It’s funny how things work, or how they don’t. For instance, like the fact Greg called the next morning and apologized for his bad mood, he didn’t say it, but I felt he wanted me to apologize for egging him on. Yeah right, sorry buddy. I of course didn’t say that to him. I did however tell him that I didn’t feel well and that I didn’t want to go out that night, at that time I wouldn’t mind if Greg never called again.
And wouldn’t you know it, Evan called right as the morning cartoons changed over to sports, and afternoon films. Shannon took the call so I didn’t find out what he had to say.
I was slumming it, my cynical side was now in control telling the romantic side that true romance didn’t exist, and for once, my romantic side said, “Yeah, you’re right.” I didn’t feel like getting my ass off the couch and doing extra special things, like visiting my mother, or getting the rest of my Christmas shopping done. Shannon, I think just to spite me, was in one of her happy cheerful moods. She decided that we were going to decorate the house, even if I wanted to or not. She dressed me up in my sweats, slapped some shoes on my feet and made me go with her to pick out a tree. Somehow cutting down a perfectly nice tree, that did nothing to me, bringing it home and putting it in my living room so it can shed on the carpet as it slowly dies spells out Christmas to me. I gradually got into the festive spirit, helping her string up the lights and placing the little froo froo ornaments that she had bought, and some she had made on the tree. After this was done we went grocery shopping. I dislike grocery shopping intensely. I usually push the cart while Shannon, who simply loves grocery shopping, picks out the food we need. She announced that she had invited Noel and a friend over for dinner that night, sort of an impromptu dinner party so she could act like Martha Stewart again meaning I was going to have to socialize, but it was nice of her to warn me to dress for dinner, I might have shown up in my bath robe.
“What time are these people getting here?” I asked when we finally arrived home and we had put all the groceries away.
“Don’t you worry about it,” She forced a beer into my hand then ordered me to help prepare some of the food. I was on salad duty. I couldn’t cook otherwise, but Shannon always wanted me to try. When all the food was either started or done, Shannon told me to watch everything while she took a shower. By then, I had a few beers and thought that was a terrific idea. Shannon hung two kitchen timers on me while I watched some kind of Christmas special on TV. It was some sort of “Rudolph frosty I saved Christmas cause Santa is just too fat and old” special. No wonder kids stop believing in Santa Claus. All they have to see is all the Christmas specials and they will be totally confused. Between Rudolph, Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, St.. Nicholas, frosty and jack frost I was confused. I was debating the usefulness of Rudolph’s red nose, considering deer can’t see red, when Shannon rescued me. She forced me into the tub with another bottle of beer, and told me to stay there for awhile, she also said she had laid out some clothes for me. Why had she done that, I asked myself, I was too happy at that time to care, all I wanted to do was go to sleep, so I did.
How long does it take for bath water to get cold? I don’t know, but that is the length of time that I slept, and let me just say there is nothing like cold water to make you sober up pretty quickly. I could hear that Shannon’s guests had arrived, so I decided to use the connecting door to my room. I still had a slight buzz going so it took me a longer time to get dressed. Actually what Shannon had laid out for me took a long time to get into. Lying on my bed was a sleek gun metal gray slip dress that I had bought on impulse a couple of weeks before, but couldn’t work up the nerve to actually wear. I guess that is why Shannon was plying me with alcohol. My tired brain couldn’t work out the rest of the equation, so I didn’t. I put on my make up and panty hose, but I avoided the shoes. By that time I was ready to curl up on my bed and go to sleep again, and that’s where Shannon found me, face down on the bed.
“What are you doing,” she asked, afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to sit up.
“Do stop shouting Shan. I can hear you just fine.” I said rolling myself of the bed and to my feet, the room spun for a moment then straightened out. Shannon was frowning at me. “What? I can walk, who did you invite that hasn’t seen me like this at least once.”
“Noel....” she said, but I knew she had more to say. I put my forefinger and thumb on either side of her lips and said and made her mouth move while I said, “Yes, and who else?” She looked at me then at the door, then I back at me seriously. If I could have read her mind I swear she thought about dumping me back on the bed and forgetting about me until the next morning. My fingers still on her mouth, she said the dreaded word I didn’t want to hear. “Evan.”
