“What are you doing this weekend?” she called from across the kitchen.
“I told Rachel I would go to a party with her Saturday night. Why, do you want to do something?” I asked as I stood up from cleaning the stove out.
It was Friday and I always came over and helped mom clean her house on Fridays, unless I had something going on, or she did. It was just something that started when dad had passed away and we never changed it.
“Oh Maggie, I don’t like that girl. She was the one out of all your friends from high school I didn’t like the most.” Debra said carrying the wash bucket and rag over to the sink. She had been cleaning out the fridge and rubbing down all the shelves. “Remember when you all got in trouble for breaking into the gravel pit?”
“Mom that was ten years ago,” I said standing up from being on my knees too long. “Besides, all my other friends are either married with kids or have moved away. Rachel is all I got left.”
“That’s so sad honey; you need to make more friends.” She said pouring the water down the sink.
I wasn’t going to have this conversation again. “Did you want to do something on Saturday or Sunday?”
“Pastor Holmes is doing bring a dish to pass after church on Sunday. He asked how you were doing.”
Oh shit, she was trying to fix me up again. Pastor John was a nice enough guy, but he wasn’t for me. I mean it wasn’t that he was ugly or anything, it was just, I don’t know, he just didn’t feel right. “Mom, I’m not interested in Pastor John.”
“Pastor Holmes is a very nice man, and I think it’s nice he asks about you. Maggie, I’m not getting any younger and…”
“Nope, not going there mom. I am not a brood mare so you can have grandbabies. We have had this talk and we are not going to have it again.” I said throwing my completely soot covered rags in the garbage.
“Fine, but he is a nice man. It wouldn’t hurt you to socialize a little more with some good people.” She said taking out the sub I grabbed at subway on the way over. We always cleaned for an hour and then had dinner and then talked for a while and then I would go back to my place.
Rachel wasn’t the best of my friends growing up and we both knew it, but she was all that was left. Maybe mom was right, maybe I did need to meet some knew people. “Look mom, I don’t want to fight with you. How about I come with you to the dinner and socialize, but you agree to not try and fix me up or arrange for me to meet anyone?”
“That sounds good baby, we are meeting on the back lawn of the church at one.” She said smiling.
I knew that smile, that was her I’m still going to try to set you up smile, but I was tired of fighting, I really was. “Mom, will you make your macaroni and cheese. That way I know there will be something there that I like?”
“Sure honey, I would do anything for you.” She said with that smile I was beginning to not trust again.
“Come on Rachel, what is taking so long?” I asked again through the door of the bathroom that she made into her haven of solitude.
“Relax,” she yelled through the door, “the party doesn’t start till eight.”
“It’s ten,” I screamed back.
“Exactly,” she said opening the door and coming out. She whirled past me and across to the bedroom with the full length mirror and began studying herself in it.
Rachel looked good, but she always did. Of course with her body she could get away with whatever she wanted. She was slim and tall and had the look of one of those runway models that had the pouty lips that we all couldn’t stand. Her light brown hair cascaded down and around her face and her brown eyes made her look sexy in that soft way that guys loved.
“What do you think of these earrings?” She asked turning to stare at me.
“They’re fine, can we go now? I hate being late to things.” I said trying to cover my jealousy from being noticed.
She smiled. She knew. “That isn’t a problem; the party never starts till I get there. Besides you’re with me so no one will say a thing.”
She was right about that. Usually I wasn’t even looked at when the two of us walked in together. I hated thinking of myself as the uglier best friend, but when you stood next to Rachel that is what you automatically felt like.
“You’re driving right? I want a drink before we go,” she said walking to her counter and pouring another glass of wine. Rachel was on her third glass, so even if I hadn’t planned on driving I was now.
I looked at myself in the full length mirror. I wasn’t ugly; I knew that, I just wasn’t Rachel. I had red hair that hung loosely above my shoulders and green eyes and freckles. My dad always said I was the perfect Irish girl from America. I knew I wasn’t as skinny as the recent trend happened to be but I was happy with my body and I wasn’t about to change just to pick up some stupid guy that couldn’t appreciate who I was.
I was getting angry; I had to calm down before we left. There was no reason for my anger but it happened like that sometimes. I carefully breathed in and out and calmed down and walked into the kitchen to hurry her along.
“Where is the party we are going to?” I asked sitting at a counter stool at her breakfast nook.
“Anellio’s at the waterfront, not downtown. The party is upstairs; it’s for some John guy who is getting promoted to head of sales.” She said finishing her glass of wine.
“We’re going to a party and we don’t even know the guy that it’s for?” I asked in disbelief.
