Swimming With the Sharks
A Much Needed Night Out
Pen dangling from her lips, Eloise was furiously typing on her laptop. Inspiration had hit her during her shift this morning at the coffee shop and she was on a roll with her historical fiction book about the War of the Roses. She was deep into a part of the book where the Woodvilles interact with the Earl of Warwick when her socialite roommate burst into the apartment. "Hey Molly. How was shopping?" She greeted her roommate of six months.
Molly dropped her shopping bags and strode over to where Eloise was sprawled out. "Come on you bum! Stop pecking for once!" Molly cried, jabbing into Eloise's side with her foot. "You're right where you were when I left you! Work, work, work! That's all you do!"
Eloise swatted the offending foot away. "Bug off."
"Come out to the charity event with me tonight! You could meet some hot athletes!" She sang.
Despite her desperate need to get this book up off the ground, she wrinkled her nose and paused. "What athletes? Football or basketball players from another city?"
Molly leaned in and beamed. "Hockey players."
"San Jose Sharks? Them? I don't know anything about that team," she said. At least she sort of knew that fact. Other than knowing Wayne Gretzky and the Mighty Ducks movie series, she had no clue about hockey or the NHL.
Her roommate squatted next to her. "Look. So far your books are making good money. You need to rest a little or you'll get burned out." Molly scratched her back. "Right?"
Eloise ran her tongue over her teeth and considered this. "Can I at least finish this bit?"
"Course. I've got just the dress for you too!" Molly smiled encouragingly and got up to gather things up. "Maybe this could be inspiration for a new chick novel!"
"About hockey players?" Eloise snorted. "That'll be a short book. One sentence even." Molly smiled and went over to the dresser to pick up Eloise's very first phone, a Nokia 1200. She heard rummaging and Molly plugged in the phone to charge it. "Thank you," she called and finished up the bit.
"You get far?" Molly asked as she led her into Molly's room.
"Yup. Three chapters," Eloise nodded. "If I keep going like this I can finish by the end of the month." Eloise looked over the flowey red dress and went into the bathroom to change. Once on, Eloise gaped at herself and teased at her shoulder length black hair. It was if she stepped out of a Greek myth story.
"Whoo! Look at you chica!" Molly clapped in delight. "Lets use these curls to our advantage," she said and started pinning Eloise's hair up. "So, after this novel's done, what's your next idea? Make a third mermaid book? Or do a chic novel?"
Eloise shrugged. "You know me. When inspiration strikes I write my butt off..." she said and trailed off. "Nothing like using my European history degree like I have to now."
Molly tutted. "Not your fault sweetie. Its freeing Daniela after all. Brazil practically won't do shit to help your little step cousin. But lets not worry about that right now."
Eloise blew out and fussed with her pinned up curls. "Think I'll dust my eyes up with a sparkly gold eye shadow and wear gold jewelry." She went to put makeup on while Molly slipped on her own dress. Now ready, Eloise stepped out just as Molly finished doing herself up. "Ohh! Pretty!" Eloise approved as Molly popped out her hip in a model stance, showing off her own black dress that hugged in all the right places. Slipping on strappy gold heels, Eloise picked up the clutch with her Nokia cell phone safely inside and walked out with Molly.
Before Eloise could ask, Molly said, "We'll make sure you can keep your phone. I'm not sure about the phone policy."
She nodded as Molly drove her Bentley out of the parking lot and to the event. "So...this should be nice. Charity for underprivileged kids."
"Ah," Eloise nodded, watching the scenery go by. "So is it big namer players or the not so known ones?"
"All if I heard correctly," Molly said and soon they pulled into the parking lot.
Eloise smoothed out her dress and prayed that her phone wouldn't be taken away. At the door, her fears were confirmed.
"There's a no cell phone policy," the security guy said.
Molly stepped forward, chest thrust out in case that helped. "Now look. Eloise has a family member that she needs to keep in contact with. Life threatening you see. Something could happen. Its a very outdated phone. No camera, no Internet, no microphone."
Taking the proffed phone, he peered at it. "Damn, it is old." He looked at Eloise and discreetly handed the phone back. "Don't use it in the open," he advised.
"Promise I'll leave if I need to," Eloise promised and gave Molly a tight smile as she gently bumped her hip into Eloise. "Thank you."
Molly waved it off and smiled at Eloise's expression of awe at the setup inside. "Good turnout," she smiled.
Eloise mentally slapped herself for not peeking at the player list. Any young guy around her could be a hockey player but she had no clue who anyone was. "There's the captain. Joe Thornton. Played for Canada at the Olympics."
"No shit," Eloise breathed, amazed at the height. "Guy probably hits hard too."
Molly giggled. "Oh, and there's the Finnish goalie Antti Niemi." She looked around and nudged Eloise. "I need to pee."
"Ew!" Eloise laughed and decided to walk along the auction tables. She eyed the memorabilia and had bent over to try to decipher the name on one hockey stick when she heard a voice from behind.
