Janine pulled a bottle of white out of the fridge and turned to her friend Lori, "Did you want a glass of wine?"
"No, thanks. After last night I think I will be sticking with water today."
Lori shook her head, "Worse. Just worse."
"Okay, tell me about it." Janine settled in on the couch across from her best friend waiting to hear the gory details of whatever had happened. She was completely in the dark except for a text message earlier in the day saying, "I need an intervention. Help!"
"Okay, brace yourself, it's a long story, and it ends badly."
"Oh it can't be that bad. Just spill it all." Janine had a hard time imagining what it could be. Lori was the most level headed of her friends.
"So, yesterday morning I had a client meeting downtown and then a lunch meeting after that, so when my morning meeting finished early I decided instead of going back in to the office I would just go over my notes at Starbucks. I'm sitting there reviewing everything and I get that feeling that someone is staring at me. I look up and there is this girl a few tables over and when she notices I have seen her staring she looks away really quickly. There is something sort of familiar about her but I just can't place her. So this keeps happening. I look up she looks away.
Finally I just get up and walk over to her. I tell her, 'This probably sounds weird but have we met? You just look familiar and I cannot place where I know you from.' And she says, 'Well, sort of. I know who you are, Lori, and you probably know who I am. I'm Cassie. Zach's girlfriend.'"
"Oh, shit! You have to be kidding me?"
"Nope, not at all. And that's when it clicked. Last week Zach commented on James and Kathy's picture of their new puppy and she was in his profile picture with him. That's why she looked familiar! Not that I went and stared at that picture or anything..."
"Are you sure you don't want wine?"
"Thanks but it gets worse. Just wait. So I try to play it off like I'm not sort of shocked that she knows who I am. So I put out my hand and say 'nice to meet you.' Who does that? Nice to meet you? It's not nice to meet you, it's awkward and uncomfortable and I wish I could turn around and walk away like this never happened! But no...not me, I shake her hand and tell her it's nice to meet her. Which leads her to be relieved that I am not some sort of nut job and she starts talking to me! She tells me that she recognized me right away because the light coming in the window behind me made me look just like I looked in the picture from the Mexican Riviera cruise. Then she says, 'I know, it's weird right? But I went and looked at your Facebook page and your pictures and I just wanted to you know, like, see who you were.' So I just smile at her like an idiot then say, 'Well I'm glad we got a chance to meet face to face, I've got a meeting I need to get to, but it was nice meeting you.' AGAIN with the nice meeting you! What the hell is wrong with me?"
"You're polite. It's okay. And you were shocked right? Who would expect to run in to your ex's new girlfriend like that?"
"I know, right? I mean it's been 6 months since we broke up so I knew it would be just a matter of time before he started seeing someone but to go from seeing the picture last week to seeing her face to face this week? And knowing that she knew who I was when I had no clue who she was? It just put me off my game a little. So anyway, I was rattled all day so last night I got home and poured myself a glass of wine and logged on to Facebook...."
"Oh you didn't..."
"I did. I stalked her page. I had gone and looked at Zach's profile picture when I first saw it, I was curious but I didn't poke any further. Why do that to yourself right? There is no point. But I just hated that she knew me and I didn't know her so..."
"Oh, Lori....you didn't send her a friend request did you??"
"Oh god no! I might be crazy but I'm not that crazy! But I did go to her page. Her banner picture? It's from the big Skyy Vodka taster party and when you look at the comments it's where she and Zach met and they have been together ever since. Janine, that party was a week after we broke up. I got him the fucking tickets to the party through work before we split. A week! He started seeing her a week after we broke up."
"No, no wine. I had wine last night. After I saw the picture and read all of her friends 'how cute!' comments I went and grabbed the bottle and had plenty of wine. I'm not proud of it but I looked through every last picture on her page. And then I went to his page to look at his pictures. Which he has locked down so I couldn't see what he posted. So I did the next logical thing and sent him a text."
"Oh, Lori, you didn't..."
"Oh yes I did. I told him I had run in to Cassie and that she was just lovely and that I hoped he was happy because he truly deserved it."
"Well, that's not too bad...."
"Then he texted me back. He said he had been meaning to call me. He wants to have coffee tomorrow."
"I think he's going to tell me they are engaged."
"So, I started thinking after I went to Zach's page and couldn't see his pictures, my page is locked down too. You can't see anything except my profile picture. And then I started thinking about it and I don't have any pictures from the Mexican Riviera trip on my page anyway. The picture she is talking about is on Zach's mom's piano, not on Facebook. She's met his parents. He wouldn't introduce her if he wasn't serious. And he would feel the need to tell me face to face before I heard it from someone else. What am I supposed to do with that? Can't he just tell me via text or just not tell me at all?"
"It might not be that at all. I mean, if his mom still has a picture of you at their house then she can't think he and Cassie are that serious right?"
"That picture has been on the piano since we all took that trip together, like what? Three years ago? I bet she didn't even think about it. You know how you stop noticing things that you see all of the time. For her it had to have become background stuff. She would never have left it there if she had remembered it, just because she is much too nice to make Cassie feel weird like that."
"So are you going to have coffee with him?"
"That's what I'm here for. I need advice. I said yes, but I so don't want to go. Would it be awful if I cancelled?"
"Maybe a little. It couldn't have been easy on him to ask you."
"I sort of forced his hand though with my drunken text. I just feel like I should text him and tell him I don't think it would be a good idea and he can tell me anything he needs to this way. But then I feel like I shouldn't be such a coward and just get it over with. God, I hate these sorts of things. He always wanted to have the big emotional discussions and I always wanted to ignore things and hope they would go away on their own. I bet Cassie loves to talk about her feelings...."
"Don't do this to yourself. No comparisons to Cassie."
"Too late, I did that all last night. She's too adorable. Little blond blue eyed thing. Like a fucking kewpie doll. And the way she looks at him in pictures? Like he hung the moon. She obviously adores him, and I am happy for him for that. I really am. I do want him to be happy, but she is so different from me...I just can't wrap my brain around it."
"You did break his heart."
"Yeah....so much so that he started seeing her a week after we broke up. I am so afraid I am going to pick a fight with him about that. And it happened 6 months ago so it's really too late for that fight. And I have no room to pick it anyway. I'm the one who left. I knew it was coming, but it just seems so soon. And why the hell didn't anyone tell me? Everyone must have known he was dating someone else, why didn't anyone say anything?"
"What were they going to say? Anyone who stayed friends with both of you knows that there is a grace period where you don't mention the other one if you are out with one. And no joint invites for at least a year."
"Seriously? There's a protocol for this sort of thing? How do I not know this sort of stuff."
"Anyway. You should go. You don't know that they are getting engaged, you just think that's it. Maybe he just wanted to check in and see how you were doing. You know nobody is telling him anything about you either. He must be curious. And even if it's the other then at least you would know right?"
"Can I come here right after? And will you have wine?"
"Yes and of course. You can tell me all about it. I will keep you off of Facebook and take away your phone before we really start drinking."
"Okay, fine....but seriously. Have lots of wine."