Once the cake had been served now was the time of the evening where everyone was filled with sugar compounded with numerous drinks of alcohol, that some had been enjoying since the early afternoon.  Not being much of a drinker, she got a thrill and countless internal chuckles watching the awkward interactions unfold around her.  This eased the flow of her mood throughout the party as she was encountered with each blow delivered during each conversation.

First, it was her sister, “look at those shoes, I told you should buy some new ones those big honkers make you look like a man and you should dress a little better show off some of this bod you have.”

Then it was her friend “Why haven’t you called me, I called you.”

“I was out of town, remember?” Amber said knowing she knew she was out of town but went through the routine anyway.

“Yeah, I know, I just miss you when you are gone, you don’t ever seem to be around.”  Replying with a half-smile, though not really meaning it.

“What about this week, I am free all week, oh sorry I can’t how about on the 14th

Amber looks blankly at her as she says this date almost 2 full weeks away and replies with a hopefully gesture of understanding her choices. “That is when I am going to Philly, though I am free the following week.”

“I wish you could get together on the 14th that is really the only day I am available.”  Her friend says pleadingly.

Without saying anything Amber thinks, and they say I am the one who is inflexible.  Seeing that they have gotten nowhere and know they will go nowhere with this, Amber grabs her hand as a way to diverge the topic from the usual dancing of dates and show that she is interested in her friend as a friend, so they find a place to sit down to talk.  Instead of sitting together her friend changes who is leading and they find this guy, she clearly would have no interest in.

He was at most in his early 20’s a boy really maybe late 20’s, 26, 27 but couldn’t be older than that a baby really and not her type in the least.  A set up that happens at almost every gathering where she is expected to hook up with him and eventually they will marry.  It made her sick that this was their choice today and everyday they played matchmaker.

As usual he was probably a decent person but was way too young though, better than the beer belly stench ridden person in their forty’s, their last bit of bait for her, or how about the garbage man in his 60’s who turned out to be an alcoholic.  Really searching the bottom of the barrel for her perfect guy.  To be nice she had dates with them all, to show she would go along and at least try and also show she wasn’t playing hard to get, picky Victoria, or unreasonable social recluse.  Each one always turning out to be failures completely, not only that she felt horrible doing it because she knew she wouldn’t have gone out with any of them in the first place if it wasn’t for their pressure to settle her down.

They were on a roll tonight, so far the way I dress, my job, dating, what was next, just then she knew she didn’t have to ask because here were her parents coming as a pair, all smiles.

“I thought you were going to get that new car”, my mother starts the conversation.

“I like the my car.”  Knowing this is the same conversation they have had pretty much since she bought her used Ford Aspire a few years ago.

“Didn’t the tire blow last week?”  Dad chimes in, using his man to man talking voice.

“Yes, there was a tire that popped, though I was able to fix that.”  She replied happily.

“Really that is the 4th problem you have had with it this month.”  Already almost exasperated, her mother says with a slightly raise tone.

“It will have to wait I can’t afford a new car and really I prefer the car I have.”  Trying to ease the conversation anyway she can she just replies cheerfully.

“I thought you were making good money?” in that demanding, I am disappointed in you tone, my mother speaks clearly.

Still being cheerful Amber replies, “Yes, I am but I still have many financial responsibilities.”

“You know you could live by us it is cheaper and we could help you.”  Dad says hopefully.

“I know but I like where I live.”  Firm and generally happy about her response, for the evening was well rounded now, there wasn’t one subject left uncovered.

She wanted to find a way to stop the questioning, the interrogation of the FBI as she referred to it.  It wasn’t actually the Federal Bureau of Investigation, even though it had the same initials, to her it stood for the Family Badger Inquisitions.  Something she avoided when she could.  Knowing though she couldn’t leave the party early, for if she did, she wasn’t spending quality time with the family or was being a baby.  As a result, she just looked for another out, just a way to be free, a break, until the inevitable next set of questions.  She simply told her parents that she left her drink outside and wanted to go get it and left.

Walking back outside she saw the guy with whom she had helped rescue the birdie.  He was tall though not too tall.  What is tall for a guy anyway, her mind wandered 6 feet, just past 6 feet what was it, when does the general population start thinking a man is tall?  Anyways he had a slender, sturdy build.  Dressed decent not over the top but not scruffy either.  Strange how he could look elegant even though his clothes were well worn.  He had resumed playing the game, there was quite a bit of people she didn’t know playing badminton her sister or Jimmy must have joined a new club or something.  That was the last she remembered of him until today here at her presentation gazing right at her.

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