“Bye honey, I’ll see you next week,” my wife said, kissing me on the cheek as she ran out the door to get her taxi. “don’t forget the bins, and I’ll call you when I get a chance.”
I smiled at her as she left. A whole week living the bachelor lifestyle stretched out before me, no responsibilities, no work and no evenings of reality TV. Loathing ahead except, of course, the pile of chores that we’d both been neglecting. I sighed and trudged to the kitchen.
“Better get these out of the way before I do anything else,” I think to myself. “starting with these dishes.” I slide off my wedding ring and get to work scrubbing.
A few hours later, with the place looking nearly brand new, my phone rings.
“Hey Pete, what do you need this time?” over a decade of friendship had me knowing that Pete only called when he wanted something, or wanted to tell me something he didn’t want in writing.
“Oh sure. Like you have ever helped with anything,” the amusement in Pete’s voice was obvious “I hear you’re living the solo life for a bit. Want to hit up the town, get a few drinks?”
I looked back at the empty house, knowing that Pete probably was looking for a wingman.
“Why the hell not.” I hadn’t been out for a while, and I had plenty of time for sitting at home by myself ahead of me.
“Great. I’ll come grab you in 10,” Pete hung up without waiting for a reply.
Before I know it, I’m in my usual going out clothes, a pair of jeans, black T-Shirt and a jacket. I look myself up and down in the mirror, running my hands through my salt and pepper hair as I think back to the mischief Pete and I used to get up to before we settled down. An insistent beeping breaks me from my reverie, and I hurry to pile into Pete’s car.
“This thing is still ridiculous,” I say as he revs the engine on his vintage mustang.
“You’re the one that picked the settle down with a good woman route, not me,” Pete shot back, “I can spend my money however I want.”
We drove in companionable silence for a while before pulling in at a trendy new cocktail place.
“Aren’t we a little old for a place like this?” I asked Pete
“Nah,” Pete responded. “one of the advantages of success is that we can afford the drinks here.”
We laughed as we went in, light jazz filling the spacious, dimly lit room with a warm background to the buzz of conversation. The crowd was a lively mix of folks, but being early in the evening we were able to secure a booth and settle in for a night of swapping stories and drinking whiskey.
As the evening descended into night, the lights got dimmer and the music more upbeat, and before long the place was filling up. We were in the middle of recounting that time Pete and I entirely wrapped a friend’s car in tin foil when a feminine voice interrupted with a slightly breathy “Excuse me.”
Pete and I turn to the speaker and my jaw nearly hit the floor. A pair of utterly stunning young ladies were standing nervously at the end of our table, elaborate cocktails in hand.
“We noticed that you had some space at your table and we were hoping we could join you.” The speaker was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen, a petite redhead with a spray of freckles across her face in a skintight green dress that accentuated her figure in all sorts of intriguing ways. Her friend, a just as shockingly stunning brunette smiled shyly as I found myself shuffling across and saying “Please, make yourselves comfortable.” Some deeply ingrained politeness overrode my brain’s lack of ability to process anything beyond these visions of beauty before us.
Their nervousness softened as they slid into the booth with Pete and I, smiles shifting more to thanks as they settled into the cushioned leather.
“Thank you soooo much,” said the brunette. “It’s standing room only now, and, well,” she extended a shapely leg out to reveal stiletto heels that looked like a recipe for a sprained ankle “I didn’t really pick good shoes for that.” A crystalline laugh rang out from her friend.
“Amy those shoes will be the death of you one of these days,” said the redhead. “I swear you still dress like we’re teenagers. I’m Tracy,” she said, smiling widely as her friend readjusted her dress, “And this reprobate is Amy.”