Merry in Manhattan - Part 2
Welcome back to part 2 of Merry in Manhattan to see some of the adventures Lane and Chris go on. (Even if it’s a little late… Sorry!) It’s been really fun to write so far! If you missed part one, click here.
The room was pitch black save for the shining menorah at the head table and the dozens of glow in the dark sticks, bracelets, and necklaces which the guests wore and lined the tables all in blue and white.
“This is incredible,” I said.
“You’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy,” he answered and passed me a bright blue cocktail rimmed with sugar.
“Definitely not.” I took a sip of the sweet drink while also eyeing the dessert table filled with sufganiyot, chocolate coins, and marzipan. It made my mouth water. “So, who are the traditional guests I need to convince that I’m your girlfriend? I need to be sure that I’m putting on a good show.”
“CHRIS! You made it!”
I almost covered my ears from the shriek that caused everyone in the vicinity to cringe and stop their conversations for a moment. A petite woman with curly brown hair which made her almost a foot taller bounced through the crowd and waved frantically at Chris and I. He promptly wrapped an arm around my waist with his free hand and pulled me close to his side. Her smile only faltered for a moment before returning to it’s startling sparkle which could be seen even in the dark room.
Looked liked my acting career needed to start immediately.
“Alexis, hi. I didn’t know you were going to be here.”
Alexis tossed her hair and playfully swatted at Chris’ shoulder. “Oh you did too! And who’s this?” Her smile remained bright but a thin sheen of ice clouded her eyes when she looked at me.
Huh. Well. This was interesting. People who were “traditional” needing him to have a date my ass. I could watch him squirm a bit and let this woman chase after him all night but… no new office and nothing to do the rest of the month. He’d probably find one of his other girls to tag along.
“I’m Lane,” I said and stuck my hand out for her to shake it. She took it hesitantly then I pulled mine away abruptly let it land on Chris’ arm. I clung to him like fly paper. “It’s so nice to meet you! I can’t believe Chrissy-boo hasn’t mentioned me!” I ruffled his hair for good measure and he tensed under my grip. If this was what he wanted me to do, he was going to get the whole nine yards.
“Lane… I thought we agreed you wouldn’t call me that in public,” Chris said through a grin.
I lay my head on his broad shoulder and looked at him through my lashes. “I just can’t help myself!”
Alexis waved her hand between Chris and I. “So… you’re together?”
“We don’t like to put labels on things…” Chris started to say.
“A few weeks now! And it’s been perfect,” I cooed over him.
Alexis’ smile faltered again but to her credit, she was really trying hard to not let us see. “Wow. That’s… that’s so great! Anyway, it was so good to see you. I’m gonna get a drink. Do you need a drink? I need a drink. Catch up later? Bye!”
She scampered off in the direction of the bar and I gave her a tiny wave. Once she was out of sight I pushed Chris aside. “You liar!”
Chris’ eyes went wide as he tried to keep his drink from spilling. “What?”
I put my hand on my hip. “You said you needed me because the people hosting these parties were ‘traditional.’ You just need someone to be here so that you don’t get any unwanted attention.”
Chris groaned and wrapped his free arm around my shoulders and we walked through the party. He waved and smiled to people he knew as he spoke. “She’s my best friends cousin and we run in the same circles. Especially this time of year and get invited to the same parties. I couldn’t stand another year of her chasing after me.” We pushed past a small crowd and placed our drinks on a tall table wrapped in glow sticks. Chris rested his arm on the table and leaned forward. “It’s not like you are mad about not going home because of their grand Christmas celebrations though.”
My jaw dropped. “Yes I am!”
Chris raised his brows. “And your ex has nothing to do with it?”
I stammered and took a sip of my drink. “I … what? No… how do you know about him?”
“You talk about your hometown a lot. It doesn’t take a genius to put together that Terrance wasn’t a mere acquaintance.”
I took a larger sip of the drink and set it back on the table with a clunk. I really needed to watch what I was saying around the office. “We were engaged. High school sweethearts. The whole nine yards. He does real estate there and is basically a hometown hero.”
“For selling houses?”
“For winning football state championship in high school. Apparently that qualifies him to tell people where to live now.” I traced the rim of my glass with the tip of my finger then licked the sugar off. “We’d been growing apart for awhile, especially when I was in grad school. He never wanted to come to New York and I think that was why I stayed home for so long. Anyway, we broke up and I knew it was a good time to leave. He wasn’t happy that I’d left though and said I’d fail but he’d be waiting there for me when I realized it.”
Chris grimmaced. “Ouch.”
“Yeah. He wasn’t that great of a guy it turns out. So, I was kind of looking forward to shoving my New York success in his face over Christmas.”
Chris raised his glass. “Now that’s true holiday spirit!” He dug around in his pockets until a phone appeared. He came to my side and held it in front of us. “Say cheese!” Before I could smile the photo was taken.
“What is that for?” I pulled away from him and finished my drink.
“You want revenge on your ex? Crawling back home and talking up New York won’t do it. Your family leaving on a cruise is the best thing that could have happened to you because now you can be here and showing off your life without even thinking about Terrance.”
I leaned against the table and considered this. “That doesn’t seem a bit high schoolish?”
Chris scoffed. “You really think any of us have matured past the age of 18? Besides, you know I’m right.”
I looked at the phone and cringed at the awful photo. “Fine. But we take another picture.”
We pulled in close once again and he wrapped his arm around me and just as he took the photo he kissed my cheek. Which… wasn’t awful to be honest. He had really soft lips. He posted it to his social media and a moment later I had a notification that I’d been tagged. It was a weirdly convincing image. I smiled as I looked at it.
“Why are you being so nice?” I asked.
Chris shrugged. “Christmas… well… Hanukkah spirit you can say.”
“Well, thank you.”
“Hey, you’re the one doing me a favor by keeping Alexis away.”
“And you’re giving me your office.” I put my phone away and stood up straight, ready to face the rest of the party. “So, what event do we have next?”
Chris only smiled.
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