A minute later, Trixie comes back with this huge, giddy smile on her face.

“Oh my God, you little slut! I totally saw that,” she says to you as she sits down.

You raise your eyebrow. “What?”

“As if you don’t know,” she waves her hand in a dismissive fashion. “You and Jamie Wrighton ogling each other in the middle of the cafeteria, that’s what.”

“I was not. He was just apologizing for bumping into me,” you say nonchalantly.

Trixie can be extremely dramatic when it comes to two things in life—Bill, and anything college sports. She’s pretty much the only reason you’ve attended any of the games you have, even going as far as buying you a sports ticket package so that she’ll always have at least one person to go to football and basketball games with.

She’s tried endlessly to get Bill to go to more games, but he’s just not sports-inclined. Still, that doesn’t stop her from continuing to try. The only reason she doesn’t bug him about going with her as much as she used to is because she doesn’t want to have to endure watching a game with Gina around. Needless to say, Trixie can’t stand her and can’t understand what Bill sees in “the skank”.

Yeah. Trixie has a nickname for her, too.

“Is that all he said?” she asks, bringing you back to your ‘discussion’ as her whiskey eyes search yours with impossible curiosity.

“Yup,” you lie. You take a sip of your coffee and wish you hadn’t. It tastes awfully bland, and you might as well have put the money you just spent on it in a shredder instead of on the cardboard-encased cup in your hands.

“I don’t believe you,” Trixie says.

The girl can read you a lot better than you’d care to admit sometimes.

“What else did he say, Roni?” she pushes.

You sigh, knowing that she’ll just keep poking and poking at the matter until you say something. You might as well just get it over with.

“He said he saw me singing at the Mushroom and thinks I’m alright,” you admit, now picking at your bagel.

The round pastry is beginning to look like it was made to go with Swiss cheese from all the craters you’re absently making in it.

Trixie lets out the kind of squeal that she only does when she talks about things she’s obsessed with—in this case, college sports and the “hot athletes” who go with it.

“Did he ask you for your number?” she asks with visible anticipation.

“No,” you answer simply.

“Well, did you offer it?” She has this incredulous look on her face, almost as if it’s a no-brainer to give your number to anyone you come in contact with simply because they’re an athlete.

You feel your mouth curve into a slight frown. “No. Why the hell would I do that?”

“Because he’s Jamie fucking Wrighton, Ramona! Duh!” she says dramatically, waving her hands for emphasis. She goes on and on for a few minutes, telling you you should know better by now and insisting that you should have given him your number as if world peace depended on it.

In the midst of Trixie’s dramatics, you notice that Bill is unusually quiet. After you and Trixie go back and forth a few more times, you turn to him with a bit of concern.

“Everything okay, Bill? You’d normally be telling Trixie to get a new hobby by now.”

“Yeah, Poochie,” she concurs with a teasing smile. She tries to mimic the Joker’s voice. “Why so silent?”

Bill remains quiet for several seconds, as if he’s in deep thought, before exhaling deeply. He rubs the bridge of his nose and runs his hands through his hair again, obviously distressed about something.

“Bill?” Trixie asks again, her expression showing a bit more worry now.

“I think Gina’s cheating on me,” he blurts suddenly, avoiding your eyes.

The hurt expression on his face gives you the impression that he’s pretty sure his speculation is true. He can be a bit private about certain things, like you am, and he’s definitely not the paranoid type. So the fact that he’s telling you that he thinks his girlfriend is being unfaithful to him means he’s probably been feeling this way for some time.

He still doesn’t look at you.

You look over to Trixie. She’s equally silent, but her eyes are seething. She looks like she wants to kick something; no doubt, Gina’s forehead.

Suddenly, you feel even shittier than you did before. You can’t even begin to imagine how betrayed he must feel. You really hope it doesn’t turn out to be true, but somehow, you’re certain it is. You wouldn’t put it past Gina to do that to him. He’s a bit of a pushover when it comes to her, and she knows it and takes full advantage of it.

The fact that she does that enrages Trixie to no end, but there’s only so much she can do about it. Bill’s in love with

Gina, almost hopelessly so.

You never want to feel betrayed like that.

Fuck love with a sandpaper dick. You want no part of it and the inevitable mess that it eventually causes. That’s why you keep avoiding guys who show interest in you or anyone you can actually envision yourself being with.

“I’m just gonna go. I’ll see you guys later,” he finally says. He gets up from his chair and leaves before you can say anything else.

You’re not sure if you expected Trixie to openly gloat or bask at the sign of possible turmoil in Bill and Gina’s relationship, but you didn’t expect her to be so quiet about it, either.

The creasing on her forehead becomes more prominent as her scowl deepens.

She’s pissed.

Really pissed.

That’s the only time she ever gets this quiet.

“Trixie, don’t do anything stupid,” you warn, your voice dripping with concern—for both her and Gina. She looks at you but she continues to remain silent.

All you can hope for now is that she doesn’t run into Gina any time soon.

Or go looking for her.

***

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