Not Like That
Valerie was staring at the back of Liam’s head for the whole class. She hadn’t heard a word of what the professor had said. She kept thinking about how she would approach this touchy subject. Hey, Liam, did you screw over my friend and spread nasty rumors about her? – sure did – okay, glad we had this conversation. Great.
The scratching of chairs pulled Valerie from her thoughts as it signaled that the professor had dismissed the class. She gathered up her stuff and followed Liam out of the classroom. He was headed towards the campus park. She caught up with him just outside of the buildings massive doors.
“Hey, Liam. Can I talk to you for a second?”
Liam sighed and turned towards her.
“Valerie. Yeah, sure, what’s up?”, he replied. Valerie had a feeling he knew what was coming. She cleared her throat, not sure where to begin.
“So, uhm, I just … I wanted to know…”, she stuttered. I sound like a 14 year old asking her crush on a date.
“Is this about Eva?”, Liam cut her short and Valerie felt relief wash over her that she didn’t have to explain herself. She just nodded. Liam sighed and rubbed his temples.
“Of course. So what did she tell you? No, wait, it doesn’t matter. Whatever she told you, it’s a lie!”, he said his voice becoming more aggravated. Valerie was disappointed. He could have at least admitted to it. Then they could have moved past it like mature adults. He could have apologized. Instead, he was denying it.
“I don’t think she would lie about this, Liam. What would she gain?”
Liam had a pained look on his face.
“You don’t understand this, Valerie. You don’t know, Eva. I don’t know what she told you about me, but believe me, she always has an agenda. Always.”
“Eva’s been nothing but kind to me!”, Valerie countered, getting angry that her friend was being pulled through the mud. Liam sighed.
“Of course, it’s part of her plan!”
“And what plan would that be?”
“I DON’T KNOW!”, Liam yelled, but immediately calmed down and breathed deeply. “Sorry. I don’t know what she’s planning but believe me, she is planning something.”
“Why would I believe you?”
“I can’t prove it. But she’s no saint. Not at all.”
Valerie felt her insides twist. Ethan. But she wasn’t ready to admit defeat. Ethan might be playing Eva as much as he was playing Jenny.
“So what about you, then? Are you telling me you didn’t spread nasty stories about her?”
Ethan’s face flashed red.
“I did, but -”
“I can’t believe you!”, Valerie cried out. “And I thought you were one of the good guys!”
“IT’S NOT LIKE THAT”, Liam yelled back, “Just let me explain!”
But Valerie shook her head. She had enough of all the lies, intrigue, and false friends.
“Goodbye, Liam”, she simply said and walked away.
Next: Chapter 20