As Wes was putting together the final touches to his costume, he marveled at his good fortune. He hadn’t seen his cousin Gabby in a few years, and he couldn’t believe he had talked her into another visit to the country. He knew when she agreed that she hadn’t thought about the time frame because if she had, she wouldn’t have agreed to come during Halloween. Once she did realize her error and tried to postpone the trip, Wes wouldn’t let her. He knew crazy Halloween parties were big in the city, but he would show her that they could party in the country, too. ‘Yeah, good luck with that’ he thought to himself, and couldn’t hold back a chuckle. Lost in his thoughts, it was forty-five minutes before he looked up at the clock. “Oh, crap!” he exclaimed as he jumped up. “Gabby’s going to kill me if I’m late.” Not even bothering for his jacket, Wes grabbed the keys to his truck and headed out to the airport.
Fortunately for Wes, Gabby’s flight was late. As he was nearing the Arrivals curb, she was just walking out of the terminal. Wes noticed with surprise that Gabby was only pulling one rolling suitcase behind her. But as he got closer he noticed a man stop behind her, struggling with two oversized bags. Curiously, Wes watched as Gabby took a couple bills from her wallet and hand them to the man, who unceremoniously dropped the bags at her feet, took the bills and went back inside. Wes shook his head in amusement as he climbed out of his truck.
“I’d tell you that you over-packed again, but I know better than to start that argument” he teased as he held out his arms.
“Ah, all this fresh air’s finally cleared your head” Gabby teased back as she went in for the hug.
During the drive back to his house, Wes mostly listened and nodded as Gabby chatted away. Mostly, he was trying to get up the nerve to spring something on her, and finally decided to just hit her with it.
“So, guess who’s going to be at the party tomorrow night?” he asked her.
“No one I would know,” Gabby tossed back.
“Well, no one you’ve met,” Wes continued. Gabby looked sideways at him and arched a brow.
“What?” asked Wes. “Don’t give me that look.”
“I’m sure you deserve it. What are you up to?”
“Remember my friend Wyatt that I told you about?”
“The one that you mentioned every time we talked on the phone? Your new best bud that you’re constantly raving about?”
“I don’t rave about him,” muttered Wes.
“You do. But whatever.”
“Well, whatever, the fact is that guy has done amazing things so far in life and he’s not even thirty-five yet – even you would be impressed.”
“I’m sure I would be,” replied Gabby.
Now it was Wes’ turn to arch a brow. “Sarcasm?” he asked.
“No,” Gabby said. “How could I not be impressed by someone so amazing that you hold him to the same level as Zechariah?”
Wes turned to look at her.
“Sarcasm,” she stated.
Rolling his eyes, Wes turned into his driveway. Turning off the ignition, his hand went to the door but he stopped and looked back at Gabby before he opened it.
“Hey, I used to go to church, remember?”
“Used to? You don’t go to church or worship anymore?”
“Yes, I do” replied Gabby as she opened her door. “Every morning at the House of Latte.”
Muttering something about Hell and hand baskets, Wes jumped out of his truck. Laughing, Gabby followed and helped him bring her things into the house.
Deciding to save the unpacking for later, Gabby chose to first kick back on Wes’ couch and relax with a glass of wine. “You know, I might actually get used to the simple quietness of this place,” she said.
“It grows on you.” Wes smiled at her as she closed her eyes for a moment and sunk back into the couch. Her peacefulness was short-lived, however, when a sharp screech startled her enough that she nearly spilled her wine.
“What the fuck?!” she asked as she quickly sat up.
“Oh. Blue jay,” explained Wes.
“Where? In the house?”
“Yeah.” Wes shrugged. “The cat drug it in.” He chuckled at the look of disbelief on Gabby’s face. “I caught Sam with it in her mouth last week. I thought it was dead but when I took it away from her, I saw that it was just in shock, and hurt. So I bought a little cage for it while it healed.” Wes paused as the bird screeched again. “He seems to be doing better,” he noted.
“And the bird is where?”
Wes held back a smile. “In the guest room.”
“Which is where you’re sleeping,” Gabby replied dryly.
Wes laughed and stood up. “I’ll move the bird,” he said as he started upstairs. “Oh hey! While I’m up here, I’ll get my Halloween costume to show you.”
“Who are you going to be? The Bird Man?” Gabby shot out after him. Shaking her head, she reached to the coffee table to refill her glass.
