Happy New Year - Part Two



Samantha Bradshaw is 25; Cory Green is 48; Aaron Green is 46; Andrew Goss is 25.


January 1, 2025




Really, what did you expect?




Jeff wondered how many times he had to ask himself the same question.  He knew the answer, really, but it seemed so foolish now.  It had been a year, had he really been naive enough to think that Samantha would run into his arms and pick up exactly where they'd left off?  That he would ask her and she'd drop everything and come back to Kayton with him?  Where did he ever get that idea?

Her letter?  It seemed so clear now, that she'd written it to say goodbye.  Funny how, just a couple of days ago, it had seemed like something else.


You saw what you wanted to see, believed what you wanted to believe.



...and then had the nerve to be angry at her, when it turned out differently.

So, what now?  Go back home?  Probably, he could be on the train this afternoon.


Or, you could talk to Samantha again.



Assuming that she wanted to talk to him, after what had happened.  There was a return address and a phone number on the letter.

One that you should have used, before just turning up in town.


Well, he couldn't change that now.  But he could, at least, try to clear up some of the mess he'd made.  He owed her that, at least.



With a sigh, Jeff picked up his phone.

-----

It was late morning when Samantha finally came downstairs.




"Breakfast?" Rose asked.
She shook her head, and immediately wished she hadn't.  It hurt too much.  As if to punish her further, the phone started to ring loudly.  "Uh... coffee?" she asked.
Rose put a cup in front of her, and went to answer the phone.




Samantha took a long sip, then realised that Cory was staring at her.
"What?" she asked.
"Nothing... I mean, I was just wondering... do you remember anything that happened last night?"
"Not really... I mean, not after Jeff and Andrew... did I tell you about Jeff and Andrew?"



"Sort of... but do you remember anything after that?"
"Only going back to the club... and I vaguely remember seeing your light on and going to the door... but that's about all.  Why, was I really embarrassing or something?"




"You were kind of funny," said Sam, "and you probably saved me from getting into trouble for being home late."
"No, she didn't," said Cory.

"Hey, Samantha," Rose called, as she came back into the kitchen.  "That was Helen, looking for you.  She's had about four calls from some guy named Jeff for you, and she's trying to find you.  She called Andrew because she thought you'd be there, but... lets just say he made it very clear that you weren't...".  



Samantha groaned, then gulped down the rest of the coffee. "I need to go sort this out...".  

----


She arranged to meet Jeff outside the boarding house.  She knew that she'd have to face Andrew eventually, she just preferred that it wasn't now.  

At first, they just stared at each other.  Then, suddenly, they were both talking, and apologising, and laughing as they both stopped and started, waiting for the other to speak.
"I shouldn't have left it so long to write," Samantha said.
"And I shouldn't have gotten angry with you," Jeff said.  "I just didn't know what to think.  I mean, I thought things were going well for us... then you just left..."







"Is that what you think - that I just left?"
"Well, you did, didn't you?  You walked out of the party, and I never saw you again."
"But... I thought you'd know... I didn't just leave.  I was chased out of Kayton."
"What do you mean, 'chased'?  You took the time to pack up all your things, that's not what someone does when they're being chased... "
"Ok, maybe not literally chased, but I was forced to go... how could you not know? My apartment was trashed... "
"Your landlord thought you trashed it... "
"The hell I trashed it!  Did you really think that I would do something like that?"




"Samantha, I didn't know what to think..."
"Come on," she said.  "Let's walk.  I think we've got a lot to talk about."






With mixed feelings, Andrew watched Samantha and Jeff walk away.



Mixed because, as much as it hurt him to see that Samantha had contacted Jeff first, it also meant that he could finally leave his room.  He'd been holed up here all morning, afraid of bumping into Jeff somewhere in the shared areas of the guest house.  He was hungry and he needed the bathroom.


He tried to concentrate on making lunch, but his thoughts kept going back to Samantha.  Why should it bother him like this?  It's not like anything really special had happened between them.  Sure, he liked her a lot, but really, they'd just had a few dates, and it hadn't worked out.  Wouldn't be the first time that happened to him.


Maybe it was the way it happened.  He'd always thought he was a good judge of character.  But here, he'd been dating this girl who'd just up and left her previous boyfriend, without so much as a note to say sorry.  Jeff  had said that they'd just been getting close... would she have done the same to him, if their relationship had deepened?  Maybe it was a good thing this happened first.  




He ate in his room rather than the dining room... just in case.  It wasn't like he'd done anything wrong, he just hated confrontations.  Crazy, though, hiding like this... he would have had to brave it and come out soon if Jeff hadn't left.  It was almost time to get ready for work.


As he got up, Andrew laughed at the irony of it... remembering how disappointed he'd been when he found out that he was working on New Year's Day.  He'd wanted to spend the day with Samantha.  Now, he was glad for the excuse to not think about her.

Putting the plate aside to wash on the way out, he pulled his cafe uniform out of the drawer.  Time to forget all this and get moving...
----

Raising his voice slightly to be heard over the noise and clatter, Cory tentatively addressed his brother.
"Remember back when I was staying at your place after I left Sharla...?"
"Yeah?" Aaron said.


