“Earlier in the week, Apollo had a bit of a meltdown at school.”
Thalassa’s eyes widened. “Is he okay? What was wrong?”
“I think the whole… us splitting up thing took a bit of a toll on Apollo. I’d really appreciate it if you could talk to him, and just tell him that everything’s gonna be okay.”
Thalassa nodded. “I’ll talk to him.”
Jove smiled. “Thanks, so uh… Apollo’s gonna be gone for how long?”
“Two nights. I’ll bring him home around two if that’s alright.”
“Yeah, that’s great.”
Thalassa smiled down at Apollo. “Are you ready to go?”
Apollo grinned that toothy grin of his as he nodded. “Bye Daddy!”
“Bye Pollywog! See you Sunday.”
The two left Jove in his apartment. It was much more tense now that he was alone. He found himself almost missing the constant drone of the TV or the sound of Apollo acting out the stories floating around in his head. Never had the quiet felt so stifling.
Jove pulled out his phone and dialed Johann.
“Johann, Apollo left and now I’m alone. We should get the rest of the band and go to a bar.”
Johann sighed. “Please tell me you’re not gonna make this a weekly thing.”
“No, I just wasn’t expecting the quiet to stress me but…”
Johann sighed. “Alright, alright. You call Anna, and we’ll all meet there.”
“Thank you!” Jove hung up and changed out of his old t-shirt and jeans.
I haven’t hung out with the band outside of work recently anyway… We could use a break from working for a night.
And so Jove continued to justify his separation anxiety as he drove down to the bar him and his friends occasionally frequented. Everyone else was already seemed to be there.
“We haven’t done this in a while.” Nate said.
Jove laughed nervously. “Yeah… I figured we deserved a little break, y’know?”
Nate and Anna walked inside while Jove pulled Johann outside. “Thanks for not telling them I’m a clingy mess.”
Johann shrugged. “I figured you wouldn’t like that fact advertised to the world.”
“You know me so well.”
“Well I’ve known you for a while. Your little quirks are old news to me.”
Jove nodded. “True, true,” and the two walked in.
“I’m buying the first round.” Nate announced.
“Oh get me a margarita, would ya babe?” Anna asked.
Nate nodded. “How ’bout you Jove?”
“A mojito would be great.”
Johann thought for a moment, then a daring look crossed his face. “Surprise me.”
“Ooh, someone’s got a death wish.” Anna snickered then whispered something to Nate who shook his head.
Johann looked to the side, then nudged Jove. “I think that guy’s checking me out.”
Jove followed Johann’s gaze to see a man looking at their table. “Go talk to ‘im.”
“I can’t just ‘go talk to him’. I gotta be tactful. I mean, what if he isn’t interested?”
“Well guess you don’t have to wonder…”
The man got up and approached Jove. “Hey man, you got change for a five?”
Johann let out a low, disappointed sigh as Jove pulled out his wallet.
“Here you go,”
“Got my hopes up and everything.”
Anna patted Johann’s shoulder. “This place is full of dudes. There’s gotta be at least one that can stand to look at your ugly mug.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence, Ann.”
Anna shrugged. “I found my guy that way. Isn’t that right, Nate?”
The other man nodded as he placed the drinks down on the table. “Margarita for the lady, mojito for the Jove, and a regular ol’ beer for the Johann. I didn’t want to be too crazy so I played it safe.”
“I told him to get you the grossest sounding thing on the menu, but Nate said that would be a waste of money.” Anna rolled her eyes.
“Well we’re not exactly rich at the moment…” Nate took a sip from his cocktail. “Once you’re rolling in dough you can buy all the shitty drinks you want.”
Anna grinned. “When our album takes off I will.”
“Remind me to never let you get the drinks.” Johann muttered as he took a swig of his beer.
Jove just sat back and drank his mojito while everyone talked. He wanted to say something, but there just never seemed to be anything worthwhile to say.
“You’ve been quiet, Jove. Something on your mind?” Anna asked.
He shook his head. “It’s just… Apollo’s with Thalassa for the weekend and I don’t know what to do now. I’m so used to him moving around that now an empty apartment freaks me out.”
“You get used to it after a while.” Johann muttered. “After a few weeks you’ll just accept the fact that your ex isn’t coming back, and you at least learn to deal with being alone.”
Jove nodded slowly. “I guess…”
A song started playing and Anna’s face lit up.”Ooh, c’mon Nate! I love this song.”
And then Jove and Johann were alone.
“Y’know… I’m not sure whether to be jealous of Nate because he has a girlfriend, or pitying him because he’s dating Anna.”
Jove shrugged. “I think the only reason she’s mean to us is because we know she’s not serious. I mean, she doesn’t treat Apollo that way.”
The two looked over at Anna and Nate. They were slow dancing to an otherwise fast song. Anna was leaning her head on Nate’s chest.
Johann ran his finger along the lip of his beer can. “They look so happy.” He remarked.
Jove nodded and downed the last gulps of his mojito. When he looked back, his gaze fell on the small outline of a box in Nate’s back pocket. Jove nudged Johann. “You see that?”
The other man squinted. “Yeah… wait, you don’t think-”
Nate pulled it out and got down on one knee.
“Oh my god he’s doing it…” Johann said as his and Jove’s gazes met. “Jove, he’s doing it!”
Anna looked surprised, then averted her gaze to the ground. Her lips formed words that neither man could hear.
Nate didn’t seem too thrilled.
“What did she say?” Jove’s grip had tightened around his glass.
Nate and Anna walked back to the table. “I-I’m sorry… I’m just not ready.” Anna said.
“Is it me?” Nate looked crushed.
“No! No, of course not. I can’t imagine being with anyone else.”
“…What happened?” Johann asked.
Anna and Nate exchanged a look. “Nate proposed to me and… I told him I wasn’t ready.”
Johann knit his eyebrows together. “Why?”
Anna bristled. “I’m just not ready okay? Why can’t you just respect that?”
Johann held out both of his hands as a sort of protective measure. “Sorry, sorry. I didn’t mean to piss you off.”
Nate stepped in. “Anna and I are going to head home so we can talk a little bit. We’ll catch you later, okay?”
Jove and Johann watched their band mates leave. “Looks like no one’s relationships are going well…” Jove remarked.
Johann knocked back his head and downed the beer. When he looked back, Anna had returned.
“I almost forgot.” She started chugging her margarita.
“Uh… Anna, you’re drinking that really fast are-” Johann started.
The glass slammed down on the table. “Ah, it hurts so good.” She picked up Nate’s drink and downed that as well. “Bye guys,” and then she was gone.
“She just downed two drinks without a second thought.” Johann muttered.
Jove nodded slowly. “Yes she just did.”
“Should we be surprised?”
“No we should not.”
. . .
My stomach was growling, and my pockets were empty. The biting hunger seemed a bit more vicious now that I had been spoiled with consistent meals for a week or two. I was busy counting down the hours to Thalassa’s performance when two thugs walked up to me.
“Hey shitstain, give us all your cash.”