Sunday, October 5, 2008

Brilliant Disguise

NOTE: It has been brought to my attention that I need to give a fake name to the boy/girlfriend, however hesitant I am to do so, if only for the fact that it's a bitch to type, and it'll appear frequently from now on. So, henceforth, Roxanne's partner will be known as "Laura".

So anyway, after Shawna told me that, I was speechless...for a moment. Then came the details.

Apparently, Shawna & her husband had gotten VIP tickets to see a concert that had come thru town a few weeks back. They had special box seats, or something, and it turned out that Laura (the boy/girlfriend...remember?) was also going to the show; not with Roxanne, but with her longtime best friend Natasha. Anyway, the two of them apparently got trashed, met up with Shawna & Doug (husband's fake name) and basically crashed their VIP section & made huge asses of themselves.

After the show, Shawna & Doug had had their fill of Laura & Natasha's drunkenness for the night & tried to go their own way, but Laura managed to play on Shawna's inability to disappoint people to drag them across town to her favorite watering hole - a really shitty, redneck dive bar that my little brother used to hang out before he decided it was too redneck even for HIM, which is saying something, trust me.

So they all sit down for drinks at the bar and, after a while, Laura (who was sloshed before they got there) gets all melancholy & starts pouring her heart out to Shawna's husband Doug (a guy who hates getting involved in other people's drama). She begins to tell him that she's worried because Roxanne never seems to want to kiss her anymore. Apparently, they haven't been, 'intimate' lately, and even when Laura comes home from work or from whatever bar she's been hanging out in that night, Roxanne doesn't even like to kiss her goodnight because her breath tastes like beer (if you'll remember, or even if you don't, Roxanne is a recovering alcoholic).

Apparently the correlation there is lost on Laura, though, because she seemed surprised when Shawna said "Well, Laura, if you were a smoker who had quit, would you want your partner to come home every night & try to kiss you with 2 packs of Marlboro's on their breath?" She still didn't get it...hell, she's jus' a good ol' gal who likes to have a couple' drinks & party a lil' bit; ain't nothin' wrong with that, right?

Sometime around then, some girl named Mandy walks in. According to Shawna, this girl runs over to Laura, who squeals with delight, grabs her & they spin around, embracing & giggling like schoolgirls. Laura is a friendly person, so this doesn't raise any eyes at first, but after introducing this girl to Shawn & Doug, something started to seem funny. Laura said something like "Mandy, this is Shawna & Doug; they're good friends of mine AND good friends with Roxanne!". Hmmm...

Anyway, the talk about Roxanne stopped the minute that this Mandy girl entered the bar, and she & Laura were soon lost in their own little conversation, leaving Shawna & Dave completely out of their element, until Natasha came back over & sat next to them. Natasha was three sheets to the wind herself (she's apparently an even worse alcoholic than Laura, which is no mean feat), and made some snide remark under her breath about Mandy being there. Shawna didn't really catch it, but just about then, Laura's phone beeped. It was a text message from Roxanne, asking when she would be home.

Laura texted her back, letting her know where she was. Shawna said that Laura started saying how she had forgotten to let Roxanne know they were going out afterwards, and in her drunken stupor, she was feeling bad about it & started typing out a long message to Roxanne about how much she loved her & how she'd be home soon. Now...upon seeing Laura sending her love to Roxanne via cell phone, apparently this Mandy girl suddenly got all huffy & puffy...out of the blue & for no apparent reason. She made a little scene of some sort, basically acting like a jealous girlfriend, and then abruptly got up, declared that she was 'not sticking around for this shit' & stormed out of the bar, startling the whole table. Laura stood up & started calling after Mandy. Shawna & Doug looked at each other, puzzled, and started to say something. Laura, however, cut them off by saying "Hold on, I have to catch her! I cigarettes are in her car!" before running out the door to follow her.

Shawna looked over at Natasha, bewildered.

"What was that about?", she asked her.

Natasha tried to dodge the question with some lame answer like "Who knows, they're drunk.", but Something was definitely fishy here...Ray Charles could see that. It became even clearer when, after another 15 minutes, Laura still hadn't returned. Finally, Shawna turned to Natasha & asked her point blank just what the fuck was going on.

