Eddie had no idea what happened with Emily. She rushed out like he’d said something wrong. Maybe she just wasn’t feeling well.
No, Eddie knew better than that. Emily didn’t want to spend any more time with him than necessary. She was still hung up on Nick, and Eddie understood why. They’d been together for a long time. It wasn’t like Emily would forget him overnight.
Eddie pushed thoughts of Emily out of his head. He focused on his work and decided to put his one night with Emily behind him. A few weeks later Eddie met Nick out for a drink so he could meet his new girlfriend.
“Hey, buddy,” Nick said, giving him a man-hug complete with a slap on the back. “This is Monica. My girl.”
Nick grinned at the svelte blonde next to him. She was tiny, like a little pixie. She had a tiny nose, a mouth that looked like it would fit a child better, and was so small Eddie almost wondered if she still was.
“Nice to meet you, Monica,” Eddie said, silently comparing her to Emily. For the life of him he couldn’t see whatever it was that drew Nick to her and had him passing Emily aside. She was plain where Emily was vibrant. Monica was waifish where Emily had curves.
Then she spoke, “I’ve heard so much about you, Eddie,” she said in a voice that squeaked.
Eddie nearly cringed. She sounded like a munchkin from the Wizard of Oz.
Eddie forced a grin and glanced at his friend. Nick was looking at Monica as though she hung the moon. Eddie knew that look. He’d seen it in the mirror enough after spending time with Emily. His friend was in love. Eddie didn’t get it, but he felt lighter. Maybe he’d have a chance with Emily. Maybe Nick wouldn’t flip out on him if he confessed his feelings for Emily.
Eddie shook his head at the absurdity. It didn’t really matter how Nick felt or how he felt. All that mattered was how Emily felt. And Eddie had no clue how Emily felt.
Nick and Monica snuggled together, telling Eddie how they met, what they’d been up to, basically Monica’s life story. Eddie couldn’t have cared less, but he was trying to be supportive of his friend. Nick really liked Monica so Eddie convinced himself she had some redeeming qualities… somewhere… deep down maybe.
When Monica leaned in to kiss Nick again, Eddie excused himself. He went to the bathroom, wondering why he agreed to meet them out. Sure, he liked Nick, but Nick always made him feel uncomfortable. Eddie had been single for as long as he could remember. He hadn’t always been lonely, but he kept his relationships to a night or two. The only woman he’d wanted to see more than that was the one he wasn’t allowed to see.
Eddie pushed out of the bathroom and headed back to the table, ready to make an excuse about needing to leave. Then he saw her. Heading right toward their table. There was no way she would avoid seeing them. No way Eddie could avoid running into her.
She stopped when he blocked her path. Her beautiful eyes met his and he saw a flash of joy and hope. Then she looked down at who he was with and her face fell, right along with Eddie’s heart.