Vic didn’t know who to be more upset with: Charles, Michael and Steven, or herself. She left the girls off the list of possibilities because they’d been as much in the dark as she had.
To let off a little steam, she invited herself to the private table her best friend Claire held for them in her restaurant.
“Look at this!” She shoved the envelope containing her spa gift card at Claire, making sure it came between Claire’s plate and her mouth. It was a sure way to get Claire’s attention, after all.
“Yeah, so? It’s a gift card. What about it?”
“First of all, it was going to be your birthday present in a couple of weeks. Now I have to start all over on the search for the amazing gift for you! Secondly, Michael and Steven gave the exact same thing to the girls, and now they think we’re all going to go together…a girls’ day out or something!”
Claire actually stopped chewing for a moment. “You do have a bit of a problem, don’t you?” She swallowed and took a swig of wine. “What are you going to do for my birthday now?”
Vic sputtered, trying to make the jump from her train of thought to Claire’s, then saw the glint in her friend’s eye. “Yes, Claire, of course that’s the biggest problem here. If I can’t pass my spa stay off on you, how will I ever decide what to get you? I did cheese of the month club last year, and wine of the month club the year before that, and tulips aren’t edible, so bulb of the month club is out. Should I search for a chocolate of the month club?”
They laughed together, as only friends who have shared years of memories–celebrations, jokes, and even conflict–can. And as it had been for years, Vic sobered first. She fidgeted with her napkin, folding it into perfect quadrants, then into a triangle, while Claire shoved another bite of roasted vegetable lasagna into her mouth. Finally, Claire looked straight into Vic’s eyes.
“Is this really about the spa, Vic?”
“Of course it is! You know I could never sit still while gook dries on my face…and nails…and hair.”
“And that’s why you’re upset? Your family loves you enough to send you away for a day of relaxing, and you might get bored?”
Vic didn’t even bother to answer her friend.