Who knows if it was good or bad that Natasha was as drunk as she was at that moment, but in any case, she hesitated for a moment & then said to Shawna "Well...Laura's cheating on Roxanne. With that girl."

Shawna & Dave were shocked. They asked how long it had been going on. Natasha said that she wasn't sure, but she didn't think it had been very long or had gotten very serious. She said they had been spotted making out behind the bar several times, but Laura hadn't told her any details & that was all she really knew...or could think of, in her current state. She said that she hated to rat on her best friend, but that Roxanne was such a sweet person & she felt so bad about it that she just couldn't hold it in any longer.

So, they talked about it some more & waited a while for Laura to come back. She never did. She totally ditched Shawna & Doug after dragging them across town with her. They left & went home. Shawna said she debating calling me & telling me what had happened right then, but that Doug talked her out of it, knowing they should have all the facts first, which he was right about.

So, the next day, Shawna is pissed. She contemplates calling Roxanne (whom she refers to as her surrogate sister), but after debating it for a while, she decides to call Laura first, to give her a chance to explain herself. So, she calls her up & Laura immediately launches into a vehement apology for the night before & denies everything even before Shawna has a chance to accuse her of anything. She said that Mandy was upset about something else & she just went to try and comfort her & lost track of time. She tells her that it's not true that she's having an affair, it's just some horrible rumor that people have been spreading for...well, for no real reason apparently. She begs & begs Shawna not to tell Roxanne; that it's nothing that she needs to worry about & it would just upset her to hear such ugly, horrible lies.

Shawna, however, ain't gonna budge. Rumor or not, she saw some shady shit go down that Laura has no good explanation for. She loves Roxanne, and tells Laura point blank that she will, at the very least, have to tell Roxanne what she saw. So Laura breaks down & begs Shawna to at least let HER be the one to tell Roxanne about it...that way, she can explain to her that it's just a rumor and that she has nothing to worry about, yadda yadda. Shawna isn't buying it, but she tells her she'll think about it for a day or so (she told me this was because she wanted to have a chance to talk to Natasha about it when she was sober, so she could find out the whole truth). With Laura still pleading with her, she hangs up the phone.

So, next she tries to call Natasha, who doesn't answer her phone. Figuring that she's still passed out from the night before, she leaves her a message asking her to call when she wakes up.

After a while, she still hasn't heard from Natasha, so she calls her back. This time, she picks up the phone, but tells Shawna that she'll have to call her back in a minute...that she just woke up & that she's on the other line - with Laura. Finally, after another half-hour or so, Natasha calls back & Shawna asks her again to explain what's really going on. Then the backpedaling began...

Natasha told Shawna that nothing was really going on between Laura & Mandy; that she had been drinking & taking a lot of pills the night before & had made the whole thing up. She said she was sorry for having said such awful things about her best friend, and that none of them were true; she can't even remember what all she said or anything that happened the whole night. Conveniently.

"So, you just made it all up?", Shawna asked.

"Yeah...I must have", Natasha answered.

"Why would you make up something like that about your best friend?"

"I don't know...I was just fucked up, I guess". Mmm-hmm.

She had her story & she was stickin' to it. So, Shawna finally got off the phone. Five minutes later, the phone rang again. It was Laura. Shawna answered the phone & Laura started in again right away, pleading with her not to tell Roxanne & promising that she was going to tell herself when she got home from work. She was crying hysterically, and Shawna asked her why she was so upset it it was all just a rumor. in fact, if that's the case, why was she worried about it at all?

Laura said that she was so upset because she can't believe that someone would spread such a horrible lie about her...she couldn't imagine who would do such a thing, or why. She was mostly worried, though, about Roxanne hearing about it first and being hurt by it...especially right now with her big show about to start in a week or so. This was her first starring role in a big show in several years, and she was very nervous & totally consumed by it, working herself over 90 hours per week between both jobs. Laura didn't want her to have anything like this on her plate to deal with.

