Some time passed. Nathan was reading the third chapter when he heard steps approaching. Nathan didn’t look up, because he thought whoever was nearby was just passing by. He only looked up when he heard a voice.
“I was wondering where you might be.”
The voice was Kayla’s. Nathan looked up. She waved her hand at him.
“Hi,” Kayla said.
“Ashton just told me everything. How do you feel?”
Kayla sat down next to Nathan. She mimicked his position, setting her legs together with her knees pointing up. Nathan didn’t look at her.
“I want to hear from you, how it all went.”
Nathan bit his lip. He really didn’t want to talk about it again. It hurt a lot. Kayla might be able to soothe him, though. Nathan spoke.
“Amanda thinks I cheated on her. The problem is, I probably did.”
Kayla’s expression told Nathan that she was aware how bad the situation was. She looked around.
“Months ago, I met this girl I know only as Erika. We were shopping for Christmas gifts, and she asked me for help in selecting a digital camera. I helped her as best as I could. I thought I wouldn’t see Erika again, until I found out that she had transferred to Cornell.
“We hit it off from the start. I found Erika very amicable, kind of bubbly. We didn’t see each other much, even though we’re in the same year. Erika was drawn to me because she didn’t know anyone else. I thought she saw me as a mentor of sorts. Not until recently did Erika confess that she wants me.”
“I’ve never heard of this Erika. Have you told any of our friends about her?”
“No. As I’m telling you, I didn’t see her too often. I wanted to introduce her to you and our friends, but the opportunity never came.”
“Where did you take Amanda this Friday?”
“To Rochester.”
Kayla’s eyebrows furrowed.
“And I understand Erika was there. How did she know where you were?”
“She said that she heard me telling Ashton where I would be.”
Kayla pondered over that.
“Erika must be quite into you, then. I would have done the same in her place.”
A faint smile crossed Nathan’s lips.
“Yeah, I know.”
Kayla looked at him. She realized that he was thinking of the night of the striptease.
“For God’s sake, Nathan. Screw your head back on, all right?” she replied with a laugh. Nathan only chuckled.
“Is there any way I can help you?”
“I don’t know, Kayla. I’m trying hard to think of a way to convince Amanda that I didn’t dump her.”
“I know how loyal you are, Nathan. When you love a woman, you don’t just break up with her rudely. Amanda should know that.”
“You weren’t there. It looked very bad from her point of view. You would have reacted like her.”
“I know you better.”
“The pain and shock would have blinded you, or anyone else.”
Kayla exhaled, thinking that he was probably right. After all, she hadn’t reacted well when she found out that Nathan loved Amanda.
“If there’s any way I can help you, just tell me.”
Kayla put a hand on Nathan’s shoulder, trying to comfort him. He glanced at her.



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