Home » » REASON TO BREATHE BY REBECCA DONOVAN: 18. Another Dimension

REASON TO BREATHE BY REBECCA DONOVAN: 18. Another Dimension

18. Another Dimension

“We’d better hurry,” Sara said as we entered the diminishing daylight
through the doors of the movie theatre. “We only have two hours to
get you ready.”
“How long could it possibly take me to get ready?”
“Wel, you have to take a shower, and make sure you shave. Oh, and I
bought you more of that lotion.”
“I stil have lotion left from the first bottle. And why are you concerned
if I shave?”
“Wel, now you have more. I realy like it on you. It’s subtle and pretty.”
“I like it too, thank you. But you didn’t answer the shaving question.”
She was beginning to make me nervous.
“You’re wearing a skirt,” she revealed cautiously.
“Seriously?” I couldn’t remember the last time I wore a skirt. When
was the last time I wore a skirt? Then I tried to remember what my
legs looked like. Did I have any bruises or scrapes on my knees from
the game? “A skirt?”
“Em, you’re going to look amazing.” Then Sara quickly added,
“But not too amazing. The last thing we need is for him to want to kiss
you.” She paused, looking me before sighing. “This is going to be
harder than I thought.”
“I don’t think you have to worry about that,” I assured her. When we
arrived back at her house, the grand production began. While I
showered and shaved, Sara went through her closet, rifling through
what seemed like everything she owned. She wouldn’t let me see what
she’d finaly decided on until I was ready to get dressed.
Sara dried my hair and roled it in hot curlers. I was panicked when I
saw my head ful of the white cylinders. Then my eyes popped at the
sight of the ringlets dangling from my head after she unroled them.
“Sara, you cannot let me go out like this,” I pleaded.
“Don’t worry, I’m not done,” she promised.
She gathered my hair into a high ponytail, alowing my bangs to sweep
across my forehead. I decided it was best not to look until she was
done, so I closed my eyes as she teased, pinned and sprayed. I opened
them to find a large, smooth bun on the back of my head. It looked
more sophisticated than anything I could’ve imagined.
Sara handed me the softest pink sweater I’d ever seen. Once I was
dressed, I stood in front of the ful length mirror, admiring the boat
neckline of the fitted sweater that subtly revealed the tops of my
shoulders and the dark skirt that swayed above my knees – it was a
classy vintage look, and I loved it. She attached a thin silver chain with
a single diamond around my neck – the diamond sparkled as it settled
into the holow of my throat. Finaly, she handed me a pair of black
heels that were at least three inches high.
“Heels?” I grimaced, with images of faling on my face playing in my
head.
“Yup.”
“Sara, I’m going to kil myself,” I pleaded. I’d never worn heels and
knew this was not the night to be experimenting with my grace or
balance.
“You’l be fine. Just take smal steps.”
I slowly hobbled around the room, my ankles threatening to give way
with each step. We wobbled into the entertainment room so I’d have a
larger catwalk. I delicately stroled the length of it several times before
the doorbel rang.
“He’s here?” I panicked. Sara laughed.
“It’s not a date, remember?”
“You’re right,” I breathed.
“It’s only dinner with his parents and a bunch of stuck-up old people.”
She laughed again.
“Emma, Sara,” Anna yeled up the stairs, “Evan’s here.” My heart
fluttered into my throat.
“Here.” Sara handed me a long white wool coat that hung to the
middle of my calves, along with a tote bag so I could change before the
party.
“Thanks.”
“Em, try to relax. You have nothing to worry about.”
I took a deep breath and walked carefuly down the stairs, trying not to
fal. I hated heels already. They were too much work. Walking
shouldn’t be something I had to worry about. I had far too many other
things to be concerned with, like how to not sound like an idiot in
front of a room ful of over-educated wealthy men. Evan waited for me
at the bottom of the stairs. I couldn’t look up as he came into view,
afraid that not looking at my feet would cause me to crumble to the
bottom step. When I was finaly able to look up, I noticed that his
cheeks were flushed and he had a grin on his face that made my breath
stop for a second.
