“This is definitely a set-up.”
Having just come out of a day full of unexpected excitement, I was not eager to face another potential confrontation.
But as I sat on the J train glumly, with twin bottles of Le Fin Du Monde and Delirium Tremens, two French/non-French triple-distilled bottle-beers on my lap, I knew that was what I was headed for.
I had been convinced by my friend Najia, through many entreaties, to go with her to “Najiadan” (it rhymes with ‘Ramadan’), her celebration party of her third anniversary with her boyfriend Dan, who wouldn’t be there for a while because he was finishing up directing a mock-TV episode.
The problem was not the idea of partying, a usually welcome thing in the life of a blogger, but rather who would be there. The party was being held by a friend of Najia’s, well, I didn’t particularly shine to at her apartment and when I asked her, who else might be there, Najia said, “Friends of mine.” Which I suppose was what really scared me.
You see “friends of mine” to me read either the young man whom I threatened I would shove a clif-bar up his ass while in a hypoglycemic furor or the couple with the very nice young lady and her melty lad.
But by the time I found this out/realized my own stupidity, I was stuck on the J train over the Willy’s-burg bridge brooding. I couldn’t have left anyway I knew, because if I did I’d be abandoning a girl to go alone to her own anniversary party, something that my code of ethics would not allow.
We ended up at the party.
To my surprise, it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared.
The host-girl’s apartment was nice with a view of the bridge through a big sound-proof glass window. Her roommates were there, a tall-hipster Asian without glasses and a short-white hipster girl with them. What’s more there was even a girl I recognized as CbD (Cute but Dangerous) there, who had nothing to do with host-girl, and seemed eager to drink and converse. When I got the chance and took the excellent, still cold beer from my bag, uncorked, poured and took a nice, sincere swig, it was looking as if the evening might even me manageable.
CbD even complimented my choice of beer.
“I don’t really know too much about it.” I told her. “I’m a wine guy but I like this stuff.”
“Well, for someone who doesn’t know,” she said. “You sure have good taste. Maybe you’re just a natural.”
But that’s all before the mismatches from my blog showed up.
As the host-girl went to buzz them, the passive-aggression began:
“Oh, I don’t know if that was them, I only know it was a guy and a girl.” she said, passive-aggressively.
It was she, I was informed, this host-girl who had outed me to Ms. Mismatch, showing her the post and now she seemed determined to put on the screws.
“Great.” I commented, sitting on the party-couch and sipping my beer, my last comfort since CbD was in the bathroom and the hipster-mates had retreated to their room.
“Maybe he doesn’t know.” Najia offered up.
“Maybe you should just apologize to her.” Hostie offered up.
I stared broodingly.
“What for.” I said. “Didn’t say anything mean about her.”
But of course, they did come upstairs and it hung in the air: did he know? Mr. Mismatch seemed very warm to everyone and I even repoured him some of my beer after he fucked up the first pour with too much head. I figured to myself, as long as I could get drunk enough, this night would/could still be ok.
But then once everyone had tried the non-french frenchies I’d brought, the beer was gone and I wasn’t about to drink the Malibu-and-Blue-Raspberry-Gatorade cocktails offered up as an alternative.
“I’m going to get some beer.” I announced.
“Oh, I’ll throw down.” Mr. Mismatch said, taking out a tenner from his wallet.
“Thanks” I said uncomfortably.
Before I could leave though, I overheard Najia asking Hostie about a mutual friend.
“He’s so in love with you. But you won’t even answer his calls.” Najia told her.
“Oh, is he talking about that?” Hostie said.
“So this guy’s in love with you,” I asked. “And you’re not taking his calls. And what you’re concerned about is whether he’s talking about it.”
“You’re a cruel fuck.” I told her.
“You’re talking about cruel–” She said, but I cut her off with a shrug.
“Beer.” I replied and headed out the door.
The bodega round Havemeyer had a good selection and I headed back with a Brooklyn Lager wheat beer and a sixer of Leffe Blond, not too bad for $22 flat.
They were happy to see me with the beer upon my return and I was happy to drink it. Also, finally Dan had arrived meaning that not only had I found someone to talk to but that I could now leave with impunity.
Before I could though, one more thing to deal with.
“Hey you,” CbD came up next to me on the couch and joined me in a beer. “I was thinking of getting out of here. Going to a crazy party in the neighborhood. You dance?”
I was drunk. “Uh, I guess sometimes!” I replied.
“I bet you could dance.” She told me.
I was into this, but also a bit scared. All I remembered about CbD was that she was a friend of Dan’s and was somehow estranged from her mother in something to do with cash.
But hell if a CbD idea ain’t an attractive one.
“I bet I could too.” I told her. “Wanna get out of here soon?”
“Sure.” she said and then: “You know, you shouldn’t feel so all in the need to go though. They talked to that guy while you were gone and it’s all good.
“What.” I said.
“Yeah that guy you had the thing with. They talked to him and he was like it’s all cool.”
“Excuse me. I said. Sweater, followed, by jacket–even if this guy was trying to play it nice, this was not a good time this was a terrible time and–
“You warm?” Najia asked me. “You talk about me while I was gone to Mr. Mismatch?” I asked her in her ear.
“No. Yeah.” She said in succession and I nodded, smiled, left.
Obviously, Hostie’s revenge.
A failed excursion to meet up with Jonny-Jon-Jon in the LES and a truck-made Chicken-Parm later and I was in bed.
“You rang.” I answered as I picked up my phone.
“Yeah.” Najia told me. “I wanted to see what happened to you last night.”
“Huh.” I told her. “Let’s think about that.”
“No, I mean. What happened with that girl.”
Oh yeah, I realized. I’d ditched CbD. I hadn’t meant to, I’d meant to at least walk her out or something, but at that point terror of awfulness had clouded my head and I fled and didn’t look back from the corner to the train to home.
“I should apologize.” I told Najia. “Do you have her number?”
And she gave it to me.
“Hello, is Lana there?”
“No. This is her mother.”
“Uh, oh, um, sorry.”
“Who are you?”
“Uh, um, Nicholas.”
“Oh, well this isn’t her phone anymore.”
“Yeah, I see that.”
I need a milkshake, I thought to myself as I deleted the number and the name “Cute but Dangerous”, sad and startled, from my phonebook as I walked and walked home.