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Me and a friend were talking about a mutual acquaintance.

Jessica told me to steal money from my dad because I had told her that he gave his ATM PIN to me. That is why I've stopped talking to her.

Pls proofread sentence in bold. Thank you.
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I and a friend were talking about a mutual acquaintance.

The rest is OK.
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OMGoodness... The friendly neighborhood English proofreader is here...

I've been struggling with these questions in my head since this morning... Finally got it posted, but haven't gotten any confident answers until now. Please look at my other posts. Thank you!
Mister Micawber, what about this one:

Someone asking me why I joined the Red Cross, I reply with:

It's something I've always wanted to be a part of. Or

It's something I had always wanted to be a part of.

I've already joined the Red Cross and since im already a part of it, couldn't I use the Past perfect?

Are both useable and mean the same thing?

Thank you.