[Continued from, “The Dinner Party”]
Soon the guests had arrived. Because they were an international contingent traveling together, they all arrived together rather than in drips and drabs. There were eight of them; two women and four men.
Thank goodness it was buffet style and not a sit-down dinner because with those numbers and pairings I would have been the odd-man-out. Or, at least that was my first thought. But then, as the guests were introduced to me, I had a follow-up thought: If Lola is Robert’s partner, then that means, for all intents and purposes to these folks, I am single, available, and, I hope, an attractive American catch! Ah-ha! Two can play at Lola’s little game!
Yes, each of the Aussies were introduced to me, but I’m horrible at names. The only name I remembered was Imogen. Of the two female guests, she was the older, more mysterious, more attractive, and more married. It also helped that she was named after a Shakespearian character. She looked like she was thrilled to be so far away from home where what happens here stays here. I was very pleased to make her acquaintance.
Imogen had sandy blonde hair and hazel eyes. She had a very casual, relaxed attitude and was dressed in tight jeans with heels and a very sheer, sleeveless white top. When she drank, it was with her left hand and that gesture displayed her very large, prominent wedding ring. I’ll admit, I was also taken in by her accent and foreign phrases.
The guests mingled and made small-talk and Lo played her part to a tee. She kept her left hand in the nook of Robert’s right arm and positively glowed as he introduced her to each of his colleagues as his partner. Her eyes sparkled and her mouth was inviting.
Small dishes and appetizers were served. Wine was poured. Eventually we all found our way to the living room where there was ample seating. Lo brought out a tray of cheese and crackers and other little bites and placed it on the low coffee table in the center. As she bent over to carefully set it down, I could see up her short black skirt. So could others, I’m sure. She looked so dainty in full hospitality mode. Little would anyone suspect that Robert had been ramming his rod up her beautiful Betty Boop just a little while ago.
She took her “proper” place next to Robert on the couch. Her right hand was gently, maybe unconsciously, stroking up and down his pantleg as she would normally do to me when we had company at our house. It was a surreal feeling, as if we had broken up and now I was viewing her with her new man at a soiree that we both, coincidentally, happened to attend. However, every now and again she would glance my way and give me a knowing look, as if to say, “This is all just show. I’m going to jump your bones tonight ’cause this is making me so horny.”
I positioned myself next to Imogen and made some small talk with her. I expressed exaggerated interest in her, looking deep into her eyes and feigning a strong connection to whatever she said. Occasionally I gave a sidelong glance at Lo to insure that she was seeing my Academy-worthy performance as much as I was a witness to hers. Maybe I overplayed my hand. Soon Imogen was actually making the moves on me! I mean, I liked her and found her attractive, but I certainly wasn’t looking for anything other than a counterpoint to Lo’s cruel counterfeit.
I got up and made my way to the kitchen. Lo followed, excusing herself in order to get some of the entrée. She stomped right up to me and in a hushed voice she threatened, “You stop your little flirtation or you will be sorry. You hear me?”
“Lo,” I stammered. “I was hardly flirting.”
“Oh, that’s so interesting,” she mocked my voice. “Keep it up and. . .”
“And what?” I taunted. “You’ll sleep with Robert?”
She stomped her foot, but quietly. She abruptly turned and opened the oven to get the fish. As she was bending over to take it out using oven mitts, who should appear next to me but Imogen! “Can I help you with that?” she asked, her lovely accent making the question sound almost like a lilting melody.
“Oh no,” said Lo, “I’ve got it. It’s just hot, but nothing I can’t handle.” She was being as pleasant as pie, but I knew her too well and thus was aware that this was her “I’ll kill you with kindness” voice.
Lo brought out all the food and we all ate and drank to excess. Imogen was uncomfortably cordial toward me. But the more drinks I got in me, the less concerned about Lo’s feelings I was.
Lo, for her part, was playing the dutiful girlfriend and hanging on Robert’s arm, laughing at his every banal witticism. Her sparkle, I must admit, brought real life and charm to the party.
After a good deal of indulging, Lo brought out the dessert tray and cozied up next to Robert on the couch again. In the position she was sitting, I could see her cute tum rolls and it drove me wild! I watched intently as she ate one delicacy after another, picking up the confections with her fingers and popping them into her mouth. I thought of how I was feeding her before the guests arrived. She must have seen me dreaming, because she looked right at me as she seductively put a chocolate truffle into her mouth.
After that, for me, the night wore on. I just wanted to be alone with Lo, to feed her in both literal and metaphoric ways. But there still was the problem of Imogen. She became more and more flirtatious, placing her hand on my knee and occasionally moving close enough to me on the couch that her shoulder and mine were touching.
I felt that I was at an inflection point. I could take one more drink and throw caution to the wind, indulging Imogen’s interests while ignoring Lo’s warnings. Or I could cut myself off and take control of the situation. The former prospect was fraught with problems and so was the latter, especially since I had very knowingly led my Australian married friend to believe that I was truly interested in her. I knew which was the right choice, but neither was an easy choice.