Friday, January 23, 2015

Cause You're The Only Thing I Know

On New Year's Eve, our offices closed at noon and I found myself heading home by 2 p.m. I lingered for a while, not wanting to skip out right at the strike of 12 since everyone was proving themselves at work these days. Instead, I mapped out our Instagram calendar through March and submitted a few project briefs to the photo department for things they wouldn't even need to look at for another few months. Elena was coming over at 7:00, so I had five empty hours stretching in front of me. I decided to use them to primp, since what else is a gal to do when she's alone before a night out? I headed to Duane Reade and picked up a face mask, hair mask, new nail polish and wine. 

Once home, I spent the next few hours primping, napping and watching TV. There was a marathon on of Nick's show (all six episodes of it), which I avoided. I had never gotten around to watching the season past the pilot, and I had no intentions of it. I knew it would somehow shift my relationship with him which was already complicated enough. Instead I settled for mindless hours of the Kardashians. By the time 7:00 rolled around I was shaved, lotioned, plucked and polished to perfection. 

"Hey you!" I said as I swung open the door for Elena. She looked killer in a sequin mini dress that hung loose and ended abrubtly less than halfway down her model-worthy thighs. Her hair was piled in a messy top knot and she had added a bold red lip. "You look fantastic!"

"Thanks!" she said, pulling me in for a hug. "So do you."

I had settled on a black lace dress which was conservative in the front, but had an entirely open back. I left my hair down and wavy, adding only delicate gold earrings and a smoky eye. 

We made our way to the kitchen to sip on wine before leaving.

"So are you going to kiss Nick at midnight?" she asked, as I was swigging my Pinot.

I gave her a wide-eyed look in response. "No way!" 

"Oh come on," she berated me, giving me a firm stare. "You're single now."

"Ah that's right, I had forgotten," I replied with an accompanying finger snap.

"Speaking of, have you talked to Dylan at all lately?" 

I nodded slowly, almost ashamed at the memory. In a moment of weakness two nights ago, I had broken down and called him under the guise of asking if i had left one of my necklaces there (I hadn't, the one I described to him was safely in a dish on my dresser), when in reality I had just wanted to hear his voice. We had ended up talking for almost 15 minutes and by the time we hung up I was alarmed at the giddy sensation I felt. As I rehashed the story to Elena, I felt the same butterflies in my stomach at the memory of the way he had made me laugh.

When I finished, she sighed loudly. "To be honest, you've done a pretty solid job of breaking up until that call. I don't know if it is because you're in different cities, but one little phone call doesn't mean that you want him back," she said.

"I know," I replied, refilling my glass and topping off hers as well. "It just felt dumb. He texted me today, asking about my plans for tonight."

"What did you tell him?" 

"Just that I was going to a friend's apartment," I replied. "He didn't push further."

"Did you ask what he's doing?" she pressed.

"Nope," I said. "I didn't want to hear anything that rhymes with Schmara." 

Elena looked puzzled.

"Kara," I clarified with a small smile at how slow she could be for such a smart gal.

"Ohhh!" she replied with a laugh. "True."

After a few more minutes, we touched up our makeup and headed out the door, slightly tipsy. Emboldened by the wine and fancy clothes, for a fleeting moment I felt like the night could really be a fresh beginning. I linked Elena's arm as we hailed a cab fairly easily and gave the driver Nick's address. 

Walking into the apartment was as familiar as always, although it was packed to the brim with people; everyone looking totally vogue-worthy. Suddenly, I felt out of place in my Top Shop dress and DSW heels. 

"What is this, all of Nick's famous friends and their model girlfriends?" Elena whispered sharply into my ear, speaking aloud the exact thing I was thinking. I gave her a shrug and made a beeline for where I knew they usually set up the makeshift bar. I scanned the room for Nick, but only found Trevor.

"Dani!" he called, spotting me at the exact same time. I grabbed Elena's hand and weaved through the crowd towards him. 

"Happy New Year!" he bellowed, clearly feeling the buzz already. He enveloped me in a huge hug before pulling away. "Who's your friend?" he asked, looking pointedly at Elena.

"This is Elena, I think you two have met before," I said, knowing that they had definitely met on more than one occasion. Classic Trevor. 

"Hi Trevor," Elena said, clearly not amused. 

He grinned, "Sorry, I'm not great with names. I promise to remember you now," he gave her a wink. 

"Bummer that Ash couldn't come," I interjected, uncomfortable with the way he was looking at Elena. 

"I know," he said, "Can't wait until she gets back. So have you seen Nick yet?" 

"Nope," I said, "We just got here."

"Well then, you need a drink!" he announced, and before he had even finished the sentence he was herding us towards the bar. I gave Elena an apologetic look. 

