It was Tuesday night. It had not been a good day for Larry. His two evening college classes had been especially hard — two tests and a pop quiz — and he was getting more and more frustrated with his boss at his part-time job. Old Mr. Graves seemed to be having a harder and harder time making up his mind. He would say one thing, then within minutes, turn around and change it … keeping Larry in a constant state of confusion. And on top of everything, the essay for his English class was due tomorrow.
Suddenly, the phone rang.
“Hi Larry! This is Jaimie.”
“Jaimie? Oh … uh … hi! How are you?”
“I’m great! Say, how would you like to go to a party with me this coming Saturday night? It’s at a friend’s house in Moraga. She just got a bunch of new CD’s and she’s promised me there will be lots to eat and drink. Whaddaya say?”
Larry hesitated. He couldn’t believe what he’d just heard.
“What? Oh … yeah …. sure! I’d love to go. Should I pick you up? What time?”
“Well, it starts at 8:30, but I’d like to get there around 9:30. Is that OK? You could pick me up around 9:00. That should give us plenty of time.”
“What’s everyone going to be wearing?”
“Oh, it’ll be real laid back. Just wear something casual and comfortable.”
“OK, sounds great! Well, I guess I’ll see you at 9:00 on Saturday.”
“Uh … you know, maybe it would be better to make it 9:15.”
“9:15? You got it!”
“Great!” See you Saturday. ‘Bye!”
Well, whaddaya know? The day may not be a total wash-out after all, thought Larry as he hung up the phone. But he was puzzled. Although he had had his eye on Jaimie for some time, she had never shown any special interest in him. Why would she be asking him to a party? It seemed pretty weird. But Larry didn’t have time to wonder about it now. He had to get that English essay written or Mrs. Barnes, his night-school English teacher, would have his head.
It was 11:30 that night when Larry finally finished the essay. He gathered up his papers and books and stuffed them into his backpack. Then he flopped down on his bed, stretched his lanky body, closed his eyes and … thought of Jaimie.
He remembered the first time he had seen her. It was the first evening of his Science class and she had been late coming in. As she had walked to one of the desks, every guy in the room had looked in her direction. And why not? Those tight jeans, black boots, and black leather jacket had certainly done her justice. Of course, her long blond hair and big blue eyes weren’t too shabby either. No doubt about it. She was some fine chick. Which made her invitation all the more bewildering to Larry. Although they had become good friends, he would never in his wildest dreams expected this invitation.
Larry was painfully aware that he was nothing special to look at. He was too skinny, he had acne scars, unruly red hair, not to mention his nose was crooked from being broken two years ago in an accident. He just couldn’t figure it. Then he smiled to himself. Not to worry, he thought. I’ll just have to win her over with my irresistible charm.
Saturday finally arrived. Larry woke up in a good mood and headed for work. Mr. Graves was still having problems making up his mind, but Larry felt so good that he hardly noticed. When he got home around 4:00 that afternoon, he thought it might be a good idea to clean up his pickup — especially since it had served as an over-sized trashcan for the last few weeks.
When it was about 45 minutes before he was to pick up Jaimie, Larry started getting dressed. He pulled on a Nike T-shirt, a pair of his cleanest jeans, and dug through the closet for his most comfortable tennies. He did the best he could with his hair and after a glance at himself in the mirror, headed for Jaimie’s.
As he stopped in front of Jaimie’s house, he felt a slight twinge in his belly, which made him realize how nervous he was. He reached into his back pocket, twisted the rear-view mirror so he could see himself, and ran a comb through his hair several times. Then, taking a deep breath to relax, he headed for Jaimie’s front door.
When Jaimie answered, Larry felt his eyes widen. She was wearing a low-cut, tight pink knit top and pink shorts. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail and was fastened with a bright pink scrunchie. He knew he was staring.
“Hi! Right on time! Ready to go?”
“Jaimie … you … look … fantastic!”
