You’re so much more than that, I thought. But I picked up the shot and raised it at her. “Bottoms up for now. Your bottom’s up later when I smack the shit out of it.”
She grinned and we downed the shots, then the other. I pushed them toward the bartender and gave him a look that said, how did I get so lucky?
We walked a few steps, the crowd between us and the booth, and I grabbed her arm, pulling her close.
“Do you mind if I do that in public…you know, in front of my friends?” I don’t know when the fuck I had become so respectful and how long it could last, but the threat of scaring her off was ever so imminent.
She bit her lip and looked around. “I don’t know…”
“Okay, I understand,” I told her. “No public displays of erection in front of my friends.”
She grinned. “God, Dex, I hope not.” Her eyes darted over to the bathroom. “If the waitress comes by, can you order me a glass of Chardonnay? Too much beer already. I’ll be right back.”
I nodded and watched her go and tried to steady my racing heart. I didn’t know why this kind of talk made me nervous but it did. All I wanted was to just call her my girlfriend and let everyone know, but it just didn’t seem like she was there yet. Motherfucking baby steps.
I straightened out my tee-shirt (it was black and a little on the small side, but hey it showed off the goods) and took a deep breath. I pushed my way through the crowd, and was almost at the table when I saw an anomaly.
And by anomaly, I mean a fucking terrible thing that wasn’t there before and should never be there ever, shouldn’t even exist.
She was standing in front of the booth, talking to Seb or maybe just talking at him. He had a stupid goofy grin on his face while Dean and Rebecca looked pissed off and all cagey. Her hair was honey gold and really long, like to her ass, and quite obviously fake. Figured she’d put in hair extensions, probably chopped off some virgin Russian’s head and sold it for pennies. Other than that, she still looked pretty good from behind—your quintessential “hot girl” body in booty shorts and a sparkly tank top. But I knew the person the body housed and she was rotten to the core. And probably freezing.
I wiggled my jaw back and forth, trying to reduce the strain, and straightened up, shaking out my shoulders. I refused to let my ex-girlfriend, Jennifer “Brad Banger” Rodriguez, intimidate me.
I walked toward them, feeling the tension in the air thicken as I got closer, and stopped right behind her. I caught a whiff of the expensive perfume she always doused herself in and fought the urge to sneeze.
Too late. I sneezed, horribly loud, and she whipped around to see me.
We eyed each other like two territorial wolves, only my eyes were watering as I fought another sneeze.
“Dex,” she said rather brightly, and I sneezed again. I guess it took me this long to find out I was allergic to skank.
“Jenn,” I said, once I composed myself, not really sure what else I could say. Everything else seemed terribly inappropriate. I moved past her and sat down in the booth beside Seb and looked up at her expectantly. “Well, to what do we owe the honor of your presence?” I asked snidely. National Slut Convention next door? Twatwaffles Anoymous?
Her eyes narrowed at me briefly. And then her eyes narrowed in on my arms, my chest, my shoulders, and her expression changed. She liked the new Dex, liked him very much. Figured. Too bad this was all for Perry now and not her.
Perry. My eyes darted over to the washroom. She was still in there. I knew how awkward she’d feel if she came out right now, and I hoped Jenn would move her miniscule ass away from our table.
She smiled at me and I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen her smile. “I’m here with some friends of mine and we were just looking for a place to sit. All the tables are taken.”
I eyed Rebecca, who was staring at me and giving me a no-fucking-way look, and obviously I couldn’t agree more. But then Seb spoke up and said, “You can sit with us, we don’t mind. Look, there’s space beside Dex.”
“No there’s not,” I snapped at Seb and made a move to kick him again. The stoned little bastard was surprisingly quick this time and moved out of the way.
“I can move over,” Janet said sweetly, obviously having no idea what was going on and far too socially inept to pick up on it. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and sigh, but she didn’t notice and Jenn sat down next to her, full of unearned pride.
“Dex, you look fantastic,” Jenn said, leaning on her elbows, her breasts pressed together. Nice try honey, but that ain’t cleavage.
“Thank you. I feel like a new man,” I said matter-of-factly. As in, I am much better off without you.
“Well, it looks good on you,” she said, then fluffed up her hair. I knew what she was doing—flirting with me—but I didn’t really know why. I didn’t like it.
“How’s Sir Swagger Douchington the Fuck?”
She frowned. “Who?”
“Bradley. How’s your boyfriend doing?”
Her face fell for a second then morphed into her puffy-lipped robot expression. “We broke up,” she said like she didn’t care, but I could tell she did.
“Awwww, what a shame!” I exclaimed. “That must just plain suck for you.” Okay, so I was a bit over the top, but come on.
She glared at me, and I remembered how hot I used to find her when she was angry, and how grateful I was that I wasn’t turned on in the slightest anymore.
The waitress chose to interrupt Jenn’s awkward moment by asking us if we wanted more drinks. While everyone else got two more pitchers, I ordered a Jack and Coke for myself and “a glass of chardonnay for my girlfriend.”
