The first thing I noticed was the light. I was living with my fiancé in a three-room apartment. It was six o’clock in the afternoon and he was supposed to be at work, so I found it weird the light was on. His car wasn’t outside, so the first thing that came to mind was that someone broke into our home.
I stepped into the apartment, trying not to make too much noise. If the thief was still there, I could take him by surprise. I grabbed an umbrella from the support and continued towards the bedroom, where I saw the light. As I closed in, I started to hear sounds.
Wait. Those sounds… It doesn’t sound like a thief.
Fearing the worst, I walked into the room and what I found there was worse than a thief. Gasping, I put a hand to my mouth. I didn’t know when the umbrella fell from my hand. I didn’t know when my knees hit the floor or when I started crying. All I knew was that my fiancé was in bed, naked, on top of my best friend, now looking at me with shocked eyes and that the woman beneath him was trying to cover her naked body with the bed sheets.
“H-Honey”, he said, getting on his feet, his hands in his hair. I was sitting on the floor on my knees, crying. I-I couldn’t believe it.
“How-How long?” I asked, now looking straight at him, my eyes blank. Suddenly, everything made sense. Him coming home at late hours, him refusing to make love to me, him getting phone calls in the middle of a date, saying something came up at work. Idiot. I was such an idiot.
“Six months,” he said with his eyes on the floor. He couldn’t even look me in the eyes. Six months. For six months he cheated on me, while I was planning our wedding.
“Get out.” I said slowly. I couldn’t deal with this right now.
“I can explain. Please, if you let me, I can explain.”
The nerve this man has. Getting up and looking at the ring on my finger, I take it out and hand it to him, simply saying, “Get out. Both of you!” He nodded, realizing that it was better if he left. I watched as him and the woman whose name I don’t even want to remember gathered their things.
They left and soon I was left alone. Tears came flowing and I couldn’t hold it back anymore. With my back against the door, I cried in a way I never had before. My chest hurt and I felt like I was drowning. I didn’t know what to do. It hurt so much that I couldn’t breathe.
I don’t know how much time has passed when I stopped crying. I was still on the floor, in the same spot. I couldn’t even move. With dried tears on my cheeks, I got up. My legs were numb from being in the same position for God knows how long and I think that I have no tears left in me.
Going into the bathroom, I was scared to look in the mirror. I could just imagine how bad I looked. Closing in, I looked at myself. My eyes are swollen, my brunette hair a mess and my skin dry from the tears. Sighing, I turn on the water. I watch as it flows, so calmly, but at the same time so fast. I wash and dry my face, not even caring about my routine now. I look in the mirror again when I see it, standing on the drawer. I take it, studying it. It was small, shiny and more importantly, sharp. Very sharp. Was it worth it? Was he worth it? I wish I could say no, but I can’t. Five years can’t just be deleted from one’s mind, even after something like this.
I watch my wrist and then the small blade in my right hand. The blade was millimeters away from the wrist when a phone started ringing and I realize it was my phone. I completely forgot about it, but now that I think a little, it was ringing for a while now. Putting the blade on the sink, I go back in the bedroom. A bedroom we once shared. A bedroom in which he brought another woman. Shaking my head, I take the phone from the bag and notice a dozen missed calls. Some from him, some from my mom and a couple from James. I call James. He picks up immediately.
“Lise, honey, what happened?” he asked, his voice full of concern. I take a breath, feeling like crying again.
“Hey, J. A lot happened… and I feel like I’m drowning.” I answer honestly. He sighs.
“Is it about Nathan?” he guesses and I nod, but then remember he can’t see me and I mumble a ‘yes’.
“I can’t breathe,” I choke. “It’s hard to breathe. It hurts too much.”
“Oh, honey. Sit tight and don’t do anything stupid. I’ll be there in five.”
“Okay,” I whisper.
James arrives some time later with pizza, ice cream and Coke doses. I send him a grateful smile as I close the door behind him, and then follow him to the couch. I sit and he does the same after putting the pizza and Cokes on the table. He hands me the Ben and Jerry ice cream before sitting beside me.
“Thanks,” I say slowly, drawing circles on the lid. “I look horrible, don’t I?”
“You look just tired,” he says reassuring. “You could barely talk on the phone. What happened?”
“Nathan cheated on me,” I whisper, still grasping the whole situation. If James is shocked, he doesn’t show it.
“Six months,” I say, but it sounded more like a question. “We’ve been together for five freaking years and he’s been cheating on me for the last six months. And you know what the worst part is?” I ask and look down at my finger, still drawing circles. “It was Sierra.”
“What?” He exclaims shock laced in his voice. “He was cheating on you with Sierra? As in, your best friend since kindergarten, Sierra?” He questions incredulously and I nod, raising a shoulder.
“The very same.”
“Wow. What a bitch,” he says taking a gulp from a dose. “I can’t believe it. She was sleeping with your man behind your back while smiling in your face,” he continues and I make a grimace. “Sorry,” he says when he sees my expression.
“It’s probably my fault.”
“Don’t do that to yourself. Don’t blame yourself. He’s the one who chose to cheat instead of being a man and talking things out.”
