Betrayed by someone she should have been able to trust, Immogen takes serious actions to wreak her revenge. However, serious actions have serious consequences and sometimes someone who should have to face them, runs away in the worst way. John was the man of her life. This is the tale of the women of his.
We hardly ever argued, but when we did, we did it in style. How many friends do you know who choose rooftops to scream at each other on? The three of us stood atop the block of flats which contained mine and Emily’s home. We could see John’s flat from where we were standing and every now and then the flickering light from his television caught my eye. His housemate, an unlikable man named James, could be seen moving around inside.
Our argument had started in our flat but when I’d gone to the roof for some air, Emily had come after me. We’d been gone for ten minutes before John had come to make sure we were okay. Well, that she was okay.
Friends since childhood, we’d always been equally close to one another and so jealousy rarely arose. However, I’d been in love with John since my mid-teens. However, having confessed to Emily one drunken night, I’d decided never to tell him. Despite her knowledge of my feelings, they’d recently been spending more than the usual amount of time alone. When I’d teased them about it during the evening, they’d exchanged a guilty look and suspicion grew within me. After some carefully chosen words of persuasion, Emily had put her hand on mine and drawn me into a corner.
Standing in the corner, she held my one hand and sighed as though this was all a big inconvenience to her. She’d given me the smile that I knew so well to mean that she’d screwed me over and was going to make out like it wasn’t a big deal. She’d seen it all click together in my head and the way my eyes flickered between the two of them before she squeezed my hand, timidly. I knew her well enough that this was as close to an apology as I was going to get. So many times had I nodded and accepted this ridiculously small offering that she never saw my anger coming; just as she didn’t see my palm coming for her face. Turning on my heel, I’d left silently. I had caught John’s face in the corner of my eye as I left, though. Shocked? No, horrified described it better.
So now we stood on the roof; the two of them stood closest to the stairs that lead back down below and I was screaming about ten feet from them, my back to the city behind us. It was dark and the city's lights gave proceedings a surreal feeling. John’s black shirt and navy jeans all but disappeared into the sky and his brown hair glowed like gold in the city lights.
“How could you, Em?” I screamed, not for the first time tonight. Her dark hair hung straight and unruffled and her equally dark eyes shone with tears. She wore a short, pale dress that moved in the wind around her sickeningly perfect frame. She had her arms folded against the cold and if this was any other time I’d offer her my cardigan as I was always naturally warmer than she.
“I...Immy...” she stuttered pleadingly. I smirked at how typical this was of her. Before John arrived she was giving as good as she got and now she was content to play damsel in distress. We’d had enough arguments in the past for me to know that she was manipulative when she wanted to be.
“Immogen, this doesn’t change anything! If anything we’ll both need you all the more as you’ll be our only best friend,” John jumped to her defence. Did he not see, even now, that that was not what I wanted? It had never been what I wanted!
“Oh, you want me to listen to your relationship problems? Be Maid of Honour and Best Woman at your wedding? Babysit your children while you go out for dinner together?” My lip curled back over my teeth in disgust. The perfect picture in his head only allowed for heartbreak in mine.
“It wouldn’t be like that, Immogen. You’ll always be special to us” He was pleading now. Maybe I was being unfair but it wasn’t as though I cared at that moment.
“Just not quite as special as each other.” I wasn’t asking this time. I knew and the pain in my chest told me that I’d never be okay with this. Even if I found someone else, there would always be a dividing line between them and me and with our history- I couldn’t live with that. They had been my everything: my back up, my conscience and my confidence for too long for me to exist alone.
I ran a hand over my face in exasperation and was surprised to find I’d been crying. As soon as I’d registered this the thought was gone, replaced by an idea. I steeled myself and took a step back, smoothing my hair. My copper curls blew about manically, blocking my vision but I tucked them behind my ears. I caught sight of myself in the glass of my watch and noted that sky blue of my eyes was also liquid with tears. I closed them briefly then turned back to face them.
“Immogen, what do you want us to say?” John was still talking. How lovely of Emily to have not told him of the slight complication to their happiness that my feelings provided.
“Oh, we know there’s nothing to be said, don’t we Emily?” I laughed bitterly. She always had been selfish but this was taking it to all new heights.
His eyes flickered to her in confusion; she blushed and her eyes pleaded with me. She wanted a favour from me? After all of this, she wanted me to spare her some relationship issues? Maybe he wouldn’t love her so much if he knew what she’d kept from him. I knew I was being malicious but I didn’t care. She hurt me. Why shouldn’t she hurt too?
“Are you going to tell him, Em? Shall I?” I goaded.
“No!” she blurted, proving her guilt.
“Tell me what, Emily?” John spun to face her. They began a hushed conversation in which she denied everything and he made disbelieving sounds. Brilliant.
I took my chance while they were distracted and took the two steps backwards that meant my heels rested against the plastic lip of the guttering around the edge of the building. I brushed my hair back from my face once more and straightened my back. My skirt brushed my ankles in the wind and my shirt was plastered to my body in the wind. Pain rushed through my chest, tears leaked from my eyes in earnest now and I could feel everything.
The sound of the cars below pressed against the inside of my head and electric stars danced behind my eyelids. The cold night air moved against my skin and the sound of their voices tickled the backs of my hands and the small of my back. Wet pavements threw streaks of lights across the back of my skirt and the floral scent of my perfume mixed with wet tarmac and the night to form a cloak over this moment, separating it from the rest of my life.
“What is it, Immogen? Please, just tell me,” John’s broken voice floated around me as the word’s settled on my heart. My response was already waiting on my lungs. It had been for years.
“I love you,” I announced. My secret was free and so was I. And that is why, as my knees buckled and I made contact with his dark eyes for the last time, I wasn’t falling. I was flying.