Shawna was getting more irritated by the second & finally told Laura that she was still deciding what she was going to do & that she needed time to think about it. She all but hung up on her again, with Doug looking on in disbelief.

Doug was convinced that they should call Roxanne right then & there, but Shawna was upset, overwhelmed, and wanted to calm down before they did anything. Besides, it was a beautiful day & they both had things they needed to do & their own lives to lead, so they left the house for a while to go run some errands & such.

They came back about 3 hours later...and found almost a dozen messages from Laura on their machine. All of them saying the same thing, begging Shawna not to call Roxanne, and assuring her that she was going to tell her herself. Protesting too much. When the phone rang a minute or two later, Shawna had had enough; she told Laura that she was not going to get dragged any further into whatever Laura had gotten herself into, and that she would let her tell Roxanne whatever she wanted first, but that she was going to make sure that Roxanne also knew what had happened that night...whatever it was.

This finally calmed Laura down & she thanked Shawna & got off the phone. Shawna was still torn as to what to do, though. She agreed with one thing Laura had said; that Roxanne didn't need anything like this to deal with at the moment with everything on her plate, but she needed to know...right? She asked Doug's advice, and being the sensible guy that he is, he laid it out rationally.

In his opinion, something was definitely rotten in Denmark. The way Laura & Mandy had acted at the bar, the storming out, the chasing after, the disappearing....all that was fishy enough. Then there's what Natasha said. Sure, Natasha is an alcoholic, and was (at the very least) drunk at the time, but she is also Laura's best friend. They've been close for years, they have no animosity between them, so why would she just make up a story like that about her best friend? Drunk or not, that just doesn't seem right.

Then, there's the way Laura reacted to Shawna. If someone accused you of an indiscretion that you were innocent of, would you break down in tears & panic about it, or would you - knowing you did nothing wrong - be dismissive of it & rest assured that the truth would come out? If she hadn't done anything wrong, why was she burning up Shawna's phone like about it, denying everything like Nixon. Like I said before, me thinkest she doth protest too much...

But, on the flipside...they hadn't actually seen anything happen between the two of least nothing that would hold up in court. And the accusation did come from a conversation with an inebriated alcoholic under the influence of who knows what. And while it's pretty clear that something was going on, Doug didn't feel that they really had enough to go to Roxanne least not right then, with everything she had going on. Shawna agreed with him...the opening of her show was next week & they would see her then, so they decided to just worry about their own problems for a while...

...and so that was the story up to that night, when we were standing outside on the patio of the theater after the show, talking. Shawna & Roxanne hadn't talked except for a text message confirming that they were coming to the show. So there we were, waiting for Roxanne to come out of her dressing room, and my brain is in maximum overdrive, complete with AC/DC soundtrack. And then the side door of the building opened & she walked out and swayed over to where were all stood.

I'll skip the usual paragraph where I'm in awe at seeing her & make up some lame metaphor, 'cus I hate to be predictable. Anyway, she looked beautiful, she had done an amazing job, and we were all incredibly proud of her. We hugged, we all talked for a minute or two, then she had to go back in to go over notes. Then, something crazy happened.

A short, bleached blond girl of about 24 in a striped green shirt walks past Shawna, notices her & says "Oh, hi!". Shawna waves back, speaks an almost inaudible 'hi', and turns to me, wide-eyed.

"That was her!", she says.

"Who was who?", I ask her.

"Mandy! THAT'S the girl Laura's supposedly doin' it with!"

"What? What the hell is she doing here?", I asked. (remember, Laura was not there that night)

"Well, she's apparently friends with Roxanne, too...she hangs out at their house a lot".

"I bet she does..."

So, I saw what she looks like. Suffice it to say, she's no Roxanne.

With me still in a daze, I said my goodbyes to Shawna & Doug & hopped in the car with Elaine to head home. My mind was racing so fast trying to process all this information that I didn't speak for several minutes until Elaine snapped me out of it.

" it is.", she said.

"Here's what?", I asked her.

"Here's your big chance. Watcha gonna do about it?. Hmm?

Good question...


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Monday, October 06, 2008 12:00:00 PM  
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