Monday, August 20, 2012

May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor

"Check this out," I said, pulling a crumpled receipt from the inside of my purse.
Andrew let out a bark of laughter before passing the receipt onto the guy to his right.
"'Call for a good time, sexy lady,'" Jon, one of Andrew's fiancee's friends, laughed as he read the message out loud.
"Does this happen often?" Marcell, one of Andrew's friends from Oklahoma, asked as he handed me back the number one of my more creative customers had left me today.
I shrugged, "Somewhat, but I must say this one was decently creative."
Andrew took the number out of my hand.
"Andrew! Don't!" I said with a laugh as he pulled out his phone.
Our tiny table erupted in laughter as Andrew called the unsuspecting guy, pretending that he was the waitress who the guy had left his number for. The tiny suburban downtown was bustling late that Saturday night as the guys cashed out at the bar where I had met them. It was a warm summer night as the four of us headed down the street to another bar where they knew I could get in.
Sucks being the only one underage sometimes.
But as we joined the crowd going inside, there was an unexpected bouncer waiting to greet us. With only a moment's hesitation, I pulled out my own ID, my heart sinking all the way to the bar's wooden floor. My fun night out with my new best friend was about to end faster than I could say, "I'm 19."
"This isn't you."
"What?" I stared at the bouncer, a bemused smile touching my Stila-glossed lips, "I'm Xaylia, born February 16th, I've got brown eyes and contacts, and I live at 51349..."
This was not happening, my own ID wasn't a fake! Ok, so the picture on the license had been taken three years ago, back when I was 16 and my hair was cropped to my chin, and I could see where that was coming from, but honestly!
"....  and I'm an organ donor! It's my ID!" I smiled, trying my hardest not to laugh.
He gave in and handed me back my license.
I was in!
I slipped my yellow patent leather wallet back into my purse and strode over to meet Andrew, Marcell, and Jon.
"No way," Andrew was beaming.
"How did that happen?" I giggled, "He thought my ID was a fake! And somehow I still got in, even though this thing says right at the top that I'm underage until 2014!"
"It's because you're a girl, and you're not exactly bad-looking," Jon said exasperated.
"Still!" I laughed, absolutely amazed at my good fortune.
"Come on!"Andrew took my hand loosely and we squeazed into a space around the packed bar, "Now remember," Andrew said, "It's all about confidence," he said as he waved the bartender over and rattled off his drink.
The bartender turned to me, "Double rum and coke, on the rocks," I said simply, as if I did this everyday.
Andrew gave me an approving nod, "And I'll get her's too," he said to the bartender.
"Thanks!" I smiled at Andrew, surprised.
"That's what you get for being confident," Andrew returned my smile.
I had been to bars before with my friend Jen and our selection of older friends. But they were always bars where they didn't card to get in the door, and we would always just sip waters as everyone else around us drank. But this was my first real trip to a bar, where I could order drinks and everything. The best part of it was, I could do it without being someone else, somehow no fake ID was necessary.
"What are we toasting to tonight?" Jon said, raising his glass.
"To getting lucky!" I proposed, and the guys raised their glasses in agreement as we clinked.
The tiny light on my phone lit up on the bar, and I quickly checked the text. It was from Kang. I quickly typed a response.
"Who are you texting?" Andrew asked playfully, taking the phone from my hands.
"Your bestie," I said, sipping my drink.
"Let me handle this," Andrew slid open the keyboard and started typing.
I rolled my eyes, still too happy about my luck to honestly care.
He handed me my phone back and I smiled at the line from Dodgeball, "Let's mate. Or date, socially."
"My turn," Jon took the phone.
"Well I guess you all can just take my phone for the night, don't cause too much damage," my said sarcastically.
We were all laughing when Jon abruptly stopped, "Oh shit."
"What?" the three of us asked and he held out the phone to me.
Whatever he had said to Kang had crossed the line. By his response, Kang thought I was far more into him than I actually was, and Kang seemed... excited. He said he had been planning on asking me out next weekend when he would be in town, but I had essentially stolen my thunder with whatever I had apparently said.
"Jon!" I shot back at him, "You're getting the poor guy's hopes up! Let me do some damage control here!"
I thumbed a quick, sorrythatwasjon, message hoping not to sound too horrible as I finished off my drink, feeling a certain lightness from being in a bar with three cool older guys.
We ordered another round, and Jon paid for mine, claiming, "Pretty girls shouldn't ever pay for their own drinks," and midway through our second round, Andrew stepped away from the bar, "Come with me," he said, weaving his way through the crowd, until we reached the hallway that led to the back entrance of the bar.
"You've got to call Kang, I feel really bad right now," Andrew said guiltily.
"Don't feel bad, it was Jon who took it a step too far, and don't worry, I can handle this."
"I'll handle it, next weekend we'll all be laughing about this little...misunderstanding," I placed the call, and Kang didn't pick up, "Hey, it's Xaylia, look I'm so sorry, Jon got his hands on my phone and was just being, well, Jon. I really apologize, I shouldn't have let him touch my phone, and I'm sorry me, or Jon, gave you the wrong idea but, um," I thought of his response where he said he wanted to actually ask me out, "I would still like to maybe go out with you sometime, so I'm sorry again, and I'll see you next weekend," I ended the call and glanced up at Andrew, "Good?"
"Yeah," he said, and we both took long drinks, "So would you go out with him?"
I sighed, "I guess..."
"You 'guess'? Girl, you can do better than that!"
"It's just... you know, that little thing I told you about a few weeks ago, on our walk..."
"Please just tell me I'm being stupid, Andrew," I leaned my head against the brick wall, "I knew I shouldn't have fallen for him, but I did, and I'm so stupid to keep holding onto this..."
"No, its not stupid..."Andrew was cut off by a large group of guys coming in the back door, and we leaned back against the wall to let them pass. Andrew started to finish his sentence when one of the guys coming in the door called his name. I was taking a sip of my drink when someone else called my name.
"Xaylia!" One of the guys in the group detached himself to come over to me, "What are you doing here, Black Hand?"
"Andy!" I smiled at the familiar sight of one of my old marching band instructors, "Hey!" I said as we hugged. I could smell a bit of weed on him, obviously he hadn't changed back when I knew him when I was in high school.
It actually might have been a slightly awkward encounter, running into a band instructor in a bar, if I hand't been buzzed. I explained my amazing luck at getting in tonight, and Andy was telling me about his new motorcycle when I introduced him to Andrew, and Andy introduced me to his friend who knew Andrew.
"Talk about a small world," I said when they left and suddenly, I felt something buzz, and the Mad Men theme song came from my bag, "It's Kang!"
"Let's go outside," Andrew suggested, and as soon as we pushed open the back door, I answered.
Basically the entire conversation was me apologizing over and over again, and Andrew being embarrassed. Naturally, I kept that conversation short.

