Tuesday 31st December 2019
Kat was struggling to get into her Union Jack dress. She had just about managed to squeeze it over her shoulders but it had got stuck over her boobs, the more she wriggled the more she was convinced that any moment now she would hear a rip. “Just glide into it, nice and easy, like a caterpillar…” she told herself. She decided to take the dress off and start again. Maybe she could step into it? Nope that wasn’t going to work she thought. Now she was getting hot and flustered and started to panic. Taking a large gulp of her prosecco she instantly calmed down and went for round three. Arms up in the air and shimmy it down – that was the plan Kat decided on. The way her arms were up in the air resembled something more like one of those inflatable tube guys that move in the wind. The ones she had seen outside a DIY store. She began to wiggle her hips and made the noise she imagined it would make. It was something along the lines of a spooky ghost mixed with a grandmother hearing something vulgar, “Ooo-ooo!!”. Now this really made her chuckle. Gosh, why was this dress so much tighter than she remembered it to be? Kat had only worn it that Summer when she went to Glastonbury Festival and remembered feeling quite smug about how good she felt in it. A more prudent question was why did her housemate Olivia have to be so adamant that their New Year’s Eve party would be 90’s themed? Everyone else was going for the standard 1920’s theme considering they were entering the roaring 20’s. Because it was “unoriginal” that’s why, she heard Olivia’s voice say in her head. To be honest, Kat was slightly relieved she could recycle this costume rather than fork out for another outfit. Plus she knew the one she wanted would’ve easily set her back 100 quid.
One deep breath in and one last pull and Kat got it down. Hurrah, she rejoiced! Next thing she knew, Kat could suddenly breathe. Oh wait – that wasn’t a good sign was it? That meant she had now actually ripped it. Kat let out a groan and cursed the last Terry’s Chocolate Orange she had eaten.
“I don’t think it’s Terry’s fault” said a female voice muffling a laugh.
Ah! Sofia had come to her rescue, her kind friend pointed at the zip of the dress she had undone. She then handed Kat her badly made ginger wig and sat on the edge of Kat’s bed, popping open another bottle of prosecco.
“Thanks for that, Sof.” Kat gratefully replied, now moving closer to the mirror to carefully inspect every lump and bump on display. Damn it! So there was evidence of the 52 mince pies she had indulged in over Christmas. Ah well! She helped herself to an After Eight that was on the side. Kat could worry about that in the new year.
As much as she had protested that 2018 was her last year of the fancy dress New Years Eve party, obviously that plan had fallen through. Kat had been convinced that 2019 was the year she would be owning her first flat. But Kat was passed on being promoted at work and her company didn’t pay out bonus this year either, which meant that she was quite a bit short of her deposit. Well it was really the astronomical London rent, combined with weekends spent on brunches and clubbing, Glasto tickets and a girls holiday to Ibiza, which didn’t really help either. So in October Kat made the executive decision that 2020 would be her year. Yes, she would finally take the plunge and buy her first property. However in order to do so, it meant moving back home for a few months back to her parents home. She hadn’t lived at home since the Summer she graduated from uni. Choosing to live in the city with friends instead, discovering her own corner of London. Naturally her housemates were sad she would be moving out, however Kat was adamant that she would not let her social life take too much of a hit in 2020. She just had to be away from all of the temptation and needed to count her pennies. She needed to stop with all the spontaneous nights out so that by the Summer she would be in a brand new flat that was all hers.
Secretly Kat was quite excited about the prospect of moving home for the short term. She was now 26 and the only girl in the family; an older sister to her two younger brothers, but like her they had both moved out so that meant all the attention would be on her. She would be spending so much quality time with her parents and they would be doting on her left, right and centre. It would be like Christmas for a few months, Kat had convinced herself. She was sure that they were very excited about their little cherub moving back for a few months. It was like the story of the prodigal son returning home, except she hadn’t squandered her inheritance – instead she had been robbed by the London lifestyle (despite enjoying every moment of it). She just hoped that her Dad had forgotten about her getting too drunk at Christmas and when she told him what she really thought of his overcooked turkey. A week had nearly passed, he must have forgotten all about that by now, she reassured herself.
