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“Gus, go home.”
“What? What? I’m not going home. I love you.” He tried to grab my hand, but I pulled it away. “Come on, Jules, this is our chance.”
I wormed my way out of bed and put my shirt back on. “I can’t believe you have a condom. We never even talked about having sex.”
“We talked about this.” He stood up and put his shirt back on, too, but I didn’t look at him. The blue of his T-shirt brought out the blue of his eyes and showed off every muscle. “We’ve talked about it way too many times. We’ve been talking about it for over a year.” He started toward me and then stopped. “Jules, I am ready.”
“Like I didn’t notice.”
He turned around suddenly and went toward my locked bedroom door, which I insisted on in case my aunt and uncle had come home early. “If you’re going to be sarcastic about this, then I’m out of here.”
“Fine.” I crossed my arms.
But he turned to face me, instead of leaving. “And I don’t mean just tonight. I mean, forever. I, we, can’t keep doing this. It’s driving me crazy.”
I got that feeling in the bottom of my gut that everyone got before they were forced to make a split second decision that actually required much debate and thought. He wanted me to make this sex decision right now. What was he saying exactly? “So, you’re saying either I have sex with you tonight, or we’re breaking up? Seriously? Two and a half years just, just gone?”
He nodded, and then my cell phone rang. I ignored it, which was hard to do because it played the ring tone that Gus hated—Katharine Hepburn’s voice said, “Pick up the phone, you old poop,” from the movie On Golden Pond. This also meant it was my aunt calling. We shared a love for everything Katharine.
I pushed ignore on the screen and started to cry.
“Julie, don’t cry.” But he didn’t come over to comfort me. He just stood there. “Crying isn’t going to solve any of this.”
The phone rang again. “Pick up the phone, you old poop.”
“Just get it, Julie. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” And he left.
I took a deep breath and fought the urge to scream and basically throw a tantrum, as I answered the phone. “Yes?”
“Julie, oh, Julie.” Aunt Lizzie burst into tears on the other end.
“What’s wrong? What is it?”
“It’s Henri. He was eating a bratwurst and cheering for the Cubs, and all of a sudden, he just collapsed. He collapsed. He wouldn’t get up, and I tried and tried to wake him, but he wouldn’t.”
I could barely understand her. “Okay, calm down. Where is he? Is he okay?”
“No, I don’t know. He’s on his way to Mercy. Stevie and I are going in the car. Can you meet us there? I need help with Stevie.”
“I’ll be right there.”
After I hung up, I searched for my keys, which were never in my purse where they were supposed to be. I looked in my pants pocket, on the floor of my bedroom, and on the dresser. Then I turned to the nightstand, and there they were, along with the condom that Gus forgot. This time, I couldn’t stop the tantrum, and so I let the tears fall and the sobs come, as I turned off my light and hurried to the car to find out what was going on with my uncle.