The night air was chilled, as a cool breeze passed by. I placed my one hand in my black leather jacket pocket, the other holding a bottle of whisky, as I approached the front door. I knocked three times on the heavy metal, before it swung open.
“Eric! Glad you could make it bud!” James shouted.
We shook hands and patted each other on the back. James was my best friend, and we remained close since Harvard. I didn’t have many friends that I called close. He knew a lot about me, and I knew a lot about him. We chased after a lot of girls and he was just as a player in his days as I was... or still am? That, however, came all to a halt once he knocked up a wife. I shook my head. My main wing man balled and chained. I felt so disappointed in him when I first received the news.
I entered his new home that he was throwing a house-warming party at. Mutual friends were invited too. It was supposed to be a casual affair with drinks and an outside barbeque.
“Long time no see my friend. How’s things at the office?” James asked as I passed the whisky bottle to him.
“What can I say James, work is work. Handling financial affairs is no joke.” I replied with a hard breath.
“Looks like you need this.” He waved up the Jack Daniels. “Pour you a glass?”
“Please! You know it.” I replied.
We passed through the large modern steel kitchen, dining and living room. The house was big and looked eye-catching. Huge family pictures scattered against the brick walls. I was glad for my friend.
The smoky air brushed my face as we walked outside to where the people were gathered. Old and new friends stood around, with familiar faces I had seen before. I knew Rebecca would be here too, since we had mutual friends. But I wasn’t in the mood to see her tonight.
“Here you go.” James marched up and passed me a glass half filled with whisky on the rocks.
“Thanks.” I took a gulp and surveyed his spacious garden. Equipped with a pool and entertainment area.
“Eric!” I turned to see Hanna, James’s wife coming towards me. Her blonde hair flowed, while she clutched her dress, her other hand holding her very pregnant belly.
“Hanna. Good to see you. Your home looks great.” I said as she came up to kiss my cheek. “You look absolutely gorgeous, I say it time again, James is one lucky man.”
She beamed and slapped me playfully. “Eric, always the charmer.” She said smiling. “You look handsome as always I see.”
“Well... I try.” I teased with a wink.
A few friends came up to us. We chatted and caught up. Laughter and playful debates filled the garden. My mind drifted to Harper, hoping she was enjoying her date so far, and she wasn’t saying something too ridiculous to chase Tom off. I smirked at the thought.
“... that’s the best movie of the year so far!” Dan argued with James.
The two men were in a heated debate about fucking movies. I turned my head observing the small crowd once more.
Two hot green-eyed beauties caught my attention. The familiar tingle growing. I walked away casually from my arguing friends to the beauties. Both eyeing me hungrily and I returned their burning gazes.
The one flipped her long braid while the other giggled flirtatiously while I approach. Finally, I can have some fun!
“Ladies...” I sang out.
Flirtatious giggles, side smirks and seductive talks were just right my ally. I sat twenty minutes in their company and the conversation was going my way.
“...maybe we should try that one day,” I whispered suggestively in the ear of the one beauty. While my hand touched the back of the other one.
My gaze looked to my friends, Hanna shaking her head watching me. My eyebrow popped up. She was standing next to Rebecca. Fuck! Displeasure written all over her tight-lipped face.
“Well ladies, I have to love and leave you.” I said reluctantly. They both pouted after I left, I grabbed my drink and strolled to where James, Hanna and Rebecca stood.
“Still at it I see.” Hanna said shaking her head.
“Hey just because I chose not to have a chained relationship, doesn’t make me a bad guy. I’m having fun.” I protested.
She raised her brow. “You just haven’t met the right woman, Eric.”
I laughed. “Please.”
“It just takes one to change your warped perception on love.” Hanna said.
“It’s hard to teach a dog new tricks.”
“Luckily, you’re not a dog then.” She countered.
I scoffed and pleased Rebecca was talking to James. I didn’t want her to get any ideas, or her to feel bad she wasn’t the ‘one’.
I walked over to Rebecca nonetheless, and planted a kiss on her forehead. She smiled tightly, clearly annoyed about me being fastened between two beautiful women. But I didn’t have the energy to explain myself for the umpteenth time. I chose to ignore it instead. Earning the ‘silent treatment’ from her.
I didn’t mind.
I watched as friends and new people I met talked, engrossed in topics. The economy. Sport. Even sex. The smoky smell of meat filled the air from the fired grill. Making me ravenous. Rebecca still avoided my gaze.
I continued to sip my Jack Daniels when I heard a familiar voice. I fucking voice I shouldn’t have heard.
I turned my head slowly around to the loud laughter. My whisky glass held tight in my left hand. My brows creased in confusion as I stared at the culprit tight lipped.
What the fuck was Tom doing here?
I left the group’s conversation and walked abruptly to him.
“Why you here?” I demanded, authority laced my voice, interrupting his conversation with a woman.
Tom looked up, taken aback by my tone.
“Eric... Hey. Good to see you.” He said casually with a laugh.
“Aren’t you supposed to be somewhere? Was it cancelled or something?” I demanded. Wanting his explanation.
“Be somewhe- oh, the date. I forgot!” He said slapping his hand against his short curly hair.
My left eye twitched.
“Nah, I decided not to go, I checked your girl out on social media, and she looked like a complete nerd. She ain’t my type. I thought it was a joke.” He laughed.
“What?” I said in a low dangerous tone, as I stared at the fucker.
“I didn’t go.” He said slowly, a frown forming on his face. “sorry...”
“Sorry.” I breathed out, my anger bubbling to the surface. Guilt rushed through me like an electric current. The image of Harper waiting for him, was grinding me inside. My jaw clamped up. My balled fists roughly grabbed Tom by his collar and slammed him against the nearby wall.
Earning concerned looks from friends and strangers.
“What the hell Eric?” Tom gulped, his eyes popped open wide.
“You left her there!” I seethed through gritted teeth. “SHE WENT TO THE RESTAURANT EXCITED TO MEET YOU AND YOU FUCKING LEFT HER THERE!!!” I shouted. I let go of his collar, he staggered on his feet, scared of my reaction.
“Sorry Eric, I didn’t know it was that serious.” He said reaching his hand out to me. I fixed my jacket and turned around to shocked silence. Concerned and confused expressions all gazed in my direction.
The most confused was Hanna and James. I caught Rebecca, her eyes drilled into me, her face expressionless.
“Are you okay man? I’ve never seen you go off like that?” James asked concerned, as he walked up to me, slapping my back.
The rest of the party eased back into conversation as Tom slunk away into the crowd.
Good! I didn’t want to see him in my sight.
“James, I’m fine. But sorry, I got to go.” I said without eye contact.
“Eric! Where you’re going?” James called out.
But I didn’t answer. I hightailed out the party, and from anyone in it, before he could say another word.