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“I told you, George was practically keeping me prisoner. I wanted to so many times. And that thing you said to him about the cologne, so not true. I’m crazy, but I’m not that crazy.”

“I loved you, Fig,” I said. “So much. You hurt the person who actually loved you. Not your prison guard, George, or my husband, who used you to get back at me. I loved you for who you were.”

“You said you’d never leave me,” she fumbled. She was fake crying again. You’d think such a good actress would be able to summon tears.

“I didn’t leave you, you left me.” It hit me in that moment. It was her—she’d been the one who sent those videos to Ryan, Miss Wink1986.

“How did you get those videos? The ones of Darius masturbating?” I could see it on her face, she was turning it over in her mind, trying to decide if she should own up or not.

“He sent them to me. I thought it would be easier coming from Ryan, that it would push you toward him.”

Oh my god. How had I not seen it? Of course Fig was the woman he was speaking to in the video, the one he told to come over when I left. I covered my face with my hands, trying to suppress my rage.

“You tried to play matchmaker by using my husband’s disgusting cheating videos? Do you have any idea how crazy that is?”

“I was trying to help,” she said, quickly, her face pale. “I didn’t know he was gone. I wanted you to see him for what he really was.”

I had the urge to claw at her face with my nails, slap her good. She actually believed the things she was saying to me. The crazy, psycho bitch.

“You were trying to help yourself,” I said. “You wanted Darius, and you were trying to get me out of the picture. That’s why you’ve suddenly ended things with George. Even if you didn’t know he was already gone, you were sure he would be after I saw those videos.”

She was shaking her head, but there was no conviction. Holy shit, this was nuts, a real life plot twist.

“My therapist said I’m not a sociopath. I asked her. She said that she could see I was remorseful, that I care.”

I wanted to laugh. Darius was a therapist, or he had been at least, and he was an absolute sociopath.

“Ah, well. Any good therapist would tell you that sociopaths and psychopaths can fool almost anyone, even them. You’re not a sociopath, Fig. You’re a psychopath. There’s a difference.”

She blinked at me.

“Your friends are mean girls. I see what they say online. I saw a lawyer about it. They’re cyber bullying me.”

“Oh, wow. Nice deflection. You really want to call someone else a mean girl? You’re the ultimate mean girl, Fig. If my friends are angry it’s for good reason.”

“They’re just blinded,” she said, her voice shrill. “Everyone is blinded about you. But, I know. I’ve seen the real you, I’m not one of your adoring fans.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“Everyone loves you,” she spat. “You’re a human being. Everyone thinks you’re so wonderful. They worship you. You’re just a person like the rest of us. It’s ridiculous. You’re just a person!”

“Who are you trying to convince?” I asked.

She stopped dead.

“I’m sorry if I don’t have the worship gene like the rest of them.”

I took a step toward her. “You have something worse than the worship gene, Fig.” Her sharp, little shoulders were bunched up, her eyes on my face. “It’s called the crazy gene. You can buy all my clothes, and eat at the same restaurants, you can rub my perfume behind your ears, hell, you can even fuck my husband, but at the end of the day, you’re still you. And that is the absolute worst punishment I can imagine. Average, desperate, unhappy you.”

She looked shocked. I suppose I would be too. I’d spent the last year of my life being a better friend to her than I had to anyone else before. She was unaccustomed to any type of harsh words from me.

“You don’t deserve Mercy,” she said. “You stole her from me.” At first I didn’t think I heard her right. Her teeth were clenched, and she was splotchy in the face. Was she talking about my daughter, or referring to the concept of mercy? Stole her? Oh my god. She was talking about my daughter. I was still formulating words, trying to understand when she spoke again.

“You’re an evil person. You’re keeping her from her father to spite him. He was a good father. You have no right.”

I stared at her clenched fists, unbelieving. She didn’t know, she really didn’t know.

“Wow, Fig. New low. After everything he did to you and me you’re still going to defend him. I don’t know whether to be disgusted or laugh.”

“He’s her father,” she said, again.

“No, actually he’s not.”

She flinched, looked away then glanced back at me like she wasn’t sure if I was messing with her.

“I allowed Darius into our lives, just like I allowed you in. Neither of you were deserving. Especially not of Mercy. And neither of you will ever be allowed near my daughter again. Do you understand me?”

“You’re crazy,” she said. “That’s why you hide behind a pen name, so no one can see who you really are.”

I pulled out my phone, keeping an eye on her while I dialed the numbers. “I’m calling the police. You need to leave.”

Without another word she turned on her heel and walked quickly away. It was a flee scene if I’d ever seen one: a guilty retreat. I watched her disappear into her own house, imagining her bolting the door, eyes wide and haunted. What would she do now? I thought about the railway tracks and my heart started racing. What if she did something to herself? Had I been too cruel? I didn’t know what to do, whom to call. She needed…


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