DJ and I met freshman year.
We lived in the same dorm.
I don’t remember exactly how we started talking.
Probably something to do with my big mouth.
And the sense of egoism that I had at the time.
I thought I was hot shit.
And I probably was.
In that way that all 17-year olds are.
Nothing was out of reach.
And he was no exception.
But, somehow things morphed.
Yes, I was physically attracted to him.
Oh, Lord, was I.
But somehow we ended up in the friend’s zone.
And, actually, that was better.
We were inseparable.
Thick as thieves.
By Sophomore year, I could count on one hand the number of nights I slept in my own bed.
If I wasn’t in Fayetteville with Jeff, I was in suite 106 with DJ.
We never even kissed.
Just the comfort of having someone to curl up with at night.
Someone to hold you.
Someone to tell your everything to.
Every morning was the same.
I went to my room to shower and dress.
Then back to DJ and Stephen’s suite to have them walk me to class.
I didn’t need them to walk me to class.
But I liked the security of being sandwiched between two guys.
And the detraction it gave to unwanted suitors.
I realize now that I was never alone.
I don’t know if it was by design, or not.
Quite possibly, it was.
I had grown accustomed to having Jeff with me always.
So when he moved to Fayetteville for his job, I felt I needed someone else to fill the void.
And that is how things remained.
Even after Jeff and I ended.
DJ was my rock.
My best friend.
And I was his.
Through all the women, all the classes, all the family dramas.
I was his stability.
Until the end of Senior year.
I was enthused beyond reason.
DJ had started dating one of my very good friends.
We’ll call her Mary.
Which is apropos.
Because it’s a pretty close equivalent to her real name.
And because she was a virgin.
Which was my concern.
DJ was no virgin.
He was no angel.
In fact, though I loved that boy to distraction, I warned all my friends against dating him.
He was a user and a leaver.
I had warned Mary of this several times, but she wouldn’t listen.
They had dated a month when he told her he loved her.
He told me he meant it.
But we had been too close for too long.
I knew when he was lying to me.
And to himself.
But I didn’t interfere.
Because it wasn’t my place.
He took her virginity and made a promise to her.
He would sleep with no one else while he was sleeping with her.
They were to be monogamous.
Only I knew that he was still talking to and sleeping with his ex, Sarah, on the side.
I desperately wanted to warn Mary.
She was my friend, too.
A very good friend.
But it wasn’t my place.
I talked to him about it.
Told him that I felt he was wrong.
He agreed that he was.
But wouldn’t/couldn’t change, and I didn’t really expect him to.
That was DJ.
Always had been, always will be – if I had to guess.
DJ went for a law school interview in Fayetteville.
Sarah’s family is from the area.
So they went together and he stayed with her family.
Mary thought he was going with his mother and staying in a hotel room.
She called to wish him luck.
Sarah answered, and hung up.
Mary thought she recognized the voice.
And flew into hysterics.
Then started calling me non-stop.
I was out.
Hillary, Carol and I had decided it should be a girl’s night.
We were at Cajun’s dancing until we couldn’t stay on our feet any longer.
The music was so loud, I never heard the phone.
When we got home, it was to find a tear-stained, exhausted Mary on the tile floor outside our door.
“Just tell me who he went with.”
I tried to feign ignorance, I couldn’t and wouldn’t lie to her – I never will to my friends.
But I didn’t want to betray DJ, either.
Unless I was directly asked, I would stand fast.
“What are you talking about?”
“Someone answered DJ’s phone. It was a girl.”
“Oh, well, that’s strange.”
“Britt, don’t lie to me. He’s with Sarah, isn’t he.”
I tried to semi-cover for him.
“Yes, you know her family lives up there, so she’s letting him stay with her family for free. Save him the hotel cost.”
“Is he still sleeping with her?”
“I really think you should just talk to him.”
“Is he sleeping with her?”
“He’s my friend, Mary, I can’t tell you that. You just need to talk to him.”
“Goddamnit! You’re MY friend, too. Tell me the truth! Won’t anyone just tell me the truth??!?!? He’s still sleeping with her, isn’t he?”
She cried in my arms.
Mary waited until DJ came back to confront him.
He denied everything.
And because she was in love, she believed his lies.
She never spoke to me again.
And neither did DJ.
So, how did I lose my best friend in 10 seconds?