Patrick and Andy were really fond of this weekend dinner party routine. I didn’t know what to expect at first, and those two eat some strange things, but it’s been fun. They were pretty adorable about it, too, with their kitchen bickering and endless recipe research. But Andy was incredible in the kitchen. We all knew I was a picky eater, but I ate anything that girl put in front of me.
Andy was a good-hearted woman, and I knew that because she didn’t wait for me to start pawing around for snacks and had a dish of leftover lasagna waiting for me when I arrived. I watched the newest addition to this weekend’s party from the corner of the leather sofa, my disgustingly swollen ankles propped up in front of me and a bowl balanced on my belly.
“How’re you doing, mama?” Will asked. He nodded toward the bowl. “Better now that you have a snack?”
“Yes,” I sighed. “It was a long ride.”
“It was half an hour, peanut,” he laughed. “But when Froggie’s hungry, Froggie’s hungry.”
“Froggie is always hungry.” Nodding toward the blonde guest seated on the floor beside Lauren, I asked, “What do you think?”
Andy met Val in one of her hippy-dippy yoga classes where it was cool to grunt and sweat like linebackers, and apparently thought she was prime material for Riley. I wasn’t sure I agreed, but then again, I’d missed the signs when it came to both Andy and Tiel, and I could admit that matchmaking wasn’t in my wheelhouse.
But I was a little protective when it came to RISD.
“I think I’m not qualified for this conversation,” Will said under his breath. He stood, and leaned down to kiss my forehead. “I’m going outside to drink beer and watch your brother work the grill.”
“Good luck with that,” I said, shifting back toward the discussion around the cute coffee table Andy had saved from a property we bought a few months ago. “So what’s your story, Val?”
“Jesus, Shannon,” Lauren sighed.
“That’s okay,” Val said, waving at Lauren. “Really. I’m thirty-two, never married, originally from Colorado. I’m an account manager at an ad agency, but yoga is my newest passion and I’m working on my–“
“Who’s your Batman?” I interrupted.
“My what?” she asked.
“Here we go,” Andy said from the kitchen.
“Your Batman,” I repeated. “Keaton, Kilmer, Clooney, Bale, or Affleck?”
“Um…” Val frowned and glanced between me and Lauren. “I don’t think I have an opinion on Batman.”
I gave her a rueful smile and nodded. “You can stay for dinner but it’s not going to work out with Riley. Thanks for playing.”