Kat was sad to leave her flat. She loved her housemates, they were sweet as could be, but truth be told she had enough of the cleaning rota Olivia had implemented. Olivia was very ambitious, organised and definitely the Mumma bear of the house. They had been friends since her first temp job out of uni, but now Kat was ready to be out in the world on her own. She planned to learn to cook, particularly meals that didn’t include ketchup as a main ingredient as she so often relied on. She planned to buy a place nearer to her parents and the country side but still with good transport links to commute into work. Hers would be a haven in contrast to the busy London city life. She turned to see Sofia staring at her, as if waiting for a response. Oh crap, she had zoned out and wasn’t listening to a word Sofia had said since prosecco.
“You look stunning by the way Sof, when’s Leo getting here, eh?” Kat winked at Sofia whilst readjusting her Ginger spice wig, hoping her blatant rudeness would be looked over.
“Never.” Sofia huffed.
Damn. There it was. The Latin fire that came out every so often from Sofia. The look on Sofia’s face said enough.
Kat had completely put her foot in it. Sofia was meant to be doing a couples costume with her now ex- boyfriend and had dressed as Rose from Titanic. Her natural olive complexion really complimented the red curly wig. Oh crap really, why did she say that? Kat regretted. Sofia had been heartbroken all Christmas. Her relationship pretty much came to an end at the start of the month when he had left her a voice note addressed to an Arabella, whom he seemed very excited to be spending Christmas with.
“He was just a bloody discount Hugh Grant if you ask me! Good riddance. You’ll have plenty of Leo’s lining up tonight.” She topped up Sofia’s glass and hoped this would help dig her out of the hole she had made. It seemed it did. She knew that Hugh Grant quip would make her smile.
“Hey girls! Can you put on the New Years playlist on please? People will be here soon!” Olivia called. She poked her head around Kat’s bedroom door stirring some homemade guacamole and had a big smile on her face. Olivia had dressed up as Cher from Clueless and of course nailed it.
“Ay ay captain!” Kat stomped her foot lightly on the ground and raised her hand to her head in salute before quickly looking down to check if her dress had split. So far, so good.
The house was buzzing, drinks were flowing and Kat had entered into an intense game of beer pong vs Johnny Bravo, Ace Ventura and Austin Powers. She may have been a few drinks in at this point but to her surprise, her aim had actually gotten better. Despite it still being early in the night, at the corner of her eye she saw some kind of dance off breaking out between the Mario Gang and the Power Rangers. Evidently the welcome shots went down well. Looking around she had to admit, Olivia had done a pretty good job in organizing it all and everyone had made a real effort.
“Drink Scary Spice!” yelled Ace Ventura as the ping pong ball ended up in her cup.
“It’s Ginger you idiot”, she retorted back pointing at the wig with her left hand, necking the drink with her right hand.
“Oh no I think it’s definitely scary with a temper like that.”
“Ah alright then Mr Ventura, let’s say loser has to break out the tequila.”
To be honest Kat enjoyed this flirty banter, particularly as Ace wasn’t too bad to look at. Well the actual guy – James, wasn’t. Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura on the other hand gave her the creeps. Up until now Kat had given up on dating in London since her last Hinge date. Every guy she had met was either in his early 20’s just looking to party or way too intense.
“Regretting that challenge now, Kat?” Ace smugly asked, as the ball landed in her cup again.
Kat had gone to the loo with Cher aka Liv, to freshen up and have a girly catch up on how the party was going. Liv was delighted how well her canape’s had gone down and revealed that she had bought a secret stash of Champagne that she was saving for countdown. Kat was really going to miss her thoughtfulness. Olivia carefully reapplied her lipstick and doused herself in some more perfume. Kat on the other hand was staring at herself in the mirror with the sudden realization that she was very drunk. Now she had to do her best to try and appear sober otherwise she would never hear the end of getting drunk this early on in the night.
“Mmmm Moooet?” Kat mumbled whilst nearly stumbling out of her platform heels. “Sounds laaavley, my laaavley Liv Liv Liv Liv! Did you know how fun your name is to say, who knew?” Kat readjusted her wig and then very seriously looked at Olivia.
“Olivia, how come you never see elephants hiding in trees?”
