It wasn’t the right time to ask questions. Ava knew something was going on but for some reason she couldn’t remember exactly what it was. Everyone kept mentioning the following month and even though she nodded and agreed with everyone she really had no idea what was going on.
She sat on the couch in the corner of her friend’s living room, people surrounding her. The music playing in the background was a little too loud to be background music and there were so many people crammed into the small apartment that Ava couldn’t hear herself think let alone figure out what she had agreed to do for the following month.
It was her friend’s birthday party. Rose had turned 21-years-old over the week. Ava was the youngest in her group of friends and she didn’t turn 21 for another two months. Obviously she was there to celebrate her friend’s glorious day of birth, but Rose had invited a lot of her college buddies. Ava didn’t know anyone there. There were a handful of people who had tried to talk to her, but she couldn’t hear anything that was going on. She felt rude. Most people trying to talk to her probably thought she was being snobby, but she was just practically deaf that’s all. Despite being the youngest in her group, she acted the oldest. Her friends often called her an “old fart.”
So, there she sat in the corner of Rose’s living room in her tiny apartment. Ava wished she could whisk herself away to Rose’s bedroom just to try to get a moment’s peace. However, there were so many people standing in the hallway – because there weren’t enough seats for them all – that Ava felt awkward trying to shove her way through the crowd.
“I’m looking forward to next month. Rose said everyone is going to be there.”
Ava tuned in to a stranger’s words. She looked over her shoulder and there were two guys standing directly behind her. She was surprised she heard them at all, but she was certainly intrigued trying to figure out what they were talking about.
“Everyone? I thought there were a handful of people who couldn’t come. Or, I mean, they weren’t allowed to know about it.”
Ava narrowed her eyes. What was that supposed to mean? She didn’t remember Rose talking about any big event for next month and if everyone was supposedly invited, she should have heard about it. Right? Ava and Rose had been best friends since elementary school. Of course Rose would have told Ava about it.
“There are some people who can’t know about it because they won’t be old enough to attend,” One of the guy’s said.
Ava sunk in her chair. Maybe Rose didn’t talk to her about whatever was going on. She wasn’t going to turn 21 for another two months. What else could she not be old enough for? Whatever Rose had planned for the following month, it must have been some sort of party where only people 21 and older could attend.
That obviously didn’t include Rose’s best friend.
Ava stood from her chair not wanting to tune into the guys’ conversation anyway. Out of all the conversations to overhear, why did it have to be that one? She could have sworn she and Rose had talked about something for the following month and she couldn’t remember what it was. Now Ava figured she heard rumors of something happening in the next month and she must have been thinking about that.
Of course, now she didn’t know where to go from here. Ava wanted to get away from people and their conversations but there was no where for her to go. Ava spun in a circle as though she tried to look for a way out, but there were so many people. She didn’t even know where Rose had gone. She couldn’t sit back down in her chair because then she’d look silly.
Well, maybe it wouldn’t matter. There were so many people around and she wasn’t engaging in conversation with any of them, so who would notice Ava standing and then immediately sitting again?
She turned back around to take her seat again but one of the guys was sitting in it now with the other guy squatting on the floor. They were still engaged in a deep conversation though it appeared to be a different topic. Ava could have sworn she heard one of them mention a video game.
Now she was stuck. She stood in the middle of the floor of the living in a tiny apartment surrounded by a crowd of people, most of whom she didn’t know. What was she supposed to do?
Ava looked at the time on her cell phone. Another one of her and Rose’s friends were supposed to come, but they hadn’t arrived yet. (Unless they had and Ava just hadn’t noticed among all the people.)
Ava jumped at the sudden voice coming behind her. It was so loud as though it was directly in her ear. When she turned around, sure enough, there was a woman standing right behind her, close enough that Ava could smell the beer on her breath.
Please don’t be drunk, Ava thought to herself. “Hi,” she said, forcing a small smile.
“My name is Kate. I’m was Rose’s roommate during our first semester of college. How do you know Ava?”
“Oh, hi Kate. I’m Ava. Rose and I have been best friends since elementary school,” Ava replied.
She sort of recognized Kate now that Ava knew her name. Rose used to talk about her a lot. Ava was actually quite jealous for a while because it seemed as though Rose suddenly liked Kate more than she did Ava. It was a tough first semester of college but they never really fell out of touch with each other. Rose had always wanted Ava to meet Kate and, well… here they were except Rose wasn’t there to witness it.
“Wait, are you the Ava?” Kate gasped.
“Sure?” How was Ava supposed to reply to that? As far as she knew Rose didn’t know any other people named Ava, but who was she to truly say?
