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Midnight - New Years Eve, 2017

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4:00pm. Wednesday December 27, 2017. Yo-Go-Girl, LA.

“Jake,” Lydia said, “If I were you, I’d just get Linda the new biography of Euler for her birthday. She was telling me yesterday that she hoped she’d get it for Christmas, but she didn’t.”

“Thanks Lydia,” Jake sighed with relief and took the last bite of his banana frozen yogurt. “You’re a lifesaver.”

“No problem, Jake, but you didn’t get it from me,” she replied, giving him a wink. “Let me know how it goes!”

“Will do. Thanks again Lydia.” Jake threw out his bowl, and pushing his floppy blonde hair out of his eyes, left the shop with a wave. Lydia watched him go with a smile, and then turned to start checking the stock of spoons.

“I give that relationship six months before Linda gets bored with him.” Mary announced from the table where she was camped out in the rear of the shop.

“Hey, Debby Downer, don’t burst my bubble! Just because your thesis is getting you down doesn’t mean you can drag everyone else with you.” Lydia retorted. Mary’s thesis was due in a few months, and she’d taken to working at one of the tables in Lydia’s shop. She arrived as soon as it opened, set up a fortress of books, papers, and strawberry smoothie cups around her laptop, and stayed there hunched over her keyboard until Lydia kicked her out.

“This has nothing to do with my thesis and everything to do with the fact that Linda is about twice as smart as he is. Jake’s not dumb, but Linda is a certifiable genius. Eventually she’ll want someone who can keep up with her. Also, they’re in high-school! What, did you think they were going to get married?”

“Hush, Mary, you’re depressing me, and Sarah and Casey too!” Lydia turned to her employees, who, having seen many of these arguments, kept their expressions carefully neutral. “Oooh! Speaking of marriage, in light of the fact that Darcinator finally got his act together, and my recent success with Linda and Jake, I’ve been thinking-”

“Lord save us!” Mary drawled.

Lydia ignored her and continued, “-it’s a shame Gigi doesn’t have someone in her life. If she had a boyfriend she wouldn’t have to be Lizzie and Darcy’s third wheel all the time. I didn’t have any good candidates, but then the other day Eddie introduced us to his friend Theo, and I hadn’t spent five minutes with them before I thought to myself Theo and Gigi would be the cutest together!

“Lydia,” Mary sighed, resting her face in her hands, “I can see from your face that nothing I say is going to stop you, but be careful. I actually like Gigi, and Theo seems nice too, so know this. I’m not going to help you, and I’ll be really upset if you mess this up.”

“I don’t need your help, I just need you to get Eddie to invite Theo on our New Years Eve adventures.”

“Lydia-” Mary began.

“Come on!” Lydia pleaded, “Eddie said Theo just moved here last month, so he can’t have any plans. It would be terrible if he had to spend New Years all by himself in a new city!” Lydia gave Mary her best puppy eyes.

“Fine,” Mary relented. “But only because Eddie already asked if we would invite him. This is in no way an endorsement of your tactics.”

“Yes!” Lydia exclaimed, elongating the final ess. But before she could get too excited, a wave of customers came in, and Lydia didn’t have a spare moment until she flipped the sign to closed and waved goodbye to the last customer with an “I’m sure you’ll do fantastically on your driving test, Sally.” After she had closed for the day, she dialed Gigi’s number while she was on her way home.

“Hey Gigi! It’s Lydia. How are you doing up in winter wonderland? Have you gotten bored of watching my sister make eyes at your brother yet?”

Lydia heard a staticy laugh from the other end. “Hi Lydia! Life is good. To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“So,” Lydia began, trying to keep her voice casual. “Eddie has this old friend from high school, Theo, who just moved to the area to start a new job, and he doesn’t know anyone. Eddie’s been bugging Mary and me to invite him out with us on New Years. I don’t know him that well: I only met him once, but he seemed nice, and Eddie says he’s great. Anyway, I told Eddie sure, as long as you were okay with it.”

“Well, I can’t see any reason why not. The more the merrier, right? Did you ever settle on a final plan for the evening? I don’t really care what we’re doing, as long as karaoke is involved at some point.”

“Well, we’re starting with a potluck at Mary and Eddie’s. Then we’ll hit up that cool new karaoke place so you’ll shut up about it. After that, well, there’s a bar next door that’s doing a buy one get one free on some red specialty drink, so I figure we swing by there so I can get my groove on. Then I’ve got a bunch of ice cream, candy, and more booze if necessary at my apartment. Eventually, people can go home if they want, or we can have a big sleepover. My vote is for sleepover, but sadly it’s illegal for me to lock you all in my apartment and not let you go.”

“Lydia!” Gigi laughed, “That sounds great! Minus the bit about holding us hostage in your apartment.”

“Okay it’s plan. I’ve got to go,” Lydia was at her front door and unable to hold her phone and fumble for her keys at the same time. “But as soon as you get back we’re getting dinner and you are telling me everything about this proposal business. I’ve heard Lizzie’s version, but I’m sure she’s leaving some things out. We need to compare notes.”

“Sure thing, Lydia. Have a good night.”

“Wait! Before you go, when do you get back?” Lydia asked her.

Gigi paused. “Tomorrow night. I’ll probably be unpacking that night, but how about we do dinner Friday?”

“I can do Friday. Meet at the shop at 7?”

“It’s a date.” Gigi confirmed. Lydia hung up with a smile, plans and plots turning in her head.