For Susan D.
I just ran into the ex-husband of one of my FB friends.
I looked at Jen, “Do you mean Facebook? Or is there a new thing called FB?”
“Don’t make fun of me.”
Our coffees were growing cold between us, but we were gabbing still. This was our standard Saturday ritual.
“I’m not. I’m really not. I am never up on these things. I’m ten years behind every trend, you know that. Honest.”
“Well, then, no, there’s nothing new. I mean FACE BOOK.” She over-pronounced the words and gave me a dirty look.
“So? What happened?”
“When?” Jen asked, having forgotten the original point.
“The ex-husband? The Facebook friend?”
“Oh! Yeah. His name is Jack, and he goes to the same yoga class as me. He’s so hot. Oh my god. And he flirted with me. I almost want to see if I can get the dirt on their relationship.”
“Why don’t you?”
“Um, I barely know her. So, I need to get closer to her, so I can ask something personal like that.”
“See, but if you did that, you’d be too close to her to then go and date him. It’s a real catch 22.”
Jen looked at me in disbelief, “Seriously?”
I almost stood up, I was so adamant, “Yeah! Seriously. You don’t violate the girlfriend pact. If you were close enough to her to get the straight skinny on him, he’d be off limits.”
“Oh crap.” Her head slumped down onto her hands, and I picked up my coffee and started sipping, thinking through the problem.
“Why not just date him anyway? Find out for yourself.”
“Well, because Mindy seems to have a good head on her shoulders, from what I’ve seen. And if she dumped his ass, she probably had a good reason.”
“Maybe he snores?”
“I could put up with that.”
“You say that, but you’ve never been with a real freight train of a guy. The kind that keeps you awake for hours.” She raised her eyebrows. “And NOT in the good way,” I added to clarify.
“Well, there has to be something wrong,” she threw in. “There just has to be. Mindy’s too smart to leave a good guy,”
“Wait, do you mean Mindy Westerling?”
“Yeah,” Jen’s face perked up, “do you know her?”
“She’s one of my clients.”
“Okay, you totally need to befriend her to find out for me.”
“She’s totally a client! I can’t do that. I don’t cross that line either. Next thing you know, she wants free work ‘because we’re friends.’ Nu-uh.” I sat back with my coffee. I noticed she hadn’t drunk her coffee. “Pick up your damn coffee, Jen, and start drinking. I’m not drinking yours for you.”
“Fine,” Jen slumped a bit. “You sure? Jack is so cute.”
“So, date him and find out.”
“Ugh, friend politics was weird enough before social media came along. Now there’s a whole new set of extra levels of friendship, and you just never know where you stand. You know?”
“Yeah,” I said, “but I’m still not turning a client into a friend. Remember Donna the Clingy one? I gave her three thousand dollars of free consulting before I could get rid of her. She started as me trying to turn a client into a friend.”
“Fine! No, I mean it. I won’t ask again.” She tried puppy dog eyes. I shook my head no.
“Okay,” Jen said, ”then I need a good way to find out without having to befriend her.”
I thought for a minute, “So, find out who her best friend is, make friends with her, invite her out for wine, and get her to blab. Friends love to blab about each other when they’re drunk. Not me, and not about you.”
“Oh, definitely,” Jen added, looking only slightly guilty.
“But don’t mention you know Mindy. That way there’s no violation of the friend code.”
“Will do.” Jen got her phone out and started looking through Mindy’s facebook feed.
“Well, let me know how it goes then.” I clicked my coffee mug against hers. “But here’s a bet. I bet you’re sleeping with him before the next time I see you, and without caring one bit what Mindy says. Or Mindy’s friend.”
Jen laughed. “You’re probably right.”
I slapped a ten dollar bill down to cover our coffees, and we headed out.
Republished from Stories My Friends Started, where someone else starts the story, and us authors finish it.