It was later that night, after Isobel had blown me off, when I realised I had been dense and short-sighted. I was walking my neighbour’s dog, Rover, when I saw them together. Isobel and Tom. Tom and Isobel. She was climbing into his car, he was smiling and putting on his Tom Parker charm. Firstly Isobel had lied and told me she was visiting Chrissy in the hospital and secondly, she hadn’t thought to mention that she and Tom Parker were on riding-together-in-a-car basis. I hadn’t even realised they were friends, I thought Tom and Chrissy were an item – but what did I know? I knew Tom had a rep as a player, so it didn’t surprise me that he was also messing around with Isobel. Usually I wouldn’t have cared, so what if he’s dating two girls? But as the car zoomed passed I realised that I didn’t want Isobel with him, I didn’t want her to date anyone, I wanted her all to myself. The suddenly realisation made me dizzy and I leant against a fence at the end of a garden, I let the dog sniff around as my heart thumped heavily despite the fact I hadn’t done anything to speed it up. A door slammed. Moments later Rhea appeared next to me, she bent down and stroked the dog before coming to sit next to me on the fence.
“Are you stalking me or something?”
“I didn’t know you lived here,” I muttered pulling the dog away from the road,
“You look down,” she noted,
“I feel down,”
“I don’t want to talk about it…” I decided calmly. Rhea shuffled closer and put her arm around my shoulder; she waited a while and then stood up.
“Want to come inside?”
“Did you hear about Chrissy?” she changed the subject,
“Yeah, she’s okay though, right?” I checked,
“I think so,” Rhea muttered distracted as she checked her phone, slowly she raised an eyebrow and grinned. “Joey’s coming over.”
To any passerby this would have meant ‘Joey is coming over’ but to Rhea and I, that meant one thing, and one thing only. A temporary high. I got up and followed Rhea down the path; I pulled the dog through the threshold and sat down in her living room. After being blown off and lied to, I didn’t need to think twice when Joey offered me the prize ingredient; I flicked open the lighter and inhaled. Inhaled into a world of bliss, forgetting reality…momentarily.