Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Unexpected Guest

I've been trying to finish an online course to recertify. It is AWFUL! That is all I will say about that. So I felt the need to do some fresh writing. Chuck's weekly challenge from Terrible Minds was a perfect prompt to take my mind off schoolwork (not that it would have taken much). The challenge for this week is "unexpected guest" because he and his wife happily welcomed their new baby two weeks early (congrats!) Here is my response, hope you enjoy.

Unexpected Guest

I wouldn’t say I’m meticulous. I just like things to go smoothly. And if you don’t plan and prepare for the unexpected as much as possible, things go wrong and there’s messiness and embarrassment and mayhem.

There must be organization, especially when putting together a surprise birthday party. The guests must arrive early. The honoree must not have a clue what is going on.  And she must arrive after the other guests.

For a surprise to be carried out perfectly, the honoree has to believe her friends. The deliverers, the other guests, no one can let on. No slip ups. One wrong word could ruin everything. Utter catastrophe.

Tonight is the night. We are all ready and waiting here in the dark. Our honoree, Katherine, is late. Everyone is here that is supposed to be here. Even John, who is never on time for anything, was here with five minutes to spare.

I have been texting Bree, one of the deliverers, for fifteen minutes. The guests are getting antsy. They are starting to mumble and complain. They will be turning the lights on soon and ruin the whole thing.

The plan was for Bree and Jill to take Katherine out for dinner then come over here to my house. I was supposedly babysitting for my sister. We were going to have a girls night in and watch movies.

Katherine’s 30th birthday is tomorrow and she will be celebrating with her boyfriend, Devon. They’ve been dating for three years. He has an even bigger surprise for her tomorrow night. Yes, he’s going to propose. He’s finally going to do it.

As her best friend, I decided to have this party. I wish someone would plan something like this for me. Katherine is going to have such an awesome weekend and doesn’t even know it. If she ever gets here to start it, that is. Why won’t Bree answer?

It’s now been thirty minutes. I let the guests turn on the lights and music. Something is obviously wrong. Devon is worried too. He’s been texting Katherine and hasn’t heard anything either.

We tell some guests that we are going to look for Katherine. Devon and I go to the restaurant where the girls were supposed to have dinner. We speak to the host. The girls were there and left. The waitress remembers them. The girls did several rounds of shots after dinner. Bree almost got sick and Katherine had to call her a cab. Jill went with her. Great.

So where is Katherine?

We call back at the party, no sign of her. So Devon and I go to Katherine’s apartment.

Just as we get to the door, Jill finally texts me. I tell Devon not to knock yet.

Jill says she is sorry about Bree. She says Katherine got upset at dinner. She started crying and said she was going to break up with Devon because he wasn’t going to commit to her. She was getting older and couldn’t waste her time with someone who wasn’t ready to get married. Then she ordered lots of shots.

I look at Devon. I’m worried. He’s puzzled. We hear voices in Katherine’s apartment.

Devon knocks. Jill sends another text. She says Lucas showed up at the restaurant with some friends and did shots with them. Lucas was Katherine’s old boyfriend before Devon.

I push Devon away from the door and we hide around the corner.

Lucas answers the door. We hear Lucas call out to see who’s there. Devon is fuming. I hold him back. Lucas goes back in, but we hear Katherine giggle before he shuts the door.

Devon is crushed. I’m stunned. We go back to the party.

It’s in full pandemonium. No one seems to care that the honoree never showed. I comfort Devon on the couch.

He shows me the ring. He is hurt and depressed. He pleads with me and questions me and expresses every emotion his limited male heart can handle. I tell him she doesn’t know what she’s missing. She’s a fool for throwing away three years.

He laments that he should have said something sooner. I tell him maybe it wasn’t meant to be.

He takes my hand and looks into my eyes. He is vulnerable and intense. The attraction has always been there, but never allowed to exist. He needs to fill the vacancy and ease his pain.

I’m not meticulous. I’m organized and neat and plan things out. I like things to go smoothly and orderly.

But things are about to get messy.


Sharon Sullivan-Craver said...

I am laughing at this. I can picture it all..Thank you again for making my day

C R Ward said...

Great story! Just goes to show, the best laid plans . . .

I once planned a surprise party for my daughter's 16th birthday. I worked like a fiend to organize it. Everything went off without a hitch except her boyfriend never got her a present. She was crushed. So instead of it being one of the happiest memories for her, it's one of the worst.

Amber Skye said...

Hah! Messy, indeed. Nice story.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Talk about your complications. Like Amber said, messy might be putting it mildly!

Good work!

Lindsay Mawson, Thriller Writer said...

Love it! I tried to predict what was going on but had no luck! Good ending.

Christa Desir said...

Wow. This is some really great writing, Tara. Nice.

Dana said...

As always, I love reading your stories!

Syd Gill said...

Oh, how horrible! it's funny how disaster always starts so harmlessly!

Thanks for the fun read!

Tara Tyler said...

That was a fun story to write, wasn't sure how it would end, myself!

CR - so sorry about your daughter's 16th, that's a fragile time.

Thanks for the comments! Y'all are so positive =)

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