I narrowed my eyes as I saw Victoria approaching me. My whole body instantaneously filled with dread, and my eyes subtly darted the room looking for an escape route. Luckily, the coffee shop was full of people.
I had stopped in at the coffee shop just to relax and read. Looked like that plan was out the window, now.
Victoria stood awkwardly at the chair across the table from the one I was sitting in. “What.” I was wary of whatever she was about to confront and start spewing lies about.
“I... I was wondering... I mean, is it okay if I sit down?” she stammered. Her face flushed, showing her very evidence discomfort.
I raised an eyebrow at her. I wanted to tell her to just go away and never even look at me again, but my interest was piqued. “Why?”
It came out in a rush. “I have a lot I want to tell you, and I feel really not okay by everything that’s happened, and I don’t know what happened with you and Luke, but I think I’ll believe whatever you tell me, and I just want to say I’m sorry.”
I almost laughed because of how absurd all of that sounded coming out of her mouth after everything she had previously said to me. Almost. But, the look on her face seemed sincere. Her eyes were wide open, her eyebrows raised, her voice a frantic whisper. “You can sit, I guess.”
She quickly sat down. She placed her hands on the table in front of her, her fingers linked, her thumbs picking at the other’s nails. She stared at her fingers, avoiding my questioning gaze. “I’m sorry, Aleah.” Her hands unclasped just long enough for her to wipe away a stray tear that trickled down her cheek. Before I could respond (not that I was jumping the gun to), Victoria continued. “I never should have believed Luke. He’s a liar and manipulative.”
I noticed that her once evident engagement ring was gone. “What makes you think that? How do I know you aren’t just trying to get something against me to use in court for his sake? Because to me, it seems the saying ‘bird of a feather flock together’ may be kinda accurate in this case.”
She nodded her head slowly and finally made eye contact. “I deserve that. And you don’t have any reason to believe me. But just let me tell you what happened, please?” Her eyes were pleading.
I shrugged my shoulders. “Okay.”
Victoria told me what had happened a few days earlier, and what Luke had said. She told me about all of their conversation about me. She told me about their relationship from the beginning until now, including about her miscarriage. She told me she had been jealous of me, and knew in her gut that something had happened between Luke and me, but she wanted so badly to believe him that he had no interest in me, that she ignored that gut feeling. She told me about the rumors that had circulated campus, and how she’d heard bits and pieces of them, but didn’t know how to react. She told me she didn’t know why his parents finally bailed him out, but she had nothing to do with that and she hadn’t spoken to him since the night back in December until he approached her the other day. She apologized multiple times.
I was dumbfounded, that Luke had twisted everything like that. I assumed that was the route he and his defense attorney were going to take. “So why the change of heart about Luke? How do you know he was lying to you?”
She sighed, the betrayal whooshing out of her along with the breath. “Because when he told me his version of events, he said that he had just gotten the Christmas present I left and was exiting my apartment when you were out there waiting for him. When I got back to the apartment from break, the present was still where I had left it. He had never gone into my apartment.” She looked past me, and presumably talking to herself, she said, “I don’t know why he would’ve lied about such a stupid detail that I would obviously know.”
“I can’t really talk to you about what happened that night, since there’s going to be a trial.” She nodded her head, understanding. “But, what I will tell you is that his story is just that, a story. His version isn’t accurate of what happened. However, would you be willing to talk to my lawyer? To tell him what Luke told you and why you know he lied?”
She nodded her head. “I will. I feel partially responsible for whatever happened. He had my key to get into the building.”
“You didn’t know what he was planning.”
She started fidgeting. “I didn’t know exactly. But, there’s something else I should tell you...”