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I crossed the last section of my hair over the other, grabbed a clear hair elastic and fastened my braid. I pulled some strands out around my face, giving my braid a warning look and as if it's naturally disheveled.
"Hey, love, have you seen—"
I turned around as I pulled out one last strand of hair. Avery stood in front of me and dangled the pair of earrings I needed. I smiled and traded them for a kiss.
We finished getting dressed and then left for Evie's apartment-warming dinner. A part of me was a little sad she had found a place so soon, I hoped she would stay with me and Avery a little longer, but Evie didn't want to be a burden, she insisted.
But I was also happy for Evie, and relieved because that meant she wouldn't be walking in on us anymore... doing anything.
I knocked on Evie's door and Wes answered. "Evie's still cooking?" He nodded and ushered us inside. He seemed a little... off. "Everything okay?"
As I asked, I heard a crash in the kitchen followed by a string of profanity.
We all hesitated. "She's been screaming murder for the past hour," Wes said. "She threw a knife at me." He added that it flew past him and into the wall.
"I should..." I pointed in the direction the swearing was coming from. I glanced back at the boys as I turned the corner and stepped into the kitchen. They each gave me a little supportive wave. I rolled my eyes and rapped twice on the counter to let Evie know I had joined her. There were pots and pans everywhere, food scattered over the counter, and there was a pile of flour on the floor. "I see you've got everything covered."
"The plan was simple..." She waved her arms about the kitchen. When Evie turned around, I saw flour smeared across her cheek and hair matted against her sweaty forehead. "Beef enchiladas for dinner and my gran's better-than-sex coconut cake." Her voice broke at coconut cake and she ripped off her apron and threw it on the ground. "I thought, this can't be that hard. It's really hard! I don't know what I was thinking trying to cook!"
I grimaced. In college, she once used the microwave and it caught on fire. After that, I cooked or we survived on fast food.
In a sudden fit, she went to open a can of enchilada sauce. She did not see that the can was, well, a little bloated. "Evie, I wouldn't—" She didn't hear me. The minute the opener pierced the metal, the sauce shot like a geyser all over. The walls, cabinets, the two of us and the ceiling were covered in enchilada sauce. We both screamed, which brought Avery and Wes running in. We must have looked like something out of a Stephen King movie.
Evie and I looked at each other and started to laugh. I wrapped my arms around her and rubbed her back, let her know everything would be okay. "I'm never cooking again," she said.
"Well just, uh, go grab a pizza, yeah?" Wes suggested. Evie nodded, I mouthed to Ave to pick up some cheesecake, and then the men backed out of the kitchen. I heard the front door open and close. We were alone.
"I'll start cleaning up," I told Evie. "You go shower." She nodded. I strand of hair, coated in enchilada sauce, stuck to her cheek. I pulled it from her face and wiped my hand on a clean spot on my dress.
I grabbed a bucket and filled it with water and soap and scrubbed the sauce off the floor and walls. I could hear my aunt's voice in my head. Put real elbow grease into your cleaning.
I heard footsteps behind me and saw Evie in a robe and towel drying her hair. "Feeling better?"
"I could use a drink. Want one?"
"Do I," I replied, sarcastically.
"This I excel in, at least."
She fixed us each a G&T, even topped it with a lemon wheel and a cherry. We were both gin and tonic people, since high school. We had our first G&T when we were sixteen and that's been our preferred alcoholic drink, followed by a simple beer. I once read if you enjoy bitter flavours, such as gin and tonic, then you might be a psychopath.
Sometimes I think that might be true in Evie's case.
I enjoyed my G&T and then showered while Evie took care of the sauce on the ceiling. When I returned to the kitchen, I found Evie on a step ladder with microfiber cloth fixed to the end of a broom. She muttered under her breath as she scrubbed blood-colored sauce from her ceiling.
I left her to it and tossed our clothes in the washing machine.
"Another G&T?" I asked.
She had left everything out, knowing she was going to want a second gin and tonic. I smiled and refilled her cup. Evie paused in cleaning the ceiling to take a sip of gin and tonic.
"So..." I sip my own gin and tonic. "Is it really better than sec?" I wonder. Evie dropped her broom and laughed.
We were stretched out on Evie's dark blue couch when Avery and Wes returned an hour later with two pizzas and a selection of cheesecakes.
We both groaned in delight. We were about to give up and attempt using the microwave to prep something.
We didn't bother with plates. "Well, I'm sorry dinner didn't go as you expected," Wes began. "But this is a nice place you got."
And it was. Evie had landed herself a one bedroom apartment overlooking the town square, and she had access to the roof. The only downside—
"You live next to the station house?"
A siren blared in the background for several minutes. I thought, perhaps, the Hall was on fire.