Eva, Amber, and A Host Of Leading Ladies
The laughter died down as Eva’s latest observation on women and their incessant need to reaffirm their existences through their significant others (and this applied to her as well) disseminated through her small group of fellow brunch aficionados. Because was there a better way to spend one’s Sunday morning than eating eggs sandwiches with a side of fresh, carefully sliced fruit and low-sodium bacon?
It sure beat working, and she didn’t have plans to do any of that until Monday afternoon.
“Every one of us at this table is guilty,” Kathryn, Eva’s best friend in the whole stupid world, said as she finished her mimosa. “Name one woman here who didn’t turn into a spittoon of buffoonery when she started dating.”
“As long as we get to piss on you first, Katie.” Eva nearly spat out her iced tea when she dared to say the special nickname Kathryn’s boyfriend had bestowed upon her. Nobody but him was allowed to call her Katie. Not even Eva, who had missed that part of Kathryn’s embarrassing life.
“The girls at Dominatrixes United will barely look at you now.” That was said with a dramatic sigh.
“Oh, like how you turned into a slobbering mess the moment the girl you liked finally started talking to you?”
“At least I own it.”
“Ladies, ladies,” Gwen Mitchell, the third blonde at the table, interrupted. “You’re looking at this from the wrong perspective. Because you came into your relationships with all the money cards.”
Kathryn scoffed. “Says the woman who boned one of her customers at a bar.”
“Now look at me. Seven years later, I still barely remember James’s phone number.”
Eva stole Kathryn’s weak mimosa refill before her friend had the chance to sample it. Holy balls, this is the weakest mimosa in the world! Good. Neither she nor Kathryn would get sloshed before one. Not exactly becoming of grown heiresses. “What about you, Char?” she asked Charlotte Williams, the fourth of their current group. “Any embarrassing stories about you falling in love with someone you never deserved?”
“In the past,” she said. “I’m more likely to say fuck it and only indulge in the occasional one-night-stand these days.”
“That’s how it starts,” Kathryn muttered. “Then you go back for more, and the bastard says he loves you.”
Eva held her friend’s gaze while drinking the now communal mimosa. She was about to say something positively scathing and befitting a gabfest at noon on a Sunday, when the final pair of their brunch sauntered into the café.
Ah, there she was, the illuminous Nadia Gaines, the only woman to ever light Eva’s heart on fire and make her loins ache with… stuff. Weak the mimosa may have been, but Eva was still a little tipsy enough to lose the parts of her brain that called upon enough synonyms to drown Nadia in a whirlpool of verbal admiration.
She brought with her Jasmine Bliss-Cole (or was it just Bliss? Just Cole? Eva couldn’t keep up with silly name changing games) and the both of them looked as if they had seen a ghost.
“Hello, lovely.” Eva leaned back in her seat, putting all six and a half feet of her lean body on display. “What’s up with you two? Was that weird guy with the purple hair down on the street corner crowing about the Rapture again?” Last time Eva and Nadia bumped into him, he made sure they knew they were destined for a life of hellfire. Oh, not because they were obviously in a relationship, but because Nadia’s skirt was too short and Eva didn’t smile at him.
Nadia pulled out the chair next to Eva and flopped down. Jasmine sat across from her, next to Kathryn. Their presence had brought silence to the whole table. Not even the waitress, who brought the iced teas Eva ordered for the new arrivals ahead of time, could disrupt the quiet aura descending upon that corner of the airy café.
“It’s Amber,” Nadia bluntly said.
Jasmine gasped, but said nothing. Kathryn’s eyes went straight to Nadia’s face for more juicy news. Gwen and Charlotte lost a speckle of interest – they weren’t as hip with this drama as the rest of the table.
“What happened?” It couldn’t have been something as extreme as hospitalization or death. Nah. That would’ve been easy. From the way Nadia carried herself and carefully utilized her beautiful voice, it was personal. Something Amber Mayview, a woman very good at being a thorn in Eva’s ass, was a pro at. “Is she spreading rumors about me again?” Eva got giggly when she drank. Amber became a spiteful wench who liked to imply that certain things had once happened between them. Only if you count her kissing me without permission. And that was to piss off Nadia!