“Hi,” I greeted him.
“Hi,” he smiled.
“Hey Evan,” Sara said, leaping down the stairs. “How’d I do?
Is she acceptable?” I widened my eyes, wanting to shoot her for asking
him to comment on my appearance.
Evan laughed. “Yeah, she’s definitely acceptable.”
“You met my parents, Anna and Carl?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Have a great time tonight, Emma,” Anna said, giving me a gentle hug
and kiss on the cheek. “You realy do look beautiful.”
“Thank you,” I replied, blushing.
“I’l see you at Jake’s. Evan, I have your cel number in case we get there
before you,” Sara stated.
“Ready?” Evan asked me.
“Sure.” We said good-bye one more time and headed out the door.
Evan waited until we were in the car before he said, “You realy do look
beautiful.”
“Thanks,” I murmured.
“You’re not comfortable, are you?”
“Not at al,” I admitted with a smal laugh. Evan laughed with me, releasing
the tension.
“Wel, I’l try not to torture you too long. Let’s get this over with,” he
said, puling out of Sara’s driveway.
“I have to warn you, I suck in these shoes. I could fal and break
something very expensive.”
He laughed. “I’l be sure to keep you away from anything breakable.”
“If there is any way I can sit the entire time that would be great.”
“Let’s see what we can do. But I’m afraid we’l be in a room without
many options during the cocktail hour.”
“The what?” I asked, confused and embarrassed that I had to ask.
“Sorry, I forgot that this is your first time. We’re meeting my parents
there. They’l wait for us and we’l al go in together.”
“Your parents know I’m coming, right?” I was suddenly nervous that
they might not be expecting me.
“Yes, they know you’re coming. They may refer to you as my girlfriend
when they introduce you to everyone. I keep trying to correct them,
but…” He sighed. “Anyway, I’m sorry about that.”
“It’s okay,” I whispered, feeling the fire on my face once again.
“So, Mr. Jacobs and his wife are hosting the party and they’l be greeting
everyone at the door. I think it should only be about twenty people,
so that shouldn’t be bad.” Only twenty people? That meant there were
twenty names to forget and twenty hands to shake and exchange
meaningless smal talk with – not comforting. Evan proceeded to give
me a rundown of the flow of the evening and the expected etiquette.
“I’m hoping I’l be able to excuse us after dinner. I’l say that we have a
show to go to or something. Just agree with whatever I say, okay?”
“Okay.” This sounded way more complicated than just eating food and
making mindless conversation. I knew I was getting a glimpse of
Evan’s world tonight, but I had no idea how much I didn’t fit in.
“Thank you so much for doing this,” he said glancing at me as he
drove. “I’l seriously owe you after tonight.”
“I think we’l be even.”
“You may want to wait to say that until after we leave.”
A few minutes later, Evan puled out his cel phone. “Hi mom. We’re
just about there.” He listened for a moment and responded,
“Okay, I think I see you now. Sure, I’l folow you in.”
On the side of the road, a large black Mercedes was puled over. As we
neared, Evan slowed down to let it merge in front of him. I knew it
must be his parents. We folowed them into a driveway that was
guarded by two large stone pilars with corresponding ornate wrought
iron gates that were swung open in expectation. We folowed the long
winding driveway, lined with antique wrought iron lanterns, until it
opened up to reveal a spectacular white stone mansion.
The front of the house was dramaticaly up-lit, iluminating its
grandeur. It appeared to be two stories, encircled by large arched windows
that let out a warm glow of light, giving hint to the heavy drapery
on the inside. The front lawn displayed perfectly trimmed hedges outlining
the house. The lawn itself was flat, but raised from the driveway,
and encased by a stone wal.
I swalowed hard, realizing I was in over my head. I was not just in a
different world, I was in another dimension. I eyed Evan nervously.
He smiled and said, “Don’t worry. It’l be over before you know it.”
We puled up along the circular driveway where we were greeted by a
man with a black jacket and a bow tie. He opened Evan’s door.
