(Photo stolen from World of Oddy on Flickr)
Then I climbed into my car and drove to where I knew Nick Asshat's friend was working that morning. I walked up to him bravely, with a determined look in my blurry eyes. He looked at me, recognized me, and said hi.
And I asked him out for a drink.
His name was Chas, and I had met him three times before. The first time was in a noisy bar during the holidays, and there was little conversation. The second time you can read about here, and I hope you will, because it's one of my favorite personal true stories.
The third time I met Chas was at Oktoberfest, about three weeks after the golf course incident. Nick Asshat and I met up with the same guys, including Chas, who had been out golfing that day. They were all very nice and had either forgiven me or else had forgotten my un-country-club-like screaming of that day. And the guy who had caused all the trouble in the first place was very sorry and brought a large bouquet of flowers to make it all better.
So to Oktoberfest, where we hurtled around the hall as only beered-up revelers can. Nick danced with several people, and so did I, and neither one of us was the slightest bit concerned or jealous. I spent a lot of time shouting in Chas's ear, and found out that he was very witty and interesting, and seemed to find me charming. Could I be finally ready to exit this stupid, disastrous Asshat relationship -- the one I explained to family and friends as, "I know, I know, BELIEVE me, I know, but I'm not ready to quit yet" -- once and for all? Maybe. I got a fantastic long goodbye hug out of the deal, and I was smitten. Nick who?
When I got home to my roommate's house that night, she was still up. "Been out with Nick? What'd you do?" she asked. I slumped against the wall in the hallway. "I met the man I'm gonna marry," I told her, and we sat down and I told her all about Chas.
Chas. Nick's friend -- Nick's BEST friend, as Nick had told me. This was ugly. I had been slowly extricating myself from the relationship, to the point where I could think about seeing other people again, but his best friend? That was a no-no. And anyway, I have The. Worst. Guy. Radar. EVER, so what if I were completely wrong about Chas being interested in me? Still, Nick and I had always promised each other that if one wanted to see someone else, all it would take was being upfront and honest. I would start by not being available so much.
But the Night of the Perm Date With Nick I was backsliding, and I was as happy in Nick's presence as I had ever been.
Until it all fell apart.
I realized that for the handful of weeks that I had been agonizing over how to tell Nick I was done and wanted to date other people, and to cautiously pursue dating his friend (fully prepared to be castigated for such questionable ethics, of course), Nick had no such crises of conscience. Nope, Nick just hopped into bed with whiskey-voiced Cindy (and who knows if there were others, really) until he was dumb enough to spill the beans.
Well. Screw him. I'm moving on, AND I don't need his permission for anything. If Chas balks at the idea of dating his friend's Long-Term Entanglement (me) I'll completely respect that, but I'm DONE asking for permission. It's MY party, I'll be a sleaze if I want to.
And so I found myself outside of Chas's workplace that Saturday morning, looking wrecked and frightening, I'm absolutely sure. I went inside and walked up to Chas.
"Hi Chas," I said, displaying my fierce command of conversational English. Show-off.
"Hey Laurie," he answered, and smiled. He brightened -- did he brighten? I SWEAR he brightened. Is he nervous? 'Cause he looks kinda nervous, and --
"I was just wondering if you'd like to have a drink with me," I said. I vaguely remember sort of lolling on the counter in front of him, chin in hands, resting on my elbows. It couldn't have been attractive, but it was ME! Asking a human being out on a date! And a bold one, too. I give me some credit for huevos.
And, miraculously, Chas accepted, and we made the date. We met downtown at the Panama Bar & Grill for Long island Iced Teas -- oh good plan, Laurie -- and conversation until a) the bar filled up with college students and b) it became too noisy to hear and c) Nick Asshat showed up.
Yes, you read that right: Nick Asshat showed up. On my first illicit date with his best friend, just after I ended our entanglement for his cheating on me. You do see the thick layers of irony and karma, don't you?
to be continued . . .