Monday, November 26, 2012

Photographic Evidence

"He referred to her as his 'wifey,'" I made a noise somewhere between a gag, and a choke, and a dying horse.
Sarah laughed on her end of the line, "Really?"
"Really really. I told Ian he needs to find himself a girlfriend, not a wife," I said with a dark laugh, "And then he proceeded to flirt with me for the rest of the night."
"Wow, great relationship," Sarah said dryly as I pulled into the mildly-familiar apartment complex where Andrew's fiancee Gabi lived.
"Well I just pulled up to Gabi's so we'll see how today goes. Xaylia and Ian together in public, plus Amanda, this might get interesting..."
I hung up my phone thinking back to a few days ago when my gay bff, Geoff, had visited me at work. He had read my fortune, and apparently things with Ian were going to get a little hairy, but around Halloween someone better was coming my way. I wasn't afraid of things getting a little hairy, what's life without a little drama, after all? And someone better than Ian? Now I had something other than Ian and Amanda breaking up to look forward to.
"Happy Birthday Gabi!" I called to announce my arrival as I entered the apartment that was already filled with people.
"Thanks!" Gabi said as we hugged.
"I made you some cookies for your birthday," I said, holding out a plate with a bow on top, "Dark chocolate and butterscotch chip. They seemed appropriately fall-ish,"I smiled.
"Oohh thank you!" Gabi said.
"Xaylia!" I felt a strong arm wrap around me.
"Andrew!" I returned my best friend's hug.
Jen was being distant. She seemed like she was somewhere else, her mind on school, or going out to dinner with her boyfriend's parents later that night or something. I wasn't going to lie, now that she was back together with her ex, she didn't seem to need me as a best friend anymore.
Oh well. I had Andrew as my new best friend, and Andrew didn't threaten to slit my throat when I told him about me and Ian's little fling.
I turned around with a smile, "Amanda!"
We hugged like old friends.
Old friends of exactly a week.
I took a seat at the table where one of Gabi's friends was making creative pigs in a blanket to look like mummies, "Need any help?" I asked Justine.
"Yeah!" Justine was slicing up dough into strips to be wrapped around the mini hot dogs.
Amanda took the seat next to me, and the three of us set to work making the appetizers.
A hand reached over and snatched up my iPhone 5 from where it was sitting on the table.
"Hello to you too," I said to Ian.
"Your's is still the first and only I've seen," he said, admiring my phone for a few moments, even though when I had seen him earlier in the week he had been all over it.
"It's beautiful isn't it?" I said dreamily, making a mummy, "Hey try my cookies," I said, nodding to the plate that had made it to the table. Ian had a thing for my baking.
"You made these?" Amanda said, "They're awesome!"
"Thanks!" I said as she took a second one.
"You should bring these into work," Ian nodded his approval.
"So Amanda, what do you do?" I asked gingerly.
She told me briefly about her job in her hometown, which was a couple of hours away from where Ian and I lived, "...But, uh, next week I'm moving to New Zealand."
My entire body shut down for a second, "New Zealand? Next week? Oh my God!" I exclaimed.
It was like my own private fireworks show: She was moving halfway across the globe. In a week! This was so perfect, beyond perfect. It was a good thing I had the slightest bit of acting ability, or I wouldn't have been able to contain the glee that was secretly radiating from me, like the lights from the fireworks that were going off in every cell of my body.
"Do you have a job there, or is this purely spontaneous?" I asked.
"I have a job, it's with the company that got me the internship in London this summer-"
I nodded. I knew of said company; Ian had worked for them during the height of our flirtationship.
"But I don't really know where I'm going to live or anything, and I don't mind being homeless for a few days, I just want to go! I knew it was time to make a change, so I got a plane ticket and yeah!" I returned the beaming smile on her face.
"Oh Amanda, that's so great!" I could feel her enthusiasm, mixed with my own devious happiness at this news. I leaned over and hugged her, and she hugged me back, "I seriously admire your guts, seriously, that is so awesome!"
She giggled, "I'm so excited, but nervous at the same time, you know?"
