Things at work had become increasingly tense and, remarkably, none of it actually had anything to do with Suze. After months and months of being harassed and harangued by Piper, it was a really nice change of pace to see someone else endure the same level of hell. Even better than that was the fact that it was Piper who was being put through the ringer. Frank was quite clearly annoyed with her, as was evident by the music selection he had chosen for the latest instalment of Frank Fridays; a selection of only the angriest songs by Against Me! Piper kept trying to make things better with Frank to little avail. She brought him coffee every single morning, which he blatantly refused to drink. Suze found this particularly amusing, partially because it was so immature, but mostly because he gave the coffee to Suze. She took a great deal of pleasure in the fact that she was drinking coffee Piper had bought. Suze didn’t even really like coffee. She rode a caffeine high for a week, so jittery that her hands shook, but it was worth it.
Despite making a vow to herself not to get involved, Suze brought it up to Frank after two weeks. Piper was out of sorts. She hadn’t said one directly or passive-aggressively rude thing to Suze is such a long time that Suze was beginning to forget what it was like to be hated for no reason. She was worried that if things kept up, she would get too comfortable and then ultimately be blindsided when Piper eventually came back to herself and started being the bad bitch Suze knew she was capable of being. Suze didn’t miss that version of Piper and she still mostly hoped that she would die in a ditch, but at least it was predictable.
“So, man,” Suze began, clapping Frank on the shoulder as they were packing up their things to leave at the end of their shift. “Are you ever going to put Piper out of her misery? Because, like, at this point, I think it might be kinder if you just beat her over the head with something heavy and blunt.”
Frank laughed under his breath at that.
“I don’t know, maybe,” he answered eventually, shrugging with one shoulder.
“She’s sad, man,” Suze continued. “It’s unnatural. I’ve never seen her be anything other than aggressively mean and harsh. Piper shouldn’t be sad. She doesn’t do it very well either. It’s just embarrassing.”
Frank laughed again before sighing and looking directly at Suze.
“What am I supposed to do?” He asked her. “She skipped my grandfather’s funeral to have a chance at hosting a radio show. My grandfather was one of the most important people in my life, second only to my mother. How do we come back from that?”
Suze shrugged, which likely wasn’t very helpful.
“So club her over the head,” she said. “Doesn’t matter to me either way, bud. I’m just tired of looking at her miserable face.”
Suze left the studio hoping that her comments would spark Frank into taking some sort of action. She assumed he would forgive her eventually. They didn’t make any sense to Suze as a couple, but they never had, even back when she barely knew Frank. Besides, Piper was very persuasive. Granted, most of her persuasive tactics were aggressive and terrifying, but no less effective. She would wear Frank down over time and they’d probably end up married with incredibly frightening children. They’d be half-demonic, half-piranha.
As it turned out, Suze was absolutely wrong. Frank ended up breaking up with Piper and, most regrettably of all, Suze happened to be present for the actual break-up. It happened after Suze and Frank’s Frank Friday segment, which had featured the discography of British pop group Take That. Frank was hoping to introduce it to North American audiences. Suze was incredibly skeptical that their particular Roehampton-based radio show was the platform on which to do that, but Frank was determined nonetheless. Piper came into the booth at the end of their show, just as the dulcet sounds of “Back for Good” began to fill the airwaves, bearing yet another coffee she had bought especially for him. If Suze had known that Frank was going to dump Piper right then as a 90s British boy band sang a ballad about wanting someone back for good played in the background, very, very ironically, she would’ve fled for cover.
“Good show today,” Piper told Frank graciously, even going so far as to glance in Suze’s direction, offering an extremely tepid smile. It was unnatural and disturbing. Suze was going to have nightmares about that smile. It was far more chilling than any hateful thing Piper had done to her thus far in their volatile relationship.
“Piper,” Frank began, refusing to take the coffee, which Piper was trying to force into his hands. “I don’t want to do this anymore.”
Piper sighed with relief.
