Chapter 6: By the Dolphin Fountain
Demelza was all by herself at the apartment. She turned on some trance music and sat down to work on an academic assignment that was due soon. Shortly, the doorbell rang and she got to her feet excitedly, expecting to see Archimedes. Her face fell a little when she saw her boyfriend David.
“What a nice surprise,” she said offhandedly.
David closed the door behind him, pulled her into his arms, and kissed her passionately on her lips.
“I’m here to help you pack” he told her, “we have a flight for Texas tomorrow at 10:30 AM”
She stared at him with a puzzled expression on her face. He reminded her of their conversation about going to visit his parents and that she’d agreed quite willingly. As a matter of fact, it didn’t ring a bell because she wasn’t listening to him at the time. She clarified that it was a misunderstanding and that she could never have said yes to such a thing.
“What’s the rush anyway?” she whined, “I’ve told you so many times that we should take it slow,”
“Do you love me?” he demanded with hurt evident in his eyes.
She rolled her eyes and told him that he was being utterly obnoxious. He repeated his question but she dismissed him by saying that she didn’t have time for his emotional nonsense.
“I have a lot of pending work to take care of right now,” she spoke curtly.
“It’s Archimedes, isn’t it?” he snapped at her.
For a moment, she froze and gulped.
“He’s by best friend and you’re my boyfriend,” she said defensively, “quit acting like a moron,”
“Then move in with me,” said David, “I don’t like the idea of you living with two guys,”
His words frustrated her, and she insisted that she wanted her space. She loved living with her best friends and didn’t understand why he was being so narrow-minded about it.
“So you’re saying I suffocate you?” he raised.
“You’re impossible,” she yelled, “I think we need a break from each other,”
“Actually, I think I’m done,” he concluded.
She didn’t believe her ears and challenged if he was really breaking up with her. He let her know that she was right and stormed out the main door.
“Go to hell,” she shrieked after him.
Scarlett yawned and stretched in bed. The room was lit up by rays of the sun that penetrated through gaps in the curtains. She felt an arm around her waist and realized she wasn’t alone. She peeped behind to find Archimedes sound asleep.
“Wow this guy is gorgeous,” she said to herself.
She admired his beauty for a few minutes and then jerked his arm away with force so he’d wake up.
“Why are you still here?” she demanded coldly.
He rubbed his eyes and sat up. Girls considered themselves lucky if he was still in their bed by morning, so this was unusual and slightly upsetting. Before he could say something, she warned him it was not to happen again. She grabbed her clothes and got dressed right before him. Then she tossed him his garments and instructed to leave in five minutes.
“You could at least offer me a cup of coffee,” he complained.
She spelled out that what they had was not one of the fancy arrangements he was used to. They were just friends who slept together for fun and it didn’t mean anything. She also conveyed that he was free to help himself with coffee and breakfast from the kitchen. Being friends, there was no room for being formal or showing hesitation.
When Archimedes got back, he found Demelza curled up on a sofa with a bucket of chocolate chip ice cream. He knew something was wrong because she rarely consumed junk food. Her usual choices for a snack were salads, sugar free drinks, and bran cereals. He took a seat beside her and put his arm over her shoulder. He asked what was bothering her and promised to punch the responsible person in the face. She put away her ice cream and hugged him snugly.
“David and I broke up,” she sighed.
When Arch asked her the reason, she told him that David was being overprotective and unreasonable.
“He said I had to choose between you and Kenneth, or him,”
Archimedes was shocked and confessed that he didn’t expect something like that from David. He offered to talk to him, but Demelza snubbed him and said that it was no use.
“Let him be on his own and repent,”
“I could help beat some sense into him,”
“I don’t think we should ever get back together anyway,”
He questioned if she was sure about that because he assumed that she liked him a lot. Demelza agreed that she did, but now she had realized that he wasn’t the one. In her heart, she always knew that what she had with David was just a fling. She loved Archimedes and it was time she put an end to fooling around.