“Kind of,” she said slouching her shoulders in a “whatever” kind of move. “Tony said he put it together and invited me, so we are going. Besides, Tony always throws the best parties.”
“Yeah, and he always invites you.” I said a little scorching. Tony always invited Rachel because most nights they went home together afterwards. Tony Fossette was a big guy and all Italian. He could be scary if he wasn’t always smiling and giving a good time.
“He likes me, what can I say?” She smiled afterword.
“Why don’t the two of you just make it official and get it over with?”
“I like Tony, but he isn’t really the marrying kind. I mean he only works over at Gino’s you know?”
Yeah I knew. We got our pizza there all the time and Tony still couldn’t remember my name half the time. Stop Maggie, I thought, no use getting upset again. He only had eyes for Rachel and she was holding out for money. What a world we lived in.
We pulled in, and the parking lot was full, so we ended up parking on the street about a block or two away and walking. I smiled a little because I had on comfortable sandals but Rachel had heels. Oh crap, now I was being the catty one. Stop Maggie, I thought again.
We walked in and immediately turned and went up the stairs to the second floor. It was a clear night and warm enough that they had the sides open and the deck was where the party was happening. We didn’t get ten feet before Tony came swooping in.
“Rachel, I’ve been looking for you all night.” He said coming to a halt right in front of her.
“Oh I know, it took Maggie I while,” she said motioning with her head in my direction.
Tony looked over at me and quickly turned back To Rachel without saying a word. I wasn’t sure how our being late was my fault but I wasn’t surprised. Rachel pulled crap like that all the time.
“Let me get you a drink, you want a Slow Easy?” He asked her.
“Yeah, grab one for Maggie too.” She said patting his well muscled arm. He nodded like he understood something and walked away.
“Tony is going to grab us drinks,” Rachel said looking over the crowd.
There were a lot of people here and at least seventy percent of them were men. It was going to be a busy night for Rachel and I knew it was going to be a long night for me. Tony returned with our drinks and I thanked him when he handed me one but he turned immediately back to Rachel and began telling her how good she looked.
The problem was Tony was a stud, I mean he was well built and handsome and loved to laugh with a booming laugh, but he was happy spinning pizza’s and didn’t care about making money. Of course his real problem was Rachel wanted money, and she would keep using Tony until the perfect guy came along and then she would discard him and move on.
They did look good together with her tall slim build and his well worked out physique. I guess they could be happy till they weren’t. Of course that’s all anyone could do.
Tony kept introducing Rachel to everyone and in turn she would introduce me, well that was how it went for the first hour and then the more she drank the more she forgot about me. Which was fine, most of the crowd was a little too wild for my taste anyway.
The guy John, who I was introduced to, who got the promotion, was taking over head of sales for Control X Company, they made heater controls that were sold all through the country. Apparently it was a big deal because all the guys were excited for him and they all kept drinking to his new job.
It was about one in the morning when Rachel came over to me and said it was starting to thin out. She was going to do one more sweep and then we could go. I got up and got rid of the soda I had been drinking to keep me awake and waited for her.
She walked up with Tony and John and a big smile on her face. “Maggie, we are going to go back to John’s place for a night cap. You can follow John with your car so you know where we are going.”
“Rachel, you know I have plans tomorrow. I need to call it a night.” I said not wanting to go back to a place that would be new and uncomfortable.
“Just a sec guys,” she aid and then grabbed my arm and dragged me off to a corner. “Maggie, John is going to be making a boatload of money and I want to see if we might have something. I need you to go to keep Tony occupied.”
I tore my arm from her. “Are you kidding me? Tony only has eyes for you. I am not going to keep him busy so you can screw his friend. That’s bullshit and you know it.”
“Keep your voice down,” she said looking back at the two men. “I need you with me or I won’t be able to get John alone. You owe me.”
“Excuse me.” I asked shocked.
“If it wasn’t for me you would never get invited to a party. It’s time for you to pay up. I’m not saying you have to sleep with Tony, but, just, you know, keep him busy.” She explained half drunk.
“I will not whore myself out for you or anyone else.” I said trying to get by her.
She stopped me. “This isn’t high school anymore. We can’t just tease them all night and then not do anything. We owe them.”
“I didn’t tease anyone, in fact, for the last hour I have been sitting by myself waiting for you to find out who you were going to leave with. Apparently you have made a decision and you don’t need me to give you a ride, so I am leaving.” I said striding back toward the two men.
“I’m sorry guys, but I have plans tomorrow so I am calling it a night. John congratulations on the promotion and Tony it was nice seeing you again.” I said.
“Maggie,” Rachel called and I turned and she took a picture of me with her phone. She was smiling as she began typing into her phone and I just shook my head and walked away. Mom was right, I needed some new friends.