Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Jen and Ben

Being limited to 1/40th of my wardrobe still didn't stop me from changing 15 times on Saturday night. The walls of my childhood bedroom made me feel like I was back in high school, getting ready for a date with the most popular kid in school. In the end, I settled on a camel suede skirt, white long sleeve crop top and strappy, flat sandals. I let my freshly-balayaged hair fall in loose waves, and added minimal make-up. Minimal in the sense that obtaining that "barely there makeup look" took me 20 minutes to achieve. 

I grabbed my bag and headed downstairs. "I'm off," I said in the general direction of where my parents were engrossed in the TV. They had, apparently, just discovered GOT and were knee deep in season 2. 

"Bye honey," my Mom called over her shoulder, more distracted by Jon Snow's bicep than her second born. 

"Be safe!" my Dad followed-up. "No drinking and driving, there are no cabs in these parts so if you drink, you stay in Philly. This is no Manhattan."

I rolled my eyes. "I'm not 12, Dad. I'll stay at Laura's." 

He returned his gaze back to the TV as I grabbed the keys to my old car and headed into one of the two garages. My favorite thing about coming back home (besides an abundance of homemade meals) was driving. You just couldn't belt out bad Taylor Swift songs anywhere better.

An hour later—after fighting the gridlock traffic that is route 76I was at last pulling up to Laura's house. I had to circle a few times to find parking, and then spent 5 additional minutes trying to utilize my very rusty parallel parking skills to maneuver into a spot on the street. Finally, I was walking up to her house a solid 20 minutes later than I had originally planned. 

"Hiii!" Laura flung open the door to her rowhome and enveloped me in a warm hug. I could already smell vodka on her but hey, it was her birthday after all. 

"Hi you!" I replied as she squeezed me tighter. "Here," I said once she had released me, pushing a bag into her arms. "Happy birthday." I had abused my employee discount to get her a dress, necklace and earrings. It was my way of overcompensating for having turned down so many Philly invites in the past few months. 

"D, this is too much," she said, all the while a tipsy smile on her face. 

"Nonsense," I argued, linking arms with her as we headed down the narrow hallway. When we entered the kitchen, I spied a few more of our high school classmates in the tiny space and pulled away from Laura to make the rounds. 

An hour and two drinks later, we had morphed into an incompetent giggling mess of girls as we tried to organize ourselves enough to go out. This involved another 20 minutes of fixing hair, lining lips and bandaging feet in an effort to ward off eventual blisters. It took two cabs to hold us all, but finally we had made our way to a karaoke bar where we had rented out a room for the night. We headed into the bar that was throbbing with music and, after giving Laura's name, were whisked upstairs to a private room. We were the first to arrive and we all made ourseleves home in the thick comfort of the black leather couches. There was a massive TV on the wall (presumably for the karaoke), along with two bottles, various mixers, and high top tables. 

"This is amazing!" I said, surveying the room. 

"I know," a high school friend, Kaylee, answered. "We come here for almost everyone's birthday now since it's something different. But I'm sure you're used to waay cooler up in the city."

I gave out a small snort, "Everyone romanticizes New York so much, but in reality it's just a more expensive version of any other city." 

"Lies!" Kaylee bellowed in response. "I've visited, it's incredible."

I smiled in response, not wanting to waste energy trash talking my own city. It still shocked me how high of a pedestal everyone placed New York City on. True, it had some amazing perks. You could get anything at a moment's notice, you were surrounded by the most incredibly diverse group of people in the world and, well, the food didn't suck. But the rent was unjustifiably high, the wackos on the street were constantly yelling at you and the subways smelled like feet. The open feel of Philly, complete with its ability to walk almost anywhere in just 20 minutes, greeted me like an oasis every time I came home. 

We all poured another drink and turned the karaoke station to what could only be described as bad 90s pop. All the while, I kept one eye trained pointedly on the door. It was already 11:30, where was he? 

"Oh!" Laura yelped in between choruses of 'Bye Bye Bye', "the boys are in a cab." 

I took a deep breath and popped a mint, feeling several pairs of eyes dart to me. Everyone in this room knew about me and Dylan, and I knew they would be scrutinizing our reunion as if it were the return of Jen and Ben. 

Laura came over to me then and broke the tension. "More booze?" 

"More booze!" I said, although cheerfully to portray it was a celebratory drink—not a calming one. 

As soon as we had poured our vodka tonics, the door swung open to much applause. The gaggle of drunken girls descended on the boys as if someone had dropped seasoned steak into a lion's den. I hung back and let them all get their squeals out, as if they didn't see these boys every weekend. 

Ryan found me first, looping his muscled arm around my waist and lifting me slightly off the ground. Clearly, this lot had been pregaming too. 

"Hey D!" he said, plopping me ungracefully back to the ground, making me laugh. Before I could respond his wife, Erika, appeared beside him.

"Hi Danielle," she said, unmoving. I almost felt like I should shake her hand in greeting with how stiff she was being. 

"Erika," I replied, the booze making me overly friendly. I pulled her into a hug, more to remove the pole from her ass than anything. "How are you!" 

