Chapter Sixty-Three: “All he’s done is love cats and grow a mustache”

At twenty-five years old, Jacklyn had acquired her very first frenemy. She wasn’t proud. As she had never had a frenemy before, however, she wasn’t quite sure what she was meant to do about it. Melly had had a frenemy in high school. Rachel Danvers had had an enormous crush on David at the same time as Melly. Rachel had tried to scope him as her prom date, even though he had already taken Melly miniature golfing three times before that point. Jacklyn had spent what felt like a disproportionate and unfair amount of time hearing about all the many ways Rachel Danvers had wronged Melly. Even now, Melly sometimes brought it up when she was feeling particularly righteous.

But despite all the secondhand experience, Jacklyn wasn’t sure how she was supposed to proceed to either make it better or exacerbate it to a point where the simmering tensions couldn’t be ignored any longer. It was made even more awkward by the fact that her frenemy was her roommate Jocelyn and Jacklyn couldn’t tell if Jocelyn was even aware they were frenemies. It seemed obvious to Jacklyn, but then again, she was the one who felt Jocelyn was too perfect for her own good. It was entirely possible, probable even, that Jocelyn wasn’t nearly as threatened by Jacklyn. She didn’t really have any reason to be threatened, to be frank. She was essentially perfect, like Lawrence Wu.

“She’s gorgeous, extremely fit, charming, and half-Japanese,” Jacklyn grumbled to Jemima over lunch one day. “She’s literally everything I aspire to be.”

“You aspire to be half-Japanese?” Jemima returned, frowning.

“You missed the point,” Jacklyn protested.

“Did I?” Jemima asked. She seemed genuinely confused.

“Obviously,” Jacklyn scoffed.

“What was the point then?” Jemima replied.

“That she’s the worst,” Jacklyn answered matter-of-factly. Jemima’s frown deepened.

“Honestly, it sounds a little like that wasn’t the point,” she returned. “Like, that’s the exact opposite of what you said the first time.”

“She’s too perfect,” Jacklyn began to explain. “Nobody likes running that much. Or Gord. There’s obviously something wrong with her.”

“I think Gord gets a bad rep,” Jemima said. “He’s not a serial killer or anything. What’s

so bad about him? All he’s done is love cats and grow a mustache.”

Jacklyn glared at her. She had missed the point again. It seemed unlikely that she’d get it though, so Jacklyn let it drop and vowed to stew bitterly on her own.

Jacklyn probably would’ve cared less about Jocelyn as a whole if it wasn’t for Aaron and his genuine interest in Jocelyn’s life. He always talked to her whenever he came over. Jacklyn had begun suggesting they spend more time at his place or go out more, but she didn’t think she was being nearly as subtle as she would’ve liked because Aaron kept giving her suspicious looks. And even when they went to his place instead, he still asked about Jocelyn. He may have just thought he was being polite, but it felt more like he was twisting the knife from Jacklyn’s perspective.

“You’re being a little bit crazy,” Iggy informed Jacklyn one night when they had gone out for drinks. “And that’s coming from me.”

“That’s incredibly concerning,” Priscilla informed Jacklyn. They were out at a new bar with Jemima and Sybil as well. Bernie had stayed home to get caught up on work, which seemed horrible considering it was a Friday night. And Tallulah had gone to mini-putt with Chad.

“I’m confused,” Sybil interjected. “You hate this girl why? Because she’s too friendly and she jogs a lot?”

Jacklyn narrowed her eyes slightly. That essentially was why she didn’t like Jocelyn, but condensing it like that made her sound petty. Maybe she was being petty, but that was just how she felt and she refused to pretend to feel anything differently. She also didn’t appreciate being made to seem petty in the

middle of a crowded bar with her friends. She had never really liked Sybil all that much, which didn’t help. Sybil was Priscilla’s friend from university and Jacklyn had never exactly warmed to her. She mostly found her overly sarcastic and mean.

“The issue is that she’s annoyingly perfect,” Jacklyn explained, exasperated. That was really only half of the problem. The other half was that she was afraid people would genuinely begin to like Jocelyn more than her. She was already fairly convinced that was happening with Aaron. It was definitely happening with Gord and Snib. Gord thought she was super pretty and Snib followed Jocelyn around like her ass was made of catnip.

“This whole thing feels terribly ironic,” Iggy said after she and Priscilla had spent a few minutes staring at her pointedly.

“What?” Jacklyn returned, lost. She had been glaring at the side of Sybil’s head. Sybil was looking down at her phone, clearly uninterested in Jacklyn’s problems. It was inconsiderate.

“You are so perfect,” Iggy explained. “Your hair literally always looks nice and I don’t think I’ve ever seen you look anything but really well-rested. You’re so fit and smart and put-together. You make me look like a walking disaster.”

“For the record, I think you mostly have yourself to blame for that,” Priscilla cut in, pointing to Iggy. “But yeah, Jacklyn, you’re basically the perfect human.”

Jacklyn blushed. She was both flattered and uncomfortable. And it still did nothing to make her feel better. She returned just as bitter as she had been when she’d left.

“I don’t like Sybil,” Jacklyn informed Iggy the following day. They had gone to the gym together to meet up with Melly. Both Tallulah and Priscilla refused to go with her now and she kept pestering Iggy and Jacklyn. Apparently she was incapable of working out alone. She said that having workout buddies inspired her to work harder, a little healthy competition to get her going. Tallulah assured them that was bullshit because Melly was better than Tallulah standing still.

