Saturday, July 9, 2016

Chapter 27 (7/9/16)

Next post is edited and ready to go, and will be up bright and early Tuesday morning!

“So I never asked you how you know Ryan,” I said to Rachael over lunch on Monday.  “I need some details.”
“I went to high school with him,” she told me.  Rachael was from a small town about an hour away, and had said previously that people from her hometown either stayed in that town or ended up in Duluth.  “I’m so glad you went out with him.  He’s great.”  I had already filled her in on the time I’d spent with him that weekend, and she was seriously excited about it.  “You’re going to see him again, right?”
“Yeah, I am,” I said, and I felt my face get hot.  It didn’t escape Rachael’s attention and she grinned wickedly.
“You like him,” she said, wiggling her eyebrows at me.
“Whoa, I wouldn’t go that far,” I said truthfully. “But he is absolutely gorgeous and I’m definitely really attracted to him.”
Her grin turned to a smirk and she leaned in conspiratorially.  “He was so awkward in high school,” she confessed.  “The first time I saw him when he moved here after college, I was so confused.  He was not gorgeous in high school.  Not even close.  But he grew up nicely, that’s for sure!”
We gossiped about him a little longer, until I had learned enough about him for one day.  He had one younger brother, his dad had died a couple years back, and he played basketball and ran track in high school.  We finished up our lunch and got back to the office with just a few minutes of our lunch break to spare.

I kept myself busy over the next week.  I had my dance classes on Monday and Thursday, spent Tuesday evening putting together a bookshelf I’d bought for an empty wall in my living room, and had dinner with Kelly and Erica on Wednesday.  So when Friday rolled around and Rachael invited me out with her on Friday for an acquaintance’s birthday, I tried to decline. 
“Come on,” she urged me.  “When’s the last time you went out out?”  I considered this, and I realized I wasn’t even sure.  Nights out with Kelly and Erica were never too wild, considering they were both married and we were all nearing 30 very quickly.  “See?  You need to come out with me.  I got suckered into going to this and I’m hardly going to know anyone.  Please?”
“Fine,” I agreed begrudgingly.  “But only for a few hours.”
“Only for a few hours,” she agreed.
            I dutifully went home after work, took a short nap, took a shower, and changed into clothes that were more appropriate for going out.  I had some extra time, so I got creative with my face, doing fun gold and plum eye makeup. 
Rachael had sweetened the deal by offering to drive, and I was fully ready by the time she got there.  “You look hot!” she said as I got in the car. 
“You’re just saying that because you’re so glad I’m going with you,” I teased her.
She laughed.  “I am glad you’re coming with me, but you’re definitely hot,” she replied.
“Well, thank you,” I said.  “That makes two of us, because you look amazing too!”  And she did.  She was wearing sheer leggings, a short, tight long sleeved dress, and heels.  Definitely different from her workday clothes.
We found a good parking spot and made our way to the bar we were meeting at.  Rachael cheerfully chatted away as we walked, and I tried not to yawn.  It had been such a busy week.  I woke up a little when we stepped into the high-energy bar, which was a little too high energy for a place to start, but at least I wouldn’t fall asleep!  We stopped and grabbed drinks before we wove our way through the crowd to find the rest of the group. 
Rachael introduced me to a bunch of people whose names I promptly forgot.  I listened to everyone chatting for a while without contributing much.  Then one of the guys that Rachael had introduced earlier came over.  “Hi. Jenna, right?” he greeted me. 
“Yeah,” I replied, furrowing my brow as I tried to remember his name.
He chuckled.  “Jesse.  Rachael introduced way too many people at once.” 
I grinned and said, “All I remember is that there was a Julie and a Christina.  Probably a Mike too—there’s always a Mike, right?”
“There’s two,” he confirmed, laughing. 
“I knew it!”  I said.  Rachael looked over at me, then at Jesse, subtly cocked an eyebrow, and shrugged when I rolled my eyes. 
Jesse was completely oblivious to this exchange and kept chatting away.  He was cute, with short blonde hair and big brown eyes that gave him a very innocent look.  But judging by the smooth way he seemed to be getting closer and closer to me without me even realizing it, my guess was that he was far from innocent.  “Can I buy you another drink?” he asked me, gesturing to my nearly empty glass. 
I considered for a second before smiling and answering, “Sure.” 
I walked with him up to the bar and gave my order to the bartender when it was our turn.  While we waited for our drinks, he turned towards me and cocked his head.  “Why haven’t you ever come out with Rachael before?” he asked curiously. 
I shrugged.  “We’ve always been work friends, but we’ve never really hung out outside of work until recently,” I explained.  He asked what had gotten us hanging out outside of work, and I explained my quest for a new hobby and Rachael and I trying a few different classes together.  “She stuck with the rock climbing thing, and I stuck with dance,”  I finished.
“A dancer, huh?” he asked, cocking an eyebrow.  We took our drinks from the bartender and he handed her some cash.
I smiled as we turned from the bar.  “I wouldn’t call myself a dancer,” I said.  “I dance.  Not well, necessarily.  And thank you.”  I motioned to my drink.
“You're more than welcome.  And I don’t know, it’s kind of like running, right?  If you run, you’re a runner.  If you dance, you’re a dancer.”  I shrugged, and the topic fell off as we wove back through the crowd, which seemed to have nearly doubled in the time we were at the bar. 
“Where did you go?” Rachael asked, as soon as we came back.  I held up my fresh drink and motioned to Jesse, who had been stopped by a guy who appeared to have joined the group.  “He’s cute,” she said, grinning, “but what about Ryan?”
“Ryan and I aren’t dating, Rach,” I reminded her.  “Nothing serious.  Just sex.  I’m pretty sure that doesn’t preclude me from allowing a cute guy to buy me a drink.”
“That’s fair,” she agreed.  “But you and Ryan would make really, really adorable babies.”
“I’m going to regret ever agreeing to go out with him, aren’t I?” I groaned.
“Go out with who?” Jesse asked, appearing next to me again.  I jumped a little, startled. “Sorry!” he said immediately.  “I didn’t mean to scare you, I thought you saw me.” 
Rachael changed the subject and he seemed to forget that he had asked the question.  We chatted off and on through the early part of the night.  He would wander away for a little while to talk to other people in the group, and then come back.  We changed bars a few times, and every time my drink was gone, he’d bring me another one.  I was drunk by 11, and completely wasted by 12.  The rest of the night was a blur.

