The Sea of Light - Shey Stahl

“Tell me everything that happened.”

Best friends. They’re not always the best to have around. Especially when you don’t want to relive a very shitty night. “He’s married. There’s not much else to tell.” Frowning at my admission, I fight the urge to burst into tears. I don’t want to talk about it, let alone hash it out with my best friend. But isn’t that what friends are for? To complain about your love life with and have them agree with you regardless of their opinion?

It may sound strange, but my life, and everything in it is temporary.

Slowly drowning in the confusion of love, I’m on borrowed time. And up until today, everything made sense. Until I find out the man I’ve been dating for the last six months is married. Pretty shitty discovery, huh? Six months and I had no idea.

Through some unfortunate circumstances over the years, I’ve found it’s human nature to be secretive. So I can’t say I’m entirely surprised by this.

I think about how he told me last night. Sitting across from me, relaxed as could be, the way he rubbed his thumb across his bottom lip, and the “I’m sorry” he offered me. It’s revolting. As soon as the words “I’m his wife” had been said by his actual wife, I contemplated stabbing him with the knife next to my plate.

The neon sign above Presley’s head turns her blonde hair a shade of purple. “Seriously?”

Resolutely, I stare at my friend and her ridiculous attempt to cover up the hickey on her neck by wearing a scarf in the middle of summer. “Yes, seriously.”

She blinks, lashes fluttering in surprise. “For reals?”

“Jesus, yes, Presley. He’s married. As in, he has a wife.”

“I knew he was a bit of a shady fuck, but damn….” Presley Dakota, she’s my best friend since birth, but she’s clueless sometimes. Sensitive, yet fierce in her own way, there’s a part of her that doesn’t ground with reality. She cares too much and in turn, oversteps the boundaries between friendship, obsessively trying to fix everything in your life. Sometimes I welcome it because everyone needs a Presley in their life, but today, I don’t like her very much. I don’t like anyone.

Presley waits for me to say more, gawking at me in shock. Have you ever watched someone’s face when you give them shocking news? They make the funniest faces. It’s like their facial muscles react on their own.

“Well…” Her expectant sky-blue eyes slide to mine. “…did you stalk her on Instagram at least? I mean, who are we dealing with?”

One by one, I refill the tequila bottles in the back room. “I looked her up on Instagram last night.” With aggravation and bitterness flowing through my veins, I arrange the clear bottles on the shelf and think about how much trouble I’d get into with Avie if I dropped them on the ground. I think I’d like to. Just one. Or maybe all of them. The sounds of the glass breaking, I bet it’d provide me some relief. I can pretend it’s Devereux’s face shattering like he did to my heart.

“And…?” Presley pulls her phone from her pocket. “What’s her name? I wanna look her up.”

I scramble for something derogatory to say about his wife. I spent most of last night, and the early part of the morning, stalking her on social media, but nothing comes to mind. At least nothing I can justify. “She’s pretty.” I’m not sure what else I can say about Norah Belmont, other than if stunning had a face, it’d be her. And the fact that I couldn’t find anything to hate about her only hurt more. I thought maybe if she was ugly, I could justify it by saying it was because he wasn’t getting any at home. But no, it wasn’t like that, and it’s irrational for me to think that way. Norah, she’s beautiful. The kind of woman you look at and sigh because you know even when she’s old and wrinkled, she’s still going to be beautiful, aging timelessly.

From what I gathered from the events that unfolded last night, she didn’t know about me, at least not at first, and doesn’t deserve what Devereux is putting her through. A pediatric nurse, a volunteer, and she probably gives all her free time to her church. At least that’s the way her Instagram feed presents.

“What is wrong with you?” Presley grabs me by the arms and spins me to face her. “Did you hit your head? We’re