I kicked off my uncomfortable clubbing shoes with the chunk heels that set off my black jeans and red scoop neck fitted top. My cleavage was my best asset. Then I removed the red chandelier earrings that had been bugging me all night. "Lori, I think you are completely overreacting."
"I'm not, Marina." Lori slumped into an overstuffed chair and pulled her blond hair into a twist off of her neck and secured it with a clip. She was flawless in a stylish but elegant print dress that showed off her slim figure. "It's my thirtieth birthday and my life is over."
Lori had a flair for the extreme and dramatic. I guess that helped make her a good lawyer. She was either going to love her birthday or hate it. Clearly, she'd chosen not to embrace her new decade.
"It'll all look better over coffee and chocolate." Jen broke up our fight as usual and headed for the kitchen. She was neat as a pin in a brown dress with tiny pink flowers. It wasn't too revealing at all.
Lori and I had met in college. There was no holding back when we conversed and no hard feelings for our complete honesty. Jen was a newer addition. She'd moved into the third spacious apartment on our floor of the downtown Chicago building about a year back. Our bluntness hadn't rubbed off on her yet.
We preferred to hang out in Jen's apartment because she was neat and a chef. She had pretty copper pots and pans suspended from her ceiling and ropes of garlic that scented the whole apartment. Lori and I have never complained about being guinea pigs for her latest creation. Hopefully Jen had something good tonight because Lori was in a hellacious mood. Normally I contributed to the party as the designated bartender. Unfortunately, hard liquor wouldn't help tonight.
"You turned thirty, not sixty." I peeled off my black leather jacket and tossed it on Jen's couch before flopping down next to it. Out of habit, I began detangling my hair from the costume jewelry necklace I'd chosen. Grabbing a clip from my jacket pocket, I pulled my massive locks up and off my neck. No men here so the need for beauty was over.
The scent of coffee brewing filled the loft and I hoped it would help calm Lori, the caffeine junkie. Until the coffee was ready, I could try to distract her. "Take off those super high heels.
You're bitchy because your feet hurt."
"No, I'm not." Lori took off the shoes anyway. "You don't understand. You have six months until you turn thirty. Jen has nearly a whole year. This birthday makes you think. It makes you depressed."
"No, it's just a number." Jen offered chocolate covered scones and Lori began picking at one immediately. She was naturally skinny and a true blonde. No amount of junk food put an ounce on her. If she weren't my friend, I'd probably hate her. Of course, she envies my cleavage so we're even.
"Try a disaster. My twenties are over. No husband, no big house in the suburbs, and no kids." Lori slumped.
"No one to pick up after, less to clean, and no stretch marks. It could be worse." I grabbed a scone for myself and smiled as Lori glared at me.
"I've wasted my twenties." Lori's fist hit the coffee table.
"No you haven't," I groaned. This would be a very depressing and gray Chicago winter if Lori didn't get over this. The convenience of the three of us living on the same floor of the same building made winter socializing nicer. If Lori kept on this soapbox, however, it could make me want to tunnel my way through the snow barehanded to be anywhere else. "You've done a lot so far."
"Marina is right." Jen jumped in. "Lori, you're a top associate with a big law firm. The name is so fancy and long I can't even remember it. And your dad had no hand in getting you that job or your law degree. You'll make partner before you know it. All those hours of work got you where you are. That is not a wasted decade."
I added, "Most people who get married in their twenties end up divorced. You're taking your time, we all are. None of us are married. Are you saying we're all failures?"
"No, I thought I'd at least have met the right man by now. Maybe not be married but at least have found him. Now all the single men have kids or ex-wives. Who wants that baggage? And you two have it easier. I've got family pressure to get married and have a bunch of kids. Both of my brothers are married and settled and all I hear from my mother is how so-and-so's daughter is engaged or got married, or is having a baby." Lori moved from the sofa to the floor and focused on lighting a lavender scented candle on the coffee table. Her blue eyes stared at the flame as though it would have the answer. I wasn't about to play into her dramatics.
"Well you won't find a man sitting around here. None of us will. There were certainly none worthy at the bar tonight." Jen began to look depressed, like Lori, as she wiped off her tawny lipstick before biting into her scone.
I'd had enough. "Fine, that's it. I'm changing the subject. Lori, what's the best sex you've ever had?" I headed to the kitchen and opened a bottle of wine. Coffee was not going to cut it tonight.
Lori rolled her eyes at me. "This is not the time for Truth or Dare, Marina."
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Best In Bed~~~~~~~~~~~~Available Now at Pink Petal Books
Arresting Abby~~~~~~~~Coming 10/21/08 to Loose Id