Excerpt From: Unfinished Business
Why didn’t someone tell me it was St. Patrick’s Day? It’s important to be ready for these things in advance. Had I known this significant holiday was approaching I would’ve prepared. If someone had been kind enough to remind me I would have…would have… Would’ve…?
I glance down at the thin, green beer in my formerly frosted mug. I would’ve drunk less wine at Nick’s last night.
That way I wouldn’t have this cloud of guilt fogging my vision. Girls who are trying to get their lives together shouldn’t drink too much three nights in a row. It’s tricky enough business trying to see through one’s drunken haze without the nuisance of an emotional cloud of guilt making things worse.
Come to think of it, I’m not hearing so well either.
“Whaddya say, Riana?”
Riana arches across the tattered booth she, Nick and I have been using as our home base for the past two hours. “It says here”—she stabs at the helpfully informational, green flyer that was handed to us on the way in—“that there’s going to be a limerick contest.”
I twist my mouth thoughtfully, as if I can taste the question lurking there. “What’s the prize?”
Her eyebrows pull together as she positions the sheet closer to her face and peers at me across the top of it. “Dinner for two. The Rooney McNamara special!”
I try to ask, “Do you suppose that’s corned beef and cabbage or some other traditional Irish dish?” Unfortunately, what comes out sounds more like, “Dahya sink thats cornbeefan cabbish?”
Before Riana translates, Nick slides in next to me, bumps my shoulder with his and grumbles, “Jukebox is broken.”
A sappy grin tilts across my face as I grab his left arm. “I’m so glad you’re out with us tonight, Nicky-boy.” I hold up my hand so my forefinger and thumb are about an inch apart. “I might be a little sorry you lost the toss, seein’ as you’re the only one of us who’s actually Irish. Or part Irish. Whatever.”
Riana frowns and pats the arm I’m clinging to. “You ought to be getting drunk on this nasty beer.”
“Clear the air, girls. It’s starting to look like one of those weep fests.” He shakes his head. “I guess I should be glad Josie isn’t here.”
I shift to Riana. “Are you feeling all stupid and weepy?”
She ignores my question and stabs at the air near Nick. “The contest! Nick! You have to know a limerick!”
Looking thoughtful, he takes a long drink of his Gatorade.
“I know a limerick,” I mumble, half-hoping neither of them heard me and half-hoping they’ll think I’m wonderful.
Unfortunately, after the words are out of my mouth, their heads swivel simultaneously like puppets. Creepy, slow moving puppets. Not at all a response I was hoping for. Or one I’d even considered. Please God, don’t let them blink at the same time, because then I’ll have to scrabble over the table and bolt for the door.
Oh, relief. Nick is talking.
I stare at him for a minute because his teeth really are so nice and straight. “Huh?”
He waves his hand between Riana and him. “Tell us the limerick.”
Nice hands, too. Why haven’t I ever noticed that before? “Limerick?”