The thing about doing things in public places is that no matter how perfect your timing is or how private you think your location is, the details of what went down between you and whoever else was involved, are nearly impossible to keep secret — especially if you have the kind of friend that makes it her business to know everybody else’s business — like Cassandra.
I kept my head turned in the opposite direction as we walked down the sidewalk, my attention as far away from her as I could possibly get it. My focus was on the storefront displays across the street but still — I could feel her watching me — her curious eyes searching for the answers to all of last night’s questions.
I was different, she said, when I returned to our table from my dance with Amir. So quiet and distracted all of sudden. Slouched in my seat, staring off into space like I was stuck in some kind of reminiscent memory loop where — judging by the smirk she swore she saw on my face — I must’ve been replaying every. little. detail. of this secret I was keeping from her and not being able to access this information that was so heavily guarded within the depths of my most private thoughts was enough to make her LOSE. HER. SHIT.
“Really?!” she jabbed her fist into the side of my arm.
“OUCH!” I grabbed the spot left sore from her assault, “What???”
“What do you mean what?” she sneered at my failed attempt at playing dumb, “Do you know it’s been a whole 10 hours and 46 minutes and you still haven’t told me what happened with you and Amir last night.”
Keeping track of the time? Down to the exact minute? She was even further gone than I thought.
My eyebrow raised an entire inch. “You kept track of the time?”
“Of course I kept track of the time!” she shouted. “Now pleeeeeeaaaaaase,” she roped her arms around mine, pleading as if she was being held captive and the contents of this super juicy secret was the one and only key to her release, “at least tell me if you got the D. Pleeeaase tell me you got the D.”
Her grip grew tighter as she awaited my response. Her face, begging me to say yes — to give her some kind of sign that I was finally ready to move on. To let her know that my sex life was no longer as dry as this morning’s mailroom gossip and most importantly — that I had finally taken her advice.
She dug her chin into my shoulder, laying it on even thicker with a dramatic display of pouty lips and puppy dog eyes — just in case I needed a little more convincing.
A loud laugh bolted from my mouth as I collapsed under the weight of her Oscar-worthy performance. “Oh my God– Okaaaaay!” I surrendered, “We had sex in the bathroom.”
“AHHHHHHHHH!!!!” her scream rippled through the sidewalk — the high-pitched shriek startling a couple of passersbys whose annoyance was made clear by the newly formed scowls on their faces.
“Shhhhh! Cass!” I muffled her scream with my hand, keeping her quiet long enough for them to pass us.
“I knew it!” she pointed at me with a smug but excited grin on her face. “Tell me everything! Was it good? Was it big?? You going back for seconds???”
“Um…” I contemplated the answers to those questions. The first two were an easy yes but the last one was the whole reason I kept quiet about this little rendezvous in the first place.
“Yes, yes and… no.” I responded.
Her proud smile melted into something along the lines of disappointment. “What do you mean no? You just said everything was good.”
And everything was good but now that I’m sober and down from my post-orgasmic high I’m thinking that my one-night-stand with a guy who shared so many similarities to the person I wanted so badly to leave in the past should be just that — a one-night-stand.
“I know and it was but…” I looked at her with the same mix of confusion and regret that I had been feeling since last night, “he reminds me way too much of my ex and– Is that weird?”
“Not really,” she put my worries to rest, “I mean, you’re not tryna marry him or have his babies or nothing, right?”
I gagged at the idea of being eternally bound to any version of Brandon, hypothetical or not. “NO.”
“Good,” she wrapped her arms around mine again and gave me a reassuring squeeze, “‘Cause you can’t be out here letting good dick go to waste like that.”
Loud laughter ricocheted between us, once again, as I pushed her and her influence off of my shoulder. “I can’t with you, I swear!”
We reached the top of our building and as our lunch hour stroll came to a close, Cassandra geared up for a new round of her favorite game — the one where she told me everything about everyone who was unfortunate enough to cross our path. I listened as she told me about Siobhan from the news department and how this competition with her step-sister was the real cause of her broken arm and how Diego, over on the fourth floor, was a secret art thief who took credit for other people’s work. She was about to dive into the lore behind the rumored love triangle between three of the reporters, Travis, Summer and Liberty — but someone else caught her eye — someone who had piping hot tea that was begging to be spilled.
“Oooh! And over there,” she nodded towards the entrance of our building, where a familiar face stood, deep in conversation with a woman I don’t think I’ve seen before, “that’s Salim and his crazy ass wife, Aliyah– no, Aahana, that’s her name.”
Turns out, Room 3 had a name, it was Salim and he was… married? Now, I know a 30 minute conversation isn’t really enough time to get to know a person but out of all the vibes I picked up from him over lunch the other day — married wasn’t one of them.
“This one time she was here,” she elaborated on the little snippet she just shared, “they got in this big ass fight, right in the middle of the lobby. I mean, they were going at it like they weren’t at his job — had the receptionist calling security and everything.”
I surveyed their behavior — the way they were interacting with each other, their mannerisms and the expressions on their faces. He seemed relaxed, propped against the wall, listening to whatever she was telling him and she was… calm, laughing even, with her hands in an animated but non-threatening position — nothing at all like the couple in the story I just heard — piquing my curiosity to the max.
“What were they arguing about?”
“I don’t know,” she shrugged, “but it must’ve something big ‘cause like a month or two later…”
There was more???
“She showed up here again, cut his tires, with an ice pick, got back in her car and drove off like it was nothing. Like I said, the bitch is crazy.”
She might be… but if he was still married to her…
“And they’re still together??”
“Mm-hmm,” she nodded, “Guess he has a thing for crazy.”