Chapter 7: Raging Emotions
When Scarlett opened her eyes, she noticed that the other side of the bed was empty. She assumed that Archimedes had taken her rules seriously, which was a good thing. A part of her wished he hadn’t, but she told that part to shut up.
She went to take a shower, got dressed and then made her way to the kitchen. To her surprise, she was welcomed by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and something being baked in the oven.
“Birthday girl is up,” sang Archimedes, as if popping out of thin air.
“How did you know?” she exclaimed, grinning ear to ear.
He revealed that her aunt kept calling early morning; Scarlett’s phone just won’t stop buzzing so he picked it. She literally screamed “happy birthday” which caused him to fall off the bed in alarm.
“What did you say to her about us?” she demanded frantically.
“I told your Aunt that we were in a study group together and that you left your phone at my house after a regular session,” he replied.
Scarlett allowed herself a sigh of relief and sat down on the couch. Archimedes served her a tray of freshly baked muffins. She was grateful and told him it was the sweetest thing any friend had ever done for her.
“If I’d known earlier that it was your big day, then I’d have planned something bigger and better,” he said.
“This is perfect for me,” she assured.
“But I still have to get you a present,” he insisted, “Tell me what you want,”
“I don’t care about gifts but now that you ask, I do like morning sex,” she disclosed playfully.
Demelza woke up with a severe hangover and a crappy mood. She called out for Archimedes as soon as she got into her slippers. As she stepped out of the bedroom, she found Kenneth lying across the sofa watching football on television.
He told her that Archimedes wasn’t back and offered her a cup of coffee for the hangover. She was upset and refused him dismissively. Archimedes usually got back early from his usual rendezvous, so him not being home was making her fret. She tried calling on his number, but there was no response.
After fooling around in every nook and cranny of the apartment, Archimedes and Scarlett lay beside each other in bed for a while.
“This ‘friends with benefits’ thing is awesome,” said Scarlett, “and this is the second best birthday ever,”
“Which was the first?” pried Archimedes.
She told him that it was her sixteenth birthday when she lost her virginity to William. He made her a heart shaped strawberry cheese cake and recited a two minute speech about how she was the best thing to ever happen to him.
Archimedes felt a pang of jealousy and reminded her that he baked muffins and she giggled. He adored the way she giggled like a cute little Pokémon.
“By the way you’re pretty good in bed,” he commended.
“You’re not so bad either,” she responded.
Archimedes sat up and pulled her into his lap; she fit perfectly with her petite and flexible body.
“So since when have you been on the pill?” he asked her casually.
“I haven’t” she said hesitantly and bit her lip.
Archimedes was shocked and his face turned a bit pale. Scarlett threw her head back and guffawed like a lunatic. He shoved her off his lap and jumped out of bed. He spat out random curse words as he paced the room.
“Calm down, I’m sterile,” she cried out.
He stared at her uncertainly; she seemed serious and tears emerged at the corners of her eyes. He sat back down and held her hand. Bit by bit, she told him everything and he felt sorry for her. He embraced her in his arms and apologized for freaking out. She giggled between sobs and said it was okay.
“Who needs kids anyway,” she humored, “they’re so annoying,”
“Yeah totally,” he agreed.
Archimedes told Scarlett to go wash her face and get dressed, as he wanted to take her some place. She told him that he didn’t have to, and that he had already been too kind.
“I think I’ve taken enough of your time,”
“Well that’s absolute rubbish!”
He then proceeded to fetch his cell phone and noticed several missed calls from Demelza, plus a text from Kenneth asking where he was. He texted them both that he was busy with some stuff and they wouldn’t be seeing him for the rest of the day. He then told Scarlett that everything had been taken care of and he was all hers for the rest of her special day.
“You don’t have to,” she repeated.
“But I want to,” he stated adamantly, “now tell me where would you like to go?”
“Chicago,” she squealed.
Archimedes folded his arms over his chest and looked at her as if she was kidding, but she wasn’t. When he asked her the reason for wanting to visit Chicago, she declared it was the “deep dish pizza”.
“We could also stop by to see your dad,” she added astutely.
He threw his hands up in the air and said that he was in if that’s what she truly wanted.
Henry was delighted to see his son. It was quite a touchy moment when Archimedes apologized to him for being so careless and they embraced each other in tears. Scarlett was overjoyed to meet Henry as he was such a sweet and simple man.
He always loved meeting Archimedes’ friends and treated them all like his own children. Being a wise and observant man, he saw that Scarlett was different from his usual acquaintances; he had a feeling that she was going to be a very special part of his son’s life.
The trio sat down together and shared life stories. Later they went out to eat the best deep-dish pizza in town. When Henry found out that it was Scarlett’s birthday, he insisted to give her a present.
He went to his room and extracted an antique jewelry box from his closet. He cautiously opened it and took out a beautiful pendant that he had gifted Melrose on their first wedding anniversary; it was made of pure silver and genuine emerald stones. He put it around Scarlett’s neck; she could tell it was too precious and refused to accept such an expensive gift.
