Although Ellowyne had just met Penn, it was clear to Rufus that she was interested. She never looked at him the way she looked at Penn. Blinking back the hot tears welling up in his eyes, Rufus plugged in his smartphone and sat in his car, feeling too numb to drive home. He tortured himself by listening to love songs that reminded him of Ellowyne like Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing to Led Zeppelin’s All of My Love. Breakup songs like Love Hurts, Love Stinks and Lonesome Loser gave voice to his feelings of loss and despair. When he heard a familiar tune by Cee Lo Green, he sang along. “I see you driving ‘round town with the girl I love and I’m like ‘Fu—‘“
The sound of tapping on his car window interrupted Rufus’ private sing-along. It was Prudence. “Hey, why did you leave the party?”
“It got kinda weird watching Ellowyne flirt with Penn.”
“I thought so. You were giving off a dull yellow aura, which means you’re jealous. I can give you some green apatite or green aventurine to help you .”
“Hey Pru,” Rufus said. “I appreciate your help but I need to be alone right now.”
“But if we get your chakras in balance—“
“Thank you, Pru but really, no.”
Pru, the last of their friends to leave the party, got into her Mini-Coop and drove away. She was only a few blocks away when she realized she left her phone at Ellowyne’s house. She noticed that Rufus’ car was still there but Rufus wasn’t in it. Quietly she opened the door and retrieved her phone. To her utter shock, she heard Ellowyne and Rufus fighting in the kitchen.
“What the hell, Ellowyne? I was standing right there!”
“God, you are so jealous”, Ellowyne retorted. “I would never have agreed to this if I knew how jealous you are.”
“I’ve told you that you can date other guys. I just don’t like you blatantly throwing yourself at someone when I’m around.”
“You can date other women…”
“When do I have time for that?”
“Oh my God, Rufus. Are you going to blather on about how engineering is such a tough major while my English lit major isn’t?”
“We’ve had this fight before. I’m sorry I said anything.”
Prudence stood by Ellowyne’s front door, torn between slipping quietly through the front door and staying to hear the argument. She decided to continue eavesdropping.
Rufus spoke first. “I’m not sure about our relationship. It’s worked for me but lately it’s been more difficult than ever. You know that I love you…”
“And I love you, too, but as a friend…”
“Don’t patronize me. You’ve strung me along. I hoped our little arrangement would bring us together as a real couple.”
“But we agreed to not get emotionally involved”.
“No. You agreed, Ellowyne. I didn’t. Do you know what you are? You’re a commitmentphobe. You’re afraid of getting involved.”
“Isn’t what we have good enough for you? We’re friends—“
“That’s the point. We’re FRIENDS with benefits. You’re not being my friend when you flirt with some new guy while I’m standing right there!”
“I think you need to leave, Rufus. This is ridiculous.”
“Fine. But when I go out the front door, our friendship is over.”
Prudence hurried out the door before Rufus could see her. Back in her car, she wasn’t sure what startled her the most: Ellowyne and Rufus being friends with benefits or the intensity of their argument.
No sooner had Pru gotten into her car when she got a text from Ellowyne. “I need to talk to someone. I might have made the biggest mistake of my life.”
Before she could answer, Pru received a text from Rufus. “Hey girl. I just did something stupid and now I think Ellowyne hates me.”
Prudence sighed. She was close friends with both of them and she didn’t want to take sides. Before she drove away, she turned on her car radio.
Clowns to the left of me, jokes to the right
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.
Indeed, Prudence thought. Indeed.