If Jared and I wouldn’t have had just friends syndrome I never would have agreed to go to a movie with him. The movie was good, better than I expected it to be but I know the only reason he wanted to go was because he knew Veronica was going to be there. He thinks he’s in love with her when all he really wants to do is screw her. Veronica is my roommate. She's not only high maintenance she’s also a tramp. There’s no other word for it and I’m sorry if that’s harsh but that’s the way it is. I don’t dress it up for Jared and I wouldn’t be doing you any favors if I told you something that was less than the truth.

Jared and I were talking about it on the way back to school. I knew he was mad at me but he’s so delusional about her. He hugged me when he dropped me off but to be frank I've had better hugs from wind gusts and dead people. Amazingly Veronica was already in our room when I got there. Normally there are at least two gentlemen on Veronica at that time of night so I was surprised to see her. I was standing by my bed. She was standing in front of my closet and pulling clothes out. It takes Veronica a while to figure out what she's going to wear. She takes her time and paints her nails if they need redoing. Sometimes she asks me what I think of things but tonight she was quietly sorting through her earrings. George Winston was playing so I knew Veronica must be in one of those moods. Veronica makes fun of George but she pulls him out whenever she’s upset about something.

“How was the movie?”

“Good. How’s Kevin?”

“We broke up.”

At least now I knew why she was back so early. If I gave her a hug she’d probably start crying so I snapped a towel at his picture instead.

“Man, that sucks dude. You should take a shower. You can wash that man right out of your hair.”

“What movie did you guys end up seeing?”

How Sarah saved New York. What’d you guys end up doing?”

Veronica dropped her shirt on the bed and reached for her shower things.

“Kevin was a total dick the entire night. I ended up walking back from Tivoli by myself.”

Tivoli was the park down by the river. There’s plenty of privacy in the wooded area if you know what I mean. We had to walk past it when we went bowling for gym class. The guys cracked jokes about the Mud Pit on the way down and back. Our teacher was pissed but she can’t have lived here for any amount of time without knowing that’s a prime make out spot. Even I’ve been there a time or two and it wasn’t to cross the squeaky bridge either.

Some people think it's weird that Veronica and I shower together but she has obsessive compulsive disorder and I find that showering at night helps me relax. I get in that ready to go to bed frame of mind and I can think better in the shower than I can in other places. I decided that I had been too hard on both Jared and Veronica tonight. She was hot and he was interested. There wasn’t anything wrong with that. I had hoped he would be a little deeper and I hoped that she would be less trampy but who was I to judge?

There were clouds of vapor in the air when Veronica came over to borrow my shampoo. Jared and I had gone to Walgreens to buy that and tampons. I had been borrowing Veronica’s shampoo for the better part of a week so I splurged and bought something I knew she’d like. Shampooing her hair is something Veronica takes very seriously. I watched the lather fall to the tiled floor and inspiration struck. I couldn’t believe I had never thought of this before. I could set Jared and Veronica up. Even if they ended up sleeping together it was better for him to get it out of his system while he was young and could still be salvaged.

I didn’t realize I was smiling to myself until Veronica asked me what was so funny. I’d never tell her this but Jared had kissed me once. I don’t even remember what I had been upset about but he had been willing to listen to me. I kissed his cheek and told him that I loved having him as a friend. He smiled and said something along the lines of “Of course I'll love you forever, provided we have sex right now.” Veronica was mad at me for not telling her what I was laughing about but she thinks Jared is a hopeless romantic and if I was going to try and get the two of them together I couldn’t tell her he had said something like that.

I very casually mentioned going on a double date to Veronica at breakfast the next morning only I didn’t exactly put it that way. It would work better if Veronica thought this was her idea. Veronica likes it when she thinks she has good ideas. Considering the idea had come to me late last night it couldn’t have worked out better if I had spent months planning it. Jared came over and apologized for being a jerk last night. If anything I was the one who had been a jerk but it was a good opportunity to put my plan into action. Veronica asked Jared why he hadn’t liked the movie and before I knew it the two of them were flirting with each other. I went to the bathroom because I had something stuck in my teeth. I was hoping the conversation would continue without me but I shouldn't have worried. Veronica knows how to flirt.

We ended up walking back to the dorm together. Jared apologized again. He asked if I wanted to see another movie so I brought up the subject of Kevin and Veronica breaking up. I knew he was interested even though he pretended not to be. It seemed as if he wanted to say something else but then his roommate told us Jared had a phone call. Jared’s grandfather hasn’t been doing well so his mom has been calling him with progress reports. It was the perfect time to approach Devon about going out. I wasn't sure how he'd feel about a date with me but after I explained that we'd be helping the Jared and Veronica relationship along he agreed.

That night Veronica was in a bad mood. Apparently she still missed Kevin. We had seen him at slunch and he was down in the TV room when we went down there to check out what was going on. Dinner was awful and the movie couldn’t have been worse. Devon thought it was hysterical but Jared and Veronica just sat there. I knew she was upset and I was afraid she’d start bawling if we sat there any longer.

Desperate times call for desperate measures so I asked Jared if he’d mind getting the keys from Devon and taking Veronica back to school. Part of the reason I had asked Devon for a date was so Veronica wouldn’t have to walk to the movie theater. She likes walking but when she goes out she puts her party shoes on instead of something more sensible which is why guys give her the second looks. No matter where she goes Veronica looks good.

I thought I had been very clear when I was talking to Devon about the date. He and I were going as friends so we could try and set Jared and Veronica up but I guess Devon is even dumber than I thought he was because he offered to take Veronica back to school. I kicked his leg and explained that Jared was sitting in the aisle seat so it would be better if he gave Veronica a ride back but Devon made a big deal out of getting out of his seat for Veronica’s sake.

The walk back to school with Jared was a long one. Neither of us said much and when he dropped me off in front of the dorms I told him I should go check on Veronica but I was really trying to get out of talking with him about the night. He liked to stay up late talking about things but two nights in a row of awkward silence was more than I could take. Veronica was already in bed when I got back. I took another shower and went to bed myself.

The next morning Veronica was all sunshine and smiles. There was a present on my pillow when I got back from the bathroom. Veronica watched me open my new CD. She wanted to know if I wanted to go to brunch with her and Devon. Apparently they had really hit it off last night. She told me the CD had been his idea which seemed out of character for him but maybe not. Veronica can be very convincing. She's good at giving other people credit for the ideas she has.

I wasn't sure how I felt about the gift. It could be that it really had been Devon's idea. Jared and I swapped CD’s back and forth so he knew I liked good music. Part of me was touched by the gift but the other part felt really, really, really bad for Jared. It was a CD he had wanted for a long time and I knew his feelings would be hurt when he found out that Devon and Veronica had bought it for me and not him. As soon as I could get him alone I was going to ask Devon if he'd mind taking me shopping.

The MTV unplugged 10,000 Maniacs CD had been the last one I had gotten for Jared. I bet he was really hating me now that his roommate was going out with Veronica. I wish I would have gone home for the weekend like I had initially planned. I'd have to talk to Jared about hitching a ride home next weekend when I saw him tomorrow. If he still wanted to talk to me that is.


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