We put our conversation on pause as we all gathered our coats and scarves to head to the cider mill a few blocks down the road. The grey clouds held the promise of a slight drizzle on that early October afternoon. I stayed at the back of the group, chatting with Gabi and a decently cute guy named James. Up ahead, I could see Ian and Amanda holding hands. There was only the slightest twinge of jealousy in the pit of my stomach. She was wearing jeans, and some white fleecy jacket, and a scarf. I was wearing jeans too, but they were a perfect fitting pair of bootcuts, that skimmed the ground even with the black sneaker wedges I was wearing.
The entire Davis family was ridiculously tall, I always felt the need to wear heels around them, but that hardly did me any good. Ian still had to lean down to kiss me when I was in high heels.
Instead of a no-name fleece jacket, I was rocking a black leather jacket over my green VS Pink sweatshirt, that was left unzipped to show off just the perfect amount of my black lace bralette. Topped with a tiny spiked necklace for just the right touch of edge, I looked sufficiently more fashionable than she did.
And from behind, it was obvious that I had the better ass.
But maybe Ian was more of a boobs guy, because she did have me there...
I literally told my brain to shut up, because I couldn't help that Ian had settled for second-best, and that second-best was clearly not as stylish as I am.
The sticky, sweet smell of donuts caught up with us half-a-block from the cider mill. Little children's squeals of delight could be heard from the petting zoo, and families were sitting on picnic tables underneath rose and amber leafed trees. The sugar rush from the hot apple cider sent tingles through my brain, and Andrew helped not at all when he insisted I at least split a donut with him. Consuming sugar did dangerous things to people who ate very little of it, if I had had the entire donut I was sure I would have felt like I was drunk already.
I wasn't sure how James and I ended up leading the group back to Gabi's apartment, but everyone was behind us as we talked about our favorite bands and the best concerts we had been to. I hadn't even been meaning to make sure Ian saw me giving my attention to another guy (who wasn't his brother), it just happened to work out that way. Whoops.
As soon as we all got back, it only took a few minutes for a batch of apple cider and Captain to begin warming in the croc pot. I found myself sitting across the table from Jen, but with nothing to say to her. She hadn't made an effort to be apart of my life for the past few months, and it made me sad to be so physically close to a far away friend, yet feel even more distant.
"Hey Andrew," I called over Jen's shoulder, to where her brother was standing next to the croc pot, "Pour me a drink," and I turned to Amanda, who was sitting on my other side and stuck up a conversation that I wished I could have had with Jen.
Jen and her boyfriend drifted out shortly after Gabi cut her cake, and as I finished my hot cider and Captain, Andrew drifted over to our table, where one of his buddies had taken Jen's vacated seat.
"Come sit with me," I said, sliding over to one edge of my chair.
Without a moment's hesitation he plopped down next to me, "Finished already?" he said as I took the final sip of my drink.
"Only catching up to you," I said with a laugh, and he slid his Captain and Coke over to me.
"Wanna share?"
I took a drink, having the distinct feeling that sharing drinks would be a new best-friend-tradition.
We were all talking when his buddy paused, his eyes flashing between the two of us, "Why are you guys drinking from the same cup?"
"We're best friends forever," Andrew said nonchalantly.
I also had the distinct feeling that Jen was about to be totally replaced.

"Hey X, booze run, come on," Kang said, tapping me on the shoulder as our friend Marcell started pulling on his jacket as well, "Ian, you coming?"
"Yeah," I heard Ian call from the other end of the room as I slipped my leather jacket back on.
"Shotgun!" I called as Kang, Marcell, Ian, Amanda, and I trooped out of Gabi's apartment. I felt mildly buzzed from my two drinks as I slid into the front seat of Kang's car and we sped to the Meijers around the corner.
"I think they're gonna need to see everyone's id's when we buy this," Ian said in a seemingly matter-of-fact voice, but I knew him better than that.
"Don't even have mine on me, you can't prove whether I'm legal or illegal," I said in a tone that matched his as we headed into the store.
Ian and I laughed. I knew his sense of humor, of course he had to crack a joke at the fact that I was the only one underage.
Amanda and I fell back as the guys combed the liquor isle for their next poison. We were giggling when I fake coughed, "Ciroc," I coughed again; they were pondering my favorite vodka.
