by Patrick Trotti
Tonight’s finally the night. I was starting to get worried. I mean we’ve been dating for like two months and I haven’t met any of her friends.
In fact, we’ve never been out on an official date when I really think about it. It’s always a lunch during the week or a late night bite at some shitty Chinese restaurant at one in the morning after we fucked. I don’t think that we’ve been out on a Friday or Saturday night. I’m not one to complain because it’s been a while since I had a girlfriend. Come to think of it, it’s been almost two years since I was with someone before Julie. And that didn’t really count as dating because I was married. At least I’m having sex. That’s what I keep on telling myself.
For some reason, maybe a lack of self-confidence?, I brought up the subject a week ago. Looking back on it I was dumb to say anything at all. Hindsight is 20/20 though right?
“How come we never go out on a Friday or Saturday night?”
“What? I don’t know, I never really thought about it to be honest with you,” she said bluntly.
I didn’t believe her. “Are you seeing someone else?”
“Of course not. Why, are you?”
Classic move, turn the question around on me and deflect the attention.
“No. I just think it’s weird that I haven’t met any of your friends.”
“Well, you haven’t introduced me to your friends,” she said defiantly.
“That’s because you’re always busy!”
“I’m sorry but I can’t drop everything to make you feel better about our relationship. I’m very busy at work.”
“I know it’s just that I get the feeling that you’re not really committed.” The second it came out of my mouth I regretted it. It sounded like something a teenage girl would say to her boyfriend. I had to recover. “Do your friends even know about me?”
She hesitated for a moment before responding. “Yes, of course they do.”
I didn’t want to push things any further but I was already knee deep so I figured there wasn’t any harm in doing so.
“I think we should have a get together. More like a party, you know, so my friends and your friends can meet each other. I think it’ll be good for us.”
She couldn’t even make eye contact with me. “Sure, I’ll talk to my girlfriends.”
* * * *
I got a call the other day. It was Julie. She said that the party was going to be this weekend, Saturday night. Primetime! It was going to be at her best friend’s house. She invited about twenty people. I called up some of my buddies and let them know. For some reason I was nervous.
The work week flew by quickly. I breezed through conference calls and inter-departmental meetings with thoughts of my wardrobe for Saturday night. I settled on a new pair of jeans with a clean t-shirt and a blazer. Simple and hip, yet not too immature.
I arrived at the apartment twenty minutes late with a bottle of cheap wine in my sweaty palm. The room was packed with strange faces peppered in with some of my college buddies mingling with women.
There was some obscure downtown art rock band playing on the stereo and I wondered to myself when did I become the type of person who hung out with people who listened to a particular band just because they were considered underground?
Julie was in the kitchen talking with a man. He was much better looking than me. They didn’t notice me at first. She was laughing at his words and was touching his forearm with her fingers, rubbing them up and down his arm, the same way she did to me when we first met at the bar.
“Hey, sweetie. I want you to meet Brian.” I went in for a kiss and was given the side of her face. Nothing more than a symbolic peck on the cheek. I was furious. I needed a large glass of strong alcohol.
“Hey, did you just get here?”
"Yeah, sorry I’m late.”
“That’s okay. Hey, I want you to meet someone. Follow me.”
Finally, I thought, I had been granted my wish of meeting her friends. She led me through a sea of white twenty something’s clutching bottles of overpriced imported beer into the living room. On the couch was an older looking blond sitting by herself. At the sight of Julie she hopped up off the couch.
“How are you?”
“I’m good. This must be Benjamin. I’m Melissa, nice to meet you.” She seemed nice enough but was overly eager for some reason.
“I’ll be back in a minute okay? Make yourself comfortable.” Julie snuck off through the crowd before I had the chance to respond.
I was stuck with Melissa for the time being.
“So this is your place?”
“Yeah, I’ve been here since I moved to the city a few years back.”
“Have you and Julie been friends long?”
“Yes, we were roommates during freshman year of college.”
“Wow, that’s amazing.” Looking around I noticed that everyone was paired off in two’s. It seemed strange considering the fact that most of these people didn’t know one another before tonight.
“So, what do you do?” I asked.
Melissa leaned in closer and placed her hand on my thigh and smiled.
“I work in publishing. Pretty routine stuff. It’s actually quite boring.”
“Excuse me, I’ll be right back.” I jumped off the couch and headed for the kitchen in search of Julie.
Surely I was reading too much into the encounter with Melissa. There’s no way that she was hitting on me I repeated to myself.
Julie was still talking with Brian. Before I could get to them though I was cut off by a woman. She was a redhead, presumably another friend of Julie’s.
“Hey there I’m Sarah. And you are?”
“Oh, hi, nice to meet you. I’m Benjamin.”
“The pleasure’s all mine.” She winked and unbuttoned the top of her blouse to show off a little cleavage.
“So, who are you here with?”
Before responding she laughed wildly. I assumed she was drunk.
“Honey, you must be mistaken. I’m single. Everyone here is single.”
“I said everyone here is single.”
“Well that can’t be. I’m here with my girlfriend, Julie.”
“Sweetie, this party was her idea. It’s a single’s dinner party. Everyone was supposed to bring someone that they’re no longer interested in. You’re here to meet someone new.” She smiled again and stepped closer.
That sneaky fucking bitch!
“I’ll be right back.” I gave off a fake smile and brushed past her.
The look on Julie’s face changed dramatically as I approached her and Brian. It was almost as if she were a young girl that had just realized that she was caught doing something wrong. She left Brian and met me halfway.
“I was going to tell you, I swear.”
“Really? When, after I made an ass out of myself in front of your friends?”
She just stood there quietly. Her look was a mixture of embarrassment and shock as she led me into the bedroom to avoid me creating a scene.
“I’m sorry Ben but you’re just not right for me.”
“And this is how you tell me?”
“I didn’t want to hurt your feelings. Besides, I figured that I have plenty of single girlfriends that would be perfect for you.”
“Why would you think that?”
“Because they’re not me.” She walked past me and left me alone to mull that over.
I had two options: storm out trying to prove a point (which would probably go largely unnoticed amongst the large crowd) or I could make the best of it and find someone else.
I chose the latter.
Sarah was still standing by herself in the kitchen. She must’ve had another couple of drinks because she was wobbling back and forth from one foot to another.
Easy target, I thought to myself.
“You wanna get out of here?”
“Sure.” She said, trying to cover up a hiccup.
She was cute and horny and most importantly she wasn’t Julie.
I paid the cab fare back to my place.
We barely got in the door before we were at each other, furiously pulling each other’s clothes off. I was trying my best to focus but every time I closed my eyes I would picture Julie.
“Excuse me for a moment I just have to go to the bathroom. The bedroom is right over there. Make yourself comfortable.”
You have to get a hold of yourself. What’s wrong with you? This girl is sexy. She’s so much hotter than Julie! The mirror provided me no answer. I threw some cold water on my face and made my way to the bedroom.
Sarah was sprawled out on the bed. She was in her bra and panties. I could hear her snoring. She was passed out.
“Great, just great.” I said to no one in particular.
I left a note next to her on the bed saying something about how nice it was to meet her and that she didn’t have to rush out in the morning. It was mostly bullshit.
I grabbed my wallet and cell phone and left for the nearest bar.