Step by step
Request: “Don’t be a stranger” with post-break-up Michael
Summary: getting a break-up is harder than you’d think
You know coming to the party the second you see him, his head thrown back in a full-bodied laugh you know like the back of your hand. Immediately your muscles lock.
“I can’t do this.”
Your best friend ignores your frantic tone, and grabs your arm.
“Of course you can. We’ve been over this. Get a drink, have fun with the girl squad, maybe chat up a boy or two, and then home to watch a movie.”
You slowly breathe out, remembering the steps you had agreed on for your ‘post-break-up return to fun life’. What you hadn’t exactly counted on was your ex doing the exact same thing.
Plucking up your courage, you decide to just pretend he doesn’t exist. That should make things easier, right? You go up to the bar and down a shot for liquid courage before getting yourself a cocktail.
“Why didn’t you tell me Michael was gonna be here?” You ask your best friend sullenly as you both head towards your group of girl friends, just a few meters off where Michael and his boys are apparently having the time of their life.
You smile at the girls and try your best to concentrate on the conversation, but the sound of Michael’s voice keeps distracting you. It feels like he’s going to come over anytime now and throw an arm around your shoulders, kiss your cheek and make a couple of awful jokes before confessing to being horny and can we please go home soon?
You exhale harshly and go back to the bar, asking for two more tequila shots. The barman shoots you a grin as he makes them and you smile back a bit belatedly, remembering the steps. Flirt with a guy. Right.
“A tequila type of girl, huh?”
“More like a get-drunk-now girl,” you say, frowning a little as you pour the salt over your hand.
Your movements freeze as you feel someone stand next to you. You know who it is instantly, without looking up. It may be the way he holds himself or the smell of his cologne, or just the fact that after a year of dating, your body just developed a kind of Michael sixth sense.
You down your first shot as he asks for his drink. You can tell the exact second he recognizes you because his voice falters halfway through his order before continuing. A vodka soda, on the rocks, please. You grit your teeth.
The bartender keeps talking to you as he prepares Michael’s drink, and you desperately cling to his words, trying to ignore the way Michael’s eyes bore into the side of your head. Notice me, they say. Acknowledge me.
Instead, you take the second shot.
“I’ll have another one I think,” you say, and are about to reach out for the glass when fingers lightly grip your wrist.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Michael says, something delicate in his voice. Something like worry.
You grit your teeth again. Stare at his fingers on your wrist hard until he finally relents with a sigh. You smile at the slightly confused bartender, taking the shot and the piece of lime. Next to you, Michael sighs again.
“Please don’t be like that,” he finally says. “Don’t be a stranger.”
You still, slowly and carefully putting the shot glass down before turning to meet his eyes for the first time.
He’s frowning, looking a bit helpless. The tiniest bit lost too, like maybe you’re not the only one who doesn’t know how to interact now.
“I just, I know we broke up but. It meant something to me. You meant something to me…you always will. Please don’t pretend we didn’t happen, because I can’t stop how you, we’ve changed who I am as a person. It’s important,” he insists.
You drop your gaze, bite your lip a bit.
You take your tequila shot for one more burst of liquid confidence before slightly smiling at Michael through the sourness of the lime.
“Let’s go say hi to the girls, then.”
“Yeah,” he smiles back, a tad hesitant. “The boys will want to see you too. They’ve missed you.”
“Okay. I can do this,” you whisper to yourself.
So you do.