Amanda coughed, "Ciroc,"
"You should... probablygowiththeCiroc," I said in another cough.
"Do it," Amanda coughed.
"We hear you back there," one of them said, and Amanda and I laughed. But sure enough, we walked out with a fifth of redberry Ciroc.
We arrived back at Gabi's to see that a few of the less-close friends had left, and as soon as Amanda and I were done going to the bathroom, Ian handed us both a redberry Ciroc mixed with Sprite and we plopped down on the couch.
"So," I began, "Tell me the story: You and Ian, how did it start?" We were now on that level, we had enough in common that it took very little for us to become instabesties.
"Well, we met in London..." and she began her charming little tale that I kind of didn't care about, but when the moment was right, I asked my next question.
"What are you guys going to do when you go to New Zealand?" I asked like a concerned friend, "It really sucks that you're going so far away!"
"I know," she said, "But we're going to try and make it work, and if it does great, and if not," she shrugged.
"Well I hope it does," as hard as it was, that statement was actually genuine. Amanda was so nice, if there was someone who else who ended up with Ian, I was glad she was like me because I knew she would be good for him.
And who am I kidding? I was so glad she wasn't prettier than me.
"So what about your love life? Got a special guy?" she asked.
I laughed, "My love life is the biggest joke I've ever heard. I've got like, really high standards, and I am not the type of person to settle for anyone who doesn't exceed them," I admitted, skimming over the fact that I had a lingering crush on her boyfriend.
"That's a really good thing-" she said, of course she could relate.
When our conversation topic turned, I took the moment to pull out my iPhone, "Amanda we've got to get a picture, I pretty much document my life in my mobile uploads album on Facebook, so we need a picture of our new friendship."
"Yes!" she agreed, and I didn't even have to ask Andrew before he took my phone and snapped a picture.
"We look adorable," I said with a giggle, showing the picture to Amanda.
"It's perfect!" Amanda agreed excitedly, and Kang stole my phone to get another couple shots of our group.
"Ian, we need a picture," I said, "Us partying in public needs to make it on instagram."
Ian was even more obsessed with instagram than I was.
I perched on the edge of his chair and he put a familiar arm around me, the two of us only pausing our conversation to smile for the camera, and I even had the boldness to put my hand on his knee as we posed. Ian and I kept talking as I skipped back to where I had been sitting on the couch, sipping my Ciroc and Sprite.
Xaylia and Amanda's friendship was now official, because if I didn't take a picture of it, it never happened. And now I had photographic evidence that Ian and I were more than just coworkers, not that I needed it to remember anything except that there were other guys out there in the world who would meet my standards. In a world this large, Ian couldn't be the only one.
Everything happens for a reason, and I hope for Ian's sake, that Amanda ends up being just what he needs...
To help him wake up and realize it was really me he was looking for all long.
Just kidding.
In chemistry, molecules and atoms that have similar characteristics can react similarly with other compounds. In Amanda's case, we were so much alike, that I knew the chemistry she had with Ian had to be just as undeniable as it was with me and him. For a reaction to occur, atoms have collide, they have to collide at the right orientation, and they have to overcome activation energy. You either have all three, or you have nothing. Amanda was the lucky atom, her and Ian must have reacted perfectly. Ian and I had collided, but not at the right time, and being best friends with his sister had set our activation energy far too high. Chemistry and timing are all a relationship needs, and Amanda and Ian had them both. Maybe it was a good thing that me and her had such similar properties; I knew I could trust that Ian was dating her for the right reasons.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Losing In Style

"So which one do you think would impress a hot 24 year old more?" I asked revealing another LBD with a flourish.
"The first one," Sarah's roommate, Grecia, said as I twirled in my black lace skater dress.
"Really?" I asked, "This is one is shorter, which makes my legs supermodel long."
"It does look great, but the first is more sophisticated, and gives you a good shape with the, thingy at the waist."
"The peplum?" I said with a laugh.
"First dress," chimed in Sarah.
"Yeah, go with the first," Sarah's friend Meghan added, "You look older."
