“Sorry I’m late. I didn’t want to come.” I smirked to the host as soon as she had opened the front door of her home. My hands were shoved into my pockets and my breath was rising into the air with every word I spoke.
“Well? Aren’t you going to let me in?” I winked.
“Oh, uh… sure.” The woman stepped aside making way for me through the doorway.
I stepped up off the porch and into the foyer looking all around the room. I nodded my approval and slid my jacket off my body. “So, how’s the party going so far?”
“It’s going well, thank you.” The woman held out her arms to take my jacket.
“Oh, well aren’t you a wonderful host.” I smiled mockingly.
She glared at me, but brought my trench coat over the closet and hung it up. She closed the double doors and pointed into the next room.
“Myself and all the other guests are in there having dinner. Won’t you care to join us?”
“Hm, depends… what are we having?” I stroked my chin with a raised eyebrow. “You know I don’t like anything too fancy. You didn’t cook lobster or sushi or anything like that, did you? Is there caviar or maybe a little escargot from your trip to France?”
“Michael, don’t do this tonight. Please?” She frowned at me sounding exasperated already and I had only just walked through the front door.
“Mike,” I corrected with a glare, “or Mikey. Remember you used to call me that even though I preferred Mike? I let you call me Mikey anyway because I liked you. And you liked me at some point too, if I recall correctly.”
“Mike,” she sighed, “I know you don’t exactly approve of this, but this is my engagement dinner. Can’t you please just support me and be happy for me?”
“No I can’t do that, Julie. Sorry.” I shrugged.
Julie closed her eyes and rubbed her temples while taking a few deep breaths. I kicked at the ground waiting for her to look at me again. For a moment, I felt ashamed for the way I was acting. Then again, she should have been marrying me… not her new boss!
“You don’t even like any of this stuff.” I stated. “You live in a big, fancy house with a butler, a maid, and a cook. You eat foods that you don’t even like. You go on trips that you have no interest in. Did you even like France?”
“It was… an interesting experience.” Julie stated matter-of-factly.
“In a bad way,” I rolled my eyes, “you two are complete opposites.”
“Opposites attract, didn’t you know that?” Julie commented.
“That only counts with science. This is chemistry we’re talking about.” I growled.
“Chemistry is science.”
“Not when we’re talking about people!”
“Keep your voice down.” Julie glanced into the other room. “I don’t want you to be making a scene.”
“I think your fiancé does a pretty good job at doing that on his own.” I grumbled.
“You’re just jealous because he got to me first.” Julie glared at me. “I invited you because we’ve been friends since we were children. You’re my best friend, Mike. You’re my biggest support system, you always have been. I’m able to tell you everything. I–”
“Then tell me the truth,” I interrupted, “do you love him?”
“Answer the question.”
Julie stared at me with even eyes. It was difficult to read her expression or figure out what she was thinking. I couldn’t tell if she was hesitating because she in fact did not love her fiancé or if she was just trying to get out of answering because she thought I was utterly ridiculous.
“Do you love him?” I prompted.
“Maybe our friendship would have gone on to the next level if you weren’t such a child all the time.” Julie responded.
“That… had nothing to do with what I just asked you.” I said with a puzzled tone.
“Maybe if you had just got the courage to ask me then this engagement dinner would be for you and me. Did you ever think of that?” Julie frowned.
“I am thinking about it now. That’s why I’m asking… do you love your fiancé?” I took a step closer to Julie and stared down at her.
“It doesn’t matter whether I love Jack or not.” Julie looked up at me with a glare. “I am getting married to him and that doesn’t change the fact that you and I aren’t together. Don’t you understand that?”
I kissed her on the lips.
Julie took a step back with a look of horror. “Why did you do that?”
“A kiss usually gets the girl to come to her senses in the movies.” I shrugged and looked down at the ground. “Did it work?”
Julie opened her mouth to respond, but she looked passed me instead. I turned around and saw Jack standing in the doorway. How long had he been there? How much of our conversation did he hear? Did he see the kiss?
“Darling, are you coming back to the table? The guests are asking for you.” Jack looked right through me as he spoke to Julie.
“I’m attending to another guest out here.” Julie replied promptly.
“Yes, I can see that.” Jack glared at me.
“You can go back into the dining room, honey. I’ll be in there in a minute. Michael was just leaving.” Julie looked directly at her fiancé and didn’t dare to bring her eyes back in my direction.
“Good,” Jack stated and disappeared back into the dining room.
I took a deep breath and turned towards the front door. I didn’t have anything else to say to Julie. I didn’t even want to look at her. I put a hand on the door knob and then pointed to the closet.
“That trench coat was a gift from my mother… I’ll just take that with me, if you don’t mind.” I said to the door.
I turned and looked at Julie. She was holding my jacket out to me, her eyes filling with tears.
“I’ll have the maid help me pack. Wait for me in the car?”
Without any hesitation, I kissed her on the forehead. “I’ll leave the engine running.”