I can’t believe I actually had fun at one of Luna’s parties. I was feeling melancholy at first after texting Jake, telling him not to come. But then I realized that I was more relieved than anything else. Things were getting back on track. I was going to work really hard at doing the right thing. Chris and I were finally in a good place after having fun together in New York. And now all I had to do was simply behave myself.
After I put Zoe to bed I talked to my mom on the phone for a while. She has been going to our house to feed the cat and get the mail and she said that Chris is getting tons of fan mail and sometimes there are even boxes and presents for him on our doorstep. She said there was a guy sitting in a car, taking pictures of her going in and out if the house a couple of days ago. I’m wondering if Chris should just come here and bring the cat, after his tour, if Luna doesn’t mind.
I didn’t help much with the party prep. I’m a lousy house guest, I know. I stayed in my room until I heard the music and the chatter get a bit louder. Then I put on my white, long-sleeved beach dress, white cable knit sweater and flip flops, then went out to get a glass of wine. When I walked into the living room I didn’t recognize anyone at first. I found my way into the kitchen and poured myself a glass, looking for my Aunt. I figured she was probably outside. Then I saw Evan, her grad student and I looked down into my wine, embarrassed. Then I decided to try and be “normal” and I walked over to him and smiled my absolute friendliest smile and said brightly, “Hi Evan!”
He looked surprised and amused, which made me instantly uncomfortable. “Hello Odette,” he said. “You look lovely, as always.”
I flushed. I could have done without the compliment. “You look nice yourself’ I said, not really believing that but trying to be on the same level as him. His glasses were crooked. I almost told him to fix them but I reminded myself I was being normal and polite this evening…no snarky coming off as flirtatious, if possible.
“It is a bit windy out…big waves,” I managed.
“Yes” he smiled. “Probably due to that enormous hurricane that’s been churning up the Atlantic for the past few days.”
“I would guess so.” I looked around for my Aunt, or an escape.
“Are you regretting coming to talk to me, Odette?” he said.
I looked at him feeling annoyance starting to build. I could feel the snappy comments arranging themselves in my mind and I pushed them away. “Of course not” I said, politely with a poker face. Then to my relief, I saw Rissa over at the other end of the kitchen.
“If you’ll excuse me I must say hello to a friend” I said and gently, confidently touched his arm then made my way over to see Rissa. Thank God that went OK and I didn’t end up yelling at him for one reason or another. “Rissa!” I shouted.
She looked over at me and brightened, “Hey surfer girl!” she said. “I was hoping I’d see you here!”
“I looked for you today out on the waves from the beach, but I didn’t see you,” I said.
“Those waves were too big for me!” she said. “I would die in those waves!”
“They were pretty intense,” I said.
“I heard Kelly Slater was out there! I was hoping he would be here too!” she said, taking my arm.
“I don’t think there are any famous surfers here, ” I said.
“As if you would know! Come and meet my friends.” She headed off to the porch and I grabbed a bottle of wine off the counter on my way out.
The rest of the night I was sociable and open. I didn’t grump at anyone. I thought about Jake a couple of times and found myself getting upset. But I was able to redirect my thoughts and talk about Chris and his tour to everyone. I told them how amazing his concert was, but left out the part that he made me watch from the audience at first.
People were still there after midnight…still talking about the huge waves. But I was ready to go to bed so I said my goodnights and left them out on the porch. I walked in the house and through the living room and there was Evan, sitting on the couch with a professor from the college. “Odette!” he said.
I stopped at looked at him, trying not to scowl, “What’s up, Evan.” I still felt prickly towards him. I tried very hard to come across as polite but now that I was tired, it was only half working.
The professor suddenly hopped up off the couch and announced he was going to say goodnight to Luna. I was left with Even and he patted the couch next to him. I decided, once again to be polite and went and sat down, wishing I was still holding a glass of wine so I had something to do with my hands. I folded them in my lap, then looked at him and raised my eyebrows.
“You seem happy tonight” he said.
“Things are good. I had a lot of fun in New York with Chris” I said.
“Chris is your husband?” he said.
“Luna says that you are separated.”
“Luna says a lot of things” I said. “Especially when she’s lit.”
“Am I lit? No. I only did it that one time with you. I don’t really like it.”
“I’m asking if you are separated…are you, or are you not?”
His pestering was aggravating but I still had a little politeness left in me. “It’s complicated” I said, thinking of my friend’s Facebook page…how weird that “complicated” was an option for describing your Facebook relationship status. “But we’re doing well now, which is good.”
“I’m glad things seem to be working out” he said.
I nodded, feeling a little more relaxed.
“Luna says you’re a dancer.”
“Well, my sister owns a studio on the island and they need a ballet teacher for the 7-10 year olds. I told her about you and if you are interested, she would love to talk to you about teaching them.”
“That actually sounds like a lot of fun,” I said, starting to feel excited about the possibility.
“How long are you in town for?” he said.
“I don’t know now. Chris is getting a lot of attention for his song so we might not be able to go back to the Athens house for a while. So, indefinitely” I said.
“OK, well, I’m going to be here tomorrow afternoon, I’ll come and tell you what she says then OK?”
“OK! If I’m on the beach, come out and find me” I beamed.
“I will. What are you going to be wearing?”
“So I know how to find you.”
“Probably a white bathing suit.”
He smiled and nodded and rubbed his chin. I looked back at him feeling slightly horrified, and if I wasn’t so excited about the dancing-class option I probably would have let myself tell him he was a complete idiot.
Instead, I said goodnight and got up and walked off to bed. I checked my phone again. Jake never texted me back so I figured he was probably just done with me and my flaky propositions and cancellations. I shook it out of my head and tried to think of how amazing that would to be to teach ballet.
I peeked in on Zoe sleeping as I made my way to my room. Her noisemaker was playing wave-sounds since I had to shut her window now that it is getting so cold at night. I finally felt like a good mom again. I was going to be able to sleep well tonight. I wondered if Jake was gong to sleep OK and then I scolded myself to stop already. He would be fine, he always was. And eventually, I wouldn’t be thinking of him at night anymore. Maybe I’ll even start thinking about Chris.