Chapter 85:

Interlude: Her childhood friend

The Y-files [GL]

Elsa's POVBookmark here

Today Tina would finally be released from the hospital. So I quit the rehearsal a bit early so that I would be able to help her pack.Bookmark here

I took the metro to Koekelberg. At the Simonis metro stop, I would be able to take a bus to the university hospital. I was happy that we had smartphones that could tell me the easiest traject. My parents always go on about how in their day, all you had was a book with the stop times of different lines in it... Thinking about those dark ages, made me remember to write a quick message to Tina, to let her know that I was on the road, accompanied by some lovey-dovey words of course. But sadly I got no response. So my I spent the whole road checking sporadically if she got my message.Bookmark here

When I arrived at the hospital room, Tina was mostly done with packing, and she was sitting on the bed with a cute girl that I estimated was a little older than us. They were acting pretty close. When the girl corrected a loose strand of hair from Tina's face, I felt jealousy rage through my blood.Bookmark here

I decided to enter the room with a cough.Bookmark here

Oh, hi babe. Meet Aster, my childhood friend. She is visiting Belgium. She goes to school in Barcelona on an exchange program. I told you about her, didn't I? Aster, this is Elsa.”Bookmark here

No, you didn't... I would remember you telling me about a cute girl hanging around you. I faked ignorance though, but I was sure my eyes were shooting lightning.Bookmark here

Oh, of course, nice to finally meet you.”Bookmark here

I could see, that Aster saw right true my lie, and noticed my hostility. She answered “Oh, Tina talks about you all the time. What did she tell you about me? Maybe we can exchange stories? I know everything there is to know about Tina.”Bookmark here

That felt like another uppercut. It seemed like I knew very little about Tina. All that time we spent together talking, and you did not even mention your childhood friend. Did I really know her?Bookmark here

Tina must have noticed that something was wrong by the look on my face, and got up, and hugged me.Bookmark here

What's wrong?”Bookmark here

I wanted to confide in her and tell her that I felt inferior, that I felt like I did not know her, that she never told me anything about Aster. That I was freaking out with jealousy. But there was NO WAY I would do that with the source of my jealousy in the same room. So I just said “Nothing. Hmph.”Bookmark here

Tina frowned and said “Fine then. Hmph.”Bookmark here

Tina carried on her talk with Aster like I wasn't in the room. Had I just been replaced like that? I decided to excuse myself and leave the room and get myself something to drink. I needed to put things into perspective, I tried my best to think of everything that had been said. She did introduce me as her girlfriend. So Aster must just be a good friend. I felt so stupid. I should go and apologize for getting so jealous. Luckily, my counseling sessions with Anna had thought me to recognize when my tsundere condition was acting up.Bookmark here

I noticed Tina's parents were waiting in the waiting hall. They were probably waiting to do the administrative part of checking out, I thought I'd go say hi, after all, we got to know each other over the last week, and they seemed pretty supportive. On my way there, I overheard them talking: “Aster is such a nice girl. I always thought she and Tina would end up together, but I guess Aster lost to Elsa.” her dad said.Bookmark here

Well, they are still young. How many people stay together with their first girlfriend? I don't think Aster is out of the picture yet. I have not given up on seeing them get married. Have you seen how they still act together? The spark is still there. A mother can tell these things.” her mother answered.Bookmark here

I dropped my drink, they looked up. Realizing what they had just done. I felt tears starting to run from my cheek. I was so stupid, disregarding all my feelings, saying it was just my tsundere condition. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! I should have never left them alone in that room together. Was this relationship over before it even started? Was I just a fling on the road, to get some experience for the real thing?Bookmark here

I made my way back to Tina's room, but there was nobody there anymore.Bookmark here

It felt like it was all over, and my worst nightmare was becoming reality. Maybe I should just go and protect what little dignity I had left.Bookmark here

Then suddenly Tina burst back into the room. Clearly out of breath.Bookmark here

We were just bringing stuff to the car, then my parents told me what happened.”Bookmark here

I was still crying. She wasn't saying what I needed to hear. She was just here because she was scared of the repercussions... I should have just forced her to hug me and tell me I am the only one for her... but instead, I heard “Because I found out?” coming out of my lips.Bookmark here

Aster and I are not like that. She does not like girls.” Tina said, to reassure me.Bookmark here

In the meantime, Aster and Tina's parents had come over and were watching the scene unfold.Bookmark here

So that is the only reason? You mean you would be like that if she did?” This was only getting worse...Bookmark here

Am I just a replacement for the one you really want?” I wanted her to deny it, and reassure me that I was special, but instead, Tina looked away from my eyes and turned red.Bookmark here

What was that? That little gesture confirmed it didn't it. “Fine!” I said. I took my bag and made way for the door, but Tina stopped me.Bookmark here

Don't go. I love you. I need you.” She said.Bookmark here

I tried to worm my way free of her grasp. “Let go of me!” I shouted.Bookmark here

Tina swallowed and pulled me toward her. I slapped her in her face, but she pulled me in and kissed me on my lips. I felt my strength and my protest leave me. I felt her feelings for me fill me up. I kissed her back and caressed her. Tina was everything to me. I did not want to lose her.Bookmark here

A cough from next to us brought us back to reality. Tina was blushing heavily.Bookmark here

If that is the way you feel about me, then why did you look away earlier?”Bookmark here

Because I couldn't believe you were making me do that in front of my parents.”Bookmark here

That realization now that the crisis was averted made the embarrassment of the situation hit twice as hard. My face turned crimson in an instant.Bookmark here

Aster started applauding. “I am so happy for the two of you.”Bookmark here

Tina's parents then apologized to me. “We always joke about Tina and Aster because they told us they would get married later when they were 4 years old. It had been a running gag. I did not realize how insensitive it was toward you.”Bookmark here

This was SO embarrassing having our quarrel in front of other people. Even more so, because it all seemed to be a misunderstanding. I wanted to hide and pressed my head into Tina's chest for a hug and to hide. I felt Tina was petting my head and felt her laughing by the shaking of her belly.Bookmark here

After that, we left the hospital. I was invited to dinner at Tina's place.Bookmark here

Aster appeared to be a really nice girl. Seeing them interact more, I could see they acted more like sisters and had an emotional distance Tina and I did not have. All my worries were put to the side, and at the end of the evening, I called my parents to tell them I was spending the night with Tina. It would be a night that I would remember for the rest of my life.Bookmark here

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