At least her new place is on the first floor.
Dana ducks under the doorway and drops to her knees, sending a gentle rumble through the room. Her entrance draws the attention of all dozen or so guests gathered in the spacious luxury apartment, but the subsequent silence prompts them to resume their conversations. While pleasantly surprised with the other guests’ ability to ignore the fourteen-foot-tall black woman crouching in the corner, with not a familiar face in sight, for a dreadful moment Dana wonders if she’s arrived at the wrong party.
Fortunately, a familiar labradoodle trots into the room and leaps into Dana’s arms. She cradles it like a puppy as it licks her chin. "Hello, Cooper! Glad someone’s happy to see me."
"What a pleasant surprise!" Leslie announces, following close behind. She wears a form-fitting red cocktail dress and hugs Dana’s leg. "I thought you said you couldn't make it."
"My pedicure got canceled, so I had a few extra hours on my hands."
"Well, it's great you're here."
Leslie gasps in exaggerated offense. "Because you’re my friend. Because you wanted to show me how you’ve finally embraced wearing bare shoulders—love that shirt, by the way. Because I want you here to celebrate my big step into adult independence."
"Uh huh. And?"
"Okay!" Leslie huffs. "I wanted you to meet my friend Monique from work."
Dana sighs. "There it is."
"She’s new in town, and I thought you two would get along. I bet you two have a lot in common."
"Let me guess, she’s the other black person in Kellsburg?"
"Don’t be like that. But, yes, she’s black…ish, I think. I’m not sure. You can ask her. Here, let me take your coat." Dana hands her denim jacket to Leslie, who holds it up with both hands. "Thanks. The bed in the guest room could use an ironic 90s-inspired comforter."
"It’s funny how you assume I won’t one day be big enough to stomp you."
A guest nearby gasps, but Leslie laughs, smacking Dana on the knee. "You’ve been saying that since grade school. I say bring it, Bigfoot." Leslie snaps her fingers, and Cooper jumps down from Dana’s arms. "I’ll tell Monique you’re here. Help yourself to some food and watch out for the ceiling fan."
"This isn’t my first rodeo."
Leslie heads to the guest room, with Cooper at her heels. Meanwhile, Dana crawls over to the hors d'oeuvres, and is disappointed to find a meager spread of cucumber sandwiches, steak bites, and assorted fruits, cheese, and desserts. She fills a plate with cheese and the last few steak bites then looks around for somewhere to sit, before settling on the ground and retreating into the safety of her phone.
"Are you Dana?"
Dana looks up to see another black woman, smiling down at her. Dressed in a long-sleeved sweatshirt and black leggings, she stands hunched over with her shoulder blades pressed against the ceiling. "I suppose you’re Monique?"
Monique grins and points to two vacant Lay-Z-Boys nearby. "Have a seat?"
"You go first," Dana says, looking skeptically at the chairs barely high as her knees.
Monique settles into the chair, the arms gripping her hips snugly. Dana folds herself into the other chair, her bent knees nearly level with her collarbone. "Even after ten years in this town, I'm still not used to almost always being the only giant girl everywhere I go."
"You’re from Northshore like Leslie, right?"
"We were roommates at Northshore U."
"I’ve only known her for a week. I was surprised she invited me."
Dana rolls her eyes. "Leslie’s excited to have another giantess friend. She feels guilty because she doesn’t have many friends of different sizes."
"She didn’t meet any giant people in college?"
"Maybe if we’d gone to Northshore State. Most of the giants at NU were recruited for sports. There were so few of us, Leslie once asked if I could introduce her to a giant guy in her marketing class. She assumed I knew him."
"Because all giant people know each other," Monique drawls.
"She’d actually confused him for a different giant guy I did know from the volleyball team."
Monique laughed. "Well, good for her. She has two giant friends now."
"She really wants to meet more giant guys. She used to tell me it was her dream to date a giant guy." Dana looks around, then leans in and whispers, "she’s a bit of a size queen."
Monique snickers. "Well, college might’ve been her best chance. There aren’t many giants out here in Kellsburg."
"Oh, I know. I once went on a date with a guy here who was obsessed with giant girls. I could tell he was disappointed when I showed up. I wasn’t as tall as he wanted me to be."
"Now, that’s a mess."
"Oh, it gets worse. He starts right off with 'so how did you get so tall?'"
"And you’re like, ‘I grew?’"
"To which he replies—"
"But how did you get tall tall?" They laugh again, drawing a few looks from nearby guests.
Monique frowns at her empty plate and eyes dwindling snack spread. "I don’t suppose you want to get out of here, maybe head some place where the sandwiches are made of bread?"
"Oh, please! Short people parties never have enough food."
"I think Leslie’s in the kitchen. I’ll let her know we’re headed out."
"Cool, I gotta grab my jacket. Meet you by the door."
Dana and Monique both stand up.
"Ow!!!" the two shout in unison, covering their heads as plaster rains on them from above. Dana looks up at the partially dislodged ceiling fan, then around at the other guests who gape in shock. "Time to go," she whispers. "The two giant girls are making a scene."
"Are you two okay?" Leslie shouts, running into the room, Cooper barking behind her.
"We're good!" Dana says, still rubbing her head. "We were about to go out to grab dinner, but—."
"That's great!" Leslie says. She darts to the guest room and returns with Dana’s jacket. "You two go have fun!"
"Are you sure?" Monique asks. "I feel kind of bad about your fan."
"Oh, don’t worry about that. My boyfriend can fix it. Right, Denmo?" She looks at the African man ducking out of the bathroom. He waves to the group before crouching into the kitchen to retrieve a broom. Dana and Monique look at each other, eyebrows raised. Leslie looks up at Dana and Monique with a grin. "He’s a dream. Handsome, polite, good cook, and hung like a Stallion."
Dana gasps. "Leslie!"
"What? He’s ten feet tall!"