Playing the Player by Baylee Boulineau

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I’m sitting at the table where the employees take breaks and smoke cigarettes. After closing, it’s where we drink and unwind. I just got off from my fourth twelve hour shift in a row and I’m tired. I’m debating whether I should drink again tonight or not. I’ve gotten drunk after my shifts for the last three nights. I’m thinking I should cut back but I can’t go home yet and I feel awkward just sitting here while everyone around me is sloshed.

I want to leave, but not before I see who Wes ends up taking home. Earlier today, he thought I wasn’t around and I heard him talking Hailey. She’s the girl he dissed me for. He jokingly professed he’d always love her even if she was a crazy bitch. They had only dated two weeks before he called it quits. Now he’s trying to weasel our other coworker, Kate, into buying him another shot. She falls for it. Two Rumple Minze are poured and delivered. He grabs her hand and laces his fingers through hers. She giggles. Fucking slut. I pretend to look at something on my phone. Maybe I wouldn’t care so much if he hadn’t told me last night that I had his undivided attention.

The group does another round of shots and I watch while biting at the inside of my lip. Are you good, one of my coworkers asks. I tell her I’m fine and decline her offer for a drink. Everyone is clamoring and having a good time and I’m soberly standing out against the crowd. Maybe I should just leave. Why do I care who Wes goes home with? I hate him. I never say I hate anyone, but I hate him. Despite this little fact, I’ve slept in his bed for the last three nights. Yes, even after he left me for Hailey. But no one knows either of those things. At least he and I still share something even if it’s only our secrets.

I had told myself I wouldn’t get wrapped up in him again. I knew he was a player four months ago when we first drunkenly hooked up. For whatever reason, I still wanted him then. And now. I thought I had him to myself for a minute. He’s so good at telling sweet lies that even he believes them in the moment. What a talent he has. Wes is well below my standards. He’s a scrub, a moocher, a classless philanderer. Yet, I thought his interest in me surpassed that of mine in him. He made me believe that I had captivated him. In my naivety, I mistook his lust for love. I thought his enthrallment was dedication. I was wrong.

When he decided to be done with me with not even so much as an unconvincing excuse, I had to settle up the score. No one makes me out to be the fool. I had been played but I was going to get revenge. So I acted like everything was fine. Easy and breezy. I joked and smiled and teased him as if I hadn’t been hurt. Eventually he came back around. I can’t stop thinking about you, he’d say. I miss you, your energy, your passion, he’d tell me. I would smile and blush, thinking how great it would feel to turn him down after toying with his emotions for the last few weeks. I just knew I’d break his heart this time.

I wanted to mess with his head like he’d done to me. I’d flirt with our other male workers and talk about the other men I was dating while he pretended not to listen in. I knew I had gotten to him. His jaw would clench and our playful banter turned to petty stabs. Watch yourself, I have stuff I can say too, he’d warn. I’d stand on my tippy toes, lean into his ear while holding his forearm, and whisper, oh I know you do, babe, before kissing his cheek. Wes would squint down at me and grit his teeth before walking away. I’m good at head games when I want to be.

But here I sit, feeling bamboozled again. I tried playing the player and I lost. Feeling too out of place, I order a shot of whiskey and sip on it. When I look over again, I see Wes is looking at me. He blows a kiss. Fuck you, I mouth. He smiles at me and I know he thinks I’m joking. I smile back. A few minutes pass. Wes and Kate say their goodbyes to everyone. Normally I like Kate, but not tonight. Fucking slut. Wes comes over to the table to get his jacket. Have a good night, sweetheart, he says with a wink. Thanks babe, hope you have fun, I smirk.

I wait about ten minutes after their departure before I start to leave. I’ve never let a boy get to me like this before. I feel nauseous and angry at myself for getting invested. How did I allow myself to be duped again? Why do I feel this way about him? I hate him and I hate myself for getting played not once, but twice. I’m not done though. I’m determined to make him feel used and set aside like he did to me. I’m not done playing the player.

 

Baylee Boulineau is in her senior year at Kennesaw State University where she is in the process of earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a minor in professional writing. She will continue her education to achieve her master’s degree in pursuit of becoming a k-12 school counselor on military bases overseas. Throughout her undergraduate experience, Baylee has discovered her passion for writing. She plans to continue and grow in her writing in hopes that one day she will transition into a full-time writer.

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