You didn’t know they got married? It was great. Vegas. Need I say more?
Delores is into dance clubs. She enjoys any kind of sensory stimulation. When we were ten, her mother, Amelia, bought her a strobe light for her bedroom. Delores would sit and stare at it for hours, like it was a crystal ball or a Jackson Pollock painting.
Now that I think about that, it explains a lot.
Anyway, see us there? Delores and Matthew are just walking off the dance floor, to where I’m sitting in a circle of trendy over-stuffed red chairs. Drew went to get another round.
I’m just too damn tired to dance tonight. Delores falls into the chair next to me, laughing.
“You look like shit, Petunia.”
A good friend should be able to tell you anything. Maybe your boyfriend’s screwing around, or a dress makes your love handles hang over like a shar-pei’s skin? In either case, if they’re not brave enough to tell it like it is? They’re not your best friend.
“Thanks, Dee Dee. Love you too.”
She flips her long blond hair back, crimped and shining with glitter for this evening’s festivities. “I’m just saying, you look like you could use a spa day.”
She’s not wrong. I’ve been exhausted all week—that full-body type of weariness that feels like you’re carrying weights on your ankles and your ribs. Yesterday, I actually fell asleep at my desk.
Maybe I’m coming down with the flu that’s going around.
Delores fans herself with her hand. “Where the hell is Drew with those drinks? I’m dying here.”
he’s been gone a few minutes, which isn’t unusual in a place like this.
Still, my eyes scan the room.
And then they find him. By the bar, drinks in hand, talking to a woman.
A beautiful blond woman with legs as long as my whole body.
She’s wearing silver stilettos and a sequined minidress. She looks . . . fun. You know the type—one of those cool girls who guys love to hang out with because they burp and watch sports.
More important, Drew is smiling back.
And do you see the way she’s leaning toward him? The tilt of her head? The subtle rubbing of her thighs?
They’ve had sex. No doubt about it.
Son of a bitch.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been faced with one of Drew’s past random hookups. In fact, it’s pretty much an everyday occurrence—the waitress at Nobu, the bartender at McCarthy’s Bar and Grill, several random patrons at Starbucks. Drew is polite but brisk, paying them no more attention than an old classmate from high school whose name you can’t quite remember.
So it doesn’t normally bother me.
But like I said, this isn’t a normal week. Fatigue has made me short-tempered. Overly sensitive. Pissed off.
And he’s still f**king talking to her.
She puts her hand on his arm, and my inner cavewoman pounds her chest like King Kong in drag. There’s an empty glass in front of me. Remember Marcia Brady and the football? Think I could reach them from here?
have you ever noticed that serial killers and mass murderers are almost always male? That’s because men like to spread agony around. Females, however, turn our pain inward. Keep it to ourselves. Let it fester.
Yes, I took Psych 101 in college.
But the point is, instead of going over there and ripping out Blondie’s hair extensions like I want to, I stand up.
“I’m going home.”
Delores blinks. “What? Why?” Then she sees my face. “What the hell did that moron do now?”
Some advice—when you’re angry with your significant other, try not to tell your friends. Because after you’ve forgiven him?
They’ll never forget.
I recommend complaining to his family, instead. They’ve already seen all his negative, selfish, immature traits in full swing— so it’s not like you’re letting the cat out of the bag.
I shake my head, “Nothing. I’m just . . . tired.”
She doesn’t buy it. And her gaze locks on to where I’m still looking. Legs throws her head back and laughs. her teeth are pearly white and perfect. Apparently the bulimia hasn’t rotted the enamel away.
Delores turns to her husband. “Matthew, go collect your friend. Before I go over, because then you’ll need a mop to collect him.”
I raise my chin stubbornly, “No, Matthew—don’t. Drew is obviously happy right where he is. Why drag him away?”
Do I care? Nope.
Matthew looks back and forth between us. Then he rushes off in Drew’s direction.
Dee Dee has him so well trained. She puts the Dog Whisperer to shame.
I hug her good-bye. “I’ll call you tomorrow.”
And then I head for the door without looking back.
I’ve never lived by myself.
At eighteen, I went from my parents’ house to a dorm room.
Sophomore year, Billy joined Delores and me in Pennsylvania, and we leased a huge dilapidated house off campus with four other students. The roof leaked and the heat sucked, but the rent was right.
After Delores left for New York, while I was still at Wharton, Billy and I got a place of our own. Then we moved to the city too—and you know the rest.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I’m not as independent as I come off. I’m one of those women. The kind who turns on every light in the house when she’s home by herself. The kind who sleeps over at a friend’s when her boyfriend’s out of town.
I’ve never been alone. Never not had a boyfriend. It’s one of the reasons Billy and I lasted so long—because I preferred an expired relationship to none at all.
When I get back to the apartment, I head to the bedroom and change into a tank top and cherry-colored pajama pants. As I finish washing the makeup off my face, I hear the front door open and close.
I don’t answer.
his footsteps come down the hall, and a moment later Drew fills the bathroom doorway. “hey. Why’d you leave? I came back with the drinks and Delores starts chucking ice cubes at my head, calling me a shit heel.”
I don’t make eye contact. And my voice is stiff. Dismissive. “I was tired.”
Why don’t I just tell him what’s bothering me? Because this is the game women play. We want you to drag it out of us. To show us you’re interested. It’s a test—to see how much you care.
Drew follows me into the bedroom. “Why didn’t you wait for me? I would’ve come with you.”