Futures and Frosting
Author:Tara Sivec

I move the tray far out of her reach and my line of sight before I myself become pukey.

“As I was saying, I have a bunch of things you could do for me here. I need a website created and maintained, advertising managed, and everything that goes along with marketing this place that I know nothing about. I got a call just the other day from a magazine wanting to set up an interview, and I have no idea what I’m doing. I know it’s not your ideal job, and I probably can’t pay you anywhere near as much as you’re used to making, but in the interim, until you find something else, would you like to work for me?”

The squeal that erupts from Jenny breaks the sound barrier and makes small dogs throughout the land howl in terror. She throws her arms around me and bounces up and down, making me feel uncomfortable once again at the displays of affection people feel the need to give.

“Thank you so much, Claire! I promise you won’t be disappointed. I will do such a good job you’ll want to bang the shit out of me!”

I glance up to see my dad standing behind Jenny looking like he’d rather eat the regurgitated chocolate covered Nutter Butter at that moment than inadvertently hear our conversation.

“I just…I’m gonna…my dog has the hungry,” he mumbles before turning and walking away.

Jenny lets go of me and watches as he quickly exits the shop. “You’re dad has a dog?”

I shook my head and let out a deep sigh. “Nope.”

3. He Went to Jared

“Hey, Carter, when I drunk dialed you last night, did I by any chance mention where I put my keys?” Drew asks as I walk into the living room.

He rummages through the couch cushions, cursing and pulling out loose change, McDonald Happy Meal toys, and other goodies he finds in the cracks and crevices. I grab my baseball cap off of one of the end tables and stick it on my head before turning to watch him.

Drew and I haven’t shared a living space in months, yet somehow, even now that Claire and I are living together, I still manage to find him passed out on my couch every once in a while.

“How did you even get home last night if you didn’t have your keys? And I hope you know that I use the term “home” loosely. As much as I enjoy your company and watching you stumble drunkenly around my home at four in the morning when Jenny won’t answer her door because she thinks you’re an axe murderer, this is not where you live. Even though you might think so since I always seem to answer the door and let you in.”

A cell phone sails out of the couch as Drew continues to dig to China in search of his keys. I walk over and scoop it up, putting it in my back pocket. Now I remember why I let Drew in the door. He isn’t afraid to stick his hand down into the bottom of a couch. I had known exactly where I lost my cell phone; I was just too afraid to go in search of it. There are scary, scary things living in the bottom of those cushions. Something I had quickly found out was a direct result of living with a child.

“I probably took a cab. Or walked. I don’t know, the evening got a little fuzzy after I found produce stickers on my penis when I went to take a piss,” he replies in all seriousness as he gets up from his knees and turns to face me. The wrinkled and stained shirt he wears that states, “Ask me about my huge penis,” has one of the sleeves torn off and proves he had a rough night.

I don’t even bother trying to tell him that if he didn’t have his keys when he left the club or wherever he ended up last night, it stands to reason they won’t be hibernating in my couch. I have other things on my mind at the moment though. I walk away from Drew and into the kitchen, making my way to my coat that's hanging on the back of one of the chairs. I reach into the inside pocket, pull out the small, black velvet box, and open the lid to look inside for the ten thousandth time since I picked it up last week.

The sight of the one and a half carat, platinum, diamond ring nestled in the white satin makes my heart pound with excitement. And I’m not going to lie; it also makes me want to throw up in my mouth. Just a little bit. I stare down at the precious metal that that took me eight days and six trips to the jewelry store to pick out. The main diamond is princess cut and framed by twelve, three-quarter carat round diamonds. The ring is complimented by lines of round diamonds along the band. It's elegant and beautiful.

Yes, I know I sound like a walking advertisement for a jewelry store and men everywhere are humming the tune of “Taps” right now and brain screaming, “MAN DOWN!” but I feel a little fist pump is in order due to the fact that Claire will be able to look over at her friends all smug-like and say, “He went to Jared!”

If she says yes. Which she totally will, ha ha! I’m not nervous at all. I don’t feel all itchy and ball-sweaty thinking about popping the question and the possibility that she just might laugh in my face and tell me I’m bat shit crazy. Who gets married after only being together a few months? Who has a one-night-stand in college and finds out five years later it resulted in a child? Who spends all those years turning into a creeper that stalks bath and body shops every time they get a new chocolate-scented lotion line and gets a hard-on at work when some guy, whose wife just had a baby girl, passed out Hershey bars with the cutesy little wrapper that says, “HERESHEIS!”

This guy right here. Don’t even ask how I explained away the boner and how I am NOT a child molester and that it’s totally natural to get turned on when a co-worker is talking about a baby.

That sentence sounded much better in my head, so let’s just pretend I never said it and move on.