The three of us dink around at the bar a while longer and thankfully Gwen doesn’t try to force any more booze into me. She just orders a cocktail for herself and Everest orders two, which Gwen complains about paying for. He ends up buying it for himself. He doesn’t seem bothered by that, but I can’t help but roll my eyes. I’m not tactful about it either.
Oof, I must be seriously drunk. I would never risk starting an argument when I’m sober.
When we leave this bar, we head to another. This one isn’t quite a club, but it has a dance floor.
“Gwen,” Everest says wearily. “I said no to clubbing.”
“This isn’t a club,” she insists.
“It looks like a club.”
“We, it’s not,” she says firmly. “I don’t know why you’re so damn worried. Ian’s hot! He could find a girl to dance with!”
“Well, I don’t want to find a girl to dance with.”
I don’t know why Gwen’s always suggesting that. She knows I don’t dance with girls. She knows I don’t dance at all. I’m too awkward and I’d just end up making a fool of myself. Even at my drunkest, I stick to the sidelines.
“Whatever, then you two can hang out and be sticks in the mud together,” Gwen snorts. “I’m gonna find the bathroom. Everest, drinks are on you.”
She wanders off and when Everest turns to me I purse my lips. He does the same and then shrugs, sticking his hands in his coat pockets and moving towards the bar.
“Do you want another drink?” he asks as he hands his card to the bartender.
“Uh, I’m good for now,” I say slowly so it comes out clearly. “Thanks though.”
“No problem,” he nods, before leaning over the counter and loudly asking for a sidecar.
“What’s that?” I ask as he pulls out his ID.
“It’s like, orangey? It’s kind of strong,” Everest explains vaguely. When his drink arrives, he asks if I want to try it.
“Sure,” I say and he slides his cup towards me. I pick it up and take a sip, wrinkling my nose and shrugging.
Everest smirks. He probably knew I wouldn’t like it. He doesn’t give me a hard time or pressure me to drink more though, he just takes the cup back and sips on it himself. I wonder if he’s planning on getting drunk tonight.
“Sorry Gwen is being...difficult,” he says out of the blue.
“It’s fine,” I tell him, not really wanting to get into it.
Nothing will change even if we do. It’s not like any of our grievances will ever make it back to her. She’s too headstrong. When she’s in a bad mood she just finds one of us to take it out on. Usually, I try not to think about this because if I do I get frustrated, which doesn’t help anything. The alcohol must be getting in the way of that tonight because every time it’s brought up I feel a little more on edge.
“Are you sure?” Everest asks.
“Well, it doesn’t matter. Even if it wasn’t fine, what could we do?”
“I guess I’d try and talk to her.”
“She’d just get mad and defensive,” I say frankly because it’s true. They’re already not getting along tonight and I don’t want to make that worse.
I wrinkle my nose. “It doesn’t matter, dude.”
“All right…” he backs off. “But if you want me to say something, let me know.”
Everest keeps sipping on his drink and I perch my elbows on the bar, resting my chin in my hands. I watch him out of the corner of my eye as he waves for another drink. I really hope he’s having a good time. He’s been so stressed out lately. I guess anything is better than being at work, but this night isn’t going how it was supposed to. Maybe it would have been better if I’d just stayed home.
Gwen is really lucky to be dating a guy like Everest. He’s nice and works way too hard...but I feel like she takes him for granted. I can’t even believe that she’d try to hassle him over not going to school. He’s still smart, he just wanted to do things differently. He’s good-looking too...way too good-looking for her. Honestly, everything about him is way too good for Gwen.
Finally, the bartender notices that Everest’s finished his cocktail and comes over.
“Hey,” I say after he’s asked for a second sidecar. “Will you pick something for me?”
“Oh? You’re planning on having more?” Everest raises an eyebrow and then looks at the bartender. “Okay, um, how about a tequila sunrise for him?”
The bartender nods and turns to make our drinks.
“What’s a tequila sunrise?” I ask Everest quietly, not wanting to be overheard.
“It’s tequila, orange juice, and grenadine,” he explains.
Before I can ask, he adds, “Grenadine is the stuff they use in Shirley Temples.”
“Oh. That sounds good. I like Shirley Temples.”
He chuckles and says, “Yeah, man. I remember.”
The bartender sets Everest’s refill in front of him and then hands me mine. I stare at the glass. It’s multi-colored, which is cool. I pick it up and sip from the straw.
“Good?” Everest asks.
“Yeah, I like it,” I say decidedly.
"I thought it might be more up your alley than the whiskey shots Gwen was force-feeding you earlier.”
His comment is pointed and it makes me wonder if Everest’s mad. Maybe I just want him to be mad. I don't know anymore. I think I'm just drunk.
I stay quiet and keep working on my drink. After a few minutes, a girl still bundled up in her coat and scarf wanders up to the bar with a couple of friends. She leans over the counter to get into the view of the bartender and as she does she locks eyes with Everest.
"Oh hey!" she exclaims, sounding like she's greeting an old friend. "Fancy seeing you here."
"Hey, Amanda," he holds up his drink at her. "I'm surprised you're out! Don't you usually have the Friday night shift?"
