76: “I know you love small toys that you have to assemble yourself”

Sybil found out that Chris and Savannah had broken up from Suze. She wasn’t surprised he hadn’t told her himself; he was incredibly reluctant to share personal information. That was why he didn’t have social media. It was also why she hadn’t known that his cousin was famous boy band member Harry Everett. She was a little surprised that he had told Suze, however.

“I just happened to be here when he came over,” Suze shrugged when Sybil questioned it. “We drank a lot of wine and complained about how terrible dating is. Like, I’m never going to date again.”

Sybil was fine with that so she just nodded.

The first time she saw Chris after his break-up was on Monday morning. He hadn’t been by at all over the weekend, which either meant that Gladys had given up the guitar or he was avoiding her, which seemed strange. She felt oddly weird about the whole situation. She wasn’t sure if she should pretend like she didn’t know what had happened, as if he would be bothered that Suze had told her. At the same time, she couldn’t see any reason for it to be a secret kept specifically from her either. She was sure she was reading too much into it.

 She brought it up.

“I’m sorry about Savannah,” she told Chris after she’d been sitting down for a while. Tom the weepy folk singer was back finally to finish his album. He was setting up his guitar, strumming a few melancholic notes. It provided the perfect ambience for the conversation she and Chris were having on the other side of the glass partition. Chris merely grunted in response, which was difficult to read as well. Was it a sad grunt? Was he annoyed she knew? Embarrassed? Angry? Sybil went for the most obvious, the thing that every other person who was actually capable of expressing themselves might be feeling.

“I’m sorry you’re sad,” she amended.

“I’m not sad,” he returned. He looked sad. He looked listless.

“Well whatever emotion you’re capable of experiencing then,” she replied.

“Anger mostly,” Chris shrugged.

“Sorry you’re angry then,” she said, rolling her eyes. She fished around in her purse until she found the thing she had brought him. “I bought you think Kinder Egg. I know you love small toys that you have to assemble yourself.”

“I think you’re joking, but that’s legitimately true,” he said, reaching out his hand to take the chocolate. She hadn’t been joking. Weirdly, she did know he loved assembling small toys. He owned a lot of Lego. She knew virtually nothing about his family or his childhood, but she knew that he liked collecting small toys.

“So what happened?” She asked tentatively. On the other side of the glass, Tom was humming sadly along with his tuning.

“Her kid’s a shithead and we were never going to work out,” Chris answered matter-of-factly. Sybil felt her mouth drop open.

“She has a kid?!” She demanded in shock. “Jesus, what else are you keeping from me?”

“I don’t know,” he shrugged again, peeling the wrapper off his chocolate egg. “Probably a lot.”

“You could have missile launch codes up there and no one would ever know,” Sybil said.

“Yeah, probably, but in what scenario would that ever happen?” Chris returned. “It’s extremely implausible.”

Sybil glared at him and stole back half of the Kinder Egg she’d just given him. He allowed this in favour of opening the little plastic egg inside. He had only just begun putting together the little plastic princess when Tom began playing his latest track, a song about child labour.

Later that night, Sybil went for dinner with Wes. Things were going really well with him. He had never once told her that she wasn’t invested enough in their relationship. He was far better at contacting her than she was of making plans with him, but he didn’t seem to mind. If he did mind, he hadn’t told her, which was how she preferred it anyway. They returned to the apartment and hung out with Suze for a bit, watching some Degrassi. Sybil had never watched so much Degrassi in her life until she’d begun living with Suze, who was incredibly taken with it. She was very, very invested. Wes was confused as to why they were watching it, but did it anyway.

Later, Wes woke her up in the middle of the night by looming over her side of the bed and shaking her awake. It was startling and confusing. She just narrowly missed smacking him in the head with her own head as she sat upright in surprise.

“There’s someone in your living room!” He hissed at her frantically.

“What?” She returned, rubbing sleep out of her eyes. She was having trouble processing what he was saying.

