Ficlet from the WRE WiP. On duty at the call centre, Romaine and El talk about friendship, giving insight into their dynamic – and El’s relationships.
After the caller hung up, Romaine watched El for a while. At last she leaned back in her chair, rolling her head around her shoulders.
“You okay, Rommie?” she asked, catching his eye.
“Just thinking. We get a lot of calls about broken relationships, broken friendships, and issues that wouldn’t be so bad if someone had a close confidant to talk to. I’m used to being mostly alone but calls like that one make me wonder if I need more friends, or if the chances of finding someone who won’t stab me in the heart – metaphorically – are so low that it’s not worth the risk.”
Woods. He didn’t speak the name aloud; his ex-partner, whose inaction at best had led to Romaine getting shot.
El spun her chair around. “This job makes you think about things,” she said. “About your own life. And it’s good to reflect. But don’t let it change who you are. If you like being alone, so be it. And if you want friends then hey; I can’t promise never to piss you off, but I’m generally loyal and aren’t we already friends?”
Romaine blinked a few times. “Sure.”
“Sure?” El repeated, mock horror in her tone. “One word answers like that can be a sign of insincerity you know.”
“You took me by surprise.” Romaine shook his head. “How do you know when you’re friends? How do you know when you’re in love even? Or if you meet someone as a friend and then suddenly you’re dating?”
El shrugged. “I guess you just know? Things can develop gradually and no-one has to say ‘Hey, want to be friends’ because you just are. There’s no proposal, like when you get engaged, not for friendships. As for love, well, I distrust the idea of love at first sight. You have to get to know someone whether you’re dating or befriending them. There is the ‘I love you’ moment in a romantic relationship but love…that’s a big and complicated word. I love my parents, my sister, my nieces, and pizza, but all in different ways.”
The phone rang and she answered. Romaine got an email and as he opened it, he couldn’t help noting that El’s boyfriend hadn’t got a mention in the list of her loves.
—comments, shares, likes, are all much appreciated—-