My sophomore year in college, I was really good friends with this girl Danielle. We spent a lot of time together, usually we'd cut class on Fridays and drive out to the mountains and smoke pot and go hiking and then come back and get super drunk at her house. She was super outdoorsy, and since the area we lived in was really pretty, I didn't mind. She was also pretty wild, and down the line became my best friend and partner in crime. I'll tell y'all about that another time.
The new freshman class that year included this girl named Devin. I instantly hated her; she seemed syrupy fake sweet and she was also super hot. She looked like a really skinny, young Jennifer Connelly. She also dressed like a baby prostitute, but she was really thin so it didn't look bad. However, everyone else loved her, including Danielle.
"Devin's so cool," Danielle would say. "Did you know she dated a buyer at Nordstrom's when she was 16?"
"Sure," I'd reply, because I always thought Devin was full of shit.
"And did you know that her mom raised her all by herself? They were really poor, and they lived with her grandmother," Danielle would go on.
"Yeah, although didn't she tell a story about her dad being a state trooper one time?"
"Maybe," Danielle would reply. "Who cares? She was a Suicide Girl, isn't that awesome?"
The little Devin-infatuation among my group of friends went on for MONTHS. I seriously couldn't stand her, and after a while I started wondering whether or not I was the one with the problem. She was never outright mean to me, but she was super passive aggressive. But since no one else noticed it, I eventually tried to just ignore my initial dislike of her and get over it.
"It must be so nice not to care what other people think of you," Devin would say, in this diabetes-sweet voice. "I'm too sensitive for that."
And everyone would coo and aww because aw, how sad that such a nice, cute girl would feel like people didn't care about her!
It seriously got to be too much after a while, and I cut back from hanging out with those people because of how much I couldn't stand being around Devin. The worst thing was, there wasn't one particular thing that stood out in my mind about why I didn't like her. I had a boyfriend that year, and he and I just started hanging out a lot by ourselves. My friendship with Danielle was pretty much over at this point, and eventually the stabs of jealousy I felt when I saw her walking around with Devin started to fade.
Devin had a boyfriend, Chris. He was in my class, and we'd actually hooked up a few times the year before. He was really sweet though, and that was the one thing I wasn't actually resentful about. I knew that he really loved Devin. He'd always talk about how he wanted to marry her and protect her and give her everything, because apparently she'd been abused and mistreated growing up. He tried to act like a white knight around her, and was always giving her flowers and presents and taking her on trips. It was funny, because he was a hardcore metalhead with a thick NYC accent, and people assumed he'd be this jerk but he was actually the sweetest guy ever.
Devin's style when she came to college had been really preppy--lots of flare jeans and crop tops (this was the heyday of A&F) and strappy sandals. But after she and Chris had been together for a couple of months, she started dressing like a metalhead and getting tattoos and piercings. "I'm gonna start modeling on Suicide Girls again," she'd say. "Did I ever tell you I dated a professional photographer?"
The rest of the year, I kind of did my own thing. So I was really surprised in April when I got a call from Danielle.
"Hey Lauren!" She chirped, like it was nbd that she'd friend-dumped me for a bitch. "Are you thinking about living off campus next year?"
"Yeah," I told her. "I've been looking at apartments, and I found one that I like enough to sign."
"Don't!" She admonished me. "Come look at this house with me."
She seemed really apologetic about the past year and I felt bad, so I met her downtown and we looked at a house. It had 3 bedrooms; Danielle was planning to move in with her boyfriend Caleb, this girl Elene and her girlfriend Abby, and they needed one more person. For obvious reasons, I didn't ask about Devin.
It was a gorgeous row house. Restored 18th century with these plaster frescoes on the ceiling and gold leaf detail, plus a really nice, modern kitchen. Even though I was kind of mad at Danielle about the past year, I'd missed my friends a lot, and I was happy about the chance to patch things up. I signed the lease without thinking twice about it; the house was right in the middle of downtown, close to all the bars, and it finally looked like things were going my way again.
