Hidden Here

The memory lurches to a stop and the motion makes my stomach churn. I look around, lost for an instant before I see the familiar alcove, the faint smell of chlorine reminding me of where I am. 

"What the hell?" I whisper, looking around me. The last thing I want to do is relive the moment of my heartbreak. "Stop this!"

"Watch," the voice demands just before a giggling, familiar voice fills the hallway outside of the alcove.

Stepping out quietly, I watch for the laughing couple as their voices become clearer. Instantly, I recognize Leo's voice... and my best friend Gloria's high-pitched voice. The first thing I register is her long, brown hair, which she'd dyed only two weeks before. Her red dress had made her look like a vixen beside my long, beige v-neck flowing dress, and now the tightness of it reveals her ability to move while shaking her curves. 

"Come on," she is laughing and touching Leo's arm flirtatiously. I always knew that she thought he was attractive, but she'd never been so obvious before. She flashes my boyfriend her brightest smile before finally reaching the alcove leading to the washroom. "Just a bit more!"

I watch them pass by me before following them inside. Stepping between them I watch both of their faces. While Leo's is slightly nervous and uncomfortable, Gloria's is excited and sexy. "What's happening here? Why are you two together?" I turn to Gloria and glare at her. "What are you doing?"

"I have to go find Vicki," Leo's voice is taut, as if he has only just realized what is happening. "She'll be looking for me." 

He turns towards the door, but Gloria grabs his arm--her hand tiny against his broad forearm. "Wait," her voice begs and her brown eyes no longer show the giddiness she had exhibited only seconds before, "what's so great about her? She's always trying so hard to be the best that she forgets the world around her. Are you really happy with her?" 

"Yeah," Leo looks back at Gloria sternly, "I am. Every minute, every second; she's the only girl I've ever met that gets me."

Gloria furrows her brow, clutching tighter onto his forearm. "I get you," she reaches up and places her free hand on his cheek. "I always have, better than she ever will."

Satisfaction slowly grows in me as Leo forces his arm free from Gloria. "What are you doing? She's your best friend!"

She slowly shakes her head. "She's popular, so I'm popular. I love her, but she doesn't deserve you." 

"You can't decide that for us."

"No," Gloria moves closer to Leo, gently touching her hand to his chest. Bile rises in my throat as I watch my best friend trying to seduce my boyfriend. "You just don't know anything else other than Victoria." 

"Get away from me Gloria," he pushes her away from him and her ankle turns in her skyscraper heels. 

"Crap," she winces with pain as her hand clutches for one of the stall doors. "I knew these shoes were too high."

My eyes flicker from Leo to Gloria as I see surprise pass over his face. "Are you okay?" he says while lifting her by her arm. "I'm sorry, let's just go back and pretend that--"

In one swift movement, Gloria's arms are around Leo's waist and her mouth is pressed tightly against his. He struggles to move away from her, but she holds on tightly. My eyes widen as I take in the familiar stance: his hands frozen with surprise pressed against her shoulders.

A familiar gasp grabs my attention and I see my shocked expression in one of the mirrors. "Wait, Victoria," I plead, though I know it is pointless. "Just wait for him to explain, please, it isn't his fault!" 

On cue, Leo turns around swiftly, instantly freeing himself from the kiss that lasted only a few seconds. "Vicki," now that I know the truth I can easily hear the panic in his voice. "It's not what you think!" 

I look at his handsome face as it contorts in pain when I scramble out of the washroom. For a moment I am dumbstruck. Was I really that rash?

"Leo," the sound of Gloria's voice makes me convulse with anger, but I still look back at the scene. "She should know; she has to know how I feel." 

He looks back at her, his beautiful blue eyes cold. "There's nothing here." Immediately he rushes out of the washroom, leaving Gloria behind.

"Run," I beg him, though I already know how this ends.

Then the scene pauses again and then slowly begins to fade, until everything is black. A strong push from behind leaves me breathless and I reappear in my room, coughing uncontrollably. My lungs feel like they're full of water. 

My eyes sting from everything I've witnessed, so it takes me a moment to realize that someone is by my bed. Leo's head is lying on my lap. His eyes are closed as the sound of his rhythmic breathing fills the quiet of the room. His mouth is pulled down at the corners. One of his big hands is fingering one of the strands of my hair, a habit he started when we first slept together. 

My heart hurts for him. It hurts for what I am putting him through and for my inability to trust his love for me.

The End

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