Hen Night (a short story)

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The clink-chink of glass on glass burst the bubble of Kate’s day-dream. She had been quite enjoying that brief break from Helena’s party, just a fanciful muse about meeting Mr Right tonight. Still, that wasn’t going to happen amongst a room full of women!
Kate observed the twelve-or-so unfamiliar girls, except Helena of course, warming themselves up at this pre-hen night bash. Flocked in groups of two’s or three’s, chattering animatedly with wildly raised voices (and arms), Kate felt more isolated than ever.
There were very few ways of standing a lone in a room full of people, yet still managing to maintain a dignified air of self-possession. Should she gaze distantly into the middle distance with an inane beam so as not to appear unapproachable? Or possibly Kate may try studying her glass of champagne extremely closely, calculating the bubble-per-glass ratio, that would certainly kill some time.
Kate was full of regret. Regret for actually showing up here. She only knew the bride-to-be from work, adjacent desks had prompted an uncomfortable friendship. Kate had made an excellent sounding-board for wedding plans. She just bet she was here to make up the numbers so Helena could remind herself and everyone else of her popularity. What a fabulously sociable, beautiful and, not to mention, marry-able girl Helena was! In addition to this, Kate regretted her miserable failure to lose those two or three stone she had promised herself before this dreaded wedding arrived. Well, at least she could rest assured that Helena had not chosen her as a bridesmaid. God no! Kate wouldn’t want to spoil the photographs on Helena’s perfect day!
Roll on 9 o’clock – time for the pub. Perhaps she would run into a quietly charming man, just bold enough to strike up conversation with her. She could accidentally-on-purpose ditch this sour lot before the indignity of the night club! She could feign illness the next time she saw Helena at work. Kate would evidently not be missed anyway.
Well, those desperate yearnings for escape were just that, yearnings. Kate would simply have to go through the motions tonight, with her only hope – to manage to leave a little earlier than the others. Helena would do the old disappointed friend routine, “oh, don’t go just yet! It will be soooooooo boring without you!”, and Kate would be sick the the back teeth of this dire evening and it’s characters just enough to hold her nerve and flee.
The alcohol continued to flow, Helena buzzed around doing her mingling duties and Kate zoned out again as the part submerged her, taking her along for the ride.

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