I’d been dating James for about six months when I noticed he got along really well with my best friend, Molly. The three of us hung out on weeknights, dreading the early morning commute to the high school we all begrudgingly attended.
When summer finally came, our neighbourhood became an oasis of happily buzzed kids who wandered the tree-lined paths and quiet parks, the murmur of cars only a faint hum in the distance.
It was an environment ripe for love. And secrets.
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It was in the little things. The way Molly laughed with her whole face when James said something that was only a little funny. The way she’d look at him just a beat too long during lazy Tuesday sunsets. They moved around each other like they had a secret between them.
It got to the point where I decided to ask them, jokingly, with just a hint of seriousness, if they had feelings for one another and preferred to date instead.
I would’ve been devastated, because James and I had developed a unique bond, but ending it then would’ve been much better than the immense pain of being betrayed by both of them later.
“If you want to see each other, it would save us all a lot of time,” I’d said when we were all hanging out on a late afternoon. They looked at each other, then back at me, and laughed.
“We don’t like each other like that,” Molly had said, a lie undetectable in her smiling eyes. I knew better, though.
It was confusing; I couldn’t understand why she would lie when I was giving her a direct opportunity to admit her feelings. It must’ve meant it was true. James simply echoed what Molly had said, and the three of us continued our day.
About six months later, James and I broke up. It was dramatic, and messy, but it needed to end. The wound was open, sore, and showed no signs of healing. It’s part of the reason I reacted so poorly when I found out, shortly after, that Molly had slept with James immediately following our breakup.