Sitting at the end of the table, still quiet, still the wallflower she was back in high school, Melissa Adams fiddled with her drink, her eyes trailing Jake Landon as he excused himself for a smoke. He looked nervous. And that made her feel nervous. She dreaded this day for the past twelve years. She dreaded it ever since the day Cassandra died.
The best of us. They way they toasted him, you'd think Andrew was a saint. The rich, obedient son; the loyal, generous friend; the popular, smart student. Voted the one most likely to succeed back in high school.
Melissa bought all of it once. She really believed Andrew was a saint. Even when she was going out with Marcus, she'd worshipped the ground that Andrew walked on, like the big brother she never had. Andrew was her hero. That was, until she saw the real Andrew Vassar that night twelve years ago.
She was the only one who'd seen Andrew stripped of his halo, fallen from his pedestal everyone placed him on. He was no saint. Underneath it all he was just like one of them back then - scared, confused and in love. And Andrew, back then, had been deeply and madly in love with Cassandra. And nobody knew it, but Melissa. Now that Andrew was gone, she wondered if he'd taken the secret with him.
"Is Jake handling Andrew's estate?" Marcus' voice snapped Melissa out of her flashback.
Nobody answered. She knew Jake has been handling a lot of Andrew's legal affairs when he was alive. His nervousness tonight is a tell tale sign he may also be handling Andrew's legal affairs post mortem. But she didn't feel it her place to announce it. Jake can for himself when he gets back.
Melissa's eyes rested on Marcus. He'd aged quite elegantly. They would have been perfect together, she thought. They would have been married with two kids by now if it hadn't been for lovely, sweet, cloying Cassandra. Melissa caught herself before she fell back into her toxic brooding over a woman twelve years dead. She shook her head, willing herself to forget all that mess.
The last thought that went through her head was, 'Cassandra should have accepted Andrew back then... everyone knew that.'
By Sal, an ex-travel writer, now struggling housewife and aspiring fiction novelist. She lives in Malaysia with British husband and dreams to publish her first novel and adopt a Siamese cat one day. Though not necessarily in that order.