|Thanks to D.B. McNicol for the image|
♫"You walked into the party, like you were walking onto a yacht..."♬
The line from Carly Simon's song flashed through Addy's brain as the teeth walked in the front door. Those perfect - and perfectly white - teeth were grinning out of a tan face belonging to a man of average height wearing an old-fashioned grand-dad hat at a jaunty angle. Addy had never understood what Carly meant in that song until this moment.
He owned the place.
Or at least, the hearts of anyone who saw him.
And he knew it.
Between the hat and the neatly trimmed shadow on his jaw, Addy would define him as "hipster" but she knew she might be wrong. Classifications often eluded her. If she read Urban Dictionary every day of her life, she'd never catch up to the pulse of modern life.
One of Addy's fellow call-center employees had invited her. Becca's cubicle was caddy-corner (north-east) from Addy's, and Becca was always hanging over her cubicle wall to chat with Matt, who worked in the north-west corner of their foursome. (Addy called it "the four-square", but only to herself.) The southeast corner was occupied by Barb, when she bothered to show up to work. Addy had overheard Becca telling someone in the break room that Barb was sleeping with the manager, so she was given a lot of leeway on work standards. Addy picked up a lot of Barb's slack, probably because their cubicle openings were adjacent, so if anyone saw Barb was gone, they'd just dump their load on Addy's desk.
Becca had joked that Barb was trying to overcome her old-fashioned name, Barbara, by being a slut. Poor girl, she was only 19, and 26-year-old Addy thought she was really pretty, but if Becca was right and she didn't like her name, surely she could just ask people to call her Barbie? That name would suit her look, at least.
She was at the party, too, hanging out near the cooler out back, talking with three of the guys from their floor when Addy decided to come inside.
Coming inside didn't help Addy. She wasn't comfortable at parties. She wasn't comfortable saying no to an invitation, either, which is why she was here at all. Becca had only invited her (Addy assumed) because Addy could hear the conversation when Becca was inviting Matt. Addy had risen to walk to the washroom at the moment Becca invited Matt, chatting over their shared cubicle wall. Addy caught Becca's eye and she threw out a "You should come, too, Addy. I'll send you the e-vite."
Not knowing what the party was for or about, Addy said, "okay," and left for the Ladies room. Only when she saw the e-vite later did she realize it was a huge party because someone in Becca's circle of friends from college was turning 21. Addy only knew a few of the names on the invitation list that were also names on cubicles at work, but she had already said "okay" so she didn't think it would be right to suddenly decline the invitation. People planned parties based on numbers, didn't they?
Addy was facing the front door, standing just inside the living room, back near the doorway to the kitchen. There were a handful of people scattered around the room, making out or in animated, private conversations. She leaned against the doorway with her Mike's Hard Lemonade, out of the way, considering leaving, when the teeth walked in.
He was magnetic. No one was there to greet him, but he looked like he belonged anyway. A glance around at the people in the room - jutting his chin at the one guy who caught his eye and did the same in return, and this paragon of... something ... crossed toward the kitchen doorway. Toward Addy!
She was conscious of everything wrong with her in that moment. Standing taller, she fixed her posture, but her hair was just a mess of stringy spaghetti pulled back in a stupid claw-clamp. Stupid! Why did she do that? Raising her drink to her mouth, she tried to form a smile on her lips and closed her eyes to drink. As she lowered the drink, she saw he was looking at her! Not through her, at her! He caught her eye and smiled back at the half-smile that she had managed to maintain over the butterflies leaving her stomach through her mouth.
"Hey." He stopped walking right in front of her. "I don't know you, do I? Trey. Trey Krall."
"Hi. Addy. I work with Becca." Since it was Becca's house, she figured this guy who walked straight through the house so knowingly must know her.
"Cool." He looked at her bottle. "Looks like you're almost ready for a refill. Come on." As he continued walking past her to get to the booze outside, he waved for her to follow. Addy couldn't believe it. He was halfway through the kitchen before her feet unlocked from the floor.
She reached up and released the claw-clamp from her hair, throwing it onto the living room floor as she followed Trey, mesmerized.
It's FICTION FRIDAY!
Every Friday, a new flash fiction story, inspired by reader comments, when possible. Feel free to leave a prompt for future use in the comments below. I hope you liked that story, based on the prompt "a co-worker's party".
If you choose to join in for Fiction Fridays, post a link to your story below in the comments. Next week's prompt is: "bad hair day". If you join me next week, be sure to come back and share a link to your story!