Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Housewives and Cheerleaders, Chapter 37

The night before Thanksgiving, the Bowmans and the Collinses had dinner together at the town’s bar and grill. Both families had guests in town for the holiday. Betty Ann Collins’ sister, Sarah Ann, was visiting with her family. This was an unusual occurrence; although they lived barely an hour apart, the two families rarely saw each other. Sarah Ann and her husband were conservative Christians and tended to argue with Kat’s much more liberal parents. But they had recently decided to try again to get along, seeing as they were family, and agreed to get together for Thanksgiving.

Sarah Ann had a daughter, Sally Ann, who was just two months younger than Kelly. Kelly hadn’t seen her cousin since they were both 13. At that time they’d been almost twins; 5 years later they still looked very much alike, with the same red hair and green eyes, but Sally Ann was a little shorter and curvier.

Kat’s father’s brother and his wife were also in town, and also had a daughter the same age as Kat and Kelly. Like Kelly, Kat hadn’t seen her cousin in a number of years, in this case because her family had moved to Europe and seldom returned. Kat remembered her cousin J.J. (short for Jennifer Jasmine) as a short, dumpy 11-year-old with big glasses, but in the intervening years she’d changed considerably. She was tall and willowy, with medium-length black hair and striking blue eyes (contacts, no glasses).

The restaurant didn’t have a table big enough for the whole party, so the four girls ended up at a separate table together. Initially they were joined by J.J.’s younger brother, a sullen 14-year-old who didn’t say much. In any case the conversation was dominated by his sister, who was worldly, intelligent, and opinionated, and spent much of the meal regaling the others with tales of her travels and adventures. Kelly Ann was especially taken with the vivacious brunette, while Kat found herself oddly drawn to Sally, who was shy and polite and seemed occasionally discomfited by some of J.J.’s wilder tales of sex and wild parties. Kat went out of her way to try to make Sally feel at ease, trying to draw her into the conversation and steer the subject matter into more wholesome areas. 

Between the entrees and dessert J.J.’s brother switched places with Samantha Bowman, who did not fail to notice how Kat was acting toward Sally Ann. After dessert Kat excused herself to go to the restroom, and her mother followed close behind. As they were checking their hair Samantha addressed her daughter.

Katrina Margaret Bowman, don’t you dare even think about it.

Kat flashed her best innocent look. “What are you talking about, Mom?

I saw the way you were flirting with Sally. Her family is very religious, you know. Sarah Ann would kill Betty if her daughter somehow got corrupted.

Kat rolled her eyes. “Jeez, Mom, can’t I be nice to somebody without getting accused of something?

OK, fine,” said Samantha, moderating her tone. “You just better not be thinking what I think you’re thinking.

After the meal Kat and Kelly had been planning to attend a party that a friend from school was throwing. J.J. was more than willing to join them, but Sally was hesitant. After some cajoling she finally agreed to seek permission from her parents, who consented as long as she promised to leave the party if she saw anyone drinking or doing drugs.

The four girls walked together to the party, and out of sight of her parents Sally Ann appeared to relax a little, laughing loudly at a slightly off-color joke that J.J. made. When they arrived the party was in full swing, with loud hip-hop blasting, people dancing and talking loudly to be heard over the music, and a large group congregated in the kitchen. 

Sally immediately looked uncomfortable, and within 10 minutes she saw a group of girls doing tequila shots in the living room. “I should go,” she said, looking forlornly at Kelly. 

Kelly hesitated. She felt responsible for her cousin, but this was lame... they had just gotten there. She would rather have been related to J.J., who had immediately gotten in line for a shot. Before Kelly could make up her mind what to do, Kat spoke up. “I’ll walk her home.

Kelly gave her friend a surprised look. “You sure?”

Kat nodded. “No worries.” Suddenly she didn’t really want to be here, and even though it was kind of uncool, she actually admired Sally for sticking to her promise. “You have fun, maybe I’ll get back later.

OK,” said Kelly, and went to find J.J., who had already taken her tequila shot and gone to look for more fun. Kelly found her in the back yard with a group that was passing around a joint. This girl certainly knows how to have a good time, Kelly thought.

Soon Kelly was high as a kite and laughing hysterically at a story J.J. was telling about a rock festival in Germany. Just being around J.J. made her feel really good, and for a while she was having as much fun as she could remember.

Some time later Kelly and J.J. went back inside to look for something more to drink. They had just found the door to the kitchen when a figure suddenly blocked their way. Kelly gasped – it was Jeff, her ex-boyfriend, looking very drunk and a little scary.

Well, well, well,” he said. “Kelly Ann Collins. Long time no see. What have you been up to?

Before Kelly could answer, Jeff looked at J.J. and added, “Never mind. I know what you’ve been doing.

J.J. stepped in front of Kelly and said, “Who are you?

Who the hell are you?” Jeff responded. He took one step forward in a vaguely threatening manner, but he was drunk enough to be slightly unsteady on his feet. A very light shove in the chest from J.J. sent him sprawling to the floor, where he remained.

J.J. took Kelly by the hand. “Let’s get out of here.

Bitch,” muttered Jeff from a prone position. As Kelly and J.J. left, he shouted after them, “I’m going to tell everyone about you, Kelly.

Kat, meanwhile, had taken Sally Ann on a long, circuitous route home, enjoying the night air and trying to draw Sally out a little, get her to talk. It was rough going but she’d made some progress by the time they arrived at the Collinses’ front door. Sally thanked Kat for looking after her and favored her with a warm hug before they said good night. Walking to her own house, Kat was amazed to find that she felt a little lightheaded. What might the future hold?

Kelly Ann and J.J. likewise took a long stroll around the neighborhood, sharing the remains of a bottle of vodka that J.J. had appropriated on their way out of the party. It was well after midnight before Kelly led them to the Bowmans’ door, where J.J. threw both arms around the redhead and gave her a long, deep, wet kiss. “Good night, Kelly Ann,” whispered J.J. “It was very very nice to meet you.


1 comment:

  1. Now Jeff is out of the way, now can we get back to the loving