I opened my eyes in the morning and immediately closed them again.  My eyelids felt like sandpaper.  I quickly became aware of my pounding head and forgot about my eyelids, though.  Groaning, I rolled onto my side and realized I was also feeling extremely nauseous.  I hurried to my bathroom and made it just in time to throw up what appeared to be nothing but stomach acid.  “Fuck,” I muttered, laying my arm on the toilet seat and my head on my arm and squeezing my eyes shut.  Throwing up hadn’t done any favors for my headache. 
When I was sure I was done throwing up (or attempting to throw up), I pulled myself shakily to my feet.  I rinsed my mouth out and brushed my teeth, trying to avoid looking at myself in the mirror.  When I did, I saw eye makeup smeared down both cheeks and up towards one temple.  My hair was a tangled mess, half in and half out of a ponytail.  “Gross,” I said out loud to myself.   I scrubbed my makeup off, but didn’t have the energy to do something with my hair.  Later.
I stumbled downstairs to get some water and nearly shrieked when I saw someone laying on my couch.  “Jesus Christ,” I yelped as Rachael sat up and blinked at me.  “What are you doing on my couch?”
“Making sure you didn’t die,” she grumbled back.  “You were a fucking disaster last night.”
“I’m still a fucking disaster,” I replied, continuing into the kitchen.  I paused by the fridge, briefly considering if I was going to throw up again, then decided I was probably okay.  Maybe.  I found a bottle of Gatorade in the fridge when I opened it for water.  “Is this your Gatorade?” I called to Rachael, immediately regretting speaking so loudly.
“I picked it up for you on the way home last night because I figured you’d need it this morning,” she called back.  Bless you, Rachael.  I poured some into a glass and added water, because the last thing I needed right now was a bunch of sugar.  I swallowed two Tylenol and went back into my living room.
“What’s the last thing you remember?” Rachael asked me, once I was situated in the recliner with my watered-down Gatorade and a blanket. 
I thought back to the night before.  “Ummm…I remember dancing with Jesse at the third—I think it was the third?—bar we went to.”
Rachael laughed.  “Oh, girl.  Let me tell you allllllll about the stupid things you did after that.”  And she did—with glee.  I danced with Jesse and several other guys, both from our group and not from our group.  Then I made out with Jesse.  And also with some random guy whose name Rachael didn’t even know because one of the other girls in the group had bet me that I wouldn’t do it.   Then I had loudly announced that I going to spend the rest of the last year of my twenties making up for all the random sex I hadn’t had in the rest of my twenties because I had been too busy being married to an asshole.  Apparently, I immediately got 3 offers from guys around us that were willing to help.  I sank further and further into the chair as Rachael recounted the rest of the night, which ended with me throwing up several times (including once at the last bar we were at) and then crying on my bathroom floor.  “I still have no idea why you were crying, because I couldn’t understand a word you were saying,” she informed me.  “By the time you calmed down enough to make sense, you told me to fuck off and leave you alone.  So I put you in bed and came down here to sleep.”
“Oh my god,” I said, closing my eyes and leaning my head back.  “I am embarrassing.”
 “I tried to stop you, and I tried to get you home earlier, but you were incredibly uncooperative.”
“I owe you one,” I told her.  “I’ll buy lunch on Monday.  I’d say lunch today, but I’m pretty sure that I won’t eat until it’s dark again tonight.”  My stomach turned at the mere thought of food. 
“That’s fine,” she said.  “I have lunch plans anyway.  So I’m going to get going now that I know you’re alive and you know what a hot mess you were last night.”  I groaned and she laughed.  She stood up and made her way to the door.  “Oh, Jesse asked you for your number last night too, and you made me give it to him because you couldn’t remember it.”
“Well, I’m sure it doesn’t matter, because there’s no way he’s calling me after all that.  And I’m not sure I want him to!”
“You sure seemed to want him to last night,” she replied, grinned wickedly.
“Get out of my house,” I told her.
She raised an eyebrow.  “That’s awfully rude, considering I made sure you made it home safely last night and kept your hair out of your toilet.”  I made a face and thanked her again, then she left me alone to wallow in my own embarrassment about the night before.

