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Lately I’ve been thinking about a couple of people in my former life that really screwed me over. They have effectively haunted me for months now, and I feel like I need to tell their story. It’s like this memory is pushing at me more than all the others, and that’s saying something. I’ve mentioned these two people quite a few times before, but I’ve never had the strength to come clean and relive the memories of the entire situation. I guess I’m ashamed because they won. I think to continue on this process, this is the next step.

I’m going to call these two people Laura and Rey. Laura decided that she didn’t like me and brought my career to an end. Rey was the younger brother of my ex-fiancee that put a stick of dynamite between the two of us. This is the story of how my relationship and career ended.

Rey was an idiot, but he was also one of my good friends. He was older than I was, but he called me his older sister because I acted like one. I helped him with his school, I made him a huge candy covered birthday cake, and I thought of him like family. I was friends with Rey before I had even met Luis, back when Rey was still in high school. Rey started working in my department, and I kept him out of so much trouble because I felt a loyalty to him. He had an infectious grin and a laugh that always made me smile, no matter how horrible a day I was having. He would tell me things he didn’t tell anyone else, and I would give him advice without judging him. I trusted him and I never lied to him, and I thought our friendship was solid.

Laura was a transfer from another city. No one really liked her at first, and I felt bad so I talked to her and showed her the way we did things at our store. She attended the same university I did and sometimes I would run into her when she was picking up her roommate. I didn’t let anyone trash talk her when I was around, I just wanted the office to get along and not have any more drama. Well, I know now that it was all wishful thinking. Laura was a slut, and she started to sleep her way through the store. Not only that, but she was a two-faced bitch who would smile and be nice to your face, then stab you in the back before you were even out of earshot. She had this obsession with being the center or attention. I have no idea why the hell she hated me so much. I was very good at my job, always cordial to her… I legitimately gave her no reason at all to do what she did to me. I guess you don’t have to give people like that a reason.

Things were festering for a long time. I knew that Rey was not an ally anymore because he was withdrawn and cold and constantly badmouthing his brother. But he was Luis’s little brother. What was I supposed to do? I didn’t know why he was acting weird, but I just wrote it off to teenage angst. I still can’t figure out what it is that I did. I always, always did right by him. I know I’ve already said I thought of him as family, but that’s the truth. I’d never turn on my family unless it was for their own good, and he’d never done anything to me… there was no reason for any of this to have happened.

Everything boiled over one day when Rey was a no-call no show to work after he’d requested a day off (on a holiday weekend) and his request had been denied. On the outside, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. But on the inside, it was a huge deal. See, I advanced my career the right way: working my ass off, lots of overtime, extra projects, and loyalty. I protected my managers and I protected the people that I legitimately cared about. When I found out that a department intentionally threw a survey and my store manager was getting audited, I immediately told my department manager and she saved both their asses. Their careers could have been ruined, it was an HR clusterfuck of epic proportions. This established my credibility within management and I never once told a single lie to any manager. I was loyal, I was trusted, and my reputation was spotless.

So what was the problem? The problem was that I knew what had happened. Rey had taken that day “off” to go paint-balling with another one of his brothers and another friend. He’d requested the time off of work but made his request too late, but he didn’t care and blew off work to go anyway. 5 minutes after they got on the field, Rey hit his mouth on his metal paintball gun and he split one of his front teeth in half. Did I mention that it was a holiday weekend? No dentists were open and he was pretty much screwed. That is what happens when you aren’t responsible. So anyway, Luis’s other brother had a conference down south and he was taking his mom and they were going to have some fun exploring. After Rey got his tooth fixed, he decided that he wanted to go too. Fine, whatever… you’re a moron. I told him so. In order to secure over a week of unapproved and last minute leave in addition to a good enough excuse for a no-call, no-show (you get 2 and you’re fired) he came up with a marvelous plot.

He joked about using this excuse frequently, but I never thought he’d actually do it. A week later, the day that the rest of Luis’s family was returning from their vacation, I was in the store with Luis buying flowers for his mom, who’d just gotten a job. I’m minding my own business when Rey’s assistant manager walks up and starts chatting with Luis (he used to work there). He was looking at us weird but I didn’t think much of it. He mentioned Rey’s absence and no call no show, and I looked over and told him that I’m sure Rey had a good excuse. I also told him to laugh if he said his grandfather died because that was a really bad excuse he’d always joked about using, but his grandparents all died about 20 years ago. I again expressed my confidence in Rey and went about my way, flowers in hand. Luis got mad at me for even saying anything, but I rolled my eyes and we went on with our lives.

Well, when Rey came home that night, he told his assistant manager that his grandfather died.

