This is the rework of a self-published auto-biographical story (2008), rewritten for this blog. Names of characters have been changed.
Content warning: mental and physical abuse, misogyny.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.
The party (part 2)
26 February 1994
Continued from… The party (part 1)
“Fred, some ladies are dying to meet you,” she cooed.
Fred turned around. Fortunately, Tina directly introduced herself to him, and they engaged in some small talk. Both Annie and Terry could only stare at the attractive man — dark hair, blue eyes, strong features and a body to die for. He looked over Tina’s shoulder and for seconds Annie felt like he was undressing her with his eyes. He was obviously inspecting the goods but she didn’t mind. Her knees were weak, and she was only brought back to reality when Tina asked: “Fred, where’s your wife?”
It was with disappointment – and a last glance at Fred, who was watching her – that she followed Rosie again.
“A Fran, there you are. Do you have a moment?” Rosie called out to a woman who walked around carrying a tray filled with snacks. Only one thought came to mind when Annie saw Fred’s wife: this woman with the thing faded brown hair hanging loosely on her shoulders could hardly be Fred’s wife. There was a smile around her lips when she approached them, but her sad eyes contradicted that. The jeans and light blue blouse she wore didn’t hide her thin body and large sagging breasts. When Annie heard her name again, a memory stirred in the back of her mind, but it quickly faded again, drowned out by her disappointment about Fred’s marital status.
* * * * *
Darkness fell in. Younger men had joined the party. Some people were dancing; others sat around chatting. Some people close by them made sarcastic remarks about the absence of the topless girls who were supposed to serve the drinks and snacks. Rosie’s solution to this was to get her sister to take her top off, which was all taken in good spirit.
It was while Annie danced with one of the younger men that she suddenly remembered the names: Fred and Fran! The moment the music stopped she pulled Terry towards the bathroom with her, and in a high-pitched excited voice she told Terry about her letter to the ‘bi-club’.
“ The letter mentioned Fred and Fran,” she closed her story.
Terry’s reaction was mild and minimal. Annie instantly regretted that she had told her.
“Maybe I’m mistaken,” she tried to back out. “I will check the letter again. There must be more people called Fred and Fran.”
Annie and Terry joined Tina again, and the moment they sat, Fran squeezed in between Tina and Annie, despite the two women being in conversation. She half-turned her back to Tina and started talking to Annie. Fran’s unmannerly action irritated Annie.
“Why did you join the singles’ club?” Fran asked.
“Eh… because I wanted to get in contact with other singles and have some fun.”
“Do you have a relationship?”
“No, of course not,” Annie laughed. What a stupid question, she thought, but her thoughts didn’t show on the outside.
Fran was interrupted by someone else, and when she sat down again after a short conversation, Annie decided to check her suspicions.
“I think that you and I had contact with each other not so long ago,” she told Fran.
Fran’s reaction surprised Annie. She seemed to be startled.
“Are you serious?” Fran asked cautiously, and her eyes darted to people standing around. She was obviously looking for someone. Annie pushed it a bit further. She recited the postal address of Fred and Fran.
“That’s our address, but how on earth do you know it that well?”
Fran was confused. Annie even thought to see panic in Fran’s eyes.
“I had a letter from you some days ago. About the club for bisexual women, but I have not yet replied to your letter. I have doubts about a relationship with a woman. And I wanted to see what this party would bring me,” Annie explained.
Fred suddenly appeared and joined the two women. Fran’s relief was tangible. She whispered in Fred’s ear, and in his eyes Annie saw that he was being informed about what Annie had just told Fran. He stood up, looked down on his wife and said: “Make sure you take care of it properly.”
Annie looked at his back when he walked away, surprised by the contempt in his voice when he spoke to his wife, but the warm smile he had for her before he turned around. She also wondered what his words to Fran meant.
At that moment, only Fran knew.
* * * * *
To be continued… The party (part 3)
© Rebel’s Notes