It took me some time to re-review the backlog of the story to make sure that Lucy really didn't know that Peter was married. I know, for certain, we've made it clear Christine didn't know, but I was afraid in one of my less disciplined sections, I'd had Sam mention it to Lucy. My cursory re-read of all the sections mentioning Peter's name assuages me that, no, Lucy is blissfully unaware that her friend's boyfriend is secretly married. If I somehow missed a section where Lucy found out, consider that retconned. Lucy should have no knowledge of Peter's philandering ways. This might, I think, be one of the only times I've preemptively retconned something I've written via commenting, instead of simple recursive editing.
Which is important: If she knew, the last part of this section becomes incredibly cruel, as opposed to a sweet gesture from Lucy to her friend, that we ironically know is going to blow up in her face. Either or, the section is below! The table of contents is here.
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I wasn’t surprised to find Jon at the bar while the rest of the guests were just starting to arrive and mingle. If it were up to him, I think, he would spend his whole time there with only a short sojourn to the microphone to say: “Breast cancer is bad.” Which I guess, would distill the main message very well. I sat next to him and asked for a Cherry Coke. I lied to myself and said it counted as a fruit serving for the day.
“Jon, I’ve come to ask for an apology.”
“I don’t see why I owe you one, you’ve been impossible to work with.”
“You should just suck up your pride and apologize,” I said. This was my in-built out door. If he’d apologize, I’d call of Christine’s zany plan. If I had to call it off, it was her plan. If I stuck with it, it was my plan. Sort of like Schrodinger’s plan.
“Look, you helped with the speech, so I’m going to still pay you, I just want you to go away.”
“That’s kind of an apology, right?”
“No. It isn’t; you’ve been an insistent pest since we met. You’re always waking me up early, having me visit your friends at work — all while completely ignoring what I said I wanted.”
He may have had a point, but I didn’t think he did. By virtue of the fact that he owed me an apology before I’d even entertain the notion I had done anything wrong. One of my ex-boyfriends would have said: “That’s very sorority of you.” There’s a reason he’s an ex. That and his idea of romantic make-out music involved angry men screaming in German. Well, that and the fact he always smelt faintly of pickles, despite being deathly allergic to them. That might have just been my imagination though. The music really was that bad though.
“Well, fine. Is there anything you need before I go surround myself with non-jerkfaces boss?”
“Buzz off,” He said waving me off. I took my Cherry Coke with me. I thought about just hovering around him making little bzz, bzz, bzz, noises, but I have my dignity. I debated counting it as an apology anyway, but my inner Christine wouldn’t let me wuss out like that.
I could just see her sitting there, shaking her little head, just saying to herself: “I knew it. You’re going to let him walk all over you. And not in a good way like one of those people who massage you by walking on you. Actually, he’s probably too heavy for that. Those are usually petite women. I could be a foot masseuse.”
I don’t think Christine would actually say any of that. It sounds more like something I’d say Christine would say. Though, she was always a bit smug about how tiny she was.
I was making my nervous rounds when I saw Peter talking with an older gentleman. He was wearing an old-fashioned tweed-y suit. Actually, I don’t know if it was tweed or tweed-like. You know how some girls buy pre-faded jeans (a favorite of Christine: “It makes me look like the cool, out-doorsy girl-next-door to guys, but the in-the-know hip-fashion-conscious girl to girls. The perfect fashion win-win.”)? Well, I think some guys buy pre-faded suits, to make them look like old professors. You know, with the elbows pre-patched in obviously off-color, but still matching, browns and grays.
Peter is boring. All of his suits are practically the same color. His ties rotate through a broad range of blue, navy blue, black, purple, and purple-black. He is the rebel of ties.
“Mr. Dawes,” I heard him saying. “You’re going to like Sam and Kenny. They’re good people and — well, hello there Lucy.”
“Hello Peter, who is this?”
“This is Mr. Dawes, an investor friend of mine. He’s interested in Kenny’s little entrepreneurial venture.”
“Do you know how much they love bowling down south?” Mr. Dawes asked me. “Fucking lots. Like, if they had a choice between getting laid and getting a turkey, there’d be honest debate.”
“Christine got a turkey once,” I said. “But I’m pretty sure she was using the bumpers.” I was also pretty sure she would have rather gotten laid. I don’t know why people had such a view of Southern California. I think Southern California was the West Virginia of California. It couldn’t be west California because that would be the ocean.
“Oh, Christine, eh? Peter’s—”
“Girlfriend,” Peter cut in. Suspiciously! I turned my eyes on him and took a sip of Cherry Coke. He patted Mr. Dawes on the back, whose eyes were filled with old man mischief.
“I guess you must talk about her at work a whole lot,” I said. “It must be real love.”
“She’s something else,” Peter said. “But, I was just going to get Mr. Dawes a drink while we waited for the man of the hour.”
I said good-bye and went to go look at the band getting set up. Christine had mentioned wanting to dance, and I decided to go ahead and help her out. I gave the band director a request, and I felt good about myself. After having to put up with Sam’s idiot friend, this would be the perfect night cap.
“Make sure that the song goes out to Peter and Christine,” I said.