Evan leaned over before he got out and said, “Wait right there, I’l get
you out.” I didn’t move. I actualy didn’t want to get out. Evan walked
around the back of the car and opened my door. He offered me his
hand, to which I would have typicaly looked at him like he was insane,
but with these shoes on, I gladly accepted the assistance. Waiting in
front of the first set of stone steps were Evan’s parents.
His mother was sparkling with her bobbed blond hair and bright blue
eyes. She was covered in a fur coat and adorned with more diamonds
than I’d ever seen on one person. She had soft, delicate features and
looked very thin and breakable. She clutched a smal black handbag
that was sealed with more glitz. In contrast, Mr. Mathews was a
statuesque man, taler than Evan, but with strikingly similar features.
He and Evan shared the same light brown hair and grayish blue eyes.
His face was angular and serious as he stood in a long black coat, concealing
a tuxedo. I took a deep breath before approaching them. I tried
my best to smile cordialy while I was introduced.
“Vivian and Stuart Mathews, this is“Emily Thomas,” Vivian finished,
holding out her hand. I tried to conceal the shocked look on my face,
especialy with being caled Emily by someone I’d never seen before
today.
“It’s very nice to meet you,” I said, shaking her delicate hand. Stuart
remained stil with his hands by his side, making no attempt acknowledge
me, forget about shake my hand.
“Wel, aren’t you lovely,” Vivian admired. “We never get to meet Evan’s
girlfriends.” I knew it was coming, but my heart stil leapt when she
said it, sending a flicker of heat to my cheeks. Evan roled his eyes.
“Mom, you met Beth, remember?” His tone was impatient.
“Maybe for a second as you were leaving the house,” she countered.
“Anyway, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Emily. Shal we go in?” There was
an air about her that made me stand up straighter and afraid to walk,
knowing how clumsy I’d appear next to her grace and sophistication. I
gave Evan a fearful glance as we approached the first set of stone
steps. There were only three, but they might as wel have been a flight.
Evan offered me his right elbow to clutch as I concentrated with each
step. I don’t think I breathed the entire time. His parents glided ahead
of us as I carefuly placed one foot in front of the other along the stone
pathway. At the top of the second set of steps was an enormous
wooden door that opened as Vivian and Stuart neared it. They waited
for us before entering.
“Stuart, Vivian,” the dual voices of a man and woman sang.
“Welcome. It’s so wonderful to see you again.” Vivian and Stuart were
warmly greeted by whom I presumed to be Mr. and Mrs. Jacobs, with
a quick embrace that included a brushing kiss on their cheeks and a
handshake.
“Evelyn, Maxwel, you remember our youngest son, Evan, don’t you?”
Vivian offered as they stepped aside for us to enter.
“Of course,” Mr. Jacobs greeted Evan with a handshake.
“And this is his girlfriend, Emily Thomas,” she introduced. I smiled
politely.
“Thank you for joining us,” Mrs. Jacobs said grasping my right hand
between her two cool, soft palms.
“Thank you for having me,” I replied.
Evan slipped my coat off and handed it to a formaly poised man,
dressed in a tuxedo.
I was too distracted by the grand foyer, with its huge crystal chandelier
and expansive stone staircase with a large red carpet running down
the center, to notice Evan staring at me. I glanced over at him with a
start.
“What?!” I was afraid I’d done something wrong already.
“Another pink sweater, huh? You’re kiling me.”
I looked at him with wide eyes, my face flooded with color.
“Evan!”
He smiled as we folowed his parents into a room to the right of the
foyer. I wasn’t about to admit that seeing him in the dark tailored suit
was just as distracting.
We entered a large room that could easily contain the entire first floor
of my house within its wals, with a ceiling that was easily two stories
high. The windows along the front of the house were framed with
heavy ivory scroled drapes that were held open with tasseled ropes.
