Alarmed

“It was my first time,” Violet confessed defensively over as she and Ashley took their seats in the corner booth of their favorite diner. There was something in her tone that screamed “cover-up” even as the words rolled off of her tongue.

“I have never slept with a guy the night I met him before last week,” Violet whispered.  Her cheeks turned a mixture of green and pink, and she stuttered as if she were searching for the words.

Ashley listened intently biting her bottom lip to force the words back down her throat. She loved Violet but hated that someone so smart could make such stupid decisions all the time when it came to men. It was nearly impossible to count the number of occasions Violet cried on Ashley’s shoulder because yet another true love had broken her heart. It was the one thing that Ashley could rely on, and even worse, it was the one thing Violet had perfected. So, she listened and comforted her friend’s embarrassment in the only way I knew.

“Another round of martinis, please,” Ashley bellowed to the waitress.

For a second Violet stared at Ashley suspecting that her friend was on to her. Maybe it was the polite way Ashley muttered her usual “it’ll be ok.” Or maybe it was because Violet knew that the lie was too transparent for anyone to believe. She started to retract her previous statement, but when she heard Ashley order another round of drinks, she figured it wasn’t necessary and stopped.

“Another round comin’ right up,” the waitress announced, happy that the two ladies were not just wasting space. “Can I get you lunch now too?”

“Sure,” Violet whispered without making eye contact, worried that everyone would know her secret. “I’ll have a bacon cheeseburger deluxe, medium-well, and onion rings instead of the fries.” Sure, she was embarrassed, but she was hungry too.

“And you, hon,” the waitress asked turning her pad over to a new page.

“I’ll have a grilled chicken Caesar salad and a side of onion rings.” Ashley was hungry too, but unlike Violet, her figure could not afford another cheeseburger. “Actually, I’ll just share her onion rings.”

Violet said nothing after the waitress walked away. That was a first. She typically commented on the server’s attitude or skills, but this time she didn’t. Her mind was on Philippe. Although she just met him a week ago, she was completely infatuated. She smiled as she thought of their night together and for a short while, her embarrassment went away.
That is until Ashley snatched her back to reality.

“So, has he called you yet?” Ashley tried hard not to sound sarcastic, but it wasn’t easy. After all, it had been a week and like most of Violet’s significant others, a week was six days too long for them to stick around.

“As a matter of fact, he has called me twice.” Violet was annoyed; it was evident. Her voice was scruffy, and the table shook from the steady vibrations of her left leg.

Ashley called it her angry dance. Anytime Violet was annoyed or angry about something, she bounced her left leg uncontrollably. The first time Ashley had seen Violet’s happy dance was freshman year in college. Violet found out, after screwing him in the backseat of his friend’s rundown Explorer, that the guy she liked was dating someone else. Upon learning the news, she ran to Ashley’s job sobbing, and after an hour of telling Violet that she was too good for this guy, she calmed down long enough for her leg to start shaking in anger. It was the funniest thing Ashley had ever seen, and when she said so, Violet began sobbing again. Ashley learned very quickly not to say anything about it again.

“He did?” Ashley’s eyes almost jumped out of her head in surprise,  The waitress who was setting their drinks down laughed, and Violet once again became self-conscious. She whispered to Ashley to lower her voice and then took a sip of her martini.

“Well, sorry. I am just amazed that Phillipe called,” she said trying not to sound bitchy.

“Ok, but you don’t have to tell everyone here in the diner. Besides, why would you be amazed? I have been known to receive phone calls from guys before.” Violet’s leg began to shake again.

“I know you do, just not from guys that you sleep with.” Ashley’s voiced trailed off as she immediately regretted her statement. “Look, Violet, I don’t mean to be harsh, but you do dive in head first. You’re in desperate need of a hard hat.” She laughed hoping to ease the growing tension.

“You are my best friend Ash, you should buy one for me.” Violet was laughing, and she reached over to Ashley’s glass and stole her olive. “Bitch!”

“Slut,” Ashley jested.

Just then their waitress arrived with their food. Ashley lowered her head and chuckled as the waitress sat her plate on the table.  No matter how awkward things got between them, Ashley and Violet were always able to laugh.  In many ways, their bond was laughter, and as long as they had that, their friendship was solid.

The waitress turned and walked away, and suddenly, an awkward silence erupted between the two.  It only lasted a moment, but for the first time in a long while, Ashley was not quite sure what to say.  She just picked at her salad and watched Violet.  She always worried about her friend, but for the first time in a long time, she was scared for her.

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Kay Denise

Kay is from The Bronx, but is currently living her life's dream in Arizona. Writing is what breaths life into her world and when she does not do it, she feels off kilter. She is on a mission to finish and publish a compilation of short stories before the end of the year. She's well on her way, yet is often her own worse enemy.