Authors: Lani Diane Rich
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #General
Crazy In Love
Lani Diane Rich
Copyright © Lani Diane Rich 2007, 2013
All Rights Reserved
This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the copyright owner except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, places, events, business establishments or locales is entirely coincidental.
First Digital Edition: April 2013
Her hip was buzzing.
’t seem right.
’s left eye fought her, but she got it open. The right was far more stubborn. Didn’t matter, because all she could see through the caramel-colored haze created by her hair was her white bedroom wall, which wasn’t much to look at anyway. She gave up, closed her eye, and cursed her hangover.
Her hip buzzed again.
She tossed herself over onto her back and shoved one hand into the front pocket of her jeans while using the other to shield her eyes from the sun, which was slicing its way through her blinds like a freakin’ Viking invader.
Yeah?” she croaked, not bothering to check the caller ID. It was too early for that level of coordination.
Good morning.” Freya’s voice, prematurely leathered from smoking, scratched its way through the line. Flynn waited for her sister to finish dragging on her cigarette
and deliver the rest of the greeting. “Or, if you want to get technical about it, afternoon.”
Afternoon? What time is it?” Flynn squinted against the sunlight, trying to focus on her clock. If she had bothered to set it after the last power outage, this might have done her some good. As it was, the blinking twelve o’clock seemed to mock her.
It’s almost two o’clock,” Freya said. “How are you feeling?”
Flynn slumped back into bed.
“I’m fine,” she said, although, truth be told, she’d left “fine” at the second of the six martini bars she’d visited last night. “Hey, did you know about chocolate martinis? They sound all interesting and exotic, but really, they’re just strange. And they don’t get better after the fourth one. That’s a myth.”
Hey, babe, if the phrase ‘chocolate martini’ wasn’t enough to tip you off, you got what you deserve.”
Should my extremities be all... crackly?” Flynn lifted one arm; it felt like a big sack full of dry sand. “That can’t be right.”
You’re dehydrated.” Drag. Exhale. “A long night of chocolate martinis will do that to you. Get some water and open the door. I have news.”
Open the door?” Flynn dreaded the answer she’d get to her next question. “What door?”
Your door, you doof. I’ve been standing out here knocking for five minutes. I almost left, but there’s a shoe on your welcome mat. I figured it was the kind of thing you would have noticed if you’d left your apartment today.”
A shoe? Just one?”
Glittery silver sandal with a wedge heel?”
Oh. Yeah. I was wearing those last night.” Flynn lifted up on one elbow and scanned her bedroom floor. Well, shit. Where was the other one?
Look, babe, I know you’re getting over this breakup with what’s-his-face by spending some time with your inner sorority girl, and it’s cute, really. But pull it together. We’ve got business.”
Business? What business?” Flynn pinched the bridge of her nose, trying to relieve the throbbing. She’d gone all of her life without hangovers, and just as she’s staring down the barrelhead of thirty,
. They hit. It was like getting her own personal flip-off from God.
’s voice came through the line, camouflaged in a harsh whisper. “Your neighbor with the crazy eye is looking at me like he’d like to lower me lotion in a basket. Would you please let me in?
Flynn stared up at her ceiling, praying hard to the angels or the gods or whoever was in charge up there to make something happen. She didn
’t much care what. They could start a fire, strike her with lightning. Floods, locusts, toads, whatever. Something to keep her from having to deal with Freya now. She loved her sister and everything, but two in the afternoon was too early in the morning to deal with her.
This is it, Universe,
Now’s your chance. Bring on the toads.
But, of course, there were no toads. No reprieve. She knew there wouldn
’t be. In a world full of wars, famine, and Bratz dolls, the angels or th
e gods or whoever had bigger things than her to deal with. She forced her legs
over the side of her bed, and swore she heard a creak coming from her left knee.
Oh. That can
’t be good.
Flynn? Are you coming or what?”
Flynn flipped the phone shut and tossed it behind her toward the bed. Judging by the
of it hitting hardwood and shooting into the wall, she guessed she missed. She shuffled down her hallway toward her front door, pulling her hair up into a knot and staking it with a pencil from the hall table before going to work on her dead bolt and chain.
First to enter the room was a light cloud of smoke; second, dangling from Freya
’s pinkie finger, the wayward sandal; finally, Freya herself, looking like a fairy godmother, all glimmering blond curls and slightly-overdone makeup. Her silk pantsuit was even pale blue, the preferred color of fairy godmothers everywhere.
Flynn coughed pointedly.
“You’re not allowed to smoke in the hallway,” she said, leading the way to the kitchen.
I’m not allowed to smoke anywhere. So I smoke everywhere. Fuck ‘em.” Freya put the cigarette out on the bottom of Flynn’s shoe and set them both on the breakfast bar as she settled onto a stool. “Baby, you look like shit.”
Gosh, I’m so glad you came over, Fray.” Flynn whipped open the filter basket on her coffeemaker. “So. What possible business could we have on a Sunday morning?”
Behind her, there was a protracted silence, which was never the case with Freya. Freya almost never shut up, even in her sleep. Flynn dumped four heaping tablespoons of grounds into the filter, then added one more for good
measure, and turned around to find Freya dialing on her cell phone.
Hey,” Freya said into the phone. “I’m in.”
Flynn rested her lower back against the counter. After almost thirty years of being sisters with Freya, she felt pretty confident she
’d be needing the support.