Andrew waved to a pretty brunette who was passing with a group of her friends on the other end of the street.
We were sitting down outside, against the back wall of the bar, comparing our boat shoes, when Andrew became suddenly subdued.
"That girl asked me out a day after I asked Gabi out," he said, matter-of-factly, "I sometimes wonder what would have happened if she asked me out a day earlier..."
"What do you mean?" I said, swirling the ice around in my empty glass.
"Sometimes this marriage thing scares me," he admitted. Gabi was Andrew's fiancee, and the wedding was scheduled for next summer, "Gabi's the only girl I've ever been with! She's my first real girlfriend, the first girl I've ever had sex with, sometimes I wonder if there's anything more out there..."
And I let Andrew just talk, as he confessed his worries about not being ready to settle down.
"You love her," I said after he had seemed to say it all, "And love always wins through in the end. I think you know these things in your heart, if it's meant to be."
Andrew seemed younger than I had ever seen him. He was scared, and he didn't want to be. He was nervous and doubting himself, and as we sat there, outside the bar, I wanted nothing more than to reach out and take his hand. To assure him with more than just my words that he was making the right choice in marrying Gabi. But something held me back, I don't know what it was, but I didn't reach over, I just said some more comforting words as he told me not to tell anyone what he had just told me.
"I won't tell a soul," I smiled comfortingly, "Friends share secrets, it's what keeps us close."
He returned my smile as Jon and Marcell drunkenly joined us.

For once ever, the odds all seemed to be in my favor. I had magically gotten into a bar; for the first time since I had made my older friends, being 19 didn't hold me back. Andrew holds the exclusive honor of buying me my first drink at a bar, and now we both were holding a secret of the other's.
Double rum and coke will probably never taste as good as it did that night.

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