"we didn't want to say anything but you're becoming distinctly girly”
“Your phone is ringing!” Sarah screamed up the stairs from her seat on the couch.
“Well then answer it!” Escher sang in a similar scream as she thundered down the stairs in her pyjamas. She and Sarah had decided to have a girls night in with some movies and caramel popcorn and margharitas courtesy of the margharita maestro herself.
Escher could hear Sarah asking whoever it was to hold as she skidded into the living room.
“It’s Frank” Sarah said simply, handing the phone to Escher with conspiratorial smile.
Escher rolled her eyes and took the phone.
She could almost hear the smile in his voice and it brought a smile to her own face, that didn’t go unnoticed by Sarah who collapsed back on the couch.
“So there’s a house party tonight, good friends, killer tunes, more than likely a keg…you in?”
Escher’s eyes flew to Sarah who was laughing at a commercial where a baby was singing a jingle, and spitting popcorn out of her mouth.
“Uh…I don’t think so Frank, Sarah and I are having a girls night in”
As Escher had hoped, Sarah’s eyes flew to her.
“What?” Sarah asked.
Escher covered the mouthpiece on her phone.
“It’s nothing, Frank just wants me to go to a party with him”
Sarah rolled her eyes.
“Well tell him yes idiot!”
“Whatever Esch, you and I both know we’re only having a girls night in because we’re too pathetic to have dates”
Escher snorted with laughter but was distracted by Frank asking if she was still there.
“Uh yeah…um, Sarah said…”
“Bring her if you want” Frank interrupted.
“Do you want to come?” Escher asked Sarah.
Sarah shook her head.
“No hon, did you honestly think I was too pathetic to get a date tonight? I’ve just got to call him back and say ‘yes’”
“You’re a fucking bitch” Escher snapped with a grin to let her friend know she was joking as she turned back towards the stairs.
“Sarah’s got something on now it would appear”
“So you’ll come?”
“I don’t know,” Escher said slowly, “I’m in my PJs”
Frank snorted with laughter.
“E it’s only six o’clock”
“Whatever” Escher muttered, “Where is this party anyway?”
“About half an hour from your place, I can pick you up in an hour”
“I can just get a…”
“Great, I’ll see you in an hour”
He hung up abruptly, leaving Escher to stare at her phone until Sarah burst in holding two versions of the exact same dress, one green and one blue.
“Which one says ‘take me, take me now’?” She asked.
Escher rolled her eyes.
“They both do Sarah”
An hour later she stood out the front of her apartment building in her carefully chosen outfit. A pair of bright red stockings with flaming black skull and crossbones over them and a very short, tight, long sleeved black and white horizontal striped dress she had bought a few months back but never had occasion to wear. She knew she was overdressed for a house party but didn’t care. She had straightened her hair and back combed it in into a ‘scene girl’ hairstyle as Sarah had said scornfully when she appraised her. Although she assured Escher she looked brilliant as she zipped up her own dress (she had decided on the blue). Escher shivered even in the depths of her heavy black coat and the scarf wound around and around her neck. Finally she saw Frank’s car double park in front of her. He motioned to the passenger seat and she hurried to scramble in. She stopped when she saw Ray, Bob and a random guy squeezed into the back seat.
“Uh hey guys” She greeted them as she settled herself.
“Hey Escher” Bob replied in a monotone, “/Frank/ decided you’d be more comfortable in the front seat than back here with all the ‘testosterone’” He explained, using finger quotes, “Despite the fact that you would’ve fitted better and now I’m overwhelmed with testosterone”
“Well you have to get it from somewhere Bob, we didn't want to say anything but you're becoming distinctly girly” Ray said with a sly grin.
Escher laughed and smiled at Frank who wiggled his eyebrows at her.
“Uh I guess” She replied, wriggling out of her jacket.
She turned to greet the guy in the back seat.
“Hi I’m Escher”
“Oh hey, I’m Kyle, Bob’s cousin”
“Nice to meet you”
They were blaring Stiff Little Fingers and Escher was singing along with Frank to “Alternative Ulster”, not even noticing where they were heading until they were a good couple of miles down the NY-495 to Jersey. Suddenly she fell silent, her eyes growing wide and she felt her heart thudding in her chest as she turned to Frank. He was staring steadfastly ahead, his face grim. Feeling her gaze he turned to her.
“Jersey?” She asked accusingly, having to cry over the music.
He nodded without saying anything.
“Belleville?” She asked.
Again he nodded.
She hadn’t seen Jersey since that afternoon she had fled from it. She could still remember the elation she had felt walking out of her school after finalizing her early graduation and making her way home to pack her few belongings together before her parents got home from work. She hadn’t bothered to leave a note, they would have known, they would’ve hoped.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” she asked,
“You wouldn’t have come” He replied simply, “And it’s gonna be a kick ass party. This isn’t a big deal Escher, just enjoy it, you had good times here as well, remember?”
She closed her eyes but opened them when she felt his fingers wrap around her hand, stroking her palm gently.