He looks at her, across the table. It's not his place, she's not the sharing kind, at least, not with him. Jackie is her best friend, and yet, she's not here. He is, instead, because she asked him to be. She sips from her glass.
She tries her hardest, to keep it together, for appearances, and for her unborn child. She takes a deep breath, clears her throat, and refocuses. She stares at his tie, ignoring eye contact. She feels his eyes boring holes through her. She puts the glass down, and circles the rim, with her finger.
"Why am I here?"
She looks up, "Because you wanted to be."
"I wasn't serious," she reveals.
"Then why did you let me tag along? Why didn't you ask Jackie?"
"Why? She always makes time for you."
"She and I, are in very different places in our lives, right now. My family is coming together, and hers is falling apart. I..."
"You've always been in different places. What's your point?"
"I just, I don't think that she's the person I should be sharing this with."
"You should be sharing it with your baby daddy, but he isn't here."
"Clearly, because I have a child who likes to play doctor here with me, instead."
"Thank you, I really appreciate that."
"Thank you, for coming."
"Can I make an observation?"
"You can, but they are rarely accurate, so by all means, amuse me."
"You're hiding something. Something of epic proportions."
"And, just what makes you think that?"
"You don't strike me as someone who doesn't know who her baby's father is."
"Does it matter?"
"You do know, don't you?"
"Maybe, I do."
"How many possibilities are there?"
"A few," she lies.
"You are telling me that you slept with more than one, more than two men, in such a short time span, that you don't know which one of them is the father of your child?"
She purses her lips, struggling with whether to maintain the charade, or reveal her hand. He doesn't give her a chance to answer, "Of course not."
"You do not know anything about what I do, or who I do."
"And, I am not sure that it was an accident, either."
"What are you talking about?"
"At your age, an accidental pregnancy, that's a little bit unlikely, don't you think?"
"Unlikely, maybe, impossible, no."
"You wanted a child."
"I have never said that," she argues.
"You are great with them, even though you pretend to be irritated by them. You act as if you don't like them, but... you're not as cold as you would like people to think."
"Where is all of this wisdom of yours coming from?"
"I am a people watcher. I have been watching you, for..."
She cuts him off, "You are being slightly on the creepy side."
"The point is, I have known you for a while."
"I know more about you, than you would like me to."
"That doesn't mean that you know everything about me."
"You refuse to celebrate your birthday, or even mention it, in fear of celebrating it alone."
"That is not true."
"You befriended Jackie, because you saw something broken in her, and you like to fix things, you like to fix people."
"I do not," she argues.
"You are a surgeon, psychology says that you do."
"You don't know me."
"You have all the money you could ever need, but you're not happy, because you have never been able to have what other people do."
"I have never pretended to be like other people. Unlike you, I do not have a need to please people."
"Eleanor, it's just the two of us, here. Tell me the truth."
"First of all, do not call me Eleanor."
"Oh, that's another thing, you have always hated your name. You think that it fits an eighty year old woman, not you."
"You are no peach, yourself, you know that."
"Just tell me, why didn't you ask Jackie to come today?"
"I don't want to break her heart."
"Why would you think that you're going to break her heart? It's like you're cutting her loose, just before you'll need her friendship the most."
"I just... she has enough on her plate. I do not to add anything else."
He stares at her, in silence. She stares at her plate, avoiding eye contact. He still reads her face, like a book. He exhales.
"I get it," he admits.
"It all makes sense now. Everything."
"What are you talking about?"
"She's just getting her shit together, and you don't want to tell her the truth, because it would put her right back at square one."
"I do not know what you're talking about."
"Tell me that I'm not right."
"I don't know what you're thinking, so I can't say that."
"That is why you won't say who..."
She looks up at him, as if she's ready to stab him. She cuts him off, "Just stop! I don't want to talk about this, anymore."
"Because I'm right?"
"Because it is a stupid conversation."
"Yes, now drop it."
"One more question."