“I said there’s someone in your living room!” He repeated in the same hushed panic.

“Doing what?” Sybil asked. It probably wasn’t the correct response. She sensed she should be as concerned as he was, but she was still half-asleep. She’d need at least another five minutes or a shot of espresso before she could be any help.

“Lying down!” Wes answered. He kept looking back at the closed bedroom door, as if he was afraid that the intruder would burst in at any moment.

“Lying down?” Sybil repeated, confused. “Why are you panicking?”

It seemed odd to panic about someone who was horizontal. Surely the two of them would be able to take whoever it was if they were lying down. They could step on them.

“Because there’s someone in your living room!” He repeated for the third time, a little louder. It shook Sybil out of her sleepy state. She flung back the covers and walked toward the door. He grabbed onto her wrist like he wanted to stop her for her own safety, but ultimately let her continue, following behind her. She stopped just inside the living room and looked down at the motionless, dark lump on her sofa. It was Chris. He’d wrapped himself in the throw from the back of the couch. She could make out the shape of his leather overnight bag by one end of the couch. His phone and keys were sitting on the coffee table. She understood why Wes was panicked; it was dark and as far as he was aware, there was a stranger sleeping on the couch outside her bedroom door. At the same time, however, he was quite clearly asleep.

“It’s Chris,” she told him flatly, rubbing at her eyes again. She wanted to go back to bed.

“Why is Chris in your living room?” Wes asked, which, when Sybil thought about it, was actually a pretty good question. She tried to recall if she’d ever told him that Chris slept over sometimes. She definitely hadn’t. Normally, she stayed over at Wes’, almost entirely so that they wouldn’t have to watch Degrassi. Sometimes she would come home the following morning to find Chris asleep in her bed, which was incredibly bold and also not something she’d shared with Wes.

“He’s sleeping,” Chris muttered from the couch.

“Clearly not,” Sybil retorted.

“Again, why is he sleeping in your living room?” Wes asked. He looked much less panicked and far more confused. Sybil hoped it would stop there before it moved to something resembling anger.

“Gladys from downstairs is learning ‘Careless Whisper’,” Chris mumbled, shifting on the couch.

“What?” Wes asked after a long pause. Sybil clearly hadn’t told him about Gladys either. Chris definitely hadn’t. He was like a goddamn bank vault for how open he was.

“Oh God,” Sybil groaned. She wasn’t even going to try to explain it to Wes. She was just so tired.

“How did you get in?” Wes asked Chris, the thought clearly just occurring to him. Sybil definitely also hadn’t told him that Chris had a key to her apartment.

“Key,” Chris grunted. Wes turned to Sybil in shock and confusion. She could just make out his raised eyebrows in the faint light coming from the streetlights outside the living room windows.

“How often does this happen?” He asked her. She found it a difficult question to answer. The correct answer, almost every night, felt very much like the wrong answer.

“Uh…,” she stalled, trying to think of something to say.

“Often,” Chris muttered. “Gladys plays a lot of Oasis.”

Wes opened his mouth to say something else, presumably to ask some other horrible question Sybil didn’t want to answer, when Suze’s bedroom door flung open, revealing her standing in the doorway, sleep-rumpled and annoyed.

“So. Much. Noise,” she breathed angrily.

“Gladys. Oasis. Couch,” Chris returned.

“Sorry,” Sybil told her, turning to go back to her bedroom.

“I still don’t understand,” Wes announced to the apartment at large.

“Well figure it out in the morning,” Suze ordered him before shutting her bedroom door quite forcefully. Wes followed Sybil back to her room and she climbed into bed feeling unsettled and certain that this was not the last time they would be talking about why Chris had a key to her apartment. It was totally innocent, but it felt like it wasn’t. Of course, the fact that she hadn’t thought to mention it was slightly incriminating. What she had incriminated herself for, she wasn’t quite sure.


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