She looked surprised, but not mad about being manhandled by a near stranger. "I'm great! Married life totally suits me." Gag.

I was about to ask how their house was when I saw Dylan walk up behind her. I smiled, accepting his hug with more enthusiasm than necessary. I knew at least half of the room was watching this encounter. For added effect, I gave him a two-second-too-long kiss on the cheek. 

"You look incredible," he whispered in my ear. 

"Thank you," I said, praying the lights were dim enough that he wouldn't see the flush in my cheeks. 

"I'd offer you a drink, but..." he trailed off, his gaze falling to the full drink in my hand. 

I tipped it towards him, "Next one," I smiled at him, not even trying to ignore the fire in my chest. 

This was bad. 

I joined back in on the singing with a bit more enthusiasm this time, feeling elated at just the nearness of Dylan. He hung back, chatting with a few other guys while I belted out "Thong Song" with little regard for the beat. I sipped my drink faster than I usually would, knowing it would give me an excuse to talk to Dylan. It felt so weird having to orchestrate a conversation.

Once my glass was nothing but ice, I headed towards Dylan in, what drunken me thought was, a sexy swagger. 

"I believe you owe me a drink,"  I said, shaking the ice in my glass toward where he was perched on one of the thick leather couches. 

He stood up and took my glass, "What'll it be Miss Fitzgerald?" 

"Hmmm...." I pretended to think, even though my options were extensively: vodka or vodka. 

"I'll have a vodka cranberry. Two parts vodka, with three limes." 

He assembled this order and handed me the drink with a flourish. I gave a mock courtesy before accepting the drink.

"You didn't put anything in here I should be worried about, did you?" I teased.

"Miss Fitzgerald," he said with an expression of mock horror. "How dare you accuse me of wanting to take advantage of an ex."

The fun faded away for a moment at the realization that I was his ex. For the past hour it had felt more like he was a new crush, rather than an old one.

When I didn't reply he took a sip of his drink. "What are your plans after this?" he said, his blue eyes locking mine. I looked away.

"Whatever Laura is, I guess," I said. "I'm staying with the birthday gal."

He nodded, glancing over at a hammered Laura who was now singing and dancing along to Thriller.

"She'll be lucky if she makes it past one," he said, returning his steely gaze to mine.

Involuntarily, boldly, stupidly, I stepped toward him so that our faces were only inches apart. "Well if she doesn't make it, I suppose I'll have to go home early won't I?" 

He leaned into me, which might have been imperceptible to everyone else. But to me, it was miles. If I had tilted my head up just enough and leaned in, we would be kissing. 

"I would really, really prefer you don't leave early," he said, his words slower now. 

I bit the inside of my lip, and was about to ask him why when the door to the room flew open, flooding it with light from the hallway. Dylan's gaze fell upon the door and he stepped away from me, as if he had been caught. 

I turned my head just in time to see Kara walking in. Straightening, I felt the distance that had been placed between Dylan and I spread even further. My heart knew before my mind was even able to put together the pieces. Which is why, I wasn't even surprised when, like I somehow knew she would, Kara sauntered right over to Dylan and placed a kiss right on his lips. 

17 comments:

  1. Noooooo, this. bitch.

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  2. i actually feel kind of bad for kara.. she's obviously head over heels for a guy who's stringing her along, who'll never want anything serious with her. shitty position to be in :(

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    1. you are so right. kara probably thinks she "won" too, since she's with him now but that's only because dani ended things with him.

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  3. Nooooooo. Ugh. I can't even. Is it next Wednesday yet?!

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  4. Ahhhh! I hate Kara but wtf Dylan!? Bonus!!!! Hahaha don't leave me hanging

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  5. I loved Dylan, but I thought their relationship was very strained and neither really trusted the other. Dani doesn't really have a right to be angry here (other than him openly flirting with her when he is involved with someone else).. She broke up with him and went back to Nick. I can't wait to see how this unfolds!

    Have a mentioned this is my favorite favorite blog and I am SO glad you are back?!

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    1. Yeah, I agree with you pretty much 100%. Their relationship was just so incredibly physical, and yeah it was awesome to read about, but I never got the sense that they were actually legit comfortable with each other.

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  6. bonusss!!! cant leave a girl hanging like that!!!

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  7. Chris - @nylonlover69 on IG/TwitterSeptember 17, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    She did NOT!

    It's SO on, beeeyotch!

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    1. Hahaha I can't even with how much I love your response!

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  8. It is sad for Kara. Dylan is with her by default. He really wants Dani. mum

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  9. Ugh. Dylan. Seriously, how could Dani ever consider trusting him? I wish she could move on and meet new people. It's so easy to fall back on with "could have been's"

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  10. I love Dylan and Dani together!! I hope this is just a misunderstanding with Kara lol

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  11. Dylan is such a douche. Seriously, we all love to dislike him because he is such a douche! He has a definite boundary issue with women and isn't not a one woman kind of guy....this should be pretty funny to see Kara's reaction...

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  12. I don't understand why none of her Philly friends didn't warn her about Kara and Dylan? Surely they knew something

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  13. No way! Kara and Dylan, again? can't wait for the next post.

    www.elinainlondon.com

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