Jo was drinking her black coffee as she sat down at the dining room table. She looked at the nine familiar faces of the people she had spent so much time with in the past. She had known a few of them since kindergarten. They all had drank way too much last night; surely she wasn’t the only one with a terrible hangover. She felt awful and had a nagging headache; she hadn’t felt this way since graduation. Looking at them, she could tell that they felt the same way she did.
"Guys, this is so embarrassing!" Her voice was still hoarse from all the singing and laughing from last night. "We were in this exact same situation eleven years ago." Jo said quietly as she looked at their very tired faces.
Everyone was silent as they waited to hear what Jo had to say. They expected that she would bluntly summarize their drunken activities from last night.
"We all have bad hangovers and we don't really remember much of what happened last night. We did the same thing when we graduated from college, and that happens to be the last time we all got together."
She didn't want to be too critical of her friends’ actions, so she decided to say nothing more. ‘I understand, everyone has a moment of weakness, but yesterday we all blew it.’ She realized. Seeing that the rest were not willing to discuss that matter any further, she pulled out her phone and began browsing unawarely.
Suddenly, she saw a video from the previous night posted on their web chat. She took a few deep breaths, almost choked on her own saliva and abruptly coughed to clear her throat.
"Thomas, if I don't kill you in the very near future, it will be a miracle!" She said looking straight into his tired eyes. He couldn't understand why she would say that.
"Jo, what are you talking about?" He asked after a moment of reflection. He had a very puzzled look plastered on his face.
"Delete the damn video if you want to live!!!" She tried to keep calm, but the anger was overwhelming. “You are ruining our reputation!!!"
"What video?" He asked while crossing his arms and leaned back in his chair playing with his cup in his hands.
It really seemed like Thomas did not know what she was talking about.
‘I don’t believe in your stoic calm. Great game!’ She complimented in her mind while cursing him at the same time. ‘You will be exposed very soon!’
"One more second and I will kill you!" Jo shouted, unable to control her emotions anymore. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply to calm herself down.
Thomas was silent as he shook his head slowly in confusion. Another friend approached him from the side.
Monica sat next to him and placed her cup of coffee on the table. She sighed as she took out her cell phone. A moment later, she opened the video and put her phone in front of Thomas so he could see for himself.
"Oh shit!" Thomas choked and spewed coffee from his mouth as he watched it. "Guys, you made a bet! Haha... I can't believe you did it!" He looked straight into Matthew's eyes who was sitting across from him. Thomas was laughing hysterically as he looked at the proof in front of him.
"What bet?" Mathew asked quietly. He didn't really know what they were talking about. He also had a headache and couldn't think very clearly. "Could you all quiet down, please?"
Thomas passed the phone to him without saying a word. Matthew watched the video and woke up immediately. His rage grew rapidly by the second.
Seething with anger. "That's not funny at all! Delete it!"
"Why?" Thomas looked at Matthew innocently.
"Are you trying to get your teeth knocked out?" Matthew asked him.
Thomas laughed. “Are you threatening me?”
They both had black belts in martial arts and were very good. They used to fight a lot in the past, so it was nothing new.
"I will seriously fuck you up!" Matthew announced as a matter of fact, but Thomas didn’t react as his face was still expressionless, so he continued. "Do you need a long vacation in the hospital?"
"Haha… I am not afraid of you! What's done is done! A bet is a bet and there’s nothing you can do about it now!" Thomas scoffed at the judgmental look on Matthews’ face.
There was a long, uncomfortable silence around the table. Nobody wanted to say anything about what they had just witnessed.
Everyone was confused. The two men looked as if they would fight any second. They were standing at opposite ends of the table, staring each other down in anger. They looked like two enraged lions about to pounce at each other.
Jo saw them fight many times in the past. They could go on forever, but this was not the time or place for that.
"Shut up and sit down! Both of you!" She stood up with both hands on the table in front of her. She tried to come up with a solution before something bad happened.
"Actually, I like the bet!" She said without thinking. "I’m in! I have been so bored lately, so I don't mind having a little fun for once. Maybe I will have the urge to write another novel. It’s been so long since I had one published." ‘Damn! What nonsense I am talking about!’ She scolded herself.
Again there was a long, uncomfortable silence around the table.
"Jo, you can't! I am not going to play this stupid game, you know I don’t gamble." Finally, Matthew recovered from his shock. "We are adults, and we should act like it. We have work and separate lives to manage. Who has time for childish bets?"
“Is Mr. Perfect afraid he won’t find Ms. Perfect?" Thomas asked him mockingly. He still had hard feelings toward him. Matthew had dated his sister for a while in the past, but she wasn’t good enough for Mr. Perfect. He also had his heart broken by Jo, apparently he wasn’t good enough for her. He was fed up with these two perfect people.
"Thomas, shut up!" Jo shouted firmly.
He was offended by her tone. ‘How could she yell at him like that?’
"Chill out Ms. Perfect!" Thomas taunted. He knew this would upset her even more.
"Seriously, just shut up already!" Jo had enough of his sarcasm. "Are you really trying to lose a few teeth?"
Jo knew Matthew for a long time; they talked almost every day. He recently told her that he was closing one of the most serious lawsuits in his career, so work was very important to him right now. She also had a lot of things to take care of, but she really wanted to let loose for a little while and stop trying so hard to be perfect.
"I am definitely in, but ..." Jo hesitated for a moment. "I have one condition. If we continue the bet, Thomas will have to volunteer in a foster home for a year." She knew that he and his wife couldn't bear children. His wife was very depressed about it, and adoption was out of the question because his family was very conservative.
Thomas was furious when he heard Jo’s proposition. He knew exactly what she was trying to pull.
"Forget it! I am not going to spend my precious time in a foster home. You didn’t say anything about it last night!" Thomas was pissed. He knew that working with orphans was going to be extremely difficult. He preferred his wealthy clients with problems like insomnia, depression, or other minor issues.
"Of course not! Because all of us were drunk." Matthew knew what Jo was trying to do. Jo had always been clever and scheming. He loved her sneaky way of roping Thomas into this. "If you agree, I’m in!" he added.
"Son of a bitch!" Thomas was angry.
"You said a bet is a bet." Jo couldn't refrain from laughing. "Are you in or not?" she said sarcastically.
Everybody at the table was staring at him in anticipation.
"I’m in." Thomas sighed in defeat. He couldn’t believe that his friends had managed to drag him into this.
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