Spence appeared at the front door the next day unannounced. “Hello, friend,” he said as I answered the door.
“What are you doing here?”
“Bored. Looking for some entertainment. And as you pointed out the other day you are a constant source of entertainment.”
“Alright, fine but I’m in the middle of a game.”
Spence followed me upstairs and sat himself on my bed as I got back to my poker game. He had to show up when I at last had a decent hand. After a few minutes he flopped onto his back and started throwing my cushion up in the air and catching it.
It took all of twenty seconds to get annoying. I spun round. “Can you not?”
“What?” He looked at me, catching it again.
“You couldn’t be more annoying.”
“Fine, I’ll go then.”
“Fine. I didn’t ask you to be here.”
“Maybe I came here to see Femi.”
“Yeah.” I went back to my game. “Course you did.”
“What if I did?”
“She’s not here.”
“Would you be offended?”
I rolled my eyes, calling someone’s bluff. “I’ve changed my mind. Go back to the pillow throwing.”
“You can’t just ignore me.”
He threw the pillow at the back of my head and I slammed my hands down on my desk.
“Can’t you see I’m in the middle of something?”
“Can’t you see I’m super bored? At least talk to me.”
“Okay. Guess what?”
“Today my annoying friend came round and bugged me. How annoying is that?”
He laughed. “You want to play that game?” He continued when I didn’t answer. “Guess what? Two of my annoying friends aren’t speaking.”
I spun back round to face him.
He was sitting on the bed with his arms crossed, looking far too pleased with himself.
“So? What happened?”
“Riley was being Riley. I had enough of it. She hung up on me. Hasn’t spoken to me since.”
“Come on, give me details.”
I threw my arms out. “There aren’t any. She was trying to be nice and as usual couldn’t manage it. She was trying to get information out of me about why I was in a mood.”
“Weren’t we all doing that?”
“Well you didn’t ring me up to insult me.”
“Sometimes I find the softer approach works with you. What did you say to upset her?”
I huffed. “I said something about being her best friend and she said something about how she wasn’t my best friend.”
Spence held up his hand. “Guilty.”
I smirked. “You’re lucky Femi’s not here.”
“Oh come on, sisters don’t count.”
“They would if you liked yours.” I shut my laptop lid. It turned out they hadn’t been bluffing.
“So you going to tell me what was wrong the other day or am I going to have to insult you like Riley.”
“I never said Riley got it out of me. Plus, you couldn’t dream of insulting as quickly as Riley can. That girl’s got a gift.”
“Hmm.” He nodded. “She knows it too.”
I went to sit next to him.
“So what was it?”
“Just . . .” I didn’t know how to play this. Did I pour my heart out to him? Did I deny anything was wrong? I decided on the casual approach. “I just got a new imprint I didn’t like. It’s nothing to write home about really.”
“What? You don’t believe me?”
“Of course I don’t believe you. You were in a weird mood for days. If it was just that one day then yeah, I’d be buying your story. But it’s too little too late for that.”
“I’m not lying to you, Spence. It’s a new imprint. It’s the worst. That’s all.”
“Well let’s see it then.”
“Let’s see it.”
“I don’t want to show you.”
“It can’t be that bad.”
He looked above my head for a moment. “I can’t think of a single one that would make you all weird like this.”
“That’s because you won’t have seen this one before.”
He sighed. “Please stop being so dramatic. Just show me. I mean, if you can.”
I wacked him on the arm. “Like I would even dream of it. Can you imagine if it was on my butt or something and Femi came walking through that door the moment I decided to show you?”
He chuckled. “I can picture it now.”
“Well stop picturing it.” I waved my hand. “It’s on my wrist.”
“Is that why you keep wearing that bloody thing?”
I tugged on the end of the bandana. “Yeah . . . you don’t think people will have noticed do you?”
“It’s unlikely. Riley’s probably noticed.”
“No she won’t have. She hasn’t come within two meters of me all week.”
“Stop whining. It’ll take all of four seconds for you two to make up. It always does. Now show me this awful imprint then.”
I took a breath in through my teeth, deliberating. What could it hurt? He was my best friend after all. And he should be more helpful than Femi.
“Alright.” I budged closer to him. “But you have to promise not to say a word about it. To anyone. Ever.”
“Like I would.”
I raised my eyebrows at him.
“I swear. I won’t say a word.”
I had to use my teeth to get the bandana untied. Femi had been useful in that respect at least. I wiped the makeup away and held my breath.
Spence, like Femi before him, just stared.
“It came up in History the other day but I haven’t done anything. Nor am I thinking about it. It’s got to be wrong, right? I would never kill anyone. That’s insane. I don’t know where this has come from. I’ve never even considered it. It’s stupid right? It doesn’t mean anything.”
He said nothing.
“I need your support on this. I don’t know what to do. Please help me.”
He stood and made his way out of my bedroom.
“Spence? Where are you going?” I skidded to a halt on the landing and watched him descend the stairs. “Spence!” I raced down the stairs as he opened the front door and made his way down the path. “Spence! Come back! Please talk to me!”
It was like I’d never spoken.
Never even existed.