May Day by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The over-rouged young lady followed her with a brief, bitter glance--then turned again to the weak-chinned waiter and took up her argument.
"You better go up and tell him I'm here," she said defiantly, "or I'll go up myself."
"No, you don't!" said George sternly.
The girl smiled sardonically.
"Oh, I don't, don't I? Well, let me tell you I know more college fellas and more of 'em know me, and are glad to take me out on a party, than you ever saw in your whole life."
"Maybe so," she interrupted. "Oh, it's all right for any of 'em like that one that just ran out--God knows where she went--it's all right for them that are asked here to come or go as they like--but when I want to see a friend they have some cheap, ham-slinging, bring-me-a-doughnut waiter to stand here and keep me out."
"See here," said the elder Key indignantly, "I can't lose my job. Maybe this fella you're talkin' about doesn't want to see you."
"Oh, he wants to see me all right."
"Anyways, how could I find him in all that crowd?"
"Oh, he'll be there," she asserted confidently. "You just ask anybody for Gordon Sterrett and they'll point him out to you. They all know each other, those fellas."
She produced a mesh bag, and taking out a dollar bill handed it to George.
"Here," she said, "here's a bribe. You find him and give him my message. You tell him if he isn't here in five minutes I'm coming up."
George shook his head pessimistically, considered the question for a moment, wavered violently, and then withdrew.
In less than the allotted time Gordon came down-stairs. He was drunker than he had been earlier in the evening and in a different way. The liquor seemed to have hardened on him like a crust. He was heavy and lurching--almost incoherent when he talked.
"'Lo, Jewel," he said thickly. "Came right away, Jewel, I couldn't get that money. Tried my best."
"Money nothing!" she snapped. "You haven't been near me for ten days. What's the matter?"
He shook his head slowly.
"Been very low, Jewel. Been sick."
"Why didn't you tell me if you were sick. I don't care about the money that bad. I didn't start bothering you about it at all until you began neglecting me."
Again he shook his head.
"Haven't been neglecting you. Not at all."
"Haven't! You haven't been near me for three weeks, unless you been so drunk you didn't know what you were doing."
"Been sick. Jewel," he repeated, turning his eyes upon her wearily.
"You're well enough to come and play with your society friends here all right. You told me you'd meet me for dinner, and you said you'd have some money for me. You didn't even bother to ring me up."
"I couldn't get any money."
"Haven't I just been saying that doesn't matter? I wanted to see you, Gordon, but you seem to prefer your somebody else."
He denied this bitterly.
"Then get your hat and come along," she suggested. Gordon hesitated--and she came suddenly close to him and slipped her arms around his neck.
"Come on with me, Gordon," she said in a half whisper. "We'll go over to Devineries' and have a drink, and then we can go up to my apartment."
"I can't, Jewel,----"
"You can," she said intensely.
"I'm sick as a dog!"
"Well, then, you oughtn't to stay here and dance."
With a glance around him in which relief and despair were mingled, Gordon hesitated; then she suddenly pulled him to her and kissed him with soft, pulpy lips.
"All right," he said heavily. "I'll get my hat."