            Unsurprisingly, I didn’t hear from Jesse that week.  I did, however, hear from Ryan the next Thursday, right when he’d told me he’d be back. “I’m back,” he said cheerfully when I answered his phone call. 
“Congratulations,” I said, teasingly.
He laughed, and I could imagine the grin on his gorgeous face.  “Thank you!” he replied.  “Can I see you?”
I didn’t even hesitate.  “That could be arranged, what were you thinking?”
“Are you free Saturday?” he asked. 
“I am, it’s your lucky day!” I told him.
He chuckled again, then said, “It must be.  Would you be comfortable just coming over?  I can make dinner, we can Netflix and chill.”
I snorted.  “Netflix and chill?  How old are you?”
“31,” he replied.  “Is that too old to say ‘Netflix and chill’?  How about Hulu and screw?”
I burst out laughing.  “Hulu and screw it is,” I said, once I had gotten a hold of myself.  I promptly started laughing again, which made Ryan laugh too. 
“I’m glad you find me so funny,” he said, “but Hulu and screw is no laughing matter.”
“No, obviously not,” I replied, trying to control myself.  “So, Hulu and screw Saturday, huh?  When do you want me?”
“That’s a dangerous question,” he replied, and I could practically picture the smirk on his face.  “But if you mean what time should you come over, how about 7ish?”
“7ish works,” I agreed.  “And did you say you’re going to make dinner?  Do you mean actually cook food, or should I plan on eating mac and cheese with you?”
“Well I happen to be an excellent cook.  And I was going to actually cook food,” he said, pretending to be offended, “But now I’m not sure you deserve it.”
“Lucky for me, you’re a nice enough guy that you’ll cook for me anyway, right?”
“Hmmm,” he mused.  “That depends.  How do you feel about scallops?”
“Like they’re delicious but far too fancy for the ill-behaved likes of me,” I replied.
He laughed.  “Good answer.  I’ll feed you.  But hey," he said, suddenly serious, "just so you know, I don’t do sleepovers.”
“That’s fine with me,” I told him.  Spending the night with a guy that I was supposed to just be having sex with seemed like a bad idea anyway.  We wrapped up our conversation about our plans and said goodbye, and now I had something to look forward to.


  1. I've had many of those nights-you described it so well! lol can't wait for her to fall in love with Ryan hehe

    1. I am even MORE eager to see Ryan fall in love the Jenna... ;)

  2. Born and raised Duluthian right here! Loved the shout out!