“I thought Elkay had the next shift.”
Phovos was very clearly annoyed. There had been vague attempts to hide her anger and disdain, but Tenuk could instantly tell something was wrong.
“Uh, Elkay and I swapped shifts.”
“I see. Because of Elksia, I assume. That was kind of him.”
Tenuk was actually getting quite concerned. Sure, he had seen Phovos annoyed and angry before, but he was pretty sure that some of this anger was because of him. Or rather, because he and Elksia had hooked up. He knew he needed to get some apology out before Phovos’s simmering emotions began to boil over.
“I’m sorry, I should have told you that Elksia was popping by and that we were having a date. Just kinda slipped by.”
“I assumed as much.” Phovos crossed her arms, grunting. “You tend to be more forgetful than I remember. I was somewhat under the impression that you were still interested in me, but I guess I was wrong to think that too.”
Tenuk was right, she really was angry. But worse, it seemed that Phovos hadn’t really accepted his apology.
“I really am sorry. I got carried away, and Elksia and I… we’ve been friends for so long. Heck, I didn’t even think it would end up with us on the couch and-”
“Just stop,” Phovos growled, stepping to one side so that Tenuk could pass onto the main balcony. “I don’t want to hear it. Let’s just drop it and continue as normal.”
Tenuk looked up at Phovos, then tutted. “Hang on, you’re the one who’s all upset. I apologised and you still seem upset, and now you’re telling me to drop it? What is the actual matter with you? Because we dated like twice and it never went any further and now you’re pissed about Elksia, who you knew was always close to me. What IS the problem? Are you jealous or envious or something?”
Phovos didn’t answer at first. She grunted a couple of times, before muttering a rather defeated “yes”.
“Why are you jealous?”
“It’s… it’s not even jealousy. It’s… anger.”
“You’re angry at me? Or are you angry at Elksia?” Tenuk asked. “Because Elksia was not aware that I hadn’t told you.”
“No, I’m not angry at Elksia at all. Envious of her, yes, but it’s not her fault.” Phovos sighed some more. “I’m angry at myself for not pushing forward and letting yet another damn opportunity slip through my stupid, fat fingers. I wanted a relationship, I wanted to date, I wanted to not be lonely. You gave me plenty of chances. But I said no every fucking time because I was scared and nervous, so you moved on and found someone to satisfy you. And I’m back to square one.”
Tenuk hesitated, then shrugged. “Sorry, Phovos, ain’t much I can do about that. That’s all on you.”
“Yeah, I know…” Phovos seemed more defeated than angry now. She started heading down the stairs towards the main living area. “Glad you’re happy with Elksia at least. I’ll leave you to your shift now.”
Tenuk watched Phovos walk off, then shrugged. He still felt a little bad. But at the end of the day, there wasn’t much Tenuk could do.
“Hm, maybe I’ll go to Elksia’s place next time…” Tenuk muttered as he grabbed his gun-staff and started his guard shift. “Probably better for all of us.”