“You’re right, but I still have a part in all of this. I’ve treated him so bad in the last year, after everything with my dad. I took it out on him and without realizing I drove him away.”
“What happened a year ago was not your fault. It was no one’s fault. It was inevitable,” he looks at me like I’m about to break and the sad part is that he is right. First the whole situation with my dad, now this. “It’s the same now, Lise. It was not your fault.”
Maybe. Or maybe it was. He doesn’t know how I treated Nathan in the last year. I was horrible. Looking back now, I realize just how bad.
James stayed a couple more hours before going home. I was cleaning the mess we made with the pizza when I heard a knock at my door.
“Who in the world could it be at this hour?” I mumble as I look at the clock. It was ten pm. “Coming!” I say when the person behind the door keeps knocking. I opened the door without looking through the peephole. “Sierra!” I exclaim breathless.
“Anne,” she answers, looking at me with cold and bored eyes. It was as if a stranger was standing in front of me. “How are you doing? How is your life?” She asks as if I hadn’t caught her in bed with my fiancé just hours ago.
“Sierra,” I say regaining my composure. “What are you doing here?” I ask coldly.
“I just came to grab something for Nathan,” she says smiling mischievously. If I weren’t so focused on keeping myself together, I would slap her.
“Oh? So he doesn’t even have the courage to face me?”
“Oh, no, he does. He practically forbid me to come, saying that he wants to talk with you first. But hey, when have I been the kind of person who listens?”
“Come in then. I wouldn’t want to keep you from him for too long,” I say through my teeth.
“No worries. He’s at my place now, probably taking a shower after that amazing sex we just had,” she says smirking. “I just couldn’t resist the temptation to rub it in your face,” she keeps the smirk while heading to my room. She came back with some papers – Nathan’s, from work. “You know? I have to thank you,” she stops suddenly in front of me, her back to the door.
“What for?” I ask, raising a brow.
“For being such an annoying bitch this year. Thanks to you, Nathan finally gave in. I’ve been trying to get him to break up with you for years now, be he just wouldn’t do it. In October last year he finally did. He said he was tired of waiting for you to get over the thing with your dad and we slept together.”
I was watching her, trying not to cry. I refused to give her the satisfaction of seeing me broken. Still, I couldn’t help hugging my body.
“At first he said it’ll be a one-time thing, but I guess he couldn’t resist my charms after having me. The irony, though. The fiancé and the best friend. The typical cliché. I slept with your fiancé almost every day for the last six months behind your back and pretended to be your friend to keep the appearances. Aren’t I an amazing actress?”
“Sometimes I wonder how Chris stayed with you for so long,” I start, knowing that talking about Chris is a sensitive matter for her, but fuck it, I don’t care anymore. “He stayed by your side through everything and how did you thank him?” I ask and she winces, as if she’s in pain. As if. “You slept with his best friend! I stayed by your side when he dumped your sorry ass and how did you thank me? Oh, right, you slept with my fiancé! He should have done more than what he did. He saw what I couldn’t all these years. Now I see that I should have let him finish what he started that night.” I finish, fully aware of what that night did to her ego.
Chris was a good guy who didn’t deserve to be played with like that. I was stupid for staying by her side. Look at how she thanked me for saving her.
It all happened three years ago. She and Chris were together for almost a year when she started to sleep with his best friend. It started when he found some cigarettes leftovers on the table. It may have seemed like nothing, but he didn’t smoke. Neither did Sierra. He confronted her about it and she said that a friend came over. He accepted it the first time, but it happened again a couple of days later. One day, he finished work early and when he came home, he found her with Joshua, his best friend. Joshua was surprised; apparently, she told him that she broke up with Chris. When I got to her apartment, she was on the floor crying. I’m not sure what he did or said to her, but he looked furious and I barely managed to calm him down. I remember he left saying, “I knew you were a bitch, but I never knew you were a whore too.” After he left she told me that he didn’t touch her, but he said some things to her, things she didn’t want to tell me. As mad as he was he knew how to control himself and whatever he told her, made her realize – or so I thought until today– the mistake she’s done and her ego got hurt.
I couldn’t give a shit right now. Back then, I thought that she was a good person and that what she did with Josh was just a ‘go with the moment’ thing as she described it. She convinced me that she was drunk and that it only happened once. Little did she know that I kept in touch with Chris and that he told me what actually happened between them. He warned me that she’s crazy and that she will do the same to me. What a fool I was for not believing him.
“I should have let him mop the floor with you that night,” I said calmly, my voice even. “I don’t condone domestic violence, but he should have slapped you that night. Maybe then you wouldn’t have done this. I don’t know what your reason for sleeping with Nate was, but don’t think for a second that I will let you come here, in my apartment, to gloat. Now get out or I’ll call the police.”
She looked at me with so much hate that it surprised me. I tried not to show it, but her behavior hurt me. Besides what she did, we were friends for more than fifteen years and I wanted to remember the good parts about our friendship.
“I hope you’ll do us all a favor and just die,” she said before leaving, hate laced in her voice.
Maybe I will, Sierra. Maybe I will.