“What? Why not?” Iggy asked. They were waiting next to the stationary bikes for Melly to turn up. Iggy was very hungover. Quite frankly, Iggy looked like she had died and someone had just propped her up against the handlebars of one of the bikes. She was very pale and her left eye kept slipping shut of its own accord.

“Because she was making fun of me last night,” Jacklyn explained. She had stopped drinking well before Iggy had and felt she had a much better chance of surviving a workout session with Melly.

“We were all making fun of you last night,” Iggy pointed out. She had livened slightly, spurred by her surprise that Jacklyn could not like Sybil.

“Yeah, but with her it’s different,” Jacklyn try to explain, coming off vague. She was having trouble formulating what she wanted to say. There was really nothing wrong with Sybil and Iggy was right; the way she had spoken to Jacklyn the night before was no different than the way that everybody else had. But it was different with her. Sybil wasn’t one of her closest friends. She was just a friend-of-a-friend.

“It’s different,” Iggy repeated flatly.

“Yes,” Jacklyn confirmed, nodding. “She’s meaner.”

Iggy frowned at her. She looked even worse than before. Jacklyn was seriously concerned for her well-being. She was absolutely not going to make it through the squat workout Melly had planned for them.

“So now you have two frenemies?” Iggy checked. Jacklyn thought about it for a moment. In the end, her response was merely a disdainful eye roll, but internally she supposed Iggy was right. It was a little worrying. Jacklyn wasn’t sure she wanted to be the kind of person who had one frenemy, let alone multiple. She decided to keep it to herself and try to figure it out later. She could get over both of them if she just gave herself enough time and space to work it out. Of course, giving herself space from her roommate might prove difficult, but she could probably manage if she spent exorbitant amounts of time in her bedroom. She’d drag Snib in there with her and force him to spend time with her instead of either Jocelyn or Gord.

But then Iggy brought it up to Melly. She did it solely so that she could take a break from working out. They were in the middle of planking. Melly had come up with several kinds of planks for them to do; side planks, regular planks, mountain climbers, shoulder tap planks. All of it was horrible. Jacklyn didn’t really blame Iggy for trying to get out it. She looked like she was at risk of passing out, vomiting, or both at any second as it was and several continuous minutes of planking likely wouldn’t help that. She just wished she had done it in a different way. She braced herself for a lecture from Melly about maturity.

“Oh God, I hate her,” Melly said, surprising them both. Iggy looked horrified. Jacklyn was vindicated.

“What? Why?” Iggy demanded in shock. Her plan clearly hadn’t worked out as well as she’d hoped it would. On the one hand, they weren’t doing the million planks Melly had planned. On the other hand, this was obviously not what Iggy expected, nor wanted, to hear.

“Ugh, she’s so mean,” Melly began to reply. “Like, we get it, you’re sarcastic. And she’s too accomplished. She’s always throwing her job in people’s faces, talking about how great it is that she gets to do what she loves, yada yada yada. It’s exhausting.”

Iggy looked even more stunned than before. Jacklyn was beginning to think she needed to start complaining about Jocelyn to Melly. She’d probably be a hell of a lot more supportive than her other friends.

When Jacklyn got home from the gym later that day, Jocelyn was sitting on the couch in the living room with Snib and Aaron, who had supposedly come over to see Jacklyn. Upon finding Jocelyn alone, he had decided to stay and wait for Jacklyn to get back. He kept grinning at both of them. Jacklyn was furious. She had no real reason to be furious either. Jocelyn was being perfectly civil to both of them and Aaron was only being nice as well, but Jacklyn was all but convinced that what it all really meant was that he liked Jocelyn better than her. It had finally happened. He had chosen Jocelyn over her. The minute Jocelyn left the apartment to get her laundry from the machines in the basement, Jacklyn confronted him.

“You’re into her, right?” She asked, but she didn’t really need to hear the answer.

“What the hell are you talking about?” Aaron returned, startled and indignant.

“Jocelyn,” she clarified. “You’re into her. You think she’s pretty. You like her more than me.”

“Where the hell did you come up with this?” Aaron replied. It wasn’t exactly an answer and it definitely wasn’t the answer she had been looking for.

“You don’t have to tell me,” she said. “I already know.”

“You’re insane!” Aaron shouted. “I don’t give a shit about your roommate! I was only being nice! What the hell is wrong with you?”

“There’s nothing wrong with me!” Jacklyn retorted. Snib, startled by the shouting, bolted from his place on the couch. He made for the door, which Jocelyn pushed open at just the right moment. Snib dashed into the hallway, probably to go see Gord, and Jocelyn stepped inside, smiling benignly.

“Forgot my laundry basket,” she announced pleasantly, unaware of the situation she’d just walked in on.

“Insane,” Aaron said one more time before walking past both Jacklyn and Jocelyn to the front door. “Good fucking luck.”

Those were his final words, directed to Jocelyn, who was confused. Jacklyn watched him go with a vague sense of unease settling in her stomach, pretty sure she had just make a mistake, but also not sure what she could’ve done differently to prevent it.

“Everything alright?” Jocelyn asked tentatively. Jacklyn had never wanted to hit anybody so badly in her entire life.

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