Quite Contrary Cointreau (Part 2)
I tried not to cringe as her teeth gnashed together whilst Riley devoured the plate of roast turkey and vegetables in front of her.I chewed silently on my food, plate resting in my hand. Every now and again her eyes would dart across at me, then away before mine could lock with hers. So cowardly.‘Why do you keep staring at me?’ I finally asked when she had glanced over at me for the twentieth or so time. Truth was, I suspected the reason, but if I hadn’t I would have been convinced she was a lesbian, just like my Aunt Amaretto.‘I’ve finally got you, Cointreau,’ RIley said, delight surrounding her voice before she broke into a strange high-pitch cackle. ‘It’s taken months, but I’ve finally done it!’My eyes instantly stared down at my plate before my fork slipped out from my hand. As I looked back up, Riley laughed with glee. Sadly for her, I was about to rain on her petty parade.
‘Riley, it’s probably best that I tell you now about me swapping our plates over when you popped into the kitchen to grab the salt and pepper, which careless old me forgot…’Funnily enough, that was the first and last time Riley ever tried to poison me.Just as well, I had other dilemmas on my plate. Boys, to be more precise. Over the recent months I’d been socializing with a group of people I’d befriended at the University campus gym, participating in the usual keg-stand challenges at various house parties.Two guys in particular took a shine to me; Mahmoud Yavari and Jeffery Dean. I usually I ended up crashing on their sofa, too drunk to even consider making my way back to my own home. Maybe that’s why they assumed they were in with a chance.‘Off already?’ Mahmoud asked, voice all deep and suave, like a dapper grizzly bear.
‘Lecture,’ I said, maintaining my chilled composure as I momentarily paused by the stairwell to analyse both boys.‘Really?’ Mahmoud said as he raised an eyebrow. ‘Why not skip class and join me for breakfast in bed?’
Jeffery glared at Mahmoud, his apparent best friend who I heard was already in a relationship despite he openly flirted with other girls.‘I’ll pass,’ I replied. Then, without looking back or without saying my goodbyes, I left.I thought that would be the last I’d hear from either of them, but it turns out that some boys happen to be more persistent than others. Funnily enough, it wasn’t Mahmoud who rang me up the following day asking if I wanted to go on a date.I cringed as Jeffery apologised for Mahmoud’s inappropriate breakfast in bed comment the other day. Being woman who wasn’t raised in the 1940s, I hadn’t taken the slightest bit of offense from it. I explained this to Jeffery. In return he laughed then suggested we meet up sometime, just the two of us.After telling him I’d think about it, I hung up the call and stared at the display screen on my phone as an assortment of thoughts raced through my mind. I’d never really been out with anyone before, believing that love was a waste of time and emotion. Jeffery seemed alright though. One date couldn’t hurt though, surely?It took me just over a week to cave in. We met up outside the only legit burger bar in town. Honestly, I gasped like a schoolgirl when he pulled a boutique of pink roses out from behind his back. I hated flowers, but somehow I didn’t mind them as much coming from him.My mind warned me to take things slow and to get to know him, not just base my attraction on his looks and frustratingly irresistible nature.Unfortunately, a few pints of cider later, that plan went completely out the window and landed straight into bed. His to be precise.The following morning, whilst Jeffery was in the shower in preparation for his 9am lecture, I climbed out from under the warmth of the covers and tugged my clothes back on before I made my exit. I couldn’t stand the thought of making unnecessary small talk with Jeffery. We’d obviously both got what we wanted, so why not just leave it at that?
Approaching the door to my dormitory, about half an hour later, I spotted an unfamiliar guest standing by the door; a snowman dressed in a scraggly scarf and top-hat. Whoever had built it must have spent hours doing so; what a waste of time. Bloody thing, looked too cheerful to.Marching right up to it, I lent forwards, staring it straight in it’s lifeless coal eyes.
‘What are you smiling at? Just wait until the weather warms up, you won’t be smiling then.’As I walked on past him, I realised that didn’t have the patience to wait for him to melt. Within seconds I’d spun around and there was an explosion of glittery white powder.After that, poor snowman was no more than a muddled mess of snow chunks and assorted inanimate objects. There was no doubt in me that I could do the same to an actual human being one day. In fact, Jeffery was almost my first victim… he didn’t contact me again until almost a week later.Fortunately the boy saw sense and continued to woo me until I proposed we go steady.Some while later I graduated. First class honors, naturally……and, after playing a few games of chess, began scheming how I would take over the world, starting with my home town, Setra.