Vera works for a company called Loan Some, that loans out friends to the lonely and for other events. Previously… readers voted for Edie to be shocked because Gus had cheated on her with a woman he had met at a wine tasting event.
Edie’s eyes grew wide. “I’m shocked. I can’t believe you, Gus.”
Gus cleared his throat.
“Did I miss something?” Vera knew she had clearly said something wrong. She just wasn’t sure what it was.
“Gus told me he had cheated on me with a woman he met at a wine tasting,” said Edie, unfolding her napkin one-handed, with a flick of her wrist.
Vera stared daggers at Gus, before whispering, “This is why you should have been the one to tell her how we met.”
“I’m sorry,” he whispered back.
“So you’re the woman,” said Edie, her face softening. “Well, you must have made him happy, if he’s still with you. It’s been years.”
“Actually, she’s not with—” Gus started to speak.
Vera put one finger up, denoting silence, even though she realized he couldn’t even see it. Why was he trying to blow her cover? This assignment just started, and he was ready to reveal all his cards. “I’m so sorry, Edie. How does that make you feel?” Vera tried to stay on task, which was figuring out whether Edie loved Gus or not.
“Oh, I’m fine with it,” she said. “It’s been a long time. Actually, it’s good to know that he’s still with the one he left me for. That I just wasn’t the one.”
Just then, the waiter came over, bringing escargot and placing it on the table.
“Hi Gus, it’s Mitch,” he said. “Saw you come in and knew you’d want your usual.”
“Thank you, Mitch.” Gus raised his hand to find Mitch’s and shook it.
“No problem. A bottle of the chardonnay you love is on its way out, as well.”
Vera stared at the silver plate of cooked land snail, with green insides peeking out. Never before had an assignment made her try expensive food. She wasn’t a foodie, but she was game.
“How do you eat it?” she asked.
Edie found her eyes. “I thought it was his usual. Do you not come here with him?”
Crap, thought Vera. “Yes.” And then she didn’t follow up on that idea, hoping that Gus would chime in. She looked at Gus for guidance, but he said nothing. A lot of help this one was.
Vera picked up the snail and started slurping the green part out of it like a small saucer of tea. A woman at a nearby table heard her slurping noise, nudged her presumed husband at the table, and pointed at Vera. Vera realized that clearly, this was not the appropriate way to consume escargot.
“You use the snail tongs, dear,” said Edie. “And the snail fork.”
Vera could feel her face warm. She had never felt so humiliated. As a book lover, she had always felt like a pretentious snob looking down on people who watched TV, but she was out of her element here and now knew the sting of feeling uncultured. She aggressively grabbed the tongs and took hold of the escargot, but the tongs snapped, sending the snail across the room.
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