The five co-workers continued to debate the situation when they heard Chuck come down the stairs. They quieted down, and attempted to act nonchalant. The guest picked up on everyone’s odd behavior in an instant.
“Is there something wrong?” he asked
“You left your phone on the table,” Ashley said, “and a new text message came in.”
“And, I’m guessing you all were wondering who it was from, right?”
“It did pique our curiosity,” Cecil admitted, “but we respected your privacy, and didn’t check it for you.”
“Thank you for your honesty, Cecil.”
“We didn’t want to lose your trust, Chuck,” Kevin said. “But, you can’t blame us for wondering who it might be from.”
“What do you mean?”
Ashley said, “These two seem to think the text might be from your old gal pal trying to stir up trouble while you’re out on your dinner date.”
Chuck sighed in exasperation. “Is that what you all think?”
Amanda attempted to defuse the situation. “Not at all, we thought it might have been a relative or friend who was curious to see how things are going.”
Chuck rubbed his eyes. “Look, I know the whole ‘being in contact with my ex’ is a sore spot in everyone’s craw, but I assure you all, she is just a friend now; nothing more, and nothing less.”
Hank said, “We’re sorry, Chuck. It’s just we don’t really know who this woman is. We know she exists, but we haven’t gotten a description of her personality or what she looks like, save for what you’ve told Ashley. Heck, we don’t even know what her name is.”
Chuck took a deep breath, and tried to calm himself down. He hadn’t told Ashley everything about his former love except for the fact she didn’t love him the same way he loved her. It was a painful relationship he had with her, and he came to the realization the only way he could further his recovery is to tell them more about the woman who had broken his heart.
“I suppose you’re right. I haven’t been up front with you all about her. I didn’t think I could feel comfortable about talk about someone in my past when I’m trying to start something new.”
“Sometimes to move on you have to acknowledge what has already happened,” Amanda said.
“I’m beginning to realize that, and I feel comfortable enough to tell you all who she is… or was.”
“So, who is she?” Kevin asked.
Chuck struggled to find the right words to use. “I’m afraid it’s someone you all know very well. She’s Amanda’s cousin, Rebecca Brimley.”
No one said a word, as all of the co-workers’ jaws dropped in shock.