51: “It has nutmeg in it!”

Miles and Iggy got invited to Melly and David’s Christmas party. It was almost exactly like Danielle and Jake’s, except that there was more food and Jemima and Tallulah got invites as well. Other than that, it was essentially the same. Katy and Ezra were there, Miles listened to the same conversations about Melly and Jana’s pregnancies, and he didn’t want to be there just as little as he had wanted to be at Danielle and Jake’s. Though, no one wanted to be there less than Oscar did.

“The Christmas season is a very busy time of year,” Oscar complained as they marched up David and Melly’s front walk in the snow. “And yet apparently I’ve made the time to go to two of these fucking Christmas parties.”

Iggy snorted.

“Do you realize how many other valuable things I could be doing with my time right now?” He continued.

“By valuable things, do you mean napping?” Priscilla asked shrewdly, eyebrow raised.

“Yes.”

David greeted them at the door. He was even more excited than he had been the last time they’d seen him. His smile was so wide, it looked like it probably made his cheeks ache. He ushered them inside, took their coats to bring up to his and Melly’s room, and went on and on about the Christmas chilli he’d made especially for the occasion.

“Here’s a question: what the hell is Christmas chilli?” Miles asked him, frowning slightly. Maybe it would be served to him by Whos.

“It has nutmeg in it!” David exclaimed in answer. He was basically cheering. He left them to take the coats upstairs.

“Remind me not to eat the chilli,” Miles whispered to Iggy.

It was already a rough start to the evening, but things only got worse from there. Miles got trapped in a conversation with Katy in the kitchen while he was trying to pick out appetizers that he thought didn’t have nutmeg in them. Katy started out by asking him about his life, harmless small-talk questions, but then things took a rapid change in direction from the weather to Oscar.

“He’s not making an effort to spend time with me anymore,” Katy said, apparently under the misconception that Miles was her friend or cared in any way. He had always gotten along with Katy while she and Oscar had been together, but since she had torn Oscar’s beating his heart from his chest, Miles was pretty much over any friendship they may have had. He understood why she had done it and he knew Oscar also understood now, but he also figured his and Katy’s relationship was pretty much over.

“Uh…,” he said, stunned. They had been previously discussing how much snow they thought they would get later that evening. This was a significant shift. Furthermore, he had no idea what to say. He wasn’t even sure what she wanted him to say. It wasn’t exactly a question and, anyway, he felt it should’ve been pretty obvious why he wasn’t making an effort to spend time with her anymore. He didn’t even know why she wanted him to spend time with her anymore. She was engaged to another man and Oscar wasn’t that great. Of course, he was Miles’ friend and Miles loved him like a brother, but he was kind of an ass.

“I just, you know, don’t know why,” Katy continued, much to Miles’ horror. “We used to spend so much time together and I miss him.”

Miles stared at her like she had just suggested they run away together and form a cult. She stared back at him, clearly expecting him to offer some kind of insight into her dwindling friendship with Oscar. She looked a little nervous, like she had worked herself up into talking to him about it. It was an issue that had clearly been causing her strife.

“Please don’t take this the wrong way,” Miles began. “But you broke up with him. You’re no longer together, which is why he’s no longer spending time with you. That’s how break-ups work.”

“But we were best friends,” Katy returned, lip quivering. “I never wanted that to end. I just miss him, you know?”

Miles didn’t know because he had never been without Oscar. Even while Oscar had been lying on his living room floor, depressed and bitching about fruit flies, Miles had always been there. He didn’t know what to tell Katy. He rather thought she had given up her right to be his friend, but he didn’t exactly want to say that. It might put something of a damper on the Christmas spirit.

“Well, you know,” Miles replied. She looked at him, like she was waiting for him to tell her what she knew, but he didn’t have any way of finishing his thought. He had been hoping that would be enough. Neither of them said anything for an uncomfortably long period of time. Miles was seriously considering trying some of David’s chilli if only to have something to do, when he was miraculously saved by the arrival of Joey, who burst into the kitchen with Madison bouncing on his hip, giggling delightedly and trying to grab onto the Santa hat he was wearing. He had a yellowing bruise underneath his right eye that made it look bigger than the left and he was grinning maniacally like he was about to do something illegal. He very well could’ve been.

“Hey, Chach,” Joey greeted him, using Miles’ least favourite nickname he’d ever been given. He disliked it even more than the nickname Iggy had given him in grade ten, Ol’ Goopy Eye, after he’d suffered an unfortunate bout of pink eye.

“I see you’ve made a friend,” Miles observed, nodding to Madison.

“Yeah, she was crying, probably because her mom keeps making strangers stare at her while she sleeps,” Joey explained. “I have about a hundred little cousins. Babies fucking love me.”

Miles winced at the curse word in front of Madison. Katy literally gasped.

“Want some nutmeg chilli?” Miles offered, gesturing to the crockpot of chilli David had made. It was an enormous quantity. Miles feared that he would be sent home with some that he would inevitably have to throw out.

“Hell no,” Joey returned. “I’m supposed to come get you two for charades. Apparently you’re fucking up the team numbers by eating. Satan’s mistress is already forcing the blonde one in the nun skirt and Tallulah to play as a couple so as to keep the even team numbers.”

“That seems right,” Miles nodded, thinking it was actually a small miracle that Danielle hadn’t come into the kitchen to get him herself. She could be incredibly forceful when she wanted to be. She was the exact reason Miles was now afraid to play dodge ball. She’d been truly alarming in grade nine gym class. David had actually had to sit out for a class because she’d hit him so hard in the face with a dodge ball. Of course, she’d been standing about two feet in front of him when she’d whipped it at him with inhuman arm strength.

“Listen, can I expect to have to play charades at every single one of these God forsaken parties?” Joey asked as they made their way out to the living room to join the others.

“Yes,” Miles nodded simply. He’d thought about lying, but he figured Joey should know what he was getting himself into with Jacklyn. She was great, but he would have to spend an inordinate amount of time playing charades.

As they were about to leave, Katy pulled Miles aside and asked him to say something to Oscar on her behalf. Miles said he would consider it, but as they sat on the subway on the way home and he watched Oscar laughing along with his friends, he decided not to. Being friends with Katy would be great for her. She would get to marry Ezra and keep Oscar as the best friend she felt she’d lost. But it would be horrible for Oscar. He would end up on the floor again and Miles didn’t want that for him, no matter how much of an ass he was.

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