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Fiction: Separation (709 words)

09 Jan

“Maybe we shouldn’t hang out for a while,” Nancy suggested quietly.   Brody stared at her with his mouth half open from the passenger seat, but Nancy kept her eyes straight forward, steadfastly on the road.

“Why? Is this because of what Kathryn said earlier? Because I really don’t know what got into her.  It’s not like her to get so spiteful and so– I don’t know.”

“Jealous?” Nancy offered.   “She was jealous.  She didn’t like us hanging out together.”

Brody opened his mouth to deny it, but couldn’t come up with a better explanation.  “Yes. Yes, I guess she was. But like I said, it isn’t like her. She doesn’t usually act that way.”

“Exactly,” Nancy pulled into the parking lot outside Brody’s apartment complex, and turned off the car.  “That’s exactly the problem.  If this was the kind of thing that Kathryn did all the time, jealous of everyone and territorial of you, I could write that off as her being who she is.  I would advise you to maybe get her some therapy to look into her insecurity issues or something.”  Brody laughed in spite of the situation, hushing himself quickly.  “But she’s not.  She trusts you out there in the world with everyone and anyone, to not do anything.  Except when you’re out with me.  She sees–”  Nancy finally steeled her nerves and turned to look Brody in the eye.  “She sees something between us that she doesn’t like.  I’m not sure what–but she’s threatened by it.  And I don’t know if it’s fair for us to flaunt that in front of her.”

“She’s a big girl, Nan. And you and I are friends. She should be able to swallow a bit of discomfort for one of my friends.  I’ve swallowed plenty of it for her friends. I think…I mean…It’s just…” Brody trailed off, not sure what else to say to defend himself.

“Do you love her, Brody?”

Brody scoffed, “What kind of question is that? Of course I do.”

“Then lets be honest with each other here.  For her sake.” Nancy implored.  Brody realized a second too late what was happening.  He wanted to tell her to stop, like maybe if they never admitted it he could keep living in denial.  “What Kathryn doesn’t like between us is attraction.  We wouldn’t dare cross any physical lines–you love her and I think cheating is a despicable thing, but we don’t interact like we’re just friends. Had you been single when we met, I don’t think we would be just friends. But you weren’t, and that’s fine.  So I thought that if Kathryn didn’t mind, then we were okay, we weren’t doing anything wrong.  But–clearly, she does mind.  And I don’t think it’s fair to her to keep saying that you just feel like a very good friend to me, when you don’t. And I fear that one of these days the temptation might become too much for us, and we’d both regret that.”  Nancy lost her nerve at the end of her speech, and let her gaze drop to her hands, turning more in her seat to face the steering wheel.  “And yes. I did practice that speech in my head during the movie, So it is a little melodramatic, but it isn’t wrong. So–I don’t think we should see each other for a while.”

For a second she allowed herself to daydream.  She imagined Brody declaring his undying love, embracing her tightly, and insisting that he’d find a way to end it tactfully with Kathryn so that they could be together at last.  She knew it would never happen.

As for Brody, he knew she wasn’t wrong–nothing she said wasn’t true…but he’d been willing to deny it until now, take the best of both worlds, and hope that didn’t make him as bad a person as he felt it might.  However, with everything out in the open, things would have to change.  And he’d known Kathryn longer.

He reached out and gave her hand a little squeeze.  “Whatever you think is best, Nancy.”  She didn’t move or respond.  He got out of the car, and she drove home.   Neither cried or got upset, after all they were just friends, but they could feel the loss.

Until they met again.

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Posted by on January 9, 2015 in Stories

 

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