Sexy Jerk(3)By: Kim Karr
She’s the girl who moved next door to me in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst when we were both five. Ever since then we have been stuck together like glue. We’ve seen each other through so much, and I can honestly say I love her like no one else in my life, except maybe for Max, her son.
“Hi, Fiona,” I answer.
“Tessseee,” she greets. “You’re never going to guess what I’m doing right now.”
I glance at the clock on the dash of my new car. Well, new to me. It is only six in the evening. Is she drunk this early? That’s not like her at all. “Making dinner?” I guess to appease her. And drinking too much wine, I want to add but don’t. Not yet anyway. I need to feel the situation out. See what’s up.
“Beeeeeppppp . . . no. The baby already ate, and there will be no further food preparations in this household for anyone by me tonight. Try again.”
Okay, I think, something happened, and hence the wine. Just then I hear a noise in the background that sounds like splashing. “Giving Max a bath?” I guess again.
She laughs, but it doesn’t sound sincere. “Well, yes, but no. Hell, forget the guessing game, I’ll just tell you. I’m walking around the bathroom in my brand new bikini with a giant glass of wine in my hand trying to keep it together. I’d lock myself in here for the next two weeks if the doorknob wasn’t broken.”
“Fiona, what happened? What’s going on?” I ask with concern.
With a sigh, she whisper yells, “Ethan wants to postpone the trip.”
I stop at a light. “Oh, no, Fi, why? Did he chicken out about spending the money?”
She gives me a slight laugh. “Believe it or not, no.”
“Did something come up at work?”
Ethan has recently become junior partner at his firm and seems to work all the time. “No, believe it or not, it isn’t work either,” she replies with a sniffle this time.
She’s been crying.
“Then why?” I ask. “You’ve been planning this trip to Fiji for months. It’s your dream honeymoon, and Ethan knows it.”
Fiona and Ethan are both attorneys. They met while working on a case, on opposite sides. It was not love at first sight. More like hate at first sight. Fiona was an associate at one law firm and Ethan was an associate at another. They spent a lot of time together over a thirty-day period, and somehow ended up between the sheets. Just once, she insisted. Still that was enough for her to accidently get pregnant. Shortly after the discovery, they married, she took a leave of absence from her job, and now almost four years later, they are finally going on their honeymoon. Fiona has been looking forward to this trip for a quite a while.
“Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy.” Max is on repeat again and I have to suppress my chuckle. This is a new phase and Fiona goes mad when he does that.
“Max, what does Mommy say about repeating the same word over and over?” Fiona asks him softly.
“Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy.”
She sighs. “Sorry, Tess. Are you still there?”
The light turns green and I hit the accelerator. “Yes. Now tell me what happened? Why does Ethan want to put the trip off?”
“I don’t think I should tell you,” she hiccups.
“Fi, tell me,” I demand.
Her voice grows low. “Don’t be mad.”
“Okay, I won’t be mad, I promise. Now tell me.”
“He’s worried Max will be too much for you to handle in your state.”
I frown. “In my state?” I say in question.
“You know what I mean.”
“In my state!” I repeat loudly.
“Max has been a lot to handle lately, and Ethan’s not sure you’re up to taking care of Max after everything that happened with Ansel.”
“I was going through a break up, Fi, not a break down.”
Yes, for a small period of time I might have felt like my world ended. And at the time I thought it had. My life was Gaspard—the restaurant—and it was taken from me. Sure, I had suddenly moved back to Chicago three weeks ago and cried on Fiona’s couch for seven days straight. I felt lost. Who wouldn’t? I’d spent years giving everything I had to my job. And yes, I might have even refused to go out of the house. And perhaps I had eaten nothing but ice cream for three of those seven days. But that was weeks ago.