Benjamin Tassimo had actually told me his first name once. I guess maybe to earn my trust now that I think about it, because I found his brief moment of honesty to be rather perplexing. I thought that for a second I had seen a part of him unguarded- his exposed underbelly. His weakness. He had always seemed so fortified, like his over-eagerness was a phalanx to hide the fact that he was a lonely and bitter mess. But in hindsight he was always the one pulling the strings, and I wound up in this predicament solely because of my own carelessness.
I remember the second time that we’d officially met. It was a few days before Thanksgiving. Johnny had left almost three weeks beforehand and I was sitting at the bar at Izzie’s, drowning my sorrows in a Cosmopolitan deluge. Taz walked up to me, hands in his jeans pockets, like he was just too cool for school. Well, let me tell you, the captain of the chess-club had absolutely no business in asking the homecoming queen to the prom.
“Hey there starry-eyes.” The bastard’s voice, to me, was despicably suave and outright unbearable. It was certainly not the line that I wanted to hear from a spray-tanned, Maserati-driving, self-involved Guinea at the time. It wasn’t just the words that came out of his mouth, although they certainly didn’t help make for a decent impression. It was almost everything about him that I had immediately found revolting. I didn’t even need to look at him to know that I wasn’t interested, but I had seen him from across the bar, eye-balling me hungrily in correspondence to Duran Duran’s greatest hits blaring over the speakers.