“I have a bottle of Chardonnay in front of me, and I’m trying to figure out why it’s not empty,” Alex, Jessica’s roommate from college, said into the phone.
“Girl, it’s not even eleven,” Jessica said laughing.
“I don’t care. It’s five o’clock somewhere. Get over here!”
Ten minutes later, Jessica was at the front door of Alex’s pool house apartment she rented from her grandfather, holding up two wine glasses.
“I’ve already started,” Alex said with a smirk.
“You’re such an alcoholic.”
Alex flicked her brownish blonde, corkscrew-curly bangs from her face and motioned for Jessica to come inside. Jessica was often jealous of Alex’s hair. She’d tried everything to achieve those perfect curls that came naturally to Alex. She succeeded once. Beginner’s luck, more than likely, because with each attempt after that, she ended up with a frizzy mop on top of her head. Alex, on the other hand, hated her hair, blaming it and her biracial background for those awkward conversations she had with complete strangers that often started with the question, “So what are you?”
The living room was surprisingly clean. Usually, Alex had clothes tossed over the couch, the coffee table, the television set. Sometimes, Jessica couldn’t even see the carpet for all the panties, club dresses, and stiletto heels, thrown about. Today, the place was spotless. The dust on the teal window curtains had been vacuumed, the wood coffee table polished, even the the Merlot stain on the couch had been blotted away, although, Alex might have just flipped the cushion over.
Alex stood behind the kitchen counter and poured Chardonnay into the two glasses.
Jessica noticed that the wine left in the bottle came to just above the label. “You already drank half.”
“Yep,” Alex said, making a popping sound with her lips.
Jessica sat on the stool at the counter, and Alex slid the wine glass down to her. She guzzled it down, returning the glass to the counter. “I feel like I’m at a bar.”
“For sure.” Alex refilled Jessica’s glass and took a sip from her own.
“So what’s the occasion?” Jessica asked.
“Pop’s kicking me out.” Alex took giant gulp.
“Really? I thought he liked you living here. He could use you as a taxi whenever he wanted to go somewhere.”
“Well, he got pissed when I dumped the last guy I was dating.”
“Yeah. I think he only liked him because he was white. Pop can be kinda racist sometimes.” Alex refilled her glass, and Jessica pushed hers forward for Alex to top it off.
“He’s old,” Jessica said over her tipped glass. “So why’d you break up with Rick? He seemed nice.”
“You have terrible taste in men,” Alex snapped.
Jessica chocked while drinking and coughed to clear her throat, returning the glass to the counter and wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. “OK, you’re drunk,” she said in a raspy voice.
“No, I’m being serious. You have terrible taste in men if you think Rick was a nice guy. He’s just like that Whitmore of yours.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Needy, controlling, possessive. Did you have to ask him permission to come here?”
Jessica opened her mouth to respond but was interrupted by the muffled sound of Magic’s “Rude” coming from her purse on the stool next to her. She retrieved her phone from the front pocket to see Whitmore’s lips twitching to the lyrics, “Marry that girl. Marry her anyway. Marry that girl. No matter what you say. Marry that girl. And we’ll be a family,” playing repeatedly. When did he change my ringtone? Jessica thought.
“Speak of the damn devil!” Alex leaned over the counter and snatched the phone from Jessica. “Whitmore . . . This is Alex . . . Alexandria, idiot. Who else? . . . What do you want?. . . She’s with me . . . No you may not . . . We’re having a girls’ day . . . Is she not allowed to spend the day with her girl? . . . Don’t you have friends? . . . Bye, Whitmore . . . Goodbye, Whitmore!” She hung up the phone and slammed it onto the counter.
“That was rude,” Jessica said.
“No, what’s rude is him accusing you of cheating whenever you’re not with him.”
“Did he say that?”
“Yeah, talking ’bout, ‘Who the fuck is Alex?’ with that fake-ass, deep voice like he’s trying to intimidate someone. I hate you’re boyfriend, Jess. I hardly ever see you anymore.” She wiped tears from her face as she poured more Chardonnay into her wine glass.
“Maybe that’s enough—” Jessica started.
“Don’t you ever get tired?” Alex asked, swallowing hard.
Jessica snatched up her glass and slurped what was left. Alex held up the the bottle, the liquid now below the label, and Jessica let her fill the glass all the way to the rim. They toasted to the ceiling and proceeded to empty their glasses.
“I need to be drunk to talk about Whitmore and his . . . everything,” Jessica said.
“Hell, I got some Tequila.” Alex pointed to the cabinets behind her.
“This is so irresponsible,” Jessica said.
“College was only five years ago. I think we’re allowed.” Alex untwisted the lid to the 1800 Coconut Tequila and poured it. “I don’t know what I did with my shot glasses.”
“A wine glass works just fine.” Jessica brought the glass to her lips and threw her head back. “What?” she asked when she noticed Alex staring.
“I want to set you up with someone. Bruce. He works with me at the radio station. He’s dope.”
Jessica drummed her fingers on the counter. She didn’t think Alex had ever liked Whitmore. She was always throwing better options Jessica’s way—oftentimes, while Whitmore was present. However, this time, Jessica put some thought into Alex’s proposition.
It might have been the alcohol. It might have been the impromptu marriage proposal playing on her phone’s speakers. Jessica didn’t waste any time searching for a reasonable explanation. She only said yes.
Today’s installment was a bit lengthy. I’ve added another character, Alex, and I’ve given you some background on how Jessica ended up on a blind date with Bruce. Catch up on yesterday’s condom fiasco. Tomorrow, we have a little break, but we’ll get right back into the swing of things bright and early, Monday morning with the letter E (I feel like on Sesame Street)!
If you’re curious, I’ve moved up to #1135 on the signup list. Click here to read more from participants of the AtoZChallenge!