Dana reached into the cereal box, flannel pyjama sleeve pushed up. "So anyway, the thing is, Alex was completely wasted and practically throwing herself on all of these old townie guys-"
"What a surprise." Lily's snark was lost under a clamour of pans as she pulled one from the cupboard.
"- and then of course, Jason, who Paloma slept with last Saturday walked by, and totally up-and-downed her, and we were all like nuh-uh bitch, but then we realized he was with this new girl, who was totally fugly and gross, I mean hello, Paloma is so prettier than her. So like, he downgraded, obvi."
The door wobbled in the frame as it closed. "What's the story, ladies?" Jess dropped her bag with a thud and slid into the vinyl chair across from Dana.
"Jason was trying to show up Paloma, but his new girl was crazy fug."
"Oh. Hey! Mini-wheats!"
"Yeah, so anyway, after Paloma totally gave Jason the 'aww you're doing an uggo' look-"
"Are you eating my cereal?" A little water sloshed over the side of the pot Lily was holding. She wiped the floor with her sock.
"I'm in crisis! Let me eat!" Dana wrenched the box away from Jess, sticking her arm back in.
"So Lil, what's cookin-"
"Excuse me. I was telling a story! Crisis! Hi!" Some cereal rolled across the table.
Jess corralled the spilt bits with her hands, feeding herself from the pile. "So
Dana set down the box, scratching at her scalp with her long nails. "Remember Cade?"
"Shoot me in the face…" Even the most vigorous stirring couldn't cover up her groan.
"Shut up, Lily. I don't want any sass from you."
"Of course we remember him, you were only sleeping with him half of last year-"
Dana held up her hand to keep half-chewed wheat in her mouth. "I said shut the fuck-"
Jess took the box, setting it between her crossed legs. "So what's this crisis?"
"So we're waiting in the line at coat check-"
"Nice of you to use coat check now, after you lost my coat there." Jess' voice was dry. She cleared her throat and walked to the fridge for water. "You never did replace that, eh?"
"Not the issue right now," Dana lay on the table to reach the cereal. "Anyway, we were in line at coat check after having the best night ever and I was kinda drunk, and we were just waiting there having a good time, and he could have just walked by, but he just had to tap me on the shoulder and walk by! I could have gone without seeing him, but he just had to tap me while he's arm in arm with HIS NEW GIRLFRIEND!" Her voice reverberated across the panelling.
"So, Cade's got a girlfriend…the crisis is…" Jess' arms were poised awkwardly above her head midway through a French braid.
"Definitely a near-apocolyptic level crisis." Lily forced through teeth clenched around a wooden spoon as she poured her pasta through a colander. "Threat level midnight."
Dana's breath was heaving like she'd run a marathon. "He HAS A GIRLFRIEND!"
"Some guys do." Jess shrugged.
"Jess, can you watch my soup doesn't boil over? I have to piss like a racehorse," Lily walked down the hall to the washroom as Jess took her place by the stove.
"WHY?" Dana looked to the stained ceiling. "He HAS A GIRLFRIEND?"
Jess tasted the broth.
"She's ugly as hell, too! I don't get it, what the hell does she have that I don't?"
"Jealous?" Jess' lips quirked around the spoon.
Lily returned from the washroom to the stove. "I don't see what you're so worked up about. It's not like you guys actually had a relationship. He doesn't owe you anything."
"But who does that?"
"He just said hi, he didn't shove you down a flight of stairs or anything," Jess closed up the box of cereal and put it back in the pantry.
"You're jealous because you wanted him and couldn't have him. Get over it. He was a jerk anyway. Why do you still want him?" Lily fiddled with the stove knob.
Dana was resting her bare, blistered-from-high-heels feet on the kitchen table. "You're fucked. I do not want him."
"It sounds like you do," Jess was standing in the pantry. "Almond tart?"
"Save one for when I'm done my soup!"
Jess sat down with a tart, setting it on the table and rolling up one of the many pizza flyers.
Dana was repeatedly squeezing her eyes shut and opening them again. "I do not want him! What is wrong with you people? What the fuck does that ugly bitch have that I don't?"
Lily finished pouring her soup into her bowl and slammed the pot into the sink, clanging against Dana's dishes, which had been festering for a few days. Marinating in filth. "Jesus, Dana! Get over it already! Did it ever occur to you that maybe being easy and being girlfriend material don't go hand in hand?"
Jess smiled a mouthful of tart. "Zing..."
"I mean that!" Lily walked to the table with her bowl, sitting between Jess and Dana. "I mean, realistically…you did sleep with what, four, five, maybe six of his friends?" She spooned some of her steaming soup into her mouth. "Delicious. Anyway, maybe you didn't strike him as long term material. Rightfully so, in my opinion. Either way, you guys were just bumping uglies, not exchanging vows. He doesn't owe you anything, and that includes any kind of commitment. You sure as hell didn't give him any."
"But it's just not nice, he didn't have to tap me and flaunt his cutesy double-date-ish-ness…now all the guys in that house have girlfriends."
"There's more to life, Dana," Jess shrugged. "Want a tart?"
"Easy for you to say, you have a boyfriend. And yes I want a tart." Dana held her hands out expectantly.
Jess set a tart on the table for her. Each of the girls waited for the other to pick it up. Dana sighed, exasperated, as she had to pick it up herself.
"Well, maybe we should look at it as a lesson," Lily said, licking a dribble of broth from the corner of her lip.
"Lily, I told you to shut-"
"Like maybe, if you want to have a relationship with someone, don't give it up after he buys you a few drinks." Lily turned back to her soup.
"I'm not a whore!" Dana's eyes followed Jess, who was leaving the room.
"You said it, not me." Lily mumbled around a mouthful of spoon. "Maybe he was just looking for someone who made him work for it a little."
Dana stared at Lily with tear-streaked eyes as she finished her soup. When Lily looked up, Dana looked away.
Lily finished the bowl, headed to the sink, and washed up her dishes. Clanging pots broke the silence. Dana still sat and glared, adding an occasional sniffle for pity.
Lily poured herself a glass of juice. "When you're done acting juvenile and want to take on a little responsibility, it'd be nice if you'd clean your dishes."
The worn floorboards creaked as she headed upstairs.