“You need to find a man this Christmas.” Pia Swain knew the comment was aimed at her. She was the only one of the three women sitting at the booth of the local bar and grill without a partner. Jessica, the blond woman who had made the remark, stared at Pia over the rim of her glass, the yellow orange mixture of her screwdriver making her green eyes pop. Jessica was a horrible flirt and seemed to date a new man every week, something Pia had no desire to do.
Beside her, Erin nodded in agreement. Erin, married with a little boy, looked savvier than either Jessica or Pia in her blouse and skirt. With her brown hair piled atop her head in a bun and her manicured nails, one would think she was a business woman rather than an elementary school teacher.
“Here we go,” Pia said under her breath. She loved her friends. She loved them dearly. She loved them even more since her father died and she’d been left alone to fend for herself. They made sure she ate and shopped for groceries and had some semblance of a life.
Over the past two years, as her father’s health had taken a turn for the worse, Pia Swain had become a recluse, never leaving her father’s house except to shop for groceries when either he or her friends told her to or to meet with her agent, Randy, about her upcoming book. That never stopped her friends from assuming she needed someone in her life.
Poor Randy had been their first target until they discovered his tastes ran towards those of his own gender, but that hadn’t stopped them since. They assumed Pia was never leaving her house because she was lonely and didn’t want to admit it.
Sometimes, Pia wondered how clueless her friends were.
Jessica was just getting started. “Yeah!” she exclaimed as if a new idea had just popped into her head. They both knew that wasn’t the case. She always pondered her ideas before she said them aloud in an attempt not to look stupid. “I know a single fireman—”
“Oh, a fire-man,” Pia said in mock enthusiasm.
Jessica waved her off as if she hadn’t spoken. “Can it smartass,” Erin said. “I want to hear more.”
So Pia sat back in the booth and drank her own mixed drink, some fruity thing she’d let Jessica order for her because she was usually a hard liquor kind of girl and didn’t know a thing about mixed drinks. She sighed as Jessica talked about how dreamy this guy was while Erin sat with her head resting against her palm, entranced in Jessica’s every word.
When Jessica had finished and was looking at Pia as if awaiting her reply, Pia frowned, her hands gesturing at herself with a sigh. “Girls, look at me. Really look.”
Both of her friends gave her the once-over, taking in the sweater dress that reached down to her mid-thigh and leggings she wore tucked into fake Uggs. “What are we looking at?” Jessica asked.
Pia sighed again, downing the rest of the fruity drink in her glass and wincing as it left a sour taste in her mouth. What she wouldn’t give for a shot of whiskey.
“Erin, you’re tall and smart: beautiful. Jessica, you’re tall and blond: gorgeous,” Pia said, gesturing to her with her hands. “Me? I am short with a bad attitude.”
To read more about Pia’s bad attitude, buy Bearing The Cold at Amazon.