I go to speak when I hear a voice that turns my
blood to ice cold then boiling hot.
“My, my… if it isn’t the littlest Chandler.” She
gives a low cackle.
Mea’s once casual demeanor is suddenly gone. She
sits up straight, her shoulders set back and her eyes fixed on mine, like a
doll or something. I know this woman casts a chill over people who know her but
I never saw it effect someone else. Then again, I’ve never seen her around
anyone but her own kind. Lady doesn’t fraternize with the “average folks”. It’s
frowned upon for people of her stature to even be seen with them. Unless it’s a
good photo op.
I place my fork gently down and look up to see the
woman standing next to me.
Her, I would go to jail for. There’s something about
her smug, stupid face that I would gladly spend a night in jail for punching.
I’m ninety percent sure her nose would just crumble. There is no way it’s real.
I’ve seen her pug-nosed daughters.
“Oh, look… it’s the oldest Carmichael.” I sing out
to Mea, her eyes widening slightly.
For the record, I tried to think of something nice
to say. She caught me off guard and nothing came to mind. I was taught it’s
rude to not acknowledge someone.
“You’re absolutely adorable, it’s no wonder your
mother keeps such a tight leash on you. That mouth could get you into trouble.”
She bends slightly, pinching my cheek hard as she tries to make me break.
She’ll have to tear it off before I’ll give her
the satisfaction of knowing it hurts.
funny,” she lets go and pats the spot, “me running into you here. Where is your
mother?” She looks around the space.
I know she knows my mother isn’t here. This is all
her trying to intimidate me.
“She isn’t here; and why is this funny?” I start
to wish my mother would walk in like a superhero and throw her out the window.
“It’s just… I was putting together the charity
event for next year and I mentioned to my son-in-law we should invite the
Chandler girls, he disagreed but… men.” She waves him off.
Smart guy… although he can’t be too intelligent if
he married into their family… however, we all know how the Carmichaels
marriages are arranged… to the biggest bank account.
“You’re all together again and as you know we hold
an auction, for our charity, of course.” She waves her long acrylic nails
around as she speaks. “I would love if you and your sisters would join us.” She
gives a laugh that feels more sinister than amused.
Taking out one of her business cards, she holds it
out to me.
Before I can answer, Mea jumps in.
“You’re busy… then,” she tries to help.
She’s so cute, trying to come to my rescue.
“I’m sorry? I didn’t see the little mouse over
here.” Lady turns towards Mea and my stomach knots.
Whoa, you leave my little mouse alone! I mean, my
Pick on someone who doesn’t have feelings to hurt.
“I’m guessing you’re the friend… Lexi. How,
unique.” Lady’s tone drops to show she’s annoyed that Mea thought it was ok to
speak up. “You should know, it’s rude to speak when you are not addressed.” She
reaches out to pat Mea on the head like an animal.
I grab the card from Lady, in a desperate move to
pull her attention back to me and off the squirming girl under Lady’s gaze.
“No, this is my assistant, Natalia.” I cast Mea
off like she’s nothing so Lady will turn back to me. “Now you’ve been
introduced but that does not give you permission to speak to her. As you know,
it’s rude to butt in on a conversation, it’s even ruder to do so on a business
meeting. Especially when it’s to accomplish one’s own means.” I slowly stand to
assert myself. “I will speak to Morgan about attending.”
I would never drag Morgan into this so she’s going
to have to deal with only one of us.
It works and Lady looks back at me, her smile
growing wider. “You know, we’ve always wanted to get you girls involved in more
social activities. I’m so glad you’re interested. We also have a Gala after
Christmas. I expect to see you there as well.” She smiles, even though her tone
“Of course,” I cheer, my face permanently fixed in
this fake pleasant face I didn’t know I had in me.
Lady gives a single clap then pats my cheek again.
“So adorable.” She begins to walk away and for some reason unknown to myself I
feel like I need the last word.
“Lady,” I turn and watch her spin back to me.
Victory written all over her face.
“I’ll be sure to send some brownies as a thank you
for the invite.” I toss a laugh at her and wave her on her way to show she’s
Her mouth opens slightly then she looks around,
fixes her jacket and turns to leave. Defeated.
Dropping in my seat, I grab my water to take a
Me and my big, stupid, Chandler mouth. Two events
that I have zero desire to go to and now I’m verbally contracted to both.
I think I just signed my soul to the devil
Putting my glass back on the table, I crumble the
card in my hand and I drop it in my purse before pushing my plate away.
“That woman should be in weight loss commercials,”
I mutter, raising my hand for a waiter.
When he spots me, he walks over and smiles, “Is everything
alright?” he looks from my dish to me.
“Everything is wonderful. I’m wondering if you
could please get me a Baileys on the rocks.” I look at Mea. “Actually, make
that two,” I smile back at the man.
He laughs an almost understanding laugh and walks
“I’m sorry about her, usually I have a shield.” A
thought crosses my mind. “Today I guess I was yours, though.” I pinch the
bridge of my nose. “She’s, as Grams would say, a twat.” I rub the space between
my eyes, trying to relieve some tension.
“You seemed very confident.” Mea fixes her
silverware. “You reminded me a lot of your mother,” she adds.
That’s probably what Lady means by ‘I’m adorable’.
She means I remind her of my mother. There’s a clear distinction between my
mother and me.
She cares what people think and I don’t.
“I’ve had years of training,” I smile at her,
trying to brush off the weird mood that’s seemed to settle between us.
“What was brownies code for?” She looks up at me,
her index fingers drawing circles around her watch.
“No code. It stood for brownies. When we were in
high school she accused me of giving her daughters brownies that were laced
with stool softener.” I shrug.
Her expression chances from wary to intrigue.
“Did you?” she questions me.
“They always have this look of constipation on
their faces,” I admit, without admitting.
She bursts into laughter. “You are my favorite
person,” she says between breaths.
It’s weird that this conversation is what made her
decide that. I was disliked for a long time after that and for some reason no
one wanted to eat the brownies my mom made for holidays.
When our drinks arrive, we take them and raise
them in a toast.
Mea speaks up before I can think of something to
say. “To a non-friendship and twats, may the non-friendship stay warm even
after the fire has gone out and the twats burn in hell from the embers.” Her
voice is back to its regular perkiness.
Umm… well, how can I not toast to that?
Clearing my throat, I raise my glass and clink it
off hers. Taking back the smooth liquid we both drain our glasses and place
them back on the table.
“I don’t have a lot of women friends,” I smile at
“Yeah, me either. Women are assholes sometimes and
I thought we weren’t friends?” She smirks and I raise my hand for the waiter
He comes over, his eyes sparkling with delight at
“Could we have another round?” I ask and look at
Mea. “We’re celebrating our friendship tonight.” We exchange a sly grin.
“To Crazy and Baggage… a match made in absolute
hell,” she winks at me and I agree.
Well… I hung out as long as I could.
She’s just so damn likeable.