“Would you say no if your own father gave it to you?” he raised, “you’ll make an old man very happy by accepting this small token of love,”
After that, she obediently kept it and promised Henry that she would always cherish it. She also told him that he was the closest she’d ever had to a dad and it was a great honor for her. He disclosed that he and Melrose had a daughter that they lost soon after she was born.
“Now that you’re here, I feel like I got my daughter back,” he told Scarlett.
Scarlett and Archimedes stayed the night. After Henry went to bed, the two lay awake for a while and conversed about their adventurous day, which was like a roller coaster of emotions. She thanked Archimedes for sharing his old man’s love with her, which was priceless and beautiful.
He in turn thanked Scarlett for reuniting him with his father; he didn’t realize how much he had been missing this. She shifted close and put her arms around him. He touched his head with hers and held her gently. They fell asleep that way.
Next morning Henry woke them up and fed them a dozen pancakes for breakfast. He made them promise that they would come visit him every now and then. Saying goodbye was hard and prolonged. Before they left, Henry pulled Archimedes aside and told him to hold on to Scarlett as she was definitely worth keeping.
Demelza threw herself at Archimedes as soon as he entered the apartment. She was worried sick and asked him where he had disappeared to? She was annoyed that his phone was switched off. He told her to take it easy and referred to the text he sent to her and Kenneth. He looked at Kenneth for support and he just shrugged.
“She’s been acting weird since last night, and she’s not even on her period” he chuckled.
Demelza tossed him a dirty look and nagged Archimedes to tell her where on earth he was the whole time. He provided that he had gone to see Henry, and the tension in her muscles eased after hearing that.
“Why didn’t you just tell me that?” she whined.
“It was spontaneous,” he blurted out, “and incredible”
An unexpected smile emerged on his lips and he excused himself from his friends. He promised to tell them all about his trip after a nap. Kenneth was cool with it, but Demelza was simply pissed.
“So did you make a move on Demelza yesterday?” brought up Archimedes.
He was with Kenneth at the college cafeteria; they had an hour to kill before class. Kenneth told him that he tried but she was too distracted and grouchy. They returned home early and he made an effort to talk to her but her only concern at the time was getting drunk and being grumpy.
Archimedes found that peculiar, as it didn’t sound like his best friend at all. At that moment, an idea struck him. He decided to get into Demelza’s mind through her dreams and maybe persuade her into noticing Kenneth for once.
Although Archimedes had promised himself that he would never use his secret power on his friends, at the time it seemed like a good idea.
“I’m going to help you get Demelza this time,” he vowed, “before she wanders off with someone else,”
“Why don’t you just talk to her for me,” suggested Kenneth, “she always listens to you,”
Archimedes insisted that wouldn’t work and things could get awkward between him and Demelza. Kenneth wondered what else his friend was going to do. He told him to wait and watch.
Shortly he received a text from Scarlett and told Kenneth that he had some important stuff to do. He offered to tag along but Archimedes abruptly said ‘no’. Before his buddy could ask further questions, he sprinted off to catch up with his favorite girl.
Demelza clenched her teeth as she caught sight of Archimedes and Scarlett hanging around campus. They were too giddy and the way he looked at Scarlett just was unsettling. He even held her hand and Demelza knew well that he wasn’t a hand holder. Without thinking twice, she stomped over and yanked Archimedes away.
“I need to talk to you for a minute alone,” she said aggressively.
Archimedes glanced at Scarlett apologetically and said that he’d get back to her in a minute. He followed Demelza to an isolated spot several feet away and questioned the purpose for her sudden outbreak.
“Why are you being so cozy with that little twat?” she hissed at him.
“Mind your language Demelza,” he retorted, “What’s gotten into you?”
“I am your best friend but I’m the one you don’t have time for,” she cried.
Archimedes frowned as he held her gaze for a moment and then broke into a warm smile. He told her she was being ridiculous and that she should know that no one could replace her in his life.
“Me, you and Kenneth, we’ll all go out tonight,” he proposed, “just the three of us”
Demelza snorted and said that wasn’t necessary. Her rude remark offended him a little bit but he kept his cool and asked what he could do to make it up to her. She stated that he wouldn’t understand and took a hike. Scarlett approached him as soon as she was out of sight.
“Everything okay?” she inquired.
He let her know that Demelza was acting strange, which was probably because of her recent breakup. Scarlett advised that he spend time with her, as it seemed like she could definitely use a friend.
In Archimedes’ opinion, she just needed to figure things out on her own and would be absolutely back to normal in a few days.
Archimedes came in late after working on a college project with Scarlett.
“Where are you at these days?” Kenneth interrogated, “should I be worried?”
“It’s a girl,” he said casually.
He took off his shoes, grabbed a beer and sat across Kenneth in the lounge. He asked him how Demelza was doing. He disclosed that she seemed angry so he didn’t dare try talk to her. He also mentioned that she had gone early to bed and was most likely asleep by then.
Archimedes finished his beer and said goodnight. It was time to pay a visit to Demelza in her dreams.
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