Rachel felt like her heart had stopped, but really it was just that her breath had caught. She forced herself to exhale. The two play tickets crinkled in her hand as her fingers unconsciously tightened in an anxious reaction. Beyond that, however, she managed to keep her cool. “Oh.” Rachel said. It didn’t even occur to her to question JD’s information: that same strange instinct that had been plaguing her for the past few days told her he was a decent guy and could be trusted. “Is something wrong? He didn’t fall off the face of the earth again, did he?”
The joke was feeble, but Rachel was just making light in order to remind herself not to overreact again. At least this time he managed to let me know, I guess? She didn’t understand why Ean hadn’t called, but if he’d sent someone to tell her, instead, then something must’ve come up to keep him from the phone. Maybe he’d been hurt.
JD, however, completely failed to take it as a joke. “Nah, nothing like that,” he said. He jerked a thumb over his shoulder. “In fact, he’s at home right now.” JD frowned. “Look, I’m sorry. I’m botching this up. Ean asked me to tell you: It’s nothing personal, but he just can’t see you.” JD’s frown deepened and he shrugged. “Something like that, anyway.” His lips quirked in a self-deprecating grin. “Honestly, I wasn’t really paying attention. I figured he’d made you up and this errand was just an excuse to get me out of the apartment so he could be alone with Sakura.”
Rachel’s eyes widened as she made the worst possible assumptions. “Sakura?” she asked. “The girl he was kissing this morning?” She remembered Ean saying that had been a goodbye kiss. Apparently he’d been lying. It wouldn’t have been the first time someone lied to her about a relationship.
JD’s eyebrows shot up. “He was? Damn! You join the army for a few years, and suddenly cute foreign girls want to kick your ass and it turns out your best friend’s a player,” he mused to himself. “How’d that happen?”
“I don’t know,” Rachel said quietly. “But I, for one, am really sick of being played.” She forced herself to relax. There was no need to get ‘violent’ and ‘crazy-stalker-ish.’ After all, JD was just the messenger. And Ean apparently wasn’t worth it, despite the insistent feeling that he was. The two tickets Rachel held fluttered to the floor as she made her fingers unclench. “Please inform Ean that his message has been received.” Rachel smiled tightly, determined to keep a lid on the internal turmoil of her emotions and instincts. “Although I still don’t see why he couldn’t have called me and told me so himself.”
“Hey now,” JD protested – quick to leap to Ean’s defense. “Give the guy some slack, you know? He’d just been laid on his back by a ninja and I’m pretty sure the cord on his kitchen phone doesn’t stretch to the bedroom.” JD snorted. “That boy really needs a mobile.”
“Right,” Rachel said. Her gut felt like it was twisting, but she managed not to show it. “Of course. I should have known.” She straightened her shoulders. Her sixth sense was screaming at her that this was a big misunderstanding; that Ean was a trustworthy guy – that he wasn’t actually skipping their date to screw the woman he’d told her had walked out of his life that morning. She ignored it. She’d been burned too often and too badly by others she’d felt that she could trust.
“Well,” Rachel said, “if you’ll pardon me, I think I’ll just go home. Please tell Ean he needn’t bother calling me in the future, either.”
“Cool,” said JD as he stepped aside. “Will do. And hey: buck up. This is for the best, really. I mean, you and Ean?” JD snorted. “I can’t believe you asked him out. You two aren’t even in the same league. Frankly, he should’ve known better than to say ‘yes’ to begin with.”