hey ya // oukast
because that's just how i roll
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friday january 25th;
everyone has finally settled into the new year, and we are finally ready to celebrate! so, the hope springs committee has decided to throw a party at the local country club. dress to impress and have fun, cause it's going to be a rocky night.
“nate, check out that blonde.” i nod upwards to a leggy girl sitting at the cash bar. he looks briefly over his shoulder but turns back to me, shrugging. my jaw drops. he wasn’t his usual womanizing self tonight. “what is /up/ with you? she’s smoking. and you’re finally single. unless hanna is going to have you over tonight so you can pretend to be a carpenter again. i mean... gross.”
hanna, who was a co-worker of nate and i, was a total b-tch. and she knew i knew it. ever since i started at the paper, she’s set little tests for me. well, not tests exactly. more like competitions. but now i had the comfort of having the upper hand. see, she didn’t know that i knew about her “relations” with nate. nate, my charming (if not a bit smarmy) work friend, who for some reason thought she was a viable mate. dear god.
“i dunno. i might have... felt something-” he starts.
“other than disgust?! did she turn you against me?” i burst. i see his eyes flare up slightly and i take this as a note to back off.
“felt something when i was with her.” he tries to gain my approval with a cheesy grin and i sigh.
“hanna york is an awful woman. a woman who- who tried to get me fired. which didn’t work, because i’m obviously the boss’s favourite. she’s also five years older than you.” i attempt to reason with him.
“and matthew bishop is, what? three years older than you? i’m two years older than you, and we manage to be friends. it’s because age. doesn’t. matter. plus she’s a real handful in bed and i-”
“STOP!” i yell. several dancers manage to tear their gaze away from each other long enough to judge me. “i really don’t need to hear that right now.” i pick up my drink and suck the straw until half of the fruity cocktail is gone. a quiet pause ensues, and it’s not the comfortable kind. so i take the plunge.
“nate, if you really like her, and she respects you... i would be okay with staying your friend as you continue with this fling thingy.” i awkwardly pat his shoulder and smile, somewhat genuinely. “go call her. remember, i’m only doing this so she’ll stop harassing me. make sure you mention that, okay?”
he gets up and looks at me with his huge, chocolate brown eyes. “thanks. but you do know you really don’t have any power over me in this relationship, right?”
“right.” i give him a thumbs up and he jogs out of the room to sext her, probably. pfft. “relationship,” i scoff. “yeah, right.”
i sit there with my drink for a few minutes before realizing i had been drinking an imaginary cocktail. i walk up to the bar, the leggy blonde now making out with some guy wearing sunglasses.
“wow, that’s like /so/ cool.” i mutter to myself, rolling my eyes. i sit down at the bar.
“i know, right? i love it when people completely disrespect everyone around them.” i look to my left and see a brunette looking at them with the exact same expression as me.
“oh my god, same!” we both laugh, if only very slightly. “i’m spencer.” i hold out my hand to shake and extend to her a most charming smile. having a friend who’s the son of a politician really helps you out sometimes.
“lily,” she shakes it as the bartender hands me my refill. on the house, i guess. “so, what brings you to this festival of alcohol?”
“i’m actually here for work,” her eyes crinkle in confusion and i roll my eyes. a bad habit. “i work for the hope spring newspaper, and i’m supposed to be at every major event. that’s why this is my fourth cocktail tonight!” i say, faux cheerily. she laughs and then immediately sympathizes.
“i feel your pain. i’m interning at a magazine. i love it and everything, but you know.. not getting paid isn’t the best.” we both shrug and nod silently in agreement. “again, i love it. and it’s going to open so many doors for me. so what do you do exactly?” she takes a drink.
“i’m a journalist. i love it... i think. i’d rather be a writer, though. but unless you have a bestseller, you kind of need to pay the bills somehow.” i sigh and down the rest of my drink, still not feeling anything. five down.
“ah, the many joys of starting your career in the middle of a recession, right?” she jokes.
“yeah-” i feel a hand on my arm and turn to see nate, his face twisted in negativity. i shift my gaze between him and lily before excusing myself. “uh, nate, this is lily... lily, this is nate, but i have to go.”
“it’s kind of an emergency.” nate blurts.
“but here,” i pull a contact card out of my wallet and hand it to her. “you should call me sometime and hang out, i’m sorry i couldn’t really introduce you two.”
“yeah, sure. see you guys around!” she says, friendly, as he drags me off.
he pulls me into the lobby of the country club. it’s eerily quiet.
“she won’t take me back. she laughed at me, she said she couldn’t believe i thought we had something.” he doesn’t look embarrassed or angry. he just looks sad. and i never see him sad. it breaks my heart.
“and what did you say?”
“i said i couldn’t believe i ever slept with her and hung up.” he says. i exhale, relieved, and pull him in for a bear hug.
“i’m not at ease right now, spence.” his arms are stiff at his sides, but i smile at his tone. it sounds relatively normal.
“you love it.” i say into his shoulder, my face a squished up. i pull away and pat him on the cheek. “i’m proud of you. now you’re going to walk into the office on monday and you are going to become the best damn journalist in hope springs. after me of course.” i wink cheekily and point to myself.
“oh wow, ok. that was weird.” he takes my arm and we start lumbering down the hallway. “so, what’s going on with matt?”
i sigh happily. i hadn’t thought about him since my third drink, but i hadn’t exactly forgotten about him either. “i still haven’t replied to his text.”
“ooh, what did it say?” he asks, excitedly.
“god, you are such a girl.” i tease.
“what god?” he jokes, briefly referencing my atheism. he was agnostic... ugh.
“/anyways/. he said, and i quote, ‘i can’t get your gorgeous face out of my head. can’t wait for tuesday.’” i’m suddenly aware of my phone’s whereabouts, and saddened by the fact that he hasn’t texted again.
“wow. maybe he’s the girl. you should text him, though.”
“but what do i say?” i exclaim. “he’s just so nice, and charming and sensitive and...” i trail off guiltily.
“it’s ok. i’m already over it. kind of. enough for now. but-” he holds up his finger and we stop in front of the club entrance. “since i told hanna, you have to text matt back. it’s already a done deal.”
“fine. but only because i want to. this is not for you.” i shake my head slightly as i pull out my iphone.
- - -
that’s so sweet, i can’t wait to see you either :)
- - -
i hit send and turn the screen to nate for approval. he helped me with guy stuff, and i tried to help him with girl stuff. we had a good thing going. he sighs, a sly grin spreading across his face.
“you sent him a smiley face.”
“you do know what he’s going to think now, right?” he raises his eyebrows and finally laughs out loud when the reality of my actions hit me.
“shut up.” i take his arm again and drag him back into the ballroom, now ready to have a good time.