Janine was angry with Gord. He was finding it very difficult to care.
“See, I just don’t give a fuck,” he said to Finch and Gavin one night. Amare was over at Jacklyn’s, continuing with his sham of a relationship. Gord supposed it was possible it would work out, but he was doubtful. He also supposed his relationship was potentially more of a sham than Jacklyn and Amare’s, but that was a fact he fully recognized and accepted.
“Yeah,” Finch replied, lounging on the couch with Eartha. “Me neither.”
“You just need to find someone who really gets you,” Gavin told Gord sagely from his spot on the floor. “Like I have Carly.”
Finch and Gord both turned to him in horror.
“You better mean a different fucking Carly,” Finch told him firmly.
“No, you know Carly,” Gavin waved a hand dismissively. Gord felt he was being unreasonably cavalier.
“Carly,” Gord repeated flatly. “The woman who left you to date her cousin.”
“Third cousin,” Gavin corrected.
“Blood relative,” Finch amended.
“Surely you can do better than that,” Gord remarked, genuinely dumbfounded. Gavin glared at him.
“I mean, you’re no treat,” he retorted.
“Janine is nuts and he’s an idiot,” Finch said, nodding to Gord. “But she never left him for her cousin.”
“Third cousin,” Gavin said again.
“That’s not actually better,” Finch retorted, enunciating very clearly.
Janine, as Gord learned over the course of several painful conversations, each wrought with tears, was upset with Gord about Bobby, who had apparently asked Janine for his contact information. This, according to Janine, was an unspeakable offense. That clearly wasn’t true because she talked about it a lot. Her primary concern was that Gord was cheating on her. He almost wished he was. Then at least he would’ve deserved the torture she put him through. Plus, then he’d also have been with Bobby in some respect and that was quickly becoming quite appealing to him. He assumed Bobby was interested in him. It seemed unlikely that she’d track him down at church for any other reason. Although, perhaps she really did want to hire him for an event, a niece or nephew’s birthday party for instance, and this was the world’s cruel way of mocking him.
“I would never cheat on you,” he told Janine several times, not that it made any bit of difference. He said the same thing to Gavin and Finch.
“Obviously,” Finch scoffed in return, as if it was ridiculous that Gord would even need to utter the words out loud. Gavin stopped shovelling yogurt into his mouth to dole out some more sage advice.
“You need to find someone who would never even accuse you of that,” he told Gord loftily. “Carly knows I would never cheat on her.”
“Carly’s opinion doesn’t matter because she legitimately dated a blood relative,” Gord returned.
“I think you guys need to let that go,” Gavin huffed.
“I think you need to hang onto it a little more,” Gord replied.
“A lot more,” Finch corrected.
“She’s a nice person,” Gavin snapped defensively.
“I don’t give a shit,” Finch returned bluntly. “I’d rag on Mother fucking Theresa if she tried to date one of her cousins.”
“Third cousin!” Gavin shouted.
“It doesn’t fucking matter!” Finch shouted back. Gord could sense he would get nothing more from either of them.
The closer Gord and Bobby grew, the worse he began to feel about Janine. True, he wasn’t cheating on her as it was also true that he never would, but he was treading closer and closer to a grey area he wanted to avoid. So far, their relationship was pretty much limited to social media and texting. Bobby sent him roughly fifteen photos of sausages in one afternoon alone, leaving Gord wondering how productive she could honestly be at her job. He asked as much in his text response, but her only answer was yet another photo of a sausage.
Gord finally decided he would have to do something about either Janine or Bobby, lest he become the kind of scumbag he despised. It was an easy choice, especially considering he’d been trying to break things off with Janine basically since they first got together. That didn’t make it any easier. He sat Janine down in her own living room and resolved to end it for good. Her wall-eyed pug, Ralph, tripped over the edge of the area rug and tumbled into the coffee table.
“Janine,” Gord began. Janine’s eye immediately began to well up with as yet unshed tears. “You’re a lovely person.”
Janine openly began to cry.
“You’re breaking up with me,” she wailed.
“Yes,” Gord answered bluntly.
