There was a buzz because she’d hung up and then silence.
I stood there, pillow in hand, staring at the answering machine, something unpleasant sifting through my stomach.
She was Thursday?
What the hell did that mean?
She was Thursday. Yesterday was Thursday. She was expecting a visit from Hawk.
She was Thursday.
That something in my stomach slid up my gullet, filled my mouth and it tasted of acid.
Fang idled at the curb while I did my walk of shame up to my house. It really wasn’t a walk of shame but no one seeing me in the daylight hours in a little black dress and fabulous shoes would know that.
Fang, I found to my fortune, was not a master communicator. This was good and bad because this meant I could slide into my head and stay there the whole way from Hawk’s lair. This was good because I needed to be in my head to sort my shit out and this was bad because I didn’t want to be in my head and because I couldn’t figure out how to sort my shit.
I opened the door and saw Meredith, Camille, Tracy and Mrs. Mayhew all sitting on my furniture and drinking coffee at the left side of my living room. The furniture had been uncovered, the floors had been swept, the mist of dust on all surfaces had disappeared. The renovation equipment had vanished. The right side of the living room was just as tidy but it was empty. A peek through the glass doors to my once empty den showing it was now storage for tools, tubes, cans and equipment. The walls still needed to be re-skimmed, the floors refinished, the fireplace mantels stripped and redone and the light fixtures replaced but at least it looked like a living room
Jeez. It was ten o’clock. Meredith had been busy.
I stared at them and I loved them. I loved them all. And I loved that Meredith made my living room look like a living room.
But I wanted cookie dough. Aloneness and cookie dough.
No, I needed aloneness and cookie dough.
Like, a lot.
“Hey,” I called.
“Have a good night?” Meredith beamed.
“Um…” I mumbled.
“That’s a pretty dress,” Mrs. Mayhew complimented.
“Thanks, Mrs. M,” I replied walking in thinking she was being so Mrs. M, saying I was wearing a pretty dress when I’d walked into my house in the clothes I’d worn the night before which everyone knew screamed slut!
“Heard you got a hot one on your hook,” she remarked, smiling at me huge.
Well, I thought so but I was worried I was on his hook.
“Um…” I mumbled again.
“You okay?” Cam asked, looking at me closely.
“Um…” I mumbled yet again.
All female eyes focused intently on me as it appeared I was incapable of speech.
Then Cam moved.
“Right,” she said smartly, jumping up from the couch. “Shower, yoga pants, let’s go!” she ordered and clapped her hands, coming to me, bustling me to the stairs and up them, right to my bathroom.
I turned at the bathroom door and looked at her. Cam was my height, all legs and booty, minor cle**age that wasn’t much to write home about but it didn’t matter because she was flat out, heart stopping gorgeous. Big almond eyes, full lips, fabulous cheekbones, elegant jaw, perfectly arched brows. She was the exotic, African American yin to Tracy’s girl next door yang. This used to give me a complex, seeing as my two best friends were akin to catwalk models let loose on society but I learned to control my feelings of inferiority through copious imbibing of cosmos and shopping for fantastic clothes I could don that would build my confidence whenever I went out with them.
“Cam,” I said.
“You’re freaked,” she replied reading me, as usual, like a book.
Not, of course, that I was being mysterious.
“Something happened,” I told her. “Well, a lot of somethings happened but –”
“Shower, babe, I’ll make a fresh pot and meet you in your office with Tracy. You got fifteen minutes.” Then she turned and walked to the stairs.
There were a lot of things about Cam I loved but being me, and allowing my life to careen out-of-control occasionally, one of the best of them was her ability to control a situation and be decisive.
I did as I was told and in yoga pants, camisole and zip up hoodie with wet hair, I met Cam and Tracy in my office.
Tracy handed me a mug of joe.
I took it and my eyes slid to Cam. “How’d you ditch Meredith and Mrs. M?”
This I knew was a feat. Meredith was the only Mom I knew and she worried about me even though I was thirty-three and even when there wasn’t anything to worry about. Mrs. M was Grandma to me and every kid on the block, be they thirty-three, three, or sixty-three. If you were younger than her, she was your Grandma and nearly everyone I knew was younger than her except her friend Erma who evidence was suggesting was dating Father Time.
“I didn’t have to,” Cam answered. “Mrs. M is going with Meredith to her house to meet the insurance guy. But I did have to promise a full briefing.”
“You aren’t giving a full briefing,” I declared, sitting in my office chair and taking a sip of coffee.
“Of course not,” she muttered.
“What’s with the face?” Tracy asked and I looked at her.
“Your face,” she replied. “You look… I don’t know how you look. I thought the date went great. Last night I got twelve texts about how great the date went. Now you don’t look like the date went great.”
My eyes slid to the window. “It did.”
“So?” Cam prompted and my eyes slid to her.
“Thursday called,” I answered, Cam’s eyes closed slowly but Tracy’s expression shifted to confused.
I stared at Cam. Cam knew something.
“Thursday called?” Tracy asked.
I ignored her.
“Cam?” I called, her eyes opened and a light shone in them, a sad light, an unhappy light. “Cam,” I whispered.
“You told me you two were over,” she said softly.
This was true.
“Thursday called?” Tracy repeated, sounding impatient and I looked at her.
“Great date, the best, better than my wildest dreams. He was into me, he was interested in everything I said, he was funny, he bought me Jimmy Choos,” I told her and her eyes lit up.