Michael watched as Cat blushed everytime he tried to talk to her. He smiled even when she snapped or faked bravery. She was always so protective of herself even when he was his most friendly. At some points he did wonder if she wanted to be friends with him and Henry. However, every now and then he saw her smile and he knew she hated to be alone.
“Tell me,” Cat asked Michael once Henry had left. “Why did you go to Henry and me that day? Were you just bored?”
“I was alone,” Michael replied thoughtfully. “And I don’t even have that little voice inside of me to have conversation with.”
Cat gave a small laugh.
“Henry is a good guy,” Michael added.
“He sure is...but…” Cat replied. It was a ‘but’ that had gripped Michael’s attention. “He isn’t me. He is his...Henry. Talented, cheerful...way to optimistic for me.”
“What is wrong with optimism?”
“Uh...nothing in itself, but people get sad or angry so often. Someone who fights so many important emotions like that will eventually break.”
“I don’t think that will be Henry.”
“Maybe you are right, but for me, I need to be comfortable with people when they experience those emotions. I can’t imagine Henry as angry or sad.”
Michael nodded in agreement. He figured it did make some sense, but he wasn’t so deep into such an idea. To him, being consistent is what mattered. There was no way he could manage his emotions as well as Henry, but he would happily try.
“Do you know...what Henry thinks of me?” Cat asked.
“No, I don’t,” Michael replied honestly. “I wouldn’t take the drawing out of context though. He loves to draw and paint...maybe that is his greatest passion nowadays.”
“I think so...but I can’t help but think there was something, you know?” Cat replied.
Michael felt he was in a one-sided conversation.
“Do you want there to be something?” Michael asked.
“A little...but I hope note. I don’t mind having him as a friend, but I don’t want to hurt him as well.”
“I think you are reading into this too deeply, Cat. It’s that book isn’t it?”
Cat looked bashful for a moment, but Michael was right. She had been reading a romance novel that had quickly turned to smut. She dropped the book, at least, that’s what she said.
“Okay, what happened?” Michael smiled knowing she wanted to talk about the latest events that transpired with the protagonist.
“She slept with James,” Cat replied quickly. It surprised Michael.
“But isn’t James…”
“Does that mean he is going to…”
“I kind of hope so.”
The next hour was spent on a conversation that neither thought they would have. As time passed Michael grew more disheartened that he had fallen into the deepest friendzone. Talking about a smut romance novel with the girl that seemed totally uninterested in him. However, that feeling changed when they said their goodnights.
“Night, Cat,” Michael told her with a smile. “Try not to get distracted with you book.”
Cat wrapped her arms around Michael and hugged him for a brief moment. When she stopped she couldn’t lift her head up to look at him.
“Goodnight, Michael,” Cat replied.
She walked off towards home while Michael stood there for a moment. After a few seconds he began walking home as well. Henry and Michael had ended up going halves on an apartment to meet a budget they could live with. Michael was till moving his stuff in, so when he opened the door the edge knocked of a box of books that hit the ground on a corner. The box broke open and the books spilled out onto the floor.
Henry sat in front of the TV, sketching happily.
“How did it go?” Henry asked.
“She thinks you’re interested in her,” Michael told him.
“Oh,” Henry murmured, turning on his seat to look at Michael. “Sorry about that.”
“It’s fine, we had a great conversation.”
“But you didn’t ask her out, huh?”
“No, I didn’t.”
Henry laughed to himself.
“Don’t worry about it, she is interested.”
“And you know this how?”
“She talks to you, man, and she isn’t that kind of girl. Remember the first week when we all got together? She barely talked at all and what she said wasn’t super friendly either. What did you two talk about?”
“That book she said she ditched.”
“Oh, yeah, she likes you.”
Michael gathered the books into his hands, reading the covers one-by-one absentmindedly. Perhaps Henry was right, but Michael still lacked the courage or timing to ask her out. With that on his mind he couldn’t help by appreciate Henry for all his help. Henry seemed to ready to be friends with anyone he met, he was so kind-hearted. What is more, his confidence boosting was helping a lot as well.
Michael placed the books on the table and eyed one of them. He set it aside, realizing that Cat would probably enjoy reading it. Michael was falling far Cat more and more. She continued to surprise him with her smile and if she was showing interest and he was missing it, the hug he received might have just been the clarification he needed.
With that, he settled his quiet thoughts and joined Henry in front of the TV. The continued to talk about work while the TV played an old action movie which seemed to make no sense for the first half and even less at the second half. Eyes drooped for Michael and he retired to bed. Once his bed hit the pillow he was dreaming and his love grew a little more when he saw the same smile that fixated him throughout the dream.
“Do you think James would make sense for her, or should she have gone after Linus?”
“From what you told me, Linus didn’t seem the right fit for her. James might just be the one.”
“Yes, but at the same time, James might not have the love she needs.”
“I think he does.”
Be sure to follow!