Escher had to admit she had been shocked to hear Jamia’s greeting when she had answered her phone. She had wondered vaguely how the other girl had gotten her direct number. Jamia wanted to meet h...
“Once you hang it up, the other stops talking”
She looked up, her eyes narrowing when she saw Frank in her office doorway.
He raised his arms as though in self defense.
“I see you haven’t forgiven me yet”
“For your very mature little performance last week?” Escher asked sarcastically, “No”
Frank sighed dramatically.
“Come on Green…what’s say we go get some beers, talk about the good old times…” He quirked his eyebrow, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
Escher felt her face grow hot.
“You really are an asshole, you know that?” She asked as she stood up, pulling her laptop bag over her shoulder.
“Yeah well you were hot for this asshole…”
“And I have somewhere else to be” She stated loudly, effectively shutting him up.
He rolled his eyes.
“Oh riiiiiiiight, lover boy back in town?”
“No,” Escher replied, shoving him out of her doorway and locking it after her. “I'm going out with your ex as a matter of fact”
Frank’s jaw dropped as Escher sashayed down the hallway.
Escher had to admit she had been shocked to hear Jamia’s greeting when she had answered her phone. She had wondered vaguely how the other girl had gotten her direct number. Jamia wanted to meet her, she’d said.
“I’m sorry Ms. Nestor, I was under the impression that the contracts for Skeleton Crew had all been worked out and were being drafted for signing”
“Well, yes…it’s not about that, it’s about Frank. Will you come?”
Escher had agreed, intrigued, and desperately wanting to know the meaning behind what Jamia had said to her the last time they’d met.
“It almost worked for you”
With that in mind Escher walked into the café-style bar Jamia had picked out. It was up a rickety flight of stairs that opened into a large, loft space with rustic tables all set for two. There were only a few people in the place and a quick scan proved that Jamia was yet to arrive.
Escher wandered over to the bar and ordered a dirty martini before sitting down at a table far away from any other occupied ones. When her drink arrived she slowly stirred the olives through the murky liquid and thought about Frank.
It seemed as though they’d reverted to their tit-for-tat petty arguments and tantrums that had plagued them when she first began working for MCR. Everyone had noticed it, especially Gerard (but he would, wouldn’t he?) And worse this time around, was that Escher was participating in it. She was mad as hell with him, frustrated, she just wanted to slap him – well she’d already done that – and kick him. Funny how closely the word kick is related to kiss…
Escher looked up to see Jamia pulling out the chair opposite her.
“I’m sorry?” Jamia asked as she waved over the waiter.
“You can call me Escher”
Jamia sat down heavily and raised her eyebrow at the martini warming in front of Escher.
“Hard day at work?”
“Only made harder by your ex” Escher muttered.
Jamia smiled tightly and ordered a glass of Pinot from the waiter.
“He’s fucking annoying right?” Jamis asked with that same smile.
Escher nodded coolly.
“Though that’s not the only adjective I’d use at the moment, but let’s get down to it Jamia…why am I here?”
She was tired and wasn’t in the mood for niceties with a woman that she had spent years hating over a boy that was still driving her crazy, only in a different way now.
Jamia’s eyebrow quirked again but she smiled that same, tight smile.
Escher rolled her eyes and picked up her martini glass, taking a long swig and swilling the gin and vermouth around her mouth. She swallowed it slowly, enjoying the slow burn of the alcohol pouring down her throat.
Jamia splayed her hands on the heavy, oak tabletop and took a deep breath.
“Frank and I are over” She began, pausing as though Escher might break in with something. Escher simply nodded and Jamia continued. “We’ve been over for months now. It wasn’t anything big, not a fight or anything. It was sort of disappointing really, you know? For such a long relationship to just peter out like it did. I spent a while wondering if it had anything to do with you,”
Escher’s eyes widened, she hadn’t met up with Frank again until after he’d broken up with Jamia.