I fell to the floor laughing. It was too ridiculous to fathom. “You did not.”This was unbelievable, she was just teasing me like she always did. Shannon sat on me until I stopped laughing. “I did invite him, and he is here.” she said very seriously.
“Now why did you do a dumb thing like that?” Maybe I should mention that when my cynical side is in control, I become a sloppy drunk, if you haven’t noticed. And the last thing I wanted while I was this inebriated was to see Evan, who at this moment I despised, sort of. “Go uninvite him. Bad Best friend.” I scolded Shannon. Shannon through her hands up in frustration, then dragged me to my unsteady feet. “You are going out there, and you are going to be nice, or I am going to pull every single hair out of your head, understand?” Oh I understood. Shannon only used that tone of voice when she was really getting pissed, and by the light in her brown eyes she meant every word. I leaned on her for support while we made our way to the living room. She sat me down in a chair, while Noel greeted me warmly. Evan seemed to smile at me, and I could see the bruise around his right eye that my fist had left. I started to giggle.
“That’s quite a shiner ya got there.” I said amusingly. I turned to Noel and said, “Did he tell ya how he got it? I bet he didn’t and you are just dying to know, aren’t ya?”
Shannon brought me a class of water, which I guess was my cue to shut up. I didn’t. “it’s rather a funny story Noel, but I guess you had to be there to get the punch line. You see Evan wants me because he thinks I like Greg, but I really don’t.” I was amusing myself way too much. Noel laughed nervously, and his gaze shifted from me to Evan, then on Shannon. Shannon gave me an evil look, then said something I would have never heard her say before. “Randy, why don’t you go have a cigarette on the stoop.” I was stunned to say the least, I starred at her my mouth agape, trying to confirm her words. I gave her a goofy smile, “Okay, you don’t have to tell me twice.”
After finding my purse and a jacket I sat on the front stoop, enjoying that cigarette, until Evan joined me. “Why do you have to ruin a perfectly good moment.” I said, as he took my cigarette away and took a drag off of it. “
“I call it timing.” He grinned, and I wished I had something to throw at him. “I call it being pain in the ass. Go home.”
“Now Randy,” he began, “You know Shannon invited me out of the goodness of her sweet heart.”
“If you believe that Wee wee boy, you won’t get very far.” Yes, the cynical charm was turned on full blast, and with the effects of the alcohol I had no tact. “First she gets me damn drunk, then she makes me wear this foolish dress, then she tells me you are coming to dinner. Why didn’t she just lay me out naked on the bed and tell ya, ‘here, take her.’” I took my cigarette back from him.
“What makes you think she didn’t say that?” Evan said bluntly. “Why do you think she sent me out here?”
“If you even think about throwing me over your shoulder again,” I made a fist at him, “I’ll blacken your other eye, and don’t think I won’t do it.” He laughed a big laugh that radiated next to me. I tried to hold back my smile, but it was next to impossible. “Why don’t we call a truce.” he said after a while.
“Fine,” I said rather quickly, then thought about it. “Does that mean you are going to stop trying to use me in your little game to get even with Greg?”
He suddenly became very serious again. “I wasn’t using you, maybe just warning you away, but not using you.”
“Bull shit,” I ground out the cigarette on the pavement. “Warn me, my ass, I'm a big girl, I can make my own poor decisions.” Damn right I could, I learned that fact very early in life.
“That’s good to know,” He said as he leaned over and kissed me softly on the lips. Lifting my head up from the contact I said, “And that is a very poor decision you just made.” Evan still made my head spin and I wasn’t too drunk to give into my impulses. I stood quickly, giving myself a head rush. Evan caught me before I tumbled onto my head. He held me close for a minute while his warm breath whispered in my ear. “Are you going to string me along like you do Greg?”
I reflected later on how convenient it was for him to change his mind about my relationship with Greg, but at the moment I just gave him a sloppy grin and patted him on his handsome cheek, “Only if you are a really good boy.” With that, I swung open the door and stepped over the threshold. I noticed Evan pondered that remark for a minute before following me.