"Is something wrong?" I asked him.
"Yeah, I just got some bad news," he said.
"I just got off the phone with Tom's mother, my boss. Tom had told me I needed to call her urgently. It turns out that the person who was going to cover for me at work tonight suddenly took sick and so did the one other person who was on for tonight's shift. Every single other kitchen grunt is out of town because of Thanksgiving. So I can't go to the party, I have to work."
"Wow, that's harsh!" I said.
"I know. I'm so disappointed! It was the only fun thing I had planned for this whole holiday weekend. I tried to convince my boss to let me get out of it, but she said that she absolutely needs me tonight, and if she can't count on me, she'd have no choice but to replace me with a college student she can rely on. Obviously I need this job, so there's nothing I can do."
"That's too bad," I said.
"Can you give them my regrets when you get there, and tell them what happened?" he asked.
"Okay, no problem," I said.
I felt like an evil person for it, but I was secretly almost kind of glad that Joe wouldn't be at the party. Of course I wanted to get together with Andrea at the party myself, and it would just be that much easier if I didn't have a rival to deal with. I didn't want my friendship with Joe to be ruined by competition over a girl, but at the same time I couldn't bring myself to just step aside and leave her to him. I was in love with her!
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