Emancipating Andie - By Priscilla Glenn

This was going to be weird.

There was no getting around it, and there was no one who would be able to convince her otherwise. She knew what her best friend would say if she were there. “It’s no big deal. You’re not signing away your soul in blood. Just go have fun. Don’t get all Andie.”

Don’t get all Andie was always Tracey’s closing argument, the term she would use whenever she felt someone was being too analytical, or when someone expressed anxiety or disapproval over something. But this time, Andie thought, getting all Andie was completely justified.

She leaned closer to the mirror, putting on a second coat of mascara. Tonight would only be the second time she’d be going out with Colin, and yet he was taking her to some party with all of his old friends from high school. She had agreed to go, because she liked Colin, and because she had no good reason to turn him down, but she couldn’t shake the image of being the awkward outsider at some high school reunion. Not really the ideal situation for a second date.

“Shut up and be happy you’re getting a second date,” she could almost hear Tracey say in response, and she smiled to herself as she capped the mascara and tossed it back in her makeup case. Andie had known Tracey since the third grade, providing her with a front row seat to all of her friend’s relationships, if she were being kind enough to call them that. With the exception of one long-term boyfriend in college, Tracey was the quintessential serial dater, with what she claimed was appallingly bad luck in love.

“Okay, it’s not like he’s taking you to meet his parents,” Andie said to herself, channeling her friend as she dabbed on a little bit of lip gloss.

She took a few steps back from the mirror, adjusting the V-neckline of her shirt. She liked Colin. There was no reason she couldn’t have a good time with him tonight. After all, she could think of much worse places he could be taking her. Andie smiled at her reflection, holding onto that little bit of reassurance as she walked over to the closet and stepped into her shoes.

A few minutes later, a polite knock sounded on the door, and her stomach flooded with butterflies of both excitement and trepidation as she approached it. Her hand landed on the knob, and she took one final deep breath before pulling the door open.

“Hi,” she said with a smile.

“Hey,” Colin said, looking her up and down, managing to make the gesture look appreciative rather than sleazy. “Wow. You look incredible.”

“Thanks,” she said. “So do you.”

Even though it was usually customary to return that particular compliment when someone gave it, she really did mean it. Colin was extremely attractive; there was no denying that. Blonde hair, blue eyes, a beautiful white smile that belonged in a toothpaste commercial, nice athletic build, and, as Andie had noticed the first day she met him, impeccable hands.

He smiled. “Ready?”

She nodded and he stepped to the side, allowing her out of the apartment. They walked down to his car, and he opened the door for her, placing his hand on the small of her back as he guided her into the seat.

“So,” Andie said as he slid into the driver’s seat and started up the car, “whose party is this again?”

“A good buddy of mine,” he said, glancing in his rearview before backing out of the space. “He just got engaged.”

“Oh. So it’s an engagement party?”

“Not officially. He lives in Florida with his girlfriend. Or his fiancé, I should say,” he corrected with a smile. “Anyway, he’s in back in town for the week, so he figured he’d kill two birds with one stone, you know, celebrate his engagement and see a bunch of his friends. But it’s not an official engagement party or anything.”

“Oh, okay.”

He glanced over at her. “Are you uncomfortable with this? We don’t have to go.”

“No, not at all,” she lied. “I was just wondering what the occasion was.”

“It will be fun,” he said, flashing his Colgate smile before turning his eyes back to the road. “Wait until you see this house.”

“He’s got a nice place?”

“Well, he’s staying at his parents’ place while he’s in town. That’s where the party is. Just wait. You’ll see.”

They drove the rest of the way into Connecticut, the conversation flowing easily, until they turned onto a street where the driveways were farther and farther apart and