“Have you ever heard of engagement chicken?” Margo asked trying to be casual while knowing she probably came off sounding as desperate as she felt.
“Yes. Totally works.” Kylie sipped her juice unflinchingly, the large 4 carat cushion cut Harry Winston diamond glistening on her tastefully manicured finger. She spoke with such certainty that Margo was sure she must have used the tactic herself to nab Kyle, her perfect husband. Even their names matched.
“What the fuck is that?” Eva pushed her Kale around her plate in search of grilled chicken or avocado. The only edible parts of what she deemed a wholly disgusting meal. This was what she got for letting Kylie choose the lunch spot. She mentally calculated if she’d have time to sneak off for a burger before they headed to beach. She’d try to carpool with Ingrid, Ingrid wouldn’t snitch on her.
“It’s an urban legend,” Kylie began, “but it works.” She then began to explain the concept of engagement chicken to Eva in a way that simultaneously made it clear she knew Eva wouldn’t understand but wasn’t the least bit condescending. She was good like that. Margo had always suspected she went to some kind of finishing school back in North Carolina and secretly wanted to send her daughters there if it meant they’d turn out half as perfect as Kylie.
Little did Kylie know Eva was only half paying attention while the other half of her brain was building her In N Out order.
“So let me get this straight.” Eva snapped back to reality finishing off the last piece of avocado on her plate pushing it away though it was piled high with perfectly massaged grossly overpriced kale. Why fill up on that rabbit food when she was hitting up the drive through. “A woman decides she’s ready to get married and rather than tell the person she’s dating like ‘Hey, I’m ready for marriage’ passive aggressively makes him chicken in the hope that his pea sized male brain will somehow form the connection that this act of antiquated wifey-ism will make him think ‘I want to marry this person’?”
“Precisely.” Kylie nodded in satisfaction like a proud teacher ignoring Eva’s sarcasm.
“Got it.” Eva laughed, “Why?” She turned to Margo, “You thinking about trying this on Benny boy?”
Margo sighed. Her friends knew her too well or maybe she couldn’t pull off nonchalant as well as she thought.
“It’s just…” she began before being interrupted by Ingrid’s arrival.
“Hey, sorry” she said quietly slipping into her seat across from Kylie and next to Eva. Somehow they always ended up in this arrangement. Ingrid looked amazing as always with her flawlessly applied makeup and outfit so trendy only a mannequin could pull it off as well as she did.
“No worries, we’re just discussing engagement chicken.” Eva’s falsely chipper tone conveyed her distain for the topic cutting Margo to the core.
“Is that good here?” Ingrid picked up a menu quizzically. They all laughed and Ingrid looked confused but happy to have made a joke even if unintentionally.
“No,” Kylie smiled breezily, “Margo here is getting antsy waiting for Benjamin to pop the question and me thinks she’s taking matters into her own hands.”
All three women turned to Margo who realized that, despite her best efforts, she was about as discrete as a Kardashian.
“Yeah, I think I’m ready.” Margo couldn’t help but smile. Kylie positively beamed eager to have another married friend which she collected like some people their age collect records they’ll never play. Eva rolled her eyes pretending to be annoyed but Margo saw the way she smiled. You wouldn’t guess it from her anti-man exterior but Eva was the biggest sweetheart of them all and had been the biggest advocate of Margo and Ben’s relationship despite being severely burned by the own love of her life, Ben’s brother Sebastian. Ingrid, meanwhile smiled placidly like the cat who’d swallowed the canary.
“What!?” Margo exclaimed.
“Yeah, what are you so smiley about?” Eva turned to question Ingrid.
“Nothing,” Ingrid sing-songed, “It’s just your horoscope said this would happen.”
TO BE CONTINUED…