Does anyone remember when I started this story. . . back in July 2007?!?!?! That was two flippin' years ago! But I remember it all like it was yesterday. And so, on this, my day off, I'm going to get to you the long-delayed penultimate part of my story (with a title that now has more meaning than before!). . . . .
You're probably gonna need to update yourself, so here are the links to the first five parts of the story:
And here is Part VI:
"What the hell, Mike?!?"
Michael heard it again. Suzanne's shriek startled him, and this time he had a response.
"What the hell? Suzanne, I was thinking the same goddamn thing! What are you doing grinding on this Joe College Douche?!?"
Jack was now on his feet and was uninterested in their childhood drama.
"Who are you calling a douche, douche!?!"
Eloquent as always.
"Jack, I'm sorry I hit you. Just step off for a minute. I need to talk to Suzanne."
"No, you need to talk to me."
Jack stepped forward and attempted to land a rather awkward punch to the face of his weekend warrior college buddy. Michael, still not close to sober, watched in slow-motion as the fist hurtled towards him. It was at that same moment that a monster of a man, a 6'5'' 300 pound behemoth, walked in between the two college kids, not knowing what he was getting in the middle of. Jack's fist hit the giant in the ribs, causing a hush to fall on that side of the dance floor. On the other side, the bass continued to pound. The strobe lights continued to flicker. The twenty-somethings continued to live.
Goliath turned and stared Jack down. He then looked at Suzanne and then turned and faced Michael. All three gave him back the same look: eyes wide, mouth opened, body clenched. Goliath peered back around at Jack, but the clean-cut Mama's boy was already racing towards the door, forgoing his coat at the table, with only freedom on his mind.
Usually, Michael thought to himself, something like this escape attempt would cause Goliath to chase after his college buddy and beat him to a pulp. But that didn't happen. Instead, Goliath just stared at the two lifelong friends and in one word, gave them directions as to their next step of the evening: "Get".
Michael and Suzanne made their way to their table (curiously missing Allison, who undoubtedly ran off when she saw Jack fleeing the scene), picked up their items, and made for the door. It wasn't until they were just far enough out of reach of the booming music that Suzanne broke the silence.
"I can't believe you punched him, Mike. What came over you?"
Words flashed through his mind. Apologies. Justifications. Jokes ("Now is not the time!" he told himself, the filter finally flicking on). But as many times before, the filter only worked temporarily.
"Let me take you home."
They were silent the entire way back to Suzanne's house. When she got out of the car, Michael stared straight ahead, mind racing, and yet he couldn't bring himself to say a word. Suzanne, on the other hand, tried something she hoped would work to save the friendship.
"I wasn't gonna do anything with him, Mike. We were just dancing."
"Suzanne, it doesn't matter. You don't listen to me. You wear stupid shirts and dance with stupid guys. ."
"That you invited! To dance with me!"
"I didn't think you would be so proud and public about it though. You're my little Suzanne. You don't dance like that out in the crowd."
"And that's where you're wrong, Mike. I'm not yours. We're friends and that's it. Nothing else. What, just because you saw me naked at age 7 you think we are meant to be together?"
"It's not like that. It's just that lately. ."
"No. I don't want to hear the end of that sentence. I'm going inside, going to sleep, and then we can talk tomorrow."
Michael sped off, blaring his music at nearly midnight. Suzanne watched for just a moment and then turned towards her house and walked inside. What was Michael thinking? Them, together? It was something she had never thought of before. Who were they, Ross and Rachel?
She chuckled aloud, but her mood was not that way. Her pink pillow became a tissue for her tears as she laid on her bed, alone on another Friday night.
She was almost asleep when her phone rang. It was Jack. The night had only just begun. . .