“No, no Lauryn. Don’t put that lamp there,” Evangeline began. “It goes over there on that end table,” she said pointing.

Lauryn sat the lamp on the table. Opening another box, she picked up a bubble-wrapped item. After discarding of the wrap, she proceeded to place the crystal candy dish on Evangeline’s coffee table.

“And please be very careful with my candy dish. It’s pure crystal, you know.”

“Evangeline, if you’re going to be so touchy about every little thing, why did you ask me to help you unpack?”

“Because you’re my best friend…and because I’ve been living here for three months and I’ve yet to unpack anything other than my bare necessities.”

“Well that’s no one’s fault but your own. Whose bright idea was it to wait until all of your furniture arrived before you unpacked?” Lauryn asked, sitting down on Evangeline’s comfortable, plush chocolate brown sofa in the den.

“Yeah, yeah I know. I can be anal.”

“Can be anal?” Lauryn repeated questionably with a laugh. “You are ‘Miss Anal.’ I still remember in the fifth grade how you were more upset than your mother when you got a grass stain on your brand new white Keds.”

“Yeah, I remember that, too. And I still don’t walk on grass if I don’t have to!”

“You’re insane, Evie!”

“I know, but I’m really trying to work on it,” Evangeline replied with a laugh.

The two friends sat on the sofa admiring the apartment. There was still tons of unpacking to be done and little by little things were coming together.

Evangeline Alyssa Williamson and Lauryn Olivia Tyler had been best friends for as long as they could remember. They met at age three in their Tiny Tots Creative Movement dance class. Both girls were star pupils and enjoyed dancing. Though they never attended the same elementary, junior high, or high school, their love for dance kept them connected as they always attended the same dance academy.

Their friendship was special because they really balanced each other. Lauryn was the one who feared nothing and no one. She loved taking chances and always called things as she saw them. Evangeline, on the other hand, was more rational. She consistently thought things through before acting. Both girls did share one common quality; they were real go-getters. Once their minds were set on doing something, not a soul could stop them.

“Hey, do want something to drink?” Evangeline asked getting up from the sofa.

“Yeah, if you have some lemonade. That would be perfect right about now.”

“Of course I have lemonade. That’s one of my bare necessities.”

Lauryn followed Evangeline into the kitchen. She took two glasses from the cabinet and Evangeline poured the citrus beverage.

“Cheers!” they both said as they toasted.

They sat down at the kitchen table. Lauryn began admiring the classic hardwood flooring.

“This is such a great find, Evie. These hardwood floors are immaculate.”

“Yes, it is a great find, all thanks to the best real estate agent in Llanview.”

“Well, you know, I do what I can,” Lauryn said, smiling prideful as she gave herself a pat on the back. “There was another person interested in this villa. Luckily, after you told me you were moving back, I was able to steer them in another direction.”

“Well I’m glad you did because this is perfect for me.”

“Yeah. I’m inclined to agree with you on that one, Evie. This place is definitely you.”

“Well what does that mean?”

“Oh you know,” Lauryn began, rising from her chair at the table, looking around. “It’s your style, your taste. Really classy…prissy ,” she finished with a smirk.

Prissy ?! I’m not that prissy!”

“Evie, come on now! You’re Queen of Priss. But it’s just who you are. Nothing to be embarrassed about.”

“Could I ever be embarrassed about anything around you?”

“Exactly! And that’s why we’re best friends. You’re the prissy one and I always tell it like it is. We compliment each other quite well, don’t you think?”

“I’ll tell you what I think,” Evangeline began, getting up from her chair, walking back into the den. “I think it was really silly to wait until all of my furniture arrived to do the majority of unpacking. This is going to take another three months!”

Lauryn gave a smile. “Well, I hate to say ‘I told you so,’ so I won’t.”

Evangeline just looked at her, not saying a word.

Wanting to give her best friend some encouragement, Lauryn said, “Come on, buddy. It won’t be that bad.”

She started looking through Evangeline’s collection of photography. Evangeline had various black and white framed photos -- some romance pieces by Pamela Hanson, the Brooklyn Bridge at night, James Dean, and classic nature pieces by Ansel Adams. If she had the time, Evangeline would’ve taken up photography herself. But since she was continuously busy with cases, she delighted in the brilliant photography of others.

“Hey, where are you going to put these pictures?”

Rummaging through another box, Evangeline responded, “I wanted to put some in the hallway that leads from the den to the stairwell.”

“Oh, that’s going to look so hot! That’s a great spot!”

“Great! Now all we have to do is go through all the boxes to find the hangers!” Evangeline replied with phony enthusiasm.

The ladies did more unpacking and after a while, Evangeline’s villa began to look like it was actually being occupied by a resident, not just being used as storage space.

They decided to reward themselves for a job well done with dinner and drinks at Rodi’s. Evangeline loved the food at Rodi’s, as it was one of the things she missed most during her time away from Llanview.

After graduating law school, she accepted an offer from Rosenthal Langston & Associates located in Los Angeles. She didn’t think she’d be so homesick. But the eight years away from her family and friends eventually took its toll. She began looking for opportunities closer to home. Luckily, Cochran Summer and Shields in Llanview made her an offer she couldn’t refuse.

“Okay Evie, be honest…don’t you miss LA? I mean you left the beach, and all of those fine California men!”

Evangeline laughed. “Yes, I do miss the beach and the endless amount of sunshine. But I’m looking forward to the change of seasons. Plus all of you guys are here. I got tired of being way out there by myself. I missed you guys.”

“Oh come on, Evie. You weren’t that lonely, and you weren’t by yourself all of the time. I met quite a few of the cuties you chose to occupy your time with, remember?”

“Uh huh, yeah! And you see that none of them were reason enough for me to stay out there!”

Both ladies laughed in agreement.

“I see your point,” Lauryn said as their food was being distributed on the table. They began eating and were immediately pleased.

“Oh, I’ve missed this.” Evangeline bit into an onion ring and sipped the last of her mango raspberry martini. “LA has a lot of things but no one can hold a candle stick to the onion rings here at Rodi’s.”

Lauryn agreed. “Aren’t they to die for? If I ever move away, I think I’ll have to have these shipped to me at least once a month.”

Evangeline laughed. “Hey, I’m gonna go get another one of these,” she said holding up her glass. “You want one?”

“No, I’m cool for now. I’m still working on my cosmopolitan.”

“Okay, I’ll be right back.”

Evangeline got up from their booth and walked over to the bar. It was packed with patrons all wanting to quench their thirsts. When she finally got the bartender’s attention she asked for another martini. It seemed like it was taking him forever to make her drink.

Evangeline began looking at her watch. Becoming quickly irritated, she opted to give the bartender a piece of her mind. However, she stopped when she looked to her right and saw the person who’d just stepped up beside her.