That summer, Danielle worked at Home Depot (she had to pay someone to take the urine test for her) and I worked at a spa. The first month was pretty quiet; our friends would come over and drink with us at night, and smoke, and usually play guitar. We were pretty stereotypical potheads. Elene and Abby kept to themselves for the most part. We didn't mind because they stayed in their room having really loud sex and it made us all feel kind of awkward. Once, Danielle's mom came over and brought us a bunch of cakes and other food that she'd made.
"Hullo Mrs. Danielle's Mom," Abby drawled in a low voice. She'd come out from the bedroom, smelling musky. There was a baseball cap pulled low over her short hair, and she was actually wearing cargo pants. "You're very pretty!"
"Why thank you!" Danielle's mom blushed. She turned and stage-whispered so Danielle would hear: "Danielle! That nice boy just told me how pretty I am!"
Abby was very butch.
Anyway, about a month into the lease, we came home and Elene and Abby were gone. Like, they'd just cleaned out all their shit (and stolen some of ours) and gotten the hell out of Dodge. We were mad, obviously, but we were also worried; the rent there wasn't cheap, and we blew most of our money on pot. I sat down with Caleb and Danielle and we had a 'family meeting' and decided that we had to find another roommate asap.
I don't even need to tell you who they picked. Devin showed up at the end of the week, bright-eyed and chipper as ever. She had a job working as a silversmith's apprentice, making jewelry, and she was just so happy to be there! I was mad about her being the roommate replacement, but I also knew that sophomore year had been pretty miserable for me. If anything, I just needed to suck it up and play nice so I wouldn't lose my friends again.
So I tried. I tried hard. When Devin had a bad day and was crying in the bathroom, I brought her some wine and we sat and talked. When she and Chris had a fight over the phone (he was back in NYC for the summer), I took her out for froyo. The results showed up pretty soon; Devin was stuck to my side like glue. She got really clingy about hanging out with me, and couldn't go more than a day without wanting to get out of the house and do something with just me. In private, she told me that Danielle annoyed her.
"She's so loud," Devin would complain. "And have you ever noticed that Caleb stares at me all the time?"
I had noticed, but obviously I wouldn't have said anything. It wouldn't have been news; I was pretty sure that most guys at our school wanted to fuck her.
After a few weeks, it felt like Devin and I had always been this close. I felt so bad for not liking her the year before, and I apologized more than once. Graciously, she always forgave me.
"I've just never been this close to anyone," she admitted, one night when we were drinking on the roof together. The whole house was quiet; everyone else had gone to bed. "Growing up was so hard, I mean, my dad was so mean to me."
"Wait," I said, trying to clear my head. "I thought it was just you and your mom? At your grandmas?"
"Oh," she said, looking down. "Yeah, that was later. After he went to jail."
"Oh," I replied, feeling bad for her. "That's tough."
"Yeah," she said nonchalantly. "I've never told anyone before. Hey, I have a weird feeling about Chris."
"Oh yeah?" I asked, wrinkling my brow. I couldn't imagine that they were having problems. They were like the happiest couple I knew, and he was always so good to her. "What's going on?"
She sighed. "He's just being a dick, and I think he's cheating on me. He spends all of his time with this one girl back home."
"That sucks," I said, genuinely feeling bad for her. It was depressing to think about someone as hot as Devin getting cheated on. "Have you talked about it?"
"He won't listen to me," she said flatly. "I think we're going to break up."
That was the general theme of the next two weeks of conversation between us. After a while, I felt really angry towards Chris. She involved me so much that I even messaged him on Facebook one night to see how things were going. He seemed really normal though, and said he was going to a party with his buddies. I wondered if that girl would be there, but I didn't say anything.
Devin started talking to this other guy we went to school with, Ernie. They would stay up and message each other on Facebook all night, and she said that he felt like a big brother. I actually felt bad for her because she said she'd never had guy friends before.
"It's just too hard for me to be friends with guys," she'd admit, shyly. "They always wind up thinking I want to date them."
When I got home from work later that week, there was this really hot brunette guy lying shirtless on our couch.
"Hey Ernie," I greeted him. "I didn't know you lived in town!"
"I don't!" He said with a big grin. "I'm here to visit!"
"Oh, cool," I said, rifling through the mail on the table. There was a half-smoked joint in the ashtray and I picked it up, offering it to Ernie. "Where are you staying?"
