Author's Note: I would like to thank my editor for doing a great job.
Angie Kern was happy that the great time she was having at the party had proven her wrong. It was easy to see why she thought that it could have been a bad time. At the beginning of the party, Angie knew no one other than Duncan Lambert, the man she was getting serious with. Duncan brought Angie as his plus one, to introduce her to all his friends.
The hosts, Lance and Mimi Reed, and all the other guests, made her know she was welcome, these good people made her feel like she was part of the group. There was nothing forced about it, if she was Duncan’s girlfriend, then all the party goers saw her as one of their own. They wanted to make sure that the new member of the circle of friends knew spending time with her was part of their social schedule. The lady who did this the best was Beth. Those two had a great conversation, and Beth was getting married in three months. The newest friend was invited to the bachelorette party.
Angie needed to have this feeling of camaraderie, her connection to Devlin Mulloy and Becky Connors, her two closest friends, had become a little strained. Devlin was mad that she'd told Becky his dark secret, Devlin was a crossdresser. He denied it to his friend, but Angie knew better. Her eyes were not lying to her when she had caught him in that maxi dress oh so many years ago. The only person she told was Becky, and that was for she was into men who liked to be pretty. Then Becky had the nerve to lie to Angie just to keep Devlin happy. Angie understood why, but still it made their connection not as close.
Angie spilled some red wine onto her blouse, and Lance saw it. Being a great host, and knowing his wife would not care, Lance quickly offered to give his guest a blouse to borrow. They both went into the master bedroom, and Angie changed in the adjoining bathroom.
As the two came out of the bedroom, Angie was making sure the blouse was tucked into her slacks when Duncan saw them together. Duncan and Lance had a bad history concerning women. Twice Lance had slept with two of his friend’s former girlfriends. Yes, this was years ago, but Duncan was always going to be a little distrustful of the man's uncontrollable libido, at least until Lance came clean about the 'why' behind the acts of betrayal.
Without letting Angie or Lance explain what happened, Duncan accused them of just having sex, and left before either of them could explain what really happened. The man who was letting the past cloud the present, made the accusation loud enough for the entire party to hear. Even had it not been heard throughout the house, they would have all known something wrong had happened.
As Duncan was leaving, Angie tried to start explaining, by saying it was not what it looked like. The man, hurt by his past, rushed by the hostess on his way out of the door and out of Lance’s life. Mimi tried to stop him, to see why he had made such a passionate and ludicrous claim about the man who was madly in love with her. As he stormed past her, all he said was:
“This was the third time. THIRD TIME!”
Angie was so confused and hurt with how jealous Duncan was. She was happy that she found this out soon in the relationship, so she was not so attached to him. She wished it could have been before tonight, for now she only got a glimpse of what could have been, had these people entered her circle of friends. It would never be.
The newly single lady looked at Lance, and saw shame plainly showing on his face as if under a spotlight. His giving her a blouse was innocent, and Angie knew, by how Lance looked at Mimi, this man was as faithful to his wife as a hipster was to following trends. She had to ask.
“What is going on here?”
Lance did not want to talk about the past. That person who did those self centered deeds was no more. There was nothing he could do to change the past, yet there was something he could have done to become unhinged from it. Lance owned responsibility for his actions to himself, but never did so to Duncan or the others he wronged. The regretful man apologized, but never stated why his past deeds were wrong to those he had hurt. Admitting why you were wrong, to a person hurt, was a big step in them seeing you for who you are now, instead of who you were.
The man who used to put himself first, did so again, “I think it is best for you to ask Duncan.”
Mimi came up and asked what Duncan meant by 'this was the third time'.
Lance knew he could easily just keep on reverting back to his old ways to get out of this mess. He did not, for he had to face the past. He had to have faith in his wife's faith in him, when he told her why Duncan was only being logical to think the worse.
“Mimi, for if I did something with Angie as Duncan thinks, it would have been the third time I had done so with one of his girlfriends. You know I was not always striving to be the best person I could be.
That is why Duncan jumped to the wrong conclusion when he saw us two come out of the bedroom. Angie had a wine stain on her blouse, and I let her borrow one of yours. I should have told you.”
“You do not need to tell me about letting our new friend borrow one of my blouses.”, Mimi assured.