The waitress nodded and took off, not at all noticing the very gigantic bomb I had just dropped at the table. The bomb that had everyone—aside from Janet and Justin—with their jaws on the floor. Rebecca gave a little yelp of drunken delight, Dean leaned back in his seat and said, “You dog,” and Seb and Jenn both asked in unison, “Girlfriend?”
And just like that, as if the fates of karma were on our side tonight, Perry appeared at the table. She didn’t notice Jenn at first, was just smiling at me, cute and refreshed as fuck, but then she noticed the silence around her and the fact that everyone was staring at her. Including Jenn.
I felt kinda bad for her; I mean Jenn was my ex, so it was way more awkward for me, but Perry looked like she’d just seen a ghost. She wasn’t quite surprised as she was just…horrified.
“Just ordered you a drink, baby,” I said, smiling as charmingly as possible, and patted the seat next to me.
She sat down carefully, her eyes downcast, avoiding Jenn who was full-on hate glaring at her now.
“This is your girlfriend?” Jenn asked, pointing at Perry with a long purple-painted talon. “Ghost girl?”
Perry looked at me, wide-eyed. I didn’t know if she was angry that I called her my girlfriend in public like that or what. But hell, if there was any time she’d be happy to be announced as my girlfriend, it was probably with Jennifer staring across at her, utterly dumbfounded.
“Yes,” I said, putting my arm around Perry and holding her to me. “Perry is my girlfriend.” I grinned at Jenn, watching her squirm and enjoying it far, far too much. I tilted my head toward Seb. “And as you can see, I’m very much getting laid.”
Seb chuckled and Jenn nearly jumped out of her seat.
“Nice, Dex,” she sneered. “You couldn’t wait to get in her pants, could you? You’re a pig.”
“And you’re the shit this pig used to roll around in.”
Jenn’s mouth dropped open, and she spun around on her heel and walked her skanky ass back into the crowd. It was amazing to think that I’d spent three years of my life with her, but I’d found a lot of true colors and feelings came out when they became your ex. They seemed a lot more skanky.
I looked over at Justin and Janet who were watching me, absolutely flabbergasted. “Sorry,” I apologized to them. “That was my ex-girlfriend. This is my new girlfriend. You know how it goes.”
“I knew it,” Dean cried out. “I knew you guys were together.”
“Because Rebecca can’t keep her mouth shut,” I said, staring at her pointedly.
She smiled but didn’t say anything. She became strangely mute when drunk.
“Well, man, congratulations,” Dean said sincerely. “Both of you. Although to you, Perry, I’d say good luck.”
I looked down at Perry who was nestled under my arm. Well, she wasn’t exactly nestled as she was sitting straight up and rigid as I held her body to my side. I wanted her to loosen up and get used to this, to own it, to be proud.
“I hope I didn’t embarrass you,” I said, lowering my voice and face to hers.
She looked shy. “You didn’t, I was just shocked. I mean, I thought I saw the she-beast earlier and I just assumed I was being paranoid…I didn’t know I was your girlfriend.”
I looked up, wondering if we needed to continue the conversation outside, but upon meeting my eyes, everyone else at the table started chatting loudly with each other on cue.
I turned back to Perry. “Well, you’re more than a girlfriend. Girlfriend is such a juvenile term, and as juvenile as I am, that’s not the way I feel about you. You’re a partner, a lover, a friend, and so much more than that. Sorry if I put you on the spot.”
“No,” she said, smiling. I wanted to kiss her nose. “It’s okay. I’m glad you did it. I’m sorry I’m being such a weirdo about all of this. It’s just hard to believe how far we’ve come, you know? My brain is just catching up now.”
“So you’re okay with me being your boyfriend? I’ll treat you real nice. We can go steady and you can wear my letterman jacket.”
“Ooooh, maybe,” she said playfully. “What letter is on it?”
“No letter, just a picture of a cock.”
She snorted. “Of course there is.”
“It’s a rooster, you pervert.”
She eyed me dryly. “Oh yeah? Why a rooster?”
“It symbolizes my cock. Can’t love me without loving cock.”
I heard someone cough. I looked up and Janet was staring at me, her thin brows raised to the ceiling, but Justin was giving me the “dude, I know” head nod.
I felt Perry tense up slightly and wondered if I took things too far. Wouldn’t be the first time. Then I wondered if it was because I threw the “love” word out there. Wouldn’t be the first time for that either.
Luckily our drinks came just then, and I quickly ordered two rounds of shots for everyone at the table. The evening was turning out to be all sorts of weird and unknown territory, and getting drunk was the quickest way through it. Pretty soon everyone was getting sloppy. Having a good time, but sloppy nonetheless. Rebecca kept looking like she was about to face plant into the table, Dean and Justin were engrossed in game talk, Janet was drunk and in a mad texting war with someone overseas, and Seb kept going out to smoke a joint until he just never came back.