When Aiden left Lydia’s room, he made his way quickly down the stairs. He wanted everything to be set up as quickly as possible because he hated the idea of hosting parties. He just wanted to get in and get out without anyone asking him if they could move a chair or change the song. He was never much for being the centre of attention, that was always Lydia’s gig, and even in life if they were to be hosts they would do it together so she could handle most of the hosting. Of course, he would end up handling most of the set-up and the planning because Lydia would get engulfed in her outfit and other small details that would leave him in charge of all the heavy lifting. At the end of the day, she always looked stunning, so he didn’t mind one bit.
He walked into the library, the room they planned to hold the party in, and looked around. It looked old and run-down, like an abandoned house left for dead. A few souls muttered to each other, a few others sat reading. He cleared his throat.
“Excuse me, all? I’m going to need you guys to
exit this location for a short period of time. Ms. Ashes and I have surprise planned for the household, and we’d love it if it could stay that way.”
“A surprise? What surprise?” A middle-aged woman with a delicate face said with hopeful eyes.
“Well if I told you it would no longer be a surprise, now would it?” Aiden asked coyly. The woman smiled and got up to exit the room bringing the man she was sitting with along with her.
“I’m not going anywhere. I’ve been sitting here since I’ve arrived at this godforsaken place and I’m not moving an inch!” A grumpy old man said from beside the record player as he sifted through the old records, not playing any.
“Sir I promise you, it will be worth it. I need but just an hour. And you’ll actually get to hear some of those records if you let us do what we came here intending to do. Unless you would like to be our DJ?”
“DJ? What’s a DJ? I’m not moving!” It was in that moment Aiden realized that this man had been there for a really long time. He didn’t even know what a DJ was, and he was enthralled in the records, clearly looking for something in particular he just could not find.
“Well you can be in charge of the music. But you will have to play some of it. What’s your name?”
“Nice to meet you, Vernon. I’m Aiden. My friend
Quincy should be back any minute and we are throwing a party of sorts in this room later on this evening. Just to liven this place up a bit, no pun intended.” He chuckled a bit at his own joke. “And we would absolutely love it if you could be the master of the music. Since it is your spot and all.”
“Fine, but I’m not playing no garbage. And that row of disco abomination is going nowhere near this record player.”
Aiden smiled. Partly because of Vernon’s way of speaking but also because he himself hated disco. “That is your call. I trust you. But we do need to set up so if you don’t mind we will be moving some things around you.”
“Have at it, boy.”
Aiden began moving around chairs and pushing the couches to different areas of the room to create a separate seating area and a dancing area. The dancing area was to be closest to the record player with ample room to move about, and the seating area was made around the fireplace—the one he knew but wasn’t sure how many others were a privy to, led to the place he wanted to forget existed, the place he found Quincy. He began looking around at his set-up and realized that it was nothing short of boring. It was missing a certain something but being the simpleton he was, he couldn’t quite figure it out. He needed some fresh new eyes and just as he was about to give up, Caleb walked in the room.
“Whoa, nice job,” he said with raised eyebrows,
and a sarcastic tone. “Party of the year, up in here!”
“Oh, shut up and help me, would you?”
“Help you what, I don’t know how to set up a party. I always had people invite me to parties that were set up by professionals. I was an actor, remember? People did everything for me.”
“Well then you know what it’s supposed to look like and what it’s well, not supposed to look like. So, what are we missing.”
“Well for starters, this venue sucks. But we can’t do anything about that. And it’s too bright in here. We need to dim the lights. Start lighting the candles.”
Aiden lit every candle in the room while Caleb shut off all the lights and it was starting to look better already.
“Now we need to get rid of these books. There’s nothing worse than a book at a party.”
“Why is that?”
“Who reads at parties?”
“Where should I put them?”
“I don’t know. Just get rid of them.”
Aiden didn’t like taking orders from Caleb, but being the only help he was getting he had no choice. He picked up all the books, which in his arms proved to be many more than how they looked scattered across the tables and furniture. He clumsily, and with as much strength as he could muster, carried them towards the shelves they were pulled from.
When he turned his back to put the last book,
a Stephen King novel entitled The Outsider, on the shelf, Caleb lit the last of the candles. When he turned back, it looked like an entirely different room. It was a party room. And it was perfect. He was amazed what lighting and a little tidying up could do.
“Wow Caleb, thanks. This looks great.”
“I wouldn’t say great. But, it’ll do. Now where’s Quincy with those party favours?”
Just as he was about to open his mouth wondering the same question, Quincy walked into the room with a huge smile on his face and a cavalry-like announcement.
“I have arrived! And I bring with me the flowers of the middle. Guaranteed to open the soul to depths of which it never knew before.”
“Quincy, you ol’ bastard!” Caleb grabbed Quincy’s shoulders amicably.
“Where do you want them Aiden?”
“Oh, anywhere you see fit. It’s almost time to start the party. Vernon, hit it!”
Aiden began ushering the guests in as Sam and Dave blasted from the record player and for the first time since being in the middle, the souls in the house started to look happy. Aiden was pleased with his set up, even though Caleb did most of the work, and that’s when he saw her turn the corner and enter the room. ‘Boy, could Lydia make an entrance,’ he thought.
“Wow,” is all he could muster to say as she walked towards him.
“I know, right?” She joked and he took her by the hands and just looked at her.
“You really are beautiful.”
“Aiden, don’t make me blush.” She smiled and kissed him. They curled their fingers over one another’s slowly, entwining their hands and walked into the party.
“Ready for the best night ever?”
“I died ready.” They laughed together. “Ahh,” she screamed. “I love this song!”