“Rose has told me so many great things about you!” Kate shouted.
Ava took a step back attempting to get away from the horrid stench of Kate’s breath. She wasn’t sure if she had shouted because the music was too loud, she had too much alcohol, or if she was truly excited to meet her. Ava guessed it wasn’t the latter.
“I think it’s so cool you and Rose have been best friends for so long. No one can compete with that that kind of commitment,” Kate continued.
Ava grinned and nodded. While she didn’t like how Kate seemed to compare them to a couple in a relationship, she did agree. Rose and her had a special friendship bond like no other. She was lucky to have Rose, despite the fact that Ava wanted to kill Rose for ditching her in the middle of this party where she didn’t know anyone and couldn’t even join in enough to have just one sip.
“You must be so excited for next month!” Kate exclaimed.
Ava’s eyes grew. Was this her chance to figure out what was going on next month?
No, Ava didn’t want to know. It didn’t seem as though Rose wanted to invite her anyway.
Or, on the other hand, maybe Rose couldn’t invite her because Ava wasn’t old enough.
Still, Rose could have told Ava about it.
Then again, Rose might have told Ava about it and she just didn’t remember.
“The fact that Rose would do that for you is so cool!” Kate went on, a dreamy look in her eye.
Ava froze. “For me?”
Kate nodded, a goofy grin on her face.
“What are you talking about?” Ava asked. She didn’t want to know but her interest was piqued too much. It seemed as though everyone at the party knew what was going on next month except for Ava – and she wasn’t sure if she was supposed to know or not.
Kate giggled and took another sip of… whatever was in her red cup. Ava forced herself not to roll her eyes. Kate was Rose’s best friend from college. Ava didn’t want to make a bad first impression. If Rose was friends with her, then Ava wanted to be friends with her. (Though not while she was drunk. In fact, maybe Ava could be rude to Kate and she wouldn’t remember it in the morning.)
“So, how exactly did you and Rose meet?” Kate asked after gulping down an amount of liquid that filled up both her cheeks.
Ava sighed. “Rose tripped and fell at recess in first grade. I helped her up.”
It was a stupid story, really. Ava was chasing after a ball and while she ran past Rose, Rose had tripped over her untied shoe. Ava forgot about the ball and walked over to help Rose up. The two of them started playing with each other and they ended up becoming the best of friends. They spoke with each other every day after that. It got to the point where, in the coming years following that moment, teachers would attempt to separate them and pair them with different peers. The teachers and their parents were afraid they weren’t socializing enough with other classmates. It didn’t help though. Rose and Ava continued to remain best friends. They stopped ignoring everyone else around them as they got older. Still, the two were peas in a pod.
“Wow, that’s such a beautiful story,” Kate said, a look of awe plastered on her face.
“Sure,” Ava agreed.
“Hey, you two found each other.” Rose appeared out of seemingly no where and put an arm around Ava’s shoulders and Kate’s shoulders.
Ava smiled. “Yeah, Kate seemed to have stumbled upon me.”
“I’m so happy you guys are finally getting a chance to meet. I’ve wanted you to be able to put a face to the name for such a long a long time.” Rose explained.
“Yeah, me too,” Ava lied. Well, it wasn’t too much of a lie. She had been wanting to meet Kate for quite some time as well but she didn’t expect it to happen in the middle of this party where she could barely hear. She also didn’t fancy talking to people much when they were drunk.
Kate tried to take another sip from her cup, but Rose took it out of her hand. “Hey, why don’t you go ahead and lay down in my bed for a minute?” she suggested.
“Okay.” Kate shrugged and walked away.
Rose sheepishly grinned at Ava. “She just turned 21 the week before I did. She’s a little excited about it.”
“Oh, you guys almost have the same birthday? What a shame, I didn’t get a chance to wish her a happy one,” Ava said trying not to sound as sarcastic as she felt.
Rose then frowned a bit. “I’m sorry this party is a bit much. We haven’t had a chance to see each other all night and it’s way more crowded than I thought it would be. People keeping asking me if they could bring their boyfriends or girlfriends and I didn’t think it’d be an issue.”
Ava genuinely shook her head. “No worries at all. It’s not a problem. Your apartment just isn’t… well, it’s small.”
Rose chuckled. “Right, I know.”
There was a moment of silence before Ava cleared her throat and broke the ice. “Hey, what’s going on next month?”
Rose’s eyes grew twice the size of what they normally were. “What do you mean?”
“I’m sorry, but so many people have mentioned something grand that’s happening next month that you’re apparently throwing. Is it some sort of party that I’m not invited to because I’m not 21 yet?” Ava asked. She felt like a jerk for bringing it up at all, let alone in the middle of her birthday party.
