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2004

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Andie calls him at 3.30 A.M. exactly.

It's the first time he has heard from her in eighteen years.

"Can I come over, Duckie?" she asks him. He goes by Phil now, though he decides not to point that out now, because she's crying; or at least she sounds like she is. Either way, he knows it's serious, so he gives her his adress.

Her hair is a little longer now, and tidier. She is wearing pearl earrings and a red wool coat. He thinks that she looks beautiful. He thinks that her outfit probably costs more money than he makes in a month. Her eyes are red and swollen.

She doesn't say anything, and he doesn't ask. He makes coffee and she investigates his cramped living room, which embarrasses him a little. "So," he asks to break the awkward silence, "uh, what do you do?"

"I'm a housewife."

It isn't the answer he was expecting. Phil has to stop himself from cringing.

"So you're married," he says, though it comes out more like a question.

She nods. "You know him. We used to date in high school."

Which, though he doesn't physically react in any way, makes him lose his shit.

"You married Blane?"

Andie nods and wipes her eyes. "I doubt we will be for much longer though," she laughs bitterly. "Turns out he was fucking his assistant."

Phil's mouth takes the shape of an "o". He furrows his brows so hard he thinks they might stay like that permanently.

"Andie, he cheated on you? I'll kill him. I swear to god I will fucking murder him."

"Duckie, it's fine."

They sit in silence for a while, not taking their eyes off of their half empty mugs.

"I told you so," he says angrily, breaking the silence, and regrets it the moment he hears himself say it. She looks at him with a shocked expression, and Phil can feel her eyes piercing trough her skull. He waits for her to say something, anything, but she doesn't. She just stares at him, which is a lot worse than anything she could say, he realizes.

"I'm sorry," he says, and she averts his gaze.

"Andie, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it."

"You're right." Andie says, her voice calm. "You know, not everything has to be about you, you dick. I came here because I just found out that my husband of ten fucking years is cheating on me and you were the first person to come to my mind but I guess you can't acknowledge other people's feelings long enough to offer any comfort."

"I'm sorry. I really shouln't've said that."

"Stop saying you're sorry!" she snaps. "Why didn't you fucking call me, Duckie?"

He's dumbfounded. "What?"

"It's been almost twenty years. Why did you never call me? Is it because of Blane?"

"You never called either!"

"Fucking answer me Duckie."

He sighs. He doesn't know how to respond to that; partly because he doesn't know the answer himself. He tries to come up with an honest answer, and finally decides on "I'm in love with you."

She scoffs. "I know."

He grabs her by the shoulder and makes her face him. "No, Andie, listen," he says excitedly, "I'm in love with you. I loved you in high school and I love you now, and there has been some women in my life, and men, but god, they didn't matter. It's you Andie, always has been, and I'm sorry for being a bitch about Blane but I just couldn't bear it. I really am sorry."

The way Andie is looking at him conveys an emotion he can't understand, and for a moment he thinks she's going to yell at him. Instead, she cups his face and kisses him.

It's everything, but it's underwhelming at the same time, too; nothing can ever live up to the dream you've had since you were a child, he supposes. Andie's lips are soft, which feels familiar; like a distant memory. He knew every part of her face better than his own once.
He feels himself melting.

Suddenly, Andie pulls away, as if his lips had burned her somehow. "We can't do this," she whispers. "I'm married."

"What?" Phil snarled. "Andie, he cheated on you!"

"And I'm no better than him if I cheat too!"

She gets on her feet and grabs her coat. "Look, I'm just gonna go."

"I'm in love with you, Andie."

"Goodbye, Duckie."

He wants to tell her that he goes by Phil, now; but he realizes that it's the same thing.