“What were you thinking Mal?” Liv confronted her friend as soon as she sat down at his place.
“I wasn’t… honestly, I didn’t know where she was going with it. I just told the bride she looked nice on her wedding day, surely everyone does that,” Malakai sighed. “I didn’t realise she meant anything more to it. Until it was too late.”
Liv nodded. “It was all her, I know,” she lightened her tone. “But you didn’t help. You’ve got to use that head of yours sometimes… and more importantly, you need to apologise to Newton.”
Malakai shook his head: “You think I haven’t tried? I’ve been to his house a dozen times, and he only opened the door once.”
“What else can I possibly say? I am really sorry,” Malakai pleaded. “Come on Newton, we’ve known each other since we were kids. I would never try anything on your wife, you’ve got to believe me!”
“I was there, Malakai,” Newton replied coldly. “Don’t plumming lie to me! And you’re right, there is nothing else to say.”
“He just glared at me, Liv,” Malakai said sadly. “He refused to listen to anything I had to say.”
“He’s right,” he mused. “It’s probably me. I mess everything up.”
“Don’t say that, Mal,” Liv said softly. “I’ll talk to Newton.”
“You’re the best, Liv.”
Liv felt oddly nervous when she walked over to Newton’s house. The days when they used to live under the same roof and spend every hour of the day together were long gone. They both had so much on their plates these days…
She took a deep breath and rang the doorbell.
Newton’s figure appeared in the door: “What?”
Olivia could barely recognise the face. It seemed to have hardened immensely in the past few days alone. But that was understandable, of course.
She needed to comfort him, be encouraging: “How are you holding up, Newton?”
“Oh, everything is just swell,” he said sarcastically. “What do you want, Liv?”
“Can’t I just come to check how you’re doing?”
“You can,” he admitted. “But that’s not why you’re here.”
“It’s one of the reasons why I’m here,” Liv frowned. Newton raised an eyebrow. “I wanted to talk to you about Malakai,” she said reluctantly.
“Of course you did,” Newton smirked.
“Look, he didn’t mean any harm,” Liv continued. “And he is feeling awful. You know he wasn’t the one to blame. Just… talk to him. He’s our friend.”
Newton let out a coarse laugh: “Oh yeah. That makes me feel better. Speaking of our old mutual friends, I ran into Diane the other day.”
“Oh,” Liv’s throat felt tied up. It suddenly dawned on her this conversation wasn’t about Malakai at all.
“It was just the day after the wedding debacle. I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I just wandered around. I literally bumped into her because I wasn’t looking…”
“So we chatted for a bit – she’s doing great, I’m sure you’re dying to know – and turns out, she has a lot of interesting things to say about you…”
For the first time since her pregnancy, Liv felt nauseous: “Newton, whatever she said…”
“Oh, you mean you didn’t kiss the girl I was dating? You didn’t try to ask her out the moment her and I broke up?”
“It wasn’t like that, exactly.”
Newton just shook his head.
“Of course you defend Malakai, you two are two sides of the same coin. Except that while he at least had the decency of betraying me right in front of my eyes, you stabbed me in the back.” Newton was pale, his voice trembling. “And you would have never even told me…”
“Look Newton, neither me or Malakai ever meant to hurt you,” Liv tried to explain. “There’s more to the story… stories. Both of them.”
“Of course there is, there always is,” Newton yelled angrily. “You and Malakai did nothing, it was all Mara, all Diane; while you two were busy polishing your little halos. You’re both such hypocrites.
Well guess what, I don’t want anything to do with either of you! You can go back to your friend and pretend you’re perfect with your twisted little family!”
Liv’s eyes filled with tears: “Newton, you don’t mean it…”
“Just get the plum out of my house,” Newton whispered.
Don’t know that I will
But until I can find me
The girl who’ll stay
And won’t play games behind me
I’ll be what I am
A solitary man*
*Solitary Man by Neil Diamond