Free Fiction: Cheesy Valentine’s Day (Part II)

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[Note: This is a continuation from Cheesy Valentine’s Day (Part I)]

Senora grumbled, grabbed her phone, and darted out of her apartment. “The sooner I get there, the sooner I get this awful night over with,” she muttered as she locked the door—the crazy guy across the hall who always talked to himself looked at her and shook his head.

Yeah, well, screw you. If your best friend was going to hook you up with God-knows-who, you’d be talking to yourself, too.

The nerves in the pit of her stomach began to claw at her insides and she thought she was going to throw up. She really wanted another shot of whiskey to calm them the hell down.

She pulled up to Kristin’s apartment—she had even changed the light bulb in the dingy porch light to be a red bulb. The girl thought of everything.

Senora let herself in and found Kristin standing on a step ladder holding up one end of a six-foot long banner of hearts. Kristin was already dressed in a skin-tight red dress that showed assets that Senora didn’t even know she had, and even more impressive, she was on the step ladder wearing four-inch heels. “Whoa, you weren’t kidding, were you?”

“I never kid about party decorations. Now, stand on that chair and hold the other side while I get this one up.” Senora stepped onto the folding metal chair with her ratty Nikes and held the banner into place.

Kristin gingerly stepped down and carted her step ladder over to where Senora stood. She climbed up and fastened the banner to the wall, and then she looked Senora up and down.

“Please tell me you brought different shoes.”

Senora slapped her hand to her head. “Dammit. No, I didn’t. I was too busy trying to repair my makeup after Charlie texted me that I forgot.”

Kristin laughed. “Good thing for you, we wear the same shoe size.”

“You don’t wear anything with less than three-inch heels. I’ll kill myself in your shoes.”

“You’re looking to get out of this party one way or another, aren’t you? I wish you’d just trust me.” Kristin shoved her into the kitchen. “Here, you work on setting up trays of food, I’ll go rustle up some shoes to go with that dress.”

Senora sighed and looked around the kitchen. Her friend was obsessed, that’s for sure. All the food was red: apple slices (for the healthy people), red velvet cupcakes with pink icing, sugar cookies dyed red. She arranged the food as neatly as possible all the while thinking her best friend’s obsession bordered on unhealthy.

She picked up the trays and placed them on the table decorated with a red plastic tablecloth and artfully arranged them around a bowl of red punch with a stack of red Solo cups next to it.

Kristin emerged from the bedroom with a red dress on a hanger and a pair of matching red patent leather pumps with heels just as large as the ones she was wearing.

“Here, go put this on. By the way, your hair looks great, so be careful not to screw it up.” Senora shot her an icy stare before she walked away.

In Kristin’s room, Senora struggled into the dress and looked in the mirror. The top of the dress was red lace and had long sleeves. At the belted waist, the lace turned to a red circle skirt. She twirled in the mirror and the skirt flared out around her. She did it again. She had to admit, it was pretty darn cute.

Then she looked at the heels, which seemed to mock her from their place on the floor. “Come on, we won’t bite.”

“Oh yes you will,” she said, leaning down to pick them up. She put the right shoe on, and then the left. She stood awkwardly in front of the mirror on wobbly legs like a newborn colt. She took a deep breath.

Kristin hustled into the room and let out a whistle. “Damn I’m good. You look amazing.”

Senora turned to her on her wobbly legs and fell onto the floor. Kristin laughed. “Only you, I swear.”

Senora struggled to her feet, and paced a bit around the room to get a feel for the heels, because she knew even after that tumble, Kristin wasn’t going to let her walk around barefoot. Or worse yet, in her Nikes.

A few minutes later, there was a pound on the door, and Kristin took off running to answer it. Senora, still a bit hesitant on the shoes, took her sweet time walking down the short hallway and to the living room.

***

Senora stumbled to the living room, and just narrowly avoided turning her ankle  underneath her. She looked up right into Charlie’s eyes.

“Hi,” she whispered as she struggled to regain her balance.

“Hi,” he replied. “You look amazing. I didn’t know you owned any red.”

“She doesn’t,” Kristin interjected. “I bought it.”

“You look great in red, you should wear it more often,” Charlie whispered.

“You’re a liar, but it’s sweet.”

Charlie’s eyes flickered with anger. “You still can’t take a compliment, can you?”

Senora stood up straight on the offensive heels, her shoulders tight. “No, I guess not.” She let out a sigh, and her shoulders released a bit. “I’m sorry, I’m just, nervous. These shoes scare the hell out of me.”

“Yeah, but they make your ass look great.”