The top half of the wals were adorned with soft coral walpaper, set
above ivory wood panels embossed with leafing scrols. On the large
wal across from the entrance, hung two large paintings of a garden
and a woman dressed around the period the house was constructed,
and another portrait of the mansion was centered on the wal opposite
the windows. The remaining wal housed a stone fireplace that was as
tal as I was. Hanging above it was a pewter framed mirror that duplicated
the size of the massive stone structure.
As predicted, there wasn’t anywhere to sit. There were several oversized
antique chairs set against the wals, but they were obviously for
appearances only. The only other piece of furniture was a large stone
topped table with dark wood legs gathered in the center that roled out
into a round base. Set on the round surface was the biggest floral arrangement
I’d ever seen. It looked like a tree of flowers with different
colors and textures - it was absolutely amazing.
“Are you okay?” Evan asked, as my unblinking eyes scanned the room.
“Sure,” I replied slowly, nodding my head. He smiled and grabbed my
hand to escort me to the corner of the room.
“Evan,” a deep, distinguished voice greeted. It belonged to a man of
average height, much shorter than Evan, with dark wavy hair and a
thick black mustache. “How are you? Stuart said you were going to be
here this evening.”
“It’s great to see you, Mr. Nicols,” Evan acknowledged, shaking his
hand. “Mr. Nicols, this is Emma Thomas. We go to school together.
Emma, this is Mr. Nicols. He belongs to the same firm as my father.”
“Aren’t you stunning,” he observed, cupping my hand in both of his as
his eyes roled over me. I was taken aback by the greeting, and forced
an uncomfortable smile. “Evan, you should bring your girls around
here more often.” He nudged Evan with his elbow. It took everything I
had to keep an even expression.
After a few more exchanges about soccer and Evan’s winter travel
plans, Mr. Nicols excused himself. I let out the breath I’d been holding
while in his presence.
“I am so sorry. I had no idea - wel, I was afraid - but stil didn’t think
anyone would actualy be that rude.”
“That was interesting,” was al I could say.
“Want something to eat?” he asked, nodding toward a server dressed
in a tux, carrying a silver tray of bite-sized food.
“I’m okay.”
“This wil be over before you know it,” he promised.
“You keep saying that,” I mumbled, but began to wonder if he was saying
it to himself as much as he was to me.
At that time, Vivian approached us with a portly man wearing smal
frameless glasses. He had a ring of white hair that blended with his
pale complexion, contrasted by his ruddy cheeks.
“Evan, you remember Dr. Eckel, correct?” Vivian presented the smal
round man.
“Of course. It’s nice to see you again, Dr. Eckel,” Evan said, gripping
his hand.
“Dr. Eckel, this is Evan’s girlfriend, Emily Thomas.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Miss Thomas,” Dr. Eckel said, shaking my
hand gingerly. I produced a smal smile.
“Dr. Eckel is a professor of Bio-Chemistry at Yale,” Evan explained.
“Oh.” I nodded lightly.
“Are you and Evan in many classes together?” his mother asked.
“Evan’s in most of my classes.”
“So you’re inteligent. That’s wonderful,” she concluded, smiling softly.
I wasn’t sure what to say to that.
“She’s also a great athlete,” Evan offered, trying to deflect the awkward
comment. “The girls’ soccer team won the state championship last
night because of her.” His acknowledgement didn’t help. The sweater
became unbearably stifling the longer they spoke about me.
“Congratulations,” Dr. Eckel stated. “Have you started looking at
coleges?”
“I haven’t visited any campuses yet, but I’ve had a few colege scouts
come to my games. My first choice is Stanford,” I shared. My voice
sounded so smal in the huge room.
“Realy?” Vivian reacted in interest.
“What do you plan to study?” Dr. Eckel inquired.
“I haven’t narrowed it down yet.”
“She could choose anything,” Evan boasted. “She’s in al of the advanced
classes and has a 4.0.”
“Hmm,” his mother responded, stil intrigued.
“Wel, I wish you the best,” Dr. Eckel offered, shaking my hand once
again. “Evan, it’s always a pleasure.” He and Vivian stroled to greet another
face they recognized.