"Usually, but not tonight! My friends were in town so I took off."
He nods and she starts to introduce her friends to him. Then he introduces them all to me. I immediately forget all of their names.
I stare into my drink as Everest chats with these girls like they’re all best friends. As I ignore their conversation, Gwen returns from the bathroom and takes a seat next to me. She looks mad, leaning forward and boring holes into Everest who as far as I can tell missed the fact that she was back.
“Who’re they?” she snaps.
“Coworker,” I drag my finger through the condensation on my glass. “And coworker’s friends.”
Gwen huffs, looking down at the drink in my hand.
“Everest order you another fruity cocktail?” she asks condescendingly.
“It’s a tequila sunrise.”
“Wow, look at you,” she scoffs. “You actually know what it’s called this time.”
I want to tell her to shut up but I don’t. I bite my tongue and keep drawing smiley faces with the water on the counter.
“Seriously, how long is he going to talk to them?” Gwen leans back on the barstool and tilts her head so she can see past my shoulders. “Whatever they’re saying can’t be THAT interesting.”
I shrug. “Dunno. You know how he is. Chatty.”
“Well, sometimes he’s a little TOO chatty,” she sneers.
She waves at the bartender and then orders herself scotch on the rocks. She’s had a lot to drink. I don’t know how she’s still so coherent. If she keeps going, she’ll probably end up starting a fight.
The bartender sets her drink down and she immediately picks it up, taking a long sip.
“Gwen…” I try to reason, but she just gives me a death glare.
Jeez. Okay, whatever.
I shake my head and her nose goes right back in the glass. I feel like I should try harder to stop her, but at this point, I’m too annoyed and frankly I give up. I look over at the group of girls that Everest’s talking with and notice that all four of them, including Everest, have ordered even more. It looks like I might end up being the soberest one out tonight and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
I feel like things are inevitably going to get messy. I don’t want to have to play the mediator, so I’m just going to try and stay out of it.
Gwen finishes downing her drink and slides a few seats down the bar, chatting at some guy who’s sitting alone. She giggles and touches his arm and it makes me wanna hurl.
Yeah, this is definitely going to get messy. She’s doing this because she’s jealous. It’s so obvious she’s jealous. She should just say something to Everest instead of acting this way. It’s not like he’s even flirting with those girls. He’s just being nice.
I stare down into my cup, feeling uncomfortable. I watch Gwen out of the corner of my eye, trying to gauge her behavior. Her flirting is pretty relentless and it’s embarrassing to watch, but the guy seems into it. He’s flirting back and after a while actually orders her a drink.
Ugh. This reminds me of how Everest used to talk to Gwen when they were first getting together, which was probably the grossest thing I’ve ever had to witness. It made me feel awful about myself in a way I couldn’t even put into words. Sometimes I wish that when Everest moved up here, we’d just gotten a place of our own instead of me introducing him and Gwen. That would have saved us both a lot of trouble.
It sucks. I wish I didn’t feel this way, but I’m jealous of her. I’ve tried really hard not to be, but it doesn’t work. I can only live in denial for so long. Eventually, everything starts bursting open and you have to face who you are.
I can’t accept myself so easily, though. I feel like I could never say the words out loud. I can barely say them in my head. Everyone’s opinion of me would change and I don’t want that to happen. I don’t want them to know. I don’t want them to start thinking things and making judgments.
I pick up my drink, finishing it. This is easier now that I’ve had a few too many. My taste buds are numb. I look at Gwen, still flirting. Then I look at Everest, still blissfully ignorant.
They aren’t good together. Everest deserves better and Gwen needs someone more like her. They don’t have anything in common. They probably realize it by now, too. They haven’t messed around in forever. I haven’t even seen them kiss in weeks. I feel like they’re on a slow decline.
I wish they would just break up and get it over with. I don’t know who will end it when it finally does end, but either way, it won’t be good. I seriously hate this so much. My mom would skin me if she heard me say that because hate is such a strong word, but I don’t know how to describe how I’m feeling in any other way.
I hate our living situation. I hate Gwen. I hate that she’s dating my best friend. I hate that they dragged me out here tonight just to ditch me simultaneously.
I push my empty cup away and I guess the bartender sees me do it because he walks up and asks if I’m ready for another.
“Yeah, just…that,” I say, pointing at the glass in front of me and probably sounding huffy.
I wonder if he’s watching this fiasco go down. I wonder if he’s put two and two together.
I should probably stop because with the way things are going, I think I’m going to end up being the responsible one tonight. I’m just too miserable. I’m already drunk and all these awful thoughts keep bubbling up. I have an easier time denying it all when I’m sober, but when I drink too much I start to get emotional.
This is the worst. It’s uncomfortable. I’m uncomfortable. Tonight was supposed to be fun, but it’s not at all.
The bartender sets my drink down and I mumble a garbled thank you at him. He probably understood. He probably has a lot of practice listening to drunks and deciphering what the heck they’re saying.
I take a sip and then realize I forgot to drink water like Everest told me to.
Oh well. I won’t be getting anything done tomorrow anyway. All I’ll be doing is sleeping off a gnarly hangover.