By eleven, they had watched two totally sloppy movies that had them giggling, though they had both watched the same movies at least a dozen times each. They ordered a deluxe pizza to go with their cheese box, and Bekka bought ginger ale to toast the new year. She had her notebook computer and sat on the couch to write, and they had turned the TV so Kat could work at her computer desk and watch whatever happened to be on. They were playing their favorite game of video remote, tossing the remote back and forth, taking turns pressing random buttons and watching whatever appeared long enough to decide if it was interesting, then tossing the remote back again. They awarded points for shows that kept their attention longer than five minutes, and took points away when the channel they landed on was running commercials. They kept a tally of how many times and on how many channels they saw the same commercial played.
Kat decided to make a batch of pineapple cream cheese spread for their crackers and was having trouble with the can opener. Bekka had just stepped into the kitchen to help her, when the apartment door opened and Amy staggered in, loaded down with suitcases.
"Hey -- is anybody home?"
Her call brought Bekka and Kat running. Kat held the bowl of cream cheese and the wire whisk, and Bekka had the can of pineapple, half opened, caught in the act of turning the crank.
"Before you ask," Amy said, dropping dramatically down onto the couch, "Joe and I broke up. Again."
"What was it this time?" Bekka put the can down on the table and continued opening it.
"My idiot cousin was bugging us about getting married. It was so stupid!" She started unbuttoning her coat, and paused halfway through to yank off her stocking cap. "We got into this really big fight in front of everybody. Grandma and Grandpa and my parents and my brother and that idiot Pete and his moron wife and their three ugly kids. Yuck! If my kids were ever going to turn out that ugly, I'd get sterilized!" She giggled. "I told Joe just as much, right in front of them. I mean, it was Pete's fault we started fighting, right? It was bad enough Joe had to put up with the whole clan for three days, but to back him into a corner about 'making an honest woman out of me' -- and then he gets all defensive about how we're never together long enough to sleep together..." She groaned and sat up enough to peel out of her coat, then collapsed again into the cushions.
"In general, men stink, huh?" Kat tried her best to smother the grin she flashed at Bekka.
"That's why we're together -- so we don't kill them all!" Bekka added. She knew she failed miserably at hiding her own grin.
It really wasn't funny, she knew, yet it was. The three of them had come home to the apartment for one stupid, unreasonable reason or another. Amy and Joe were constantly breaking up. They had something good under all the schisms, or they wouldn't keep getting back together. Bekka just wished they'd realize that and work together instead of demanding the other change.
"Are you having a party?" Her frustrated scowl melted into the pitiful look that Bekka suspected was the real girl underneath her bluster and bossiness. "I need one really bad."
"We were just getting the ginger ale and pineapple spread before the countdown in Times Square started," Kat said. She took the can of pineapple from Bekka and hurried back into the kitchen to drain and mix.
"Good. I was afraid I'd miss it." Amy struggled out of the couch and dragged her suitcases into her bedroom.
In fifteen minutes, they were settled in front of the TV set. Amy had changed into sweats and had her plume pen and notepad conveniently placed if inspiration struck. Bekka had the bottle of ginger ale lying in a roaster pan full of ice, and three royal blue plastic champagne flutes lined up in front of her.
Kat sighed and smiled wearily as she leaned back against the couch. "I'm so glad you both came back. Bekka, how do you stand it when we're not here?"
"When do you think I do all my writing?" Bekka wrinkled up her nose at them both and reached for a wedge of smoky cheese.
"I can't stand being alone."
"I propose a toast," Amy said, gesturing for Bekka to fill the glasses. "To us. To our friendship. The only sure thing in any of our lives. May we always stay together, here for each other, no matter what happens. No matter what men wander through our lives or the lousy parts the General inflicts on us. The three of us, together."
"Together forever," Bekka echoed, as she passed glasses to Bekka and Amy.
"Always. The three of us." Kat bowed as elegantly as she could from a sitting position.
The three touched their glasses together and drank. From the TV came the sound of the countdown from Times Square. As the crowd got to 'five,' the girls put down their glasses and wrapped their arms around each other.