“Amy,” I start, but I’m interrupted as Amy holds up her hand.
“It’s okay, Janie,” she says, and it really does seem like she means it. But what’s bothering her then? “I wasn’t so much upset because you had sex with him, actually. It’s that ….” But she stops halfway through her sentence.
“I should have told you. I’m sorry.”
But Amy shakes her head.
“Yeah, that would have been nice, but that’s not even it,” she says. Then she starts laughing, embarrassed. “It was the way Hillary described what happened. There was this incredible passion he’d obviously had for you, to want to fuck you in a movie theater. And then – to cry into your lap afterwards? That was incredible to me. So I figured he’d be the same with me when we went out.”
I choke a little, although no sound comes out. Oh my god, she and Brent did go on a date afterwards. I feel sick. But Amy continues, totally unaware.
“But he wasn’t into me,” she says. “Not on that first date, and not on any other dates since.” What other dates? I can’t breathe. Brent’s been seeing her this whole time?
“He’s always polite, sweet, perfectly gentlemanly,” Amy adds thoughtfully, still in her own world. “But he never seems into me. And especially not the way he’d been into you, apparently, on that double date. We’ve never even had sex.” I’m confused. Baffled.
Who is the injured party here? Me or Amy? Because although Brent’s been keeping these dates from me, he’s obviously been keeping ours from her too. And by the sounds of it, I’ve been by far getting the better part of the bargain.
“You’ve never had sex?” I managed the choked question.
“Never,” Amy shrugs. “Not once has he shown any interest in fucking me. At first I thought maybe he was just being polite, a gentleman’s code or something, waiting for me to give him the okay. But eventually after, like, ten dates or something, I finally decided to come onto him. You know. Make my move. And he was, like, not into it.” She stops, eyes misting over, thinking back to the rejection, bewildered at it. Poor Amy – that’s probably the first time that’s ever happened to her. I can tell she’s telling the truth about everything. It would only be fair for me to be truthful with her, too. But she’s not done yet.
“I’ve gotta to be honest, Janie,” she says, sighing. “I was really jealous. Still am. The longer I go out with him and the more he doesn’t match the story Hillary told me about you two, the more I’ve become obsessed with the whole thing. I even started double checking Hillary’s story, but she swears it’s the truth.” Amy shrugs again, embarrassed. “I guess I was resentful towards you. I’m sorry for being a bitch.”
I’m the one who feels like the bitch now. Poor Amy, it must have been as hard for her as it has been for me, not knowing where Brent’s intentions lay.
“No,” I sigh. “I’m sorry. I should have told you,” I add.
“Really, Janie, it’s okay,” she answers. And I want to tell her everything then, about how I’m the one who’s been getting all of Brent’s sexual attention, even though he’s been keeping stuff from me too.
“Thank you for being honest,” I say. She smiles at me.
“It felt good to talk about this. I didn’t want to, but I’m glad I did. Thanks for confronting me. I think I’m going to end things with Brent. There’s really no point in continuing.”
But the thing is that Amy and I have both been getting played, and she deserves to know. So I take a deep breath.
“I have some things I need to tell you too, Ames,” I say, making her look up at me curiously. “But I have something to do before that,” I add, getting to my feet. I need to confront Brent first. There are things that need clarifying. But I resolve to come clean to Amy after that because she deserves the truth.
And with trembling fingers, I pick up my cell and text Brent. For the first time, and maybe the last.
Janie’s text says she’s coming over and will be here in an hour. I reply that I’m looking forward to seeing her. That entire time I pace the room, equal parts nervous, confused, excited, and scared. Trying to stop thinking about it, I start doing push-ups. Then sit-ups. Then jump rope. Then I realize I’m all sweaty and gross and decide to take a lighting quick shower for the second time that morning. But this time I don’t get side-tracked by thinking about Janie and jacking off. I’m about to get the real thing. Or am I? She might be coming to end it with me. Her texting me and coming over like this is so out of the ordinary that there’s really no telling. I tell myself I don’t care, either way. But I’m lying, of course because the truth is that I care too much.