Ferris Bueller is throwing another Midwest Expats in NYC party, and since he and Duckie are back to an on-again phase of their relationship, Andie decides to attend. Ferris is one of those charming people who knows everyone ever, and yet rarely lets anyone truly close. Duckie complains about it enough during their off-again times.
Andie remembers asking him once about why he kept getting back with Ferris. Duckie had dropped his head into his arms. “The sex,” he mumbled into his elbows, “is awesome.” She smiles to herself, because a Duckie getting some on a regular basis is a happy Duckie, and she always wanted that for him.
She walks into the already packed party and threads through the crowd to the bar, smiling mysteriously to herself. Heads turn to watch her pass; she knows she looks fantastic. She's wearing one of her own creations, a slim fitting cocktail dress in satin, black with a spray of her signature pink cherry blossoms. Andie loves this fabric, loves that she designed it to move with her body, to conceal and reveal as she had never dreamed of in high school.
She squeezes into a free space at the bar, next to a woman with rich dark hair. The designer in her notes that the cut of the woman's dress is too severe and bland to suit her sharp bone structure. Red, thinks Andie. I would put her in red, with a drape to soften the collarbone. She leans against the bar and smiles at the woman. “What's the signature drink this time?”
“Mojitos,” the woman answers in a smoky voice.
“Oh, joy,” Andie replies in a tone that is anything but joyful. “Trust Ferris to beat a dead trend into submission.”
“True.” The woman smiles, a mere stretching of lips painted dark red. She holds out her hand to Andie. “Veronica Sawyer. Expat from Ohio. And you?”
Andie takes the offered hand. “Andie Walsh. Illinois.”
Veronica's eyes flick up and down, taking in Andie's ensemble. “Designer,” she states. “Your own work?”
Andie inclines her head. “Every stitch. And the fabric as well.”
“Impressive.” Veronica smiles again, more genuinely this time. “So how do you know Ferris?”
“Other than Ferris knowing everyone?” Andie picks up the drink that the bartender places in front of her. “He's currently on-again with my best friend.”
Despite being almost strangers, Andie finds that Veronica is one of the most interesting people she has ever met. She writes crime novels and volunteers with LGBT teens. She combines fragility and strength in a way that makes Andie want to dig out her sketchbook, to draw the softness of her eyes, the fringe of her lashes against her pale skin.
Andie realizes that she's very attracted to Veronica.
The DJ is playing 80s new wave and punk, par for the course for a Ferris Bueller party. She and Veronica bond over the Smiths and Depeche Mode and wrangle lightly over the cutest member of Duran Duran. However, when the single “Teenage Suicide: Don't Do It” by one-hit-wonder Big Fun plays, Andie sees Veronica's face freeze.
Veronica shakes her head and grabs her purse. “Have to get out of here.” She strides quickly out and Andie follows her. She hears Duckie calling after her, but she's too intent on Veronica to pay attention.
When she catches up, Veronica is halfway down the block from the club in the Meatpacking district that Ferris rented for the party. She leans against a building, smoking a cigarette, a haunted look in her eyes.
“We could have gotten Duckie to kill the song.” Andie says as she walks up. “No need to walk away from free alcohol.”
Veronica shakes her head. “It's just...when I was in high school, that was the big song, you know? And my worst enemy, or best friend, depending on the day...died. Two football players. Then my boyfriend blew himself up on the steps of the school...”
“Wait, you went to Westerburg?” Andie speaks without thinking. “I remember when that all happened. Our school had assemblies about suicide for ages.” She stands next to Veronica and leans against the building next to her.
“You know,” Veronica drags deeply on her cigarette, “It used to be whenever I heard that song, I felt incredibly guilty. But this time...” She drags again and blows the smoke into the air.
She's silent for so long that Andie quietly asks, “This time?”
“This time I didn't feel anything. And it scared me.” Veronica tilts her head towards Andie. “Got so used to feeling like it was all my fault that I didn't remember that it wasn't. Until today.” She throws the cigarette down and crushes it out. “Wounds from high school drama really do fade. Who knew.” She looks at Andie through her lashes.
Andie reaches out and touches her shoulder. “So you're okay?”
Veronica's growing smile is full of mischief, and Andie wonders when she started cataloging those smiles. “Yeah. Finally.” She turns to face Andie, snaking her arm around her waist and pulling her close. “How about a real drink?”
Andie is suddenly grateful for the shadows cast by the streetlight on the corner, because she's blushing and doesn't want Veronica to realize it. “My place isn't far.”
“Why Ms. Walsh, I like the way you think.” Veronica brushes a lock of hair out of Andie's eyes. “You know, when you walked in there like a queen, with that gorgeous dress and your red hair, all I wanted was to talk to you. And you came right over to me. It was like...fate.”
Andie grins. “I almost didn't come tonight. Glad I did.”
Together they walk into the night.