Walking down the spiral stairway Karen stared at the millions of quarter size pink bulbs that lined each step. Unfocused on her walking, she abruptly lost her step, her legs coming out from under her. She quickly reached for the railing for safety but it was too late, hitting her head on the side railing. “You alright?!” A young man walking up the stairs said as he offered his hand out to help her up. Simultaneously she waved his help off and pulled herself up gripping the railing tight as she closed her eyes, dammit she said under her breathe. “Thank you I’m all set” Karen said. He seemed to be half laughing at the situation and half genuinely concerned. Karen blushed and tried to brush it off “I’m fine” she said with a short chuckle as she looked up briefly then quickly back down towards her boots.. You sure? He said. Karen nodded as she fixed her pants, “I’m sure, thank you”. She repeated again, embarrassed at making a fool of herself. “Okay, if you say so, have a good night” he said as he jogged up the stairs and out of her sight. Now she wanted to leave. She had had enough, she was over this scene.
As the three girls convened at the bottom of the stairwell Karen voiced her unimpressed unenthused * thoughts o. “I might just head out, this isn’t doing it for me” “c’mon, we just got here, you need to let loose” Leslie said. “I appreciate what you guys are trying to do, I really do, but I just am not in the mood tonight” “You haven’t been in the mood any night in a long time “Sherri said crassly as she snickered and looked for Leslie’s approval- she didn’t receive it. Leslie defended Karen before Karen had a chance to. “How about you get your face outta your phone for 2 seconds, mind your goddamn business Sherri” “I’m just saying” Sherri sounded like a whiny elementary school girl in her reply. Karen had ammo on Sherri that she could use, but decided not to, it wasn’t going to be beneficial. Arguing with a fool proves there are two.
Leslie bought a round of drinks and handed it to the women saying, cheers to no more shit talking tonight, at least not about each other.” Sherri extended a lackluster “sorry about that” as her eyes stayed locked on the ground. Karen waited until Sherri’s eyes rose and simply smiled at her as the three clinked their glasses. It was a fake smile, because she knew Sherri’s apology was far from genuine. She also knew Sherri’s weak opinions of her were irrelevant.
The three women stood by a high table and worked on their drinks. The topics ranged from how strong their vodka sodas were to how strong the 2 young men by the pool table were. “I’m getting too old for this shit, there’s nothing here for me anymore” Karen said drunkly as she finished her drink and tossed the last of the half melted ice cubes in her mouth. Just then, a young man, walked over towards the women’s table. He came seemingly out of nowhere which caught the women by surprise. “Sorry to scare you ladies, I just had a question for you” he said looking at Karen. The women waited for an inevitable pick up line. “It must be tough being the most gorgeous girl in the bar all the time, how do you do it?” Sherri and Leslie’s reaction was the same: ⅓ laughter, ⅓ eye roll, ⅓ interest.
Karen was quick with her reply. “And my question for you is , how many women have you used that line on?” “How many? Oh probably about 100. But this is the first time I’ve actually meant it.” “Yeah yeah yeah, I’m sure” Karen said as she caught a glimpse of his ocean blue eyes. He looked young, but not too young. She predicted he was late 20s, nice jawline, and he was tall- which was always a plus. Her initial thought of dismissing him completely had quickly disappeared, she had to admit she was enjoying the attention and flattery.
“Would you like to dance?” he asked extending a hand politely.
“She’d love to!” Leslie chimed in from across the table.
“Well, I don’t know I was just going to head out”
“C’mon, one dance isn’t going to kill ya, my buddies are all going downstairs to the alley you guys gotta come” he said now directing the offer to the group.
Karen replied again with a hesitant “I don’t know” but she was smiling coyly, and it was clear she would end up accepting the offer. “I didn’t catch your name” the blue eyed man said to Karen. “I didn’t catch yours either” Karen replied with a shrug and a smile. He laughed, “Touché, I’m Grayson”. Karen liked that name “Well hi Grayson, I’m Karen, great to meet you “she said outreaching her hand. The two over animatedly shook hands as Grayson said “So how about that dance?” Karen was still on the fence but yet again before she could reply Leslie jumped in.
“Give us just a sec honey” Leslie said to the young man. “Sure thing, take your time” he said, as he walked back towards his friends, his eyes continually looking back and smiling at Karen .Leslie started in. Karen, c’mon, just go dance with him. If not for you, do it for me, if I wasn’t a married woman I would be all over that”. Karen laughed, “He’s a baby though!”
Who cares?! He. Is. Hot! (Leslie said as she hit Karen’s empty glass on the table in rhythm with the words).
Karen glanced over, watching as he interacted with his buddies. He is hot. I can’t deny that. “Then why not?” Leslie said in an *impatient and irritated tone, you have no excuse, c’mon you deserve this” “ Ya just do it” Sheri chimed in “you might as well” . Awesome insight Sherri, Karen thought to herself. “I have to be back tomorrow morning for Ty though, I should get back.” Oh please, Take a couple Advil you’ll be fine. You’ve done keynote speeches after 3 day benders, I’m sure you can deal with a minor hangover.”
She knew Leslie was right, but she’d rather not be exhausted and a mess for when Ty came over, she wanted to do something fun with him, take him somewhere cool. Roy always took him somewhere fun, on the 4 days a month that he saw him. “I have work to do on some listings tomorrow too” Karen tried to convince herself to leave but she knew they were bullshit excuses . Listen Tonight is about doing whatever the hell Karen Walters wants to do. You’re a kickass mom. You’re kickass at your job. Don’t worry about either of those, worry about you. That being said I support whatever you want to do. So, what do you want to do?
“I want to dance”. Karen said matter of factly.