July 12, 2016: The Day the Android Came to Dinner (Part 1)

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9 a.m.

Dear Diary,

Last night I tossed and turned until sunrise, worrying about the house. As the hours dragged on my body grew heavier and heavier, but the synapses in my brain fired faster and faster, and my stomach  growled louder and louder.

When the sky began to lighten, I gave up on sleep. I sneaked into the kitchen and scarfed down a big slice of the cherry pie I'd baked before bed. Then I plopped down on the living room couch, turned on the Weather Channel, and instantly passed out.

Maybe if I hadn't eaten that pie, I wouldn't have had that ominous dream.

I dreamed that I slept through the dinner with Winston and Charlotte. When I came to, I was lying on the floor. My loft was empty. Only my laptop lay beside me, opened to a blank Word document.

Jane came in, dressed like Black Widow from The Avengers. She said Mom had packed all of our things and sent them ahead to #4 Cardboard Box, The Bridge, Bend, OR 97703. This distressed me because I didn't know which bridge was The Bridge, and Jane wouldn't tell me. She just smiled and vanished.

Then Will Darcy appeared in front of me. I asked how he got in. He said he flew through the window. I asked if he does that often, and he said, "I like watching you sleep. It's kind of fascinating to me."

(No, Diary, I will not disclose how many times I watched Twilight in my college years. It was ironic viewing, okay? Ironic.)

Will trapped me in his hypnotic gaze. He slowly bent his head towards mine and murmured, "Don't move."

I said, "But I have to. The bank took the house."

And then Mary shook me awake.

Still out of it, I panicked when I saw 8:45 on the analog clock over the TV. I asked Mary if it was morning or nighttime. Mary asked me if I was drunk. She chastised me for leaving my dirty dessert plate on the coffee table, reminded me that I am twenty-eight years old and even Kitty and Lydia sleep properly in their beds, and huffed off to work.

Though I'm really tired, I'm too stressed out to go back to sleep. When vampire prosecutors appear in your dreams, it's clearly an omen for dark times to come.

But instead of dwelling on dreams, I should get busy! I have eight hours to bake a new pie, whip the first floor into guest-worthy shape, and figure out how to convince a mortgage lender to loan one hundred thousand dollars to an ageing couple with no credit, no jobs, and no savings.

No problem.

***

9 p.m.

Dear Diary,

Should I just start packing now?

Alright, alright, I shouldn't give up yet. On Saturday I'll get one more chance to convince Winston Collins to help my parents...if I can survive another conversation with him without dying of either boredom or the overwhelming shame of licking his boots.

When Winston and Charlotte rang the bell at 6 o'clock, I was standing on the other side of the door waiting to do my best Caroline Bingley impression. I'd gussied myself up in a long floral summer dress and full no-makeup makeup. Though I don't own a lacy apron or a pearl necklace, I did manage to scrounge up the nude pumps I bought in 2010 for my first job interview.

I shook hands with Charlotte, because she doesn't care for hugs or air kisses. Winston's spring-loaded arm shot out to offer me a bottle of Pinot Noir. I cooed over it as if it were the most beautiful bottle I'd ever seen.

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