Just The Way You Are

Dani groaned and patted the nightstand looking for her phone. Who in the world was calling her this early? Without opening her eyes, she found the phone and answered, irritated and ready to tear the caller a new one.

“Who is this?”

“Hey, it’s me. Sorry I figured you’d be up by now. It’s after 1pm.”

Dani lifted herself up on her elbows and stared at her bedside clock. She’d slept for over 12 hours.

“I guess I really needed some sleep.”

“Can I come by? I’ll make you waffles.”

Dani smiled. Abe knew exactly what to say, didn’t he?

“Sure, give me an hour okay.”

“Okay, see you.”

Dani lay there for another 20 minutes, trying to shake the sleep off. She was really tired but she was also apprehensive about seeing Abe. She didn’t want him to think she was being a bitch. They’d been best friends for 14 years now. They’d been through everything together. She had to be happy for him. She had to.

“Hey sleepy head, you almost slept the day away. Come here.”

Dani walked across the kitchen over to Abe and hugged him. Then she perched on a bar stool across the island and stared at him. She wasn’t ready to start any deep conversation, and apparently neither was he.

He poured his waffle mix onto the waffle maker, and chatted about how he’d missed cooking in her bourgeois, ‘chef’ kitchen as he called it. He poured her a glass of juice and set that a bowl of grapes in front of her.

“Did you miss my brunch?” he asked, staring at her.

“No, I had frog legs for breakfast every day, super delicious.”

Abe laughed and she laughed too. Even with the little joke, there was still some tension in the air but Dani decided she’d let him finish the waffles. She loved his waffles.

Five minutes later, he had a plate of waffles and strawberries in front of her. She dug in and he let her eat silently for a while. Eventually something had to be said.

“I’m sorry I sprung Rayne on you. She was just so excited to meet you and I really couldn’t wait for you to meet her too.”

“Where is she from?”

“Well her dad is from Kumasi but her mom is from Cape Coast.”

“She’s Ghanaian? Since when did we start making them like that?”

Abe smiled a little, “Very funny.”

“So what does she do? Model?”

“No, she’s a paralegal. She’s starting law school this fall.”

“Ah that explains the nonstop chatter. God, she really gave me a headache.”

Abe stopped smiling and he looked long and hard at her.

“She was trying, Dani. She was nervous. She wanted you to like her.”

“And do I need to like her?”

“What is wrong with you? You’re my best friend, so yes it would be great if you liked my girlfriend a little.”

“How old is she?” Dani asked, avoiding his remark.

“What’s with the 20-20?” Abe retorted, getting irritated.

“You want me to like her, so just answer me.”

“She’s 25,” he snapped.

Dani dropped her fork and it cluttered loudly against her plate. She shook her head disapprovingly. Abe stood up from the stool.

“What the heck is your problem?”

“You’re 34, Abe! 34! And she looks like a child. Fine, she’s 6 feet tall and gorgeous, but what else is there? I expected more from you. I never thought you’d be one of those dating little pretty girls who just look good.”

“What? You know what, you’re… you’re… you’re a looks-ist!”

Dani frowned at him.

“What the heck is that?”

“It means that you’re prejudiced against looks, Dani. Just because she’s tall, young, and beautiful, you assume that’s it. She must be an airhead. That’s discriminatory. You think pretty girls aren’t smart?

“How can I think that? I know I look nothing like her, but to say I think pretty girls aren’t smart would be like dissing myself.”

Abe threw his hands up in the air, exasperated. He started cursing.

“I really don’t know what to say to you. Rayne is an incredible person. She’s so smart. Just so you know, her firm is paying for her law degree.”

“Ohhh wow, how cool. I hate to burst your bubble dear, but even Elle Woods got into Harvard Law.”

Abe frowned.

“What?”

“Elle Woods, from Legally Blonde.”

“Jesus, Dani, really? Do you take anything seriously?”

Dani stood up from the stool and stared directly at him.

“I just don’t see her as your type. She’s almost ten years younger and she can’t stop talking! Seriously, how can you deal with that? So of course I’m going to think it’s about her looks. You can’t tell me that doesn’t play a big factor here. I mean I know you’re good-looking yourself but she probably makes you feel like wow, that hot chick is into me. You probably can’t believe how lucky you are. Saying she’s a paralegal says nothing. She just isn’t your type!”

“Why? Huh? Is it because she’s not you? She’s not some SVP of Finance at some big corporation? Like I said, you’re looks-ist.”

“Dude, stop using that word. It sounds silly. Is that something Rayne coined up?”

Abe walked off, brushing hard past her. Dani didn’t stop him. She heard him cursing as he picked his jacket from the coat closet. She heard the closet door slam, and then the front door. She sat back at the counter and picked up the fork. Looks-ist? What the heck was that?