“I've shocked you I see. But Frank would always tell me about this girl at his school, Escher Green, the girl who’d come to visit him when he was sick, who was friends with the jocks and preps but was never an asshole to him like they were. He’d tell me how she helped him with notes or gave him a lift home if it was raining so he didn’t have to take the bus. I remember getting angry when he told me how embarrassed he’d been the first time this girl drove him home and saw his house. Everyone knew her house, the Green mansion. So you see Escher, I was jealoud of you even before anything happened between you and Frank. I already knew there was something there”
“I want you to know this because he’d never tell you and you should know it. Frank and I had been together for a few months but things weren’t working out, I can’t remember why now, it would’ve been something stupid though. Anyway, we took a ‘break’” she said, using air quotes, “as you did back then. A couple of weeks later he turned up at my place out of the blue. He was upset, wanted to hang out. He told me that kids at school were giving him shit. I could tell something else had happened though, I knew something had happened that involved you. It took him a few weeks to tell me.
- Flashback -
Jamia opened the door, her smile faltering when she took in the look on Frank’s usually happy face. It was different now, closed, vacant.
“We’re friends right?” He asked plaintively.
Jamia nodded mutely, her stomach dropping, knowing what was coming. She let him in and they made their way to the living room.
“She’s gone” Frank said quietly, dropping onto the couch, his head hanging off the arm rest.
He stared at her.
“Escher, she’s gone…she hasn’t been at school in a few days. I feel like an asshole talking to you about this”
“You can tell me anything” Jamia said quietly, praying her voice wouldn’t crack and betray her.
Frank sighed and draped his arm across his eyes dramatically.
“I asked at the office today, finally got up the balls to do it, and the receptionist said that Escher had applied for early grad and that she wasn’t coming back. So tonight I went round to her parents place. Her mom answered the door. Her mom’s really beautiful, like brittle though, she looks like anything could break her…”
Jamia nodded, urging him on.
“Anyway, I asked about Escher, if I could see her and she gets this look on her face, this really weird look and for a few seconds I thought Escher had died or something, is was that kind of look, that says ‘oh my, you don’t know’” He explained, putting on a voice to re-enact it, “And then the look disappears and she turns all cold and says ‘Escher’s not here’ so I asked where she was and she looked sad for a moment and said ‘Gone’ then she apologized for having to go and closed the door”
He sighed heavily.
“What do I take from that? What does that mean?”
Jamia felt her face growing hot.
“I…I..” she started, her voice faltering and weak, “Wh…what happened between you and her?” She finally whispered.
Finally Frank met her eyes.
“Oh Jamia” He whispered.
Jamia’s eyes widened and she felt them fill with unwelcome tears, her hand flying to her lips.
“Oh my God” She moaned.
“I’m sorry…it was a party…I guess I always wanted it to happen…I’m sorry…”
He sat up and hung his head while Jamia curled up in a ball on the other end of the couch, crying her silent tears.
“I always knew you’d been in love with him. It’s funny, I could tell it from one look I saw you give him when you dropped him home one day, I was just arriving as you were leaving and I saw the way you looked at him and my skank-alarm went off. But I never saw the way he felt about you. He wasn’t the same after you left. He spent those first couple of weeks worried as hell about why you were ignoring him, then worried about why you’d left. Then he just became angry and started to hate you. It took months for him to come back, for us to get back together. I should probably thank you though, if it wasn’t for you we never would have become friends and probably wouldn’t have gotten back together”
Escher smiled sarcastically.
“So glad to be a help”
Jamia sighed and finished her wine.
“It just seems strange that you guys have come together again, I think you have unfinished business so I wanted to tell you the whole story”
“You mean why am I being the good girl and trying to bring you two back together?”
“Yes,” Escher replied coldly, “I suppose so, if that’s what you’re doing”
Jamia bit her lip and looked up at Escher warily before she admitted her sin,
“Because I was the one who never gave him the letter you wrote him just after you ran away”