Shall we talk uncomfortable? Awkward? Unless you’ve actually participated in a scenario with your ex-boyfriend, his new girlfriend, his brother who may or may not be your current boyfriend, (which in itself is awkward) there’s a pretty good chance you can’t begin to understand the level of anxiety rippling through me. I really want to jump up and go screaming into the night. I could still do that if I vault over Damien and the table. Alas, my vaulting skills are nondescript.
So I sit and stare at the scotch ale in my glass and wonder if this silence could be cut with a butter knife or if you’d actually need something sharper and serrated like a steak knife, perhaps. Or maybe just go heavy duty with a chef’s knife.
“This is so effing cozy. Am I right?” Tansy asks. She’s smooshed against Dominic, her breasts are vying for freedom from her deep V-necked sweater.
Dominic looks miserable. I wish I could feel sorry for him, but I’m currently the celebrated guest at my own pity party.
“I could think of a lot of things cozier,” Damien says.
“Ha! You mean like bumping uglies with the ginger here?” Tansy asks loudly.
“I haven’t had sex in almost three whole years,” I think.
There’s silence. I look up and and then realize that I’ve just verbalized my thought. Oh, major F-word.
Tansy’s mouth falls open and then she guffaws. This has obviously made her day. Damien’s arm tightens around my shoulders.
“In the three months you were together you and Dom never did the deed?” she asks eager for the answer.
Dominic winces. “Clare’s special.”
“Well, there’s no effing doubt about that. But what in the hell do you mean, ‘she’s special?’ Aren’t I special?” Tansy asks.
Ut-oh. I glance at Damien and he’s not even trying to hide his amusement. He catches my eye and winks.
“Of course, you’re special. But Clare is the kind of woman a guy marries.”
That explains it. My thirsty libido went unnourished because I was marriage-worthy. Why wasn’t I consulted about this? I feel frigid. I feel like the dessert left in the freezer until it gets freezer burned.
“And what kind of woman am I?” she says, her voice brittle.
“Good question,” Damien says.
Dominic sighs the sigh of the battle weary, the man who’s forfeited wearing the pants. “We’re together, Tansy. What more do you want?”
She glances from Dominic to us and then back at Dominic. Her eyes shine. Is she really teary or is she just a great actress? “You’re a real shit,” she says. “Move.”
She strides away and Dominic sits back down. He picks up a napkin and tears little strips from the corner. He looks up.
“Are you two really together?”
I shake my head as Damien says, “In all kinds of weather.”
Dominic nods. “I’d better get out there before she breaks into my car and hot wires it.”
I watch him walk away, his head down. Sadness tucks itself around me like a woolly blanket.
“Don’t feel sorry for him. He always bounces back. Always the golden child.”
“Why did you tell him we’re together?”
“Did I say that?”
I don’t answer. I just stare.
“We’ve got right now, Red. Right now’s all I got to give.”
“Fine,” I say and mean it. Right now I’m not needing or looking for or maybe even wanting anything else.