60: “Mostly it was accidental”

Dick officially had enough secrets to deal with. None of them were even his. He wasn’t interested in other people’s secrets. They were complicated and difficult to keep. Presently he was keeping too many and it had reached a very confusing peak. Firstly, he was pretending to keep Jacklyn’s secret that she was seeing Joey. So he was lying to her about not having told anyone when he had in fact told several people. Subsequently, he was keeping a secret for Priscilla and the rest of Jacklyn’s friends because they knew Jacklyn was seeing Joey, but Jacklyn didn’t know that they knew. And he wasn’t allowed to tell Jacklyn that they knew, which he didn’t want to do anyway because he was the one who had told them in the first place. It had been an accident, but still. And now he knew that Jemima, a woman he barely even knew, had feelings for Bear, a man he barely even knew, but knew slightly better. And he was somehow supposed to keep that secret as well.

He had explained his dilemma to Miles, who knew the first two secrets, but not the third. Dick kind of felt like, since he was only one of many people who knew the first two secrets, they were no longer in fact secret, but he also didn’t want to be any more involved than he already was so he would not be revealing what any of the secrets were.

“I refuse to believe that so many people are entrusting you with their secrets,” Miles told him, though he knew that at least two people had purposefully entrusted Dick with their secrets.

“Mostly it was accidental,” Dick replied.

“That makes more sense,” Miles nodded. He was right. Jacklyn had only told Dick to keep her secret because Dick had happened upon Joey in their shared kitchen one unfortunate morning. And Priscilla had only asked him to keep her secret because he had accidentally broken the news of Jacklyn and Joey to her. He had merely happened to be nearby when Jemima had divulged her secret to Iggy. Nevertheless, Dick was now responsible for three secrets he didn’t want to know at all.

“Man, just tell Jacklyn you already told Priscilla and then be done with it,” Miles advised with a wise look on his face that was neither reassuring nor plausible. Miles was very rarely wise. He had never been wise. His lack of wisdom was what had lead him to dumping the contents of a pudding cup on Iggy’s hair in grade nine.

“I’ve considered it,” Dick replied honestly. He’d considered it at great length actually, but any way he looked at it seemed like it would inevitably end with him being far too involved than he was comfortable with. He already was more involved than he wanted to be.

“So do it,” Miles urged again. Then he walked away to join the impromptu dance class Tallulah had started in the middle of the living room. She was currently trying to teach a handful of people how to river dance. It didn’t appear that Tallulah actually knew how to river dance. Mostly they were all just jumping about with a lot of misplaced enthusiasm. Robin and Joey’s downstairs neighbours would be livid by the end of the evening.

Ultimately, Dick decided to stick to his original decision not to tell anyone anything ever again if at all possible. He would keep everything he knew inside himself forever and then, one day, he’d die. It seemed like a great plan. Of course, it was easier said than done. He was having a hell of a time trying to avoid all parties involved. The only person he managed to avoid was Priscilla and that wasn’t actually all that helpful to him. Joey, however, was particularly difficult to dodge. He stuck to Dick like a shadow. He spent a lot of time groping Dick’s ass, if Dick was being honest, though he was trying not to be. Dick was just glad he hadn’t worn tearaway pants to this party.

The problem with spending so much time with Joey, aside from the groping, was that Jacklyn was very preoccupied with all things Joey related. Every time Joey spoke to Dick, he could sense Jacklyn watching them from the corner of his eye. She wasn’t being very subtle at all. It was a wonder she had managed to keep her secret at all. Dick felt marginally better about the fact that if he hadn’t accidentally told all her friends, they would definitely have figured it out for themselves. Most of them were very perceptive women. Although, they’d have to be blind not to see how Jacklyn watched Joey’s every move.

Eventually, Jacklyn came to speak to Dick herself. It was what he’d hoped to avoid the most. He’d successfully evaded it for months and he lived with her. But now she’d cornered him at a party.

“You’ve spent a lot of time with Joey tonight,” she observed with the forced casualness of someone incredibly ill at ease.

“Yup,” Dick nodded. He took a long drink from his beer.

“What’ve you guys been talking about?” She asked, still pretending not to really care.

“Cat Olympics mostly,” Dick answered. It was the honest truth. Finch and Cameron had been holding Cat Olympics every week for the past month. Bobby had even brought over her own cats to compete. That had not gone especially well. Her one cat, Madge, was very lazy and refused to do any of the obstacles, even with the persistent promise of treats. And her other cat, Louis, was possibly possessed. He refused to do any of the obstacles because he was demonic. Finch had taken an immediate and frankly alarming liking to Louis.

“What?” Jacklyn asked, clearly thrown. Dick allowed her that. The words “Cat Olympics” meant very little to most normal people.

“Cat Olympics,” he repeated. “Finch and Gord have been training their cats to do obstacle courses in their free time.”

Jacklyn didn’t appear to quite know what to do with that piece of information. There was a long silence as she thought it over.

“Why?” She asked eventually. Dick genuinely couldn’t think of an answer she would plausibly accept.

“I have no fucking clue,” he answered honestly. He took another drink from his beer.

“Is that all you’ve been talking about?” She pressed after another vaguely awkward silence. She was still trying to come off as casual, but she had let some desperation creep into her voice. Dick knew she wanted him to tell her that they had actually been talking about her and about how much Joey liked her and how wonderful he thought things between them were going. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on who you were in the scenario, Dick and Joey had literally been discussing Cat Olympics the entire time. Joey was very invested, specifically in Eartha since she had been his gift to Finch one Christmas. Joey was thinking about having commemorative t-shirts made. Dick was a little afraid that he would actually do it because it would mean that Dick would definitely end up with a homemade t-shirt commemorating the Cat Olympics of 2017.

“Yes,” he told her with one hundred per cent sincerity. She clearly didn’t believe him, but she didn’t press the issue, much to his immense relief.

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