Alec was waiting outside the changing room, chatting to beautiful man. He kissed the man goodbye and joined the two women.
“Who was that?” Sam said enviously.
“The new Mr Friday,” Alec said causally in his southern drawl.
“What happened to the priest?” Cass interjected.
“The guilt sex was amazing, but he then started to take communion afterwards. That was kind of gross.”
“You are going to Hell,” giggled Sam.
Alec was unabashed, “I always thought Hell sounds kind of fun. Sweaty naked bodies writhing together and surrounded by flames. I have been to a lot of clubs like that.”
They headed to the tea shop near the yoga studio. Cass sipped her green tea with mint infusion, pretending that she liked it. It tasted like over chewed gum.
Alec and Sam had some sort of juice which looked and smelt like pond water. The look on their faces, confirmed that it tasted much the same. They persevered courageously.
“Why do we come here?” Cass asked frankly.
“Just look around you!” Alec wafted his hand from left to right. On every table there were groups of tall toned men in a uniform of tight tee shirts and jeans.
“We come here for you to cruise,” Sam said archly.
“I don’t come here for the food. I am a southern boy, give me something deep fried and I am happy.”
“Well, Blanche Dubois, rather than trying to live off the kindness of strangers,” drawled Cass. “Can we go to Halal Fried Chicken around the corner next time?”
“You can’t eat fried chicken in what you are wearing,” snorted Sam.
“What is she wearing?” Alec asked excitedly.
“Show him!” Sam commanded. Cass looked around and covertly flashed the bottom of the corset from under her jumper.
Alec clapped his hands together, “Miss Cassandra. My, you’re beautiful!”
Cass explained why she was wearing it and Alec was amused and supportive. “Libations are needed, we need to celebrate Cass’ coming out.”
They went to a near by bar, with a hipster infestation and junk shop furniture. The cocktails were wonderful. Cass was sure that the amount of raspberries in them, was better for you than any green tea.
Cass excused herself to “detox”. The bathroom was decoupaged in vintage 70’s playboy centrefolds. It made her feel slightly uncomfortable, like she was taking a pee in the middle of a mechanics workshop.
On her return, she saw that Sam was at the bar. Alec urgently waved at Cass to come over.
Alec’s soft blue eyes were oddly serious,“You must look happy and surprised. Promise me, happy and surprised. Do not be “you” for five minutes.”
Sam returned with the drinks. She was slightly tipsy. “I have something big to tell you. I want you to be my brides maid in two months. Daniel asked me to marry him.”
Cass was thankful she had a mouthful of cocktail. It gave her time to drive down every urge to shout,”Are you fucking mad!”
“I am really happy for you,” Cass eventually said trying to sound as positive as possible. Sam was obviously happy with the situation.
The next half hour was taken up with Sam busily rationalising the decision to Alec and Cass. Cass was not to sure whether the rationalisation was more for Sam’s benefit. “I know that we have only been dating a few months, but he is older and wants to get things finalised. He thinks it is important that his kids see that this is a serious relationship. He does not think he has time to waste. I agree. He wants another baby. He told me that this is important for a marriage. I want a baby too, of course. I am so excited.”
Cass smiled through the diatribe, but found Sam’s reasoning slightly childish. She could not equate the sassy smart Sam, with the girlish goop coming out of her mouth. The woman who would argue that black is white with so much gusto as to create an international incident, was deferring her opinion to a man old enough to be at least her creepy uncle.
Shortly afterwards the little party broke up. Sam had a headache after the sauna yoga and the ill advised cocktails. Cass’ head was swimming with the news. They walked Sam to the Tube and said goodbye. Cass hugged her friend a little tighter than usual, almost as if Sam was slipping away.
“Want to share a cab?” Alec asked taking Cass gently by the arm.
“Yeah,” Cass responded flatly, the news had made her become uncomfortably sober.
Once in the cab, Alec looked at her,”Right now you can get it out.”
“I don’t know.” Cass sighed as deeply as the corset would allow. “I get it. She has wanted to be a wife and a mum forever. I know it is stupid, but I just did not think she was serious about it.”
“You don’t want to think that she was using University as a finishing school?”
“Don’t be a bitch Alec,” Cass said softly, resting her head on his shoulder.
“I am not being a bitch,” Alec put his arm around her, stroking her hair. “I am stating the obvious. She has got all the skills she needs to be an Alpha’s wife now. She has had her career, she has proved she can do it, ticked the box for feminism and now she wants to be a mum. Don’t be too hard on her.”
“Okay, but why with him. He is old and boring!”
“He also thinks that my life style is a personal choice, but we will talk about that later. Lets look at the tick boxes again:-
One he is rich.
Two he is successful
Three he is offering her everything she wants, stability, money and kids.
You can tell she is hoping that love comes later.”
“When did life become a fucking Austen novel?” Cass barked in exasperation. “We are living in the 21 Century and a clever successful woman is still looking for stability and money, over love. I thought she and Jens would get together.”
“Don’t be so stupidly romantic,” laughed Alec cynically.” He is not earning enough and she can’t wait around for him to get successful enough to afford kids. It is simple. You can’t afford a house in this City, you can’t afford kids. That girl’s ovaries are making all the decisions right now, no point arguing with them.”
“That is a bit Breeder – ist of you,” teased Cass.
“I am not being Anti-Hetro. We can have kids now too, remember. Just because I have no desire to ruin a small persons life by being its father, does not mean that I cannot empathise. I love this City but it is based on raw bloody economics, tooth and claw.”
They spent the rest of the journey in a comfortable silence, surveying out of the window the Wild Beast they called Home.