A minute later, Trixie comes back with this huge, giddy smile on her face.

“Oh my God, you little slut! I totally saw that,” she says to me as she sits down.

I raise my eyebrow. “What?”

“As if you don’t know,” she waves her hand in a dismissive fashion. “You and Jamie Wrighton ogling each other in the middle of the cafeteria, that’s what.”

“I was not. He was just apologizing for bumping into me,” I say nonchalantly.

Trixie can be extremely dramatic when it comes to two things in life—Bill, and anything college sports. She’s pretty much the only reason I’ve attended any of the games I have, even going as far as buying me a sports ticket package so that she’ll always have at least one person to go to football and basketball games with.

She’s tried endlessly to get Bill to go to more games, but he’s just not sports-inclined. Still, that doesn’t stop her from continuing to try. The only reason she doesn’t bug him about going with her as much as she used to is because she doesn’t want to have to endure watching a game with Gina around. Needless to say, Trixie can’t stand her and can’t understand what Bill sees in “the skank”.

Yeah. Trixie has a nickname for her, too.

“Is that all he said?” she asks, bringing me back to our ‘discussion’ as her whiskey eyes search mine with impossible curiosity.

“Yup,” I lie. I take a sip of my coffee and wish I hadn’t. It tastes awfully bland, and I might as well have put the money I just spent on it in a shredder instead of on the cardboard-encased cup in my hands.

“I don’t believe you,” Trixie says.

The girl can read me a lot better than I’d care to admit sometimes.

“What else did he say, Roni?” she pushes.

I sigh, knowing that she’ll just keep poking and poking at the matter until I say something. I might as well just get it over with.

“He said he saw me singing at the Mushroom and thinks I’m alright,” I admit, now picking at my bagel.

The round pastry is beginning to look like it was made to go with Swiss cheese from all the craters I’m absently making in it.

Trixie lets out the kind of squeal that she only does when she talks about things she’s obsessed with—in this case, college sports and the “hot athletes” who go with it.

“Did he ask you for your number?” she asks with visible anticipation.

“No,” I answer simply.

“Well, did you offer it?” She has this incredulous look on her face, almost as if it’s a no-brainer to give your number to anyone you come in contact with simply because they’re an athlete.

I feel my mouth curve into a slight frown. “No. Why the hell would I do that?”

“Because he’s Jamie fucking Wrighton, Ramona! Duh!” she says dramatically, waving her hands for emphasis. She goes on and on for a few minutes, telling me I should know better by now and insisting that I should have given him my number as if world peace depended on it.

In the midst of Trixie’s dramatics, I notice that Bill is unusually quiet. After Trixie and I go back and forth a few more times, I turn to him with a bit of concern.

“Everything okay, Bill? You’d normally be telling Trixie to get a new hobby by now.”

“Yeah, Poochie,” she concurs with a teasing smile. She tries to mimic the Joker’s voice. “Why so silent?”

Bill remains quiet for several seconds, as if he’s in deep thought, before exhaling deeply. He rubs the bridge of his nose and runs his hands through his hair again, obviously distressed about something.

“Bill?” Trixie asks again, her expression showing a bit more worry now.

“I think Gina’s cheating on me,” he blurts suddenly, avoiding our eyes.

The hurt expression on his face gives me the impression that he’s pretty sure his speculation is true. He can be a bit private about certain things, like I am, and he’s definitely not the paranoid type. So the fact that he’s telling us that he thinks his girlfriend is being unfaithful to him means he’s probably been feeling this way for some time.

He still doesn’t look at us.

I look over to Trixie. She’s equally silent, but her eyes are seething. She looks like she wants to kick something; no doubt, Gina’s forehead.

Suddenly, I feel even shittier than I did before. I can’t even begin to imagine how betrayed he must feel. I really hope it doesn’t turn out to be true, but somehow, I’m certain it is. I wouldn’t put it past Gina to do that to him. He’s a bit of a pushover when it comes to her, and she knows it and takes full advantage of it.

The fact that she does that enrages Trixie to no end, but there’s only so much she can do about it. Bill’s in love with

Gina, almost hopelessly so.

I never want to feel betrayed like that.

Fuck love with a sandpaper dick. I want no part of it and the inevitable mess that it eventually causes. That’s why I keep avoiding guys who show interest in me or anyone I can actually envision myself being with.

“I’m just gonna go. I’ll see you guys later,” he finally says. He gets up from his chair and leaves before I can say anything else.

I’m not sure if I expected Trixie to openly gloat or bask at the sign of possible turmoil in Bill and Gina’s relationship, but I didn’t expect her to be so quiet about it, either.

The creasing on her forehead becomes more prominent as her scowl deepens.

She’s pissed.

Really pissed.

That’s the only time she ever gets this quiet.

“Trixie, don’t do anything stupid,” I warn, my voice dripping with concern—for both her and Gina. She looks at me but she continues to remain silent.

All I can hope for now is that she doesn’t run into Gina any time soon.

Or go looking for her.


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