I shrugged, "First dress it is," and I slipped into the black peplum dress with the lace neckline. It was a gorgeous dress, I would admit. I had bought it when originally the plan was to go to Canada to celebrate Jen's 20th birthday back in the summer, and when those plans didn't end up working out, the dress sat in my closet and I was forced to simply admire it. I guess tonight was the night to break it out, "Sarah," I poked my head out from where I was changing to a strapless bra underneath her loft, "He had the perfect opportunity to introduce me."
"Did he really?" Sarah said from where she was combing her tiny closet for her high heels.
I had arrived on the campus of Michigan State University a half hour ago, with my best friend Andrew, his fiancee Gabi, and Andrew Kang in tow. Tonight was Ian's birthday party, titled by him as 'Ian-a-palooza.' He was expecting 50 people to cram themselves into Jen's boyfriend, David's, apartment, and was making a dangerous batch of jungle juice. It was the party he had insisted I attend, but Sarah and I had another birthday party to go to first.
"I stopped in when I dropped both Andrews and Gabi off," I said, zipping myself into the peplum dress once again, "and when I went to say hello to Jen, she introduced me to two of her friends who were there early, and six feet away, and clearly within earshot of the introduction was Ian. I went over and gave him a hug and wished him happy birthday, and out of the corner of my eye I saw Amanda sitting like two feet away, and he didn't even introduce me! And then I left," I laughed.
In a black knit miniskirt, sneaker wedges, a v-neck, and a leather jacket, I had stopped in to say my hellos before the guests started to arrive and had left in a flurry of "See you laters" all without meeting Amanda. My savage pleasure was that my daytime outfit was hotter than what most people would wear out at night, so it was essential that I look even better tonight.
Hopefully the peplum dress would do the trick.
With my black glitter slingback pumps in hand, Sarah and I led the way to our first party of the night, with the entire floor of her dorm room in tow.

I was mildly drunk, and had a needle and thread in hand. Multiple shots of my favorite peach Ciroc, and a couple mixed drinks later, I was stitching up the birthday girl's dress up in the back. If I could do this while intoxicated, I obviously had to have some talent at it.
"You literally just saved my life," Cailtin, the birthday girl, said as we rejoined the party, "you have no idea!"
"Consider it a birthday present," I said with a laugh.
And then she kissed me.
And then Sarah kissed me, just because we're best friends.
It wasn't weird or anything, just friendly I suppose, and quite hilarious.
I had now kissed three guys and two girls. Something needed to change about that ratio in the guys end.
It was later than I had expected when we set off for Ian's birthday party; drunk enough so I wasn't chilled despite the late fall Michigan cold. If I hadn't already said I would come (and if I didn't have the slightest lingering crush on the birthday boy) I wouldn't have gone. Caitlin's birthday party was a blast: friends, dancing, drinks, meeting new friends; I didn't want to leave! But I had a now-25-year-old to impress, and the perfect dress to do it in.
"We kind of had a thing," I said to Kat, one of the girls who had decided to join Sarah and I on our trek halfway across the campus of Michigan State University, "He's my best friend's older brother, and we work together. We flirted forever, and then we made out, and then he went to London for the summer and apparently met this girl named Amanda who he's now dating, whom I am so excited to meet," I was giving her the quick and dirty on everything that had happened over the past eight months with Ian.
"I totally understand," Kat said quickly, tossing her now-empty bottle of wine into a bush, "I knew this guy..."
"....He was the first guy I've met who meets the new higher-standards I adopted after I broke up with my ex last Thanksgiving," Our story-telling continued as the apartment building began to loom into view.
My phone rang from inside my grey Nine Went crossbody bag, "Hello?" I answered.
"Where are you?" Gabi said impatiently, and I swear I could hear an echo.
"Gabs!" I shouted, looking up to where her familiar face was leaning over a balcony.
"Come on up!" Gabi shouted back to me, and I took the flight of stairs as fast as my black glittery slingbacks could carry me.
Gabi and I hugged as I joined her and Ian and one other girl on the balcony.
I looked at Ian, "What are you doing out here? Your party's inside," and then I raised an eyebrow when I noticed something peculiar, "No drink? I'm disappointed Davis."
"You missed it," Ian said dryly, "Girl got kicked out, cops were called."
"I punched her!" Gabi interjected.
"Gabi!" I said, shocked.
