I walked in on them. Wishing like hell I’d knocked first. The look they gave me was priceless. No one spoke. Now I had my answer.
He was always secretive. I thought it was just his way; he valued his privacy. I didn’t ask questions or suspected something was wrong. I was an idiot. He loved me, I knew that. He wanted me, I felt that. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one he had his eye on.
She was beautiful, no doubt. Though not as beautiful as me. Just stating facts. At least he had his standards. If only I had my own.
I expected I would feel…something. Anything.
I was void. Numb. The pain would come later.
She scrambled to dress and shuffled past me and out of the bedroom door. The look of horror and shame staining her face.
He made his excuses, his apologies. He said he didn’t love her. It was just a stupid mistake. He needed to feel wanted, appreciated, loved. He’d been feeling so lonely lately. What with me being so busy with planning our wedding.
I let him ramble. I let him try and claw his way out of the hole he dug. I watched him speak, detached and amused. He’d never see me again after this, and he had no idea.
I knew better. I saw the way their eyes would meet when we were all together. I saw the “innocent” arm touching and giggles between them. Like there was a perpetual private joke that I wasn’t privy to. Ironically, I had been pleased. I enjoyed that my best friend and my fiance were getting along so well.
Today was different.
Today, I’d walk away from the two most important people in my life. And I’d do it with my dignity intact.
I didn’t yell. I didn’t ask how he could do something so disgusting, something so underhanded and deceitful. I didn’t even speak.
He finished his speech and stared at me with red, wet eyes. Waiting for me to do what he expected; to cry. To throw something. To forgive him, even. Instead, I turned to the door and sauntered out of the bedroom, wordlessly.
When I got to our living room, she was sitting on the couch, fully dressed. Her face buried in her hands, water streaming through her fingers.
Tears? I suppose that’s called for. But from her? Insulting.
I’ve known her my entire life. I’ve never seen her cry. Unless she was practicing for an upcoming audition or getting out of a speeding ticket. She’s more talented than I gave her credit for. I almost applauded. My pride suppressed a smile itching my lips.
She heard me walking in, and looked up at me. What was behind that expression? Pain? Remorse? Fear? None of which I’d ever associated with my best friend.
I spared her a glance and moved my eyes past her to the framed photo on the end table. Reaching for it, I noticed her wince and slightly jump away from me. I stifled a wave of laughter. Did she really expect me to hit her? She definitely deserved it. But I wouldn’t give her the satisfaction of my attention. Negative, or otherwise.
I grasped the picture and slid it under my arm. She watched, wide-eyed and immobile, as I continued my motion out the front door.
In the safety of my car, I took a moment to study the black and white photo in my hands. Three smiling faces. Three graduation caps and gowns. Arms around each other. Me in the middle.
Well, not anymore.