Note: I expect this to be about a three-part story, and I hope to post all parts within the
next week our two (ok, make that 3 or 4 weeks, summer break is more time-consuming than expected!). I hope you enjoy it!
Miss Jones’ Night Out – Part 1
It is the seventh of May and Brooke Jones sits on the back porch of her house watching the clouds roll in off the horizon. The likelihood of rain in the next few hours is high, according to the weather report and anyone with common sense.
Miss Jones, as they call her at work, is making lists in her head. What she wants to accomplish over the summer, what she is going to do to get in shape, witty things to say to Peter if she should happen to see him, items she needs to buy at the grocery store and the mall. The lists run together in her mind and get tangled until she has to close her eyes and shake the nonsense from her head. She knows that no matter how many lists she makes she will not accomplish what she hopes to, she will not get in shape, and if she should see Peter she will do what she always does – pretend not to see him until he’s right in front of her and then give him a shy smile to acknowledge his existence. She knows that he will never realize how badly she wants him.
A phone rings in the house and Brooke waits a few seconds before pushing herself out of an old lawn chair and starts toward the phone. Brooke has never been a fan of phones. They allow for the possibility of too many awkward moments. There are plenty of embarrassing moments outside of the house, no need to create more. This is Brooke’s reasoning as she picks up the phone and answers with a sunny “hello” and a big smile.
“Hello, Miss Jones.” It’s Pam, a new friend from work, and she has a playful tone in her voice. Brooke raises an eyebrow in suspicion even though there is no one around to see it.
“Well, hello Miss… um…. hello Pam,” Brooke blushes as she realizes that she doesn’t actually know Pam’s full name, there goes another awkward moment to add to the list. But Pam just laughs good-naturedly and continues.
“So, Mary, Kent, and I are going out for drinks tonight and we think you should join us.” Brooke hesitates for a second and Pam adds, “it will be fun.” Brooke does not doubt that Pam and the others will have fun, although she believes that her presence might dampen their fun, but she is not so sure that she will have fun. Rarely invited out, Brooke usually jumps at the chance, but drinks are a different matter.
In her entire twenty-four years of life Brooke has drunken alcohol exactly three times. The first time she was 14 and camping with her parents. Her mother offered her a taste of wine and, despite her better judgment, Brooke took a tentative sip. The smell, the taste, everything about it repelled her. The second time was at her cousin’s wedding in which she was a bridesmaid and felt it necessary to take a sip of champagne after the toast out of politeness. The third time was when she was a junior in college and finally worked up the courage to go to a real party. She was so nervous and eager to have a good time that she drank a beer, three shots, and some mixed concoction with mystery contents. She had fun all right, for about two hours. Then she embarrassed herself more in thirty minutes than she typically does over the course of a year. She threw up, left the party, went straight to bed, and threw up again in the morning. This occurred roughly two months before her twenty-first birthday, which she celebrated by going to a casino and spending a few dollars on the slot machines rather than partaking in the more popular birthday festivities.
Despite her dislike for the taste of alcohol, fear that she will become a heavy drinker like much of her family, and worry that she could ruin her night and her friends’ night, Brooke has a rush of excitement as she thinks of all of the possibilities that the night could hold.
“Ok. Yah, that does sound fun.” She lets the words escape from her mouth before she has a chance to stop herself.
“Great! We’re all meeting at my house around nine, let me give you the address.” Brooke jots down the directions, trying to steady her shaking hand. The possibilities running through her head now are nothing worth getting excited over. Part of her is glad she said yes before her overactive imagination paralyzed her with fear. The other, larger part, is cursing at her in a state of panic wishing she’d taken more time to think this through. But as Brooke hangs up the phone she is genuinely smiling.
After a long shower and an hour of trying to figure out what to wear, Brooke stands in front of her bathroom mirror with her small collection of makeup. She never wears more than a bit of mascara and a smudge of lip gloss to work, so she doesn’t want to show up in full makeup and shock everyone, but she doesn’t want to look like she does every day. It takes twenty minutes, but Brooke finally gets her eyeliner perfectly symmetrical and her lashes full but not clumpy. This effort leaves her frustrated, so she hurriedly brushes on some powder that’s a bit darker than her pale skin and applies a natural pink lipstick.
She stands back, looking at herself in the mirror, and can’t help but smile at the improvements. In college she would get dolled up all the time in the hopes that her latest crush would notice her, he never did. Brooke decided a few years ago that it doesn’t matter how pretty she makes herself look, guys will not like her. Tonight, she’s hoping that this really isn’t true.
Slipping on a pair of modest heals and grabbing her purse, Brooke takes deep calming breaths and tells herself that she’s going to have a great night. As she drives to Pam’s house, she makes a list in her head of everything she should keep in mind during the night: no shots, no mixed drinks, no dancing on tables, no dancing at all, no laughing too loud, no throwing up.