Chapter 3 The difficult case

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Janet

Everybody has a friend like this.

You know the kind. They may not be the closest to you, know you the longest or understand you the best, but they always pop into your head without warning. They're the friend you talk about, who makes you start a sentence with their names. They stand out like a dash of red on a canvas of blue and brown, a flamingo among the pigeons, a harp against the drums.

I met Flora when we were both freshmen in high school. She had a seemingly elegant, almost demure composition, but this impression was overthrown the minute she opened her mouth. She couldn't stop talking, and her energy sizzled off her body like static electricity. Even when she was whispering, it was done loudly and crassly, and when accompanied by her huge database of expressions and gestures, she left me slightly dizzy.

We didn't seem like we belong in the same group. I don't want to sound like a Taylor Swift song here, but Flora the cheerleader wore high heels and her skirt was so short she made me blush. Her nose looked so perfect it could only be preordered.

First three words that came to my head: rich, bratty, surgery.

The rich part turned out to be true. Bratty? Occasionally. Rhinoplasty? Nope. The girl was just lucky.

I was proud of my vintage collection of rock band tees and my sneakers. I didn't own a single dress before turning 14 and my hair was way too short. For some reason I thought it was a good idea to base my hair style on Marie Fredriksson from Roxette; if you're into the Swedish pop rock band then you get the idea.

Before high school, most of my friends were guys. Their honesty was what I liked most about them. They wouldn't refuse something then get mad at you later for not persuading them harder. If I wasn't hanging around my older brother and his friends, I'd be practicing with my band members, or sitting on the doorsteps chatting with my best friend/next door neighbor Sean.

I was always honored to be one of the guys.

However, as my hair grew longer with age, I started to see the opposite sex differently. How did they go from eww to yum in one second? I'd be lying if I said I didn't care at all about my own appearance, and when Flora crashed into my life with her makeover offer, I took the chance.

Never really thought we'd get along splendidly, until we did. She, the walking drama, always ready to entertain, and me, the sarcastic observer, forever psychoanalyzing people and changing my opinions of the world.

I adored Flora, but that doesn't mean I liked to meddle in her love affairs. I knew from past experiences that she had a very different idea on relationships compared to most people.

Flora and Sean were a mess I didn't want to take part in, but I tried my best to give them some alone time when we hung out one afternoon. Sean practically flung every chance I gave him back in my face like a boomerang.

On the way back from the movie, he dropped Flora off first then drove on home with me. My mobile phone buzzed and I saw that I had a message from Flora.

I know you don't want to but would you please please please ask him what he thinks because I'm at wits end. And don't make me sound desperate.

I groaned inwardly at the most desperate text I'd read in a while. Why did I always get stuck being the messenger? This wasn't the first time a girl asked me about Sean's opinion, what he liked or whether he had a girlfriend. The guy should hire me as his agent and I could throw him a press conference and get it over with.

"I noticed you didn't seem particularly interested in Flora," I brought it up dutifully.

Sean stopped at a red light. "Well, it's not that. I can't imagine anyone not at least a little bit interested in Flora. I think it's more like not wanting to get involved."

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