Yeesh. Did Eva really want to know what it was this time?
“She just walked through the fucking door.” Kathryn almost dropped her mimosa. “Oh. My. God. Don’t turn around, Eva.”
That meant she should turn around!
Was she prepared for the sight she soon beheld? Pfft. Of course not. Eva would never be prepared to see the female power couple within a three state radius march through the door, acting like they were going to have a rip-roaring time at brunch. Nobody had invited Amber Mayview and Adrienne Thomas. They were here on their own accord, but they must have known that others in their social circles would be there. This was planned down to the minute.
So Amber could show off her new look.
She hung on her partner’s arm wearing nothing but a pair of chic denim shorts, brand-new bright red Converse, and a baggy Gucci crop-top that showed off the flat stomach she had probably spent half the spring toning for the upcoming summer social season. She was the sportiest skinny girl in the room, but that wasn’t what attracted everyone’s attention.
It. Was. Her. Hair.
Amber Mayview had built her gold-digging image on being the quintessential hot girlfriend. Long, blond hair, tight bodycon dresses with spaghetti straps, high heels to highlight her smooth legs, and push-up bras to make her look like she had more than God gave her. She may not be my type, but come on, I looked! Since solidifying her long-term relationship with the richest woman in the city, however, it appeared that Amber was embracing a brand-new her that may or may not have been based on other people in the room.
She had cut off her hair. All of it. All of it!
Eva was one of the most recognizable women in the city for a reason. Her whole look, which included what genetics gave her and her own impeccable style afforded, was practically trademarked. Aside from her towering physique, her short blond hair told every room she walked into that she was a Warren, damnit, and she didn’t give a fuck if someone wanted to mess with that.
Well, here it was. Amber had not only chopped off her hair, but had ensured it was nothing short of platinum blond. Her softer makeup and two pastel barrettes in her hair were the only things distinguishing two women who otherwise looked remarkably alike.
“Wow,” Kathryn whispered. “Does Adrienne have stock in medieval armory? Because her girlfriend just threw down a gauntlet on our table.”
“Thank you, hon.” Eva didn’t need to be told that. She could see it as plain as day!
“Looks better on you,” Nadia murmured.
“Of course it does. It’s also my natural hair color.” Sometimes Eva highlighted the tips of her hair, but that was purely for fashion, not her whole image. What Amber was doing was such a slap in the face of everyone in the room, that the only one not gasping from such garish behavior was Adrienne Thomas, who treated her money-grubbing girlfriend like a beach-bunny princess about to come into sex, money, and probably more sex! “At least we know what Ms. Thomas’s tastes are more about.”
Nadia snickered. “I don’t think she’s ever looked at Amber like that. Not in public!”
“I thought you were friends with them,” Jasmine said.
“So did I.” Eva sighed. “Oh, look, here they come.”
Everyone was all smiles and compliments to Amber’s new look when the pair came by to say hello. All part of the master plan, undoubtedly.
“You are so refreshing.” Eva, trapped in the middle of the table with only Nadia to separate her from the doppelganger come to ruin her day, said. “Where did you get that done?”
“Some adorable place in LA when we were there two days ago.” Amber squeezed her girlfriend’s hand. Adrienne drank up the attention as if she were the one who had changed her whole look. “I decided I was tired of the same hair for the past ten years. Figured I could always grow it out again.”
“You like it? Who knows? I might go dark next.”
Six pairs of eyebrows went up around the table. Nadia had once told Eva that Amber wasn’t a real blond but projected the image that she was. Even Adrienne hadn’t known until a few months ago!
The pair took their leave exactly thirty seconds later, sitting in the far corner where nobody could hear their stupid conversation that was interspersed with raucous giggles. Eva sank into her seat, glad that neither Amber nor Adrienne could see the sour look on her face.
“Imitation is the highest form of flattery,” Kathryn said.
Just for that, Eva finished off that mimosa. She needed it.