Modern-Day Antigone Part 4

September 30, 2009
“Hey Natalie.” Wes had met Natalie at a coffee shop knowing he brought disastrous news.

“Hey Wes. Where’s Chris?”

“Well, actually that’s why I asked you to come here. Chris received a very important business message last night. He won’t be back the rest of the summer.”

“Oh.”

Natalie could come up with no words. Wes could see the tears beginning to form beneath her chestnut eyes.

“Come on, Nat. Let’s go for a walk.”

Natalie followed him to the car and then to the beach. He was afraid to grab her hand as they walked along the water, she may not accept it. They walked without words for half an hour until Wes could no longer bear the silence.

“Natalie, everything’s going to be okay, trust me.”

There was no response. He was afraid his words had somehow hurt her until he looked at her face. Her expression was not one of sadness but of anger.

“Are you mad?”

“Mad? That word does not even begin to describe my feelings. Furious is more like it. He just left me Wes! No explanation, nothing at all! I loved him, I trusted him. He left me.” Her words softened as she spoke.

“I’m sorry Nat, I really am. It was a very important message though. Believe me, Chris had a hard time leaving you. He didn’t want to.”

“Where did he go?”

“To his boss. In California.” Wes hated lying to Natalie, but it was his only option. He knew if he told her the truth there would be terrible repercussions; he could be sent to jail, Chris’ life could be ruined, and Natalie could be hurt. He was involved in a dangerous business. Wes sat down and patted the sand next to him, motioning for Natalie to join him. She surprised him by sitting down and immediately falling into his lap. He felt her tears running down his leg and felt helpless. He wanted to make her feel better, make her laugh and smile, but he couldn’t. Instead, he ran his fingers through her hair with one hand and placed the other on her side. Over and over he whispered that everything would be okay, trying to assure both of them. He wasn’t sure he could be successful with his job; to take care of this pitiful girl who needed comfort so much, but he was going to try. After sitting for hours, Natalie finally rose and announced she wanted to go home. Wes promised he was just a phone call away no matter what. After dropping her off, he went back to the condo and laid on his bed, his phone resting on the nightstand.

Natalie didn’t call him the entire week; she was back in her own room being comforted by Khadijah. But, even though she was with Khadijah, Natalie felt alone without Wes. She needed to call him first thing the next morning. That night, she realized that maybe her decision to pick the outgoing Chris was wrong; maybe she should give Wes a chance. There were only eight days left of summer, but Natalie was determined to strengthen her relationship with Wes.

Wes had formed a common goal. He had decided he was going to spend the last eight days of his summer vacation mustering up every ounce of confidence he could to ask Natalie out. He knew Chris was more of a player and even convinced himself that Chris probably already had a new Colombian girlfriend; Wes grinned at the idea. He was ready. Just as he picked up his phone to call Natalie, his phone vibrated; she was calling. Never wanting to seem too eager, he let the phone ring twice until he could no longer resist answering.

“Hey Natalie.”

“Hey Wes, you have any plans for today?”

“Not yet. Want to hang out?”

“Sure. I’ll meet you in your condo in one hour.”

Wes was overflowing with hope as he jumped out of bed and ran into the shower. He wanted to give himself plenty of time to prepare for seeing the now single Natalie. He used his new “Suave” shampoo, rinsed, and even repeated. He chose to wear his black Speedo; he knew she would make fun, but he longed to see her smile. He actually admired himself in the mirror and gave himself a pep talk. In the middle of his speech, he heard the doorbell ring. His heart raced and he felt like a little kid in love. He ran to the door and then realized he was out of breath. He let himself calm down a little bit before answering the door.

“Hey Nat,” Wes swished his hair and tried to look confident.

“Hey Wes, nice suit.” She smiled.

“You too.” He grinned back; her smile was well worth wearing the Speedo. “What do you have in mind for today?”

“Well I was thinking we could go get breakfast first, then hit the beach. Khadijah is planning a bonfire tonight with some of my other friends if you’d like to join us there too.”

“Sure, sounds great. Let’s go!”

“Wes, you may want to put on some pants while we eat.”

“Of course.” He grinned sheepishly and pulled on some cargo shorts.

Natalie and Wes arrived at Carl’s Coffee Shop and spent only a half-hour there. Natalie told him what she had been up to the past week, omitting only the time she spent hoping he would call; Wes omitted the same time from his list of events. A flood of people began to crowd the restaurant for brunch, and Wes thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and leave. Natalie and Wes spent the afternoon playing beach volleyball. Wes had planned to stay away from the water but Natalie announced she wanted to face her fear and venture out into the waves.

“Are you sure?” Wes asked.

“Yes, I can’t just stay away from the water forever. Let’s go get our boards.”

Wes went and grabbed the boards from his condo and approached Natalie apprehensively. He was afraid the trauma would overtake her so he stayed very near to her in the water. Natalie was confident as she took her board and she rode through the waves without a fear. She and Wes boarded for a while, Wes more nervous than Natalie. After what seemed forever to the tense Wes, Natalie was ready to leave the water. They walked down the beach hand in hand.

“I need to get back to Khadijah,” Natalie said.

“Right now?” Wes sounded disappointed.

“Yes, I’m sorry. She needs me to help her set up for the bonfire, are you going to come?”

“Are you going to be there?”

“Yes.”

“Then yes.” Wes grinned at her and walked off to the car.
Natalie knew she was lying to Wes; Khadijah did not need her help but she had mixed emotions about Chris and Wes. When Wes dropped her off, she went to her room to sort out her thoughts. Her heart screamed for Wes but her mind told her it was a bad idea to get involved with her ex-boyfriend’s best friend. The heart triumphed again.





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