"No drink? Let me get you one."
Eloise turned to discover a cute guy offering her a flask of champagne. "Thank you so much," she smiled and took a small sip. No need to go overboard in case she got a call. "So..." she smiled awkwardly, strongly guessing this guy was a hockey player. She swore she saw his picture on one of the signed pictures.
"I'm Logan. Logan Couture," he smiled and shook her hand. "You not gaping tells me you got dragged along."
Embarrassed, Eloise stammered, "Well. I may not follow you religiously but I'm glad if I hear you guys get a win. Sorry, I get busy with work stuff."
"Work stuff, eh?" Logan smiled. "What do you do? Let me guess. Interior design? You handle entertainment celebrities? A model?"
"Not even," she laughed. "I have a degree in European history but for now I work at a coffee shop."
Logan smiled. "Admirable."
Eloise opened her mouth to reply when he touched her arm and muttered a nice meeting you. "I write too, but yeah I'm uninteresting," she muttered under her breath. Even though her novels were published under a few different names.
Her roommate, nowhere in sight, she wandered around some more, donated a hundred dollar she technically had for emergencies and put her name in for a raffle she knew she wouldn't win. After awhile, an auction started which of course, Eloise didn't bid for, but she learned more names like Dan Boyle, Tomas Hertl, Bracken Kearns and Patrick Marleau.
As a goalie helmet was auctioned off, she felt a weird buzzing going off in her hands, then she heard a ringing and then felt her vision blur. Eloise hiked up her dress and sprinted for a quiet hallway. Weaving in and out of the crowd, she shoved a heavy door opened and nearly knocked someone over. "Oh, sorry," she said and saw it was Logan Couture. "Sorry Logan." However she didn't stop and kept running until she was away from the boys and answered the phone.
"Vincente. Hi. I'm here, " she panted. "I'm here."
There was some breathing and finally he spoke. "This mermaid story is very cute. And very popular apparently. Another popular novelist is singing your praises. One that writes about Greek mythology for older children and teens."
Eloise swallowed and found her voice. "I am doing well with my other novel. I think I'll have it posted soon."
He chuckled. "Not every day when you run into a girl that can write successful mythology, history and girl novels."
Nodding, she rubbed the back of her neck. "I am doing well. I'll have another payment by the deadline..." Biting her lip, she tried. "Can I have another proof picture of my cousin?"
"Of course," he replied.
She closed her eyes in relief. "Okay. Okay, thank you so much."
"So. Our usual date, time and place?" Vincente asked.
She agreed immediately. "Yeah. Of course. I'll be there. No authorities as usual."
"I know you know what to do," he said and hung up.
Shaking, Eloise slumped against the wall. No matter where she was, she always ended up shaking after Vincente's calls. Now desperate to go home to check her laptop, she began to search for Molly. After circling the place five times and peering into the bathroom, she found Molly had disappeared. "C'mon Molly. Please don't fall into your old New York habits," she hoped out loud but decided to flag down a taxi.
She was soon at the apartment and of course it was empty. Again, she prayed Molly wasn't out partying or had gotten ahold of her old favorite drugs but still sprinted to her laptop. Clicking on the email, she opened the picture file and breathed out when she saw Daniela looked drained but okay. Next, she looked at her bank account and saw she had accumulated over ten thousand dollars from people purchasing her books on Amazon.
Going into her bedroom, she scooped up her every day phone and saw no calls from Molly but one from her maternal grandmother.
Hi honey, I just wanted to call to see how you are...to see how the step are...
Of course the step meaning her step cousin Daniela. Nothing like her grandma having to fret over her former son in-law's wife's family and having to be careful with voicemails left on her phone.
Be safe of course. Love you.
By this time in Wisconsin, her grandma was already in bed so she would just call tomorrow. Eloise then texted Molly and decided to call her. "Hey roomie. I have no clue where you went off to. Hope you're coming home very soon, or at least, are doing activates that your family approves of. Okay, be safe. If you need me to come, just call."
Eloise changed for bed, brushed her teeth and set both phones on her nightstand. She closed her eyes and waited for sleep to overtake her. Any thoughts of Logan or the San Jose Sharks never entered her frazzled mind as she hoped Molly would at least do the walk of shame in the early morning, completely clean of drugs and not in handcuffs. So far while rooming with the girl from the Big Apple, Molly had managed to stay clean and sober. Family members had slowly been coming around to talking as Eloise helped Molly, a promising sign and maybe friends would start calling again too. Maybe Molly's old boyfriend Max would call and reconcile with Molly. Maybe even Molly's immediate family if she kept going on the right track.
However the silence from her roommate was frightening her, almost more than a call from Vincente. "Ugh, I swear I need time to freeze for at least an hour," she sighed. So much for a charity event helping ease stress off from Eloise's life. She managed to fall asleep after a couple hours but without a word nor sound from Molly coming home.