(Continued from here)

Edwin had not intended to tell Mary that he would attend the party at first but then he changed his mind. He actually did not have a choice as he had a plan and it partly required her input. He wanted to spend time with her at the party but in such a way that she did not lose her job. His plan also required the input of someone else who he had never talked to even though they attended the same college. He approached her knowing that he had to tell her about his intention which was very risky since she was a stranger.
‘Are you going to Emily’s party’ I asked Kate.
‘No. Why do you ask?’
‘I need a date for the party and I thought you could be it’
‘Why do I have a feeling that there is more to this than you are letting on’ She said while looking intently at Edwin.
Edwin looked at her for a moment, unsure of what to do. He needed her help and that‘s why he had picked her. They did not really know each other but he would have to trust her with his plan. There was an element of risk involved but he had to tell her as she was also an integral part of the plan and so he did. She listened quietly as he told her and when he finished she agreed to help him. Things were going well so far.

Edwin’s plan required money that he did not have and that’s where his parents came in. He couldn’t tell them what it was actually for and so he told them that there was an educational trip to the coast that he had to attend. His education was very important to them and predictably they gave him the money for the ‘trip’. He couldn’t risk his parents finding out that the trip was fictional so he procured an authentic receipt from one enterprising student, filled it out and gave it to them. They did not suspect a thing.
The next step was Kate’s and Mary’s wardrobe and hair. Being in charge of this particular task meant going to Mary’s workplace at some point and consulting her which Edwin couldn’t do for obvious reasons and so he let Katie handle it. Katie couldn’t either because of other reasons so she did the shopping and had one of her friends take Mary’s dress to her. She did not tell Edwin this however.

Emily was really excited about the party even though she knew that if her reason for organizing it ever became public, her reputation would take a hit but Edwin was special and she felt that he was worth the risk. The preparations for the party were going well albeit undercover. Her parents wouldn’t have had a problem with a party but had they found out that most of the invited people were strangers then they would outlawed it. She had money saved up so she did not ask them for anything which would have made them suspicious. Not that the party would cost much. She was planning to cook something simple but not for everyone, the first fifty guests would be the only ones to eat the meal. She was expecting 100 plus attendees and it would be expensive if she were to cook food for everyone. There would be alcohol as well but under a modified BYOB (Buy Your Own Beer) arrangement.

Mary had not seen Edwin in a while and the party would provide a perfect opportunity to spend time together but she thought that his plan however ingenious, was too risky and it had major shortcomings. She had tried to dissuade him a couple of times but there was no changing his mind so the plan went ahead. Mary also had misgivings about involving Kate at first but when they met she liked her and any doubts that she had dissipated. It turned out that Kate had her reasons for helping out and one of them made Mary really uncomfortable but she was a important piece of their little operation so she just ignored it and hoped things would work out in the end.

Kate hated Emily with a passion. They had a history you see, to be specific they had a rivalry that dated back to when they were in high school. To an outsider their beef probably seemed petty but Kate had tried to quash it and move on but Emily was too hard headed to see reason and so here they were. They were never really friends even then but they were not enemies either just casual acquaintances who had common friends. Their initial falling out was caused or rather was because of a boy. Emily really wanted him but it was never her style to make the first move, an action which Kate had no qualms of doing, and so she got him. Kate did not know at the time of Emily’s interest in her would be boyfriend. Emily was the kind to hold a grudge and she waited for three years before she got her revenge. Kate had already dumped the guy that caused them to have issues by that time and she was dating someone else. Brian was a nice guy but he was weak and when Emily baited him he fell for it. She even had photographic evidence of his indiscretions. Kate really liked Brian but she had to let him go. There had been other incidents but that one hurt the most. Kate had taken shots at Emily too but they were all minor, she hoped that this particular one would be big enough to hurt her even though the truth would not come out immediately.

It is a small town and the college community is even smaller and even though she did not act like she knew, Emily was aware that Kate and Edwin had started spending a lot of time together in the run up to the party. She was sure that Kate was up to something and she had considered confronting her but then it occurred to her that it would be wise to just let things play out. In any case Kate would never reveal what she was plotting and she would most likely end up feeling humiliated. So she decided to just wait and see what would happen.

© wamathai warugongo