24. nobody told me.

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Text Message, 3:16pm
Isabelle: What time are you coming over?
Ryan: After class. So around 6?
Isabelle: K. Spending the night?
Ryan: If you'll have me.
Isabelle: Of course. Girl time!
Ryan: We both know I'm hiding out, but I appreciate your tact.
Isabelle: Tomato, tomahto. I have a bottle of vino just waiting to be cracked open. It'll be fun.

________________________

My head was swimming as I drove over to Isabelle's place

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My head was swimming as I drove over to Isabelle's place. I tried to push Ethan out of my mind, but no matter what I did, all of my thoughts kept circling back to him. Outside, it was damp, windy and grey, which only further served to reinforce my doldrums.

And although I was happy to spend time with Isabelle, it was wholly depressing to know that I'd come full circle, camping out on a couch again.

We opened the bottle of Pinot and threw on the fireplace while we waited for our pizza and wings delivery to arrive. Because she was blessed with the metabolism of a teenage boy, Isabelle would probably eat half a pizza to herself and follow it up with a dozen wings. She would still be 115 pounds with a flat stomach when she woke up tomorrow. I'd have hated her for it if not for the fact that she was so awesome.

I was not blessed as such and gained five pounds if I looked at a slice of bread. On my short frame, the line between curvy and stocky was irritatingly thin. But tonight, bring on the carbs. I planned to eat anything and everything because I was too bummed to care about my figure.

Iz had been reserved all evening, a marked departure from her usually talkative self. Making conversation had been like pulling teeth, so we ate in silence in front of the fire. She sighed as she fiddled with her platinum hair, examining it for split ends as she often did was she was nervous, and avoiding eye contact with me.

I curled up with a soft throw on the couch, grateful to escape from the tension that haunted my living situation, but also concerned by Isabelle's odd behavior.

"What's going on, Iz? You've been so quiet. I can tell something is bothering you. Is something going on with Axel?" I asked her, frowning. They had been remarkably stable for awhile now; given their usual pattern, they were practically due for some drama.

"No, things are good with Axel. But when he stopped by before you came over, he told me something that I think you should know... And he would kill me if he knew I was telling you this," she began, hyper-focused on an offending strand of hair. Then she hesitated for a moment as if deciding whether to say. I was dying to hear what this was about.

"What? That Ethan has split personalities?" I snorted as I took a sip of wine from one of her stemless glasses. "I am well aware."

"No," She paused, now fidgeting with a silver cushion tassel instead of her hair. A sense of dread filled me as I realized that I was about to be on the receiving end of bad news. Did Ethan have a new girlfriend? Please, don't let that be it.

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