“I’m in a skirt,” Senora said with a laugh.

“Yeah, but I know what your ass looks like, and I can just picture it.” He shook his head. “Yeah.”

He turned to look at Kristin, who was messing with the playlist on her iPod. “Can I help with anything?”

“Nope, I’ve got it, we’re just waiting on everyone else to get here.”

For fifteen minutes, Charlie, Senora, and Kristin stared at each other while cheesy romantic music played from the tiny iPod dock speakers.

Senora looked at her phone and Kristin disappeared down the hall. Senora looked at Charlie and shrugged her shoulders. The party was supposed to have begun before he even showed up, so she had no idea what was going on.

There was a strong knock at the door.

“Why don’t you answer that,” Kristin called from her bedroom. “I’m kind of busy. Charlie, come help me with something.” Charlie trotted down the hall to find Kristin and Senora hobbled to the door and opened it.

Standing on the doorstep was a guy whom Senora had never met. He had beautiful blue eyes that peered at her from under a ball cap and he was wearing a shirt that seemed two sizes too small, but given the build of the body beneath it, that was a good look for him. Senora glanced down and noticed he was in torn blue jeans and ratty, white Nikes. Well, at least he has good taste in shoes.

“Um, I’m looking for Kristin, but you’ll do.” He gave her a once over and his lips twitched upward into a smile.

Senora laughed and held out her hand. “I’m Senora, I’m Kristin’s best friend and I’m supposed to be helping her with this truly hopping Valentine’s Day party.” He glanced behind her and chuckled.

“I’ve never seen one of her Valentine’s Day parties this dead, something must be horribly wrong.”

“Wait, you’ve been to one of her parties before?”

His smile widened and showed off his perfectly-straight teeth. Senora caught her breath and almost fell off her heels. That smile was mesmerizing, and she couldn’t help but wonder if his lips tasted as good as they looked.

“I’m her brother, Patrick. I just got back from being deployed in Afghanistan, and she told me to come over tonight for a little fun.”

“She has a brother? Why has this never come up?”

“She’s secretly ashamed of me, I guess. I mean, if I were her, I’d totally be ashamed of my brother who is defending the country overseas, wouldn’t you?”

Oh, God, he’s pretty and he’s funny?

Senora stepped to the side and let Patrick in, and closed the door behind him. “Wind Beneath My Wings” blared from the speakers.

“Oh, she didn’t go there with the cheesy music. Wow, I’m almost ashamed of her right now.”

Senora laughed. “Yeah, well, I think if she doesn’t get a few more people to this party, we should all be ashamed of her.”

Patrick looked over at the table with the food. “I’ve seen parties with more food. She must expect this one to be more intimate.”

“I wish she would have told me that,” Senora said through gritted teeth. “Now, if you’ll give me a second, let me stumble my way down the hall to get her for you. I’m sure she’ll be happy to see you.”

She teetered down the hall and could feel Patrick’s eyes on her as she went, so she tried desperately not to look like a circus freak on stilts for the first time as she walked.

Kristin’s door was closed. Senora gently rapped on the door, and then cracked it open. “Hey, Kris, your brother’s here.”

Senora pushed the door open a little wider and found Kristin and Charlie making out on her bed, and given Charlie’s untucked shirt and shoes on the floor, it wasn’t about to stop there.

“Charlie? Kristin?”

Kristin looked up at Senora and smiled. “Happy Valentine’s Day. Patrick’s my gift to you. Go, and shut the door behind you.”

She gently closed the door and shook her head. Her ex with Kristin? Kristin’s party with four people, one of which was her mysteriously hot brother who just happened to appear from the other side of the world?

I’ve got to be in some sort of alternate universe.

Senora returned to the living room. “Well, it looks like it’s just you and me, Kristin’s a little wrapped up with my ex at the moment.”

Patrick smiled that panty-melting smile at her again. “Then it’s just you, me, a table full of food, and an iPod full of crappy music. I can’t think of a better way to spend Valentine’s Day, can you?”

Senora kicked the heels off into a corner. “Don’t tell her I did that.”

“It’s our secret. Now that you can actually walk without hurting yourself, why don’t you come dance with me to this horrible music?”

She stepped forward to him and he wrapped an arm around her waist, and they swayed to the music.

“I get the feeling this was all a set-up, and I’m really sorry,” Senora said.

“What are you sorry about? You’re gorgeous, you’re funny, and I’d much rather spend tonight with you than my sister anyway. It seems like she did absolutely perfect to me.” He leaned down and brushed his lips against hers.

I guess she did. I may not hate Valentine’s Day so much after all.

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