Griffin lived with a friend from university. His name was Jesse Campbell and he was a cool guy. He’d been Jesse’s roommate in residence during first year. Fortunately, it had worked out. Jesse had heard horror stories from friends who had been saddled with someone terrible as a roommate. His friend Ryan, who’d lived across the hall in first year, had had a roommate who’d had sex with a stranger on Ryan’s bare mattress. When Ryan confronted him about it, he claimed that it was actually better that he’d taken the sheets off because now Ryan didn’t have to wash his sheets. When Ryan had pointed out that it was much easier to wash sheets than it was to wash a mattress, his roommate’s arguments had rather fallen apart.
But Griffin and Jesse had gotten along really well from the beginning. Neither of them were excessively messy or clean. They were interested in partying the same amount. They took the same biology class and shared a text book. They liked the same kind of music and they both loved sports. After first year, it just made good sense for them to continue living together. They moved out into a townhouse in second year with Ryan and another friend. By the time they had all graduated, Jesse and Griffin were down to a two-bedroom condo in the middle of Roehampton that they had plans to share for the foreseeable future. It was the perfect setup. There was only one issue.
Jesse had had the same girlfriend for six years. They’d met at a bar at the end of second year. Her name was Emma Richardson. She was small, blonde, and kind. She had big, blue eyes that Dylan said made her look like a cartoon doe. Emma was at the condo often. She hung out with Jesse and Griffin all the time. Sometimes she cooked them dinner. She laughed at all of Griffin’s jokes and kept asking to set him up with one of her friends. Emma was wonderful and Griffin was fairly certain that he was in love with her. In fact, he was pretty sure he’d been in love with her since Jesse had begun dating her six years ago.
Griffin was, needless to say, conflicted. Obviously he couldn’t do anything about his feelings. He would never do that to Jesse. Besides, he had no way of knowing if it would be reciprocated by Emma. She was very nice to him, but she was nice to most people. Besides, they were friends now so of course she would be nice to him. Griffin liked to spend time with her, for a lot of reasons, so he always invited her out; to concerts, ball games, to dinner. Sometimes Jesse came as well, sometimes he didn’t. For instance, Griffin won four tickets to a Roehampton Panthers basketball game at work for being the top salesman of the month and invited Emma to come with him since they were her favourite basketball team. He also invited Jesse, but he had to work a night shift. With his spare two tickets, Griffin brought his friends Dylan and Godfrey. This turned out to be something of a mistake because the pair of them kept slyly teasing him about his love for Emma throughout the night. At one point, Dylan began humming the opening to Rick Springfield’s “Jesse’s Girl”.
“You’re playing a real long-game here and I can’t tell if it’s impressive or stupid,” Godfrey commented to Griffin at one point when Emma had gone to buy them another round of incredibly overpriced beers.
“Stupid,” Dylan cut in immediately. “It’s definitely stupid.”
“Listen, just because the closest you’ve ever come to finding true love is Luke, it doesn’t mean that you can pick on others,” Griffin sniped back at Dylan, who rolled his eyes.
“I don’t really think this counts,” he told Griffin. He didn’t say anything more, just rolled his eyes pointedly when Emma returned with the tray of beers.
After the game, Emma suggested that they all go out for a couple of drinks. As she put it, she wasn’t ready to call it a night just yet, plus some of her friends were out at a bar nearby. Griffin, eager to keep spending time with her, agreed immediately. Godfrey and Dylan followed suit with mumbled replies of concession, clearly aware that Griffin would force them to come even if they didn’t want to. The four of them made their way to a pub five blocks over. It was the dead of winter and blisteringly cold, a fact which Dylan was very vocal about. By the time they’d made it to the pub, even Godfrey, a usually patient man, was threatening to push Dylan into one of the snowbanks on the side of the road.
As it turned out, the friends of Emma’s that they were meeting were all excitable young women. Griffin had met a few of them before over the years. They were all dressed up and drinking heavily. They were also incredibly pleased to see them. Griffin assumed that was the alcohol talking because Dylan wasn’t that interesting as a human being. Godfrey, on the other hand, was astoundingly good-looking. It was a near constant plight of Griffin and his other less attractive friends that they should have to spend so much time standing next to someone so handsome. Godfrey was the kind of handsome that actually made other people look noticeably bad-looking by simple comparison. Normally Griffin didn’t mind, because he’d already found the love of his life, but several of his other friends had complained about trying to pick up women in Godfrey’s presence.
It soon came to light that Emma’s friends were having a girls’ night. As the night progressed, that seemed to become synonymous with bagging a man. As a man, Griffin became something of a hot commodity. He attempted to dodge quite a few women before Emma stepped in. At first, Griffin was relieved, and then he realized that Emma actually meant to help him find a suitable woman amongst the throng of her friends. And Emma had come prepared. She already had several options for Griffin picked out. Griffin wondered when she’d had the time to do that. It seemed like she’d been planning it for a while, which didn’t make him feel particularly great.
“This isn’t what I wanted,” Griffin complained to Godfrey and Dylan in line at the bar.
“Two different women named Jess are fighting over me,” Dylan began to reply. “This is all I’ve ever wanted.”
When they finally left the pub, Dylan was walking with his arm around one of the Jesses, presumably the winner of his affections, and Griffin was half-heartedly trying to discourage Emma’s friend Kelsey from putting her hand in one of his back pockets, all the while keeping a forlorn eye on Emma, who was talking to Jesse on the phone. She was drunk and giggly and grinning from ear to ear, evidently pleased to be speaking to Jesse. Godfrey came up on the side where Kelsey wasn’t and threw his arm around Griffin’s shoulder. He didn’t say anything for a really long time and Griffin was even beginning to enjoy the comfort and solidarity.
And then Godfrey began singing the chorus to “Jesse’s Girl” and Griffin felt significantly less great about it.