The Anderson Engagement Brunch
Please excuse this somewhat self-indulgent dribble. I signed up for Netflix while unemployed and this was the outcome. I hope someone enjoys it- review if you do (okay, fine, or if you don't).
"Alright team, it's good to see your smiles this morning," Ron said, holding a clipboard in one hand and over-gesturing with the other.
"We're not smiling," Roman groaned. "Morning events are ass. Who the hell throws an engagement brunch, anyway?"
"Well, I wish you wouldn't say that," Ron said with a frown. "This morning is very important to the Anderson family. The good news is that joining our team for the weekend to help us out with these brunches is Suzy. She usually works with the AM team and she's an expert at making mornings extra special!"
"I bet she is," Kyle said, flashing a charming smile at the tall blond standing beside his boss.
Suzy smiled back at him and made doe eyes.
"Yeah, you can make my morning special any day," Roman added awkwardly, causing Suzy to scrunch up her nose and cross her arms over her chest.
Casey continued cutting brie into cubes and placing them atop apples as a wave of nausea rushed over her. She took a deep breath and tried to keep focused but as the smell of cheese wafted to her she dropped her knife and dashed towards the bathroom.
"Uh oh, bad ice cubes last night, Casey?" Lynda called after her, laughing softly to herself.
Henry looked up from his work and his eyes followed her to the back. "No, she didn't drink a thing last night," he said, looking just a touch nervous.
"Maybe the cheese is bad?" Roman moved closer to the cutting board and took a whiff.
"Hey now," Ron said, "you don't blame the cheese. Party Down doesn't serve bad cheese." He looked up at Suzy and gave her a smile.
"No," Roman said, "you're right it's fine. She must just have a bug or something."
"We don't work when we're sick, guys," Ron added, almost in a whine, still keenly aware of the beautiful blond over his shoulder.
"I'm fine," Casey said, walking back out into the kitchen with her face still wet as if she'd splashed it with water. "I just got a little queasy there, not a morning person, you know?" She moved back to her station and put on fresh gloves.
"Oh come on, I bet you've made a few of Henry's mornings extra special," Kyle said with a smirk.
Casey just rolled her eyes and picked back up the knife to continue working.
"They're sleeping together," Lynda whispered loudly to Suzy waving a finger from Henry to Casey and back. Suzy just looked uncomfortable and nodded.
Still slightly worried, Henry went back to his work as well, looking up to check on Casey every few moments. Finally she caught him and made a face, eliciting a laugh and putting him at ease.
"Can I get you a Bloody Mary?" he asked Casey when she walked up to the bar after brunch was served. "It'll cure just about anything."
"No," she groaned, obviously still not feeling herself. "Just a Ginger Ale. Even the thought of booze makes me want to be sick right now."
"If you're sick I can take you home."
"No, I think it's just nerves," she said.
"Nerves. What are you worried about? If it's Suzy you don't need—"
"Suzy? Are you kidding me? You and Suzy?" she laughed.
"Well you don't need to laugh so hard," he said, a looking a little dejected.
"Nah, I'm waiting to hear back from that audition, you know."
"The Wheat Thin ad? You're throwing up over the Wheat Thin ad?"
"It'd be work, Henry. I need work."
"How about I make it a Jack and Ginger? It would make this brunch a lot more bearable."
"Just the Ginger," she sighed. "What are you drinking to have that grin on your face at 10am."
"Vodka," Henry said without missing a beat. "Lots and lots of vodka. Mrs. Anderson," he changed his tone in a flash, "what can I get for you?"
Casey wandered off with her tray and her ginger ale and let Henry work.
"Dude, Casey is gone," Kyle said, walking up the bar a few minutes later. "I think she's yakking again."
Henry grimaced as he poured drinks for Kyle.
"That little kitten of yours is back in the bathroom." Lynda stepped up the bar. "I think you better go check on her."
"Okay," Henry ran his finger through his hair, flustered. "Kyle, can you get the bar?"
"Yeah," Kyle scanned the room for Suzy. "I got it."
"Alright, I'll be right back." He darted towards the kitchen, making his way to the back of the house where they'd been assigned a "staff bathroom" for the event.
He rapped on the door. "Casey," he called softly, "it's me. You okay?" There was no response. "Casey?"