Okay,” Freya said. “Call on her land line.” She glanced up at the old cordless phone on the wall. “That thing work?”
Flynn glanced at it, then back at her sister. She nodded.
“Freya,” she said, “what’s—”
The phone rang, cutting her off. Flynn stared at Freya, who motioned for her to answer it. Warily, as if it were a snake that might bite her, she picked up the phone.
Flynn.” Richard Daly’s voice came loud and clear through the phone. “This is your father.”
Flynn slowly raised her eyes to Freya, who smiled encouragement. Freya never smiled encouragement.
Wow. This must be bad.
Dad?” she asked. “What’s going on?”
This is an intervention,” he said. “Your sister and I are worried about the destructive direction your life is taking. We feel it would be in your best interests to make a few basic changes.”
Flynn had to squelch a laugh as the absurdity washed over her. Except, knowing her father and her sister as she did, it was a sadly predictable absurdity.
“You’re doing an intervention?” she asked. “By phone?”
I’m a very busy man, Flynn,” he said. “You know that. Freya’s there to give you all the details, but I felt it was
important that I talk to you in person and let you know that I’m in total support of what she’s about to tell you.”
Flynn tightened her grip on the phone in her hand, having strange flashbacks to her sixteenth birthday
, when her father rented a carnival for her and her friends, then sent his assistant to oversee everything while he hopped a flight to Dallas.
Wow,” Flynn said, not bothering to mask her chuckle. She’d learned, at about the age of sixteen, that it was easier on everyone if she just found the funny in these things and moved forward. “An intervention by phone. Don’t you think email would have been more efficient? Or text message? Then you could use all that funky spelling.” She shot a glance at her sister. “So, it’s
who are going to tell
what’s wrong with my life? Am I getting this right?”
Her father answered with his usual humorless stoicism.
“Freya will explain. If you have any questions, feel free to call me.”
Her father was out of the intervention. Flynn stared down at the phone in her hand, her eyes focusing on the
button, which she pressed so hard her thumb went white. The giggle started deep within, rose through her throat, and by the time she released it, there were tears and shaking and pains in her side.
Intervention by phone. This is one for the books.
“Flynn,” Freya said after indulging her for a moment. “Okay. That’s enough.”
Flynn wiped her eyes and straightened up. She
’d have to put on a serious face or this could take hours. “I’m okay. I’m fine. I’m totally serious. Completely into it.”
She squelched the last of the giggles and took a deep breath. “Go ahead. Tell me what’s wrong with me.”
Freya held up her hand and began ticking off her fingers.
“You’re almost thirty. You’ve never held a job for more than a year. You’ve never maintained even a casual relationship for more than six months. You live paycheck to paycheck, barely scraping by, living in a hellhole—”
Hey!” Flynn said, mocking indignation. “This hellhole has free utilities.”
“Some things have opened up at the office, and Dad wants you to come work with us. We have a great opportunity that starts tomorrow. Your starting salary is excellent, and Dad has a new apartment all ready for you at the building he just bought in Brookline. We’ll move you in while you’re gone.”
’s amusement sank like a stone. “Excuse me? What? Are you crazy?”
Oh, come on. This is
Flynn. It’s a miracle you haven’t been killed already. And you’re too old to be living like this. You’re going to be thirty in, what? Four months?” Freya leaned forward over the breakfast bar, her voice more plaintive than Flynn had ever heard it. “Do you really want to be hopping from job to job? Living in Southie? In your
Behind her, the coffeemaker slowly gurgled its way through the pot. Damn, but that thing was taking forever. For ten dollars more, she could have gotten a model that allowed you to pour a cup of coffee before the pot was done brewing.
But of course, she hadn’t been able to afford that model.
Look, Freya, I appreciate this and everything, but I’m
not a drug addict and, last night aside, I don’t drink any more than you or Dad on an average day. I pay my taxes. I recycle. I vote. And this morning, I’m going to run out and get a paper and find a new job.”
Wait. What?” Freya’s eyes widened. “You quit your job?”
“What’s-his-face—his name was Bob, by the way—took it kind of hard.”
broke it off with
Should have known. Why? He didn’t ‘knock you over’?” Freya put the words in air-quotes, making Flynn regret for the thousandth time the margarita night that had prompted her to confide that little gem.
So, yeah,” Flynn went on, “I quit. Working together would be uncomfortable for everyone. Besides... I was just a secretary there. And I’m excited about trying something new.” Flynn turned back to the coffeemaker as a diversionary tactic, but it wasn’t done yet.
Good God. This is the new millennium. There’s no reason to live like this.
If I worked for Dad,
a betraying thought countered in the back of her mind,
I could afford my own espresso machine.
I know you made that promise to Mom,” Freya said in a softened tone. “But you have to know you can’t keep it.”
Flynn turned to look at Freya.
“This isn’t about the promise.”
Freya raised her eyebrows.
Yeah, really.” Flynn scuffed the floor with her toe. “If everyone found passion in their work, who’d clean up the bathrooms, right? It’s great that Mom had it, but she was just lucky.” Flynn met Freya’s eyes and shrugged. “You know. If you don’t count the cancer.”
Dad had a heart attack last week,” Freya said suddenly, like a Tourette’s patient off of her medication. Flynn stood frozen, stunned for a moment, then realized she wasn’t breathing and gulped in some air.