“He what?!” Jordan cannot not believe it.
“He did.” Scotty nods.
“No way!!” Mario’s disbelief shows.
“Still, he did it. And on bended knee.” Scotty’s grin goes from ear to ear and Jordan and Mario believe him alright. He’s been glowing and smiling from the moment he walked into the karaoke bar.
“Scotty, you are so fortunate. He does love you, you know.” Scotty nods.
“Yes, Jordan, I am finally willing to accept that. It does feel weird though.” Scotty smiles nervously. “It will next Saturday evening at 8 o’clock at night and I would really like it if you both could come…. We will celebrate it at Nora’s place, she’s Kevin’s mother, and she has this huge house…. It will not be some big fancy marriage, just family and close friends,… which is why you two are invited….”
“I will check if I have to work or not.” Mario says. “But I don’t think so. I'd love to be there.”
“I’ll be there.” Jordan accepts. “Now, spill!! Give us all the details!” Scotty is about to start when a shadow falls across the table.
“Jordan! Mario!... It’s been a while since we saw each other, Scotty! ” As Scotty looks up, he sees two of his friends, Frank and Daniel, join their table. Although they are more friends of Jordan, Scotty used to hang out with them as well, but it is true that he has not seen them in a while.
“I’ve been very busy this last year with study and my work.” Scotty apologizes.
“What did you study? Where do you work now?” Daniel asks.
“I am now a sous-chef in the kitchen at San Estephe.”
“Wow! Expensive! You must make tons of money.” Frank squees in his high-pitched over-affectionate voice, which is an immediate reminder to Scotty why Scotty doesn’t like him much. There is something about that voice, that, like the sound of nails on a black-board, makes Scotty shiver.
“Not exactly, I still have a lot of bills to pay.” Scotty laughs.
“Anyhow, I heard you hooked up with your rich lawyer boyfriend again.” Something about Frank’s question irritates Scotty, but he answers:
“Yes, Kevin and I are back together.”
“Well, is it wonderful if we can find something of interest in our partner.” Daniel laughs and when Frank laugh as well, the others join in, although Scotty doesn’t manage more than a smile. He feels it is a snub, but he doesn’t really know how or why.
They talk for a while, with topics quickly changing and the laughter growing louder as the number of glasses on the table grow.. until Daniel suggests:
“Why don’t have we another round? Scotty’s paying.” Scotty, who’s only had 2 beer and then went to mineral water, because he has to drive, looks at him.
“Why am I paying?” he asks.
“Because you make more money than we do.” Frank answers.
“What does that have to do with anything? We always put the same amount in the wallet, regardless of how much we earn…..”
“Yes, but now it is unfair.” Says Frank.
“You make much more money, so you should pay more.”
“I drink less then you do. You always want your expensive little cocktails. You know, if you can’t afford them, you shouldn’t drink them.”
Mario and Jordan look at Frank and Scotty arguing. Money is always an issue with Frank, they know. Frank chronically has no money, resents people who do have money and always tries to get out of paying on their evenings out. Which is why two years ago Scotty came with the suggestion that, if they go out, they all put the same amount of money in an old wallet and they all have their drinks and it all got paid from there. No more splitting hairs over the bill. And so far, it had worked.
“Frank, please stop, we are so past this issue.” Jordan says.
“Oh, come on! I checked this Kevin out and he has more money than of all us put together. Inheritance from his grandfather, from his father, some good investments, good income… And that is who Scotty is marrying…”
“And what has one to do with the other?” Scotty asks.
“He’s got more money than he can spend and you have enough cash, so why should I pay for you? With everything you have you could easily pick up the bill.” Frank is obviously not ready to let go.
“It’s Kevin’s money.”
“You have access to that. If you don’t, then you haven’t played your little game well.”
“Whether or not I have access to it, is none of your business. And what kind of game are we talking about?”
“Oh, don’t be so naïve.” Frank smirks. “You know very well what I mean. Do you really believe that we believe that you are so ‘in luv ‘ with Kevin? The only thing interesting about him is his bank-account!”
“Speak for yourself, Frank. Kevin isn’t bad and Scotty loves him.” Jordan cuts in.
“Scotty would never become his lover just for the money.” Mario objects. Scotty has been quiet for a moment. Frank’s accusation hurt him. Though his friendship with Jordan and Mario is closer, he certainly considered Frank a friend of his.
“Is that really what you are suggesting, Frank? That I am sleeping with him and even marrying him for his money?”
“That is right.” Frank blurts out and Daniel is nodding in agreement. The silent angry looks from Mario and Jordan should be telling Frank that he should stop, but Frank ignores them. “A few months ago you were crying on how you were so poor you had to sleep in your car and how you were depending on the kindness of others. And now look at you. Earning a lot of money in a 5-star restaurant, marrying a guy who’s very wealthy too and you are too cheap to buy the drinks….”
Jordan opens his mouth to say something and Mario is livid as well, but Scotty silences them both by one look at Mario and by placing his hand on Jordan’s arm.
“When I had nothing a few months ago, you didn’t even want to let me sleep on your couch. So, in all honesty, I don’t think I owe you anything. You know what? I’ve studied hard and I’ve worked even harder to get to where I am today. And I’m getting married to a man who also spent many hours on his job to earn money. And I came here to celebrate, with my friends, my upcoming ceremony with Kevin.
When we have our ‘night out’ we all give a round and everything gets paid from one place. One of the reasons why I asked for that, is because I was more than sick and tired of your incessant feeling that you are being sold short, when you are constantly free-loading on us and to get you to pay your part is always like pulling teeth. But you know, I’m done. This is the last time. Mario, Jordan, I’ll see you on Saturday. Frank, Daniel, goodbye.”
He pulls the wallet from his pocket and throws it to Jordan, who catches it.
“Here. Pay for your drinks and divide what is left between the four of you. I don’t need the money back and I no longer contribute to this either. Sorry.”
After those words, Scotty leaves the four men.