This is the episode that caused my little blockage problem a few weeks back. Conceptually it would have worked fine right after we met Joseph and Sean, but I couldn’t get over the feeling something was missing. Maybe more than one something. Apparently I tried to skip over too much. To my FanLit friends, I apologize for taking so many artistic liberties with your names.
I huffed up the stairs, then took a half a minute breather before knocking on Cindy’s door. From the loud music and laughter, I guessed the party had already started. Chris answered the door.
“Look everybody! Alice is here.”
Several people called out a greeting. “Hi, you all!” I waved back.
I recognized most of those in the room. There was Sasha by the window, looking out as though wishing a cloud would come along and carry her to a bright and beautiful place. Lara and Kelly and Maura stood around the table full of booze bottles, talking and pouring at the same time. Cindy had a Café Frion in her hand. She grinned then lifted her glass in salute. Ashley wasn’t there yet, but I already knew she was working and would be late.
“Alice! Come here and show us how to do that pose de café thing you told us about.” Lara and Kelly waved me over.
As I crossed to the booze table, I noticed two guys and a woman in the front room looking at the neighbor’s house. They all had red hair.
“Cindy, who are they?” I asked as soon as I reached her.
“Do you like my new friends? I saw the one with the short hair sitting in his car outside one day. He went to visit my neighbor, Suzie. You remember Suzie, don’t you?”
“Thin woman, likes to wear skirts or dresses, kind of a Suzie Homemaker type?”
“She’s an accountant, just like you, you know.”
Actually, I hadn’t known. I never really spent much time with her. She wasn’t one of the people who took part in the Run/Walk for Life – the charity run where the rest of us met. I shrugged.
“Anyway, I was in the Caribou last night and saw him again. His name is Joe and his brother’s name is Sean.”
“So you’re interested in Joe?” I looked him over more closely. There was something a little harsh about the set of his face and the tension in his body, a kind of aura of danger. I figured Cindy could handle it, but deserved better.
“No, no. Not him. Sean.” Her eyes flicked to the other one, the man with shaggy red hair hanging just past his collar. She got a shy little smile, the kind that meant she had it bad.
Unluckily, the woman standing between the two men looked at Sean at the same time and gave him a dazzling smile. Women don’t smile like that at men they aren’t interested in.
“It looks like he already has a girlfriend.”
“Who, Christina? No, Christina’s all right. She’s interested in Joe. She introduced me to them.
I wasn’t so sure, but I wasn’t about to argue. I’d much rather enjoy one of Cindy’s parties.
Cindy was good at a lot of things – making drinks, cooking, walking, but throwing a party took the cake. Within minutes I was pouring Kailua in a liqueur glass, joking about the way Lara and that Christina girl both kept lifting their glass and staring at the layers, and discussing heart rates while walking. The Marathon Forever Survivors, as we called ourselves, were doing a 100 miles in 100 days challenge. Some of us got together to go walking every day.
I was having a wonderful time right up until I wound up next to the red heads by the front window. Just my luck to still be standing next to them when all Hell broke loose.