On NYE, J and I walked over to Liliana’s house. I was expecting her to have some sort of cute little artist’s bungalow – there are a lot of those here, and most of them are equipped with a ton of yard kitsch – but instead, she lived in a big house on the Bay. There were glass windows lining the front of the house, which faced the water.
J leaned over and kissed my neck as we stood in front of the door. “I hope she has curtains,” he said.
I almost felt guilty for laughing. When Liliana opened the door, she was dressed in a more festive version of her usual outfit: a black lace top and a long skirt that hid her feet. She was still wearing her pentagram necklace, but she’d added matching earrings.
“Hi! So glad you made it!” She chirped, pulling us in for a hug like we were old friends. “There are drinks and snacks in the kitchen,” she added.
I had no idea what to expect. The last time I went to a sex party, it was one of those kink parties where everyone acts really respectable for the first few hours until the wine and blow kicks in.
Liliana’s party was relatively chill by comparison. Most of the people weren’t people I had seen around town before. Liliana pulled us around the living room and introduced us.
“This is Franklin,” she said, gesturing to a silver fox with a tweed jacket. “He’s a professor at Washington.”
Franklin chuckled. Then he winked, which made him a lot less attractive. “It’s only my day job,” he said.
I raised an eyebrow. I couldn’t imagine any of my former professors at an orgy.
“Nice to meet you,” I said.
Franklin stared at me for a little longer than necessary. I was wearing a vintage Betsey Johnson velvet leopard-print minidress with an empire waist, high-heeled Doc Martens, and too much eyeliner. His eyes went from my tits to my left hand.
“This is my husband, J,” I added.
Franklin immediately seemed to lose interest. He got to his feet and excused himself.
I noticed a pattern as Liliana introduced us to everyone else in the living room. Most of the people there were early to late middle-aged, and the vast majority of them clearly did not live in Rock Hall. There were several more professors from the college in a town about twenty miles away, and some finance people from Baltimore.
J went to get our drinks (vodka tonic with a twist for me, something with Kahlua for him) and I started talking to Nathan, one of the finance people. He was really hot, with black hair brushed away from his forehead and big, expressive eyes.
“I take my boat over here on the nicer weekends,” Nathan said, by way of introduction. “It’s a nice ride from Baltimore.”
“That’s nice,” I said.
To my horror, Nathan pulled out his phone and started showing off pictures of an enormous catamaran.
“I have a cabin cruiser, too,” he said.
“That’s nice,” I repeated awkwardly. For such a hot, older guy, Nathan had no idea how to flirt. I wasn’t exactly getting wet looking at pictures of his boats. He scrolled past a burst of pictures, and I saw a staged family portrait with him, a statuesque blonde woman, and several smiling children.
“Your family?” I asked. “Cute kids.”
Nathan put his phone away in a huff and walked away.
When J got back with our drinks, I sat down on the couch and watched everyone for a while. Despite not having many expectations, I hadn’t thought that someone like Liliana would hang around with this crowd. But thinking back to the kink parties that I used to go to, I really shouldn’t have been all that surprised.
“These people are boring as fuck,” I whispered to J. I knocked back my drink and got up to get another one, thinking that maybe if I got drunk, I could ignore how obnoxious Nathan and Franklin were.
Liliana was being a good hostess, flitting around the room with trays of snacks and appetizers. I parked myself next to the bacon-wrapped dates and had just put one in my mouth when the front door opened and the cute kid from the liquor store walked in.
He made a beeline for me and J.
“Hey,” the kid said. I still hadn’t asked his name.
“What, no house party tonight?” I teased.
He shrugged. “I went to the block party thing,” he said. “But it was fucking boring.” He mimed shivering. “Lil told me I was welcome here.”
“I hope you like looking at pictures of sailboats,” I told him drily.
He laughed like he’d never heard anything so funny before.
“You guys should come hang out with me at work sometime,” the kid continued. “I’m so bored that like, I’ll kill myself otherwise.”
J’s eyes met mine over the kid’s head, and we raised our eyebrows at each other. Go visit him at work? I thought, struggling not to laugh. It was fucking adorable. It was like being flirted with by a high-schooler.
“L doesn’t like leaving the house much,” J said, trying to hide his grin.
“That’s not true,” I protested, shocked. I’d finished my second vodka tonic by now, and it was starting to go to my head.
It was totally true.
The kid laughed. He was sitting so close to me that our thighs were touching, and I impulsively ran my hand through his hair.
“You know, you’re lucky that you have a perfectly-shaped head,” the kid said. “I love your hair, but I couldn’t do that. I probably have like, scars all over the place.”
