I mean... if he...” I squeezed my eyes closed, wishing I could take back my previous few sentences and go back to suffering in silence. At least when I hadn't told anyone, I didn't have to speak out loud any of the things I'd kept to myself for so long. Not just from the last few weeks, but from the last few years. More than a few. More like most of my life.

“Why did you?” Kara asked. “You said you'd been messaging each other, but this... this isn't like you.”

“If I had an explanation, I wouldn't be so confused! All I can tell you is that I thought he was different than before, but maybe I just hoped he was. Why hasn't he spoken to me since? I mean, what the hell? Just like the last time we were talking, he's disconnected himself from me. This is my own fault, isn't it? I shouldn't have let things go so far.”

“No.” Kara shook her head. “You obviously both wanted to, I just can't understand why he's suddenly stopped talking to you.”

I flung myself backwards onto the bed, another surge of despair and embarrassment coursing through my veins. It was me. He regretted it. What other explanation was there?

“Lucas,” Kara said. “Help us out here. You know Dec better than anyone.”

My stomach knotted at her words, which was stupid since she was right. I just... thought I was getting to know him, too.

“I don't know. Eden, I know you've always thought he was a dickhead, but he's not. I wouldn't be friends with a dickhead. I've never known him treat a woman this way. Usually, if he likes someone enough to sleep with them, he's already made up his mind.”

“Wow. I didn't think I could feel any worse.”

So it was just me. Maybe he thought because he'd known me for so long, it was okay not to call. That I'd always be there. Dependable Eden, who would listen to his issues, and then when he was over them, he'd get on with his life until he needed me again. When I voiced my concerns out loud, Lucas rested a hand on my foot, and I lifted my head.

“He spoke to you about… personal stuff?”

I nodded. “Not too much, but yeah, a little.”

Lucas' head flinched backwards slightly, eyes narrowing. “Now I'm really confused. Eden, he doesn't tell anyone about anything deep.”

“Like I said, it's probably just... convenience. I'm sympathetic, and he's known me long enough to know I'll listen when someone wants to talk.”

“No. Come on, you know him better than that. He's all jokes and mucking about with most people, even us most of the time.”

I let my head drop back onto my pillow, considering his words. Lucas did know Dec better than all of us, and the way he viewed the situation lit a tiny flame of hope inside me. A flame I quickly extinguished because I didn't want to want Declan. I didn't want the hopes I'd held onto to a few times before, only to have them destroyed because he couldn't make up his mind. Even if what Lucas said was true, it didn't excuse Dec's silence. He liked me enough to talk to me a little about the things in his life that weren’t so great, and to have sex with me, but not enough to call afterwards? If he was that into me, he'd have made an effort, wouldn't he?

“But Lucas... that has nothing to do with why he's been such a dick to her since they slept together,” Kara said. “Whatever is going on in other areas of his life is no excuse for him not picking up the phone.”

“I'm not saying it's an excuse. I'm saying, if he trusted Eden enough to talk to her, he's not just screwing around with her.”

My head ached with the revelations, and the questions constantly circling and bashing around inside my skull. Lucas was sweet to try and make me feel better about everything, but I couldn't help but agree with Kara. Whatever was going on with him didn't affect his ability to make a phone call.

The only explanation for his distance was that, as much as he seemed to enjoy it at the time, sex with me was not something he wanted to repeat.

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