"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.
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.