"He's had a few too many already," I joked. I felt guilty for dragging Elena out tonight and was desperate to show her a good time. 

Once we both had dirty martinis in hand (they had hired an entire bartending service to host the event), we did a slow rotation of the room. After years of dating Nick, I knew a couple of people there and before I knew it two hours had passed, still with no sign of Nick. 

"Bathroom?" Elena asked, and I nodded, excusing us from a conversation with two friends from college. We headed down the narrow hallway only to find a line five girls deep waiting to use it. 

"Shit," Elena said, looking at me pathetically. "I've had to pee for like an hour now." 

I grabbed her arm and steered her through the line. Nick had a bathroom attached to his bedroom, which I assumed none of the others knew about. I pushed open the door and stopped suddenly. It hadn't occurred to me that Nick would be in his room. But there he was, sitting side by side on the bed with the girl I presumed to be Hadley. Their faces were close and his arm was draped lazily across her waist, so naturally that it couldn't be the first time it had found its way there. Her shiny brown hair cascaded down her back and even sitting I could tell she had a solid five inches on me. My heart sank, and I wasn't entirely sure why. 

"Sorry!" I yelped, trying to navigate my way backwards in four-inch heels. 

"Dani..." Nick said, jumping up as if he had been caught.

"Sorry, really, we were just going to use the bathroom," I muttered. I could feel the hot rush of blood to my cheeks as I started to close the door. 

"Oh my god," I said breathlessly once Elena and I were safely outside the room.

"Whoops," Elena said while clearly trying to stifle a laugh. "That was awkward. You looked like a baby gazelle trying to wobble out of there backwards."

I softly punched her in the shoulder. "Oh go get in line with the commoners," I said, steering us back towards the bathroom line.

After the bathroom, I immediately found my way back to the bar. Giving the bartender my most charming smile, I sweetly asked for a Patron shot. 

"Patron?" Elena asked. "Bold."

"You're doing it with me," I demanded, handing her one of the plastic shot glasses filled with clear liquid. 

She shook her head, but conceded. "What are we cheersing to?" 

"Well, we're twenty-somethings in New York, living the dream, aren't we?" I said, feeling the booze. 

"You've been watching too many episodes of Girls," Elena said, clinking her glass to mine. After she downed her shot, she gave me a wide-eyed look, while glancing over my shoulder.

"What?" I asked, signaling the bartender for another martini. 

She continued to gesture wildly with her face and neck and before I could call her out on her insanity, I felt an arm snake slowly around my waist. 

"Hey there," Nick said, his breath hot on my neck. 

I turned towards him, "Hey". 

"Sorry about that," he said, pulling back. "Hadley had me cooped up in there discussing show stuff."

"Hadley?" I asked, feigning ignorance. 

"Um yeah, that girl I was with in my room, she's a co-star," he said. 

"Oh," I replied, keeping up the facade that I had never ever googled him (I always, always googled him). 

"Are you guys having fun?" he asked. 

"Yeah," I replied, looking to Elena. "Great party." 

Nick looked uncomfortable at my short replies, and I couldn't explain why but I enjoyed watching him squirm. I looped my arm in Elena's and started to walk back into the crowd. 

Once we had been swallowed by the crowd once again, I released the breath I had been holding. 

"Okay, I'm no expert but you two have more sexual chemistry than Anastasia and Christian," Elena said.

"First off, stop re-reading 50 shades, secondly, he has a girlfriend - clearly." 

"He said co-star," she said. 

"Co-star, bang buddy, whatever," I said, downing half of my martini. "What time is it?"

"11:40," Elena said. 

"This is depressing," I replied. 

She nodded. "I'll kiss you at midnight?" 

I laughed, "Thank you." 

A few people had started dancing to Take Me Home by Cash Cash, and I drug Elena into the middle. I was officially drunk. 

After a few more songs, Elena was dancing close to a strange man and I was drunkely giving her the thumbs up. Midnight was quickly approaching and at least one of us would get a midnight kiss. I was half-heartedly dancing with a guy I knew from college, Ben, when I heard everyone begin to chant. 


I guess kissing Ben wouldn't be worse than kissing no one, I reasoned, draping my arms around his shoulders. 


I smiled at Ben, fully prepared to kiss him when I felt a pair of arms wrap around my waist and pull me back. Ben's confused and angry expression was soon replaced by Nick's face, close to mine. 

"What are you..?" I didn't finish my sentence. I heard the echos of "Happy New Year!" bellowing around me and Nick's lips were on mine. His arms wrapped tightly around my waist and I arched my back to fall into him. It was so familiar and so electric all at the same time.