“No, I meant about my past with Duncan. I should have told you how bad I feel. How I know I let him down. How I regret it.”, Lance lamented.
“Your past is that: the past.” Mimi continued, “You had no reason to tell me until Duncan overreacted. You did not let Duncan down. He let you down by thinking you did it again, and went back to your old ways. That man will regret not letting go of the past when he loses your friendship.”
“Mimi, I can’t blame him. I glossed over it when it happened, and we only became friends again for we hung out with the same group of people. There was never real closure for him. Me, yes I admitted what I did to myself, but not to him. I downplayed how I broke our trust.”
Lance was right, time does not heal all wounds. If the wound is not treated right, it is just covered with scar tissue. The pain will return, if the wound is picked at.
“I have to make this right between us if I expect to ever have a true friendship with Duncan again. My Bright Eyes, I hope you do not mind me leaving the party now.”
“Sweetums,” Mimi smiled, “You clearing this up with a friend is way more important than you staying here.”
Angie piped in, “Can you give me a ride to Duncan’s? I need to pick up my car and go home.”
Lance answered Angie’s request, “Of course I can, but you should talk with him tonight, also. His anger and reaction is about what I did to him, and not you. You should not hold it against him. My friend is a great man who has been hurt by me, and seeing us come out of the bedroom just brought back the pain. I've let him down twice, and if you don't talk with him, my friend will see it as a third time”
Angie was too hurt to even mull over Lance’s request. She was done with Duncan. It did not matter about the past between Duncan and Lance, but the future she had envisioned with Duncan. How could she even consider being with someone who jumped to the conclusion she was unfaithful? If that man was worth having any manner of a close relationship with, then he wouldn't think he knew what happened until he heard what she had to say. Angie did not see how she wanted to get better treatment than she gave Devlin.
After not taking the good advice from a new friend, Angie’s car found its way to Devlin’s home. It was a little past 10 o’clock, not that late for one of her unannounced visits to her friend’s home. Yet, this time it did feel odd, like she did not belong there. Even with those two lifelong friends having an open door policy between them, Angie hesitated to just walk in. The lady who was indecisive about even doing what was normal, paying Devlin a visit when she needed to talk to someone, made the decision to ring the doorbell instead. As soon as Devlin’s childhood friend heard the chimes, an unexpected feeling, apprehensiveness, overcame her. Angie had no idea why she was anxious about Devlin answering the door.
Devlin and Becky were at home, enjoying a binge viewing of Burn Notice. They both were drawn to the quirkiness of the spy drama. The two lovebirds were settling into nesting, and a great Saturday night for them was just to cuddle on the couch and chat, while watching some light entertainment.
The doorbell sounded like the whistling of a dropped bomb onto their sanctuary. It was late, and they both thought: “What was wrong?”. Who could have been at the door was secondary. They both knew people never got unexpected visitors at this time of the night without a legit reason. The only 'good' reasons either of them could think of was to buy drugs or a bootie call. The couple were neither drug dealers or somebody’s hookup.
Devlin answered the door and was surprised to see Angie. The shock did not come from seeing his friend, she knew he was a night owl and would not mind her coming over. It was from her using the doorbell. Tonight was the first night Angie did not just walk into where he lived, in almost 20 years.
Angie was still a little hesitant about coming in, even after the couple invited her. The cautious lady felt she might have been causing a problem by intruding on her friends at this hour. Even with their reassurance, Angie felt out of place, and tried to leave without telling them the issue which brought her there. Neither of her hosts were going to have that. Devlin wanted to help his friend, and Becky was curious about what was on her friend’s mind.
Even with having much love in his heart for Angie, Devlin could not help but laugh when he heard the issue. Angie got up to leave, for she was highly offended, she thought Devlin was belittling her issue. This lady had emotional capital invested in her relationship with Duncan, and she had to abandon that project.
“Dev, this is not funny. I care for Duncan, and now what we had is over.”
“Sorry Angie, I am not laughing at that. I just find it ironic you want Duncan not to believe his eyes when you tell him what he thought he saw was not what really happened.”
“Why do you find that funny?”
“Come on, you have to see why. You come to me, and you will not believe that I am not a crossdresser when I told you I am not.”
“That is different, I know what I saw.”
