The Seven Five Nothing

The Seven Five Nothing are a collection of hyper-short stories, each written in a single sitting with no editting.

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25. The Fiancee.

'You have nothing to lose,' she said.
'I know.' She was right.
'So you think this is fair?'
'I don't know,' I shrugged. It probably wasn't - but I wasn't cool with admitting that. 'You're getting married. Nothing is going to change.'
A smile. Snarky, pissed off, ticking beneath the surface. 'You know what...' And then she stopped.
'What?'
'Nothing. That's what.'
'We need to talk about this.'
'We are.'
'I mean, we need to talk talk...' She took a sigh, shook her head. 'You know what I mean.'
'You're frustrated.'
'Shouldn't I be?'
'Of course. Of course you should.' I didn't really know what I meant. I knew she was pissed at me, and secretly, I was kind of glad.
'I'm a bitch.'
'No - no you're not.'
'I am.'
'Not to me.'
'But to him.' Cold and true. It was a difficult moment. 'We need to straighten out whatever the fuck this is.'
'This is a nothing.'
'Then definitely, fuck you.'
I laughed and she laughed. And we must have both been struck at this same time by how ridiculous this all was.
'You want to get out of here?', I asked.
'God yes', she proclaimed, and so we got dressed. Dating another man's fiancee is complicated.

I tried to think about him, about who he was, and what he would feel if he ever found out. He wasn't bad, or malicious, or mean. And inspite of what anybody might think, she spoke of him as the perect man that he probably was. We had books in common. That was probably what it was - we were shaped from similar clay.

We walked to a cafe, a favourite of hers. We took a seat. 'What?'
'Excuse me?'
'What's going on in there,' she asked.
'Bob. Bob Dylan. A lyric, really.'
'You and fucken Dylan...'
'Yeah,' I shrugged. 'But what are you going to do?' She'd known me so long, for so many years, that I'd forgotten just how much of my story she had heard. There was little mystery anymore it seems, and all the cliches had been played. We were old wood, me and her. Old, familiar. easy. But she was getting married. And it was to somebody else.
'What lyric?'
'"When you have nothing, you've got nothing to lose." It's one of my favourite.'
'And it's just like I told you.'
'You're right.' Words pattered. Our flowing dialogue had become a trickle. A realisation that there was so much going on internally that words were simply too heavy an effort.
'You're a fucken joke. You know that?'
I nodded. 'Of course.'
'This is stupid. It can't happen again.'
'You're right. And it won't.'
'I feel so...'
'Yeah - I know.' I watched her subconsciously rub the engagement ring on her finger. Watched her stare out into the distance. And then I watched her eyes change as recognition swept in. 'Oh my god,' she muttered.

It took me a moment to realise what it was that had sparked this reaction. And it took me a quiet moment more to realise that the guy she was hugging was him. This man, this man kissing her, he was her fiancee.

She concocted a story with such briskness it was impressive. And as she introduced me as a distant cousin of hers she just happened to run into this morning, I found myself quickly learning how to play this new character. Of course, I didn't try to be anything more, I just picked up her tenet, and tried to keep it as vague as possible. And him, her her husband to be? He was just as charming as she had described.

'Do you want another coffee?' he asked.
'No,' she stepped in. 'He was just leaving - he only stayed because he ran into me.'
'Really?', the fiancee pushed. 'You can't stay?'
And I thought about it for a moment before I answered, taking her look at me and soaking it up. 'Sure,' I replied, 'I've got nothing to lose.'

I watched them, as he held her hand, talking about how excited they were about the wedding, sharing the story of how they met. Of course, she was uncomfortable, but for me, it was actually okay. I didn't mind, and I know how fucked up that must sound.

'Why don't you come?' he asked.
'No,' I replied, stepping in before she could. 'I'd love to, but, you know, me and the family, we're not so good these days.'
'Oh,' he said. 'I get it. I know that feeling well.' We really did have so much we could have talked about. Maybe we would've even been friends.
'Well, I have to go.'
'Okay,' her fiancee said, getting up. 'Well it was really nice meeting you. I'm enjoying meeting all of my new family - even the distant ones.' And with that he shook my hand and closed it with a half hug.
'Goodbye,' she said, kissing me on the cheek.
'I'll see you around,' I closed. 'And congratulations on the wedding.'
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