Week 43: Jamie & Lauren
“How was the trip?” Erin asked as they all sat around The Purrfect Pour after it had closed up for the night and the cats that Erin borrowed from the shelter in the hopes of getting them adopted had been returned for the night.
“Good,” Jamie answered.
“Yeah, it was great. We survived as a couple, which is a real win in my book because this one has only traveled like a rich person, and I’ve only traveled like a person with one backpack and a mission, but I know how to make a hostel my bitch,” Lauren replied.
“She does. It’s a sight to see, for sure,” Jamie added.
There was a knock on the glass front door, and Lauren turned to see that it was Ashley, her ex-girlfriend. She’d texted Ashley that she was coming back to Boston after she and Jamie went on their first trip together as a couple. They’d left things in an all-right place, but Lauren still had hope that they might be able to get back to the friendship they’d had before they’d started dating and before they’d broken up.
“I like Ashley enough, but did you have to invite her tonight, babe?” Jamie asked her.
“We invited all of your friends,” she replied. “Ashley is my friend.”
“I know. But you dated her.”
“I’m sorry; did you not sleep with Cassie, who is currently in the bathroom?”
“Um… Hi,” Tessa, who was sitting across from them at the tables they’d all pushed together, said. “Cassie’s current girlfriend over here.”
“Sorry,” Jamie told her with a shrug.
“Look at the bright side: you could be me, Tessa,” Amanda said and hooked her thumb to Gretchen, who was sitting next to Lauren. “Gretch and Cassie actually dated. They were a couple and liked each other more than just had a one-night stand.”
“We are not talking about this,” Cassie stated as she walked back out. “I call a moratorium on talking about who I’ve slept with unless we’re talking about you.” She smiled at her girlfriend as she sat back down next to her.
“Yeah, me too,” Jamie agreed.
“I’m in,” Gretchen said.
“Hey, Ashley,” Erin greeted as she pulled open the door to let Ashley inside the café.
“Hey. Sorry I’m late. I had a meeting on campus that I couldn’t get out of.”
“No problem. Want some coffee? Becca is behind the counter taking orders.”
“No, I’m not. I’m back here fixing the sink.”
“Since when are you handy?” Amanda asked Erin’s girlfriend.
“It’s an easy fix. And it’ll save her money,” she said of Erin. “So, I’m giving it a try.”
“Wait. Giving it a try? Babe, you said you know what you’re doing back there.” Erin hurried back behind the counter.
Lauren stood up and walked over to Ashley to give her a hug.
“Hey,” she said.
“Hey. It’s good to see you. How was the trip?” Ashley asked.
“Good. Jamie and I didn’t kill each other, so… small victories.”
“That’s good.” Ashley let out a little bit of a forced laugh that Lauren would probably always recognize. “So, you just got back?”
“Last night. We slept in today because of the jetlag. How are things with you?”
“Good, I guess. I got a new apartment. It’s near campus, and I’m an adjunct now.”
“That’s great, Ash.”
“It’s okay. I don’t want to be an adjunct, though. I want my own courses and a full-on professorship somewhere. The meeting I just came from was about the budget for next year, and they made it sound like that would be impossible there for the next millennia, so I don’t know. We’ll see.”
“Would you have to move, though? There are at least a hundred universities in Boston, I swear.” Lauren chuckled a little, worried that just when they were trying to get their friendship back, Ashley might have to move.
“Not now. I’m okay for now. I need the experience, so anywhere I can get that is good for a while. Besides,” she continued with a smile. “My friend Lauren just got back from a really important trip, and I’d like to hear all about it.”
Lauren gave her a smile and a nod.
“Well, we were just about to tell the group some stuff. Want to join us?”
“Yes, let’s do it,” Ashley said.
“Hey, Ashley,” Jamie greeted, walking up to Lauren and placing a slightly territorial arm around Lauren’s waist. “How are you?”
“Good. And I… I just wanted to say that I’m good, Jamie.”
“That’s good?” Jamie asked more than said.
“No, I mean, I’m beyond this.” Ashley pointed a finger back and forth between the two of them. “I’ve done a lot of reflecting while you two were gone. Let’s just say that you have nothing to worry about, okay?”
Jamie nodded and said, “Well, okay. Let’s have coffee and we can all catch up.”
“Can my coffee have alcohol in it? I cannot figure this thing out,” Becca said from behind the counter.