Like The Prose Day#11

Yesterday, I gave you an American themed YA story set in a college dorm – today, you get the same story but told from a different perspective. You may or may not change your minds about who is really responsible for Mandy’s death… And then you may change your minds again tomorrow when you read Part 3…

Triple Aspect – Ken

May 1st, 3am:

I have no words. If the police asked me what happened, I’ll have to say, “No comment.” That’s what people do in situations like this, isn’t it, if you don’t want to talk about it – but if I don’t talk about it, then the police might think it was my fault. And I’m going to have to live with the knowledge of what really happened for the rest of my life.

March 10th:

I think I may be in a spot of trouble.

I’ve liked Mandy for ages – she’s got this whole rock chick thing going on, you know? Long black hair; clothes a little alternative, but they look good on her; into a whole bunch of weird bands. She’s not the sort of girl I normally go for, but there’s just something about her – except, I’m kind of involved with her roommate, and that’s why it’s complicated.

Before you start judging, I didn’t mean for any of this to happen. Like I said, Mandy was the one I wanted. I used to see her walking back to the dorm long before I knew who she was, and then one day, I saw her chatting to this other girl, Ally, who’s in my Psych class, so I asked her if she knew what room she was in ‘cause I kind of figured I’d just knock on her door sometime and ask her out.

I didn’t though. I don’t know why this stuff’s so hard, but that’s the kind of thing they should be teaching us in college – it’s far more practical than looking at rat brains! Anyway, I wanted to ask her out but I thought I might look a bit creepy if I actually followed through with the whole knock on her door and ask her out plan – so I wrote her a letter. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: Ken’s great at football but he’s not that intelligent – well, let me tell you, I pulled out all the stops – went to the library and found a book of poetry because girls like that sort of stuff, don’t they? Anyway, I found a poem and it must have been a good one ‘cause I didn’t understand a word of it! I copied it out real neat – something about “She walks in beauty like the night” which made me think of all that black hair – and then I added a few lines at the bottom that said, “Hey! Want to get a coffee some time? I’ll be in the Starbucks at 3pm – look for a tall, blond guy with a letterman jacket” and left it at that. She’d be going crazy trying to work out who her mystery man was.

So, I turn up at three and I look around for Mandy – by this time, Ally had told me her name – and she’s not there; but then this other girl comes up to me and says, “I got your note!” And she’s okay, I guess, but I’m wondering how the hell this has happened – like, did Ally give me the wrong room number or something? But we have coffee and we chat and she’s kind of fun, I suppose; and then we wander back to the dorm and we go to her room – and there’s Mandy slouching on one of the twin beds, listening to some kind of weird music; and she nods at me and says hi; and all the time I’m thinking, “Right room; wrong girl”; but Emma (Mandy’s roommate) obviously thinks we’re an item now, and Mandy seems to think so too – so I just let it slide for a while ‘cause I figure that I don’t need to go out with her again. Then Mandy says something about a concert that evening and I somehow find myself there with her and Emma and Ally, and Emma’s telling everyone I’m her boyfriend, so I guess I can live with that for a while. Yep, that’s what I’ll do: I’ll date Emma a few times and find out all about Mandy and then ask Mandy out later.

Okay! I know that probably makes me sound calculating, but I’m no good at ending relationships. If Hallmark made a card that said, “Sorry I asked you out by mistake – I like your roommate better”, life would be so much easier. But they don’t. (I checked.)

March 30th:

Apparently, Emma likes boys who treat her badly – when I say badly, I don’t mean I’ve slapped her around or cheated on her or anything like that – I’ve just tried to put her off me so she decides to dump me, but it’s not working. I’ve been late for dates; I’ve shown up without taking a shower; I’ve made her pay for the meal; I’ve argued with everything she says – I’ve even made her sit through a twelve hour session of ‘Monster Trucks’, but she just hasn’t taken the hint. They really should teach us this stuff, y’know – ‘How to dump a girl in five easy stages’ or ‘Fifty ways to tell a girl it’s over’. (Hang on, didn’t my mom used to play a song like that? What was the dude’s name? Paul Simon, I think. I google it, but it’s full of ways for a girl to tell a guy and not the other way round.) I decide I’ll just come out with it and say it was all a mistake – that’s reasonable, isn’t it? I’ve asked her to meet me later on and hopefully we can do this thing without anyone getting hurt.

(Later) Emma’s grandpa’s got cancer. She told me earlier, tears rolling down her cheeks, and I felt so bad for her that I just gave her a hug and let her cry on my shirt – even though it’s a new one that I’d bought to impress Mandy. I can’t tell her now, not when she’s so upset.

April 23rd:

I am the worst boyfriend ever.

Emma’s going through a bit of an emotional patch right now – doesn’t want to see me. For a minute when she said that, I thought it was all going to work out – and then she turned to me and said she was really sorry to treat me like this and she loved me really and it didn’t mean we weren’t together anymore – and she just needed space. So, I give her space and I go out on my own, and it turns out Mandy’s giving Ems space as well, so we decide to keep each other company in the bar because we’re friends anyway by now – her and me and Emma and Ally have started going for food together and generally hanging out – so there’s nothing at all premeditated in any of this … Only … After a while, I notice that Mandy’s leaning in real close when she speaks to me, and her voice has gone all soft and breathy, and her pupils are huge (Psych 101 – signs of attraction), so I lean over and kiss her and she kisses me back.