"How I used to come in drunk in the middle of the night and wake up the whole house?  I think I just got paid back... "
"What do you mean?"
"A friend turned up at my house at about 2am this morning, drunk as hell... "
"... and now you get why I got mad at you?"
"Yeah, I guess... and, I was wondering... did I ever do anything really dumb...?"
"You did a lot of dumb things.  Anything specific?"
"Like, maybe... did I ever kiss your wife or anything like that?"



"Not that I know of.  Why - did your friend kiss your wife?"
"No, my friend kissed me."
Aaron groaned.  "Does Rose know?"
"No, she wasn't there... that's the thing... I feel like I should tell her but I don't know if its a good idea.  It doesn't feel right not telling her, but I don't know how she'd react... so should I tell her?  What do you think?"

Aaron thought for a moment.  "First of all, is there any chance she could find out from someone else... because if there is, then you definitely should tell her first.  Would your friend tell her?"
"My friend doesn't even remember... "
"Well, did anyone else see it?"
"No... I mean, not that I know of."
"Then it's simple - don't tell her."

"But I don't what to keep secrets or - "
"What's the secret?  I mean, it was your friend that did the kissing, not you.  It's not like you did anything wrong or anything, is is?"
"Well, no, but... it was still a kiss, and - "

"This kind of thing happens all the time, Cory.  Why do you think there are so many jokes about office Christmas parties?  People get drunk, kiss people they wouldn't normally give a second look... or worse.  But it doesn't mean anything.  Its probably a good thing your friend doesn't remember."

"Well, if it doesn't mean anything, then why shouldn't I tell Rose?"
"Because women see these things differently.  You tell her, she'll get all upset.  She'll be upset, your friend will be embarrassed... and what for?  You're the only person who even knows it happened, better just to forget all about it..."
"I guess... "
"Trust me.  Just forget it ever happened.  But before you do that, I have to know one more thing..."
"Yeah?"



"This friend - was it a woman or a man?"
----

Samantha and Jeff walked until the cold got the better of them.  They still needed to talk, though, and the cafe by the park was a good place for a private conversation.  It hadn't occurred to Samantha that someone else she knew might have the same idea.  At first, it seemed that Cory and his brother were so deep in their discussion that they didn't even see her, and Cory looked almost alarmed when he finally did look up.  But then he smiled and beckoned her and Jeff over.

“I didn’t expect you to be here,” Cory said to Samantha, when the introductions were over.  “I mean, Andrew works here, is it really a good idea to – “



“He’s got the day off,” said Samantha, “at least, that’s what he said last night… you haven’t seen him here, have you?” she asked, looking around.
Cory shook his head.  “No, I was just going on what you told me last night, about what happened with you and Jeff and Andrew, and I – “.  He broke off, realizing what  he'd said... and that both Jeff and Aaron were staring at him.

Samantha realized, too.  “I got drunk,” she explained to Jeff.  “After what happened at the boarding house… I don’t really remember but somehow I ended up sleeping in Cory's daughter's bedroom.”
Aaron suddenly pushed in between Cory and Samantha. “Well, its nice meeting you,” he said.  “but we were just on our way to sit outside.”
“But… it’s freezing outside,” said Cory.
“There’s a stove,” said Aaron, picking up their drinks.  “Nice seeing you again, Samantha.”  He headed for the door, gesturing to Cory to follow. Cory looked at his brother, then at Samantha and Jeff, then shrugged and followed Aaron out the door.


"What was that about?” Jeff asked.





“Hell if I know,” said Samantha, taking off her jacket as they sat at now-empty table.  “I don’t know his brother that well.”
“And him?  Cory, I mean – he’s the boss Andrew said you keep staring at, right?”
“Yeah, I guess…” said Samantha, grateful for the interruption when the waitress came for their orders.  They sat in silence for a while.





“You ok?” Samantha finally asked.
Jeff nodded.  “It’s just a lot to take in, that’s all… I mean, what you told me, on the way here... and, you know, there's a lot more that you should know now, too...."


----

"It was her, wasn't it??"
"Ssshhh!!"  Urging his brother to follow him, Cory sat down, as far away as he could from the door of the cafe."
"But it was her, wasn't it?" Aaron insisted.  "She's the one who kissed you!"





"How do you know?"
"So it was her!"
"Yeah, ok, it was her... but how did you know?"
"Come on, Cory, you're not exactly great at hiding what you're thinking.  She works with you at the shop, doesn't she?"
"Yeah, she does."
"See, I was right!  It's the office Christmas party thing.  But, what's really going on here, anyway?  What happened with them and why are they hiding from this Andrew guy?  You've only told me part of the story."
"I don't know if I should - ohhhh"  Cory stared down the road.
"Hey, what's wrong now?"
"Oh, shit!  It is him!"  Cory jumped up from his seat and ran into the cafe. 



Aaron yelled after him, "When you come back you're telling me the whole story!"