"She almost got into a fight with Jen, I had to step in," Gabi said with a smug smile.
"Well good for you," I winked at her as I leaned against the balcony railing next to Ian.
People trickled in and out, and as Gabi and I were talking about something, Amanda found her way outside. From intensive facebook stalking, I knew exactly who she was. Her dark hair framed a round face that was empty of any trace of makeup. Her skin had an amber Mexican tone, and she was wearing a velour zip up, over a cami with a pair of jeans. And it wasn't just the dim outside lighting, or my personal judgement, that made her nose look disproportionately large in comparison to the rest of her face.
"It's freezing out here," Amanda said as she crossed her arms.
"Here," I held out the silver leather jacket that was draped uselessly across my arms, "I'm drunk enough not to be cold."
"Thanks," She said, taking my jacket and draping it around her shoulders, as she was a size or two larger than I was.
I glanced at Ian, who was standing next to me, and apparently didn't have the manners to introduce his girlfriend to his favorite coworker.
"I'm Xaylia," I said to Amanda and I hope my lips curled into something that resembled more of a smile than the smirk I was trying to conceal.
"Amanda," she said, "Thanks for the jacket, this is really cute, by the way," she said, admiring the silver faux-leather.
The small talk flowed far too easily, and within a matter of minutes we even had our own inside joke. Something about yolo, but cats being exempt because they have nine lives. She returned my jacket before she headed back inside behind a skipping Gabi, leaving just Ian and I under the beams of moonlight that kept escaping from behind the patchy clouds.
"Sorry the party didn't exactly turn out as anticipated," I said honestly.
"Wish you had been there to see it at it's prime," and a small smile crept across his face. We both stared up at the sky, appreciating a moment of quiet in a night that had been full of partying for the both of us.
"I'm gonna take a walk," he sighed, and set off down the steps.
I took a deep breath, savoring having a moment to myself before pushing open the apartment door and being assaulted by the sounds of Kanye West. The party seemed slightly subdued as I squeezed onto the couch next to Andrew.
"Where's my brother?" he asked.
"On a walk," I said, uninterested.
"You look good," he said approvingly.
"Thanks," I smiled as he began to spill his side of tonight's adventures.
I meowed at Amanda as she passed by, "You only live nine lives."
She meowed back and we collapsed into laugher.
I found myself in the kitchen with Gabi, drinking water in an attempt to come back to Earth, until Kang poured us both a shot of Three Olives Birthday Cake vodka, and soon enough Gabi and I were bringing the party back to life, dancing like there was no tomorrow. Amanda and I meowed. Andrew and I shared a spiked apple cider. Jen and I were laughing.
Ian's best friend Armando threw an arm around my shoulder as I took a break from dancing. Andrew and I alternated drinks of spiked cider and water. Ian rejoined his party, that Gabi and I had turned into a party once again. Sarah and Kat had left for home. Kang danced Gangnam Style.
But as 3am rolled around, people began to tire out. Except for Kang, who decided it would be a good idea to run all the way to Sarah's dorm, where the little group I had driven up was going to crash.
"I think it's time for me to go to bed," Ian said, running a hand through his short hair. He turned to me, where I was chatting lightly with Armando, "Thanks for coming," he said, wrapping his arms around me, "I'm glad you did, it means a lot."
"Of course," I said as he held me for a few heartbeats, "Happy Birthday Ian," I said as we exchanged smiles and broke apart.
"Goodnight Xaylia."
I slipped my leather jacket on as Ian went into the bedroom he and Amanda had claimed for the night, realizing quickly I was the only one he had said goodnight to.
I smiled to myself.
That smile quickly turned to a smirk as I realized I could now officially say Amanda was just an older, and less-pretty version of me.
It wasn't an opinion; I had the proof to back up such a fact after getting to briefly getting to know her tonight.
To put it as nicely as I can: She had been wearing a velour hoodie and I was in a little black dress.
But I couldn't be shallow enough to think looks were everything as I watched Amanda retreat into the same bedroom as Ian.
They say that beauty captures attention, but personality captures the heart; I thought I had covered both bases as far as Ian was concerned, but somehow Amanda had done it without the first, even though our personalities were remarkably the same.
Beauty had been bested.