Chapter Seventy-Five: “I’m not trying to leave you for dead on the side of a mountain”

Rosalyn was moving back to Roehampton for several reasons. First of all, she missed her family. Her older sister Marina had just had her first child and she hated the fact that she was missing out on the little dude’s life. Plus she missed her parents and her nana. It was hard for them to get out to visit her because her nana was ninety-two years old and her father was terrified of planes. She missed a lot of her friends too. She had made new friends in Kelowna obviously and she had Doug. Technically she had Ashley as well, but Ashley was the third reason she was moving back to Roehampton.

There had been an incident. In fact, there had been several small incidents, which had all built to a disastrous crescendo. Ashley, as it turned out, wasn’t a very good roommate. She hoarded Tupperware in her bedroom. Some of it had been stashed in her beside drawer. Rosalyn felt that this was a weird habit for her to have adopted. And it only extended to Tupperware. All of the other shared kitchen items were returned to their rightful places in the communal kitchen. She also did laundry a lot, nearly every other night. Rosalyn felt this was excessive. Doug hated it with every fibre of his being. Other things Ashley did that both Rosalyn and Doug found irritating included, but certainly weren’t limited to: yawning too loudly, boiling the kettle to make tea at least once per hour and then not actually making tea, watching television at a volume that was too low for anybody to be able to distinguish full words, but still loud enough to be annoying, and being able to recite the entire collection of Nicholas Sparks books that had been made into movie, in chronological order.

Those were just the small things. The biggest thing, the turning point for all of their living situations, occurred just a mere two weeks after Doug’s break-up with his girlfriend Lisa. Much the same as with Ashley, there were quite a few things about Lisa that Rosalyn found irritating beyond all point of reason, starting with her bizarre fascination with Rosalyn’s hair and ending with her determination to paint her nails at least once a week somewhere in Rosalyn’s apartment. She and Doug just weren’t right for each other. The break-up was no one’s fault, but it still left a bitter taste in the mouth due to what Doug charmingly referred to as “wasted time”. Regardless, they went their separate ways, which was for the best.

And then Lisa slept with Ashley. Rosalyn had sensed it coming from miles away. The entire time Lisa and Doug had been together, Lisa had flirted shamelessly with Ashley and Ashley, powerless against the devoted interest of a pretty woman, had soaked it up like a sponge. Lisa hadn’t cheated on Doug with Ashley, which was ultimately for the best, but still small comfort when the shit hit the proverbial fan. And Rosalyn was in the splash zone.

Choosing sides had been easy; Doug was a much better roommate and they had a lot more in common. But choosing sides shouldn’t have been easy, at least according to Ashley, who felt she hadn’t done anything wrong because Lisa and Doug were no longer together and Lisa had told her that she’d never loved Doug anyway. Saying that to Doug when he’d only been out of his year-long relationship for a total of sixteen days was perhaps a bit too bold and overly callous. It definitely wasn’t taken well. it certinaly didn’t help that Ashley continued on to say that she and Lisa were in love, that Lisa had told her so. It wasn’t that Doug was jealous, because he didn’t want to be with Lisa. It was more that she had moved on almost instantly and with one of his closest friends and roommate. It made for a very tense living situation.

Rosalyn and Doug had agreed not to say anything about the entire debacle to Tallulah, because they didn’t want to alter her opinion of Ashley, but it was difficult to mask the tension and she picked up on it, as evidenced when she asked about it directly on their wine tour. Cycling off into the distance had seemed like the best option at the time, no doubt in part because of the copious amounts of wine consumed, but it was getting harder to dodge now that they were sober and not on bikes. As a result, Rosalyn spent a lot of time trying to be just a little bit ahead of Tallulah. Of course, Tallulah picked up on that as well while they were on yet another hike.

“Are you trying to abandon me on this mountain?” Tallulah asked when they reached the first lookout point. “Jesus, you, like, sped-walked up this mountain. Not all of us hike all the time. I can’t actually remember the last time I went hiking. Well, earlier this week and then probably…never. I’ve never been hiking before this week and you’re trying to lure me up here to leave me for dead.”

She glared at Rosalyn for good measure, just to really drive home her point. Doug was several feet away, leaning against a guardrail to look out over the Okanagan.

“I’m not trying to leave you for dead on the side of a mountain,” Rosalyn returned, rolling her eyes at Tallulah’s melodrama, even though she had rightly picked up on some odd behaviour.

“And yesterday you paddled away from me when we went paddleboarding!” Tallulah continued, outraged. Rosalyn and Doug had clearly not been as subtle as they’d thought. Even now, Doug was very obviously distancing himself.

“Look, it’s about Ashley,” Rosalyn caved, sighing.

“Oh yeah! Where the hell has she been?” Tallulah demanded, crossing her arms over her chest. She probably meant to look authoritative and imposing, but she was sweating profusely and she had only just gotten her breath back.

“Yeah, about that,” Rosalyn said, sighing again. “Doug and his girlfriend Lisa –”

“The one who used to pet your hair all the time?” Tallulah interjected.

“Yeah, her. Well, they broke up and then, like two weeks later, she starts dating Ashley. And you know how blunt Ashley can be. So she told Doug that Lisa had never even loved him, but she loved Ashley and it was this whole thing. And then Ashley made me choose sides and…I chose Doug. So now our home is super uncomfortable, like seriously awko taco, and Doug and I are moving back to Roehampton!”