“Because of Bobby,” Janine added in another wail.
“No,” Gord argued. “Because we’re not meant to be.”
“Why not?” Janine cried.
“Because you’re crying over the end of our relationship and I can’t actually remember what your last name is,” Gord admitted. It was harsh, but he had concluded that this was the best way to do. Well, perhaps it wasn’t the best way. That would probably involve a lot more gentle kindness, but this was the only way Gord could think of to really get his point across. He needed to be firm, which had been such a struggle for him. Janine had managed to talk him out of breaking up with her once before and he didn’t want to risk that happening again.
“It’s Sutherland,” Janine sobbed. Gord looked heavenward for help. Ralph tottered into the potted plant by the bookshelf in the corner of the living room. He was going to miss that wall-eyed pug. Unfortunately, he was going to miss him more than Janine.
“Alright,” Gord sighed, standing up. “Well, I’m going to head out. I’m sorry I upset you, but I’m sure you’ll find someone better than me to spend the rest of your life with.”
“I will!” Janine agreed defiantly.
“I have literally no doubt,” Gord nodded. “I’m terrible. The bar’s been set real low.”
He walked to the door, stopping to pat Ralph on the head briefly along the way. Janine called to him one last time before he managed to leave her apartment and, subsequently, her life forever.
“You’re the worst, Gord Cranney!” She yelled as the door slipped shut. Gord took a moment on the other side of the door to marvel that she had managed to shed so many tears over him when she didn’t even know that his last name was Kinney. And then he wandered down the hall to the elevator and left for good.
The moment Gord stepped inside his own apartment, he was instantly bombarded by the incredibly loud sound of Taylor Swift wailing about break-ups. It was coming from behind Gavin’s closed bedroom door. Finch was lying on the floor in the living room with his legs propped up against the couch, gently poking Eartha in the nose. She was sleeping, but every time he poked her, her nose twitched and her whiskers fluttered. Gord was amazed that she was managing to sleep through the racket coming from Gavin’s bedroom.
“What the fuck?” Gord asked Finch, holding out both his arms. Finch shrugged from his position on the floor, which looked like it actually took quite a bit of effort. He was dedicated to maintaining his air of nonchalance, though, which Gord greatly admired.
“I dumped Janine,” Gord announced, but Finch couldn’t hear him over the sound of Taylor Swift.
“What?” He shouted back.
“I dumped Janine!” Gord repeated, louder.
“What?!” Finch demanded.
“I dumped — oh, for fuck’s sake!” Gord walked over to Gavin’s bedroom door, leaving Finch on the living room floor. Gord knocked once, not that he thought Gavin would at all be able to hear him, and then pushed the door open to find Gavin lying on his back in the middle of his bed. He was wearing boxers and a t-shirt that was patterned with dinosaurs. The shrill sounds of Taylor Swift’s agony were emanating from the stereo on the bookshelf by the door. Gord reached down and yanked the cord out of the wall so that it stopped abruptly. Gavin looked up, startled, clearly not having seen Gord’s arrival.
“What the hell,” Gord said flatly. It wasn’t even really a question.
“I’m heartbroken,” Gavin explained.
“Carly broke up with me,” Gavin sighed forlornly. “I was her rebound. She was only using me to make Brock jealous.”
Gord was silent for a moment.
“Brock,” he repeated. Gavin nodded.
“Her cousin!” Finch shouted from the living room.
“Third cousin!” Gavin yelled back.
“Goddamn fucking blood relative!” Finch returned.
“I broke up with Janine,” Gord interrupted to announce. He wanted to take the chance when he had one.
“Who the fuck cares?” Finch called from the living room. “Gavin just got dumped by someone who wants to date their cousin. Again.”
“Third cousin!” Gavin shouted back. Gord backed out of the room and shut the door, giving up.
“Still her cousin!” Finch yelled. Gord retreated to his own bedroom in search of solace. Fifteen minutes later, Taylor Swift made her glorious return in a blare of bitter pop ballads. Gord held his pillow over his ears with one hand and used the other one to google photos of sausages to send to Bobby.