City Lounge: London (Book One, Chapter Seven: Tanya)

Chapter Seven: Tanya:

Sophie and I headed out of the restaurant and into a complicated situation.

“Where to now?” I asked.

“Ice cream, remember?” she asked.

“Right, right.” She always wanted ice cream after eating Thai food. Sophie tilted her head, staring at me.

“What?” she asked. I shrugged my shoulders.

“Nothing,” I said. “Nothing at all.” I shoved my hands into my shorts pocket. “You remember where the ice cream shop is, right?”

“Yes, yes.” We couldn’t help but laugh at the way we were bantering back and forth.

“Sophie? Paul?” we heard someone ask with a loud Mancunian accent. We looked up and saw a bird with bright blonde hair running towards us. Sophie turned to me with a blank stare on her face.

“Is that who I think it is?” she asked. I narrowed my eyes as the other bird ran closer. My jaw dropped.

“No way!” I said, gasping. That bird caught up to us, panting.

“Tanya?” Sophie asked. That blonde woman eyed us back and forth.

“Sophie… and Paul… together,” she said at last.

“Yes,” Sophie and I said.

“Why?”

We looked at each other. “We just met up for lunch!”

“Actually,” I said. “We ran into each other last night at a club and we decided to hang out today.”

“It just kind of happened,” Sophie added.

“Ah,” Tanya said. “Are you two together?”

“No…” we said. Why did we sound so uncertain about that?  We’ve been over for three years now. We just happened to meet up last night and now we were reliving our first date. (Okay, the part where we ran into Tanya didn’t happen the first time. Other than that, it was the same.) Tanya frowned.

“That’s too bad,” she said. “I thought you looked cute together.”

“Did we?” Sophie asked.

“Yeah,” she said, nodding.

“What are you up to today, Tanya?” I asked. “I haven’t seen you around in a while.”

“Oh, I just got came back a little while ago,” she said. “I missed everyone.”

“I see,” I said.

“Carrie’s getting married,” Sophie said. Tanya looked her wide-eyed.

“Are you serious?” she asked.

“Yep.”

“Who’s the lucky man?”

“Roger Nelson.”

Tanya about stumbled backwards. “Get out!”

“I’m serious.”

“Wow!”

“I know,” I said.

“How did that even happen?” Tanya asked. “I thought he was with what’s her name? That bird with the crooked teeth and big chest. Oh, what was her name? Damn it!”

“Jessica?” I asked.

“Yeah, that bird!” she said. “Wonder what happened to her.”

“It didn’t work out too well,” Sophie said. “They broke up about two years ago.”

“Carrie’s the rebound girl?” the other bird asked.

“It doesn’t appear that way to me,” my ex said.

“What about you? Are you and Joe still together?” I asked. Tanya snorted as she stuck up her nose.

“That wanker,” she said. “I left him. Caught his sorry arse with his tongue down the throat of a slapper!” Sophie and I shared looks between each other. It didn’t come as a surprise to us that Joe would do such a thing. In fact, he was flirting with other girls when Tanya first met him. All of our mates were surprised that their relationship lasted as long as it did.

“So… you’re single now?” Sophie asked.

“Yeah,” Tanya said. “I’m focusing on getting a new job now.”

“Wait, what?” I asked.

“What happened to that temp job in Manchester you got last year?” Sophie asked.

“That company went under last month,” she said.

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Don’t be. I practically prayed for an excuse to leave.”

“How is the job search coming along?”

Tanya stretched her arms above her head. “Pretty good, I just came out of an interview from a hair salon place.”

“Nice. How long are you staying in London this time?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she said. “But I don’t mind staying a little bit longer this time.” But then, Tanya paused and her face dropped.

“Oh shite!” she said. “I have to go meet up with Shelley to help her pick out furniture for her new flat!” Tanya started to run past us, but then looked over her shoulder.

“I hope you two do get back together!” she said. “It was nice talking to you!” Sophie and I stared at her as she ran down the street. I looked over at my ex, but couldn’t think of anything to say. Did we really want to get back together? I believed that once it was over, it was over. There was no second chances. You had your chance and it was time to move on. But now…

“Do you still want your ice cream?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said. We walked to the ice cream shop without saying a word. Who else were we going to run into today? Tanya may be sweet, but she has a big mouth that doesn’t know how to stay closed. I bet our mates would be asking questions by the next day. Sophie and I weren’t getting back together. Not today at least. Wait… where did that “at least” come from? We just met up again last now and were just walking around the city. I wouldn’t usually think much about it, but now I don’t really know anymore.

“Paul,” I heard back in reality. I noticed the uneasy look on Sophie’s face.

“What’s the matter?” I asked. She shook her head.

“Nothing,” she said in a small voice.

“If you’re worried about Tanya, I could talk to her if you want.”

“That’s not it.”

“Then what is it?”

“Just forget! It’s nothing.”

“Okay…” What are we doing here? I feel like I am starting to run around in circles in my head. Clearly, we don’t know what we want. I doubt that we would want to get back together so easily. So why do I keep thinking about it?

“Isn’t that the ice cream place up there?” Sophie asked, pointing up ahead. I squinted my eyes as I looked at the store in front of us. I remembered the pink and purple painted on the front of the building. That big ice cream cone still tilted towards the right, dripping brown and green ice cream. I chuckled once I began to recognize it.

“Oh, so it is,” I said. At times like these, it’s nice to see something that manages to stay the same after all of these years.

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