We sat on the floor in my living room playing cards.
"Do you know her?" I did. And she wasn't my favorite person in the world, but I wasn't letting that on.
"Uh... yeah. Used to live in my apartment complex, I think." I placed a card down on the carpet.
"Yeah, she's one of my friends." I knew this, too. Freshman year, the bone marrow fundraiser. They were both in charge. I was there with my friends to support him. And she was there, too, running it with him. I watched as she swooned over him. I recognized the swooning because it was the same thing I did around him. He laid down a Jack, slapping it before I got the chance. "Too slow!" he laughed.
"Why do you ask?" I said, still consumed with worry that she was getting to him.
"She writes for the paper, too. Like you." I let out a heavy breath and he noticed. "You okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. I'll probably see her around then."
"Good. Tell her you know me." Oh, she'll know, I thought, the way girls do when they feel threatened.
"Thank you. You know, you all could learn a lesson from Melissa," Tucker chimed in. He's our Editor-in-Chief and he isn't a bad guy, but he's a twenty-six year old still wearing Aeropostale T-Shirts like he's in the seventh grade and his mother supplies his wardrobe.
"That's right," she raised a finger, "you can all learn something from me," she smiled. I wanted my pencil to fling from my hand to that tender spot between her eyebrows, wanted to tell her that her eyebrows were far too thin and that she really needed a good bang trim.
"Are you all aware of what's coming out in tomorrow's paper?" Liz, my editor, piped up.
"Oh, stop," Melissa bloomed. She was the devil in black K-Mart boots.
"No, it deserves to be recognized. Melissa wrote a story on Afghani war tactics!" In my head, I was already not reading it because it sounded like one of those articles I'd probably just skim over, but the room roared with applause, regardless of my inner-workings. I smiled, clapped politely, and tried to make it look like I was a fan. "I'm putting it in as we speak. Probably front page," she turned back to her computer screen and continued to cut and paste. "You know, since you pitched the story, you get a raise in pay for that article."
"I know. I also get one for the last piece I wrote," she smacked.
"True. See me after?"
"Fine." Slouching back in the chair, she chipped at her long finger nails. It was as though she ruled it. The entire place. Throughout the meeting, Melissa roared in with her thoughts. Her laughs. When Tucker made jokes about firing her, she'd say You can't fire me and then, he would not his head and shrug while I thrusted--palm to forehead, thinking thoughts like What the hell am I doing here and I hate you, Melissa Nichol.