9.21.2006

The Rift, Part 4

So that night when Angelina walked across the room with a toothy grin, the phone in her hand, and said, “Guess who?” Marianne could only think to say, “Who?”

Angelina rolled her eyes, dropped the phone on Marianne’s bed. Marianne picked it up, moving a textbook from her lap to the desk, and said, “Hello?”

It was Julia. She said, “How long are you going to be there?”

Marianne’s heart did weird things. At this moment, she fucking hated herself.

Marianne said, “I live here.”

“I thought maybe you’d go out.” Julia was talking low, slowly.

“No, not tonight.”

“Let me meet you there, okay? I’m actually on the train heading in.”

“Why.”

“Let me meet you.”

“Tell me why first.” Marianne’s eyes on Angelina, who had turned in her chair, watching Marianne talk. Rachel lay on her stomach on the top bunk above Angelina’s bed, her eyes sad on Marianne, the rest of her face hidden by a book.

There is a pause on Julia’s end that makes Marianne’s heart continue moving south toward her stomach, a heavy, despicable feeling. She opens her mouth, but Julia speaks first. “I don’t know what to say,” still low, and then, “I don’t know what you want me to say. I just want to see you.”

“Well, I’m not alone,” and when Marianne says this, Angelina points eagerly toward the door, with Rachel shifting her weight on the bed, rising to her knees. Marianne waves them both off.

Julia says, “We could go out then. Have you had dinner?”

“No.”

“Then let’s do that.”

Marianne wants to cry, at the sound of Julia’s voice—apologetic, but still deep, sexy—from the stares of her roommates, the memory of practice, of Jill, of shoelaces, of fucking Julia in her head so selfishly but desperately. But she doesn’t. She exhales slowly, says, “When will you be here?”

“Uh, about 15 or 20?” Behind Julia, Marianne can hear the train rattling along the tracks.

Marianne says, “Page me when you get here,” and then she hangs up.

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