It's a beautiful fall evening. The air is warm, and the trees are still green. I'm so lucky to live in this neighborhood. I have Central Park to the east, the Hudson River to the west and Broadway, with it's stores, running up the middle. It's so clear outside that I'm sure if there wasn't a streetlamp every one hundred feet we'd see the stars. "Let's go inside."
"Oh God this place is packed with guys." Jo is on the prowl, and I'm her wingman. Thursday night is a meet market in the bar. Our bar of choice is a local joint that I picked. The music is loud. The lights are low. And the drinks are large. It's one of the more popular places on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Jo plans on meeting a guy, or guys, tonight. "Who are you looking at?" She points to a good looking guy in a suit. If I was to guess I'd say he was a stockbroker. Jo throws her arms around herself and squeezes. "Yummy!"
I hadn't been out with Jo in awhile. Between work, work and more work I've let my social life fall apart. But since I have off tomorrow I decided to get back in the swing. "Are you ready?" I nod yes as I take a sip of my Long Island Iced Tea. "I gave him my patented smile, and he's coming our way... and he's bringing a friend." Jo straightens out her dress. She is in a beautiful lavender sheath dress that fits her like a glove. Skinny bitch.
"Hi, I'm Aaron." Jo has excellent taste. Aaron is tall with sandy blonde hair and talks with an air of confidence. "And this is my friend Kyle." Kyle is a little less tall, a little less blonde and has less air about him. They each put out their hands, and we shake them. "I'm Jo and this is Kat." I wave hello. "Can we buy you drinks?" I was about to show that I have a drink when Jo enthusiastically answers. "Yes, that would be nice." Aaron signals the bartender for another round. I guess I'll have a back up drink. "Jo, would you like to dance?" Aaron asks her. "Sure!" Jo hopes off the bar stool and hands me her purse. My eyes get wide. I want to tell Jo 'Don't leave me alone please!' but she bobs away fast.
"Kat is a pretty name." Kyle says. "What is it short for?" I really don't want to be alone with this guy, but I'm too polite to blow him off, so I turn back to him. "Katniss, but please, call me Kat." I motion to Kyle to the empty bar stool. "Do you come hear often?" He nods his head yes. "All the time." He sips his drink. "Ever since I broke up with my girlfriend." Please don't tell me about your ex. "We were together for three years." I don't care about your past relationship. "I don't know what happened." Now I'm glad I have a back up drink. "She had such beautiful blonde hair." Oh Christ, shut up. "We were so happy together. At least I thought we were. I bought her every thing she wanted..." I am so happy my only job is to babysit this crybaby. It reminds me of all the boys my sister Prim hung out to dry. I'd come home and find some guy crying on the front lawn. 'Oh why did she do it?' Blah, blah, blah. It turns my stomach. "...Her hair glistened in the sun. Like strands of gold." He's still whining! I'm outta here.
I walk away, and he doesn't even notice. Jo turns and spots me. I hold my fingers in an 'L' on my forehead and giggle. She signals just one more minute. I can tell she is trying to close the deal. She almost has his number. I wonder sometimes why she goes through the effort. She can just walk through and ask guys for their number. She tells me it is the thrill of the hunt.
Bingo! He hands her his business card. She walks back to me swinging that caboose of hers through the crowd. "Ready to go?" She waves the business card in front of me. "What's he do?" She looks at the card. "Financial planner." I nod. "Close enough. Let's go." I look back and see that Kyle guy still whining at the bar.
"I can't believe you plopped that guy in my lap. You know I'm seeing someone." Jo raises her eyebrows. "Is that what you call what you have?" I shrug. "Well, I am seeing him." I get the eye roll. "Well, you're a great friend Kit-Kat. I don't know what I'd do without you." Jo is being facetious. Since our freshman year in college I'm always the wingman. She is pretty, has a body to die for and a great personality. She is fine without me. "I know how hard it is for you to do this for me. I appreciate it. Really, I do." Now it's my turn to roll my eyes. "Don't bullshit a bullshitter Jo."
"Cab or walk?" Jo asks. Both our apartments are close by so I vote for walking. It's a beautiful night, and I'm in no hurry to get home. Plus , as a bonus we walk by the bakery. "Smell that?" She asks, and I take in a full breath and smile. "Yeah. Reminds me of home."
After about a half a block I stop and stare at her walking in front of me. "What are you looking at?" She asks. "I'm just amazed at how easily you swing that ass of yours." She walks a little more, turns and walks back to me. "You walk. Let's see if you learned anything from me in fifteen years." I walk a few steps, turn and walk back. "Well?"
"Kit-Kat, I might not know much about hockey, but I know enough to know that what you're doing is called a hip-check." I pout at the comment. "Oh don't pout." She playfully puts her arm around me. "I'm willing to put in another fifteen years if you are."
"Thank you Johanna."
"Anything for you Katniss."
A/N: Yes this is a new opening chapter. I wrote it for a revised Wedding that is non fan fiction. You can find it on Fiction Press. The link is on my profile page.