Every Saturday afternoon for the last fifteen years, they have been meeting for lunch once a month. That’s a lot of lunches, but for best friends that met in college and hit it off instantaneously, it was not enough. Today’s lunch on October 1, 2022, would be different because Jane had a dark secret to share with her best friend Sara. This secret had the potential to end badly for Sara and destroy their friendship forever.
“Hey, Girly, Girly,” said Jane, rushing over to Sara the moment Sara stepped off the 96th street crosstown bus on that sunny afternoon.
“Hey, back to you,” Sara squealed, sprinting towards Jane as she held her arms out for a bear hug.
` Once the two women reached each other, they hugged tightly as if they hadn’t seen or spoken to each other in years. In reality, they spoke the night before to set up their monthly lunch date. After they embraced, Sara stood back and examined Jane’s 5’8-inch shapely figure.
“You are looking sexier than ever, do tell me what’s going on?” she teased, tilting her head slightly.
“Oh,” Jane said, waving her off. “I used a darker brown coloring to get rid of the gray. You like?” she asked, as she used her hand to bounce her hair.
“And you lost a few pounds too, not that you needed to. If I didn’t know any better, I would say you’re in love,” Sara said playfully.
“I was dead on,” said Sara. “Don’t you know you can’t hide anything from me?"
Jane stayed quiet because she loved her best friend and knew this lunch outing was going to be life-changing. It would probably start off with their usual conversations about Sara’s husband, children, Jane’s ex-husband Wilson, and her career. Then they’ll talk about the latest happenings around the city, getting older and just about life itself. Jane had to reveal something to Sara that would probably break her heart into tiny little pieces. Jane dreaded having to do this to her best friend, but she felt she had no choice.
“I see that gleam in your eyes, plus I’ve known you forever,” said Sara.
Jane squirmed and then stood silent.
“What’s wrong?" said the shorter, pudgy woman. “Being in love should be something you celebrate; you act like you’re ashamed.”
“Let’s talk about that later. I don’t know about you, but I am famished. Last night, you said you had a surprise lunch prepared for me. I am dying to find out what delicious meal you conjured up,” said Jane, rubbing her hands together.
“Oh, anxious, Jane,” said Sara, holding a picnic basket in her hand. “You will find out once we reach our picnic spot.”
The two women walked toward the park, and once inside, they walked for almost 20 minutes before they reached their destination.
“You sure picked a secluded spot,” Jane huffed. She had to catch her breath because of all the walking. “There’s not a soul near us. I spotted some nicer areas at the front of the park. You sure you want to eat here?”
` “Oh, you worry too much. I don’t want to be around any other people. I want my best friend all to myself. Is there anything wrong with that?” said Sara, pulling out a table-cloth from her bag to cover the park’s table.
“I guess you’re right. It is peaceful without people, their children, and dogs surrounding us. Besides, this is such a nice day,” said Jane as she sat down on the bench attached to the table.
Sara opened up the picnic basket and started placing all the food items on the table which included, potato salad, tossed salad, fried chicken, several bottles of water, and grape juice.
“Oh, My God!” exclaimed Jane as she looked at the spread that Sara displayed. “All of my favorites.”
“You ain’t seen nothing yet. I have an even bigger surprise for you later," said Sara.
“Let me guess,” said Jane. “Chocolate cake?”
“No,” she said, shaking her head. “I am not going to give it to you until after we finished eating.”
“I am intrigued. It must be Chocolate cake. You know that’s my favorite, and you already made my favorite foods to eat.”
“You’ll have to wait and see,” teased Sara. “Anxious Jane. You are always so anxious.”
The two women sat at the picnic table and started to eat.
“This chicken is delicious,” exclaimed Jane, biting into a fried chicken breast. “You’ve always been the best cook.”
“Have I?” Sara asked with uncertainty.
“Yeah, I can’t even fry an egg.”
“Oh, stop. You’re a career woman. Career women don’t cook. Only us lowly housewives do,” she chuckled uncomfortably.
“Why do you always do that?”
“Put yourself down and then compare us two.”
“Know I don’t,” she stated vehemently.
“Look, after college, we made our choices. I wanted to be a lawyer, and you wanted to get married.”
“You’re right about that, but I also wanted to be an actress too. I could never satisfy the casting directors because I was never the type they were looking for. In other words, I was too short, too fat, too ugly, but I was damned good.”
“You sure were. I remember your performances in the plays you acted in. You always stole the show. That’s what I always admired about you. You were the outgoing one. I was the shy one. You were the one that pull me out of my shell the first day we met in college.”
“I got my wish by marrying, but you became a successful lawyer, and you married too.”
“True, but look how that ended up.”
You’re right as always,” said Sara. “I should be grateful. I married the man of my dreams, right?”
“You certainly did.”
“Speaking of your ex-husband Wilson, what was the reason you divorced him?”