She wasn’t going to wait for long and decided to express her true feelings soon. Archimedes bucked her up by telling her that she could get any guy she wanted and David was unlucky to lose her.
“You deserve the best and you’ll find someone a million times better than him,” he guaranteed.
Right about then Kenneth entered the room looking rather grumpy. It was apparent he had just gotten out of bed. Archimedes asked when he got home from his date the other night.
“He came in pretty early,” Demelza spoke in jest.
“Yeah Sarah’s not the girl for me,” confirmed Kenneth sadly.
Archimedes motioned him to come sit next to him. He hauled both of his best friends into a group hug and reassured both that everything was going to be all right. There were many fish in the sea for all of them.
“Maybe I should do something to get these two together,” he considered in his head.
Archimedes caught up with Scarlett in the college hallway. She was wearing an orange polka dot dress with cap sleeves and matching sandals.
“Nice dress,” he complimented.
“Nice cologne,” she returned the favor.
Archimedes grinned mischievously and asked her if she had any plans for tonight. They spent a lot of time together on campus taking long walks and having lengthy conversations. However, they never hung outside college, so he wanted to take her out some place for a change.
She told him that she was going to the movies for the premiere of the hunger games new sequel. Archimedes was a fan of the hunger games too, but his house mates didn’t share his enthusiasm.
“By the way who are you going with?” he interrogated.
She said she was going by herself and before he judged, she explained that it was by choice. That way there would be no interruption and she could see the movie in peace. Archimedes teased that it was still kind of sad and that he would never go alone.
“I could accompany you,” he offered, “I want to watch the movie too,”
“Fine,” agreed Scarlett, “but you’ll be buying me popcorn,”
“I always do for my ladies,” he winked, “my dad raised a gentle man after all,”
Scarlett cackled and he acted offended.
“What’s so funny?”
“You’re not so gentle in bed,” she whispered in his ear.
“Give me a second chance to change your opinion,” he proposed.
“That won’t be necessary,”
“I like it rough”
Archimedes dozed off on the living room couch with ear phones jammed in. Demelza carefully removed them and ruffled up his hair. He stirred and opened one eye.
“Get up and put on a clean shirt,” she ordered, “we’re going to party out all night,”
He rubbed his eyes, looked at her from head to toe, and wrinkled his nose. She was all dolled up and the whole place smelled of her intoxicating perfume. He looked sideways and spotted Kenneth all ready to go out too.
Archimedes looked at his wristwatch and remembered that he had to be at the movies with Scarlett in an hour. He leapt to his feet and told his friends that he couldn’t join them because he already had plans. Demelza grimaced and declared that not going wasn’t an option.
“Do you have a date?” inquired Kenneth.
“Yes,” he uttered quickly, “and it would be very rude to cancel at the eleventh hour you see,”
“Who’s the girl?” interrogated Demelza.
He paused to put together a story in his mind. He put on a very convincing tone as he recounted meeting a girl at the gym a couple of days back. He couldn’t reveal he was going out with Scarlett after all his friends would lose their minds.
When they asked for a name, he blurted out “Sally” which was the first name that crossed his mind. Demelza rolled her eyes and dismissed him sullenly. Archimedes grabbed Kenneth by the arm as she went to fetch her purse.
“You’ll have Demelza to yourself tonight so make the best of it,” he said in a hushed voice.
Kenneth was touched and thanked his best friend. They both gave each other a brotherly hug and high fived.
Archimedes and Scarlett had a great time at the movies and went for a stroll afterwards. They mostly talked about the movie and shared a few laughs. The weather was pleasant and they were unaware of how far they wandered off. They approached a dead end where they found a dolphin shaped fountain and sat down by the edge.
“Tell me something about you,” said Scarlett out of nowhere.
“What do you want to know?”
She asked him to tell her about his family and sensed him get a little queasy.
“You don’t get along?” she guessed.