I turned to Evan, trying to recover from my elevated temperature.
“Don’t do that,” I pleaded.
“I’m sorry, what did I do?”
“Talking about me like that - it’s so uncomfortable.”
“But I didn’t say anything that wasn’t true, and I didn’t exaggerate.
Sorry if it’s hard to hear the truth.”
I took another breath. “I’m just not used to this.”
“I know,” he said grabbing my hand and giving it a gentle squeeze. He
didn’t let go as I anticipated he would.
“My parents said you were going to be here,” an excited female voice
squealed. I watched a stunning girl, with long wavy blond hair, saunter
toward us. She wore a strapless black cocktail dress that hugged her
slender figure. I felt juvenile and plain in comparison – despite Sara’s
best efforts. She wrapped her arms around Evan and gave him a quick
peck on the mouth. He released my hand to return the embrace. I became
an invisible witness to this intimate greeting, holding my hands
in front of me, preferring to look at the floor.
“Catherine, this is Emma Thomas. We go to school together. Catherine
is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacobs,” Evan explained. She turned to
me with a start, oblivious to my presence until Evan mentioned me. I
understood why as she pressed her body against his side, with her
arms wrapped around his arm.
“Nice to meet you,” she acknowledged with the slightest nod.
“Catherine attends Boston Colege,” Evan shared, obviously trying to
make up for Catherine’s disinterest.
“Do you like it?” I asked, thinking I should say something.
“I do,” she answered shortly, barely glancing at me.
“Evan, I have a surprise for you,” she announced, dismissing me completely.
“Come upstairs so I can give it to you.” She started puling him
behind her. My eyes widened, realizing I was being left standing alone.
Evan slowed Catherine’s persistent pace and said something low into
her ear. They stopped and she glanced at me with confused eyes. Evan
said something else and she looked at him with a furrowed brow as
she lightly ran her hand across his cheek. Her face dropped to a sulk.
She whispered in his ear and took in his expression with a mischievous
grin. He shook his head with an apologetic smile. She shrugged, gave
him a quick kiss on the lips, and glided away. I wanted so much to
blend into the walpaper at that moment.
Evan returned to me, his cheeks flushed.
Before he opened his mouth to say anything, I blurted, “Don’t, it’s
okay. I realy don’t want to know. It’s actualy none of my business.”
He examined me cautiously and said, “Realy? That didn’t bother you?”
I drew my brow together. “Why would you ask me that?”
“Because what she did was completely offensive. I was bothered by it,
so I can’t believe that you weren’t.”
I shrugged slightly and dropped my eyes to the floor. “I’m realy not
sure what to expect.”
“You should never expect that,” he stated while taking hold of my hand
and raising my chin with his other hand. I couldn’t breathe when I
turned my eyes up at him. “Okay?”
“Sure,” I whispered, glancing away.
This was the strangest night of my life. I was in the most exquisite
house I’d ever seen, surrounded by people who assumed they had the
privilege to say anything they wanted, regardless of how distasteful,
and Evan was talking and acting ten years older than he was. He was
right - Jake’s party was going to be easy after this.
We were greeted and I was introduced to more people throughout the
longest hour of my life. They’d ask Evan a question and cut him off to
talk about themselves. Finaly, as I was becoming cross-eyed to feign
interest in another mind-numbing story, a bel chimed and Mr. Jacobs
requested that everyone make their way into the dining room for
dinner.
I found that after al of this stifling drama, I was starving. We entered a
long dimly lit room with the same large arching windows framed in
dark red drapes that showcased the back terrace. The top half of the
wals were covered in antiqued glass mirrors up to the ceiling, while the
bottom half duplicated the ivory wood casings in the previous room.
Another impressive stone fireplace centered the wal opposite the
windows.
A long dark wooden table divided the room, with the windows on one
side and the fireplace on the other. Complimenting the grand table
were tal, straight-back chairs – closer to forty chairs than the twenty
Evan guestimated. The table was set with delicate china bordered with
gold scroling, along with a colection of elegant glassware and flatware.
