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Final Christmas Drinks

December 17th, 2010 by the_lifer

Friday at Wazzer’s bar, and it’s getting weird before Christmas. People dash in and out, double- and triple-booked for the evening. After-work drinks at work get further drinks poured on top of them. It can be fraught.

Winona and Willow had been a peaceful oasis at one end of the bar, comparing office party notes. Then, Will arrived – with Ulrika. Ulrika, all smiles, brandishes a hand. “Look what Wayland gave me for Christmas!”

Winona swallows. “That’s not an engagement ring, is it?”

“No, no,” Ulrika laughs. “Blue topaz, he says, to match my eyes. So sweet. I can’t wait to meet his cousins in Kaitaia. So romantic, a real Kiwi Christmas! What are you doing for Christmas?”

“Eketahuna. Family. With Will,” says Winona, crisply.

“And you, Willow?”

Willow looks down and rubs her knuckles against a coaster. “Oh, well, Dad’s in Laos. He lives there with his wife now. And Mum moved to Perth after they split up, and she works for this mining company, and I thought I’d stay here.”

“No boyfriend? It might help if you had your hair cut, you know, properly.” She gestures at the long, natural ends of Willow’s hair.

And Willow snaps.

She bats Ulrika’s hand away, eyes suddenly hard. “I’d rather have no boyfriend than yours! I went out with him for four months. Has he borrowed money from you yet? Asked to move in? Maybe talked about moving to Europe?”

Ulrika goes white. “How do you – do you still talk to him?”

“I don’t need to, he does this to everyone. And – and  blue topaz is cheap as chips, it’s not natural, they treat it to make it that colour. And – it’s not just me! Tell her, Win.”

“We knew him when we were at uni, he’s rather dodgy, really. He dealt drugs. I wouldn’t go to Kaitaia.”

Ulrika’s lips move for a moment before any words come out. “Why didn’t you say anything earlier? And you – you’re still in love with him, to talk about him like that. It’s just sour grapes. I can’t believe this. Will, I’ll text you – from Kaitaia!” She turns on her heel and walks out.

For a moment, their end of the bar is a bubble of silence.

Finally, Winona huffs, “I don’t know what she’s talking about. Your hair is perfectly fine.”

Will, sweating profusely, adds, “The Wayland thing. It’s good she heard it from you. She and I are close – we work together – and she and Win are friends – right, Win? And, y’know, you had the experience. So, thanks. She’ll calm down. Right?”

Wazzer says, “You wanna join my folks for Christmas, Willow? All the ham on the bone you can eat.”

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1 response so far ↓

  • Thanks for linking back to previous plot threads for those of us who missed a chapter or two! Ulrika kind of got what she deserved in the end, I think. Although I can understand her reaction…maybe…a little.