Not surprisingly, no one else was keen to eat, so only Jay and I went with them. Nothing was more conducive to hooking up than two guys and two girls, the seeds of attraction and the foundation of a solid day drinking session. It felt exciting sitting next to Emma – hadn’t felt this way about a girl for a while.

“So what else have you guys been up to? Jay asked.

“Well, Emma has been super busy throwing crazy underground parties for the super wealthy.” Charlotte said.

“Sounds like good times. How about an invite to the next one?”

“They are not that crazy, ” She said, “But I’ll try and get some more people along. That’s if they ever happen again.”

“So where is the rest of your crew today?” I asked.

“A bunch of them went out to the beach, some bailed on us after a big one last night. Emma’s boyfriend is too much of an old man.”

Emma screwed up her face, “What? it’s true.” Charlotte said, mimicking the snarky smile back at her.

The words hung in the air for awhile, like one of those farts you don’t consciously let go but end up extremely potent making it awkward in a group setting. Jay looked at me; my reaction must have been obvious. He pushed the conversation back to last night while I dwelled on it. I hadn’t seen any photos of her with a guy Facebook or Instagram. I could feel a big wall of discomfort rise between us, where before it had been this warm energy.

It was weird like it is when you meet someone new, connecting, building chemistry, normally people mention if they are with someone pretty early. I guess it’s customary to avoid advances. She did seem kind of disappointed saying it herself; at least that’s what I would like to think anyway. She was talking a bit faster now, a little awkward; I wondered what she would be like to kiss. I bet her mouth tastes like blueberries and seltzer water. We finished our tacos, Jay and Charlotte went outside for a cigarette.

“So, are you going to text Viv?” She asked.

I was caught in a brain stall, made some noise and looked at her stupidly. “You got her number right?”

“Yeah,” I said, “I mean I thought it would be cool if we all hung out.”

“Whatever. You got her number so ‘we’ could all hang out?”

“Yeah. Pretty much.” I didn’t want to say that it was more like Viv giving me her number, but I hardly remember the end of the night. When did swapping numbers with a girl become some sort of romantic contract? I don’t even remember giving off the impression that I was into Viv.

I wonder if it was obvious I was melting away, not only did she have a boyfriend, she thinks I’m one of her friends. Why were all the best girls in relationships? I worked on a short film a couple of years back, there was this older lady who was acting in it. One night a bunch of us were talking about sex and relationships, she told me in a weathered smokers tone that you should never relent just because some is in a relationship – that love is not always appropriate and you have to pursue a connection wherever you find it. It seemed aggressive, predatory, but she had a point – loads of great girls had boyfriends, maybe I needed to take a new stance, decide what I want and pursue it. I felt the weight of my phone in my pocket. I wanted to stalk this boyfriend of hers, right now nothing seemed as important as the comparison between him and me. Nothing makes you question who you are like someone else being in possession of something that you want.

Emma looked up from her burrito and pulled he hair up behind her head.

“Viv is really cool,” she said, “You should totally get in touch with her.”

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