Caitlyn pushed her way toward the bar, quickly scanning the pink, blue, and khaki bodies around her for Shannon. As she edged her right elbow onto the wooden surface she felt a hand wrap lightly around her arm.
David inched beside her with a shy smile. Caitlyn had forgotten her ex and Shannon shared mutual friends. She raised her brows knowingly, said nothing.
David loudly revealed the obvious over the DJ’s sped up intro to Pour Some Sugar On Me. “I came down for Shannon’s birthday,” he said.
He sounded so stupid.
“Not sure I care,” Caitlyn rolled her eyes.
She ordered a Corona with a shot of tequila and placed twenty dollars on the bar.
“Two vodka-tonics,” David called out to the bartender, piggybacking her order.
They stood next one another awkwardly, chests almost touching as Caitlyn haplessly tried to create space between their bodies.
“You seen Shannon?” David bent his head toward hers.
“No,” Caitlyn answered sharply. She didn’t look at him when she said, “Stop talking to me.”
“Come on,” David tucked two fingers under her elbow.
Caitlyn yanked her arm from him. She turned her head just as a thin brunette with long curls bounced up beside them.
“Hey!” the girl flattened a familiar palm against David’s chest and smiled. “Thanks for getting drinks.”
“You remember Cassandra,” David pulled back from Caitlyn.
“Of course,” she replied, “The gorgeous dancer who was dating your coworker. We met the night before you dumped me.”
Cassandra glanced uncomfortably at David.
“Nice seeing you again,” Caitlyn delivered. She threw back her shot and squeezed the sliced lime tightly between her teeth.
“Please don’t be rude,” David implored her.
“It’s your friend’s birthday right?” Cassandra asked innocently.
“That’s right,” Caitlyn nodded. “I’m sure that’s the reason you think you’re here, except David only wanted a
reaction out of me.”
She guzzled her Corona.
“It’s not like that,” David shook his head.
“Please,” Caitlyn lowered the bottle from her lips. “You can’t convince me. I know all the games and tricks you pull for attention. It’s Cassandra who’s got to learn.”
She looked to the dancer.
“How does it feel to be used just to get under the ex’s skin?”
Cassandra nervously avoided Caitlyn’s eyes. She said nothing.
“Caitlyn, come on,” David insisted.
“You know what,” she set her half-empty beer onto the bar. “Give Shannon my best.”
Caitlyn pushed past Cassandra, allowing two blonds position at the bar.
“Wait!” David called behind her.
Caitlyn ignored him, and continued cruising through the crowd. Outside on 3rd Avenue Shannon was just arriving with a crew of gents in long sleeved Polos and striped Oxford shirts.
“Where you goin?” he held out both arms.
“Hey, Shan,” Caitlyn embraced her friend with a quick kiss on his cheek. “Happy Birthday.”
“Thanks,” he smiled. “Been here long?”
“Not actually,” she told him. “But I’m so sorry, I have to run.”
“Whaaat?” Shannon held onto her waist and spun a half turn. “But all the girls have to get on top of the bar and dance for me. You’re not exempt.”
He’d obviously been pre-gaming and was only half-seriously flirting with her. David exited the bar as Shannon waited for Caitlyn to change her mind.
“Listen,” she patted his biceps, “call next week. Let’s catch up.”
She kissed Shannon’s cheek again before removing his hands from her body.
“But it’s still early,” he clung to her wrist.
“There you are,” David smiled as he strode casually toward them.
Caitlyn swiftly devised an exit.
“Shan,” she slipped from her friend’s grip, and smiled smartly at her ex. “David’s been dying to see you!”