"Is Fred here?" I wondered, having never met Faith's husband but hearing about him before.
"He's at home with the kids," Faith answered, with a hint of sourness. I had clearly touched on something and figured it probably wasn't a great subject for that evening. I looked over at Sully beside her and noticed how he seemed to have felt the tension as well.
"So does your mother still come to the Y at all?" I asked him, hoping to change the subject. He looked down at his feet then suddenly, standing up straighter before resting against the counter again. I could tell that I had touched on a another sensitive topic and I suddenly felt bad again.
"No, she uh, she has Alzheimer's," he began, looking more serious. "When she was first diagnosed, it was easier to bring her to some of those events. She actually enjoyed herself quite a bit. But as it got worse, it was more difficult to bring her. She didn't really want to leave her place and convincing her to go just caused arguments." I watched as he seemed to have zoned out, lost in thought for a few seconds, before he looked at me and grinned, trying to let me know he was okay. "She's in a home now and doing well. They have activities for her to do there all the time," he continued.
I didn't know what to say, having felt like I made him talk about something painful for him. I thought that I should try to even things out.
"My dad was just diagnosed with cancer a few months ago," I found myself blurting out. Sully's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "My mom and I are still trying to wrap our heads around it, but keeping him busy seems to be helping." I took a quiet deep breath as I stared at Sully's warm brown eyes and recalled the day that my father had surgery on his hip to remove a tumour. The doctors had discovered that it was more aggressive than the scans had shown a few days earlier and told us that he would have to undergo more treatments after the surgery. It was two days later, when we brought him home from the hospital, that I went to the grocery store to pick up a few items for my parents and saw Sully for the first time.
As I watched Sully give me a sympathetic smile, our party host came into the kitchen and gave us an unintentional nudge on his staggered way to the drinks.
"Bosco," Faith called him out. "Watch where you're going." She held up her drink a little, watching a few drips make their way off of the bottom of her cup.
"Sorry," Bosco said over his shoulder while mixing his next drink. When he finally turned around, he found us all looking at him. "What?" he asked defensively.
Sully scoffed lightly then took a drink from his beer, drawing Boscos attention. I looked between Sully and Faith, finding them both looking annoyed but not shocked by his actions.
Bosco was looking at me curiously when I finally looked back at him. "Who are you?" he asked, using what I assumed was his interrogation voice.
"I'm Olivia," I answered, not really surprised that he didn't remember me from earlier. "I came here with Ty," I half questioned, hoping to jog his memory.
He looked me up and down then, making me feel uncomfortable as well as curious as to what he was thinking. He finally spoke up when his eyes returned to my face. "You're hot," he plainly stated. "What're you doing with Ty?"
"Geez Bosco," Faith muttered beside me.
Sully reached out his hand and placed it on the back of Bosco's shoulder. "Why don't you go find your date Bosco?" he suggested, pushing him forward and out of the kitchen.
"What? She is," he added before disappearing amongst the other party guests.
"Is he always that shy?" I asked, blushing from the comment he made.
Both Faith and Sully laughed loudly and nodded with a simultaneous "yep," before taking another drink. Faith then excused herself, letting us know she needed to use the bathroom.
I looked up and saw Sully sort of smiling at me. His cheek lightly dimpled and I could feel my heart race, then felt horribly guilty again. As I looked into his eyes, realizing that they were even nicer than I had remembered them to be, I grew warm and became nervous. He turned his head and looked around at the party and I wondered if he recognized me at all, finding it unfair that my stomach was churning with guilt while he seemed to be obliviously enjoying the party. I sighed deeply as I suddenly thought of Ty and knew that I had found myself in a very awkward situation. Why couldn't Sully have just been an asshole? I asked myself.
My phone began to vibrate in my back pocket, almost causing me to spil my drink. Ty's number lit up my phone when I finally managed to fumble it out in front of me. I turned my body and took a step further away from Sully before answering.
"How are you doing?" Ty asked me after I said hello.
"I'm good. How are things at your moms place?" I asked, wondering if he was going to come back soon.
He sighed into the phone and I knew it wasn't good news. "There's actually more damage than I thought there would be. I'm going to be longer than I thought," he lowered his voice then but spoke more directly into the phone. I could tell that he was trying to prevent his mother from hearing. "I'm really sorry that tonight turned out like this."
I looked to the ground then and smiled shyly into the phone. "Don't be sorry." I paused for a second before asking "is there anything I can do to help?"
"No, we're good, but thanks for understanding. Is um," he paused briefly as I heard him walking. "Is Sully around?"
I swallowed hard suddenly, not knowing exactly why I felt nervous by his question. "Yeah, he's right here," I told him, looking up to find Sully's back within arms reach. His head was turned to the side, as though he had been partially listening to our conversation and he spun around fully when he saw my hand reach out to him. "Ty wants to talk to you," I informed him when he spotted the phone in my hand.
"Davis. Everything alright? What's taking so long?" he asked, half teasing. He became quiet for a moment while he listened to Ty, then his face turned serious, even a little scared, when he looked over at me. "Yeah. Yeah I can do that," he said then looked away.
I wondered what Ty was telling him and felt like I should get going. Sully surprised me next by passing me my phone. "He wants to talk to you," he said.
I put the phone to my ear with a deep breath. "Ty?"
"Yeah, listen. I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to take here so I asked Sully if he could make sure you get home okay," he told me. I tried to protest but he stopped me. "Olivia, I feel bad for bailing on you tonight and I want to make sure you get home safely. Sully's a good guy, you can trust him," he informed me, making me feel even worse. "Give me a call or text when you get in, okay?"
"I will," I told him. "Bye," I added softly.
After hanging up, I returned my phone back into my pocket, noticing that Sully was quietly standing next to me, hesitating a little. I looked at him and gave him an awkward smile. "Looks like you're stuck with me," I said, trying to break the sudden tension that grew between us.
Sully laughed lightly and took a sip of his beer. He looked at his watch then back at me. "It's still pretty early, if you wanted to stick around for a bit. But if you feel like leaving now, it's no problem."
It was very sweet of him to offer to leave now, since I was sure that he figured I was feeling uncomfortable being at a party where I only knew one person. Well, now two. Again, my stomach seemed to lurch a little as I thought of being there without Ty. More accurately, how I was enjoying myself there without Ty. I quickly peered around the room and saw everyone having a good time and didn't think that it was fair that I pull Sully away from his friends and coworkers in order to bring me, a stranger, home. "I don't mind staying for a bit longer. It's been a while since I've seen Faith," I admitted.
He looked away and answered with a hearty laugh, causing me to admire his smile. "Yeah, she does seem to enjoy having you here." At that, I followed his gaze as he looked over and found Faith in the other room who raised her glass to us cheerfully. We both laughed then and looked back at each other. His face almost mirrored mine as we both smiled broadly at the situation, then very slowly, the smile faded as we kept eye contact. I was the first to look away, telling myself that this wasn't right.