How it feels to cheat on my best friend (the secret I’ll take to my grave)

She was mad at him. My best friend had had enough with her boyfriend last night and skipped out on us on round three at our usual hangout. I know she was having a rough couple of weeks and was trying to unwind, but Jake has a tendency of saying the wrong things to Jane and she just wasn’t having it. Louis, the guy I had been seeing for a month, didn’t join us because he had work early in the morning. I didn’t want to sprint out on Jake because I could tell he was bumming. It wasn’t his fault really. Jane is really sensitive and she doesn’t handle stress well. Her co-worker quit two weeks ago and her boss has been expecting her to do the workload of two while he diddle-daddled his time looking for a replacement. She’s a social media specialist for a reputable hotel chain and now responsible for both the US and European accounts.

We ended up downing two more rounds and finishing with two shots of tequila. I never drink tequila, but it’s Jake’s favorite and I was trying to cheer him up. (This is when I should have taken my empathetic self to my best friend’s apartment and cheered her up instead.) I was kinda mad she left without saying good-bye. She’s never done it before and I was bummed Louis didn’t come by (I kept thinking she should be there for me, therefore being selfish). I hadn’t seen him all week and I was beginning to suspect he would be joining my long list of tried and failed men I’ve dated.

I was clearly intoxicated, yet felt sober enough to walk home. I only lived down the street, but Jake insisted on walking me home to make sure I got there safely. He kept telling me that Louis was just busy and he’d come around (apparently I had been rambling on about him in my drunken state). “He wouldn’t pass a chance to date a beautiful girl like you”, I heard him say. I stopped in my tracks and realized I had just arrived at my door. I felt as if I was being given a second chance to redeem my inevitable act of betrayal.

We both stared at our feet. The electricity felt so strong; we knew that we couldn’t face each other. We couldn’t look up because something terrible would happen. But something terrible did end up happening.

He said my name. It just sounded so comforting and I actually pictured myself in Jane’s shoes and imagined what he’d do next — if I was his girlfriend. He ended up coming closer to me, probably to make sure I wasn’t crying. As soon as we both looked up, we fell into an embrace and began kissing so eagerly, as if we had been waiting a long time to taste each other. Two minutes passed before he pulled himself away and spoke quietly with wet pupils looking straight into mine, “I’m sorry Anna. I love Jane, I really do. I’m so sorry. I took advantage of you. You’re a great person and I don’t judge you for this. It happened once. Can we pretend it never did?”

I knew deep down inside, I could never tell Jane this secret. I could never break her heart. At that moment, I believed wholeheartedly in the phrase ‘what you don’t know won’t hurt you’. I nodded my head in agreement and turned around without saying a word. I couldn’t look at him. I had to go inside quickly to wash the remnants of his kiss from my lips.

I couldn’t believe what had just happened, but I couldn’t betray my best friend and confess her boyfriend and I had shared a kiss. I told myself that moment never existed. And from this day forward, that is how it became: non-existent.

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