A Work in Progress: Amber

“Ugh. It’s too early to get out of bed,” Amber proclaimed. She yawned and stretched and was about to hit the snooze button but Prudence had invited her and Lizette to a Monday morning FaceTime meeting to take the place of their usual routine at their favorite coffee shop. She had to make sure to shower, wash her hair, and put on full-face makeup. Couldn’t let her friends see her looking less than perfect! 

By the time she finished, it was time for the cyber meeting. Pru and Lizette were already online. Pru was eating yogurt topped with granola and sipping green tea, and Lizette had a blueberry muffin and a steaming cup of coffee. “Ladies! Good morning,” Prudence said brightly. 

“Oops! Give me a minute. Marisol wants to know what I’d like for breakfast,” Amber said. A few seconds later, she stated, “I’m having strawberry crepes with homemade whipped cream. And of course some of my favorite coffee.” That particular coffee was made from freshly ground kopi luwak and had a sweet hint of chocolate and caramel. 

Lizette giggled and asked, “Are you drinking that weasel poop coffee again?” 

“It isn’t weasel poop,” Amber laughed and exaggeratedly rolled her eyes. “it’s coffee beans that have been pre-digested by a civet, and—um—okay, fine it’s civet poop. But you, my dear veterinarian-to-be, should know that civets are not weasels. LOL.” Then she asked, “Where is Ellowyne? And Rufus? And Penn?”

Prudence shrugged. “I told Penn to call if he can. He starts his orientation at the ER tomorrow, so he might be too busy to join us. I talked with Ellowyne late last night, so she’s probably still sleeping. And Rufus is probably preoccupied.”

“With what? There’s something you’re not telling us,” Lizette said. 

“Okay. But you have to promise not to say anything to Ellowyne or Rufus. They made out last night. Either he’s getting out of the friend zone or they’re going to have an interesting friends with benefits thing,” Pru said. 

Amber gleefully said, “Wooooohooo! Atta boy, Rufus!” 

Prudence went on. “The weird thing is that Ellowyne seems happy! No complaining, no fatigue, and no ennui!”

Amber and Lizette were gobsmacked. Nothing ever seemed to ameliorate Ellowyne’s ennui. Shopping, dining out, going to gardens or the wharf or the zoo—none of it changed her mood. But a good snog with Rufus did what nothing else could do.

The three girls talked and laughed for almost an hour. “Oops, hang on again, ladies. Marisol is going to the grocery store to pick up food and other essential supplies, and she wants to know if there’s anything I might like. Some Ghirardelli chocolate, a couple of pints of ice cream, some strong bread flour, too. Oh, and I’d love to have croissants this week so please get some of that Irish butter and some chocolate to nestle in them.” 

Lizette and Prudence exchanged glances and tried not to burst out laughing. Over the years, Amber had morphed from a rich snob to a much nicer and down-to-earth friend. She was no longer inappropriate with the guys and she stopped trying to compete with the other girls in terms of appearance and dress. Still, Amber had a big personality and she wasn’t always aware that her life was one of tremendous privilege. 

Amber was also as lazy as a housecat. After she and her friends were done conversing, she went out to the pool to read magazines and get a little sun. She read Vogue and Cosmopolitan and, when she was done, she perused the internet for clothes, makeup, and jewelry. Then she decided to take a nice catnap. 

Her slumber was interrupted by a call from Penn. He excitedly told her about starting orientation in the ER and how he was going to practice real nursing. Sometimes he told her stories about being in the Army, and they often vented to each other when school seemed intolerable. He was an admirable soul, kind and smart. He also was pretty easy on the eyes. Nobody in their group of friends knew that Amber and Penn sometimes went out together. Were they dating? Just friends hanging out? Friends with benefits? Amber didn’t know—and didn’t care. What she had with Penn was special, even more so since it was a secret. 

Speaking with Penn put Amber in a pensive mood. She put away the magazines and decided to catch up on reading for some of her classes. She hoped this whole coronavirus thing would be short-lived and things could return to normal. 

To be continued…

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