Copyright © 2012 Kristopher Rufty
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
“I think we should have a drink to celebrate the reunion,” said Helen, on her way to the kitchen. Three paper bags sat on the counter, each containing bottles of various alcohols and flavors. They clinked and rattled as she stuck her hand in up to the elbow.
Michelle swallowed the last bite of her sandwich. “Helen, it’s barely lunch time.”
“What better time to start than now?”
Michelle glanced at Lucy and Amanda for assistance. Amanda only shrugged, and Lucy was too distracted by her own sandwich to even notice the conversation. “Fine. What are you making?”
Michelle’s eyes rounded. “Whoa, so early? That’s the kind of drink we usually finish the night with, not start a day with.”
“It’s a special occasion.”
“Come on, Helen. Don’t you want to hang out first and catch up?”
“Absolutely, but being intoxicated will make it that much more fun.”
“We’ll hardly be able to stand up after a couple of those.”
“Then we’ll sit.”
Michelle rolled her eyes, giving up the fight.
Amanda chimed in. “I could use a Black Widow. No one can make them like you Helen.”
Smiling, Helen held out her arms. “Thank you very much.”
Michelle added. “I still think we should start off with something lighter.”
“You can make whatever you want, Michelle. We have tons of drinks here, but I’m making Black Widows.” She removed a bottle of Crystal Skull vodka and set it on the counter. “We have the whole weekend ahead of us to relax. But I want to party tonight. So, let’s get the partying out of our system today, then we can be bums the rest of the time. How does that sound?”
No one disputed Helen’s plan.
Michelle threw away her paper plate, walked back to the chair in the living room and sat. She sighed. Leaning her head back against the cushion, she was beginning to dread the day that lay before them. Sure, she could decline the drinks, but then she would be the only sober person in a group of inebriated bitches, and that would not be fun at all.
By the time she had returned from her embarrassing walk with Ricky, she’d discovered Lucy’s car parked behind hers. They’d let themselves in and Lucy had already found the food and was preparing lunch. Hoagies. Long hugs filled the room in a cycle as each woman hugged the other, complimented them on their appearance, and declared how much they’d missed each other. As they ate, they’d made small talk about the trip up here, and other meaningless subjects to keep silence from making the meal uncomfortable. She’d almost slipped up twice and told them about Ricky, but managed to catch herself.
Ice clamoring as it struck glass startled Michelle out of her thoughts. She looked over her shoulder and saw Helen mixing the first drink. Helen really looked good. The years had been kind to her, plus she could tell by the way her arms flexed that she worked out, maybe even obsessively so. Her body reminded Michelle of Linda Hamilton in T2, only with bigger boobs. Michelle had managed to stay in great shape as well, but she was nowhere near as cut as Helen.
Lucy sighed as she finished off her sandwich. “That was good.”
Amanda laughed. “Not as good as a Black Widow.”
“Damn right,” agreed Helen. “And, to be a sweetheart, I’m going to give you the first one, Lucy, to wash down that sandwich.”
“Sounds good to me.”
Michelle hoped Lucy wouldn’t turn into a self-pity drunk like she used to, and say degrading things about herself. She could only try and convince her otherwise so many times before she got tired of trying. So, usually when the others quit attempting to cheer her up, Lucy would sob until finally passing out.
Helen brought the drink over to Lucy, swapping it for the empty plate. Then she returned to the kitchen to begin making another. Michelle studied the glass as Lucy sipped from it. Just as she remembered, the liquid was nearly black in color and what she remembered being red cherry juice as well giving it a red center just like the hourglass on a black widow spider. It wasn’t a popular drink, but Helen made them better than anyone.
When the drinks had been given out, Helen joined the girls in the living room. She stood by the fireplace, and held her glass high. Michelle, Lucy and Amanda did the same.
“A toast,” Helen began. “To old friends and new beginnings.”
Michelle smiled. “To old friends.”
Amanda finished. “To new beginnings.”
They clanged their glasses together and chugged.