July"Do you have the present?" you asked me, brushing your hair behind your ear and looking to the moving lights in the window.
"Yeah, I have the...what even is this?" I locked my car and rattled the wrapped present next to my ear.
You giggled. "Inside joke. Frances'll get it."
I suddenly got very hot, sweating beneath my oversize sweater, feeling magma boil through my veins. "How do you know Frances again?"
"Remember? We hung out at some New Year's party this year. We've kinda been talking. Frances is really cool, honey, you'll have fun."
I was always awful at parties. If I was the epitome of antisocialism at my own cousin's party, how could I have expected to be any different at Frances Hemsley's birthday party? I grinded my teeth together at the stupid inside joke gift I was holding, how cute you looked tonight.
"Did you hook up?"
Your eyes flashed when they looked at me. I was ashamed, felt a burst in my stomach when I saw how betrayed you felt.
"What? I mean...where the hell did that come from?"
"I don't know," I grumbled, shifting from foot to foot. "But that's not a 'no'."
You scoffed, crossed your arms. "Sweetheart, I...okay, so I kissed Frances on New Year's last year. I hadn't even known you then." You grabbed my elbow and kissed my cheek. "Please don't be jealous, babe. It's not a good look on you."
Instead of the kiss bursting like usual, it fizzled, and before you rang the doorbell, I handed you the present.
"I don't feel well. Enjoy yourself."
I walked away from your protesting, I called our friend Sarah and asked her to pick you up.
I knew what lay beyond that door: someone you had kissed before, standing in a corner, tortilla chips and salsa.
I just couldn't do it, and I know I've said it a million times before, but I am so sorry for that night.