[Note: This is a second story using this prompt. I'm working on another that won't be posted here.]
Lucy stood in the kitchen alone. She closed her eyes and took three deep breaths. She smoothed her skirt. She tried a smile. Then she picked up the pie with one hand, the dessert plates and pie cutter with the other, and went out to the living room.
Joe and Todd had settled there with their glasses of wine, slouching on a couch. Neil lay on the floor on his left side, a hand propping his head, another on his stomach. Renée and Charlotte had risen to help clear the table earlier but Lucy had told them to never mind, to go into the living room too.
“Who wants pie?” said Lucy cheerfully. She set it carefully down on the coffee table.
Neil groaned. “God,” he said, “that smells so good. But I don’t know if I can stuff any more in.”
“Just a little piece, then,” said Lucy.
Todd leaned forward and rubbed her shoulders as she set down the dessert plates and pie cutter. His way of telling her to relax.
“Just a sec, the forks,” said Lucy, and she shrugged off Todd’s hands and rose and went back to the kitchen.
Charlotte followed her in, a glass of red in her hand. “Okay, what’s wrong?” she asked.
“I’m fine,” said Lucy.
“You’re not fine. Come on, Luce. Seriously. As if I can’t tell.”
Lucy looked at Charlotte. She smiled thinly. “Never mind,” she said. “I’m fine.” She pulled the silver forks from their places in the velvet-lined box she’d inherited from her mother-in-law and counted out six.
Charlotte raised an eyebrow, took a sip of wine, and put a hand on Lucy’s shoulder as Lucy made to pass.
“I’m not letting you go out there before you tell me what the problem is.”
Lucy inhaled and deliberately put down the six forks on the butcher block. She moved to flick on the kettle.
“Nice top,” she said finally. “It’s from Unicorn Boutique, isn’t it.”
“Um, yes,” said Charlotte.
“Mmm. I thought so.” Lucy rummaged through a drawer for paper napkins. “You know I’ve always wanted that top, right? That’s kind of my top, in fact. I emailed the link to you, along with a few others. I’ve been talking about wanting it for weeks. Did you seriously think I wouldn’t recognize it? I swear, it’s like…every time I love something and tell you about it, you have to go out and get it first. It’s so irritating.”
“Lucy,” said Charlotte.
“Where are those forks?” Joe called.
“Coming!” said Lucy, and then, “What. It’s true. You’ve done it since grade ten. It really pisses me off.”
Renée peeked her head around the door frame. “What am I missing?”
“Nothing,” said Lucy and Charlotte.
“Doesn’t sound like nothing.”
“Just sorting out a little misunderstanding,” said Charlotte.
“There is no misunderstanding,” said Lucy.
“Oh, about the top?” asked Renée.
“How do you know?”
“Well, yeah. Lucy’s only been on about that shirt for weeks.”
“See?” Lucy couldn’t help saying it. The kettle clicked off.
“So, what? You want me to take it back to Montreal now?” asked Charlotte.
“What’s going on in here?” asked Joe.
“Nothing,” said Lucy, Charlotte, and Renée.
“Okay. So where are those forks?”
“I thought Neil said he was stuffed.”
“Yeah, well, that’s Neil. And by the time I cut it he’ll probably be fine. We want to get at that pie before it’s cold. Forks?”
Lucy pointed. Joe took the forks and made to leave the kitchen.
“Wait, there’s ice cream,” said Lucy. She took a carton of French Vanilla from the freezer and passed it to Joe.
“So now what?” asked Charlotte. “Because really, I’m not driving all the way back to Montreal to return this.”
Lucy turned to fill the teapot and collect six mugs.
“No, you’re not,” said Renée. “Char, you’re going to apologize. And get your own damn wardrobe. Lucy, you’re going to stop emailing Char the clothes you like. Why you keep doing it, I don’t know. Just stop and this won’t happen. Okay? We’re all going to go out there and stuff ourselves on pie and ice cream and get along and live happily ever after.”
Charlotte looked at Lucy. Lucy smiled.
“You’re such a bossypants,” they said to Renée.
“And you guys are such children. Now kiss and make up.”
“I’m sorry,” said Charlotte to Lucy.
“I get to borrow that top whenever I want,” said Lucy.
“And a bunch of other stuff you have that I wanted.”
“Whatever,” said Charlotte, smiling and rolling her eyes.
“Now kiss,” said Neil, standing in the doorway of the kitchen.