I have no idea what to call this story for Blogtember because there just isn't enough of it yet. I hope you enjoy.
To say that I was dreading the dinner party was the understatement of the century. First off, it was raining buckets and Lida's house was all the way up in the Hollywood Hills. Then there was the matter of my wardrobe, or lack thereof. I hadn't planned on putting so much effort into my outfit; that is until Lida invited Henry. And Juliet.
What in the hell did Henry see in her anyway? I mean, she was nice enough. Lida seemed to like working with her, but that didn't mean any of us really knew her. And she certainly wasn't good enough for Henry.
Maybe if I had taken my chance at the Christmas party, it would be me going with Henry tonight.
Yes, I definitely needed a new dress. A sexy dress. One that said, "I don't need you. I can have any man I want!"
I needed a miracle.
Work could only be described as my own personal hell where every task went straight through my consciousness and into the pit of anxiety that was my stomach. By the time I left I had the strong urge to puke, and call Lida to tell her I was too sick to make it to her party.
But then everyone would know I had chickened out due to the presence of Henry because everyone seemed to know about my long-standing crush. Everyone except Henry.
"You already said you'd be there," Alex reminded me when I met her at the Beverly Center and told her my sorry excuse of an idea to get out of going. "It's going to be fine," she said in a tone that clearly said she thought I was being ridiculous. "We'll just ignore Henry and flirt shamelessly with Lida's brother."
"Right. Lida's brother. I forgot he was going to be there."
"Kinda the reason she's having the party. She wants to introduce him to new people."
"Uh huh." I was looking at a dress that I thought might down play the extreme curves of my backside. "What was his name again?"
"Uh, Luke, I think." She grabbed a dress from a nearby rack with an appreciative "Oh! You should try this one. It'll make your boobs look bigger."
"Gee, thanks Alex."
She shrugged, amused by my sarcasm. This had to be the cheeriest mood I'd seen her in in months.
"What else are friends for?"
Lida and Robert Cole lived in a luxurious sweep of concrete, marble, stainless steel appliances, and floor to ceiling windows with panoramic views of Los Angeles that stretched all the way to the ocean. Of course, with the rain, not much of that view was visible at the moment. Robert worked in the music industry, so their house was decorated with photos of musicians, vintage albums, and electric guitars. Once through the gigantic front door, a white baby grand piano greeted guests on a raised platform which separated the kitchen and dining on the left from the living on the right.
Sometimes (hell, all the time) I wished I had Lida's life.
The hostess came to the door looking fabulous in a simple, but perfectly-fitted red dress while Alex and I dropped our soaking umbrella to the floor. I felt like my hair had already frizzed out.
"My girls!" She gave us both one-armed hugs. We all joked that Lida's left hand was perpetually occupied with a glass.
"Clara, that is lovely," Lida said, noticing my dress. I ended up with the first one I'd seen, a dark indigo that looked great with my pale skin. I still felt like I might puke and wasn't sure how I was going to make it through the night, but I had to admit the dress was helping. It had better, it had put a good dent in my credit card.
"And Alex," Lida said, "my stylish rocker chic."
Alex was wearing tight black pants, stilettos, and a backless top that showcased her tiger's head tattoo which took up most of her upper back. She just smiled and said, "Where's the booze? This one needs a drink, stat." She jerked her head in my direction while I rolled my eyes at her.
Lida was serving drinks in the kitchen with her cook bustling around behin her, when her brother joined us. The resemblance was immediate, the same black hair, the same olive skin.
"Luke! Meet Clara and Alex."
"Hello," he said. His smile seemed natural--and such a nice smile--but he seemed uncomfortable. I couldn't blame him. I wouldn't want my sister trying to set me up with a bunch of strangers; maybe he just wasn't as social as Lida.
Then the doorbell rang, and my heart jumped into my throat.
...to be continued.
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