"So..." Cari drew out. I looked up from my cell phone in the middle of a text, and gave her a questioning look.
We had just arrived at the cafe. It was a Saturday tradition that we both met around noon to do a little chatting, a little catching up, and just have a little girl time. She had ordered a banana shake, while I had ordered a classic stawberry. We always ordered milkshakes, and stayed outside. It was cold outside, colder than usual, but that didn't stop us. The sky was a bright gray, but despite the lack of blue skies people still seemed to be happy. Cari seemed happy, but there was something off about her that I couldn't place. She seemed a little rougher than usual, a little angry. I decided that it was a good thing she wasn't mad at me, and that I wanted to keep it that way.
I smiled at her. "So?" I mocked.
Cari's head tipped to the side. My toes tingled at the look in her eyes. "What are you going to do about the rest of the money owed?" She took an intimidating sip of her shake, her eyes on me.
I drew in a sharp breath at the question. I really didn't want to talk about it. "I don't know, stuff. I can make up to rest of the money." I waved off the look that she was giving me. "I'm a very resourseful person."
"As am I," she hissed.
My nose scrunched up like I'd just eaten something disgusting. "Wha-"
"To the point," she interuppted, "where I've heard that you lost your job."
I caught off guard, but somehow it didn't shock me that she knew. I let out a laugh, but it caught in my throat when I saw Cari's eyes narrow. I cleared my throat and took another long sip of strawberry. "Abby? Did she tell you?" There was something bitter in my voice. For reasons unknown, I felt betrayed.
"No," she said. She leaned back in her chair, and slid her hand through her perfect hair. The threat of tears glittered in her eyes. "I thought you said you said you'd call if you needed anything."
It felt like someone had pinched my heart. The way she looked, so hurt, it hurt me to see her like that. I frowned. "I did." She gave me a look. "Oh, don't be so dramatic! I'll find a job soon enough. I've been looking."
"You don't even need to look--"
"No! I'm not taking a job from you," I said. I spoke fast, knowing she would be quick to protest.
"Why not?" she fired back.
I let out a large sigh, and the feelings in my gut settled a bit. "We've already had this conversation, Cari," I said. There were hints of exhuastion in my voice. I really didn't want to talk about this. I didn't want to talk about money. I just wanted to feel free, to feel a bit more in control. This topic did not do that for me.
"Yes, but it's different this time. You could really use the money," she nagged.
"Yeah, I could, but then I'd just be taking advantage of you."
"I want you to work for us."
"No," I said. I looked up to meet her eyes and repeated, "No."
She huffed, looking unhappy about it, but she didn't try again. "So then how are you going to come up with the money?"
I shrugged again. I was a bit relieved that she didn't offer to let me work for her again, but the relief didn't last long. She was asking a question I didn't know the answer to, and it made me uncomfortable. I knew she sensed my discomfort but she didn't pry. She just expected me to break and just tell her. Well, I wasn't. "I don't know. A job is how I'm going to get most of it."
"Most of it?"
"Well, you already pitched in 10, so yeah, most of it."
"I don't think you'll get 20 in less than a month, Beth, unless you plan on becoming the world best stripper."
"Oh," I said, smirking, "I know that, but did you hear about this guy?"
Cari's ears perked, and her whole mood seemed to change. She always got interested when I brought up men. "Well, go on."
"Well," I gave her a devilish look, "I hear he's handsome, and he's totally rich."
Cari rolled her eyes. "So what? You plan on becoming a little whore so he'll pay for everything?"
"Something like that, see he has a wife and kids," I said, a little laugh coming form my lips. "And I'm gonna get between them, make him fall for me, and then suck him dry, so he'll be divorced, alone, and totally broke! Muhahahah!"
Cari narrowed her eyes, "Bitch, are you talking about my husband?"
"Ohh, is that jealousy I hear?" I mocked. I puckered my lips and made kissy noises..
She smirked at me."I'm sorry, you're going to be very disappointed when he doesn't leave his family."
"So I can still suck him dry?" I gave her a wide grin, my tongue clamped between my teeth. I almost died when Cari scowled at me.
"No," she said.
"Oh," I laughed, "I'm kidding, Care-bear, I'm kidding." I looked down at my phone again, and then back up at her to giggle a bit at her mom face or otherwise known as 'a look of utter disapproval'.
"Well, find a different man to talk about," she said. "He's mine, and I don't like sharing."
I smiled at Cari, patting her hand. "Sweetie, you've got nothing to worry about. Even if I wanted to--which I don't--Kurt would never look at another girl as long as he's got you."
Cari was silent for a moment, and again, her mood seemed to change. She looked at my hand as she took it, and held it. "But you're okay right?"
I tilted my head to the side. "Okay? What cha talking about?"
"With us. Kurt and me. Look, I know he means a lot to you, but does he...do you still...?" Cari couldn't finish her sentence. She looked just as uncomforable as I suddenly felt.
I let out a nervous chuckled. "Uh, no." I removed my hand from hers and gave her delicate hand a single pat before returning it to me side. I started texting under the table. "I'm good. See, Kurt's great and all, but he's..." my face scrunched up, "Kurt. He's a weirdo, and he likes science." I looked down at my phone, clicking away. "I mean, we tried dating for a while in high school, but you know that." I looked up at her and shrugged. "I personally like him more as a friend because then when I ask for money I don't have to give him sex, and I can just pay him back."
Cari rolled her eyes at my cheeky smile and ran both hands through her hair. "Whatever." She paused for a moment, and then sighed. "Did you two...ever...have..." My phone vibrated in my hand and I looked down.
The text read: Okay. Meet me at 8. Regular spot.
"Sex?" My voice was absent. I stared down at the phone in my lap, dazed. I couldn't believe it actually worked. I couldn't believe I was in just like that. It felt unreal. I stayed like that for a moment, before I remembed where I was. I looked up at Cari, and shook my head. "Sex? I don't know, maybe? I was really horny back in high school. But I can't remember. Honestly? Probably. I had this weird fantasy that he'd make awesome kids, and that he'd make a great husband." I winked at Cari. "I was right about that."
"Yes, you were," Cari said. "Do you think he's good at sex...?"
I snickered, and shook my head. "I don't know."
"Guess." With the excitement of a child, she took another drink of her shake.
I did too, and with a roll of my eyes I put on my best thinker face. "Well, he's a scentist....Hmm, he managed to score you...He also managed to get two kids out of you, so yes. I think he's good at sex."
"Well, you're wrong. Wrong!" Cari whimpered a little. "He's awful. No matter how many times we practice, or go at it, he never seems to get better." Cari actually managed to sound flabbergasted, to which I was amazed.
"Holy shit, woman. You actually make this sound like a problem."
"Because it is!" She shook her head and drank a bit of her shake. "Like, it's not like I can just go have sex with other people, either, it has to be him because we're married."
I scoffed. "Oh, I really feel your pain," I deadpanned.
Cari let out a huff. "Oh, shut up. You're lucky to be able to sleep with whoever you want."
"Yeah, so lucky that I don't have a man to come home to." The phone vibrated, and Cair finally noticed.
"Who's texting you?"
I looked down at my phone, and shrugged. "I...uh...um..."
"Potentional boyfriend?" Cari's eyes crinkle with excitement. She bit her lip, wiggling around like a school girl.
I held my breath, though, and looked down and read the text: Got it? If you're late, you're out.
"Uh..." I glanced back up at Cari. I blew out my breath. The hope in her eyes made me smile. "Yeah," I lied. My mouth curved into a weird awkward smile. "There's potentional. We're even meeting tonight at eight."
"Oh, like a date?"
I nodded. "Like a date."