Brody’s eyes fidgeted between her and Calvin. “…sure.”
He poured Shea a drink, then passed it along. The party guests resumed their former chatter, and the remainder of the ride went smooth, though there were a few subtle bumps. Calvin kept silent.
The ride pulled up to the popular night spot and dropped them off. The party guests hurried out and trotted to the back of the line. Once they settled in, Calvin grabbed Bridgette by the wrist and tugged her close.
“You brought a gun?”
“I saw it. In your purse.”
“Are you being serious?”
Calvin’s mouth stayed shut.
“You’re starting to piss me off.” Bridgette jerked her arm away, then smiled brightly and returned to her circle of friends.
“Shit,” said Shea, squeezing Calvin’s shoulder.
He watched as she scraped her heel along the ground. It was the first time he noticed she had blonde hair and wore a red party dress, almost identical to his wife’s.
“I stepped in it. I stepped in shit,” Shea said.
Calvin stepped out of her grasp and grabbed his wife again. He swiveled her around, grabbed both sides of her face then kissed her on the lips.
“What do you want?” she said.
He brought his lips right into her ear, then whispered. “You have a gun. In your purse. I want to know why.”
“Get off me!” She shoved him back a few steps. Everybody in the circle went quiet. “See for yourself, moron!” She flung the purse at him.
It hit Calvin in the abdomen. Out spilled her make-up, tampons, and a few pens. No gun.
“Whoa! Keep it in the bedroom, you two!” said Brody. He ran his hand threw his grey hair and chuckled.
Calvin shook his head, then lowered to one knee and picked up his wife’s belongings. Shea bent over and picked up a few of the items with him, then dumped them in the bag.
Calvin stood, then smacked Bridgette’s shoulder with the back of his hand. “Here.”
She folded her arms. “You don’t trust me.”
“Take your purse.”
She rolled her eyes, then returned to her circle.
“You okay?” Shea said to Calvin.
“Want me to hold that?” said Shea.
Calvin’s eyes were glued to his wife. She wasn’t just enjoying herself – she was glowing.
Shea made robot noises as she peeled his digits off the handle, one by one. She swung the purse over her shoulder, then stopped giggling. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“Yeah, I’m great.”
“Good, because that’s totally what I asked.”
A few people exited the night club, and the line moved forward.
“Brody works a lot, and I’m really busy with the kids,” said Shea. She stuck her palm to her eye. “Shit, I mean the kids I teach. I want kids, but Brody doesn’t. He used to, well before he married me-”
“My wife is going to kill me.”
Shea gasped. “What?”
Calvin studied Brody.
“I’m sure you’re just imagining it. I don’t know, you seem really creative. I think it’s cool how you play the guitar.”
Calvin faced her.
“Brody told me. They’ve been on the phone non-stop since Bridgette’s dad died.”
The group took another step forward. They were nearing the entrance.
“Did she even tell you? Shit, I shouldn’t have said that. Bridgette’s my good friend, and I don’t like getting into other people’s business. But that’s the only reason they look close.” She bit her lips, then pat Calvin’s shoulder blade. “I’m sorry. It’s not my place, I’m just a stranger to you… but if Bridgette’s scared you won’t be there for her when she needs you most, you kind of need to show her that she’s wrong… you know?”
The group advanced to the front of the line. “Wait here,” said the bouncer.
Shea sighed. “Shit, I can’t believe she didn’t tell you. That’s terrible. Not just for you, she must have trust issues. Just be patient and talk to her… I know I just met you, but you seem so sweet. Make her aware that you want to know all about the loss of her dad. That’s a really big deal… for anybody. I’m sure it’s not even you, she just feels vulnerable… There’s only two real men in a girls life, for God’s sake!”
Calvin shut his eyes.
Shea smiled kindly. “I know how it looks. Trust me, you think it’s been easy waiting for my husband to get off the phone with her? Bridgette’s an honorable person and would never do that to either of us, but I’m human, so yeah, I worry. I’ve been cheated on before – it destroyed me… for years.”
The group entered the nightclub, but the bouncer pulled the rope back before Calvin and Shea could pass through.
“Two?” said the bouncer.
“Oh, um, yeah I guess.” Shea scratched the back of her head. She frowned and punched Calvin in the shoulder. “It’s great to be a thinker, but you really should lighten up a little… I know Brody seems like a jerk, but he’s a good guy deep down… Trust me, he would never, ever cheat on me.” She smiled at Calvin. “So stop worrying about him and your wife already!”
The bouncer cleared the rope. The pair strode up the steps together and entered through the door. Music bumped, strobe lights flashed. Shea grabbed Calvin’s jacket flap. His gaze remained somewhere beyond her.
“Hey! Nothing is wrong! They’re friends! We’re friends! Relax and have fun!”
She hopped until she had his attention, then tossed her hair back and crossed her arms. “God, you really need to let things go!”
“I had breakfast with Bridgette’s dad this morning.”
Shea quit smiling. Calvin walked around her and pushed through the dancers.
To be continued…
- Thomas M. Watt