Wes moved the bird to the back of the house, covered the cage and went back to his room to change. After a few minutes, he walked back out toward the front room and stopped in the doorway. Gabby looked up and nearly spit out her drink.
“You’re going like that?? What the hell are you even supposed to be?”
“You can’t tell?” asked Wes in surprise.
“All I see is a lot of corduroy and patterns that don’t match, and some weird hat thing on your head.”
“Hey, I made it myself,” Wes said proudly.
“Clearly,” replied Gabby.
“Well, I’m not going to tell you what it is, and you’ll be the only city girl at the party who doesn’t recognize a classic costume when she sees one.”
Leaning back into the couch, Gabby pointedly stared at Wes’ outfit. “You know, being unmarried can shorten a man’s life by ten years.”
Wes stared at Gabby. “What?”
“I’m just sayin’,” she replied.
Wes looked down at his costume. “Are you implying that if I were married I wouldn’t go out like this?”
“Oh, I’m not implying,” said Gabby sweetly. Then she couldn’t resist adding: “Instead of worrying about fixing me up with your friends, maybe you should be looking for yourself.”
Wes studied Gabby for a moment, and she saw that familiar look come across his face that used to always get them into trouble when they were kids.
“What?” she asked warily.
“What are you doing for New Year’s?” he asked her.
“Pffft! Not spending it here.”
Wes just leaned against the door jamb.
“What?? I’m not,” she said a little more firmly.
Wes laughed. “I didn’t imagine you would. But… I haven’t taken any trips in a while.”
“Go on,” Gabby prodded.
“You go to the party tomorrow night, meet Wyatt and – ”
Gabby rolled her eyes.
“ – mind your manners,” Wes gave her a level look. “Then I’ll come out and spend New Year’s with you and your kind.”
Wes snickered. “Yeah, what do you call yourselves? Divas??” He ducked just in time to miss the pillow Gabby threw in his direction.
Gabby leaned over and placed her glass on the coffee table. “I’ll have you know, there is nothing wrong with being a diva.” She sat up straighter and refilled her glass before reclining gracefully back into the couch. Nodding, she thought aloud: “Yes, this will be good for you. Now you will see that you are out of touch in the country, and you need a good city girl to set you right.”
“Oh, I need a good city girl,” Wes agreed, “to set you right.”
“What are you talking about?”
“A good city girl,” Wes went on, “that isn’t close-minded to make you see there are options ranging from Manhattan high rises to simple country homes.
“What, you think you’re going to convert a city girl to the country?” Gabby asked incredulously.
“Stranger things have happened, Gabby,” Wes replied as he sauntered into the kitchen for a beer. Grabbing one, he came back into the front room, twisted the cap off, took a long swig and said straight to her: “it’s on.”
Wes turned and studied himself in the mirror, making sure to do so in a somewhat exaggerated manner because he knew it would get Gabby’s goat. “Hmmm, I don’t think I really need to pack much at all,” he said as he ran his hand over the length of his corduroy jacket sleeve.
Gabby knew what he was up to. Damn cousin loved to get her riled. She wasn’t sure if he was bluffing about packing that crazy outfit, but she didn’t really care. She had a plan and wasn’t worried at all. She would simply have her cleaning lady “misplace” that suit and Wes would have no choice but to let Gabby take him shopping for new clothes. And she wouldn’t take him anyplace where he could buy something as ridiculous as what he was now wearing.
“I think I’m going to pack this costume. With a few revisions, it would make quite a suit. That’s alright with you, isn’t it, Gabby?”
Gabby smiled and replied “Of course it is. Pack whatever you like.”
“Don’t worry, I will. Oh, and I have some extra fabric. I’ll have time to make something that matches for you, too” Wes said as he turned toward his room to change back into his jeans and t-shirt. He wasn’t stupid, he knew Gabby too well to fall for her sweet dismissals. He wouldn’t let her suspect anything, of course, let her have fun with her little schemes. But he had a few tricks up his sleeves, too, and he was packing them in his suitcase. He heard Gabby’s heavy sigh from the front room. Now, he wasn’t sure which party he was looking forward to the most.
© Dahlia Ramone: January 5, 2014
This was written for Blogophilia Week 46.6 Topic: The Cat Drug It In
(1) Mention a person you hold on a level of Zechariah
(2) Include an odd useless fact (Being unmarried can shorten a man’s life by ten years)