Smal silver cups of colorful flowers and glowing crystal votives were
intermittently dispersed along the center of the table. A stunning crystal
chandelier was suspended over us, creating a soft ambience enhanced
by a crackling fire. Evan puled out my chair for me to sit before
sitting to my left. To my changing fortune, Dr. Eckel sat to my right.
He was the only person I’d met who was not self righteous and rude,
but then again, he didn’t say much at al. That was fine by me too.
However, keeping with the momentum of the evening, on Evan’s left
was Catherine, who scooted her chair closer to him. She took a sip
from an oversized wine glass and leaned towards him.
“What Evan, not drinking tonight?”
“I’m driving,” he explained.
“You don’t have to,” she whispered, stil loud enough that I could hear
her. My back straightened, and I tried to take a sip of water to distract
me. I didn’t dare look over at them.
“Evan, I’ve missed you,” she breathed. I choked on the water, coughing
mid-gulp. I couldn’t stop coughing. Everyone stared at me as I tried to
contain my fit in my napkin.
“Sorry,” I whispered, looking around at the startled faces. My face was
red, not only from choking, but also from the words I’d just overheard.
“Are you okay?” Evan asked, trying to turn his back to Catherine.
“Yes,” I replied apologeticaly. “I swalowed wrong, I’m sorry.”
A line of servers entered the room, holding shalow bowls in each of
their hands. The bowls were set in front of every person simultaneously.
It was very impressive to witness.
“Start with the silverware on the outside and work your way in,” Evan
whispered. I looked down at the lines of silver. How much could we
possibly eat to need al of this?
“Evan, don’t ignore me,” Catherine demanded while we ate our soup.
It didn’t appear that anyone else could hear her whispers over the
murmurs of conversation that bounced around the cavernous room. I
heard her because I was sitting next to Evan, and Dr. Eckel was as
mute as I was.
“I’m not ignoring you, Catherine.”
“When are you visiting me in Boston again?” she asked. “We had so
much fun the last time. Remember?” She released a high pitched
giggle.
My head cocked in reaction to this artificial sound. Did she realy force
a giggle? Who does that? I tried to hold in my laughter and ended up
coughing again, receiving a few more glances.
“I’m realy busy right now,” Evan explained, glancing at me. I couldn’t
look at him.
“But I haven’t seen you since I started school in August. Don’t you
miss me?”
I couldn’t wait to hear his response to this one.
“I had a good time.”
Nice one, Evan.
“I can promise you a better time. Why don’t you come up next
weekend? “
“Aren’t you on break for Thanksgiving?”
“Then come visit me here.”
“My brother wil be home. I think we’re going sking.”
“Evan,” she whined. “Don’t make me beg you.”
Was she serious? I took another gulp of water trying to suffocate my
urge to laugh. I swalowed it without incident but found I was soon out
of water. To my astonishment, it was quickly refiled by a body dressed
in a tuxedo who appeared out of nowhere with a silver pitcher.
Catherine sulked during the second and third courses. I had no idea
what I was eating because the courses didn’t resemble anything I
could conjure up as food. But I tried them and was pleasantly surprised
to discover that I liked them.
“How are you doing?” Evan leaned over to ask me.
“I’m doing just fine, thank you.” I grinned. I stil couldn’t look at him,
because that meant I would see her too. I didn’t know if I could do that
and keep a straight face.
“How are you doing?” I inquired, stil grinning.
“I’m ready to leave actualy,” he admitted. A smile broke out on my face
with the escape of a smal laughing cough. By the fifth course, which I
did recognize to be beef, I had consumed three glasses of water and
realy needed to use the bathroom. The thought of standing up in front
of al of these people and slipping out of the room unnoticed kept me
paralyzed in my chair. But the settling pressure made taking one more
bite unbearable.
“I have to use the restroom,” I whispered to Evan.
“I’m not sure where they are,” he admitted. “But you can ask one of the
servers, and they’l let you know where to go.”