“We spoke about this already. We just outgrew each other and decided to go our separate ways.”
“So, who’s the new guy you didn’t want to talk about earlier?”
“You’re right, I am involved with someone,” she said cautiously.
“That’s wonderful, who is he?”
“His name is Frank,” she blurted out.
“What! You mean he has the same name as my husband?”
“Yes. He has the same name as your husband.”
Jane didn’t know how to tell Sara about Frank’s infidelity. That was the dark secret she had to tell her best friend. Jane knew that Frank was having an affair. She knew because she was the one, he was sleeping with. Sara was right about her; she was in love. She was in love with Frank. Jane didn’t know how she was going to reveal this information, but she felt the opportunity presented itself naturally. The present conversation she was having with Sara was the best way to get the truth out.
“They share the same name. What a coincidence,” said Sara. “Please tell me more about him,” she begged. “Is he anything like my Frank?”
Jane took a deep breath. Then she looked away before she spoke.
“In what ways?” Sara inquired.
Jane's throat went dry. Then she cleared it.
“In every way,” she blurted out.
Sara pondered for a minute. Then her breathing started to increase. Her heart started pounding. She put her hand over the left side of her chest where her heart stood as if she were going to suffer a heart attack.
“No!” Sara screamed at the top of her lungs. “This cannot be happening,” she wailed. “This can’t be true.”
“I am so sorry, Sara,” Jane cried. Jane got up and walked over and tried to console her.
“Don’t touch me, you, whore! You were supposed to be my best friend, but you’re just a dirty whore!”
Jane stood back and decided to let Sara cry it out. Jane didn’t know what to do. She didn’t know how to comfort her best friend in what must have been a nightmare for her. Jane felt guilty, and she felt responsible for the pain she was causing her best friend.
“Why? Jane,” she sobbed. “Why did you have to sleep with my husband? Look at you, you’re beautiful, and could’ve had any man you wanted.”
“It was this attraction that we both couldn’t resist. I swear to you, I didn’t mean for this to happen and neither did Frank,” Jane cried.
“How long?” Sara asked stoically, as she peered straight ahead. “How long has it been?”
“For about a year.”
“Wow! Really,” she cried aloud. “You have been sleeping with my husband a whole year, and yet you kept pretending to be my friend. You kept meeting for our monthly lunch outings, acting as if nothing happened.”
“I am so sorry,” Jane cried. “I swear I never meant to hurt you.”
“Yeah, right,” said Sara. “That’s the same thing you told Wilson after you cheated on him.”
Jane’s mouth dropped completely open.
“What, are you saying? I didn’t cheat on Wilson.”
“Well, that’s not what he told me.”
“You spoke to Wilson about our marriage?” And you believe him. He’s a liar.”
“Yes, I did,” she said now sobering up. “He had some interesting things to tell me about you.”
“Sara, I know you’re upset, but whatever Wilson told you, please don’t believe him.”
“Why should I believe you, at least he didn’t screw my husband.”
“Because Wilson is a liar and a cheater, that’s the reason we broke up.”
“I am sorry, Jane. You’re the one lying because you told me over and over again that your breakup with Wilson was amicable. Which lie do you want me to believe?”
“I know I lied. I know I cheated, and I know I hurt you more than I could ever hurt anyone. I know you will never have anything to do with me. I love Frank, and he loves me. We are going to build a life together.”
“Ha! Ha!” Sara laughed. “That’s what they all said.”
“They? What are you talking about?”
“You think you’re the only one my husband has cheated with?”
“I know I am because he loves me.”
“For a lawyer, you’re kind of dumb. He’s been with so many women, and I think I lost count at number 20. I knew about your affair with my husband the moment it started.”
“You conniving little troll.”
“You got some nerve!”
“Well, it doesn’t matter,” said Jane, walking away from Sara. “Frank and I are going to be together whether you like it or not.”
“Well, I don’t like it, but promised you that after we finished eating lunch, I had a surprise for you.”
Sara reached into the picnic basket and pulled out a 45 revolver.
Jane continued to walk away without looking back. Sara pointed the loaded gun in Jane’s direction and fired. The bullet hit Jane in the back of her head. Her body hit the ground and she died instantly. Sara walked over to her body, making sure she didn’t have a pulse.
“Dead as a door nail,” Sara spoke softly to herself.
She went back over to the picnic area, put the gun away, and packed up her things. Then she pulled out her cell phone and dialed.
“Mission accomplished, Wilson,” she spoke into the cell phone to Jane’s ex-husband.
“Did you hold up your end of the bargain?” she asked.
“Yes, he’s dead,” he assured her.
“That’s great,” she said gleefully. “I am finally free! I can’t wait to see you again. Everything went as planned. The only thing I have to figure out is how am I going to tell my children that their father is dead!”