surreptitious

pg | no warnings apply

"You've got to be kidding me."

Josh stirred his drink and looked up, following your gaze until he found the object of your attention.

"You ... knew Amy was going to be here."

You glared at him, unwilling to believe that he didn't see it. "Did you do this? Is this some sick joke of yours?"

"I, I, I ... what the hell are you talking about?"

As it turned out, you didn't have to explain. Amy had crossed the room and was making a beeline for where the two of you were standing.

"You have got to be kidding me," she said flatly.

"Hey! You guys are wearing the same dress." He grinned as if he expected to win an award for his observation.

She turned to you and rolled her eyes. "He probably wants us to settle this by mud wrestling."

"Okay, see, not that I'm -"

"What did I tell you earlier?"

"Not to ... talk to you?"

"And what are you doing?"

Their arguing was morphing into flirting, so you discreetly excused yourself. The thought of spending another hour and a half mingling with pompous politicians wasn't appealing to you. You wished you had gone through with your plan to stay away, claiming you had a headache. As it was, it was too late now.

"It looks different on you." You turned around, finding her alone, holding a half-empty glass of champagne.

"And by that, what do you mean?"

She shrugged. "It looks different on you."

Well, that explained everything. You spent what was probably an inappropriate amount of time staring her down, trying to discern the differences that she apparently saw.

"You wanna get out of here?"

All the men in Washington looked the same at these things. It was as if they all got their suits from the same shop. They probably did.

"And go where?"

It didn't matter, really. Soon the speeches would begin, and you'd be lucky if you didn't nod off, your face plunging into rubbery chicken and cold vegetables.

"Anywhere but here."

"You've only been here five minutes."

She downed the remaining liquid in the glass. "I thought someone was going to be here, and he's not. I don't mean to be pushy, but we need to leave now if we're going to be inconspicuous."

By the time you made it out to the road, both of you trying to hail a cab, you wished you had thought ahead and brought a jacket.

"Did you do this on purpose?"

"What, make it snow?" You grinned at her. "I don't have that kind of power."

"No. The dress. You saw it in my closet, didn't you?"

"When exactly was I in your closet?"

You were facing the street then, but you could feel her eyes on your back. "You could have looked in there when I was in the shower."

"Well, Amy, you figured it out. I got out of bed while you were in the shower, ransacked your closet, ran to the store, got one just like it, and wore it tonight just to mess with you. That's something you'd do."

Her laugh got your attention. You turned your head, just in time to catch her sly smile. "It is, isn't it?"

(fin.)