The morning after Halloween was an especially rough one for Oscar for a variety of reasons. To start with, he was more hungover than he could remember being in recent history, even including the day following the bouncy castle incident. It didn’t help that he’d slept on the kitchen floor for unclear reasons. The temperature had returned to a semi-normal state once everybody had left, but Oscar remained on the kitchen floor in his miniature grey dress and sunglasses. He wouldn’t recommend sleeping in sunglasses to anyone. For one thing, they got slightly embedded into the side of his face, having evidently slept on his side for a large portion of the night. But perhaps worse still, he had woken up and thought he’d gone blind in the night. That had been fairly alarming.
Beyond that, in the cold light of the morning, he was now even more concerned about his relationship with Erin.
“It’s possible things aren’t going as well as I’d previously thought they were,” Oscar admitted to both Ramsay and Frank when they found him still lying on his back in their kitchen in the same place he had been all night. His dress had ridden up around his waist in his sleep. He was sure Ramsay and Frank were more than pleased that he was wearing underwear.
“Well, it certainly isn’t going as well as she thinks it is,” Frank replied and Ramsay nodded. They were both standing over him, each holding a mug of coffee, looking dead tired, but significantly improved compared to Oscar.
“You’re back on the floor and she drunkenly told Miles that she was going to marry you,” Ramsay added.
“She did not,” Oscar refuted immediately. “You’re fucking with me.”
“Funny as I think that would be, I am not, no,” Ramsay returned. “I wasn’t going to tell you originally, but now I think it might be for the best.”
“Why would she say that?” Oscar demanded, frantic. He even went so far as to roll over and sit up. Usually lying down made him feel better, but this was too much to handle.
“I mean, in her defense, you’re her boyfriend,” Frank pointed out shrewdly. Oscar still wasn’t sure that was the case. He had met her parents, but against his will. He couldn’t work out whether or not he wanted her to be his girlfriend. She clearly wanted him to be her boyfriend and he couldn’t work out why she wanted that either.
He spent the rest of the day recovering from his hangover and ignoring the world. Erin texted him four times and even called once, but he ignored it all. He couldn’t deal with it. He was trying to sort out what he wanted from his life. He had thought Halloween would make him sad, as it marked the anniversary of him meeting Katy, not horribly confused as had turned out to be the case. He wanted to talk it over with someone. Frank and Ramsay hadn’t proved very helpful since their first discussion about it. He texted Priscilla to ask her if she wanted to get together in the hopes that he could then dump all his issues on her and have her sort it out instead, but she was watching Keith’s men’s league soccer game.
“I fucking hate Keith,” Oscar grumbled after he received her message. He was sitting in the living room with Ramsay, Frank, and Miles, who had come over to avoid his roommate, watching some game show he hadn’t bothered to follow up to that point. He hadn’t lied down since he’d sat up earlier that morning. He didn’t think he could handle it.
“Well yeah,” Miles replied. “You’re not at all hiding that. Are you trying to, by the way? Because literally everyone can tell.”
“It’s not my fault he’s so terrible,” Oscar protested grumpily.
“Keith has a lot of admirable qualities,” Miles argued mildly. “I currently can’t think of a single one, but I’m sure there are many. He’s not a serial killer. That’s a good one.”
“Lots of people aren’t serial killers,” Oscar pointed out.
“Yeah, but loads are,” Miles said.
“A stellar argument,” Oscar rolled his eyes.
“No worse than yours,” Miles retorted.
“If this keeps up, we’ll be here for fucking hours,” Ramsay cut in darkly. “You’re both stupid. Let’s move on.”
“Who’s Keith?” Frank interjected.
“Priscilla’s boyfriend,” Ramsay answered simply before Oscar even had a chance to say all the horrible things he had lined up about Keith.
“Oh, and you hate him because you’re in love with Priscilla,” Frank said, pointing to Oscar. He said it with a kind of casual confidence that Oscar wasn’t overly fond of, as if it was common knowledge that Oscar was in love with Priscilla. He didn’t even phrase it as a question. He stated it like it was a fact that they all knew and understood. But Oscar didn’t think it was a fact or something they all knew. It definitely wasn’t something he knew. And if he didn’t know that he was in love with Priscilla, then surely that meant he wasn’t actually in love with Priscilla. He didn’t say anything in response, not even sure where he would begin to counter Frank’s statement because it was so abrupt and unexpected. Although, somewhat worryingly, no one else bothered to correct Frank either.
That night, Oscar had a dream about Priscilla and Keith’s wedding again. Priscilla was once again in her all black lace get up, the one that made her look like an Italian widow, but Keith was in a black coat that made him look like part of the gestapo. Oscar stood up when the priest asked if anybody had any concerns or reasons as to why Priscilla and Keith shouldn’t be married. Keith held up his crossbow to kill Oscar, but before he got the chance, Erin burst in through the church doors with her roommates and about a million sentient Russian nesting dolls. She was wailing incoherently, tears falling down her cheeks in black streaks of running mascara. Oscar looked back to the front of the church where the wedding had become Katy’s wedding to Ezra. Both of them were sparkling. They looked angelic and beautiful and beyond happy. Katy looked over at him and smiled sweetly, but sadly.
“You were my Erin,” she said softly.
And then Keith shot him in the chest with a crossbow.
Oscar woke up breathing heavily and sweating profusely, but significantly less confused than before.
Oscar met up with Erin the next evening after work. He picked her up at her house and they walked to a small park nearby. Neither of them said much on the way there. They sat down on a park bench and watched some kids play on the swings for a bit.
“I’m really sorry,” Oscar told her, which probably wasn’t the best start, but he couldn’t think of much else to say. It was the truth. He was truly very sorry.
“For what?” She asked, not looking at him. She spoke quietly, like she knew he was going to tell her something awful in a moment.
“I have to break up with you,” he answered gently.
“You have to?” She repeated with a wet scoff.
“Yes,” he said. “Because I’ve been the person on the other side of this and it was horrible. She let me get five years invested. I bought her an engagement ring. I don’t want to do that to you because I respect you too much. I like you a lot, Erin. You’re an amazing person. I know that sounds stupid coming from me right now, but it’s true. And I know this sounds stupid too, like some sort of bullshit cliche that people say in movies, but honestly you deserve so much better than me.”
Erin was crying and Oscar could feel a little part of his heart breaking. She might not have had the whole thing, but she did have a part and he felt like that was really important.
“This sucks,” she told him wetly.
“Yeah,” he agreed.
“I want to go home now.”
They walked back to her house in silence. Occasionally she’d sniffle a little louder and the tiny part in his heart that belonged to her would break all over again.
“I’m sorry,” he said one last time when they reached her front door. It felt like he needed to say it at least a thousand more times just so she really believed him.
“I know,” she sniffed. Then she walked into her house and left him alone on her front walk in the cold.