Brie lies splayed like a starfish in her bed, lavender sleeping mask askew, her yellowed mouthguard hanging from her bottom lip. She is climbing slowly up to consciousness through a dream.
The doorbell is ringing. Brie is walking up the steps to her parents' house but also inside the house, preparing to answer the door. Through the beveled glass she looks out onto the porch and sees Alaska there with Grammy Birdie. Alaska is ringing the doorbell, smiling at Brie through the glass. They are here for the surprise party, but somehow Brie has forgotten to plan it, forgotten to send the invitations. This better be good, Grammy Birdie is saying, straightening her emerald brooch. Oh, it won't be, Alaska smiles, ringing the bell.
Brie opens her eyes and spits out her mouthguard. Someone is ringing her doorbell. She slides out of bed, groggy and off-balance, her lobster pajamas slipping down to her knees because the elastic waistband is worn out from washing.
"Coming," she says in a cracked voice as she rubs the sleep from her eyes. She looks through the peephole—a fisheye full of roses—and wrinkles her nose at this disruption. She is sick and tired of playing receptionist to that juvenile tart monkey next door who, despite her lobotomy, still manages to maintain a large population of suitors. That girl must have one magic vagina because her brain is made of pudding.
Brie slides the latch and opens the door. "Oh," she says. "It's you."
Terryn smiles through the forest of long-stem red roses. "Yes indeedy. Were you asleep? It's 9am."
Brie squints at the brightness of the day. "It's Saturday."
Terryn hands her a cup of coffee and the flowers. "I brought you coffee."
"That's not all," Brie says, examining the roses.
Terryn drops her bag and begins to scout out the apartment. "This is cute."
Brie sets the vase down on the table. "Why are you here, bringing me coffee and roses?"
Terryn turns on her heels. "The flowers were here, on your doorstep. They're from Danny. I read the card. It's nice, very sincere."
Brie watches Terryn glide to the couch and take a load off. "So you thought you'd just come and make sure I received them," she says, eyeing the envelope.
"No, I come with an agenda," Terryn says, patting the couch.
Terryn smiles like a patient mother and rises from the couch to join Brie at the table. "I come in peach," she says, a Freudian slip because on the table there is a bowl of peaches.
Brie slides the bowl to her.
"Peace," she says, picking out a beaut. She takes a bite. "Mm, juicy. This is delicious."
Brie watches with patience as Terryn makes love to the peach, coral liquids dripping down her chin. She goes to fetch a paper towel for Terryn and when she returns from the kitchen, Terryn is reading Danny's card again.
"Give me that" Brie snatches it and stuffs it back into the envelope. She is burning to read it, but she slips the card into the outside pocket of her purse. She looks back at Terryn. "Why are you here?"
Terryn laughs. "I'm here on a goodwill mission for Danny. He asked me—well, he didn't really ask me—but he called me to ask what I thought he should do because you're not answering his calls or texts." Terryn gestures to the roses. "This was his idea. I'm not a fan of cut flowers because it's nonsensical to raise something of beauty only to kill it, but I was able to call the florist and get your address. So here I am." She points to Brie's cup. "With coffee."
YOU ARE READING
Brie Baggio thinks she's ready... for marriage, kids, the whole shebang. She's pushing forty, and even though she's the Senior Anti-Aging Ambassador at Los Angeles's hottest med spa, Botox can't paralyze that nagging feeling that it's now or never...