Write about two characters who have known each other for a long time. Give one of them a secret.
She was standing there. Her back towards the door as if she knew I was coming but didn’t care enough to face me. Her head turns slightly, just enough to notice me enter the room but not enough for me to read her emotions. “How long?” I ask.
She turns her head back to the wall, I can only see the back of her head and her hair which is still perfectly in place. I look around the room, empty. For once we do not have an audience, it is just me, her and the silence that fills the room. Thick and heavy with tension. I sit on the sofa which is glowing with light from the fire. She walks around the table near the window pouring both of us a drink. The chiming of glasses clashing together fills the room. She may be able to control her emotions but her body can not, even she can not control her hands from shaking. Finally she brings the glasses over and sits opposite me. I look at her, waiting for her to answer. “Oh for heavens sake Joshua! What do you want me to say? I knew? Of course I knew! It’s my job to know.” She sighs in defeat and taking a swig of the drink in her glass.
“You’re job to know? Why does this have to be about a job! Why can’t you for once just be here for me.”
“Because, we both know why you’re really here and it is not because you’re hurt. You forget yourself. I knew you when you were a child, I knew you when you were a boy, a teenager and now I know you as the man in front of me. So do not pretend you are here because you are hurt that you were the last to know. You are here because your ego is bruised and you want some attention. Well you will not be getting it from me!” she looks at me, her eyes filled with rage but her face calm. It’s almost as if the emotions are threatening to spill from her. The clock is ticking in the corner and the silence is still in the air, clinging to furniture.
“Attention? You think this is about attention?” I spit
“Yes! Yes I do. It’s the reason I’m here isn’t it? You can’t go six months without blaming me for not being there for you. You need me remember? Your sound board have you ever once thought about what I need? Look at you. Look at this. It’s toxic.” She stands clearly frustrated. “What is the point of this conversation. You’re angry and this is pointless. You’re blaming me for hiding this from you. That she was going to leave!”
“You could have stopped her!”
“And then what? Forced you into a marriage where she was not happy and thus you neither? No, like it or not I care about you and she was not right. It was not right. Now we just pull ourselves together and we get on with it.”
“Like you did?” I take a sip of my drink. I couldn’t stop myself. The words just fell out. Her whole body stills.
“What do you mean like I did?” I don’t reply, I lean forward and pour myself a drink. “No come on Joshie. Don’t get shy now. What did I just get on with?”
“Stop that. Just spit it out. What you’re a afraid of hurting me now? ha! When have we ever cared about that. Isn’t that what we do? we’re brutally and unashamedly honest. Even if it kills. Don’t you pride yourself on it. I know you do. It’s the only reason we keep each other around. When all else fails, leave it to old Joshie to deliver the truth even if it cuts like a knife. They call me a bitch right? You ever wonder why? No. You know why, I don’t give a damn. Now stop being a coward and spit the bloody thing out. What did I just get on with?”
“See there you go again. Putting on this hard shell act, the tough I don’t care and I’ll be okay. You care. You cared when he left you for his wife. He promised you didn’t he?”
Her face pales and the voices of downstairs are starting to quieten down. The party is ending but we know that this conversation isn’t ready to stop anytime soon.
“What are you talking about?” She stands up and goes to get some ice. Pretending that she wants her drink cold. She’s never had ice in her drink in the whole time i’ve known her. She’s avoiding looking at me.
“Robert. We all know you were sleeping with him! Even his wife knew but she got pregnant again and he left you hanging. Broke you and turned you into this cold bitch”
“Shut your mouth! You know nothing. Absolutely nothing about that.”
“I know that the baby wasn’t even his”
“SHUT UP!” She throws the glass on the floor. She’s hit tipping point, emotions over flowing she can’t hide this much more. “What do you mean the baby wasn’t his? It had to have been!”
“You mean Lisa couldn’t have been having an affair? Lisa always got what she wanted and she wanted Robert. She also knew that the one thing you couldn’t give him was a child because he was married to her. So she gave him what you couldn’t a child but they weren’t spending much time together. The baby was Jack’s.”
“The one and only.”
“Everyone knew but whatever doesn’t know is that you disappeared for a while afterwards. Nancy told me though, wasn’t hard to put two and two together. How old would they have been? Hmm? Don’t act like you don’t know.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She gets up to leave but I stand in the doorway. She’s not leaving right now.
“Oh come on Lucy, you know exactly what I’m talking about. How old would they have been? Do you think I wouldn’t know? How could you not tell me!?”
“Five. She would have been five.” She whispers “are you happy now?”
“No. My fiancé just left me at the alter and my best friend has been keeping a secret from me for five years and all you do is keep secrets!”
“We’re best friends are we?”
“Who else is going to put up with me?”
“You are a bastard.” she all but spits the words out. She sits defeated back on the sofa and I sit next to her.
“And you are a bitch, yet here we are.”
“For someone whose fiancé left them you’re not terribly heartbroken.”
“I don’t have a heart remember?”
We sit there in the silence listening to each other breathe. It’s terrible really that of all the people I’ve known that I should be stuck with the bitter bitch as my best friend and that she should be stuck with the mumbling arrogant asshole. Still, life’s funny isn’t it.