A/N: This is a follow-up to a previously posted imagine called Best “Friends” Forever which can be found here.
Everyone moved about in the room, either trying to find a partner to dance with (and eventually leave with for the night) or were coupled up speaking to others as they flaunted the eye candy on their arm even if she was just a ‘rental’ for the night. That was often the layout of these sorts of events which was why it grew tiring accompanying Cristiano to these things.
No one ever knew exactly who I was. Sure, I was labeled as the best friend and I was that for quite some time but eventually tables began to turn and added layers of complication began to grow.
What started as a fun night of drinking with my best friend turned into sex which eventually turned into the dismantling of his ‘perfect’, star studded relationship with Irina Shayk. To think I had a part in the breakup that all the publications were speculating about was a bit hard to swallow. No one knew the exact reason but instead threw out their own theories. Thankfully none of them included me.
It was hard to hide the feelings that were surfacing for him. I thought after that one mistake I was going to forget our drunken escapade and continue to act like I normally did around him. It worked for the first few days when he pretty much avoided me to try and get his thoughts together but when he came back around with that charming smile as if I, and him because the blame didn’t all fall onto me, didn’t ruin his picture perfect relationship it was hard to ignore that new heart flutter. I wanted that feeling to disappear so bad.
But when Cris paraded me around like his trophy wife, his hand always sliding to the small of my back as he spoke to someone and rubbing soothing circles against the layer of my clothing in that spot to assure me conversation wouldn’t run long when he knew I wanted to go home and kick off my heels…
…It did something to me. Something it was not supposed to do.
Or when he’d drape his hand to my ear to send my spiraling bushy curls behind it to reveal my eyes because as he said ‘They were too beautiful to be hidden behind those brown waves’ I could feel myself nearly losing it internally.
He didn’t know what those little things did to me because I tried to keep a pokerface but my goodness, I didn’t know how long I could keep up this act and this was just another night I’d have to keep up the façade while he acted perfectly normal.
“You hungry?” Cris turned to me as he tightened his grip around my hand, moving through a crowd of people. Of course they all stared with most of the women reveling in his good looks up close. He was literally perfect visually and I now had those same thoughts as them that I had somehow overlooked in the years of our friendship. I silently nodded while he continued to guide us through the crowds of people and to the bar of appetizers for now.
“Food should be coming out soon. You know how these things go.” That I did. I had been to many of these things now that Cristiano was a single man. Someone had to join him to fight off the prying questions of why his relationship with Irina had ended.
Fate had a funny way of working because just as I thought of the woman, there she was entering the room to wide eyes from spectators who knew of the clash that was about to happen because they knew and I knew that the estranged couple were in the same room for probably the first time in a while. But Cristiano and Irina didn’t.
I thought to tap his shoulder and tell him but as soon as I turned to say something, I realized his eyes had already gravitated to her. “Oh shit,” he uttered lowly, his eyes stuck on her as if he had seen a ghost. He eventually snapped out of it and lowered his eyes to me, looking for guidance. “Should I say something?”
I wanted to vehemently answer no but I knew that wasn’t what he wanted to hear so instead I shrugged carelessly. “Can you come with me?”
My eyes immediately widened in fear and I shook my head no furiously. I hadn’t seen Irina since Cristiano told her about that night. I hadn’t reached out to say little of anything so what was I going to say now? Should I apologize to her in front of this room full of strangers? No, that would draw too much attention and pulling her to the side would do the same. I couldn’t.
Cris didn’t give me enough time to think of a masterplan because he was now pulling me by my hand towards where she walked. I gulped nervously, dreading my steps until they finally stopped right in front of the woman. The smile on her painted red lips dropped into a mask of anger until she remembered she was being watched, fixing those lips again to the wide smile she had on her face previously.
“Cristiano,” she uttered out, her tone having a certain sense of bitterness. She didn’t even bother to acknowledge me by name but instead drove her eyes over me in disgust.
It didn’t make me feel more sympathetic. In fact, it made me dull my feelings of guilt and want to grab Cristiano closer into my arms and plant a deep kiss to his lips to claim him as mine now.
But I didn’t.
I instead stood there awkwardly, holding my best friend’s hand. “Irina. Hi.” A silence now loomed until we found ourselves (nearly) alone and Irina felt comfortable speaking.
She rose her finger and pointed to me and Cristiano’s tightly interlocked hands.
“So it’s official.” The glint of jealousy in her eyes was apparent as she glared to our hands. Immediately, Cris did the unthinkable and dropped my hand out of his grip, leaving me there a bit stunned and dumbfounded.
“Uh…we’re not a couple,” he answered meekly. “Just friends.”
That stung more than I thought it would even though it was the truth. I had this hope that he would fumble through his words and then eventually admit that he had fallen for me through the course of the past few weeks. That he was actually grateful for that drunken night because it had led him to the one and away from her.
But he didn’t.
Irina nodded, still not quite believing the story. “Right. Just friends,” she mocked.
Cris turned to me with pleading eyes. “Give us a sec?” It was clear they had a lot to talk about but I wanted to be there. I was hoping he’d let me be there.
I nodded in understanding and began to walk away to try and find something to occupy me so I didn’t look so lonely. I found a seat at a table not too far off so I could still keep the couple in my view but it seemed as soon as I sat down, the pair found their ways off to somewhere they could have privacy. I huffed, pulling out my phone to pretend to look busy.
And that’s how I sat for the next 30 minutes, watching the time on my phone tick by quickly with no sign of the two. I had downed two glasses of wine while the two empty glasses sat in front of me now. I surely needed a third.
My eyes lit up as soon as I saw Cris rushing back into the room, his steps a little quicker than usual and his suit jacket laid over his arm. Once he was close enough he spoke, “She wants to talk.”
My heart sunk and it was a bad combination coupled with the wine. “I told the driver to take you back to your place instead of mine so you can leave whenever. I grabbed your bag for you,” he spoke as he handed over the small black clutch I had worn inside.
I sat there unable to speak while Cristiano simply cracked a smile and kissed my forehead tenderly. “I love you. Text me when you get home.” And with a wink he was hurrying out of the door and presumably to her.
Leaving me there…alone.
I wanted to cry so bad but I held back the sting of tears. He had inadvertently chosen her over me and I was stuck just dealing with the facts without any guidance or help, left trying to hide my feelings for my best friend.
It’s hard for me to say, I’m jealous of the way you’re happy without me.