He kisses her with more passion than usual and she tastes another woman on his lips. There had to be something, someone, somewhere to absolutely confirm what she already knew, because she couldn't leave him without tangible evidence, and here it was, what she's asked for... but did she, now, want it? More proof that yes, he was, more proof than she can handle, straight from his lips to hers. Abruptly breaking off the kiss, she shoves him away from her, looking into his wildly glittering eyes.

"What?" Laughing, daring her to answer, but she can't find the words to respond, her thoughts lost in the roar of his housemates' laughter, innocent enough when she'd popped her head in the living room just minutes before, looking for him, finding only them in front of the Xbox. Hadn't she also thought she'd heard, as soon as she walked in the door: the shrill, high-pitched giggle of a girl upstairs, in his room? Grabbing his collar, she pulls him roughly to her, thrusting her face close to his, smelling for the strong, offensive odor of another woman clinging unpleasantly to his mouth.

And then suddenly his parents in the doorway, hugging her, kissing him.

Will they taste her too? Will they think she's me?

Hysteria rising within her, she wants to scream, and finding that she can't – or won't? Putting his arm around her, his father says, "We have reservations." Never knowing the truth of his words.

Slipping out from under him she murmurs, "I'll be right back, I forgot something." Running into every room of the messy house, looking for her, running past the astonished housemates who she could never think of as her friends anymore. Running past the bathroom where she'd finally found him earlier tying his tie. He told her they'd pick her up, after his parents arrived, but she went to his house anyway, running into his bedroom that smelled of old socks and incense and – was that perfume? Bedroom empty, the red chiffon fabric scrap she hung when he moved in fluttering uselessly in the breeze coming through the screen-less, open window.


About the Author: Venessa Hughes is a writer and librarian currently living in New York State.

Story Song: "Everybody Knows" by Concrete Blonde