“Er, come again Kat?” Liv let out a laugh.
“Just answer, it’s funny. I swear!”
“Ok, Kat. I don’t know, how come you never see elephants hiding in trees?”
Kat leaned foward and whispered, unaware of just how strong her breath stank of tequila whilst tapping her nose with her index finger, “Because they’re very, very good at it.” Kat erupted into a belly aching laughter.
“Yeah that’s not that funny Kat.”
“Aww what! I got it in my Christimas cracker this year!”
“Mmm okay, Kat.” Olivia responded unconvinced subtly placing a mint in Kat’s mouth. Ah, now she really was going to miss living here.
Kat had summoned the group to collect their party poppers whilst Sofia and Olivia handed out the glasses of champagne. Kat should’ve really been a rep in Ibiza, look how entertained everyone was she thought to herself.
Kat scouted the room for Ace to see if he wanted a quick good luck kiss at midnight. But Britney Spears had already made her move. What a disaster that relationship would be.
Happy New Year!” They all chanted with joy. Olivia and Sofia pulled Kat in close and klinked their glasses before getting ready to sing Auld Lang’s Syne.
2:00 AM (or there abouts)
Two miscellaneous hours had passed by with a lot of dancing and drinking. Kat was still standing, despite the amount of tequila she had drank. Technically Kat was sat not standing, in the living room with her heels kicked off which were now replaced with her cozy slippers she received for Christmas instead. Ah, the perks of hosting from home. She noticed a slightly tipsy Olivia already going around with a black bin liner collecting the empty bottles. Maybe she could employ Olivia on Friday nights to clean her new flat when she finally moved out to the country side? Surely she would be able to afford a huge house with acres of land and a maid, with all the money she would be saving not paying London rent. She was about to propose the idea to Olivia when Last Christmas came on and a foghorn type noise that sounded a lot like, “GEEOOORGEEE!!!” came out of Kat’s mouth instead. It was going to be the last time for a while she could listen to Christmas songs without being judged so she figured she could ask Olivia later.
Austin Powers had put on “Despacito” in a desperate bid to impress Sofia. Kat was not happy. In fact she was so livid, she accidentally swiped his vodka and replenished her own alcohol stash in the kitchen.
Kat was the last one awake out of her, Sofia and Olivia. By now there were only a few guests left: Princess Peach, Buzz Lightyear and Forrest Gump. They had sang the whole of Queen’s Best Hits Soundtrack, re-enacting Bohemian Rhaposody in perfect harmony (at least Kat thought so much through her tequila tinted goggles) and now they had turned to card games.
“Hey Kat”, murmured Buzz, “Ben is trying to get into TV, don’t you work as an agent?”
Kat may have slightly embellished her job a little. It couldn’t hurt she thought as most of these people were Olivia’s friends and all far too drunk to remember. Plus working in HR didn’t really have the pizzazz she wanted and she knew that 2020 would be the year she would break into the industry, so what’s the harm in a head start?
“Yesss darling”, she slurred in her best Joanna Lumely impression which really just sounded like a turtle having a stroke.
“Let me tell you all about how we do it in show biz!”
Buzz definitely had bought her career advice and the story of how she had just scouted the next big thing who would be appearing in the Eastenders New Year’s Special. Luckily she had sensed that Buzz was too much of a snob to use his RADA education on a soap and Kat’s knowledge of the show was so advanced, she could practically go on Mastermind. Maybe she should enter The Chase this year? Heck, maybe she could present the chase! She typed “Chase – Bradley off” with a bunch of light bulb emojis into her phone notes, before she realized someone was talking to her. It was Buzz again. But this time it seemed like that last round of ring of fire had really taken a turn.
“I’ve been thinking all night about something and it’s really been bothering me.”
Oh no had she said something offensive? Was she caught out on her lie? Kat’s mind scanned the possibilities.
“What’s up Buzz?” She tried to say in her most sober and nonchalant tone. Buzz looked at her with a sad gaze and clasped both of Kat’s hands.
“What do you think is the morality behind killing slugs, because I’ve accidentally stepped on at least 3 tonight and I don’t know how to feel.”
“Right time to go to bed everyone!” She yawned in an exaggerated manner, turning all the lights on signalling it was definitely time to go home.
