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Sometimes things just happen.
Dave assumed that would be enough for Beth to write off that project, but she insisted she still wanted to go. She said the student probably just wanted the money and attention from publicly accusing a powerful man. Dave argued back that where there's smoke, there's probably fire, but Beth just took that as him not trusting her or her judgement. That was why their last couple months together had been so fraught and the weeks she'd been gone so awkward.
Jenny listened patiently as he spilled the dark secrets behind his supposedly perfect relationship. She'd sat close to him when they started, and as he worked his way through the explanation, she started rubbing his shoulder, then his back. Soon she was clasping one of his hands in both of hers without realizing it.
His story finally arrived at the present day.
"I don't think it was a secret how, uh, worked up I was this morning," he said. She giggled. She remembered, of course. She'd thought about it all day. He relayed the story of his failed cyber session with Beth.
"So she just up and left you alone with your needy boner?" she asked.
"Yeah," he said. "Seems like you two have that in common." She scoffed. She couldn't believe he was teasing her again.
"Well, sorry, but SHE is your girlfriend, not me," she said. "That's HER job. Trust me, if I was your girlfriend, I would never leave you hanging like that. Or, standing like that, more like."
"To be honest, I kinda like it when you tease me," he said. They both had spoken without thinking and suddenly felt embarrassed about what they had said. They were supposed to be talking about Dave and his girlfriend, and the topic had switched back to them playing around together. After a heavy silence, Jenny got them back on track.
"Wait, lemme get this straight," she said. "She left you unsatisfied to go hang out with her professor? The one known for preying on his students?"
Dave nodded. More silence.
"Do you think...?" he said, trailing off. He didn't want to say out loud that she could be cheating on him. He felt he'd had some close calls with Jenny the past week, but had turned away before anything serious happened. On the other hand, Beth had gone halfway around the world with this guy after vehemently defending him in the face of some pretty serious allegations. And she had cut short or cancelled multiple Skype sessions with him to go hang out with this guy. She usually said it was with the full team, but details were starting to align in an uncomfortable way.
"I think what you need is a good night out to get your mind off things," Jenny said, refusing to entertain his question about Beth's cheating. She didn't want to get involved in their drama. But she did want to cheer her roommate and friend up after he had been so open and honest with her.
"I don't know," he said glumly.
"Come on, you stayed in last night" she said. "It'll be fun. Me and you. Let's get drunk, go dancing, blow off some steam." That sounded like the last thing he wanted to do, but when he finally looked her in the eye and saw the excitement on her pretty face, he knew it was what he needed.
"Ok," he said, smiling. Jenny jumped up and cheered, then rushed into the kitchen. She came back with a bottle of rum and poured them each a shot.
"I'm going to start getting ready," she said, handing him one of the shots. "You order us some pizza and we can pregame while we get ready. He smiled and nodded. They clinked glasses and downed their shots. Jenny left and Dave shook his head in disbelief. He'd spent all day in a dark funk, and Jenny seemed to turn it around in no time at all. He felt so emo and unlikeable spilling out all his relationship troubles to her, but she'd just listened attentively then cheered him up. He dialed the pizza place and made an order.
Jenny reviewed their conversation as she showered.