Monday, June 6, 2011

Chapter 16: In which Aunt Angela makes copious amounts of tea.

“I know,” said Eoin. “And I have to say,” he gestured towards the podium, “all of that seems quite in line with what I’ve come to expect of you. Now, let’s get you out of here before they send the Garda. That’s Irish for police,” he added. 

Katie leaned against him, her head spinning. “I knew you knew Irish slang.” 

Eoin began to lead her towards the exit. “So where should I take you?” 

Katie looked up. Way up. He was so tall, she was leaning against his rib cage. "What?" She could see into his eyes. Blue blue blue. 

"We should get out of here," he said, over the music that had started up again. "Where's your stuff?"

"It's with Melissa. At our table. I can't leave without her..." Katie started towards where they'd been sitting. There was no one at it. Even Laureen, the old-lady-teacher, was missing. Katie found her coat and her cute red pocketbook, but no Melissa. 

"Where could she be?" Katie got down on her hands and knees, crawled under the table. "Melissa?" She felt around but didn't feel her friend or her friend's stuff. 

"I think she's gone, Katie." Eoin's voice was muffled. She could feel his hands around her ankles; he was yanking her backwards. 

"Okay, okay," Katie crawled out again, and found Eoin sitting on the floor, too. It was the first time they were on the same level, and she could seem him carefully, closely. He wasn't particularly hot, not in a movie star or football-player way.  He was no Bobby, who had dark features and broad shoulders, strong arms -- a fit, athletic guy with a lovey-mush heart. But there was something about Eoin that was electric, that was alive. Katie felt like crawling into his lap. Instead she just stared at him. Blue blue eyes with long lashes, a biggish nose, but it suited him. All of him suited him. Friendly, smiley lips. Pinkish skin. He looked too big for his body, for his bones, he was all angles under that swirly pink shirt.  Smooth, blond hair, cut short but still a bit curly, and really smooth-silky, with dark bits at the roots. Not like he dyed it, but like it was just that colour. "Caramel sauce," she said, reaching out to touch the hair. He let her run her hand across his head. 

"Okay, Katie. Let's get out of here." He stood, pulled her to her feet. He had her bag and jacket in hand. "You didn't drive, did you?"

Katie laughed. "Who has a car in Toronto?"

"I do," he said, and a few minutes later they were seated in his old Dodge truck. "I got it when I moved to Canada. I thought it seemed like something cowboys would have." 

"There are no cowboys around here," Katie said. They were driving down Lakeshore, the bright city lights drowning out the stars. 

"I know that now," he said, shifting gears. They were going faster and faster. Katie unrolled the window, let the wind roll over her, and promised herself she wouldn't puke. 

They were going to Aunt Angela's. Katie didn't want to go home, and Eoin had persuaded her that tracking down Melissa in this state would only make things worse. Katie had gotten a text earlier that day from Aunt Angela telling her that she was home, and would Katie like to stop by and get her presents from Spain? Now seemed like as good a time as any....

Aunt Angela was currently house sitting for a friend's partner's parents. For a woman who had essentially brainwashed her niece into buying a rundown house on Toronto's sketchier side, she had actually never owned property herself. "I just don't have the income," she'd always said, with a look of regret on her pretty, middle-aged face, but Katie was pretty sure that Aunt Angela would never get a house even if she could afford it. Or a car. Or a cat. Or a child. Or a suitcase that was too big to use as anything but a carry on. 

The house she was currently staying in was a kind of mansion. When they pulled up to the driveway, Eoin actually said, "You know someone who lives here?" with a shocked kind of voice. 

"Thanks. I'm not that scraggly," Katie said, though she did wonder how many homeless family members one needed to have before one could be considered "rough". Anne was one, and, given her Aunt's transient lifestyle, she could be considered another, current living conditions aside.

"I just mean, this is some house," he parked the rattly truck in the round-about driveway. "Don't take it personally." He smiled across the truck  cab at her. 

"Sorry. I'm just drunk. It makes me sensitive." Kate was no longer in the fun-zone of drunkenness, and was dropping into that pre-hangover stage when everything made her either want to sleep, cry, or vomit. 

"Oh, is that what it is?" Eoin reached across and popped her door open for her. "Let's get going." 

