Joan finds out that Jolene is attracted to and is secretly seeing Marvin who is her boyfriend. Joan decides to take revenge on Jolene by serving her a dose of her own medicine. Thus she begins a relationship with Alex who is Jolene’s boyfriend. It is clear that the friendship between these two friends is going to end in heartbreak. Will the two friends ever get back from this toxic situation? Or will they continue hurting each other until one says enough is enough? Catch the previous episode of this trilogy here and in case you are starting, read how it all began.
They say water spilt never returns to the bowl and this was one of those melodramas you see in a soap opera. Now that we were caught in a manner of speaking, I decided I was not going to hide our relationship anymore. I hurriedly dressed and went to the door looking dishevelled. I opened it and let Jolene in.
It was clear what was going on. I wasn’t going to bother hiding it. “What’s good for the goose, is also good for the gander!” Let Jolene get a taste of her own medicine.
Once Jolene realized the situation she had walked into, she stood in shock looking at us with disbelief, while Alex stood at the far end composing himself. I couldn’t understand his reaction and I swear that for a moment I had seen a faint smile brush across his face. Was the guilt too much that I was deflecting what I was supposed to be feeling? In all honesty, I didn’t feel as happy as I had thought it would feel to get back at Jolene. Her reaction was even more worrying because she stood there paralysed and looking like a wounded cat. Had I gone too far? At that moment I remembered Marvin and some of the guilt lessened. Before I could even utter a word, Jolene closed the door and ran out.
“What have we done Alex?” I began panicking. “I thought everything between you guys was over? Why did it seem as if she caught her boyfriend cheating?”
Alex was in no hurry to respond. In fact, the mixed reactions, emotions, the sense of guilt and pain that transpired between me and Jolene didn’t seem to be a big deal to him.
He was calm and ready to continue what we had started. Where did he get the courage? Had I been a supporting cast in a play I authored? I had so many questions and so before Alex could go on disguising that stupid smile I asked him to explain what was going on.
“Are you and Jolene still in a relationship?”
“No!” “As I had told you, we broke up 3 months ago before you and I started seeing each other. If you recall my relationship with Jolene had been in a rut for quite a while so we could say that we had broken up long before.”
“But that is not how it seemed.” I snapped. “In fact, it seemed as if you guys had been seeing each other and Jolene was not aware that the relationship had ended.”
I paused. Trying to clear my thoughts.
“Alex, are you telling me everything? Wait a minute… What was that picture of Jolene that you had on your social media just a few weeks after we had kissed? Were you still seeing her then, because as far as I know Jolene has very recent memories of you and I’m wondering if she is crazy or just out to make me jealous?”
I hadn’t known that staying in touch with Jolene would give me leverage and right here and now I had receipts which Alex couldn’t deny. Now I understood why in movies the friend who’s dating her friend’s ex, is always reluctant to break off the friendship or spill the beans. Maybe staying in the friendship is her only way of knowing that the former lovers aren’t back together and the man isn’t playing her with her former lover.
Alex started, “We met not too long ago while I was in Nakuru. She had come hiking with some friends and so we happened to meet by chance because I was in the area.”
“I get that, but did you happen to get back together by chance? What really happened?” I was getting even more impatient.
“Jolene hadn’t accepted that we had broken up and so she kissed me!”
I was really in a drama of my own making. This was the part where the guy said, ‘She kissed me, I didn’t kiss her’ or ‘She slept with me, I didn’t sleep with her’ or the worst excuse ever ‘She became pregnant, I didn’t make her pregnant’. Perhaps Jolene had even married Alex while he didn’t marry her.
“How beautiful,” I said sarcastically, “Tell me what else did Jolene do to you that you didn’t do to her?” I sounded more like Jolene’s friend than her nemesis who she’d just caught making out with her ex/boyfriend.
“Baby quit the sarcasm, I swear nothing else happened. I just want you and no one else, and even if Jolene came back I would tell her the same.” Alex was doing that thing again. There was a way he would look at me with a rogue stare and yet innocent look, that had me dropping all my defences.
My heart calmed for a minute. “Are you sure nothing is going on between you and Jolene?”
“Should I prove it to you?” With that remark, I was a goner.
Our evening went well as if hours ago we had not broken every code there was. Thoughts started crossing my mind and I started to wonder who had even initiated that so-called girl code. So was I to stop my happiness so that I can abide by rules that I didn’t take part in making? What are rules anyway?
