Several weekends ago, Sallie hosted a pregame. Natalie showed up with her boyfriend and her boyfriend's friend, Nate. Everyone drank a lot. We eventually make it to a bar. I want food so I join my friends in a booth and steal cheese fries. Meanwhile, they discuss how Nate has had eyes for Sallie all night.
Me: "Really? I hadn't noticed that. Are you going to eat that last fry?"
My phone buzzes. Sallie is beckoning me to rescue her.
When I locate her beneath the hazy neon lights of any dive bar, she embraces me. "I think I made out with Nate," she says.
Me: "I heard he likes you."
Sallie: "I don't want to. Protect me."
But the fries. " . . . Oh. Do you not like him?"
Sallie: "He's fine. I just don't want to be with anyone."
"Let's go to another bar," I suggest. And our group splits.
En route to the next bar, I find Sallie tugging my hand to stop. She chats with a dude smoking outside a pub. I suddenly hear her ask, "Do you want to come with us?"
Me: "No, Sallie, we're going"
And my God, they're kissing! While she's holding my hand. I let go and nod at sidewalk passersby.
She finally releases the stranger's lips and follows me. "What was that?" I say once we make it into the bar.
I don't hear her over the din. Natalie texts where am I. I tell her to come here - forgetting with my elevated BAC that Nate is part of Natalie's group.
Sallie decides she doesn't like the new bar, so we're outside when Natalie appears. With her boyfriend and Nate.
Natalie pulls me aside and croons, "I have a secret - Nate likes Sallie!"
Tell me more. "I have a secret, too - she knows, and she doesn't want it. I'm supposed to keep them apart."
Natalie wilts. "Oh . . . Really? That's no good." Then, "I guess I should stop him."
"You can't say you heard it from her," I stipulate.
"Don't worry, I'll use my feminine guiles."
I take this as my exit. "Perfect, it's on you now. I'm out. Brunch tomorrow?"
Eight hours later, as the non-hungover one, I spearhead brunch plans. Sallie simply texts back she can't go. Natalie and boyfriend join me. But where is Nate?
"He went home with Sallie," Natalie says.
Well, that wasn't supposed to happen. "Can I have the omelet?" I ask the waitress.
A few minutes later Nate rolls in. I struggle to maintain eye contact with him because did you take advantage of my drunk friend last night? Can you pass the salt?
Thankfully, this story has a neutral ending. Nate did indeed tag along home with Sallie, but nothing happened. "We fell asleep in my bed," she says. "He brought me chips before he went to brunch with you all."
And why didn't she like him?
"I just didn't want to be with anyone. He wasn't ugly or anything."
Occasionally Nate texts Sallie. They say they'll hang out, they're pretty free this week, but tonight I'm hanging with Sallie and Nate is with Natalie and boyfriend.