"Hey, Sam," Seth said answering his cell after seeing Samantha’s name on the display.
"Uh... Hi," Sam stammered, she was a little surprised at Seth’s warm greeting. Actually, she was surprised he answered at all.
"What’s up? I haven’t heard from you in awhile," Seth went on as if nothing was amiss.
"Oh, Seth, you were right. I’ve made a mess of things," Sam gushed.
"Right about what?” He had no idea. “What are you talking about?"
Samantha went on to confess her fling with Allen and how Jason had walked in on them and how now he refused to even take her calls.
"You told me not to fuck around with Allen, I should have listened."
"I believe what I told you was to not to lead Jason on. To not let him believe the relationship was something it wasn’t."
Samantha realized that it wasn’t Seth that had been judging her, she had been judging herself, and not for fucking Allen, but for being dishonest with Jason. In all the time she had known Seth he had always been upfront with his conquests. They were never left to believe their encounter was any more that it was - casual sex.
"So what do I do now?" she asked.
"Depends. Do you want a relationship with Jason or do you just not want him to hate you?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, are you sorry you had the affair? Or sorry you got caught? If you are just looking for forgiveness you need to forget it. If you are truly wanting him back then you have to go win him over."
"Like that will be easy."
"Nothing worth having ever is," Seth said looking over a Cole napping on the sofa.
As Seth closed up his phone Cole opened his eyes. "Was that your friend in San Francisco?"
"No, the one in New York."
For almost a week Seth and Cole had spent most every free moment together. Seth had no idea what had changed to make Cole so attentive, but he was enjoying the attention all the same.
"I don’t hear from Toby anymore." Seth’s voice was full of regret.
"You can’t fix him, Seth. If Toby is addicted to meth you have to wait for him to want to get clean before you can help him."
Seth nodded. "I know, but it’s like I’m watching him drown and not bothering to throw out the buoy."
"You did throw him a buoy. Hell you threw him a whole life raft, he refused to take it."
Seth sighed and nodded. Cole was right, but it still was hard to lose his friend to meth. He chewed his bottom lip and flipped his cell back open. He doubted that Toby would take his call, but he had to try.
The phone rang three times then went to voice mail. Seth flipped the phone back shut, not bothering to leave a message.
Toby was at his desk staring at his computer screen. His cell phone began to vibrate where it lay on his desk. He glanced at the screen. Seth. Toby shook his head; the guy just wouldn’t give up. It didn’t matter; Toby didn’t have time right now anyway. He had to finish the project he had in front of him. It was due tomorrow and he still had so much to do.
The last few days his concentration had been for shit. He had been staring at this same screen for twenty minutes and still didn’t know what it said.
Toby sighed and closed his eyes. “Fuck it,” he muttered. He was going home; he would come in early in the morning and finish it.
He picked up his cell phone hitting the familiar speed dial. “Cody, hey. What’s up?” “…” “Yeah, I’m just leaving now.” “…” “Okay, I’ll meet you there.”
The next morning Samantha took Seth’s advise and confronted Jason in his office.
“I know you hate me and I deserve that. I fucked up. I know, but...” she paused. “Well, I don’t have an excuse; there is no excuse for what I did. I just want to tell you that I’m sorry and my only defense is that I’m falling in love with you and it scares the shit out of me.”
Jason raised an eyebrow. “Are you finished?”
“No, I’m not. I know I don’t deserve to be forgiven or to get a second chance, but I am going to apologize to you every day until you forgive me.”
Samantha turned and left his office, keeping her head high. She fought back the tears; she had to be a big girl about this. She had screwed this up and she would pay the price, but that didn’t mean she was giving up. Not by a long shot.
Seth was at work that afternoon when his cell rang. “Hello.”
“Hey, Seth, You want me to pick you up tonight?” Cole asked. They had had the same conversation every day so far this week.
“Sure, if you want.”
“I’ll be there.”
Seth rang off and wondered again what had changed. Every since Cole had called him last Saturday after running into him at the club the night before, they had been pretty much inseparable. Seth had spent the rest of the weekend at Cole’s house, leaving early Monday morning to change clothes before work.
Cole had picked him up from work later that day and the pattern had continued all week.
While Seth was over the moon at the showering of attention, he was also feeling very insecure, something he was not used to experiencing. Every afternoon he would fret as to whether Cole would call again, and as to what he would do if Cole didn’t. This was a whole new world to Seth, never before had he cared one way or another if someone called back the next day and he wasn’t sure he liked feeling this way. But when he and Cole were together all the fears and insecurities faded and he had no doubt what he wanted.
Toby had only been in his office a couple of hours when his boss was at his door. “Anderson.”
“Good morning, Mr. Johnson.”
“Morning, Do you have that project ready for me?”
“Yes sir, here it is.” Toby handed him the file lying on the corner of his desk.
“Thank you, Anderson.”
Toby nodded and went back to work on the file he had been trying to work on. In spite getting almost four hours of sleep, a near record for him, he still could not settle down and make sense of the information in front of him.
“Anderson? Was this supposed to be a joke?” Mr. Johnson was back at his door.
“A joke? No, sir.” Toby didn’t understand.
“This file is in shambles. I thought you said it was complete. If you were having trouble with the project I would have expected you to ask for help, not simply turn it in incomplete.”
Fuck, Toby thought, suddenly remembering that he had meant to finish the project this morning. How could he have forgotten that? “I’m sorry, Mr. Johnson, I meant to finish it up this morning; it must have slipped my mind. It will only take me a few hours - I’ll start on it right now.”
“No, I don’t think so, Anderson. I think I’ll pass this on to one of the senior engineers to finish up.”
Toby felt crushed. He had failed. “Please, Mr. Johnson, don’t give up on me. I just had one slip up.”
His boss shook his head. “I have to take some of the blame for this Toby. I gave you too much too soon. But I am concerned at the way the quality of your work is deteriorating. You were so promising only a few weeks ago. I think we need to take a step back and let you get your feet under yourself a little better before we throw so much at you. And maybe in the mean time you can get your stride back.”
“Yes sir,” Toby said. Shit, he had to get his meth use under control before it cost him his job.