Dan woke up yet again in Phil’s bed, this time a few hours later. The dim sunlight was shining through the window as he realized where he was and why. Dan had come to peace with his homewrecking a few hours before, so that wasn’t what worried him. What worried him was the fact that Phil wasn’t beside him. He hurried out of the bedroom, immediately smelling bacon wafting up the stairs. “Phil?”
“Oh, hey Dan. How did you sleep?” Phil always did wake up earlier than Dan. “Here’s your breakfast.” A plate of eggs and bacon in the shape of a smiley face was placed in front of him, and Dan rolled his eyes. What a nerd.
“What happened to your family? Where did they go after the party last night?” Phil stiffened up when Dan asked this question.
“I don’t know. That’s the thing.” Dan’s heart sank. He spent hours the night before trying to come to terms with his homewrecking, but the guilt returned at this statement. Phil’s family was gone.
“Are we going to find them?”
“I don’t know how.”
Dan thought on this, munching on a piece of bacon. “Doesn’t Emily have a phone?”
Phil was unsure of what his eldest daughter’s smartphone would do to help them. “Yeah?”
“And don’t you use Find My iPhone?”
Phil gasped. “Yes! Yes, of course! Dan, you’re a genius!” Phil walked over and kissed Dan, pulling away quickly and making awkward eye contact with him. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have-”
“It’s fine, don’t worry, I-” The two were interrupted by the loud sizzling of the cooked bacon in the skillet on Phil’s stove. He turned to tend to their breakfast as Dan blushed red from the earlier conversation. He should never have kissed Phil the night before. Now everything was screwed up. Phil’s family had disappeared, and now he and Phil were shoved into this awkward situation where their friendship was thrown off kilter by the sex of the previous night, and they were going to have to track down Phil’s family together. Dan didn’t have to go, technically. But he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he didn’t.
Strapped into the passenger seat of Phil’s car, Dan was forced to spend more time thinking. He, in all honesty, hated himself. He hated himself a lot. It was all his fault. Phil’s family leaving, their wrecked friendship, all of it. All because Dan had to go and kiss a married man.
“Here’s my phone.” Dan jolted himself back to reality to grab Phil’s phone as he drove. “Use it to find Emily’s.” Dan opened the Find My iPhone app, trembling with fear. They could be anywhere. He immediately picked up a signal from her phone, letting out a sigh or relief.
“They’re in a motel on the outskirts of London. I’ll direct you there.”
Phil nodded, letting out a relieved sigh of his own. “Thank God. We should be able to get there in a few minutes, right?”
Dan nodded, a new sense of anxiety hitting him. What if Phil’s family now hated him? Janice probably did. But what about the kids? “Uncle Dan” having an affair with their dad? The whole thing could cause them trauma for years. The guilt ate away at him as he told Phil the directions to the motel. He spoke emotionlessly and distractedly, his attention really on his pessimistic thoughts. Although things were getting much better, they were somehow also getting much, much worse.
“There’s the car!” Phil pointed across the motel parking lot as they pulled in. Dan saw the family’s other car parked in front of the motel. His stomach balled up into knots.
They got out of the car and slammed the doors shut, heading to the motel lobby. Dan immediately noticed how dirty the place was. There were dirt stains all over the carpet and the whole room smelled of mothballs. His guilt intensified as he thought of Phil’s family being forced out into a place like this, even for one night.
“Do you know where the Lesters are?” Dan turned to see Phil speaking to a chubby man in a motel uniform.
The man coughed, then replied, “Room 6.”
“Thank you.” Dan followed Phil out the door and down the sidewalk until they reached a door with a tilted number six on it. Taking a deep breath, Phil knocked on the door.
After a few seconds of tense silence, the door swung open. “What are you doing here? Go home.” Janice spoke with no emotion, as if her usual happiness was drained out of her.
“You.” Her attention turned to Dan as she cut Phil off. “I trusted you. You’ve been a family friend for years, a second father to the kids… And what do you do? You go and fuck the first father! Both of you should be ashamed of yourselves! I’ve lost trust in both of you and I don’t think I’ll be getting it back.”
“I’m sorry, I-”
“Go home, Phil. We’re staying here.”
“Can I at least see the kids?”
“You’ll see them the next time you see me– when we file for divorce.”
“Janice, please-” She slammed the door. Phil collapsed up against the door, falling to the ground. He sobbed into his hands, and despite Dan’s emotional numbness, he knew he had to help Phil.
“Come on… Let’s get up and go back to the car.” He pulled his best friend off the concrete, walking him to his car. Suddenly the awkwardness between them was gone. Dan figured it was just because it was a time of extreme emotion, so he shook it off as he sat in the passenger seat. “Oh, Phil, I’m so sorry. This is all my fault.” Once they’re reached the car, Dan let his own emotions flow. His eyes teared up and droplets began to roll down his cheeks.
“Dan… It’s not your fault. We made our decision and now there’s nothing we can do about it. I wish I could just get Janice back… I have nothing left…”
Tears streamed down both of their faces as Dan leaned over and pulled Phil into his arms. “It’ll be okay. I promise.” This promise he made not only to Phil, but to himself. He needed as much convincing as Phil did. Everything will be okay, he told himself. Everything will be okay.