“Oh thanks. I just wanted to stay cool. It’s been so warm the last few days.”
“Yeah … it … has.” His answer came out like it was computerized. He continued to stare at her until he felt his eyes starting to dry out. He blinked rapidly as he recovered and said, “Well, maybe we’d better get going.”
As Larry and Jaimie arrived at the party, they could hear the music coming through the open windows. It took several rings of the doorbell before Jaimie’s friend, Brenda, answered. Behind her, they could see there were about fifteen people in the living room. After introductions, Brenda pointed Larry the way to the kitchen and pulled Jaimie over to the sofa.
“God, Jaimie, you look great!”
“Do you think Skip will notice?”
“If he doesn’t, he’s blind.”
“Is he here yet?”
“Yeah, he’s outside. Probably at the keg.”
Jaimie smiled and snickered, “Probably.”
“Listen, I have to mingle. Why don’t you get something to eat … and show off that great body of yours.”
“I wish! I still have about five pounds to lose. I think I’ll just stay here for awhile.”
“Suit yourself. I’ll talk to you later.”
As Larry walked into the kitchen, he could see that Jaimie’s friend had made good on her promise. The counters were full of chips, sandwiches, cookies, and even some pizza. While he ate a sandwich and some chips, he swapped baseball stats with some of the guys, then wandered out onto the patio. About five people were standing around the keg, drinking beer. He knew a couple of them so he got himself a beer and joined their conversation. While they were talking, he noticed movement in the shadows beyond where the patio lights reached. He could see two people standing at the corner of the yard, but he couldn’t quite make out who it was. However, it was fairly obvious they were having an intimate dialogue.
Larry stood and watched the couple for a few seconds, then got himself another beer. As he started back towards the house to join Jaimie, he saw the twosome coming out of the shadows. He was surprised when he saw it was Skip, the star running-back on the school football team, and some other guy. They were holding hands and laughing softly as they walked towards the house.
Through the patio doors, Larry saw a big smile cross Jaimie’s face as she started to walk towards Skip. Suddenly she stopped and her look changed. Her mouth opened, then slowly closed — a look of disbelief on her face. He saw Skip let go of his friend’s hand and walk over to Jaimie. He looked straight into her eyes and said something. Whatever he said seemed to make Jaimie very uncomfortable. Larry continued to watch as the two of them talked a few more minutes, then Skip took Jaimie’s hand in his and whispered something in her ear. Jaimie looked down at the floor and nodded her head. As she raised her head, Skip touched her shoulder and walked away. Jaimie stood motionless for several seconds, then moved to the sofa and sat down.
Larry didn’t know exactly what was going on, but he had a pretty strong hunch. However, he had had just enough beer that somehow, it didn’t seem that important right now. What was important was to go and join Jaimie. After all, he hadn’t given her a dose of his keen wit and charismatic personality! Larry turned back to the keg and filled up his beer glass, then grabbed a diet cola for Jaimie and went inside. He flopped down next to her on the sofa and handed her the cola.
“Hi! What’s a pretty girl like you doing at a party like this?”
Jaimie turned and smiled at him, but her eyes didn’t agree with her lips. “Oh, hi Larry. Thanks for the drink. Are you having a good time?”
“Actually, I am. I’ve seen several people I know, the music’s great, there’s plenty to eat and drink … yeah … it’s a good party. How about you?”
“Oh, it’s O.K., but I’m a little tired. I was up late several nights last week doing homework and I guess it’s finally catching up with me.”
“Did you want to go?”
“I think so. I’m really sorry, Larry. I’ve probably ruining things for you.”
“No … no. Not to worry. Should we find Brenda?”
“No, that’s O.K. I’ll call her tomorrow and explain.”
As he and Jaimie walked to the front door, Larry noticed Jaimie slowly turn her head and look towards Skip. She sighed slowly and deeply. He reached for her hand and gave it a quick squeeze. “There will be other parties, Jaimie.”
(Written a little over 20 years ago.)