“Just like Duncan knows what he saw when you came out of the bedroom with his friend.”
“That bullheaded man did not even listen to any explanation before he jump to the wrong conclusion.”
“Just like you did.”
“You were in a dress, and I know what I saw.”
Becky joined the conversation. “That does not mean that Dev is a crossdresser.”
Angie did not like how it felt like those two were ganging up on her. She thought that they were trying to use the old tactic of winning an argument by having more people agree with your point of view. She knew that was wrong, facts and reality are not a popularity contest, decided by which side got the most amount of votes. She took her seat back.
“Becky, you both can deny it, but Devlin is a crossdresser. It does not matter how many people say no, I saw him in a dress.”
Becky knew how Angie felt, and understood why. Her friend’s emotions had to be a little raw, Angie was walking away from a relationship which had potential in her eyes. “Angie, I just was trying to help you see this from Devlin’s point of view. You come over here, hurt that someone would not believe you, for Duncan thought he saw something that wasn't, but you are doing the same with your friend.”
Angie again got up to leave. On her way out of the door, she was going to air her grievances about this situation. The lady who was human, knew even with her actions coming from her best intentions, they were wrong. “I do see where Dev is coming from. It has to be embarrassing for him that I know his secret. I never thought any differently of him after I found out. The only reason I even told you was for I thought that he found someone he could share that part of him with. It was not only you liking your men to be pretty once in awhile. It was also, I knew how you two would mesh.
It just hurts that me knowing, and not backing down, has hampered our friendship. I wish I never said anything about the dressing. You two would still be together, and we would still have that closeness. I am sorry that I shared something I should not have, even if I thought I was doing the right thing, I now know I did not.”
Devlin knew that everything which his friend said was true. He also knew how he could clear up the static which was interfering with how close these three were. It would be simple, and he knew that he could trust Angie in knowing. If she treated Devlin like that information was nothing abnormal, all these years believing he was a crossdresser, she could do the same for his dad.
“Angie sit down, stay until I show you a picture. This will clear it all up, and you will see why it is a misunderstanding which leads you to believe I am a crossdresser.”
Even with not believing that a picture could make her change her mind about what she saw, Angie sat down again. Her friend was trying to mend the cracks in their relationship, and she wanted to do the same.
As Devlin was handing Angie his phone, he said “Angs, the only reason I am showing you this, is for I know you will not say anything to anyone. Not even my dad.”
Those words broke the tension in the room quicker than starring in a Michael Bay movie destroys an actor's’ credibility. This was the first time, instead of both sides trying to prove the other wrong, one was trying to clear up the misunderstanding, and the other was open to it.
Even with Angie as convinced as a woman going all in while holding a straight flush that she was right, she allowed for the fact she might up against a royal flush. This little doubt came from the back of her mind, she thought about how Duncan was convinced in what he thought he saw.
When Angie saw the picture on the phone, crow never tasted so good to anyone in their life. Angie was happy to be proven wrong. She was proud, for her friendship with Devlin and Becky was so strong, it withstood her not being blessed enough to just believe her friend, without seeing why he was right.
The picture was of Devlin, Becky, and Mr. Mulloy at a transgender club. Devlin's dad was in a tasteful A line dress. It brought a smile to her face, for the closeness between all three of them could be seen. She understood why Devlin waited until now to say anything. Protecting his father’s privacy was more important to him than being right.
“Your dad looks great in that dress! You are a great son, never forget that! I will never say anything again about this.
I should've believed you, and taken your word.”
Devlin was meeting his friend halfway on the bridge of reconciliation. He knew his friend was a good lady, and she showed it in her response. It took true strength for her to admit she was wrong in a matter of fact manner. No excuses or long drawn out reasons were given on why. She just owned up to it.
“Angie, you had to believe what you did, for it was the truth to you. I should have explained more, when I found out you thought I was crossdresser. It was my word against 20 years of a belief you had.
Let me get you somthing to drink and we can talk more about you and Duncan”
“Well, Dev and Becky. This time, I do need to get going. Clearing this up between us has helped with Duncan. Hopefully I will clear this misunderstanding with Duncan. If Duncan and I can do, we have to do brunch next Sunday. Even if not, I want us to do brunch. I don’t mind being a third wheel.”
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