Chapter 19

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She smiles at our husband as she moves, and he blushes, overcome by her beauty. But I know what her smile really means...Her smile is her revenge.” - Lauren DeStefano, Wither

For anyone commuting in New York, it's a hassle. There's people everywhere and if you're not careful, that delicious egg and sausage burrito will leave a lovely grease stain on your outfit. And like anyone with a stain, you're self-conscious about the pairs of eyes that travel to it at work, and the distracted stares of people trying to figure out what you ate. It's pretty much the same thing if you're crying. Everyone wonders why, but no one asks. And the more they stare, the more you try to hide it. Unfortunately, Tide-To-Go works much better than a remnant of a napkin.

The subway was nearly filled with citizens caught in the hustle and bustle of a New York morning. It smelt like a mixture of coffee, newspaper, dryer sheets, and an aerosol spray covering everything else. And regret, but I'm sure I was the only one smelling that. Or maybe, regret smells like a subway.

The entire trip was reminiscent of when I first discovered there was another woman in Elliot's life. They say you go through stages when a troubling event occurs in your life. But it seems to me that my denial, anger, and bargaining stages fly by in the blink of an eye, and depression settles in to stay much longer. You would think that knowing that's all going to happen makes it easier to move on to acceptance; but knowing that the rest of your week is going to suck, doesn't make it any better.

There I was, soaking in guilt and overrun by sadness. The last person I wanted to unload on was Bria who had gotten my hopes up too high in this war against Marissa. So I would tell Sophie I was giving up, she'd pass the message along, then I'd start my investment in cat toys and kitty litter.

I had left Le Petit less than an hour ago and Sophie clearly didn't expect me back so soon. She looked puzzled at me, finished wiping off the espresso machine, and quickly made her way over to me with hurried foot steps. I stopped and waited for her to meet me in the middle of the café, her hands came to her hips and she stopped in front of me with the same expression she wore at first seeing me walk in.

"Explain," she asked quietly, big green eyes the size of quarters.

"Marissa and Elliot have a date tonight." my meek and trembling voice responded.

Whatever catastrophic response I had expected was a let down to Sophie's simple nod of understanding that bloomed into the sickening smile of a girl with a secret plan.

"Why are you smiling?" I croaked, my numb mind not putting the pieces together.

She reached out with both her little hands and took mine into them, calming and soothing me. "Bria may not have planned for this, but I know what to do."

I stared blankly back and waited for her to continue, wanting to know why she seemed to sure of herself in such a horrible time. "Sit down, Hun, you look a little out of it. I'll make you something sweet.”

I walked to the table in the back, the familiar memory leading me to it so I sat down wondering how I had even gotten there. I was so useless when something bad happened to me, like a piece of silk with a fray, I just seem to unravel.

She came back moments later with a steaming foam cup in her hands, creamy brown liquid feelings swirling around with just a dollop of whipped cream on top. I took it gently and sipped the hot chocolate, careful not to let it burn my tongue.

Sophie sat across from me, stole a wide glance at the shop to be sure she could talk with me, then turned and began to speak slowly. "So, I'm going to need you to not freak out, okay? You're a little crazy-sad now, so just don't... overreact, okay?" I nodded, still clutching the cup on both sides. She began again, "I learned a long time ago when I started out in the dating world, that if the first date is a disaster, you should just abandon the relationship before it inevitably sinks. So, we're going to figure out where the date is, infiltrate it, and make sure it's a disaster, if you know what I mean." Sophie winked mischievously, smirking and looking completely confident that the plan would work.

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