Elegant Deception

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Twenty Five

It was in the middle of the week I heard from my sister after Julian and Zoey’s weekend engagement party. In the morning, I received a text from her stating her visit during lunch. So for a change, since Dean and I met, I wasn’t having lunch with him.

Once my sister arrived at the office, I noted to be ready for a whirlwind entrance – and interrogative questions pertaining to the bachelor party next weekend. In the three days since I started planning, I’ve impressively came up with a good list of activities and a possible venue. So I was ready for her onslaught of questions.

However, that was beside the case.

April looked tired. Her always neatly tied ponytail was loose. Her well-ironed suit was wrinkled. Maybe I should have checked up on her earlier, as my mother asked me.

“April, do you need a day off? We can cancel lunch so you can rest.” I offered in worry.

She glared at me and groaned. “I know what I look like right now, Amy. But this had nothing to do with whatever you’re thinking. I’ve resolved my personal problem. This right here,” she paused to give emphasis on her appearance, “this is the result of sleeping in last night after working overtime until nearly one in the morning because my boss accepted a pro bono job on-top of one of his key cases he’d been working on for months.”

“Doesn’t the firm you work for hire intern to help you in severe cases like this?”

“We do. But somehow I have a beef with our HR and he gave me one of the least promising interns we have. In the end, I had to do both our task before I had to make sure this kid isn’t making a curial mistake that’ll set back our progress for another night. The trial would start next week. I can’t have that problem right now.”

“And are you sure you should be helping Zoey plan the wedding? Because I totally got the bachelorette party covered.”

She sighed and mouthed thank you. “I’ll be fine, Amy. If I can no longer function, I’m sure to tell either you or Zoey about it.”

It was then Zoey exited the office and joined us in the reception area. She stopped in her tracks and gapped at Aprils appearance. “What happened to you?”

She sighed again and give a brief explanation as she did with me. Thankfully, Albert was the only one present throughout the interaction. He was kind enough to keep to himself. I’ve dispatched Dean and Greg to get our lunch take out, as we were borrowing Julian’s office this time.

Before Zoey escorted us inside, she threw us a curveball. “Oh, yeah, I nearly forgot the tell you. My sister’s coming over as well. She finally decided it was time she’d participate in my entourage meetings, which might be her way of saying she’ll be making sure this bachelorette party must have strippers.”

“Doesn’t she have patients to look after too? That woman runs a tight shift. She’s more of a workaholic than you two combined.” April jested.

Zoey and I chuckled, unable to contradict her because it was true – in a sense.

We headed to Julian’s office, a little too hesitant since on the way there, April and I could see him still sitting by his desk. It took a moment for us to raise our concern.

It was April who finally asked. “Is Julian joining us for lunch as well?” We were nearly close to his office, but far enough we wouldn’t notice us approaching.

“He won’t be joining us. He has a meeting in a couple of minutes. After Dean and Greg return, he’ll be leaving as well.” Zoey replied.

“Oh, okay. Good. Because I’m not sure he’ll want to hear any of these ideas I have in mind.” I shrewdly insinuated.

My sister halted mid-stride and glanced at me. “Wow, sister. I never thought you’d be the one who’ll lead the charge for strippers and sexual paraphernalia’s.” April wiggled her eyebrow cunningly.

I scoffed. My face feeling flushed. “I’m not into that kinky stuff, sister.”

“Too bad for Dean. He seemed like a guy who might enough a bit of kinky stuff in bed.”

I started fanning my face, feeling a bit attacked and embarrassed if someone eavesdropped on our conversation.

To my luck, we reached Julian office and the conversation cut off. Zoey knocked twice before entering. He looked up and met Zoey’s gaze, a slow smile growing at the edges of his lips. It took him another moment to notice we were closely behind Zoey. Even after a year, he was still starry-eyed for Zoey.

“Hello, ladies. I apologize for intruding a bit with your time. But I’ll be out of your hair soon.” Julian said as he got up and walked over to Zoey.

She met him halfway and wrapped her arms around his waist. Julian embraced her, and for a moment (which made anyone feel like they’re intruding and uncomfortable) the two shared a kissed and short whispered profession of their love.

I watched April react as I did. So we both found a good place to disappear (the couch on the right side of the room), and tried very hard not to eavesdrop and look at the couple before they parted ways.