He produced a halfhearted chuckle and confessed that it wasn’t like that at all. He provided that his mother had passed away during his childhood, but his father was still there for him.
He confessed that his dad was amazing, though he he wasn’t the son his dad deserved. He avoided his calls and hadn’t visited him once since the move to New York. When Scarlett asked the reason, he fell silent and sighed. She held his hand and told him that it was okay if he didn’t wish to share more.
Archimedes always kept his personal issues to himself, but when he looked into her eyes, he wanted to let it all out.
“People always pointed out that I didn’t look like any of my parents and when I got older I saw it too,” he spoke out hesitantly.
“Did you talk to your father about it?” asked Scarlett, “did he tell you that you’re adopted?”
“No, it wasn’t that simple,” he exhaled.
He disclosed everything that Henry had said to him one night three years ago. Henry never wanted him to know the truth, but he didn’t have much choice by the time Archimedes was grown up and demanding answers. He had too many questions that could not be resolved with lies.
Archimedes learned that he was the biological son of his Amish mother who’d been shunned by her family and hometown. His biological father had betrayed her and left her helpless. Henry told him that his mother was too innocent and young; she fell for a complete stranger who left no trace of himself after using her. However, Archimedes and his mother came as a blessing into his empty life.
Archimedes wanted to know more about his biological father, but Henry swore he didn’t know anything and couldn’t help him with that.
“In my eyes you’re mine and Melrose’s son only,” vowed Henry.
Scarlett told Archimedes that he was lucky to have a father like Henry and he couldn’t deny it. He just wished that Henry was his real father and somehow he had doubts about his mother. He recalled her detached attitude towards him in her last days.
Henry had a habit of portraying her as an angel but Archimedes refused to believe so. He felt sorry for Henry and thought his mother didn’t deserve all his love and attention. Scarlett gave him a friendly hug and advised that he go see him as soon as possible.
“The old man will be overjoyed to see you and you know it,” she contemplated, “you’re just hurting him by shutting him out,”
“Will you go with me?” he put forward unexpectedly.
“Yeah I’d love to,” she agreed, “I adore old folks,”
Then it was Scarlett’s turn to share story. After listening to her, Arch truly understood how blessed he was. He seized Scarlett by the shoulders and kissed her on the lips. She kissed him back and suggested that they go to back to her place.
Demelza was not being her usual self. She didn’t dance or flirt back with any of the guys that hit on her during the entire night. She just sat by the bar gloomily and played with her drink the whole time.
“What’s wrong Demelza?” asked Kenneth with concern.
She told him that she was just feeling a bit down for no actual reason. He didn’t mind though; he was happy to spend time with her alone. He asked if she wanted to go somewhere else, but she refused.
“The music here is nice,” she stated vaguely.
Kenneth pleaded that she dance to one song with him, but she shook her head no. He promised it would be fun and make her feel better. She kept wishing Archimedes were there instead of him; she would never say no to him. Kenneth constantly implored so she downed a couple shots before giving in.
After getting slightly high, she headed to the dance floor with him. She felt woozy and every other guy started to look like Archimedes, dancing or making out with another girl. Kenneth spun her around and she felt nauseous. After a few minutes of dragging her feet around, she pleaded that Kenneth take her home.
On the way back, Kenneth asked if she was still upset over David. She laughed arrogantly and informed him that David was the least of her concerns.
“I never loved him,” she came clean, “it was mainly for the sex,”
“Have you ever loved anyone?” he queried.
Demelza rolled her eyes and begged him not to bore her with his lame questions. They remained quiet for the rest of the ride. Back at the apartment, Kenneth once again tried to talk to her about what was bothering her, but she was too busy getting wasted. She smoked some weed and drank wine till she passed out on the living room couch. He carried her to her bed, tucked her in, and kissed her goodnight on the forehead.
“I love you Demelza and I hope one day you’ll be mine,” he whispered softly.
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