I arrive at TD Gardens promptly at 6:00 p.m. As promised Kat is waiting for me at the ticket booth. When Kat sees me, she gives me a bear hug and hands me my ticket then looks down at my outfit with a funny expression on her face.
“You look sexy. I wouldn’t be surprised if some hot guy asked you out,” she jokes then makes a face. “I was worried you might not show.”
I flush. Kat has a warped sense of humor. Just because she’s a few years older than me she thinks she can say whatever pops in her head. But I don’t let it get to me because I feel like a million bucks. I’m wearing —fitted blue jeans, a white sweater shirt with strappy heels, and my favorite Chloe bag. I even took the time to straighten my hair so its sleek and shiny and hangs around my shoulders. A little smile tugs at my face. “I had nothing going on tonight. You called me at the right time.”
Kat flashes me a smile and laces her arms around mine, and we start walking towards the check in line. “Look, I think this guy’s cute and I want you to tell me what you think when you meet him.” She turns her head sideways and gives me a wheedling look. “This means a lot to me, Kris.”
“No not this time,” I say while shaking my head. “I’m not getting involved in your love life.” I hate to be harsh, but Kat never listens to my advise. She manages to always do the exact opposite. I look into her blue eyes and she stares back at me in bemusement. “I don’t want any blame if things don’t work out.”
“Come on I trust your judgment,” Kat says as we walk down a long hall and pass a crowd of people.
“You never listen. Remember that trainer you started dating a year ago, the one that left you in Vegas. The one that ended up being married with—”
“Yes-yes. I remember,” she says with a wave of the hand. “There’s no need in bringing up the past. I’ve changed. And I really need your input this time. I want you to help me find the right guy.” My mouth drops as I give her a side glance, wondering where this sudden need to be shacked up is coming from. “I think I’m ready for a relationship,” Kat continues and tightens her hand around my arm as we quicken our pace.
As we continue to walk, I think about how crazy this sounds; this coming from my friend that runs through men like water. “Are you serious,” I say, looking up at her once more.
“Yes. That’s what I’ve been trying to explain to you for the last five minutes,” she says, and gives me an agitated look.
I blink twice and suddenly I feel like a horrible friend. Kat has a point. I love her, and she deserves someone great in her life; she’s always been there for me. So if I can be of any help with her love life then so be it. Besides this might be fun. If anything, it will keep me from obsessing about Omar and hopefully take my mind off his dysfunctional family. Excited about my new role, I square my shoulders and say, “Fine. I’ll help you.”
“Ha. I knew you were a good friend!” Kat says excitedly as we reach our destination. She stops in front of this stocky woman who checks our tickets and then gives us the go ahead to go up. Kat and I take the escalator to the second floor. As we ride in silence, I gaze up at her; she’s beaming outwardly and I can tell she’s excited about her date. Smiling to myself, I take in her outfit. She’s wearing a cropped leather jacket, black jeans, a red V-neck silk top that shows off her breast, and four inch pumps. Her hair is freshly blown out and she has this high-powered look to her. She can have any man she wants.
Amused, I turn away and think how much my friend has changed since I’ve been back. Katherine has never been into monogamy and now she’s bent on finding someone to settle down with. And somehow, I think her sudden change of heart is because most of her friends are married or in a serious relationship. Who would have thought?
Not knowing where we’re going, we exist the escalator and I follow Kat down another long hall until we get to a security guard standing along side a door. Kat and I pull out our tickets and the man instructs us to go down a long row of steps to our front row seats. At the bottom of the stairs, I’m completely awestruck at all the flashing lights. I’ve never been to a game or even this close to real basketball players before. I stand frozen for a moment gaping at all the people sitting court-side. When Kat gives me a gentle nudge and looks at me expectantly.
“Come on,” she says and shows me to my seat. Sitting, I clutch my bag close to my side and I look down the row of seats, there’s a celebrity talking to someone a few seats down. Don’t lose your cool, Kristen.
With my mind racing at the possibility of seeing more celebrities, I straighten in my chair and my gaze follows a small procession of women slowly starting to trickle in, and I think they have to be basketball wives; they’re all wearing LV bags and red bottom heels and they all seem to have this air of importance about them. Fascinated, by how bedazzled they all look, I watch as they take their seats one by one and it dawns on me right then that sitting this close allows me to hear everything the players are saying.
Deep in thought I can barely hear Kat when the music comes on. She leans in and touches my hand. “You’re going to have a great time, I promise.”
“I know I can’t wait,” I say over the music.
Moments later, the players start to come out and the crowd roars. And for two hours, I cheer when the cheerleaders come out and during halftime I stay in my seat and applaud the uni-cycle acrobat. Taking full advantage of the adrenaline running through me, and the fact that I’m having so much fun; I shout every time my team scores a point and I even boo at the opposing team. To my pleasure, the Celtics out score the Nicks 120-119. By the end of the game, my voice is so hoarse from shouting that I can barely speak.
And by the time I settle myself back in my seat, everyone around me is cheering, and I instantly start to come down from my high when a tall square face man walks up to Kat. He give me a curt little smile and reaches over to place a kiss on Kat’s cheek.
“Kristen, this is John. He’s a business associate and friend. I’ve known him a long time,” she says business like.
“Nice to meet you John,” I say and regard him shrewdly. I’ve never known Kat to have a guy as a friend. I turn and give Kat a slanted glance that screams– since-when-do-you-do-friends-with-a-hot-guy.
They talk briefly. Then Kat introduces me to all the basketball wives. She practically knows everyone! After introductions are made, I stand kind of awkward at her side. I can’t help but feel a little like an imposter. Technically, I’m not a diehard fan who knows all the statistics and player positions or anything like that so I hope no one asks me any real questions.
Kat keeps the conversation going, and I’m grateful. John hasn’t left her side and frankly, I think it’s because he has a crush on her. He’s leaning a bit too close to Kat when one of the players comes over and places his hand on Kat’s shoulders. Then he bends down from his great height and whispers something to her.
John’s face tightens and he looks up at Kat. “Well you guys have a great evening. And Kat call me about the Ross contract,” he says and walks off.
I roll my eyes, then I look over at Kat who is not paying John any attention. Oh, this must be her date. He’s tall, nice head of hair with hazel eyes.
“Kristen this is Dermot. Dermot this is Kristen. Kristen’s like my little sister. ” Kat’s eyes light up when she says his name and for some reason I’m irritated that she’s already caught up on this guy.
He holds out his hand. “Hi Kristen, it’s nice to meet you.” He smiles at me devilishly and his entire face brightens up. I flush. I can tell immediately that he’s trouble.
“Hi,” I say politely. We shake hands.
“Did you enjoy the game?”
“It was great. I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Pleased by my response, Dermot places his arm around Kat’s waist and grins down at her. “I’m heading to the Grand to celebrate with a couple of my teammates. You’re both welcome to join me?”
“Dermot, why didn’t you tell me earlier?” Kat says in a throaty voice.
“I just found out myself.” He gives her a wicked grin, and I roll my eyes again. Apparently Kat is falling for his charm. I can tell by the way she’s fawning all over him that the night’s not going to end well.
Kat nudges me in the arm. “Of course we’ll be there.”