Miles invited Iggy over to Oscar and Ramsay’s apartment one Friday night for drinks and then to come out with them. According to Miles, this was a big deal because it was usually a boys’ only club. Iggy protested that solely on principle, but agreed to come anyway. She knew Oscar from high school, but hadn’t met any of the rest of Miles’ friends, aside from David and she wasn’t so sure they could really classify David as a friend at that point. She was looking forward to it, even in spite of how many times he had warned her that his friends were not nice people. Most of her friends weren’t nice people either. Tallulah was terrifying to strangers. She figured she’d be fine; she was well-prepared with several years’ worth of experience.
And then she met Ramsay.
Ramsay was like Tallulah and Sybil combined, but a thousand times less friendly. He didn’t smile at all when Iggy was introduced to him. He barely even looked at her. She was instantly not fond. It didn’t help that the apartment he shared with Oscar, where they were supposed to stay for the next couple hours, was hotter than the sun. It was hotter than doing hot yoga in a studio designed to make people sweat from every pore in their bodies. It was hotter than doing hot yoga in fucking India. She had done her hair for the evening, curling it loosely in an attempt to look more like Blake Lively, but that had clearly been a mistake. Her hair was up in a ponytail within the first four minutes that they’d been there.
“Why is it so goddamn hot in here?” She asked, fanning herself with the hand that wasn’t holding her drink. She had brought cider for which she had already been mocked mercilessly by most of the people gathered, with the notable exception of Bear. Bear was officially Iggy’s favourite. He was a gigantic, bearded hipster with an impressively mild temperament and nice teeth. She was already trying to work out how to set him up with one of her friends. She hadn’t even chosen which one yet; she just knew he should probably date one of them.
“Our radiators are broken,” Oscar explained, lying on the floor and swatting at fruit flies. That was the other thing: there were so many fruit flies. Iggy had already gotten two in her right eye.
“If I wanted to be this damn hot and surrounded by this many damn bugs, I’d go to the equator,” she complained.
“Yeah, well at least you don’t have to live here all the time,” Oscar returned. “I used to live in an apartment where I didn’t accidentally eat bugs or sweat my balls off. And I had twice the closet space.”
Iggy thought about making a quip about how he shouldn’t have moved then, but then remembered what a sore spot Oscar’s break-up apparently was with Miles and decided to leave it alone. Besides, she didn’t want to hurt Oscar unnecessarily either. He was her second favourite. In all fairness, there were only three people there aside from her and Miles so really she just liked him more than she liked Ramsay, and she didn’t like him at all, but still. Miles had forewarned her about the other guys too. Apparently his friend Robin could be harsh and Robin’s roommate Joey was, in Miles’ exact words, “a human disaster”.
“Why do we always do this at our place?” Oscar asked. “Why don’t we start going to Robin’s? I mean, we can’t go to Miles’ apartment because of his sad fuck of a roommate, but Robin’s roommate is Joey. Joey would not care if we pre-drink at his apartment. He comes out with us half the time anyway.”
“Joey’s cousins are over a lot,” Miles began to answer. “And they’re terrifying.”
Iggy wondered how terrifying Joey’s cousins could really be. Until, that is, she met Joey himself. He turned up to the apartment with Miles’ friend Robin with a bloody nose. He was wearing ripped black jeans. There was a tear in the thigh of one of the legs that she didn’t think had been intentionally made. He was wearing Nike Frees and an unbuttoned denim shirt over a white tank top. There was an unlit cigarette dangling from his lips and he was carrying two excessively large, unmarked bottles of red wine in his hands, which he raised above his head triumphantly when they stepped inside.
“I brought Nona’s wine, motherfuckers!” He called to the room at large, which was a startling greeting. “Oh, sorry, sweetheart.”
He winked at Iggy. She was mildly horrified.
“Finch is coming in a bit,” Robin informed Miles, stepping over Oscar’s head.
“You invited the boyfriend?” Miles asked, smirking.
“Fuck off,” Robin smacked him in the head and then looked pointedly at Iggy.
When Finch showed up, Iggy decided that he was her second least favourite. She liked him less than she liked Joey, who had demanded that they all try his Nona’s handmade wine. Apparently she had literally crushed the grapes with her hands. It was stronger than anything Iggy had ever consumed in her life and it burned all the way down to her stomach. Finch was scary and broody and maybe even less friendly than Ramsay. At least his entire being was a warning for his unfriendliness though. She’d been blindsided by Ramsay’s unpleasantness.