It was then Greg arrived, without Dean, and interrupted the couple’s sweet moment to give us our take-out lunch. Greg looked sheepish for a second once he understood he interrupted his boss from a moment with his fiancé. However, it was all good since Julian was on a rush to get to his lunch meeting.

Zoey and Julian shared another brief kiss, which we all looked away. He then joined Greg as they both walked out towards the reception desk. It was then I felt my phone buzzed. April was already unpacking out lunch, with the help of Zoey, when I read my incoming message.

It was from Dean.

Zoey’s sister is here. Where do I send her? It read.

It surprised me. Where’s Greg? Didn’t you do with Mr. Hawksley? And we’re in Mr. Hawksley’s office. I replied.

I volunteered to stay instead. One of the perks being childhood friends with your boss.

I’ll escort her. He texted back.

Not a minute later, I could see him walking towards us with Kathy closely by his heel. She looked dazed as she assessed the open work area. When they reached the door of Julian’s office, Kathy snapped out of it and grinned. She didn’t wait for Dean to open the door for her. Instead, she burst in with her bubbling personality.

“Girls! Sorry, I’m late. I had to deal with one more patient, who had a lot of questions.” She greeted and headed directly to Zoey, giving her a kiss on the cheeks. Then she nodded towards April and me in greeting.

She continued, “so, have I missed anything? Have you started planning? How many strippers are we having in this party?”

Before Dean closed the door, he had heard Kathy’s inquiries, which got me an incredulous look. I arched an eyebrow and shook my head in a signal that I didn’t know what she was talking about. But Dean’s smirked told me he didn’t buy it or bothered about the strippers. With a wink, he left the area and returned to the reception desk.

I sent him a text on his way back. It wasn’t my idea about the strippers. And thank you for manning the reception for me.

No problem, babe. He responded at the same time he stopped on his track and gave me a thumbs up.

I tried to hide my chuckle but my sister noticed.

“What is it, Amy? Something funny?” She asked and peered at the phone on my hand before turning around, as she sat across from me, and saw Dean walked further and further away from us.

April looked at me suspiciously. “Were you having some secret text with your new boyfriend?”

I lightly flushed being caught in the act. “No,” I said too fast, making myself obvious.

“What? Amy has a boyfriend now?” Kathy followed where my sister’s gaze was and asked, “Was it the guy who escorted me in here?”

Before I could reply, April answered for me. “It is. And believe it or not, Kathy, that was also Julian’s childhood friend.”

“You mean that was the hunk you told me from the party last weekend.” Kathy was in disbelief. “He looked so different, more refined in a black suit and tie. The rugged look is more fitting for him.”

“I agree.” April and Zoey stated in unison, then smiled when they heard themselves.

“Can we focus now on the party? And prior to your questions Kathy, I’m still not sure about the strippers. We’re doing this at an exclusive VIP nightclub, and I’m not sure they’ll allow it.”

“Have you been to any nightclub before Amy?” Kathy sarcastically asked.

“Of course, I have.” I scoffed, a bit offended she thought otherwise.

“Then you’ve only been on the angelic ones. Because a friend of mine told me of this place that’s a really posh strip club with good booze.” Kathy said with a wicked grin.

Zoey snorted. “Is there such a thing? And your information circle isn’t that great, Kat, considering most of your friends are married with kids.”

“Which is why these women would be more keen to find better places to chill on weekends they’re not responsible for any of their children. And my friends are good at finding out stuff. You can’t know the power of gossiping mothers.” Kathy smiled proudly.

“Indeed I won’t,” Zoey muttered softly like she was reminiscing something that proves it.

April and I could only nod in agreement, thinking about our mother’s ability to sense about our situation before we were able to tell them ourselves.

“Okay, before we get into details, let’s eat. The food’s getting cold now.” Zoey clasped her hand and gestured at the boxes of food neatly placed on the coffee table.

While we ate, we chatted about basic trends and gossiped on people we all knew in our circle, you know, the usual girl talk. However, in the spirit of the occasion, being Zoey and Julian’s incoming marriage, it was unavoidable that we would address the topic. With Kathy and April in the room, there was a pack of interrogative questions lining up for Zoey.

Based on relation and age seniority, Kathy being the eldest in the room, she was first to ask.

“What’s he like in bed? You’ve never told me.” As expected from Kathy, she would ask this question without decorum.

Zoey blushed and briefly peered at April, who was looking away from her. I bit my lips, hiding my amusement. I knew Zoey told April. Those two told each other everything. Even stuff like that.

