One last night, this was it. The beginning of the end. I watched Roxie in her black gown, drinking and laughing with her friends. As if she felt my stare she turned and looked at me so I lifted my glass, gave her a little toast. She frowned. Maybe she did have a clue after all.

The best thing was, it was all her fault, she’d set herself up for this fall. My friends already thought Roxie was a little bit crazy thanks to her antics when I’d broken it off with her the first time. Then her comments against Dee had laid the groundwork I needed to be able to dismiss anything else Roxie might say after this break up.

Comments along the lines of, “Jay’s in love with Dee,” would now be seen as a result of Roxie’s obvious dislike of Dee.

Dee would laugh it off, as she had any time it was suggested we could be a couple. Then she would say, “Jay’s like a brother to me.” And I’d die a little inside.

No one would know though. I’d just grin and say that I wasn’t her type. The same thing I said any time someone asked why we weren’t a couple, or at least friends with benefits. They would say things like, “you two make such a great couple” and “imagine how gorgeous your babies would be”, just the visual I didn’t need thanks. The very thought of Dee pregnant with my baby … I harboured such dark desires, suck filthy thoughts. I locked my eyes on Roxie and the idiot in my pants got the message and laid down.

I had to stop thinking about Dee, at least until I was home alone. The band came back from their break and I knew what my job was so I threw back my drink and walked over to Roxie. Her friends giggled and one of them even blushed when I requested the pleasure of her company.

We danced well together thanks to my mother insisting I knew the classics. Had to give her credit, dancing was a great in with women, especially at these formal events. The one I was at with Roxie was for a charity, most of her friends were here and even some of her work colleagues which was perfect. They would all see the scene she was about to make, she could paint me as the biggest arsehole in the world, and no one would expect to see us together ever again.

I smiled down at her and asked, “So how do you want to do this?”

“Do what?” she said absently, her eyes looking over my shoulder at something. As I turned her in a quick move I realised it was someone.

The other man’s eyes met mine for a moment, long enough for me to see the challenge in his. If only he knew, this was going to be the easiest pick up in the world for him. Knowing Roxie I might have felt sorry for him except that he was looking at what was supposed to be my girlfriend. Poaching bastard deserved her.

“This is the last time I’m doing this Rox.” My smile faded as I stared into her eyes, let her see I was serious. We came to a stop in the middle of the dance floor.

“I don’t think so Jay, not unless you want everyone to know your dirty little secret,” she sneered.

I dropped her hand and slid my hands into my pockets. “No one will believe you sweetheart. They all think you’re jealous of Dee.” I shrugged as if I didn’t care. “Go ahead, make a fool of yourself.”

“We had a deal Jay, until Christmas. Well it’s not fucking christmas yet.” Her tone was harsh but she was smiling, not quite ready for that scene yet.

Around us, couples were still dancing, sending us worried looks so I grabbed her wrist and led her off the floor. I made sure to head in the direction of her new victim, hoped he was man enough to step in when things got ugly. I found an empty spot near the bar and laid it out for her.

“Deal’s over Roxie. Now you can make a big scene and burst into tears then Romeo over there can come rescue you and you’ll have a new playmate for Christmas.” I crossed my arms and waited for her to get on board.

I could see her weighing her options. She turned her head just enough to make sure lover boy was watching then transformed before my eyes. Her shoulders hunched and her lower lip trembled, tears even welled in her eyes.

“What am I going to tell everyone?” She looked up at me imploringly, reached out a trembling hand and rested it on my forearm.

“Will it matter?” I shrugged her touch away and she clutched her hands to her chest looking suitably wounded. “I dumped you right before christmas, I’m a bastard, they’ll love you for being so brave.”

“You’re right,” she said as she let her head drop forward a little more, wiped a tear from her cheek. “But I’m going to tell them you’re a freak and asked me to have a threesome with you.”

That made me laugh and lover boy took a step closer. “That’s great Rox. Now slap me across the face so I never have to see you again.”

Her eyes were filled with glee as her shoulders went back and colour rushed to her cheeks. “I hope you enjoy watching Dee parade around with her men, knowing they’re getting what you never will,” she said quietly and drew her hand back. Then she yelled, “You bastard!” and laid one on me.

Around us the conversation died as we stood there, my cheek burning. Pretty sure I was going to have a bruise there tomorrow. I felt something warm and lifted my hand to find I was bleeding. I lifted my head to glare at Roxie and saw her turning her ring around. I hoped her lust for blood was sated by her little trick as I had no intention of fighting over her. As much as lover boy looked like he was ready to hit me as he rushed to her side, I wasn’t that committed to my role as bastard boyfriend.

“Roxie are you okay?” He glared at me as she sobbed and threw herself into his arms. A couple of Roxie’s girlfriends appeared and they all crowded around her. I didn’t hear what was said but one of them turned to glare at me so I guess she’d shared her news.

“Roxie,” I said her name as if I needed her to listen to me and took a step toward her, playing my part in this little scene to perfection.

Lover boy’s head jerked up and he nailed me with a fierce glare. “I think you better go.”

Roxie had chosen well, he sounded a little unhinged. I nodded and backed up. Two more backwards steps then I spun on my heel and headed for the closest exit. I avoided looking at anyone on the way out scared they’d see how happy I was. I kept my head down until I got outside then I sucked in the sweet smell of freedom.

I couldn’t believe it was over, I felt giddy, I wanted to celebrate. I wanted to see Dee. Unbidden, the last time I’d seen her came back to me, Roxie’s words ringing in my ears. I remembered looking up surprised to see her at the bar, thinking I’d go talk to her. Then before I could move seeing her walk out with a man she’d dated a while back. That had stunned me because Dee never went back.

I was happy as fuck that I didn’t have to deal with Roxie any more but where did that leave me? Should I call Dee? That’s what friends did right? Called each other after a break up. I didn’t know if I could take it though if like last time I’d tried to talk to her, she wasn’t alone. I pulled out my cell and typed out a message instead.

Are you around? Just broke up with Roxie and could use a friend.

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