“She knows,” J said. He smirked. “Trust me, she’s vain. It takes half an hour to walk through a parking lot because she keeps looking at herself in car windows.”
“That’s okay,” the kid said. He tossed his head again and stared at me. I realized that I wanted to kiss him. Around us, people were getting drunker and louder. Liliana was sitting on the lap of this gorgeous black guy with her feet in the lap of another guy, and she had her head thrown back in laughter. Nathan had found someone else to talk to – a very busty woman with brassy blonde hair who was wearing a bandage dress. Given my very 90s attire, I wasn’t one to talk, but I am not ready for those fucking things to come back.
J had followed my gaze to the brassy blonde. “She looks like Ron’s wife,” he said. He was talking about the wife of one of his former professors, whom he almost fucked years ago.
I shrugged. “You could do worse,” I told J. “But that Herve Leger has to go.”
“On the floor, maybe,” J said in a quiet voice meant only for me. He rolled his eyes and I burst out laughing. For some reason, it was like the funniest thing in the world. Despite the atmosphere that Liliana had tried to create, with candles and dim lighting, it suddenly seemed ridiculous that I was getting drunk on her couch and making fun of her friends.
“I feel like we should go,” I told J.
The kid was watching us with interest. “You wanna go back to the block party?” He held up a flask. “I brought vodka.”
I looked around again, trying to decide what I wanted to do. It was only eleven-thirty, and I was coming into that excited stage of drunk.
“Sure,” I said. “Why not.”
The three of us left Liliana’s house unnoticed. At that time, she was on the couch with her long skirt hiked up and some dude crouched between her legs, eating her out.
“Does she have a lot of those parties?” I asked the kid.
He shrugged. “I don’t really know her that well. I only started working with her a couple of months ago,” he replied.
I raised an eyebrow. It was cold outside, but only about a fifteen-minute walk to the block party, which had been moved inside the volunteer firehouse. They were carding at the door, and I grabbed a couple bottles of Yuengling that someone had abandoned outside, slipping them into the pockets of my coat.
There was a band blasting classic rock, and I grabbed J and we went to dance. Predictably, the kid followed and three of us held onto each other and whirled around. After a while, it was actually kind of fun. I finished the emo kid's flask of cheap vodka by myself, then took some rum punch that was in a large bowl at the front of the room. All the booze had gone to my head, and I was dizzy and laughing and I could tell that my face was probably all red.
“I’m going out for a smoke,” I told J and our new friend.
Outside, the parking lot was filled with drunk people. Someone actually got in a car and started it, backed into another car, then took off without their headlights on.
“Lights!” I yelled. The other people smoking joined me. “Lights! Turn your damn lights on!”
“Drunk driving is a big problem around here,” J said. He brushed against my sleeve and I put my head on his shoulder. The kid had followed him outside, too, looking pensive as ever.
That was when I heard our names being screeched in a loud female voice. Immediately and irrationally, I thought it was Liliana, angry that we’d deprived her rich friends of two somewhat younger people to fuck.
Then I realized it was Deb, and my heart sank. She was careening towards us, wearing a giant straw hat with fishing lures and plastic crabs and LED lights all over it. Her cheeks were bright red and her blonde bangs were plastered to her forehead.
“Oh my fucking god, kill me now,” J hissed. “She’s here?!”
Really, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Of course, my aunt-in-law had decided to show up.
“We should tell her that we just left an orgy,” I whispered. J burst out laughing. By the time Deb arrived, he’d managed to wipe the smirk off his face.
“Hi!” Deb cried loudly. She was unsteady and wobbling on her feet, and I had a sinking feeling that she’d gotten just drunk enough so that she wouldn’t have to drive home.
“Hi,” I said warily. “Karen didn’t tell me that you were coming.”
“One of my coworkers was supposed to meet me here, but she stood me up,” Deb said. Her chin shook and I was worried that she’d start crying again. “And I didn’t even win the hat contest,” she said bitterly.
I had forgotten that our new friend was standing next to us, and I turned to him. He went in for a kiss but I leapt back in horror because Deb was standing right there.
“That’s J’s aunt,” I told him, hoping that he was smart enough to figure out the meaning.
He blushed. “I get it,” he said. “You probably want to know my name first, right?”
I laughed awkwardly. Thankfully, Deb had pulled J off to the side and was talking to him, her eyes glassy and huge as she did so. J looked at me with ‘help me’ written on his face, and I nodded.
“We gotta go,” I told the kid. “I’m L, by the way.”
“I’m Shane,” the kid said. He stuck out his hand and we shook. “Now we can be friends!”