Ladies brunch. The silly little thing they did every other Sunday. Patricia’s Big Breakfast, in the middle of the city. In the middle of all of them. So hard to get together. Being an adult sucked. But they all tried to make Patricia’s.
This Sunday Ladies Brunch at Patricia’s was not so silly. Wendy and Lilah and Penny all were exchanging glances behind Hannah’s back, when she was talking to the waitress or picking out fruit or making those awful smiles into her phone.
They knew who those smiles were for.
“Hannah?” Wendy said finally, after getting daggers stabbed into her face and abdomen from Lilah and Penny’s eyes. “There’s something we need to talk about.”
Hannah kept looking at her phone for a few more seconds. Hit the ‘send’ button on whatever cutesy message she had just sent and then finally put the black brick down on the table. She gave Wendy a smile. “I know!”
Hannah nodded while she sipped at her mimosa. “Bachelorette party planning! I can’t believe your wedding is coming up so soon! Crazy how the time flies. Anyway, I wasn’t sure how much input you wanted-”
“No,” Lilah said, once she realized that Wendy was simply going to let Hannah take the conversation away from the real topic. The one they had all agreed on. The talk that had to happen. Today. Lilah had begged crazy favors from that bitch Jeanette at work to switch shifts with her for this, and they were going to talk about it. Damn it.
Hannah’s excited expression soured just a little, like milk with a drop of a lemon.
Wendy shook her head, hoping to hide the mechanical way she was moving. Her nerves had turned her into a robot.
We never do this. It’s a rule not to do this. Maybe we can-
Penny cut directly through her second-guessing.
“We need to talk about Adam.”
Nervous laughter bubbled out of Wendy, and she reached for her mimosa so suddenly she nearly knocked the damn thing over. She managed to get the glass to her lips and downed half of it while Hannah slowly realized that, no, Adam was not coming to the bachelorette party.
“Adam? What about him?”
“Well, you see,” Wendy started, “I know we don’t usually comment on boyfriends or anything, you know, so…I mean, we’re not ganging up on you or anything! And I want you to know that you’re loved…by us…but…well…there’s some things about Adam that…well, they make us feel…um…I mean-”
Penny finished her Bloody Mary. “We’re all pretty sure Adam is a psychopath who wants to kill you and wear your skin like a suit.”
Lilah almost spit out her drink. Wendy’s eyes went wide. Hannah sat back, crossing her arms in front of her.
“Damn it, Pen. We said we were going to be gentle.”
“Well?” Penny said, gesturing toward Wendy. “She couldn’t even get the words out. I think its best to rip the band aid off.”
“You don’t like Adam?” Hannah asked Penny. She looked to the other women. “None of you do?”
For three glorious seconds, it seemed like they might be able to have a simple conversation with Hannah about her boyfriend. Just a conversation. It was why they had wanted to approach this gently. It wasn’t an attack…at least, not on her. And if Hannah was receptive to what they had to say, maybe she would at least consider dumping this guy before he dropped something in her drink.
Then Hannah crossed her legs, picked up her drink and swirled it around.
“You never want me to be happy.”
Groans from around the table.
“Hannah, I’m sorry Penny started out that way,” Lilah said. “But this is serious. We love you, and we don’t want to see you hurt!”
“I thought we didn’t discuss boyfriends. As a rule.”
“We feel strongly enough about this guy to break it,” Wendy said.
“What could he possibly have done-”
“He hates cats!”
Everyone stared at Wendy. A furious blush turned her cheeks an angry red, but she held her head up and her shoulders back.
Hannah nodded once. “He…hates…cats?”
Lilah sighed. “We said we wouldn’t start with the cat thing.”
“This is going great,” Penny muttered.
“I’m completely serious,” Wendy said, getting defensive. “Men who hate cats can’t be trusted. Cats are independent creatures, and men who can’t handle that can’t handle an independent woman.”
“Steve doesn’t like cats.”
“Steve nothings cats. Nothing. Not hate. There’s a difference.”
“I don’t understand how there’s a difference. What-”
“It’s not about the cats!” Lilah said. “Hannah, Adam is not a good guy. He’s possessive-”
“He just wants to spend time with me!”
“He wants me to know how much he cares.”
“I’ve seen the way he talks to you.”
“Inside jokes? Is it an inside joke to tell you your worthless when you bring him the wrong beer?”
Hannah shrugged. “He didn’t mean that.”
“We heard your quitting your job,” Penny said. “I thought you loved that job.”
“Adam said I don’t need,” Hannah said quietly. “He makes enough for both of us.”
“But what if something happens?” Lilah asked. “What if you want to leave, but you don’t have an income anymore?”
“I won’t want to leave!” Hannah shouted, making other tables turn to stare. “I love him, and he loves me! You all are…you all are just jealous.”
The other three stared at her the same way they would have stared if she had managed to slap all of them at the same time with her sandal.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Penny asked.
“Penny…” Wendy’s voice was water.
“What the fuck could we possibly be jealous of?” Lilah asked. “His roid-rage body? His cheap car? His sexist jokes?”
“You see our love,” Hannah said, standing up, “And you know you’ll never have it!”
“Hannah, please,” Wendy said. “Please sit, and we can talk like adults. We really want-”
“No! This isn’t a conversation! This is an attack, and I won’t be attacked!”
Hannah tried to pick up her purse but it was hooked on her chair. After struggling for a few seconds, pulling and pushing and dragging the chair around, she finally got the purse free and stomped off through the gate and down the street.
“Well, we tried,” Penny said.
“We fucked it all up, is what we did,” Wendy said.
“Hopefully she realizes we’re right before we see her name in the news.”