A/N: Lyrics from "I'm Coolin', No Fooln'" by Lesley Gore

My fate was to obey
The moment that you made the date
But I’m coolin’, yes, I‘m coolin’
No foolin’, I’m coolin’ for you

“Who the fuck does he think he is? Fuck, fuck, fuck!” I pace up and down Susan’s narrow bedroom, swearing intermittently.

Each time I shout, Susan looks up from her bed with a mild combination of concern and amusement, before turning to the next page of Witch Weekly. And then Spella Weekly. And then Charmer’s Digest. Okay, yes, I’ve been doing this for a while.

“He’s an aresehole,” I swear under my breath, as if changing my tone will change my circumstances.

“A total arsehole,” Susan repeats, humoring me.

I turn indignantly on her, but the moment I see her lying there with her hair and her eyes and her face, I know I can’t even pretend to be angry at her. I drop onto the other side of the bed, shoving the pillows behind my throbbing head.

“What is wrong with me?” I whine, the rage drained from my voice. “I can’t be mad at you. I can’t even be mad at him!”

“This isn’t mad?” Susan asks, raising an eyebrow.

“Well, yeah…” I stagger, “But not at him. I mean, okay yeah, I’m furious. But I still care about him?”

Susan doesn’t respond – not a word, not a move. I sigh and continue, “Maybe I’m mad at me. I must’ve been so stupid not to see it.”

Susan shrugs. “You were happy.”

“Exactly!” I cry, sitting up. “I was stupid!”

Susan reaches across the bed and takes my hand. “You’re the most contradictory person I’ve ever known,” she whispers in that mystical tone that makes anything sound like a compliment.

“Me? You’re Miss Commitment-Doesn’t-Mean-Exclusivity.”

Susan simply smiles.

“Maybe he is like you - polyamorous,” I suggest desperately. “He didn’t want to acknowledge it, but maybe that’s why – ”

Susan shakes her head sadly. “You were closer with the aresehole bit. The no honesty thing is a bit of a giveaway there.”

I groan, thumping the back of my head against the backboard. “How do you do it?” I demand. “I mean, I can hardly handle one relationship. How on earth can you cope with more? All that heartbreak – ”

“Isn’t the end of the world,” Susan interjects. “Really. I know it seems like your world is ending, because you let Ernie be your world…”

Oh goodness, is that what I did? It is, isn’t it?

“I don’t know how to be me without him,” I confess in whispered shame, taking in the truth of the words as I say them.

Susan slides forward and wraps her arms around my waist, embracing me in a reassuring silence.”Don’t you worry,” she breathes. “You’ll learn.”

In my sadness I can hardly believe her words, but in her arms everything becomes a little easier. She seems to understand this, as she does not let go as we slowly recline together until we are lying on the bed side by side.

In the moments before my mind drifts into sleeping oblivion, I realize that this is the first time in years that I will not be spending the night in Ernie’s bed. My last coherent thought is that might not be such a bad thing after all.

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