Rose furrowed her brows. Ava couldn’t tell if she was becoming annoyed or not, so she continued.
“But then Kate mentioned that there was something going on for me? I don’t think she was thinking straight anyway, but I’ve just gotten curious. Maybe it’s none of my business anyway. Or maybe you told me about it and I forgot and if so, I’m sorry.”
At that moment, Ava realized that she and Rose had never fought in all their years of being friends. Yes, they’ve bickered and argued as though they were sisters, but they never had a huge blowout with each other or stopped talking to each other for a long period of time.
They were always close. They did everything together and told each other everything. Ava knew everything they needed to know about Rose and vice versa. Ava didn’t want to get into an argument over something that may or may not be going on next month. She also didn’t want the two of them to drift apart simply because Rose was going to experience being 21 for an entire month before Ava would get the chance.
After a brief moment, Rose let out a sigh though her lips were curled into a smile. When she looked Ava in the eye, she shook her head. “I didn’t tell you anything about next month. I was going to tell you about it next week. It never occurred to me that you would hear about it through the grapevine so I definitely should have told you sooner. Especially since it seems as though people are playing telephone and wires keep getting crossed.”
Ava nodded not knowing what else to say. She wanted Rose to continue talking.
“I’m not throwing some elaborate party next month that’s only for people who are 21. I have no idea who started that one. Kate, despite her being a bit tipsy, is the one who’s on the right track,” Rose clarified.
Ava tilted her head to the side. She still didn’t know what to say.
Rose jerked her head to the side taking Ava by the hand. She squeezed past the crowd, Ava trying to stick as close to her as possible. It was though they were at some sort of club and not a tiny apartment. The bathroom was only a few feet away, but it seemed to take a bit for them to get there. When they did, Rose pushed her into the small room and shut the door behind them.
The music was still loud, but Ava could at least hear herself think. She didn’t need to speak loud either in order to make sure Rose could hear her. She wondered why she hadn’t thought to head into the bathroom and stay there for most of the night a while ago.
“I had something special planned for the two of us next month. I didn’t want to tell you right away because I wanted it to be a surprise. As I said before, I was going to tell you next week,” Rose explained. “Your parents already know about it and have known about it for a while. That’s why they’re so adamant on you staying for your family reunion the third weekend of next month.”
Ava rolled her eyes. “Oh, right… I forgot about the stupid family reunion. Maybe that’s what I was thinking of when I thought you told me something I forgot it.”
Rose chuckled. “They didn’t want you to make any plans for that weekend which is why they told you a lie.”
Ava’s face flat-lined.
“There is no family reunion, lucky you.” Rose laughed.
“No, lucky you. I was going to drag you with me,” Ava said chuckling herself. “But what do you mean there’s no family reunion?”
“It was lie your parents and I cooked up together because we wanted you keep that weekend free. In reality, you and I are going on our very first vacation just the two of us!” Rose grabbed both of Ava’s hands in hers and jumped up excitedly.
Ava stared at her open mouthed. “You mean…?”
“Happy early birthday to the two of us!” Rose exclaimed. “I wanted to do something special since we’re both 21 this year. I know you won’t be quite 21 yet so no drinking – your parents made me pinky-swear – but pretty much all the other weekends were booked at the hotel. So I had to grab it while I could.”
Ava didn’t know what to say. She felt like she wanted to cry. All She had gotten Rose for her birthday was a cool wine glass, she didn’t think of surprising Rose with some elaborate gift such as a weekend getaway!
“Are you happy?” Rose asked shyly.
Ava nodded. “I just don’t know what to say.”
“Don’t say anything. Just jump with me and be excited!”
The two laughed and cheered in the small bathroom, holding hands and jumping. When they finally stopped to catch their breaths, Ava held up a finger.
“Okay, since this is for both of our birthdays, I call doing something special for you while we’re away. Let me pay for breakfast and dinner one day… or something.” Ava realized how lame that sounded compared to planning a secret weekend getaway trip. She’d think of something special to do for Rose. A good idea was going to come to her soon enough.
Rose shook her head. “We’ll work out all the details later, but this isn’t a competition. Besides, I’m doing it just as much for your birthday as I am mine.”
Ava snickered. “Okay, that’s fair. Where are we going, anyway?”
Rose grinned as though she was cooking up some mastermind plan. She opened the bathroom door and began to head back out to the party.
“Wait,” Ava said taking her by the arm. “Where are we going?”
“I’m not spoiling all the surprises. I said I’d tell you next week.” Rose winked.