“Uh-oh,” she says when she finally pulls away. Her face looks sad as if she wants to keep on kissing me but knows she shouldn’t, and so I try to do the right thing and help a damsel in distress.

“It’s okay,” I tell her. “Me and Em – we’re not an item anymore.”

And technically, that’s true, ‘cause I’ve been trying to end it forever – it’s not my fault that Emma’s not on the same page.

Mandy looks at me quizzically. “She’s not said anything to me,” she says at last.

“She doesn’t want to talk about it,” I say quickly, “y’know, with her grandpa and all.”

There’s a look on her face that says she probably thinks I’m lying, but it doesn’t stop her walking back to the dorm with me and the two of us going to my room.

I’m not really cheating – my heart’s been Mandy’s ever since I first saw her. Technically, I’ve been cheating on her while I was with Emma. I think about saying this to Mandy then decide not to – girls don’t really have the science part of the brain that understands stuff like that.

April 29th, 1pm:

That was a near miss! I thought Mandy and I had done a pretty good job of keeping things secret – we can’t go public until I’ve officially finished things with Emma – but Ally’s worked out that Mandy’s seeing someone, and she keeps asking me if I know who the mystery man is. It’ll be a relief when we can finally start being honest – neither of us likes sneaking around behind Emma’s back, but this thing that’s been growing between us recently is just too strong. At first I tried to tell myself that we were just fooling around, but who am I trying to kid? Mandy’s always been the one: there’s something about her that… I don’t know what it is – I can’t even put it into words; all I know is that I want to be with her and she wants to be with me, but Emma’s emotionally fragile at the moment with her grandpa being in hospital, and it just doesn’t seem right to upset her even more. Once I know her grandpa’s okay, I’ll tell her then. I guess I sound like a real scumbag – especially when I’m on my way to meet Mandy right now – but ignorance is bliss, and what Emma doesn’t know won’t hurt her.

May 1st, 1am:

I wish Emma could have warned me earlier that she was inviting the others to come out with us tonight. It’s been doing my head in, spending all evening with Mandy but not being able to touch her, kiss her. Tonight was supposed to be the big break-up with Emma – I thought if we went out somewhere, just the two of us, then I could finally tell her the truth, but I couldn’t do something like that with an audience. I want to tell her it’s over before she starts making plans for the summer. And now we’re all back in her room and it’s driving me nuts. It’s Mandy I want to be sitting next to, not Emma – but it’ll break her heart if I tell her about us now.

May 1st, 1.30am:

I must have waited forever for Ems and Ally to go to the bathroom. They leave the room and Mandy and I fall into each other’s arms as if we haven’t seen each other in weeks. “Wouldn’t it be better if you just told the others about us?” Mandy murmurs as she comes up for air. “I mean, it’s not as if the two of you are still going out. She must have had time by now to get over you.”

She reads far too much into the silence that follows.

“You haven’t told her, have you?” she accuses.

“Yes, I have!” I reply, feeling far guiltier than I should. “Just … not when she was in the same room.”

“You’ve got to tell her about the two of us, Ken,” she says now. “Because if you don’t, I will.”

And then the door opens and we both jump guiltily, and I wonder whether Ally’s going to work things out too.

May 1st, 2.11am:

To hell with it! I’ve got to tell her! “Emma,” I say quietly, “I need to tell you something. Do you want to step outside for a minute?”

There’s a pink spot in both her cheeks as she looks at me. “Just say what you have to say now,” she says. “Mandy and Ally won’t mind.”

I’m feeling confused already. She’s acting like she knows – but how can she? Mandy and I have been so careful.

“Uh, I don’t think we should see each other anymore,” I gabble frantically. What’s that line they’re always using in films? It’s not me – it’s you? No, other way round. “It’s not your fault,” I say. “It’s just … things aren’t working out.”

Emma’s staring at me as if she can’t believe what I’ve just said.

“It’s not you,” I repeat, using the timeworn cliché, “it’s me. I’m not good enough for you, Em. You deserve someone who’ll love you properly.” For a moment, I think she might believe it; but then her eyes swivel suspiciously to Mandy. Don’t say anything, I plead silently. Please, please, don’t say anything. And then Mandy opens her mouth and the world changes.

May 1st, 2.30am:

I don’t believe it! She’s got a knife! The crazy bitch has actually got a knife! For a moment, I’m too stunned to do anything; and then Mandy shouts, Stop her!” and so I grab for the knife just as Mandy lunges too, and I see the knife embedded in Mandy’s neck. Of course, I drag it out – but it must have hit a carotid artery (Ally’s words – I thought it was just a big vein) because blood’s leaking out at an alarming rate and Mandy’s deathly pale and seems to be losing consciousness. Then Emma’s screaming at me and calling me an idiot for pulling the knife out, and I pull Mandy into my arms and try to staunch the blood with my sleeve – but she’s not breathing any more and her eyes are still and lifeless…

That’s when it hits me that I should have said something sooner – before this whole thing got so badly out of hand.

I’m still holding her as the emergency services arrive, but her body’s cold and the girl I loved isn’t there anymore, and I know I’m going to have to tell the police what happened.

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