"Here," he said proudly, taking a big hit. I coughed, sending a giant cloud of smoke into the air.
"What?" I asked, narrowing my eyes. "Really?"
"Yeah," he said, grinning. "Devin invited me. She's such a babe," he confided, raking a hand through his hair. "I'm so fuckin' lucky!" He grinned at me conspiratorially.
"Uh, sure," I said. "She and Chris are dating, though. They've been together almost a year."
"No they're not," he laughed. "Didn't she tell you?"
The whole week, Devin and Ernie fucked like wild beasts. We heard them at all hours. It was like Abby and Elene, only worse. They fucked so hard that the plastic chipped off some of the ceiling frescoes.
That Saturday was Devin's birthday, and Ernie was taking her to one of the nice restaurants a few blocks away. They fucked, and then he sat downstairs with us and smoked while she got ready. I actually didn't mind having him around, he was much a better handyman that Caleb. In a week, he'd fixed the toilet, changed our showerheads to those nice rainforest ones, and gone grocery shopping for the whole house. When they were getting ready to leave for dinner, there was a knock at the door.
"Hi!" Chris said, holding a giant bouquet of roses, a teddy bear, and a bag from Bvlgari. "Is Devin here? I really want to surprise her."
As luck would have it, Devin and Ernie came down the front steps, holding hands at that exact moment. She had hickeys all over her neck and collarbone, and when she saw Chris, she turned white as a sheet. There was no pretense of things being okay; everyone immediately knew what was going on. For maximum schadenfreude, Danielle and Caleb were also getting home. They were standing behind Chris on the front steps, clearly surprised to see him.
Chris looked at Devin, and I thought he was going to slap her. Instead, he stepped back, grabbed Ernie, and dragged him into the street. Ernie was tall but no match for Chris; Chris did MMA and Crossfit, and made pretty short work of him. I thought Devin would be upset and try to pull them away from each other, but she didn't. Instead she just stood there, watching intently. Eventually she started crying and ran inside. Since I was still the devoted friend, I chased after her. The house stayed quiet for hours and by the time she'd calmed down, it was pretty late.
From downstairs, we heard the door opening. A couple of male voices laughed and talked, and we went downstairs and saw Ernie and Chris, laughing like bros and slapping each other on the back. Ernie had two black eyes and a split lip, but they were laughing jovially and having a great time.
"Lauren!" They exclaimed, clearly intoxicated. "How are you?" Chris rolled a blunt and handed it to me. I looked at them; I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be mad or not. Either way, something wasn't really adding up.
"Devin thinks you're cheating on her," I told Chris, flatly. "She's been talking about it for weeks."
Ernie laughed. "And she told me that you dumped her two months ago."
Chris snorted. "Bitch."
It came out that obviously, Chris hadn't cheated on Devin (or dumped her before summer break started.) The two of them had gone out to a bar and worked out the whole story. They both seemed fine, but Ernie started packing up his things. "I'd planned to leave next week," he told me. "But Devin told me that she knew she'd be alone on her birthday, so I couldn't leave her alone for that."
There were light footsteps on the stairs. Moments later, Devin appeared, looking artfully disheveled. She'd fixed her makeup but kept some traces of it under her eyes, so we could tell that she'd been crying. She looked tearfully from Ernie to Chris. Just when I thought she was about to apologize, she started screaming in their faces. She said that she'd been manipulated, she accused Ernie of rape. She told Chris that he'd cheated on her so she had every right to do what she did. They both looked baffled; it was like they had no idea that she could be angry like that.
Danielle and Caleb came home in the middle of this, eyeing Devin with disdain. I figured that they must have heard what happened. When none of us stepped forward to comfort Devin, she turned on the waterworks again and ran outside.
"Everyone is conspiring to ruin my life!!!!!" She screamed, throwing herself down in the street.
"Whatever," said Danielle. "Let's go smoke."
Devin moved out a few days later, and spent the rest of the summer smearing us on Facebook. Nobody in my group of friends bought her bullshit anymore, but there was a whole new class of kids on campus in the fall, and pretty soon she was reigning again in a different clique.