The door swung open and he saw her sitting on the ground in front of the toilet looking haggard. "Casey. Oh, honey," he entered the small room and closed the door behind him, taking a seat next to her. "You okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"I can drive you home, really. Working when you're sick, it sucks."
"No, I'm fine," she said unconvincingly. "It's nerves, like I said."
"This is not over Wheat Thins," he said getting to his knees and giving her hand a gentle tug. "Come on, let me take you home."
She resisted so he tugged a little harder.
"I'm fucking pregnant, okay," she exploded, yanking her hand away from his.
Henry felt the blood drain from his face. "Pregnant, that's, that's, that's—" he stuttered.
"No, you don't need to do that," she said calmly. "I'm taking care of it. Don't worry."
"Pregnant," he repeated. "That's, whoa." He sat back down beside her.
"Really, Henry. Don't worry. It's… I've already made the appointment."
"But, you're pregnant. I mean, you, we, pregnant." She let out a breath that almost sounded like a laugh as he stammered. "What can I do?"
"You can drive me to the doctor if you want," she said dryly. "Sit in the reception area with all the thirteen year olds trying to get on the pill."
"We need to talk about this," he said, finally getting his words together. "I mean, you're pregnant. It's our baby."
"No," she groaned. "I don't want to talk about it. This is not the right time for a baby. We don't have any money. There's a pretty limited market on gigs for pregnant chicks. It's not… Let's just not worry about it, okay?"
"I am worried about it!" he said.
She buried her face in her hands. "Okay, I can't deal with this right now." She hoisted herself off the ground and moved towards the door.
"Casey," he called after her, but she left the tiny room in a hurry.
He stood and followed her out the door, but by the time he made it out to the kitchen, she had already snagged a tray full of mini quiche and made her way into the reception area. Defeated and still slightly in shock he walked back to the bar.
"Is she cool?" Kyle asked.
"Yeah, she's fine," he said unconvincingly. "Just nervous about hearing back from an audition."
Kyle nodded. "I'm gonna go find Suzy." He darted out from behind the bar and back onto the floor, leaving Henry to tend bar again.
"You look pensive," Suzy said, making her way up to the bar from behind him. "Can I get three bellinis and shot of vodka?"
"Yeah," he began pouring.
"You worried about your girlfriend?"
"Yeah," he mumbled, avoiding eye contact.
"You think she's preggars?"
His eyes got wide as he set the first bellini down on her tray.
"Oh she is!" Suzy said, her mouth slightly agape. "Well I think that calls for a drink. Make it two shots of vodka."
Henry poured two shots, handing her one. "She doesn't want to keep it."
"Oh shit. Maybe you should have made it double," Suzy said, clinking her glass against his and shooting the clear liquid. He downed his as well and put the glasses behind the bar.
"You're gonna have to propose."
"That's the solution, babe. I don't know what else to say." She picked up her tray and wandered back towards the crowd, leaving him chewing on his lip.
After the party was over and they'd broken down the kitchen and loaded up the van Henry cornered Casey near her car. "Hey," he said.
He leaned on the car and looked at her expectantly. "Can we talk about this?"
"I'd rather not," she avoided his eyes.
"I'm sort of your boyfriend. Shouldn't I at least get a vote?"
"Nope," she said. "My uterus, my vote."
He nodded. "Okay. Well then, uh," he shoved his hand in his pocket and pulled out a small aluminum band painted gold, "will you marry me?"
She almost laughed. "Is that from the centerpieces?"
He nodded meekly. "Yeah, it was the best I could do on short notice."
"Henry, we really don't have to do this. I'm telling you. We can just pretend it didn't happen."
"But it did," he said. "I mean it is. It's happening right now."
She sighed. "You really want to marry me?"
"Yeah," he said with a nervous smile. "I really do." He held the toy ring up a little closer to her.
"This is crazy, you know that right? You're being crazy."
"And I've already been married once and I totally suck at it."
"Fuck," she sighed. "Okay."
"Okay? Really? Is that a yes?" A smile grew across his face.
"I guess it is. Yes. I'll marry you."
His hands were shaking as he tried to slide the ring on her finger. It expanded a bit at the bottom to fit on her hand but went on.
"This is the shittiest ring I've even seen," she said, looking more closely at it on her hand.
"I'll do better," he assured.
"I know," she said, looking up at his big nervous smile. "So now what?"
"Um, I don't know."