3 The invitation

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon from a long weekend having Monday off. Jo flew back home the next day on the latest evening flight. She had plenty of time to relax. Matthew had invited her for dinner and to see his new place. Since it was a housewarming party of sorts, she bought a lovely white orchid in a pot and a bottle of Chardonnay.

When she arrived at the modern apartment building, she knew that Matt had been cooking; the smell of roasted turkey and grilled seafood filled the air. 'Roast Turkey was her favorite meat. There was also a delicate smell of grilled seafood. ‘What could that be?’ She wasn't crazy about crabs and prawns. ‘Did he forget about it?’

She knocked once before Matthew opened the door and they both laughed looking at each other. They both were wearing the same outfit. A tight white linen shirt and khaki denim pants. Even their leather belts and shoes were almost the same shade of tan.

"Hi, beautiful!" He beamed.

"Hello, handsome!" She looked at him from top to bottom.

They've been calling each other that since they met, years ago.

"It appears we are in a similar mood today." She hugged him. "Hm… Aqua Di Gio Armani…" She appraised as she sniffed his slender toned neck. "If I didn't know any better, I would think that you wanted to seduce me."

"Christian Dior J'adore...". He sniffed her long neck too. He closed his eyes as he deeply inhaled the scent. "I am disappointed that it is not Polo Sport by Ralph Lauren… and by the way, I wouldn’t mind ending my night with you in my bed. You know that..."

Winking at her, "Come in, my father’s around here somewhere." He grabbed the wine and orchids that she had brought, and then closed the door after she entered inside.

"Is he joining us?" She asked with seriousness on her face. She didn't feel like meeting anybody from Matt's family that night. She hadn’t recovered from the previous night's party yet.

"He just left. I’m surprised you didn't meet him in the elevator."

"Must be my lucky day. With all the alcohol I drank last night, I took the stairs for extra exercise."

She just realized she was lucky. If she had met his father, she would have spent all night talking. She loved his parents. Every time they met, they dragged her to their house for dinner. Jo often became trapped in lengthy conversations, so she wound up sleeping in the guest room because it was so late. The story repeated itself whenever she met them.

Looking around the corridor, she remarked. "Show me your new apartment!"

She knew Matthew’s style well. It was a sophisticated blend of modernity and minimalism with a touch of love and attachment to tradition. He liked space, harmony and symmetry, light and subtle play of colors. His interior design preferences had a lot of similarities to hers, so she knew what to expect.

"It's not finished yet.” The study and guest room were bare. “I hope you can give me a few ideas on how to decorate it." After a moment of reflection, he added. "You have always been sensational in interior design."

"Thanks Matt, but you forgot to add that I have very similar taste."

Entering the living room, she heard the familiar music and lyrics, which irritated her to the point she couldn't take it anymore.

"Matt, could you please change the music?" She asked, looking around the living room.

"What's wrong? It’s our favorite band." Matthew teased her. He didn’t plan to test her endurance or his. He turned on the music a few hours ago and paid no attention to it.

"I don't want to listen to that crap my entire life." After the previous night’s party, she didn't want to listen to Metallica anymore. "Everybody’s talking about us being drunk and singing that crap. In just one night, we became stars of YouTube and social media."

"Do you worry about it?" He asked her honestly.

He was so busy recently that social media was the least of his concerns right now. In a few days, he had the most important court hearing in his professional career. If that went well, he will be able to solidly establish his position.

"You don't?" She asked, crossing her arms distinctly as leaning her back against the corridor’s wall.

"What can I say? Even my father heard about that damn bet. That was the reason for his visit today. He asked me why we were acting like carefree teenagers." Placing his hands in his pockets, he tried to keep his calm aura.


"He tried to find out more about the party and the bet. He didn't see the video himself, but my cousin told him about it. Today they had lunch together. My cousin's wife is in our group's web chat, so she saw it before Thomas deleted it. All that is a complete disaster!"

"What are you going to do about it?" Jo was considering the best solution. She knew Matthew's temperament and character. She admired his composure and stoic calm. Even though she was also extremely patient and understanding, this time she wanted to unleash her anger on Thomas.

"We should sue Thomas for ruining our reputation." He said after analyzing the situation logically. "That was a private party. He didn't have our consent to record or have legal rights to publish the video. I could completely ruin his reputation with little effort. He would have to change his profession and look for a new job..."

He considered all his options. If he takes any action, he will automatically admit that he was drunk. Such behaviors were not in his character. His professional career was more important than any social media, YouTube, Instagram, or other private disputes.

"But...?" She wondered what he decided.

"I can't take any legal action."

"Matthew, I understand you can't allow your name to appear in the media." She knew he needed to keep his reputation clean.

"There's no point in trying to deny it. The best solution is silence. We will deal with Thomas in due time."

"We can wait, I don't mind. But when the time comes, I will treat him mercilessly." She smiled at the thought of what she was planning to do with him. She already had a cruel idea. "We must teach him a lesson that he will never forget."


Author's note

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