She raised her arms in a week double fist pump. Tallulah stared at her blankly for a long moment.

“This Lisa girl seems terrible,” Tallulah remarked after a long pause. Rosalyn shrugged.

“She’s not so bad,” she replied truthfully. “She’s obviously not the girl for Doug. I mean, she and Ashley are legit really happy, it’s just really terrible timing. Not a great situation to begin with, probably could’ve played it better. But it’s alright because Ashley is a bad roommate and this is the perfect excuse not to live with her anymore.”

Another feeble fist pump. Tallulah shot her an incredulous look, but didn’t say anything else. The three of them hiked back down the mountain, Tallulah only complained about dying three times, and they went out for dinner and drinks as a way to make up for almost killing her.

The next morning was the day of their flight back home to Roehampton. Most of their belongings, like clothes, books, and the mug collection Rosalyn had been working on for quite some time, had been shipped back already. They were leaving all of their furniture behind, Doug and Rosalyn both unwilling to drive it back across the country. Ashley was keeping the apartment, having found two roommates to move in who were in need of a furnished apartment. Rosalyn had been sleeping on a bare mattress for three nights, having packed her only pair of sheets in her luggage without really thinking it over.

Saying good-bye to Ashley at the door was incredibly awkward. Tallulah hadn’t spent much time with her over the week and things had definitely changed now that she knew the full story. That having been said, Doug didn’t know Tallulah knew what had happened, because Rosalyn hadn’t told him she’d told Tallulah, so he was attempting to pretend that everything was normal. He hugged a very stunned Ashley, who didn’t reciprocate, either out of surprise or indignation. Then Rosalyn, figuring it would look strange to Doug if she didn’t appear to be acting normal in front of Tallulah, hugged Ashley good-bye as well. It was really weird and Rosalyn ended up knocking Ashley in the back of the knee with her purse.

The three of them cabbed to the airport because neither Doug nor Rosalyn had wanted to ask Ashley for a ride. Like Tallulah’s trip out west, they flew from Kelowna to Calgary, where they had an hour long layover before getting on the plane that would take them to Roehampton. The first flight and the layover were fine. The flight from Calgary to Roehampton was less ideal. All of them were seated on their own. Tallulah ended up in a window seat near the front next to an older gentleman who struggled to unwrap hard candies for the majority of the three hour flight. Doug was sat in a row with a woman and her young son, who was fascinated by Doug’s entire existence. They were in the row next to Rosalyn’s so at least they could talk.

“What’s your name?” The kid asked Doug partway into the flight.

“Doug,” Doug answered reluctantly.

“No, like, your real name,” the kid returned. Doug gave him a very unimpressed look.

“It’s Doug,” he said, stressing his name loudly. People turned to stare. The kid’s mother was, rightfully so, horrified and embarrassed.

Rosalyn’s seat was arguably worse, however, as she got seated next to an elderly woman and her daughter, who ate a tuna salad that she had bought at the airport.

“Who the fuck eats tuna on a plane?” Rosalyn hissed to Doug while she was standing in the aisle next to him as the woman and her mother had went to the washroom for the sixth time. “I could kill this woman.”

“I don’t think you’re supposed to say this shit on airplanes,” Doug replied calmly. “You’re going to get put on a watch list.”

“Yeah, well, if I manage to kill this woman first, it’ll be worth it,” Rosalyn returned. “Besides, no jury would convict me. I’d only have to tell them that she ate tuna on a plane. And then I would ask them how they thought the world wasn’t a better place now.”

“I hope the seatbelt sign goes on soon,” Doug told her pointedly. She cuffed him in the back of the head and he said “watch list” to her again.

By the time they landed at the airport in Roehampton, the elderly woman and her daughter had gone to the washroom another three times. On top of that, the daughter had moved all of the air conditioning vents overhead so that they blew directly on Rosalyn. And then the mother had the gall to comment about the cold to Rosalyn, who just about snapped for good. As they exited the plane, Rosalyn was pleased to be rid of them forever. Tallulah likewise grumbled about never wanted to see another hard candy again in her life as they made their way to baggage claim.

After they had retrieved all of their possessions, the three of them left the airport and headed to where hundreds of cars were waiting to pick people up. Parking attendants in orange vests were urging literally everybody on. Tallulah lead them to a grey Toyota Camry that looked a little past its prime and opened the trunk. Once everybody’s luggage was safely stowed away, she walked to the passenger side door and pulled it open. Rosalyn and Doug climbed into the backseat, Doug filling the seat behind the driver, a young man with black hair underneath an unnecessary beanie. He looked exasperated.

“Can we go now?” He demanded, turning to Tallulah. “I think this is the same fucker who nearly strangled me when I dropped you off at this damn place a week ago.”

“First of all, thanks, Robin, it’s great to see you too. Yeah, I had a lovely time. Sure, I’ll tell you all about it. Oh, these are my friends Rosalyn and Doug,” Tallulah began to reply, Robin rolling his eyes the entire time as he pulled away from the curb and drove away, flipping off the parking attendant who had been waving them on. “Secondly, that dude was nowhere close to strangling you a week ago. And thirdly, no, that wasn’t the same guy. You’re just confused because they were wearing very similar vests.”

Tallulah flashed her friend a shit-eating grin.

“I hate you,” Robin told her flatly after a long moment of glaring.

“Yeah, I missed you too, dickhead,” was Tallulah’s charming response. Rosalyn was looking forward to restarting in Roehampton.

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