Like I Would


It was a dumb idea. A terrible, stupid, stupid idea. But I’d got home, tried to settle into cooking supper and I’d lost it. I couldn’t even stir spaghetti I was crying so hard; the silence in the house was more than I could stand, the family pictures on the hall following me, reminding me he wasn’t here anymore, even though I couldn’t bear to cover or take any down or even move any of them. And with that I broke, phoning Jordan once I could sort of speak, and without hesitation he agreed to come over for a while.

Now I was pacing the living room, trying to decide whether to call him back and tell him I was okay or not. But as badly as I worried hanging out with him could be, I realized the prospect of continuing to be completely isolated and alone was worse. So I sat my butt down on the couch to keep from pacing and waited for him to get here. I was hesitant to return to the kitchen until he was here, knowing that the collage frame of pictures would send me into water works again.

“Hey? Anybody home?” Jordan opened the door and stuck his head in rather than knocking, which spooked me right off the couch. I landed with a thud, getting his attention and sending him rushing into the living room to witness my embarrassment.

“Sorry, you scared me,” I admitted, taking the hand he offered and standing up.

“Sorry about that. I uh, brought some board games. Thought it might help,” he offered weakly, holding up the bag with a lopsided half-smile that was kind of adorable. It reminded me of an eighth grade Jordan I knew a lifetime ago.

“Thanks, that sounds like fun,” I agreed, and looked towards the kitchen.

“I uh, well I was gonna make supper – have you had any?”

His growling stomach answered for him, making both of us laugh and easing the tension in the room tenfold, and with that he followed me into the kitchen. I went back to the stove, turning the burner back on and trying to avoid looking over toward the table. Jordan turned on some music on his phone, and soon had bumbled his way into finding a cutting board and knife, and began cutting up some vegetables, humming along to some new country song on his phone all the while.

It was actually nice; it was calming to have another person to share space with. And it was comfortable – we didn’t have to say anything, because just being there was enough. It was something I hadn’t known since Marc and I had been close friends.

“I, uh, can’t guarantee how good it will be. I haven’t done a ton of cooking in the last year and a half or so,” I admitted, feeling my cheeks turn a deep shade of pink as we dished up the pasta and sauce.

“I’m hungry enough it wouldn’t matter if it tasted like glue,” Jordan assured me, moving to sit at the kitchen table with his dinner in hand.

“Can we, uh, sit in the living room?” I blurted, feeling even more embarrassed. Jordan looked confused, before realization covered his features and his eyes darted momentarily to the pictures on the wall.

“Of course! Maybe there’s a good movie on TV; if not we can get started on some Kaiser,” he continued on, as if there wasn’t any other reason to sit in the living room and eat than that. I felt my shoulders sag, relief coursing through my system at his easy acceptance of seemingly anything.

We ate and watched some TV show Jordan swore by, before he busted out the games he’d brought with him. Snakes and ladders, monopoly, life… and three or four other games I remembered playing in the living room with the Staal boys, and on more than one occasion Tanya.

“Take your pick – I brought cards too,” he dumped the regular, Uno, and Phase 10 boxes on the table, and I felt a grin.


“Aw come on,” he groaned. I always used to beat him at this game, it had never failed growing up.

“Please Jordan?”

“Ugh, I guess.” He relented, and I laughed as I took out the cards and started to shuffle. I’d tried to explain the game to some of the girls that lived nearby in London, but they didn’t really see the appeal of it. And I couldn’t for the life of me get my hands on a deck to actually show it to them.

We played for almost three hours, going through every game he’d brought with him, and finally quitting Monopoly when we were both broke and too frustrated to go on. That game had never been our strong suit back in the day either. If memory served me right, more than one fight had broken out from the two younger Staal’s ‘stealing’ from or ‘mismanaging’ the bank.

“Oh hey, Gladiator is on!” he grinned like a little kid on Christmas after browsing through the few cable channels available. He selected it and settled into the couch beside me, which was almost oddly comforting, knowing he wasn’t eager to be getting out of here. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to have people who came just to hang out, where there wasn’t any obligation to talk about work, or anything in particular, and no time restrictions.

“Ugh this movie is so nasty… how do you watch this?” I groaned, hiding my face for the millionth time as someone was speared.

“Aw come on – it’s a great movie,” he yawned, and I fought it but soon caved into a yawn myself as I shook my head.

“There’s so much blood and guts… ugh…” I made a face, making him laugh before he pulled me into his side.

“But there’s a great story to it too!” he argued, and I merely shook my head again, settling into his side and letting his body heat warm me up. His arm stayed comfortably around my shoulders, and I found myself yawning more as the movie continued.

“It’s okay to go to sleep,” he quietly told me, rubbing my arm softly.

“No, I’m okay,”

“You’re never just okay when you say that,” he retorted, and I realized he was right. I’d always used to say that around him and Marc, and usually it was to cover something up. The fact he remembered that kind of blew me away.

“You sure?”

“Of course. As long as you don’t wake up and freak out if I’m asleep on the couch,” he chuckled, making me roll my eyes before curling up beside him and pulling the blanket over my legs.

“Thanks Jordan – for all this,” I mumbled, letting my heavy eyelids fall closed.
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Ta-da! Hope you guys like it! :)