“There’s drinks in the kitchen. Do you want anything?” Kat asks, drawing my attention away from the crowd. She’s wearing this crooked smile on her face with the look of someone that has just walked into a candy store. Her date with Anthony ended on a sour note, but the shimmer in her eyes, proved to be somewhat carnal. She seemed pleased about the hot young prospects floating in and out the the room, and it was quite apparent to anyone looking that she was bent on finding a replacement.
“I’ll have champagne,” I say.
“Bring me back a vodka martini,” Amanda says, and looks up at me brightly as I watch Kat slip past a group of people jammed against each other like a can of sardines, to the kitchen. “I’m glad you came.”
I shrug, and I look at her. “So what’s the deal with this party?”
“Rita is a client of Katherine’s,” Amanda says, leaning forward to place her hand on my shoulder. “Apparently she’s an art buyer now. She brings in a lot of business for Kat. From what I hear she’s a coke head that throws these lavish parties when her husband’s away on business.”
I nod. I can feel her fingers touching my collar bone as she brings her face closer to mine. Her lips moving rapidly as she recalls some of Rita’s hair brain schemes, which to my surprise actually worked on her recent husband.
“The girls a real piece of work,” she says. Back home in New York, Amanda had a lot of female cousins, so she was used to gossiping.
“I bet she is,” I say, carefully stepping back from her as I watch a tall square face man walk up to us.
“Hey, I’m Chip. You guys know Rita?”
I give him my usual calm look, then I smile thinly. “We knew her back when she was modeling.”
“That’s cool. I’m a writer. What are you guys into?”
“I’m a high school teacher. But now I’m…well you know figuring things out.” I nudge Amanda with my shoulder, she meets my face and says nothing. She’s just standing there staring at him appreciatively, as if the man were a snack.
“I know how that is,” he says. “My last book didn’t sell. Now my agent is giving me shit about it. He’s waiting for me to write my next best seller.”
As he’s talking, I give him a closer inspection. He’s wearing a blue shirt and dress pants, and he has a nice head of hair. He’s actually quite attractive. Casually, I look away and see Kat heading back with our drinks. She looks over at Chip, her mouth is an empty O, as she hands me my drink and sips her gin and tonic in silence. I could kill her.
Chip leans in, invading my space. “Do you guys do coke? I can get you some,” he asks.
The girls and I look at each other.
“We don’t do coke, thanks,” I say, taking a sip of my champagne and for a moment I feel like he’s lost some of his appeal.
“Oh, ok. Neither do I,” he shrugs. “I just thought maybe you wanted some since its going around,” he says, flustered.
A tall young man materializes from the crowd and walks over to Chip. He places his hand on Chips shoulder and they both talk quickly. Then Chip turns his body around to gaze down at me, his eyes come alive with an expression I can’t place. I shift my weight from foot to foot, the intensity of his stare making me feel uneasy. His lips curl into a smile. “I have to check something out. Can we talk later?”
“Sure. If I’m around,” I say and watch him disappear into the crowd. “Why are we here again?” I turn to Kat, while waving my drink in the air.
“Because you need to let your hair down,” Amanda says with a small voice.
“You’re crazy,” I say, although for a moment I had forgotten that she was there. “I’m not going to talk to someone I don’t know.”
“Why not? He’s cute, you should be nice to the guy. He seems harmless.” Amanda looks at me levelly, her pupils shinning in the dimly lit room, her face mildly amused.
I sigh heavily.
“Why the rush to leave, anyway? From the look of things you’ve just made a friend. There’s no harm in that.” Kat suppresses a smile.
I roll my eyes a few times. A server approaches with a tray of champagne glasses and I drink what’s left in my glass before I grab another. She has a point. I could stay and enjoy myself.
“Let’s go say hello to Rita. This couple I know just told me she’s upstairs and I’m dying to meet the hot guy she wants to introduce me to. I hear he’s really good in bed,” Kat says.