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She sat in the front seat of Todd’s car with Sperry in her lap. There was a lack of music on the speakers if for no other reason than simply neither have them had decided to plug their phone into the auxiliary yet. Todd’s short week of work felt like an eternity in the wake of the bachelor party he had just returned from, and her hesitancy to spend Thanksgiving with Todd’s family in favor of her family was an unspoken point of contention that still seemed to linger.
“So, tell me more about the bachelor party,” she said as they merged onto the highway and embarked on the two-hour journey to Todd’s house.
“Oh, you know,” he hesitated, “Like I said, a lot of golf, a lot of pool, a lot of fishing.”
Like any other car ride, any conversation that existed was met with elongated moments of silence between the conversation would further itself. But in this instance, Todd felt as though something was up.
“Is everything okay?” he asked out of the blue.
“Yeah, everything’s fine,” she claimed. “I probs shouldn’t have worn this heavy fleece for this entire car ride, though – can you turn down the heat?”
Todd reached over and took it down from high.
“Are you sure everything’s okay?” he further questioned. “You seem quiet.”
“I’m good,” she clarified as Todd became increasingly uncomfortable. “What’s wrong with you? You seem squeamish.”
Todd sat in the driver’s seat wearing the same clothes as he had worn to work that morning – dark green pants, a button-down shirt rolled to his forearm, and a pair of boots that seemed to be still wet from the snow late the night before.
“I just feel like you’re mad at me,” he said with a hint of reluctance. “I… I don’t know. I feel like you’re annoyed we aren’t spending Thanksgiving with your family.”
Her overwhelming calmness seemed to concern Todd before a thought trickled into his mind that she had probably taken at least part of a Xanax before their car ride north. She went on to explain her excitement to spend more time with Todd’s family, something they rarely did.
Todd reached his hand over the center console of the car and patted Sperry on the head before grabbing her hand and resting their grip on her leg while the cruise control took over. Becoming more understanding of their situation, he had finally settled in and understood that his lingering anxiety from cramming five days of work into two-and-a-half days was unnecessary.
In the passenger seat, though, she now began to feel restless out of boredom. She wasn’t used to driving anywhere she could normally fly, and the Thanksgiving traffic was turning their drive into slightly more of a nightmare.
“What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?” she asked him in an attempt to break the silence and stoke the conversation.
“Ummm,” he began, “I’m not sure, really. Mashed potatoes?”
“Mine’s turkey,” she responded.
And another five minutes of silence lingered in the car in between Todd’s fidgeting with the heat and both of their reluctance to turn any music on.
As they came to a standstill, Todd muttered, “Damn, must be a wreck.” She checked Waze and saw that they were going to be in about fifteen minutes of traffic before they could really start driving again.
“Well, this sucks,” she sighed, adjusting her body and leaning against her door.
“Could be worse,” Todd said blandly.
“So,” she drew out, “When were you going to tell me about the strippers and girls you all had over to the place last weekend?”
While Todd had been creeping forward with the traffic, he slammed on the brakes and turned his head.
“Katie told me,” she explained. “Finn told her everything. Didn’t you know Finn shares everything with her?”
Completely and utterly unsure of how to answer, Todd paused. He wasn’t sure if he was being egged into admitting what had happened at the house, or if she actually knew.
“It’s okay,” she explained. “I get it, it’s a bachelor party.”
“Uhhhh,” Todd muttered.
“I fucking know what happened, Todd, just admit that you had them over and stop being weird.”
Todd knew he had to say something instead of sitting in the driver’s seat fumbling over his words. His options were to either play stupid and hope that she was messing with him, or admit that he had completely omitted those details from any prior conversations.
“Uh, yeah, Spencer had invited some girls over and Trip had mentioned getting a stripper for the Friday night but I didn’t think he’d actually do it––”
“Oh,” she interrupted, “So you had nothing to do with getting her over there?”
Todd knew he wasn’t lying, but he also knew that he wasn’t telling the entire truth. The fact of the matter was that Todd did plan the party and had been a role player when it came to both hiring and paying the stripper.
“I…,” he kept fumbling.
“Todd,” she sternly interrupted again, “I’m not an idiot – her bouncer texted you Sunday night and told you to let him know if you were going to be in town ever again because he had ‘hella girls.'”
Seizing the opportunity to attempt to flip the conversation around, Todd shot back, “Oh, so now you’re just going through my phone?”
“No, Todd,” she said. “You have previews enabled for your texts and I saw it when I brought your phone to bed because you had left it on the island in the kitchen.”
Outwardly silent, his mind kept repeating, “You idiot, how could you forget that setting when you got a new phone?” He attempted to apologize but his pleas were simply met with coldness.
She was not only mad about Todd trying to lie to her, but she was even more mad about the stripper and girls coming over in the first place. But she knew that by posing it as if she was mad about the lies rather than the actions that preceded them, she would maintain the upper hand and not come off as petty.
“Well,” she said with her arms crossed as they emerged from traffic. “Should be a fun Thanksgiving together.” .