Sitting at the bar, memories came flooding back. Dancing, drinking, New Year’s. In my wallet was Katy’s license. I hoped that I wouldn’t have to use it.
“Hi,” I said to the bartender with my brightest, most grown-up smile. “I’d like a shot of Jager and a vanilla vodka with soda.” Even to my mature ear, it did sound a bit suspicious.
I wore Cinnamon’s fake leopard fur around my shoulders, my black velvet skinny pants, high black boots with tall heels, and my chic tie dye long tank top in black and white. I looked good. I had to. Aryn had even helped choose my boots. He said, “Don’t look too hot.” And when I replied, “I have to look hot,” he didn’t even flinch. He knew it was true. He wanted me to look hot. He wanted me to meet Donovan.
The bartender eyed me. I could read his mind. He thought, She looks older, more mature, but maybe it’s just a hoax, the fake fur and all. She’s ordering a shot at 12:30 in the afternoon and a vodka soda.
“You don’t mind if I just check your ID, do you?”
“Of course not,” I flashed my most convincing smile. I was nervous, but I tried not to let on. I needed these drinks, and I’d do anything to get them.
I handed over Katy’s ID with confidence. “So, are you guys having the Pine Cone Drop?” I asked, attempting to distract him from the photo staring back at him. It was clearly not me.
“Uh, yeah,” he replied, distracted. He was examining it a bit too closely.
“Ah, I’ve spent many New Years here,” I rushed. “In fact, I’m kind of nervous, meeting an ex-boyfriend today for the first time in five years,” I spouted, trying to retain my composure.
“Mmmm,” he said, looking at me, back at the ID, and deciding to play along. “Ok,” he said. Relief. At 32-years-old, I felt sixteen again. But I’d done it. In comparison to what I was about to face, handing him a fake ID was nothing. Besides, it’s not like I was anywhere near underage.
The Jager shot was gone in an instant. I figured Donovan would be late, but just in case, I needed to take it quickly, and I needed to hide the evidence. I pushed the shot glass towards the bartender to get his attention. Get rid of this, quickly, I willed him.
It did the trick in no time. The warmth spread through my belly, down to my toes. Yes, it was just the thing. I silently thanked Katy a million times. What would I have done without her?
I needed someone to distract me as the time ticked away, 12:30, 12:32.
I texted Kelly. “Today’s the day! Waiting for donovan… Took jager shot and used a fake ID.”
“What? OMG did NOT know u were seeing him! Wtf. Are u w aryn? Why the fake ID?”
Oops. Apparently in all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I’d forgotten to inform my best friend of the meeting.
“No Aryn! He has my ID so I had to borrow Katy’s!!! But he’s already 15 minutes late.”
“Did u not tell anyone about this meet and greet on purpose? Is Katy going to be there The whole time?”
She sounded…concerned, incredulous. Did she really think I needed a chaperone?
“Sorry, been a bit flaky, maybe he’s standing me up.” No, no Katy, no Aryn, just me and Donovan, for the first time in five years, almost to the day.
“NO! this is crazy lic i o u s!” Kelly replied.
“LOL licious, love to keep things interesting.”
“More fodder for the book!”
“Yup! Miss u.”
“So crazy. Don’t drink too much. I am sure u look beautiful!” Leave it to Kelly. She knew exactly what I needed to hear, minus the calling it crazy.
“Thanks, Kel. Now he’s almost 30 minutes late.”
“Oh geez. How long are u going To wait?” I hadn’t thought that through. How long could I sit at the bar before I just looked pathetic? I was now 12:54.
“??” “Until I’m hammered? Then I’ll just punch him when he gets here.”
“Does that mean until u run out of Jager money?” “Chances are you’ll punch him regardless.”
“Yeah, and I start begging strangers to give me drinks while I cry.” “LOL, needed u today 🙂 You’re the best!!” I loved Kelly. Without her, I wouldn’t have been sitting there. In fact, I’d most likely be strapped to some bed in an aslyum somewhere…”
“Well, good luck! Make sure u l m k how it goes. Call me from the bathroom if u need me 🙂 ”
“LOL, yeah, to virtually hold my hair back!!”
“Think he chickened out?”
“No, I think he’s an inconsiderate ASS.”
And then, I saw him.
It was 1:10pm. He was 40 minutes late.
One last text to Kelly. “Game On.”