Funny how days run fast when you’re having fun or when a deadline is approaching. To me, both cases applied. It was fun to spend the weekend with Alex, but soon enough he would be gone and I’d have to face Jolene, every girl/society code there was, plus her gang of minions whom I knew she would share her ordeal with. I wasn’t ready for that so I optimized my weekend as if it was my last.
As you may have guessed for the coming week and a few months after I was walking on eggshells with everyone referring to me as the bitch from apartment 23. I was the major side chick whom girls were notified to keep their boyfriends from because apparently, I was on a boyfriend-stealing frenzy.
I felt misunderstood and school was no longer a conducive environment for me. I needed an escape and Alex was right there when I needed him. When I wasn’t in school for classes I would be at his place far away from judgmental eyes and pious condemning attitudes.
I was glad that at least I had school and my eros love going on. Because as far as friendships were concerned, I was the housefly who no one dared let spoil their soup.
Months went by and the environment began to change. Mouths had stopped yapping and school was again a place I could walk without being frowned upon. However, you can’t have everything, can you? As soon as my social status began to take a positive turn, my relationship with Alex began to deteriorate.
We would fight constantly to the point where if a day went by without us arguing, I would feel as though something was missing. He was constantly away without any explanation and when he came back he expected me to not ask anything. Slowly the communication between us was almost non-existent and the chemistry that once was fizzled out.
We couldn’t table our cards or resolve the constant arguments that were mostly influenced by external voices. I felt guilty for being happy and Alex didn’t want to confront issues or see the situation for what it was.
To society, we were in a forbidden relationship and slowly I started believing so. This took a toll on our trust and the feelings we had for each other. Sometimes I would ask myself ‘what if Alex was seeing somebody else, or even talking to Jolene behind my back?’ So one day while he was taking a shower I took his phone. What was once an unlocked device now had a password.
My heart was heavy. What if my suspicions were true? Instantly a message came. There was no text but an array of love emojis and whatnot. They say pictures are worth a thousand words, and right then I knew it would take me some investigating before I dropped the idea that Alex wasn’t cheating.
He’d heard the notification sound and so as soon as he came out of the shower he took his phone from where I’d returned it to check. I was keen to see what was his password and as soon as he unlocked I knew what was left was getting an opportunity to complete my mission.
When he left his phone charging and went to the shops to buy some things I decided this was an opportune moment to snoop. Was I slapped in the face to see that Alex had a thing on the side with a student from the engineering department? However, the text that stood out to me was what came before the emojis I had seen that morning. It read, “I had a good time yesterday, we should do this again.”
What did they say about revenge and digging two graves? That is the moment I learnt the true meaning of that saying. Confronting Alex was no use because he wouldn’t care to deny it. In fact, the girl he was seeing was his first love, the only ex he had before he met Jolene. Apparently, when he’d met Jolene they had broken up and he was just moving on. Had I heard that before? What’s more, is that he and this first ex shared a child and a culture which Alex was very keen on.
Who was I to compete with that? I remember thinking, I am not mad at you in fact I am mad at myself for getting tangled in a web of my own creation. Alex never found out that I had read his messages but he was intrigued as to how cool I was about our breakup. To think that I was taking revenge on Jolene only to end up saving her from a serial cheater. How’s that for a bad joke?
Months went by without Alex and I talking and slowly Jolene and I began talking again. After a few days of us hanging out, and lessening the tension that was between us, we were talking. She told me, “I visited Alex and he wanted us to get back together.”
“Did you know he has a kid with a girl from his village?” I blurted out even before her words could settle. Jolene was more shocked than I was. It was time to compare notes.
As it turns out, Jolene had seen the girl who had come to visit Alex when they were still dating. Jolene hadn’t read anything into it and since she didn’t feel threatened, she had thought that the girl was just Alex’s homie. It never crossed her mind to ask why Alex was so adamant that Jolene had to call before showing up, whenever that girl was around. Nor ask why she always went with shopping as if she was the woman of the house or as if the mother-in-law sent her.
“Could it be that Alex was betrothed and we had just been part of his entertainment while he was in school? What was he? King Henry of Scotland?”
The statement I did you a favour by dating him, couldn’t sound any truer than in my situation with Jolene. In the end, what had started as tit for tat is a fair game, ended as a lesson of once bitten, twice shy.
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