TUESDAY: Friends

BY SUSAN P. BLEVINS

Copyright is held by the author.

LUCY MET Cynthia at drawing class in the fall. They immediately clicked because they found that they had much in common. They were both ex-pat Brits, or refugees as Lucy liked to call them, and had lived all over the world, ending up in Houston a few years ago. Lucy and her husband Martin had moved to Houston for the medical facilities the city offers, but Martin had died shortly after their arrival. Cynthia was living in Houston for the second time because her husband Peter was moved there by his company, a big player in the oil and gas industry.

Lucy and Cynthia started going for coffee or a glass of wine after class, and they learned a lot about each other’s lives. Lucy was a bit older than Cynthia, so both her parents had died, but Cynthia’s dad was still alive, back in England, living alone with his garden and his cats. Cynthia’s mum had died just a year before meeting Lucy, and she still missed her greatly.

Eventually, Cynthia asked Lucy if she’d like to go to her house for cocktails and dinner, and meet her husband. Peter had a good friend of twenty years called Tom, so he was also invited to make up a foursome. After five years of being a widow, Lucy was thoroughly fed up with always being the spare wheel at any gathering, so she liked this idea, and besides, who knows, perhaps she and Tom would click and they’d start going out together. By this point she was over her grieving and ready to get back out into the world and have some fun again.

It was a beautiful June evening when Lucy drove over to Cynthia and Peter’s house, and she had dressed carefully in casual but sexy tight pants and skinny top, with a big fuchsia pink silk blouse thrown over the top. She wore New Mexico turquoise jewelry, and bright pink wedged sandals, that were so high she could only totter, not walk. She was prepared to risk safety for the sake of making a sexy first impression, and just hoped Tom was worth it.

She rang the doorbell, and a very tall man opened the door and introduced himself as Peter. She liked him at once, and wobbled her way into the house where Cynthia and Tom were chatting in the kitchen. Introductions were made, and they all stood around as Cynthia prepared some snacks to go with the drinks.

Peter really knew how to make a good cocktail, and he whipped up the strongest margaritas that Lucy had ever tasted. He used only the best ingredients, and shook them with ice in his cocktail shaker so that they would not be diluted. He made them laugh when he told them the story of the evening when he’d been shaking so many cocktails that he found himself abruptly in terrible pain and almost unable to breathe. The ambulance was called and the ER team charged in, carrying their equipment, asking what had happened. It was obvious that everyone present had had way too much to drink, though they swore that was not the case, and the ER team could hardly contain their smiles when they took in the scene. It turned out that the vigorous shaking had managed to trap a nerve in Peter’s back, temporarily robbing him of breath and paralyzing him. A few more drinks helped to relax him and the pain went away.

Peter’s cocktails certainly relaxed Lucy, and she decided to take off her high heels, since she had decided that Tom was not her type. They enjoyed their dinner, with wine, and every so often she caught Peter’s eye because he always seemed to be looking at her. She found him good-looking and a lot of fun and thought her friend Cynthia was a lucky woman. They listened to music from their youth, and eventually, around midnight, the party broke up and Lucy got in her car and drove home.

A month or so later, Cynthia called Lucy and asked if they could meet for coffee as there was something she needed to talk to her about. They met at a Starbucks, and Lucy was shocked at how strained Cynthia looked.

“Whatever’s the matter?” she asked her.

“It’s Peter. He’s done this to me once before, and I don’t know how much more I can take.”

“What d’you mean? What’s he done?”

“Well, shortly after that dinner we all had a month ago, when you and Tom came to our house, Peter told me he thought we should have a more open marriage, and perhaps start seeing other people. I knew at once that it was because of you that he wanted the open marriage. I’d noticed how he’d been looking at you all evening, but chose to push it under the rug, rather than call him on it. I’m sure he wants to have an affair with you. I just couldn’t bring myself to say anything to you sooner because you’re my friend.”

Leaning forward towards her, looking straight into her eyes, Lucy said, “Well you don’t need to worry about me. We’re friends and I would never do anything behind your back. Don’t worry. He’ll get over it, and things will go back to normal.”

Cynthia wiped away a tear that was creeping down her cheek, and smiled bravely. “You’re right. I’ll go and have my hair done, buy a new outfit, and when he gets home from work tonight I’ll be so sexy he won’t be able to resist me! Thank you for being such a good friend to me and listening to my woes.”

Lucy looked at her watch, and jumping up, she exclaimed, “I’m sorry I’ve got to rush off now. I’m meeting a friend for lunch and I’m already a few minutes late. Are you all right now? Is it OK if I leave you? I’ll call you in a few days and see how you’re getting on.”

They embraced and Lucy rushed off to her car. She sat down and pulled out her cell phone. Yes, there it was, a text message that said, where r u? Im at the restaurant already waiting 4 u. She texted back, Im on my way, and pulled the car into the traffic, heading for the restaurant. Her heart rate was up, and she was smiling excitedly to herself as she contemplated a delicious lunch, followed by the lovemaking that she enjoyed every time she met Peter.

One comment

  1. Mary

    My only critique is that the conversation between the 2 friends at the end does not ring true and is rushed.A sentence here or there to show that some time is passing would be good.“She stirs her coffee without taking a sip” or “there is a pause while she blows her nose noisly and then says”.
    This technique helps make conversations feel real. Keep writing! I want to see what you do next.

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