“I’m so psyched. Tom and I’ve been dating for six months. It’s like a record for me.” Shannon felt the giant smile in her words.
“We’re hitting The Blue Diamond tonight,” Emma said. “Why don’t you stop by? There’ll be a bunch of us.”
It seemed like a fun idea. Shannon figured it was time she introduced Tom to her friends. He’d met Emma and and her roommate Amy, but their schedules were busy. He liked to spend time with her. The new love phase Emma called it, but she was a cynic.
But Tom was in a great mood. When he appeared at her door, he said why not make an appearance after dinner? They’d have a few drinks and slip out. It sounded like a plan.
When they reached The Blue Diamond, it wasn’t too crowded. Emma had saved a table and seven people already crowded in. Tom pulled up two chairs and they wedged between Amy and a guy named Chuck. As the the bar became more crowded, Shannon found herself having to shout to be heard;more often than not, she found herself facing Tom’s back. Whatever he and Amy were discussing, it was intense.
The bar kept getting louder and more crowded, and she began to feel like she was an outsider. Chuck was talking to his buddies, and what the hell was with Tom?
When the band came on, Shannon excused herself to go to the ladies room, and by the time she got back the table was empty. Her friends had hit the dance floor. Tom was dancing with Amy, but she figured it was because she wasn’t there when the music started. When the song ended, the band slowed the tempo, and she watched Tom slide his arms around Amy. She fit perfectly, and smiled up into his face.
A third and fourth dance passed, and Shannon took a twenty from her purse. She dropped it on the table and walked to the door, ignoring the two guys who asked her to dance.
Outside it had started to mist a little, but it wasn’t cold. She didn’t mind the wet. Music drifted out from clubs as she walked: a hip hop here, a little techno there, and best of all some slow, sweet jazz that wrapped around her heart and squeezed.
She wasn’t going to cry. Not yet. She go home and turn off her phone.
Maybe she’d put on a little Ella and listen to that wonderful voice sing about heartbreak and pain. Then she’d cry. Oh yes. Then she’d cry.