Thankfuly, the entrance was behind us. I held my breath as I slowly
slid my chair away from the table. A loud scraping sound filed the
room, disrupting every conversation. I grimaced and looked around
apologeticaly at the same annoyed glares I’d been receiving al evening.
I slipped out of the chair, and with as much concentration and grace as
I could gather, I walked toward the open door. Next to it was a woman
in a tuxedo with her dark hair neatly tied back into a low knot.
“Excuse me,” I whispered. “Could you please tel me where the restroom
is?”
“Go right out this door, and you wil find them tucked on either side of
the staircase. It doesn’t matter which you use.”
“Thank you.” I smiled at her and stepped out the door. As I crossed the
threshold, the heel of my shoe caught on the lip of the doorframe, faltering
my fragile balance. I took several stammering steps into the foyer,
trying to prevent myself from faling on my face. I recovered and remained
on my feet, but the hard steps echoed like thunder throughout
the foyer.
Evan came rushing out. “Are you okay?” he asked, prepared to scoop
me off the floor.
“I’m fine,” I replied, standing up straight. I puled my sweater taut over
my hips and took a quick breath before continuing to the restroom. I
remained in the smal space for longer than was necessary, fanning my
face in attempt to reduce the shade of scarlet to a less noticeable red.
When I returned to the table, my unfinished beef course had been removed,
and a plate with smal portions of cheese, garnished with a fan
of strawberries and tiny grapes was set in its place. Catherine was hovering
over Evan, whispering in his ear while stroking the back of his
neck. I fought the temptation to glance over at him when I eased back
into my seat.
Whatever Catherine was saying to Evan, she was saying it low enough
that I couldn’t hear. At the end of the course, Evan excused himself
and slid out of his chair. I turned toward him to see his red face before
he left the room. Catherine giggled, watching him go. I caught her eye
and stared at her, questioning. She smirked with a raised eyebrow before
taking a sip of wine. I looked away and placed a grape in my
mouth, unnerved.
Evan entered through a door at the other end of the fireplace and
leaned over to whisper into his parents’ ears, who were sitting toward
the head of the table with the Jacobs’. He tilted his watch and said
something else. His mother gave him a quick peck on the cheek. Evan
approached Mr. and Mrs. Jacobs to exchange a few words before shaking
their hands. He exited the door and reentered the one behind me.
“Ready?” he whispered, leaning over the side of my chair.
“Sure,” I replied, setting down my glass of water.
He helped pul my chair out without making the same belowing noise I
did earlier. We walked into the foyer, and Evan provided a card to the
same poised gentleman in the tux to retrieve our coats.
“Leaving so soon?” Catherine asked, as she sashayed across the marble
floor.
“We have another commitment,” Evan stated flatly.
“You wil come back to visit me, won’t you Evan,” she demanded,
rather than questioned.
I couldn’t contain myself any longer. As Evan slid the coat over my
arms, I started laughing. At first in spurts - because I was trying to
hold it in. But then there were tears in my eyes, and I couldn’t stop it
from erupting.
“Are you laughing at me?” she asked.
“Actualy, yes I am,” I stated with my eyes watering. My face reddened
as I covered my mouth to capture another bout of laughter.
Evan smiled wide and said, “Good night, Catherine,” before escorting
me out.
Once the door closed behind us, I couldn’t hold back. I laughed so
hard, I had to bend over to support myself with my hands on my
knees. I couldn’t see through the tears that were streaming down my
face. I tried to compose myself, wiping the moisture from my cheeks,
and took a couple steps forward. Then I thought of her whine and
giggle, and lost it again. I colapsed onto the top stone step, holding my
stomach as I convulsed with laughter. After it was too painful to laugh
anymore, I took a deep breath and wiped my cheeks again. Evan stood
at the bottom of the stairs, watching me with an amused expression.
“I’m glad you found that funny,” he observed with his hands in his
pockets.
“Please don’t mention it,” I groaned, trying not to laugh. “I can’t laugh
any more. It hurts. Let’s just say we’re even.”
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