Jessica Thompson as That Girl

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XXIV. Best Friend

Jessica’s POV:

“First heels. Then, makeup. Now, romance novels. It’s been an exciting month.” He looks stressed. “Would you like anything else? Would you also like to tear my heart out of my chest?” He looks like he’s about to cry. How did this conversation escalate into tearing my dad’s heart out of his chest?

“Don’t you need it to continue living?”

“You didn’t say no.”

“I’m just saying. You need your heart more than me.” Plus, what am I going to do with a heart? Decorate it? Frame it? Throw a little glitter on it to distract people from the blood? Somehow, my thoughts just went dark.

Dad exhales softly, “Let’s go backward.” He places the dry plate into the washing machine. The main character, two friends?”

“Yeah?”

“Don’t do anything. It’s best to pretend that you don’t know.”

“Okay.”

“The main character finds out that she may have feelings for two guys? One of them has a girlfriend?”

“Yes?”

“Do nothing.”

“What? Nothing?”

“Well, I would suggest she goes for the guy who doesn’t have a girlfriend.”

“That would make sense.” I hand him another bowl. Now, how do I tell him the other guy has a reputation? Not that I’m interested in making the bad boy my boyfriend or anything. Okay, maybe a little. Then again, which girl isn’t a bit attracted to bad boys? I’m not saying all the girls will throw themselves at bad boys, but there’s something about them. Something about dating a guy that your parents forbid you to date is just so darn tempting.

He rinses it off, “And the last one. The one that seems to be the biggest headache of them all. Well, has she said anything about their relationship before?”

“She did tell the best friend that she felt uncomfortable about her friend’s advances towards her brother.”

“And the best friend response?”

“She’s backing away.”

“Well, it seems like everyone is pretty deep in this.” I agree. “The brother doesn’t want to hurt the little sister’s feelings. The best friend doesn’t want to hurt her friend’s feelings. If they get together, they may break up, which will hurt all three feelings. The brother has a rocky relationship with his girlfriend, so if the best friend leaps in after finding out the mutual feelings, it will label her as the one who broke them apart.”

My eyes widened, and I nearly dropped the fork in my hand. I didn’t even think of that. Also though Brody and Victoria’s relationship is rocky, it doesn’t mean they aren’t together. If Krista finds out about Brody’s feelings right now, doesn’t that make her the bad person if Brody and Victoria broke up over her? I mean, I know they won’t break up because of Krista, their relationships have been rocky for a while now, but it would seem that way.

Holy. How can my dad think of that, but I didn’t?

“Then, there’s also the case of the brother’s girlfriend who may or may not know about her boyfriend’s emotions towards another girl.”

“What if she’s mean?” I ask. “You know, to the younger sister.”

“So? Even if she’s mean, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have feelings. And, believe it or not, sunshine, people aren’t what they seem. She may behave rudely, but perhaps there’s a reason why.”

“Nothing can defend someone who bursts out of rudeness.”

Dad lifts a brow, “Are you saying you never said anything that sounds rude to someone else before?”

“Well, not as rude as her.”

“How would you?” he asked. “How would you know what you said towards the person you offend doesn’t feel as rude as the girl who offended you?”

I drop the dirty plate. “You’re making me feel bad.” I hate it when he makes sense.

Dad turned off the water and dried his hands before he patted my head. “This is why you shouldn’t assume how someone else feels. You may call someone else evil or the b-word, but they may not feel that way. They, like you, feel like whatever they say is reasonable. Act at the moment. Play by emotions.”

I pout.

“Has the girl ever done anything horribly wrong to the main character?”

“She said a few mean things.”

“And?”

“That’s all.”

“Has the main character ever confronted the girl? You know, said she doesn’t like it?”

“No,” I grumbled. I turned around and pressed my back against the counter. “She’s sick of explaining things to other people.”

Dad smiled lightly and held me. “She sounds like she’s sad.”

“She is sad.” I wrapped my arms around him. “She’s not me,” I grumbled into his chest.

Dad pats my back, “I know. I know.” He exhales lightly, “My little sunshine would never go behind my back and like two guys.”

“Yeah.” I chuckled, “Never.”

“But, advice to the main character who is not you.” I have a feeling he knows what is going on. “Keep out of it.”

“Pretend to know nothing.”

“From someone who may or may not have some history about the best friend’s sibling and sibling’s best friend.” Wow. It seems to be a remarkable thing. “It gets messy, trying to fix everything. Things will have a way of sorting themselves out. Meddling tends to make things worse.”

“I’m not saying you are, or you aren’t, but the main character...sibling...or best friend?”

Dad smiles tightly, “Best friend.”

I gasp, “No.”

“I’m not saying it’s you, but did you or did you not with the sibling?”

“You’re nosy today.”

“Did you?”

He turns toward the sink, “Let’s finish the dishes.”

“You did!”

“It’s not about me.”

“Wait. Mom doesn’t have a sibling.” I gasp even louder. ”Before mom?”

He covers my mouth and looks around the room. “Don’t mention this around your mom.”

I remove his hand, “Why not?” He didn’t respond. “Dad!”

“Fine.” He opens up the door and checks it. “Because the sibling and I broke up. Then, I met your mom and had your brother.”

“Wait.” I held a palm in the air. I need to organize my thoughts. “Are you saying mom is a rebound?” I gasp even louder. “You’re together with mom because she was pregnant with Brody?!”

He rushes towards me and nearly deprives me of air. “It’s not what you think. Let me explain.”

“I’m waiting,” I said. I feel like I’m living in a drama.

“I was the best friend of the main character, and the main character told me about his sister’s feelings. He wanted to be a good friend and brother. He didn’t want to stop us.”

I nod slowly.

“So, I broke up with my current girlfriend at the time.”

“You had a girlfriend at the time?” I feel like my world is spiraling out of control. Where are all these ex-girlfriends coming from? Then again, Brody has a good history of ex-girlfriends, so he had to inherit the smooth personality from somewhere.

“And-” Dad sat down on the chair. “Well, it didn’t work out. Long story short, after we broke up the-” he laughs lightly, “the main character had to choose between his best friend and sister. It was kind of obvious who he would choose.”

My heart drops to the ground.

“I lost more than a girlfriend that year.”

I sat in front of him. “Dad, I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” If I knew I wouldn’t have cornered him and forced him to talk about this.

He shook his head, “It wasn’t really anyone fault. Post-breakup, things got awkward, and sometimes I got drunk.” He looks at me. “I was in college, above twenty-one.” Of course, he would remind me that he is a law-abiding citizen even when he’s sad. “And whenever I had one cup too many, I blamed him for being nosy. How he should’ve left things as it is.”

“Dad.”

He held my hands, “I don’t want you to be in that position.”

“It’s not about me,” I said.

“I know.” He smiles, “And then, after a few weeks. I met your mom.” He chuckles, “She was a wild one.”

My eyes squint, “Mom? Wild?”

“Not wild as in party, but she’s unpredictable,” he said. “You remind me a lot of her.”

“Me?” I point at myself. “I remind you of the queen of pageants?” Mom loves attending and winning pageant shows when she was younger.

“You have different interests, but you’re both the same. I don’t know what to do with you two.” I feel like he’s just bad with females in general. Well, at least with mom and me. “So, after everything. I went to the town festival.”

“This town festival?”

“The autumn festival.” That explains why mom gets so excited about the autumn festival every year. He chuckles, “That’s where I met your mom. She’s the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen.”

“And so you decided to knock her up?” I feel like I just ruined a romance story.

Dad stared at me and exhaled dramatically, “Oh, Jessica Thompson, what are we going to do with you?”

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