Wednesday 1st January 2020
Kat shot out of bed to the sound of pots clanging and what sounded like the whole of Gloria Delgago-Pritchett’s family dancing in high heels in her kitchen. Ow! Her head was banging, her tongue felt like sandpaper and she was sure that whoever that was making that racket, they would soon be wishing they hadn’t crossed her. Tumbling out of bed still half asleep with yesterday’s make-up on, Kat stubbed her toe on the edge of her bed.
“Oh gaaaaaa, fuuu—!!” Kat inhaled deeply clutching her big toe whilst hopping on her right leg like a chicken. Although the superking size bed seemed like a good idea at the time of buying it three years ago, frankly Kat was surprised she had any toenails left at this point.
“Dehh -spahhh – cito…
Quiero respirar tu cuello despacito…”
Wasn’t it an unspoken role that the week between Christmas and at least mid January, was meant to be spent in a state of permanent drunkness, not too sure what day of the week it was? And you only got out of bed at midday at the earliest, eating yesterday’s leftover pringles washed down with a Bucks Fizz for breakfast? And what was that smell wafting through the flat? Eggs? Today Kat was not feeling too polite, not on the account of her banging head.
“Olivia, what on earth? – “
She walked into the kitchen to see Olivia twisting her hips with Austin Power’s glasses on. Her and Sofia were both in their workout gear clearly having just returned from a run. Olivia couldn’t hold a tune but it was a hilarious impression of the rendition Sofia had received from Austin last night.
“Ok Google, volume up!” Olivia excitedly shouted at the speaker, “Deja que te diga cosas al oído…”
Sofia saved Liv from Kat’s wrath sneakily turning down the speaker and saying, “Alright girls, final breakfast together as a team!”
1st January and it meant it was time to say goodbye to her little London flat. Olivia’s sister was taking over Kat’s tenancy as she would be preparing to go home and really start her adult life. Olivia had cooked Eggs Benedict served with a strong cuppa before asking the dreaded million pound question.
“Right ladies what are your New Year resolutions for 2020 then?”
“Oh just wait a second, hair of the dog at least Liv!” Kat searched through the cupboards to see if there was any alcohol leftover. Her eyes lit up as she found a mysterious bottle of vodka in her cupboard. Where did that come from she wondered? “Bloody Mary anyone?”
Sofia began listing hers off which included learning to drive and to quit smoking. Olivia’s was to run the London marathon in under 4 hours, to travel to Australia and to take the first step in setting up her own fashion brand. Olivia was a big time Fashion buyer and micro influencer with a social media following of 65,000. Kat wondered just how many likes Olivia’s latest Instagram post from last night had racked up.
Kat? Well Kat started off with her biggest one, moving out and buying her own flat followed by the usual; exercise more, to grow her hair and be more spontaneous! Overall she just wanted to save more money to move out.
“Spontaneous eh, Kat? Are you going to dye your hair pink and present The Chase then?” What was Sofia on about? She had deja vu, but admitted she wouldn’t mind doing either of those things.
“Yes absolutely! It’s on the list. Here’s to The Chase and to 2020!” Sofia and Kat tapped their glasses in celebration, but Olivia remained quiet. Olivia was rarely quiet so this concerned Kat.
“I was meant to be going to China with work to source some fabrics in a few weeks, but have you seen this?” she asked.
“Some kind of flu going round in China?” She showed them an article a colleague from work sent her on her phone.
“Ah don’t worry about that! Not like it’s the Spanish influenza” Sofia said trying to cheer her up.
“Yes don’t worry Liv!” Kat agreed, “2020 is our year. You’ll have your successful fashion brand, Sof will practically be driving formula 1 and I’ll be in my posh flat soon enough. I’ll be throwing soirees and cooking you all breakfast.” To that they cheered and chatted some more on the events of last night, before taking a much needed nap. Kat needed to sober up before her brother arrived to pick her up and help him pack up the car. It was going to be so great hanging out with her little bro for a while. Just like old times. Only a few months and she would be sorted, she repeated in her head before slowly dozing off.
I hope you enjoyed reading this short story! If you did, make sure to comment and subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Feel free to check out the below too!