When Zoey didn’t reply, Kathy sighed and shook her head. “Tell just nod your head if any of these statements is correct.”

Zoey groaned. “Come on Kat! Can you just let it go? I don’t want to share my personal life with my fiancé with a family member.”

“At least, tell me he’s well-blessed in that area,” Kathy begged.

“I know you have a crush on him before we started dating…” Zoey started to divert her attention when Kathy interrupted with an “Aha! He does! I can see your blushing even more.”

Zoey pursed her lips, close her eyes, and shook her head. “What am I going to do with you? Do your husband really doesn’t mind about you asking stuff like these?”

“Jeremy doesn’t mind. And to make you feel confident, my husband is huge.” She whispered the last part and spread her hands to show us how huge.

“Okay, I think that’s enough talk about the male genitalia,” I interjected, feeling second-hand embarrassment listening to his conversation.

Kathy turned to me and wickedly grin. “How about you, Ams? Is your guy blessed with good size, or does he do extra things to compensate for the size?”

Now I’m the one blushing beet red at Kathy’s frankness.

“Based on your expression, he doesn’t have to compensate for anything.” Kathy stated with a mischievous grin as April and Zoey bellowed in unison at her remark.

“Damn it, Kathy. Can we please change the subject now?” I begged.

“Okay. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to tease you. But you should be proud you got yourself a good package deal if you know what I mean.” She winked.

April covered her mouth as another fit of laughter bubbled up her chest. Zoey was clutching her stomach; a bit relief she was no longer the subject of this discussion. As for me, I hope Kathy would find her way back to Zoey and ask her all the embarrassing questions.

Not a minute later, she did. And this time, she asked Zoey about sexual position. Thankfully, no one barfed from the stomach spasms we experience from laughing through the remaining thirty minutes of our lunch break. Even if I didn’t have all the topic listed for the bachelorette party, there was no time to address them with Kathy in the room. There was no progress made that day, yet we were all in a better mood than we came in this morning.

Like a whirlwind, Kathy left the group early the same way she arrived late. She had to say something spunky for her sister as a parting farewell.

“Tonight, when and if you and your hubby do the deed, try my suggestion. And I’m sure whatever you ask him to do, he’ll agree to it right away. It works for my husband when we have a long argument. It saves a marriage.”

We all laughed, but there was some truth to her words.

Zoey nodded. “Are you sure you don’t need a lift? I can ask someone to drive you. And I’m sure Julian’s on his way back so Jeff can drive you,” she offered.

“No. I’ll be fine. Jeremy’s picking me up since his shift is over for the afternoon.” She replied while lingering by the door.

“Okay. Safe trip, Kat.”

“See you, girls, later.” She blew us a kiss before exiting the room.

We watched her jogged towards the reception until she disappeared. It was then April sighed, like she lost her energy. But a smile lingered on her face.

“Man, your sister is a riot, Zoey. No wonder you’re the tamed one next to Mateo.” April stated.

“Well, Matt is not tamed when Kathy is around. But he is much calmer than I am without her. And yes, my sister is a bubbled of sunshine wrapped with ecstasy.” Zoey smirked in disbelief.

“You know we didn’t really make any decision about the party, other than Kathy suggestion on the posh stripper club, which I think is still bogus.” I pointed out.

“I know.” April and Zoey said in unison again. And the two peered at each other and grinned.

“But we still have another week to prepare it. So don’t worry. You can do it, sister.” April added and slowly got up, trying to straighten her still wrinkled outfit.

It was then Zoey noticed her appearance. “Did you forgot to iron your clothes last night? How drunk were you?”

April shook her head, like to signal Zoey to stop talking. She didn’t say she was drinking last night, and maybe nursing a hangover today.

“It was just a casual drink with my co-workers to loosen up our mental muscle. You know we are preparing for a case in court soon. My boss looks a lot worse than I do.” She reassured.

“Right. As long as you’re okay. Do you some lift back to work?” Zoey asked and peered down on her wristwatch. “Julian will be here in a minute or two.”

April beamed and nodded. “How am I going to refuse that? A free ride in an Audi SUV.”

Zoey and I shook our head in unison. It was then I knew she’ll be fine. That’s what I thought until Friday night.

Thank you for reading! Let me know what you think in the comments below. Have a lovely weekend everyone!
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