The following Friday I was heading out of class when Jaimie caught up with me.
“Hey, Piper,” she said, coming to my side and wrapping her arm around my shoulder like we were old chums. This startled me because I wasn’t used to people touching me at all.
“Hey,” I replied as I nervously adjusted my chef hat.
“So I was thinking of going to get drunk tonight. I asked Dustin and he wants to come along.”
“Really? He actually spoke?”
“He sometimes does. So anyway, wanna come?”
“Well, duh. Who else?”
“Um—I’m not twenty-one yet.”
“That’s okay. I know a place that won’t card you if you look old enough. Well—actually you kind of look twelve. But if you’re with us they won’t card you. And if they do you can always just get a virgin and we can get a booth with some cheese sticks or something.”
“Okay, so give me your number.” She pulled away from me and took her cellphone out of her pocket. I told her my number, and she sent me a text to make sure I got it. It was the only message in my inbox aside from the one my mom sent as she asked me to make cupcakes for her friend’s baby shower. “Okay, so I’ll text you in like an hour or two and maybe we’ll just swing by and get you.” I nodded.
“Alright.” She smiled brightly and left.
I stood there for a moment kind of in shock. In all my life, only one person had ever reached out to befriend me. And that was Caitlyn. She literally just found me walking to school one day and next thing I knew we were lunch buddies until the end of senior year. But even then she was different than my former lunch buddy. Like she actually asked for my phone number, and we hung out on weekends, and she spent the night and brought me flowers on my birthday. She was the first real friend I had. And the only one I still had. But she was kind of far away now. So Jaime wanting to be friends with me was kind of a shocker.
And I definitely didn’t have anyone who wanted to get drunk with me. I’d only ever been drunk with my mom. And the one time I went to visit Paige and her divorced boyfriend, and she promised to get me drunk if I didn’t tell our parents she was shacked up with him. Then we drank ourselves sick on apple martinis and watched An Affair to Remember.
I went back to my apartment and stepped inside. The living room/dining room area was really kind of spacy. But I didn’t have anything to put in it. I didn’t have a couch. I didn’t have a TV. I only had the stuff to fill my bedroom with and even then it was just a full sized bed, the vanity my mom got me, and an overload of inspirational cat posters. Which I didn’t feel looked right in my new adult bedroom.
Speaking of inspirational cats, Reggie heard me come in the door and rushed out to greet me. He wasn’t too sure about his new living arrangement yet. And even worse, he wasn’t used to being alone all day. So he came running out to yell at me until I patted his head. Then I went to my room to get dressed for whatever Jaime wanted to do. If she didn’t back out.
I really hoped she didn’t see my bare apartment either.
I spent at least a whole hour trying to find clothes to wear. I eventually settled on a plain t-shirt and jeans that were kind of tight. But Paige once said my butt looked cute in them. I was 95% sure she just said that in one of her weird, nice moods. But the compliment made the jeans my favorite. Even though they made my fat squeeze out the top and I had to wear a loose shirt to cover that part up.
Jaime ended up texting me soon after I finished getting ready. I told her where my apartment was and after she said, “Ooh fancy,” she promised to come by and pick me up. We were going to meet Dustin at the bar. I told her I’d meet her on the street, but she wanted to see my apartment. So I waited for her to show up and ring the bell.
Then she came in and said, “Wow.”
“I don’t have any furniture,” I pointed out. “But I just moved in.”
“I can help you get some if you want. My mom works at a thrift store and she always has furniture for really cheap. In fact, I probably have some at my house I can bring over because she brings a lot of it home and just piles it in the garage. I know for a fact I have at least one chair.”
“That would be really super awesome actually.”
“Well, come on. Dustin’s waiting for us.” I grabbed my sweater and followed her out the door and down the street to her small little black Honda.
I honestly pictured her sitting in her little black car with her skull steering wheel cover and her purple hair listening to some satanic death metal. But when she pushed a CD into the CD player it ended up being a collection of bagpipe songs. I decided it was even weirder than the death metal. But I chose not to say anything.
The bar she took me to was an Irish Pub, and I almost wanted to shoot myself in the foot. I’d never been to Ireland. I had never met anyone from Ireland. But I was Irish. And my parents were weirdly proud of this fact even though I was like 90% sure my mom was actually only like a quarter Irish. My dad, however, was full blooded even though both his parents had American accents and watched a lot of Extreme Makeover shows.
My mom was kind of obsessed, though. They went to Ireland on vacation once and brought us back a bunch of cool stuff. She even got me a shirt from Loch Ness, Scotland that had Nessie on it. It was one of my favorite shirts ever. Either way, I couldn’t escape Ireland and I really hoped they served something other than Guinness.
Just as Jaime said, Dustin was already waiting for us. He was Irish too apparently, and I guess he had worked at that pub before he got into school ala fancy ass. He got us a booth/table and ordered his favorite appetizers and beer. They never bothered to card me, just like Jaime promised. But the beer was Guinness. I drank it anyway.
Later in the night, I was feeling much more relaxed and comfortable. I hated to say it, but I usually wasn’t relaxed around other people unless I knew them, or got drunk with them. In this case, it was definitely the drunkenness. Because we were all laughing hysterically and somewhere along the line we agreed to make it a tradition to meet up on Friday nights at this Irish pub to get plastered and talk shit about the other people in our class.
Luckily, Dustin was much more talkative when he was drunk too, and it turned out we all got along quite nicely. In fact, in my drunken state, I was starting to think that Dustin was cute. Not as cute as I originally thought him to be. But maybe actually like crush worthy cute.
These first few chapters feel a bit weird. I didn't plan much of this story at all. And these first few chapters were written years ago. So a lot of them are just me trying to figure out the direction I wanted to go in. But, as usual, the story isn't meant to be a masterpiece. So I don't care.