Two days later, I was waiting to clock in and start my shift. My assistant manager poked his head out of the office door and told me to come in when I was on the clock. That wasn’t really odd, I thought I was getting a spot test or an evaluation. When I walked in, I found Rey’s assistant manager and my assistant manager lurking in the corners. They informed me that Rey had lied about his grandfather’s death and that they knew it. I was told that I had two options:

1. Immediately tell everything I knew

2. Be fired on the spot legally, as dishonesty is grounds for immediate removal and written into the code of conduct on my employment contract

I was blindsided. I’d seen people fired for nothing before, I just thought that it would never happen to me. I didn’t have another job waiting on me, this was my job. Luis and I needed this job, I couldn’t afford to lose it. So I told the truth. But I also negotiated a way for Rey to extricate himself from the mess and have everything smoothed over. He’d be suspended for a week, but not fired if he just told the truth and apologized. The managers both promised they would use discretion and keep me completely out of it. I was thanked for my time and sent on my way, but I shook the entire night with a mixture of anger and fear.

The next opportunity I got, I told Rey what had happened and I asked him to please just tell the truth for my sake. I told him that I had negotiated a way for everything to be okay and I told him that both of our careers were on the line (and to think of his brother, this was the money we needed for our future). I told him that they had almost fired me for something I had no say or part in at all, and that I wasn’t going to lie for him to shield him from the consequences of his own actions. I thought that he would appreciate me warning him, fighting for him (even though he was wrong), and having the decency to tell him what I said and did to his face. I was wrong. He exploded and ran to his mother’s room. The next thing I know, the apartment is filled with people screaming their heads off in Spanish. I GTFO’d immediately and was told I was never welcome in their house or their lives again. This happened the afternoon before Luis was going to propose to me formally, so I had a nervous breakdown instead.

The managers didn’t use discretion, they threw my name out there immediately. They also screwed up the story I told them, mixing up the brother and the friend. Rey refused to admit he was lying and said I was. My store manager apparently turned around and said “Kate has never lied to me.” It went from bad to worse. Rey told the entire store some fucked up version of events where I walked up and told my managers everything for no reason. There was nothing said about me almost getting fired, warning him, negotiating. Nothing about his irresponsibility, his lies, his vacation… No, I was a snitch who wanted to ruin little Rey because I’m a bitch. It was a living hell. Luis’s family demanded he leave me immediately and when he refused, they made his life a living hell. My career was over. Every time the situation would settle, Luis would get texts saying that I “should know the limits of honesty” from his extended family. Rey would find something else to lie about and trash talk me to anyone that would listen.

One of the people I thought I was friends with went out of her way to ask me if I was okay. I told her the truth, saying that this was hell and my personal life was a warzone. She immediately walked over and told Laura that I needed “to shut my loose mouth”. Laura ran and told Rey that I was talking about the situation (when I’d said nothing about it, only that I was stressed and upset). Explosion after explosion… the two of them worked together until there was nothing left. They would just make stuff up and people would believe them… it was heart wrenching  After Luis left me, they smiled at me smugly. Laura ended up good friends with Luis after our breakup (she broke up with her boyfriend the same night he left me), and from a couple of the pictures I saw, they are dating if not screwing. He goes out with her every night I stop talking to him and posts pictures all over Facebook. Rey found himself a girlfriend (who I heard is stupid as hell, but I’ve never met her) and he’s happy and taking pictures in front of the Christmas tree like Luis and I used to.

I quit my job immediately after Luis left, I couldn’t take it. I made it 5 years to the day. What finally got me was all the talking, the staring, the glaring… My pay was not worth that much to me. Plus I’d gotten my current job so I wasn’t financially locked in.

I had a dream a couple nights ago and it’s stuck with me, so I’ll share. I dreamed that I was sitting in Luis’ old living room and Rey was talking to me. It was just like the old days… he had his feet up and he was smiling, I was shaking my head and grinning at something stupid he said. I didn’t feel the pain, I didn’t feel the anger… it was just the comfortable lull of an old friend’s presence. Luis was at the other end of the table, he wasn’t really involved in what was going on. I told Rey that he might be comfortable, but I sensed karma was going to start coming his way. He told me that it already had, that the girlfriend of his was a total bitch and he couldn’t figure out how to get rid of her. That made me laugh, then I got quiet and I asked him if he ever thought of what he did. He said yes, and that he was ashamed. He apologized, and I told him that it was in the past and forgotten now.

Seeing as the only way I’m every going to get an apology is in my dreams, I’ll take it. It’s about time to forgive and forget. As for Laura, her romantic relationships will all crash and burn in a glorious haze of sluttery. Luis can associate with whomever he wants, but it’s a slap in the face. More reason to walk away from his web of fake friends and ladder climbing. All he wants to be is rich, powerful, and surrounded by a horde of people who adore him. If that’s the best type of follower he can amass, I sincerely hope he finds a way to buy happiness.