“Oh thank God. I don’t want to do this anymore either. It’s silly really,” Piper replied and Suze began to think about leaving, not certain she wanted to be present for their reconciliation. And then things took a significant turn for the worse.
“No, I don’t want to be together anymore,” Frank clarified. Suze felt her own stomach bottom out so she could only imagine how Piper felt. Suze also experienced the bizarre feeling of needing to conceal herself. She was seriously considering dropping to her hands and knees and ducking under the desk to avoid being seen. When Piper looked around and realized that Suze was present for her dumping, it wouldn’t be good news for Suze.
“What?” Piper asked, looking incredibly stunned. Part of Suze felt that was quite bold; surely she had sensed that things might not end well, especially since it hadn’t been going terribly well recently.
“You missed my grandfather’s funeral,” Frank said flatly, arms folded over his chest.
“I was covering your show for you!” Piper defending herself. Suze wondered if it sounded weak to her own ears.
“Don’t pretend you did that for me,” Frank retorted. Suze literally gasped and then clamped her mouth shut, hoping that the sound of her shock hadn’t attracted any attention to herself. There was a high probability that Piper was going to lash out in anger at the end of this thing and, as one of two targets, Suze didn’t fancy her chances much.
“Frank, I would never have done it otherwise,” Piper said, hand over her heart, somehow managing to sound affronted. Suze was almost impressed. Frank laughed bitterly, making it clear that things were still going poorly.
“Alright, whatever,” he returned. “I still don’t want to be with you anymore.”
“But we’re perfect together!” Piper pleaded. She was getting desperate and Suze was even more uncomfortable. Frank only laughed again.
“That’s not even remotely true,” he told her firmly.
“Lots of people think we’re perfect together,” Piper argued.
“Name one,” Frank demanded. And that’s when Piper noticed Suze was still in the room. She threw a hand out in Suze’s direction and Suze regretted not leaving when she had the chance.
“Suze thinks so!” She said. The problem was that Suze did not think so. Frank turned to give Suze a very sceptical look, one eyebrow raised, as if daring her to agree with Piper. Piper looked at her expectantly.
“Uh…,” Suze stalled, wondering how Piper could possibly imagine she would choose her side over Frank’s. It wasn’t just that Suze liked Frank more than Piper; it was that she liked nearly everyone in the world more than she liked Piper.
“Tell him, Suze,” Piper prompted when Suze failed to add anything else for quite some time. Frank raised his other eyebrow at her as well.
“I mean, you had to know I wasn’t going to agree with you,” Suze said to Piper helplessly. “What about our shared past indicated to you that I would take your side in this?”
Piper glared at her with the fury of a thousand burning suns.
“Fine,” she said, slamming the coffee cup down on the top of the desk so that it overflowed slightly. “You know what? Fuck you.”
She pointed at Suze when she said that. Then she turned to Frank.
“And fuck you too, Frank Rossi,” she said through gritted teeth. Then she stormed out of the sound booth, slamming the door behind her.
And that was when Suze noticed that Take That had finished singing and they had in fact been on air for a solid three minutes.
When Suze got home from work later that day, both Sybil and Chris were waiting for her on the couch in the living room. Both of them looked at her when she entered, smiling benignly like unnerving pod people.
“So…,” Sybil said, breaking the silence after a moment. “Super dramatic show today, eh?”
Suze sighed deeply and slumped into the space on the couch between them.
“Frank and Piper are no longer,” she said. “Also, Piper got suspended for swearing on air and being, you know, generally unprofessional.”
“Well that’s great news for you,” Sybil pointed out.
“Oh yeah, I’m super happy about it,” Suze agreed genuinely. She was getting at least three weeks free from Piper and her fury, which was bound to be much, much worse now.
“Not so great for Piper,” Chris interjected.
“No,” Suze agreed. “But she’s the devil.”
“Oh yeah,” Chris nodded. “Straight-up fucking terrible.”