Hydrangea and I went hunting for evil lamas and ravenous ghouls last night, but not before having dinner with my brother and Serenity at Flying Fish, a really pricey "Pacific Rim cuisine" restaurant.
I'm buying. Meeting Hydrangea has had an averse effect on my checking account; first a five hundred dollar phurba from Bali, now dinner for four at Flying Fish. I wouldn't mind if she weren't so goddam smug about the whole thing.
She looks great though; she's wearing a low cut black Anne Klein dress with matching boots and a beaded black cardigan. She gives me a little peck on the cheek when I pick her up at the Metropolitan.
"This is going to be fun," she says in her Katherine Hepburn voice. "Shall I call you Doug?"
"Please God no. Can't you just call me Mackenzie? Everybody else does."
"Your girlfriend doesn't."
"I don't have a girlfriend," I say.
"You do tonight, Doug."
"Okay. Connor. I like that," she says with a grin. I feel like she can read my mind, which sucks.
"Are you doing this just to torture me?"
"Not at all, Mr Mackenzie," she says, lying. "I'm just hungry."
When I introduce her as "Heidi" to Colin and Serenity at the restaurant, she steps on my foot with her high-heeled boots. Gosh, I completely forgot that she doesn't like being called Heidi.
We order drinks and appetizers. Hydrangea and Serenity instantly bond and start talking about weddings, Wicca, astrology, ear candles, and Montessori schools. Colin and I have a parallel conversation about football, Saabs, and martial arts movies.
When "Heidi" excuses herself to use the little girl's room, Serenity leans over the table, smiling.
"Doug, she is so sweet," she says. "Why didn't you tell us about her?"
"Yeah, she's really cool," Colin says. "What's wrong with her?"
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"I mean, why is she with you?" he says, laughing. Ha ha.
Over desert (they make the best creme brulee) I learn that Colin and Serenity are trying to get pregnant, but haven't had much luck yet. They're going to go see a fertility specialist in New Avalon when they get back. I didn't know that. I guess I never asked.
"You know, I have an herbal treatment that might work," Hydrangea says, and starts writing down a recipe for some kind of nettle tea for Serenity.
When dinner's over we go our separate ways; I tell them that we have a Halloween party that we have to make an appearance at. Serenity and Hydrangea share a big hug and exchange phone numbers and Colin is all smiles.
Arm in arm we walk to the Saab. "Thank you for dinner," she says. "They're very nice, you know, your brother and sister-in-law."
"Yeah, they're allright."
"She just wants to get along with you."
"Who? Serenity? We get along okay."
She doesn't say anything. "Hey are you cold? You want my coat?"
"I'm fine," she says. "I don't get cold."
I think about the satin cocktail dress outfit she wears in her alter-ego. "How do you stay warm, anyway? Magic?"
She smiles. "It's a Tibetan discipline called tumo. I generate psychic heat through meditation."
Of course she does.
We reach the car. "So. Are you ready to do battle with ravenous ghouls?"
"Fuck yeah I am."
"Then let's go to work. I know where Yungtun-Trogyal is."