Jessica sashayed up to my desk, turned, and crossed her arms while resting her buttocks on a corner. Her real name was Jessica but I had come to know her as Daisy. Actually, I already knew her. From where is still piecing itself together. No doubt I’ll get my answer soon.
I never once suspected her to be behind this. That’s where I failed. Looking back on it, I now see why the two of us had never shared a bed. Or touched lips for that matter. She could have easily played along and I would have not been the wiser. Why didn’t she?
First things first; how had she been able to pull this off without my realizing who she really was?
“You must have a lot of questions.”
“Understatement of the year.”
Smiling, she said “well ask away.”
“How do I know you?”
“That answer comes later.”
“Why not now?”
“Because there are more holes in this than you think.”
“If that’s the case then just tell me what you can and then let the pieces fall into place.”
“Very well,” she said uncrossing her arms and then taking a seat in a chair in front of my desk. I then walked back to my chair and sat down.
For what seemed like forever the two of us simply stared at one another. Finally Jessica cleared her throat and while shifting in her seat said, “where shall I begin?”
“The beginning sounds good.”
“Obviously you know the name on the MySpace profile is fake. I had decided to approach you there because of the constant activity I noticed on your page.”
“You were MySpace stalking me?”
“I’d say monitoring.”
“Why were you ‘monitoring’ me then?”
“To conduct my own experiment on top of yours.”
She knows a lot more than she’s attempting to let on. Nobody but three people know about that.
“By now you’re probably asking yourself how I know about that.” She then reached into her bag and revealed a cell phone. Flipping it open and then pressing a button, she put the phone to her ear. After a moment she said “come up” and then flipped it closed.
“What was that?”
“I think it would be best if I answered your questions along with my associate.”
“So you’re not the mastermind behind this deceptive little game?”
“You’re the last person who should be speaking in a tone dripping with such hostility.”
“It wasn’t hostility. It was anger.”
“Apples and oranges.”
In the distance I could hear the elevator doors open. Then brief chatter accompanied by laughter. A minute later a soft knock at my door. Before I could tell the person to come in the door slowly began to open. My heart beat faster when it was fully open.
I had so many questions racing in my head, too many to keep up with. My mouth stammered with so much to say but not knowing how to put such astonishment into words as Melina took the other seat.
An unidentifiable expression was present on her face. She looked mad but at the same time, sympathetic.
A lightbulb. I went to high school with Jessica. She wasn’t part of my social circle, as small as it had been, so she had become irrelevant. But I knew of her because Melina talked about the rumors surrounding Jessica. She had allegedly been part of a relationship to which her boyfriend had been cheating with multiple women and she was none the wiser.
A suitable candidate for such an experiment of their own. But this raises a question: how had Melina found out about me, which breaks into another one; how long has she known?
Melina folded her hands in front of her. “You must have more questions than when she first walked in.”
“You’re the person to answer them. Let’s start off simple,”
“There’s nothing ‘simple’ about this situation, Johnathan.”
“On the contrary. I now have an idea as to your motive. The memory of your ‘associate’ just emerged. My question, simple enough, is how long have you known?”
“I was having lunch with a girlfriend when you and Wendy walked in. I was confused because I knew you had broken up with her. So the next day I called her to inquire. She confirmed my worst suspicion: the two of you had been together after a spell of not seeing one another.”
“That still doesn’t clearly answer the question. You told me how you found out, not when.”
“Why is that even relevant?”
“Because it means you’ve been acting as though nothing were wrong for who knows how long and instead of confronting me about it you chose, what, to beat me at my own game? So to speak.”
“I was ashamed of you. I never would have thought you were capable of such a thing. You never cared for women even while dating Wendy. It was almost as if you felt nothing for her completely. But I knew that wasn’t true since you had expressed feeling something for her.
Then, I could think of nothing but Sofia. She didn’t deserve this. I could see how she looked at you; Johnny, she was nuts about you. And you about her. She changed you. Sofia made you feel like a man but you decided to treat her like a dog.”
“So, again, instead of confronting me or, Hell, even bringing this information to Sofia, you decide to send Jessica after me to see what it tasted like? To make me feel guilt? I didn’t need her for that- I had my own fucking conscious.”
“What do you mean?” Jessica asked.
“I began hating myself once I discovered how I felt for Sofia wasn’t a figment of my imagination. If you recall,” I looked at Jessica. “I stopped contacting you after a while. Once I got the first inclination that something was off via the text from what I thought had been Sofia’s number- which clearly had been you- I began having nightmares. I went to see a therapist. My guilt had been eating me alive. All I was left to do was confess, more so after I had thought Wendy caught on.”
“But would you have confessed if Jessica hadn’t pushed the idea with faux communication?”
“Speaking of which how did you manage such a thing?”
“I have other friends besides you, Johnathan. You, Ralph, and Freddy just happen to be my closest three. Which is why it pained me to know you were up to no good. You had said it yourself when officially coming clean- you wanted to get caught. Why bother with it all in the first place then?”
It was a legitimately good question. One that I had no answer to. So I remained silent. I really had no idea what to add to this conversation anyway. One of my closest friends had betrayed me while I betrayed the one person who, as she had put it, meant a great deal to me. I suppose I deserve it. Karma, and all that jazz.
“Where do we go from here?” Melina asked.
“I don’t know about you but I’m hungry.”
Both women looked at each other then back at me. “You’re…not mad?” Melina asked with crossed eyebrows.
“Oh I’m plenty mad. But I’m not a woman.”
“And what the Hell does that mean?” Jessica said, crossing her arms at her chest.
“Careful with the hostility. What I mean is, I’m not going to become bitter about a decision a friend chose to make to counteract my game. It was an angle I had not foreseen as a possibility. Therefore with the same breath I express my anger with, I shall also understand too. Which means this has no negative bearing on our friendship. At least not on my end.
Sofia and I are over, as are Wendy and I. So your holding them against me for the continuation of our friendship is void. Unless you are so utterly disgusted with me that the thought of seeing my face after today completely repulses you- then I understand.”
“You’re willing to forgive me?”
“It is you who should be forgiving me. I put you in such a position.”
“And you wont hold this against me?”
“Women do that. Its why much of their friendships don’t last.”
“So that’s what you meant.” Jessica mumbled.
I opened the top drawer to my desk and pulled out a folder, flopping it on top and then closing the drawer. In the folder were menus. Sifting through them I said, “I’m in the mood for Pad Thai. How about you?”