Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chapter 32: In which Katie and Eoin attend a party.

“I still have to get her a present. I’ve been such a terrible friend. I forgot her birthday!”

“You’ve had other things on your mind,” Eoin reassured her. “You’ve nothing to be worried about.”

“Yeah, well, from now until noon tomorrow, I’m all about Melissa.”

“Noon tomorrow?”

“Yeah. Sometimes these parties can get a bit wild.”

“Sounds like fun.”

“So, you want to come?” Katie asked. “Nora needs a firm number. It’s cool if you don’t want to. I mean, a lot of these people are even my friends, really. And maybe you have other plans?” She tried to be cool, she tried to be casual. After all, she and Eoin weren't, like, boyfriend-girlfriend or anything. Maybe he didn't want to have to hang out with a bunch of strangers at some cheesy VIP lounge? He shouldn't have to. And she'd be totally fine if he said no. She would definitely not read anything into it if he said no. Katie bit her thumbnail. Nope. She would be totally fine if he chose not to come with her.

"Umm." Eoin frowned a little in a way that Katie couldn't interpret. (But it doesn't matter! It doesn't matter! She reminded herself, frantically.) "Who'll be there?"

"I'm not totally sure. Me, of course, and Melissa, and her friend Nora,” (Katie tried not to roll her eyes), “and then I think a bunch of people I used to hang out with." Katie realized that she'd be seeing a lot of her old, former friends and she knew, right then, that she really wanted Eoin to be with her. Could she tell him that? Were they ready for that? Or would she appear needy? Dating was horrible. "And Melissa's ex, David. Actually, probably some of the people who were at that wedding I met you at. Maybe we actually know some people in common?" She hoped this might tempt him into coming along.

"I was only there as my friend April's date; she's the groom's cousin. So I doubt I'd know people."

Katie felt her heart contract. It wasn’t a no, but it wasn’t a yes, either. He wouldn't come. And she would have to face them all alone.

But she would be fine. She had to be. She was a grown up, after all, and grown ups had to do stuff like this on their own. After all, isn’t that why she broke up with Bobby? So she didn’t have to be one-half of a couple that lived and breathed as one? She was an independent person who didn’t need her non-boyfriend. There. That settled it. 

But then Eoin said, "But I'll know you, Katie, and I'm sure I'll make friends with the others right away. After all, everyone loves an Irishman," he said, his brogue thick and lilting.

Well. So much for her I am Woman, hear me roar-as-I-navigate-the-world-as-an-independent-being self-talk. “Are you sure?” Now she was kind of thinking she should go on her own and prove that she was wasn't dependent on a man.

“Well, if you don’t want me there....” Eoin said, but she did. She did want him there. As a friend, as support, and as someone who she could have a great time with. Katie leaned across the seat of the truck cab and kissed his cheek. "Thanks, Eoin. It'll be a much nicer party if you're there." They drove the rest of the way home holding hands on top of the stick shift.

In the end, Katie didn't get a present for Melissa. There was only time for a shower, a change of clothes, (for Katie, at least -- they weren’t nearly at a place in their budding relationship where they were leaving stuff at one anothers’ apartments), and to cram in some sandwiches while google-mapping Nora’s condo. By the time they did all that (plus some heavy petting on the couch, truth be told), they only had to race out the door.

“That’s the problem with a surprise party,” Katie panted as they raced toward the streetcar stop. “You can’t really be late. Because then you’re just the loser who couldn’t be bothered to get there and yell surprise. As though arriving without a present isn’t tacky enough.”

“When are we supposed to get there?” Eoin glanced at his wrist (it was bare -- he didn’t own a watch), and then down the streetcar tracks. There was one on its way, the lights shining in the distance.

“We’ve got 30 minutes,” said Katie. “I think we’ll make it.”

“Doesn’t Melissa already know about the surprise?”

“Yes. But we’re trying to keep the surprise intact for Nora’s sake.”

“The drama never ends with women, does it?”

“Don’t be sexist,” Katie scolded.

“Fine. The drama never ends with you Canadians, then.”

Katie shook her head. “Actually, we’re much better known for our comedy.”

27 minutes later they were racing up the stairs of Nora’s building, where they were meeting first before heading out to the Rococco Room.
They slid into the elevator and pressed Nora’s floor when a voice called out, “Hold the elevator!” Eoin stuck out a hand and stopped the door from closing just as Katie realized, “Hey! It’s Melissa!”

Melissa, with her head down, stepped into the elevator with them. “Thanks for holding it,” she said. She was rummaging around in her purse and didn’t seem to notice Katie. “Could you please press 24?” Melissa found her phone, punched in a number, while Eoin silently pressed the “door closed” button.
Katie’s phone began to ring. Staring at the back of Melissa’s head, she answered it. “Hello?”


“Yes?” Katie started to giggle.

Melissa spun around. Katie waved at her. “Hi!”

The elevator doors slid open. “Surprise!” said Katie. “We’re a little late.”

Melissa and Katie hugged, and the door slid shut again. “Do you guys want to ride down?” Eoin’s long fingers hovered over the button pad. “Or should we take this party up to the penthouse?”

“I guess we should go to Nora's,” said Melissa. “I’m not really dressed for an elevator.” She was wearing slim black jeans and a great silver-sequined jacket over a white tank top.

“Me neither,” said Katie, who was wearing a French Connection top (which she’d inherited from Melissa) as a tunic. “This is far too cute to share with only the two of you.”

“Agreed. Tell you what. I’ll ride the elevator up and down a couple of times, and you two head into the party before me. That way, we keep up the illusion of the surprise party, and we don’t disappoint Nora,” said Melissa. She waved as the doors slid shut.

“God forbid we upset Nora,” Katie muttered under her breath.

“What was that?” Eoin asked, so pleasantly.

“Nothing,” she smiled brightly, making up for the sourness in her stomach she always felt around Nora. She didn’t want him to know the mean, childish parts of her. Not yet, anyway. She didn’t want him to know that sometimes she was not a nice person. She vowed then and there that she would become a better person immediately.

Just then the door swung open and Nora glared at them. “Hurry the hell up!” she hissed. She yanked Katie inside. “Don’t you know she’ll be here any second? She just texted that she’s on her way!” Nora shoved Katie and Eoin into a closet, and Katie wondered if she could start being a better person tomorrow.

The lights were off; it was pitch dark in the closet. There appeared to be some other bodies there, with them. Katie could feel Eoin in front of her but she was being pressed in on either side by taller, bulkier bodies. Someone shifted and squished her toe. “Ow!” she whisper-cried, and someone at the back said, “Quiet!”

Katie was suddenly seized with panic. She knew that voice. 

You Decide!

Who does the voice belong to?

1. Melissa’s ex-fiance Dave (who Katie humilated at a wedding a few weeks ago)
2. Mr Ambrose, Katie and Melissa’s boss
3. Rebecca, the business woman who thinks Katie is also “Violet Marsh”.
4. Katie's mother


  1. Too many choices! Omigosh! It's a toss-up for me between Dave (drama) and Rebecca (comedy). Could you do both, pretty-please?

  2. To give you a really logical choice, I nominate their boss, Mr Ambrose. Rebecca might also be there for semi-logical reasons....

  3. Her sister! But then it's all over and I'm not ready for that.

  4. Her sister!? was that a choice? and I disagree it would be over. But never mind "known for our comedy" foreshadows Rebecca (perhaps this is the semi-logic Nancy is alluding to?) Rebecca for me too. I'm getting a weird mellisa disappears thing but maybe I'm watching too much crime drama lately ...

  5. Oh boy, I was actually thinking Dave!