Mrs. E. appeared out of the dark to meet us. A strikingly beautiful woman, you could never say she was forty years old (that’s what Mrs. Caroline whispered to me just before the greetings). Guys would call her irresistible. At least it was clear from Ben’s look. I squeezed his sleeve rather rudely and raised my eyebrows, meaning You are my boyfriend or you lose a million.
I didn’t like Mrs. E. Not because she was more beautiful or rich than I was (but we will see what happens when I am forty years old). The problem with her was this: she was using her beauty and position to win over everyone and everything. It was easy for me to feel. I was a girl and I had at least some sense left in me. I clung rather possessively to Ben, sorry for him for the hundredth time that day and thought: You will lose that deal, bitch. You will.
I could not understand the meaning of Mrs. E.’s look at me. It was probably a look of interest, but a look of a snake was equally possible. I somehow knew a time will come and we will have to fight over something. No, not Ben. I doubt if she saw me as Ben’s girlfriend. I mean, she believed I was Ben’s girlfriend, but it wasn’t what I really meant to her. She was not going to play a game where we had equal chances. There was to be a game where she would be higher by all means, and breaking the rules would be wrong. Even for such an unreasonable girl like Emily J.
I don’t remember how Mrs. Caroline introduced us. I only know that after pronouncing my name Ben kissed my cheek and I didn’t kill him not because we had agreed on it, but just because I hardly noticed it. I was thinking of Mrs. E.’s opinion of me, and what the fight or game between us was just around the corner, and I was feeling it just like an old witch feels with her nostrils.
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