---

"That's unbelievable... " Samantha muttered.
"Yes, but it makes sense now... why he wanted you gone... "



"Still, I would never had guessed... I mean, I thought I was on to something with that story, but I had no idea - what the...?!"  Cory seemed to come running out of nowhere, almost knocking into the table as he came to a halt beside her chair.
"You guys need to know that he's here!"  Cory said urgently.
"Who's here?"
"Andrew," Cory said, dropping into an empty chair.  "He's just coming down the road."
"Oh, hell... " muttered Jeff, looking around for another exit.  But even if there had been one, it was too late.  Andrew spotted them almost the minute he walked through the door.  
"Well, this is cozy," he said, looking from Samantha to Jeff to Cory.  "I guess you forgot to invite me."



"Uh... she didn't invite me either," Cory said, getting up.  "I was just here with my brother... who I'm... um... just going back to now."  He gave Samantha an apologetic look as he left.
"What about you?"  Andrew asked Jeff.  "Did she invite you?"
"No," said Jeff, standing up to face Andrew.  "I invited her."





"Um... I thought you weren't working today,"  Samantha said suddenly, trying to break the rising tension.  "You said something about sleeping in late... "
"I wasn't working this morning," he said.  "I have an afternoon shift."
"Oh."
"We - we need to be going," Jeff said.  He started to take Samantha's arm, then thought better of it.  She followed him anyway, until they were outside the shop.




They got all the way to the street before Samantha stopped. "I have to go back," she said.  "Jeff, I'm sorry, but I have to talk to him."
"But.. wait!"


"You wait!" she said, running back to the cafe.  "I won't be long!"

From their table by the stove, Aaron and Cory watched her go.


"Ok," Aaron said,  now you've really got to tell me the whole story... "


----

"Can we talk?  Just for a minute?"
"Samantha, I'm working."
"I know... but I just want to explain - "
"Isn't Jeff waiting for you?"
"That doesn't matter.  Andrew, please, just listen to me."


"Not now.  Not here, in the middle of the cafe."
"But we will talk? Later?"
He sighed.  "Yes. Ok.  We'll talk.  Just not now.  Call me in a couple of days or something..."
"Thank you!" she said, and she meant it.  She left feeling better than she had all day.

That is, until she got outside, and found that Jeff had gone.
"He said to tell you he wanted to give you and Andrew some space."  Cory told her.
"But we don't need space!" she said.  "He won't talk to me... at least not right now.... hell, this is just getting worse."  
"Are you ok?" he asked.
"Yeah, fine... apart from the bit about my head kind of wanting to explode about now... I'm going home.  I'm too tired for all this."



---

Jeff was tried, too, but that didn't stop him from walking for a long time, after he left Samantha.  He needed to think, and he didn't feel like going back to the guest house.

So Samantha hadn't wanted to leave him.  She'd been forced to go.  Knowing that should change everything...


But somehow, it doesn't... at least, not in the way you thought it would...

He could have asked her to go back, now that the danger was gone...

But how could you, with so many interruptions... ?

He could have had more time... after all, he was the one who'd left.  He could have just waited for her to come back after she talked with Andrew.  He could have had all day to ask her to come back.

She needed to work it out with him... you left for their sake.

Who was he kidding?  He really did want them to work things out...  but that wasn't the main reason he left.  He left because he didn't want to have all day to ask her to come back.  He left because he wasn't sure that he wanted to ask her to come back at all.



Don't be ridiculous.  Of course you want to ask her to come back.  That's why you came here, wasn't it. 

Wasn't it?

Jeff really wasn't really sure now of why he was there at all.

----

In case you missed the link to what Samantha needed to explain to Jeff: here.


The final part of Jeff's visit coming soon... promise it won't take as long as this one, I already have half the pictures! :)

6 comments:

  1. Gosh, you're killing me with the suspense.

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  2. I have to agree with you! The suspense, this is worse then the hangers they leave you with on Gray's Anatomy!

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  3. Oh man! What a whirlwind! I'm not one to promote messing up relationships, but I always liked the chemistry of Samantha and Cory. But it's bad, bad, bad, especially knowing that Samantha can't stay! But I had to put that out there, into the universe.

    I hope things can end peacefully... Jeff, what a mess he brings to the picture, but leaving things behind doesn't always make things neat and tidy ether. I wonder what he'll find his motive to be now that he doesn't seem to fancy Samantha as much as he once did.

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  4. Apple, sorry! :) Even if I didn't want to do cliffhangers, I always seem to have waaayy too much to say for one post anyway!

    Mrs Stuffy, lol, Gray's Anatomy! Will take that as a compliment :)

    Maisie, I like the idea of Samantha and Cory, too, even knowing the kind of mess it would create, if she could stay (or if he could go with her - which would also create another kind of mess - but another thought I had to put out there!). Anyway, there'll be a twist on this that I think you will like...

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  5. Hi blackcat!! You posted about the hole in your blog... I was having one too! A two month one! Anyway, now im catching up.

    I'm glad you got my email!! I really love how well youre doing this - it's like jeff is your own, but youre still staying true to the one I wrote. And it's awesome to work with you!

    anyway,f or the actual story, man it is a mess! Samantha's got THREE guys in a twist over her!

    gotta keep reading, haha! Anyway, I really enjoy reading it.

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  6. Billy, thanks! Glad you're enjoying it.

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Thanks for reading and commenting!