Katie let herself gingerly out of the cab and walked towards the giant house. The sun was setting and the mosquitoes were coming out. It was still only early spring but there was the smell of barbecue on the air. Katie felt ravenously hungry, for all the post-booze wooziness. She wondered if Angela might order them a pizza. Suddenly the front door flew open and there she was, Aunt Angela, in the caftan-sporting flesh. 

"Katie! You're here!" She rushed forward and Katie allowed herself to be enveloped in an Aunt Angela hug. 

She was looking over at Eoin, leaning against the passenger side of the truck. "And who is this?" 

He stepped forward, handing over Katie's jacket and purse. Katie noted that he clearly wasn't one of those guys who act like ladies' handbags have leprosy when faced with having to hold one. She thought this was an incredibly appealing quality. "I'm Eoin. A friend of Katie's. She has had a rather difficult afternoon..." He shook Angela's hand. "And now I leave her in your clearly loving hands." 

"You're not staying?" Katie's head was starting to hurt. Her mouth was dry. She worried he was leaving because she was a spaz. Now he'd never want to show her his studio. Her sensitive, post-drunk soul felt a stab of insecurity. 

"I thought you might like some alone time with your aunt." He pulled out his cell phone and flipped it open. "But how about I get your number and I'll check on you later?"

Katie liked the "let me get your number" business, but she wasn't so keen on him asking her in front of her aunt. That didn't feel particularly romantic. Nor could she tell if he was asking her out of obligation or because he actually wanted to see her again. But considering he was the first guy to ask for her number in a long, long time, and considering that she really wanted to see him again, and she wanted to see his art studio, not to mention his wide, friendly smile and those blue, blue eyes....

"Katie?" her aunt nudged her hard in the ribs. "Are you going to give him your number, or do you need me to do it?"

Katie blushed and reached for his phone. "Here, I can put it in for you." She had to do it twice before she got it right, her fingers were that shaky. She hoped that he put it down to excited nerves (which it was), and not delirium tremors (which it wasn't). 

An hour later, Katie was on her third cup of tea, snuggled into a warm, soft sofa in the sunroom, overlooking a big, lush garden at the back of the house (which turned out to belong to a big-time movie director, "though I can't tell you which one-- I had to sign a confidentiality clause when I took the gig," her aunt had said with such earnest sincerity Katie had no choice but to believe her). "Another cup?" Angela held up a teapot. "Oh dear, it's empty. Shall I make another pot?" 

"Sure." Katie reached for her grilled cheese sandwich. Not exactly pizza, but she was staring to feel less drunk-hungover than before. Which meant she was starting to remember what she'd gotten up to at the wedding. And now she was feeling a different kind of sick. 

"Aunt Angela, please give me my phone back. I need to call Melissa." She had filled her Aunt in on the sordid, embarrassing details of her behaviour at the wedding, and true to her free-spirited, hippy form, her Aunt had not laughed, pitied, or berated her. She had simply listened, and made copious amounts of tea.

"Not yet," Angela called from the kitchen, where she was brewing up more Earl Grey. "You've done enough damage with that thing.' 

"I only sent a couple of texts. No big deal. I just want Melissa to know that I'm sorry." 

"Katie, you sent three texts and tried to call her twice before I got that phone away from you. In a one hour period that's quite a lot of unsolicited contact, even from one best friend to another." 

"But I just want her to know how sorry I am about everything," Katie said, staring mournfully at her sandwich. "I need her to ..." 

"Oh, Katie, she knows." Aunt Angela put the teapot on the low wood coffee table, her long gray hair swinging loose around her face. "Just give her some space." Angela sat down on the sofa next to Katie, and patted her leg. "So what should we get up to this evening? Rent a movie, go for dinner, take a walk..." 

Just then the doorbell rang. 

Your Turn to Decide!

Who is at the door? 

It's Katie's mother (Aunt Angela's sister)!

It's Anne, Katie's sister!


  1. The mother. Makes sense to me....

  2. I want Anne. I really want to help her...

  3. Anne! The answer is always Anne!

  4. i go for mother. anne can't randomly turn up. mother's are more likely to turn up if their sisters call them while making tea!

  5. sorry for my poor grammar. i am not the writing sister.

  6. Anne...bring on the drama!