Lucy felt like screaming. She usually only felt like this when she was forced to write essays on hideously boring people. It was a feeling of being trapped under a huge pile of triviality that she just didn’t care about but that she knew was going to mean huge trouble for her if she didn’t do anything about it soon. One more minor irritation could push her over the edge, she knew it.
The doorbell rang.
“Joe! Get the door!” Lucy yelled.
“I’m going, Hun, don’t worry.” He opened the door to find Carter standing there with a concerned expression on his face.
“Hey, Joe, what’s going on?” he asked
“Oh babe, thank goodness you came!”
“You said it was an emergency with Lucy, I was worried. Of course I came.”
“Aw you’re so sweet, darling.”
“Are you going to tell me what’s going on?”
“She’s nearing a nervous breakdown,” Joe explained, “Unreliable people really get to her.” Carter nodded. Joe showed him through to the living room and they waited outside the door, listening to Lucy on the phone.
“How can you say that? It’s on a Saturday night and it’s here!” there was quiet as whoever was on the other end attempted to make excuses. Then Lucy replied, audibly getting angrier, “Claire and Jill are coming from Leeds. James is coming from Exeter. What excuse could you possibly have not to come from Warwick? … You what? Do you realise who you’re saying that to? Don’t even try and talk to me about workloads. Sue’s coming from Oxford, giving up her weekend even though she has an exam on Monday. … I know she is, but you’re taking photography and she’s taking Economics so that comparison doesn’t really count, does it? … You already said you would come … Yes I’m angry! … Fine, do whatever you want but this is one of the only opportunities we have to see everyone until summer and everyone always goes away in summer anyway. I’ll just tell Georgia you have too many pictures to colour in to come and celebrate her 21st with all the rest of our friends. Sorry, what? I can’t hear you over her disappointment. You're breaking up now, bye!” Lucy hung up the phone and took a big breath, getting ready to let out a stress-releasing scream. Joe saw an opportunity, pre-scream, and ran in, dragging Carter after him.
“Look who came to visit you, babe!”
Lucy saw them and converted her scream to as excited a cry as she could.
“Carter! I thought you weren’t coming until later?”
“Joe sent me a distress message.”
“Joseph, you utter babe,” Lucy cried as she flung her arms around Joe. Then she turned to Carter, “I missed you.” she told him as he engulfed her in a hug.
“I missed you more.” he replied.
“I look like shit, I’m so stressed out I haven’t had a shower yet today!” Lucy realised, panic levels rising.
“You look gorgeous, don’t worry.”
“Although maybe changing out of your pyjamas would be a good idea,” added Joe, “And a shower probably wouldn’t hurt.” Lucy looked at him sarcastically as they all sat down on the sofas. She buried her face in Carter’s chest and told them about her stresses so far that day.
“ … so now I have to find cups and a way to tell Georgia that Billie isn’t coming to her birthday. And that’s just today’s problems, this has been going on all week!” Carter stroked her arm to comfort her.
“So how many people are coming in total?” he asked.
“About 72, I think.”
“You’re joking,” said Joe, “that’s tons! What are you worrying about?”
“I invited 134.”
“Doesn’t Tillie’s have a 100-person limit?” asked Carter.
“On paper, but it always has loads more than that in there. It’s going to look so empty and everyone’s going to laugh at me!”
“Everyone’s only going to laugh at you if you look like that.” Joe gestured to her pyjamas, her messy bun and smudged makeup that she couldn’t be bothered to take off the night before. “Go have a shower and get dressed and I’ll keep Carter company down here.”
“Good plan. I’ll try to be quick,” she said as she gave Carter a kiss.
“Yuck, get a room,” said Joe. Lucy stood up and pointed sternly at him.
“You. No trying to convert my boyfriend to your bus again. 3 in a row is enough, got it?” Joe smirked and nodded resignedly. Lucy walked away.
“Mate, what was she on about?” Carter asked.
“I may have accidentally-on-purpose converted her last three boyfriends to being gay. All I did was encourage them to try something new but she thinks it’s like this big deal or something.” Carter looked surprised.
“Wait, are you gay?”
“You are kidding, right? Lucy always says I’m the gayest gay who ever gayed, she calls me her sister!”
“I thought that was just a joke! I knew she had a gay friend but I thought it was Michael!” Carter cried. Joe burst out laughing, “How could you not have known? Michael’s straight, trust me.”
“Trust you? Sounds like you're pretty sure. You didn’t…?” Carter asked. Joe coughed loudly and pointedly.“You know what? I think there’s a really good documentary on the T.V. Or a re-run, or something. Anything.”