As it turned out, the date with Suzie was incredibly dull. I arrived at the Italian she had insisted and found her already sitting, drumming her red nails impatiently on the cream silk table clothe, an empty glass in front of her.
"Were you waiting long?" I asked, smiling broadly and turning on my California charms.
"I came early," she responded plainly in her nasal-y voice, immune.
I pulled up a chair, hiding my inner pride. There was a reason I chose Suzie and not any of Karen's other friends: just enough to get her jealousy but not so that it would backfire on me and end up being tied down in a relationship with one her friends.
"See anything you like," I said, opening the leather-bound menu and trying to fill the awkward atmosphere settling around us.
"Waiter!" She called, ignoring my question.
"Yes Madam," a man dressed in stereotypical black and white uniform, a notebook and pen ready in his hands. "How may I help."
"I would like some moretap water please."
"Yes Madam. And you sir?"
It took me a while to realise I was 'sir' as my eyes were fixed on Suzie, wide with disbelief. I was did not think it was possible for anyone to be more uptight than Karen.
"What wine to you recommend?"
And so that set the pace of the date - Suzie droning on about work and her three cats, drinking her tap water and eating her salad (because she did not really fancy Italian that much, though she was adamant that we ate there). Me, drinking the most expensive wine on the menu and stifling the urge to live out the rest of the date in the gents toilets.
I got home and as I reached the front door I heard giggling from inside. Stealthily, I put the keys my mother had given my yesterday and unlocked the door without making a sound.
When I opened the door and entered the house I heard the murmur of drunken voices coming from the living room, one of them Karen's and the other a male's I had heard before but could not place where from.
I walked in to find Karen sprawled across the couch and the man - I recognised as Ollie from Jonsies' - leaning over her. One of his hands was grasping at the couch's floral material to keep his balance on top of her, the other was trying to pull down the fly over the bulge in his jeans. Poor girl, I thought. Cannot hold her liquor very well, but I suppose she's a moody bitch without it.
I was just about to retire to the guest room and leave them to it when I heard Karen's voice slur, " Noollieeee. Notnownight. Don't...Don't wantto."
"Yes. Yes now."
I placed a steady hand on his shoulder. "Man, you heard want my sis said. I think it's time for you to go home."
He gazed up at me with blurry eyes and belched. "Hey. Hey mate. Aren't you, aren't you Karen's American brother?"
"Yeah," I replied, only half listening as I led him over to the front door.
"Mate. Mate, your sister is hot. I would, I would bang her from here to next week if I could."
I opened the door and he staggered outside. When I returned to the living room I saw Karen still lying on the couch, snoring rather loudly. I decided to leave her there because although she was causing her own mini-earthquake, she did look quite peaceful.
I leant over her to switch off the table side lamp. A hand came up and swept across my forearm. I heard Karen mumble in her sleep, "Caayliblib, me lurve who."