Reasonable Doubt: Volume 3
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“Do you know what borough?”
“No,” I said. “But the address can’t be more than a few months old. She just moved here.”
He was silent for a little while, tapping and touching buttons.
“Found it,” he said. “7654 Fifth Avenue.”
Five blocks away…
I thought about whether I should wait until morning to stop by, but I was already putting on my coat.
“It was nice hearing from you again, Liam…” the old man’s voice brought me back to the present. “Good to know you’re well and…getting over what happened.”
“I’ll never get over it.” I hung up and headed outside, signaling for the town car driver to open the back door.
“Where to, Mr. Hamilton?” he asked.
“7654 Fifth Avenue.”
It took less than twenty minutes to get there, and when we arrived I stared at the brownstone for a while. It looked like something I would’ve purchased years ago when I lived here, something far out of budget for a ballerina, so I figured her parents were paying the rent.
Stepping out of the car, I adjusted my coat and walked to her door—knocking five times.
“Coming!” She yelled.
The door swung open, but she wasn’t standing behind it. It was her boyfriend.
“Um…” He looked confused. “Did you leave the pizza in your car or something?”
“I’m not a f**king pizza guy. Where is Aubrey?”
“It depends. Didn’t we just see you at the gala?” He crossed his arms as Aubrey stepped into the doorway. “Who are you?”
“He’s no one, again,” she said, standing on her toes to kiss his lips.
He looked at me with his eyebrow raised as he returned her kiss.
“My c**k has been in every inch of her mouth.” I gritted my teeth.
Aubrey gasped, her cheeks turning bright red. “I am so sorry, Brian… Can you give us a moment please?”
He looked between the both of us, anger creeping onto his face, but he walked away.
“What do you f**king want, Andrew?” She fumed. “What do you want?”
“You and me, about us being friends again…”
“That will never f**king happen. Is that it?”
“What brings you to New York, huh? Did you need to come back and f**k some familiar women on Date-Match? Did Durham somehow run out of pu**y?”
“It’s actually starting to feel that way.”
She started to close the door, but I held it still with my hand.
“I miss you, Aubrey…” I looked directly into her eyes. “I really do, and I’m…I’m sorry for kicking you out that night.”
“You should be.” Her voice was a whisper. “And if you really miss me, you’ll leave me alone.”
“Why would I do that?”
“Because you’re bipolar. Because the second I ask one too many questions, or suggest something outside of your comfort zone, you’ll treat me like trash again and I’d rather cut my losses now.” She wiped a tear from her eyes. “I was your only friend—your only f**king friend, and you treated me worse than any of the women you met online. If anything, I’m sorry that I ever let you do that. Please leave.”
“Is there super glue on my floor?” She pushed me down a step. “Is that why you’re still standing there?”
“Lie about one thing, lie about it all, right?” She pushed me again. “You’re still the biggest liar between the two of us. Lying by omission is still lying.”
“Can you please calm down and let me talk about this with you inside?”
“I thought you hated rhetorical questions.” She slammed the door in my face.
A Priori Assumption (n.):
An assumption that is true without further proof or need to prove it.
I woke up the next morning on edge, in utter shock.
I couldn’t believe Andrew was in New York, couldn’t believe he’d admitted missing me on my front steps last night.
Seeing him again brought out every emotion in me, and even though I’d told Brian that Andrew and I were done, I’d spent the rest of our date last night thinking about him.
Him and his perfect suit. Him and his perfect lips that nearly pressed against mine as we argued. And, shamefully, him and his perfect c**k that I felt hardening in his pants as he dipped me on the dance floor.
I got out of bed and sent Brian a text. “Today is my one on one day with Ashcroft…Wish me luck!”
His response came immediately. “Good luck, babe! Get some coffee, you’re going to need it…”
Slipping into the shower, I scolded myself. “Brian is a sweetheart and he’s good for you…He may suck at phone sex, and you may have no desire to sleep with him right now, but he treats you better than you’ve ever been treated before…”
When I was wrinkled and prune-like, I stepped out and checked the time.
I had twenty minutes to make it to the closest subway station and avoid the ire of Ashcroft. Throwing on some old sweatpants, I grabbed my ballet bag and snatched my coat from the bannister in the hallway. I double checked my wallet to make sure I had my metro pass, and when I opened the door, I found myself face to face with a stranger and a cup of steaming hot coffee.
“Good luck at practice today,” he said, handing it over. “This was made especially for you.”
“Since when do coffee shops deliver?”
He shrugged. “They don’t.”
I stared at the cup as he walked away, noticing that my name was etched atop the whipped cream in thin caramel, and that “Good luck,” was written in cursive on the label.
It was a signature, sweet Brian move, and I immediately felt guilty for not giving him my full attention last night. As I walked to the subway, sipping what was arguably the best coffee I’d ever had, I vowed to give him my full attention from here on out.
I deleted all of Andrew’s old texts and emails, even the ones I’d fake deleted by placing them in the archive. I blocked his number, preventing his calls from ever getting through, and although I couldn’t block his emails, I changed the settings of my inbox so they would go straight to my spam folder.
When I finally arrived at practice that morning, I danced better than I’d ever danced before…
Later that night…
“How do you find the time to take the subway just to meet me at practice and walk me home?” I looked up at Brian as we crossed the street. “Where do you find the energy?”
“I make time for all the things I really like.” He kissed my forehead.
“Do you want to catch a movie this weekend? My treat? I owe you one…”
“What makes you say that?”
“I still feel bad about gala night and what that guy from my past said to you,” I said. “I’m really sorry.”
“No worries. I’m sure he’s—” He stopped talking as we approached my house, pointing at the man who was leaning against the door.