Erin and Josh stood outside the apartment door.
"Knock again", Erin said nudging Josh.
"No", he said, "I've knocked three times. Ring her".
"I rang her already".
"Are you sure this is the right place?".
"Yes, I'm positive", Erin said rolling her eyes.
"I don't think it is...".
The door swung open, Dan stood there with a smile on his face.
"Hey guys", he said, "come on in, sorry about leaving you waiting".
"It's no problem", Erin smiled.
He stood aside as they walked in.
"Wow", they said in unision.
The apartment was huge, it had an open plan kitchen and sitting room and the far wall was one big window looking over the quays. He had kept it simple, everything was clean looking and there was no clutter.
"Nice TV", Erin said looking at the gigantic TV mounted on the wall.
"Thanks, let me take your coats", Dan said taking their jackets, "would you like a drink?".
"Yeah sure", Josh said.
"I'm ok", Erin answered looking around the apartment.
Dan disappeared into a cloakroom, Erin walked over to the window and looked down at the street, people were bustling to and fro huddled in their jackets. Behind her Josh was admiring a black and white photograph.
"It's a Graham Fields piece", Dan said coming back into the room, "he's not well known".
"Oh I know him", Josh smiled, "I love his work".
Erin ignored the boys as they discussed photography, she could hear Dan pouring a drink in the kitchen and handing it to Josh. The apartment was so high up. She imagined jumping from the balcony, climbing on to the rail and just letting herself fall, hitting the ground. She almost smiled at the thought. Then she felt sick, she remembered why she hated Christmas time. The door opened and shut behind her.
"Hey everyone", Chleo said, "sorry I wasn't here when you arrived had to run to the shop".
She went into the kitchen and began packing things into the presses. The boys went back to talking about art and then the TV. Erin went and sat on a stool in the kitchen and watched Chleo put shopping away.
"He's useless when it comes to eating good food", Chleo said as she unpacked.
Erin smiled and nodded. Something was up with Chleo.
"You ok?", she asked her.
"Yup", Chleo replied avoiding Erin's eyes.
Erin cocked her head to look at her, she could see tears gathering in her eyes.
"What's wrong?", Erin said frowning.
Chleo sighed and looked at her. She nodded towards a door that led off the kitchen. Erin followed her into the room. It was a huge master bedroom, a big four poster bed was against the wall, everything was silk and luxurious, Chleo's touch could be seen throughout the room, a vase of flowers, a beautiful full length mirror, the silk red pillows and cushions thrown on the bed. Chleo sat on a small arm chair and put her head in her hands, Erin stood opposite her.
"What's wrong hun?", she asked her again.
Chleo began crying, her body was shaking.
"I'm pregnant", she spluttered through her hands.
Erin stared open mouthed, she couldn't believe it. But, at the same time saw it coming. She knelt down in front of Chleo and took one of her hands.
"Are you sure?".
Chleo nodded and wiped her face.
"I thought I had a bug, I thought I had the flu but then yknow I missed the monthly delivery and it all kind of...clicked", she cried.
"Have you gone to the doctor?", Erin asked.
"Yes, she said I'm definately up the duff", Chleo said, her tears dried up, "in 7 months there'll be baby here".
The two girls sat in silence.
"Have you told Dan?".
"Yeah. I mean it's his", Chleo replied, "he wasn't scared, he was so calm Erin. It was actually, he was great, I was afraid he'd get scared, I mean we're only with each other 2 months! He said we needn't worry, if he could afford to live here he could afford to have a family, he said I could move in here... When I told my parents".
She didn't need to say anything more, Erin knew how Chleo's parents felt about boys. They had a strict no boys policy, no boys until after the Leaving Cert, well they were going to be in for a shock.
"Well they'll just have to accept it", Erin said smiling, "it's not like they can reverse it and anyway, if they disown you or anything, I'll be it's Grannie".
Chleo began to laugh and cry at the same time.
"I'm going to get so fat!".
"The person you have called cannot be reached at the moment..".
Billy hung up and threw his phone on his bed. He hadn't seen or heard from Frank in 5 days, he was running low on supplies and needed something fast. He could go out and find some himself, but Frank knew all the top guys in Dublin. Well so he said. He picked up his phone and dialled Erin's number.
"Hey, what ya doin?".
He could hear laughter in the background.
Erin was silent.
"I didn't think you'd want to come...you seem so preoccupied these days", she said, her voice was flat and cold.
It was true he didn't really want to be there. Those guys bored him recently and he didn't want to be around Josh.
"Chleo probably wouldn't want me there anyway after the dinner thing", he said trying to come across cool.
"Well you were a dick", she snapped.
Erin was in a quiet room now, but she was whispering.
"She was trying to introduce you to her boyfriend and all you cared about was your precious Frank", her voice was low but he could tell she wanted to shout, "I'm suprised you even bothered to call, I haven't heard from you since the dinner".
"Erin I'm sorry...".
"I recall you saying that I didn't need anymore men that would let me down in my life", Erin interrupted, "you're right. Bye Billy".
She cut across him.
"By the way I spent Christmas with Josh's family this year. Just in case you cared".
The phone line went dead. Billy threw his phone down again and sat on his floor. What the fuck was he doing with his life?