Unholy Nights: A Twisted Christmas Anthology
the time . It's crazy. I wish I could stop, but I can't. I've tried everything. I've been into him ever since freshman year. Well, it wasn't so bad last year because I had a boyfriend, but ever since Matt and I broke up in October, I've been obsessed. It's sick," she added, with that gleam in her eyes that suggested she meant "sick" in both the good way and the bad way. "What's wrong with me?"
    How had I not known this about her? Was I a bad friend? Had she been ashamed to tell me? Were we not close enough? I hadn't told her about my stalkeresque activities, either.
    "You haven't done anything about it, have you?"
    "No," she moaned. "I haven't dared to ask, and he's never noticed me that way. Not even when I dress provocatively and flirt." She sounded outraged that any man could resist her. "Do you think he's gay?"
    Since I didn't know the guy at all, I had no opinion. I'd seen him around the history department. He was good looking enough that you couldn't fail to notice him if you were female and breathing. I'd never been too good at figuring who was gay and who was straight, unless they made it obvious. Slayton didn't give any hints of gayness to my undiscerning eye, but what did I know?
    That night Julie and I bonded over our mutual obsessions. We went to a bar and drank a couple beers while we poured out our souls. I told her how I'd sneaked into Will's dorm and put my ear against the door of his room. Julie confessed that once she had tried to peek through the keyhole of Jeff's office, but she hadn't been able to see anything because he must have hung his jacket on the doorknob inside. "I could smell his jacket through the keyhole," she said, her eyes dreamy. "It must have been all coated with pheromones because I got so turned on I practically had an orgasm right there outside his office."
    We both laughed, cheered by the notion that we weren't alone in our nuttiness. At one point I seemed to lift out of myself enough to see that we were in a bar full of people, some of whom were blankly drinking, but others, like Julie and me, were sitting together sharing stuff, talking and laughing and connecting, if only for a little while.
    I know the Christmas season is when people are supposed to be all moody and depressive as they reminisce about their perfect childhood Christmases or mope about the chilly wintery mess they've made of their lives. But I wasn't wallowing in that holiday gloom. I felt almost normal, for a change.
    "Love is insane, isn't it?" Julie said.
    "And sex is even crazier. Why do we fall for certain people? It's like we're pre-programed to fuck ourselves up."
    "Destiny," she said dreamily.
    I snorted. Personally, I held more to the pheromone theory.
    I thought about the Shakespeare survey course I'd taken freshman year. When we'd read the comedies, our professor had pointed out how ridiculous love was in those plays. Young men and women were continually switching partners as the result of malicious fairy magic. Or just some whim. They would look and love, then, in the next act, they would turn hostile to the object of their affections. One minute Romeo could dream of no other maiden but his beloved Rosaline, and the next he met Juliet and fell into the crazy, forbidden love that would steal both their lives.
    Love was capricious. It made no sense at all.
    Someday, I told myself, I will get over this. Someday I'll look back on this folly and laugh. I'm still just a kid, grown up but not quite the fully responsible adult that I'll eventually be. Someday I'll be able to solve shit like this without so much drama and angst.
    But not yet. Maybe if I'd been fully adult and responsible, I wouldn't have done what Julie and I did next. Because this was the sort of thing female stalkers do. It's the X-chromosome version of the male stalker who goes out and buys a gun. We didn't go to a gun shop, of course not. We went to a Gypsy fortuneteller. Actually, she wasn't a Gypsy, but some kind of witchy chick. Julie had

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