They went to a bar where Finch’s roommate was DJing. When they got there, Iggy discovered that Finch’s roommate was in fact Jacklyn’s neighbour Gord, the one who kept stealing her cat. She recognized him from jazzercise and from Jacklyn’s many snapchats of him luring her cat across the hall. Jacklyn took them through the peep hole in her front door like a crazy person. For the most part, he played popular songs that everybody in the crowd knew and enjoyed, but then he would slip in the occasional ‘70s disco tune. Some people noticed, but a shocking number of people did not. And it wasn’t like they knew he was playing The Bee Gees, but danced enthusiastically to “Stayin’ Alive” anyway. They honestly just didn’t notice that anything out of the ordinary was happening. Gord looked incredibly pleased with himself.
The bar itself was packed, crammed full of what Iggy assumed were university students. She felt roughly a hundred years old, even though she was only a mere two or three years older than most of the other people in the bar. At one point, while they were in line to get drinks at the bar, they were standing next to a group of men so young one of them had braces. They were so scrawny and small. Compared to Bear, they looked like actual children. Iggy caught one of them literally looking up to Bear, his extreme height, and his beautiful beard.
After a little while and a couple drinks, they made their way to the dancefloor. Iggy was kind of surprised by this, until she saw Miles unsubtly push Oscar toward a group of seemingly unattached young women. Then it became obvious that they were there to be his wingmen.
“What are you doing?” Iggy asked Miles as they danced.
“I’m helping him out,” Miles smiled slyly, fist bumping a very disinterested looking Robin. In fact, Robin looked like he would rather be anywhere else in the world at that precise moment in time. It might’ve had something to do with the very, very drunk girl in the leopard print miniskirt trying to grind with him from behind.
“No you’re not,” Iggy informed Miles matter-of-factly. “Those women are going to turn him down immediately and it will be crushing.”
“No they’re not,” Miles protested instantly.
“Out of the two of us, who has the uterus and an interest in men?” Iggy asked him. Surprisingly, Ramsay barked out a gruff laugh from the opposite side of their dance circle. Iggy literally turned to him in shock, too stunned to bother trying to hide her surprise. Up until that exact moment, she had thought Ramsay would like nothing more than to push her out of a moving car into a lake.
“He has an interest in men,” Miles said, jerking a thumb at where Robin was trying to escape Leopard Print Skirt. “Does he count?”
“No uterus,” Iggy shook her head, then thought about it. “I assume.”
“I only have an interest in one man,” Robin protested, turning back to them instead of Leopard Print Skirt. He seemed to have given up and was simply accepting his lot. She was very persistent, Iggy would give her that. She certainly didn’t take hints very well.
“I can’t decide if that’s really sappy or not,” Bear mused thoughtfully.
“It isn’t,” Robin answered immediately, shooting a glare over his shoulder at Leopard Print Skirt. Iggy sighed, reaching out a hand for Robin’s arm. She pulled him aside and switched places with him in their circle, sacrificing herself to Leopard Print Skirt under the assumption that she would lope off somewhere else once she realized that Iggy was not in fact Robin, a tall, slender man. To Iggy’s brief delight, Leopard Print Skirt did in fact stop trying to dance on her.
And then she threw up on Iggy’s back.
Overall, it was one of the most bizarre moments of Iggy’s life. The vomit hadn’t seeped into her shirt yet, so it was mostly just oddly warm, but she could also feel it sliding down her back. Miles looked at her in horror, eyes wide and immobile. Robin scrunched up his nose. Bear looked on sympathetically. Surprisingly, Ramsay was the one to reach out and lift her ponytail out of the way, saving it from the barf. In the background, the dulcet sounds of Abba’s “Fernando” was being piped into the club.
“Please tell me someone did not just puke on my back,” Iggy said through clenched teeth when she regained the ability to form words.
“You know, I really wish that I could,” Robin replied meekly.
“It could be worse,” Miles offered uncertainly and unhelpfully. Iggy glared at him.
“How?” She demanded.
“She could’ve thrown up on your face?” Miles returned.
“Jesus, what a silver lining,” Ramsay remarked dryly, rolling his eyes. “And now don’t you feel stupid for asking?”
Iggy was really beginning to warm to him.
She ended up in the women’s washroom with Ramsay, Miles, and Joey. Miles was dithering about uselessly, clearly repulsed by the vomit of a stranger on his girlfriend, but still trying to be supportive and sympathetic to her plight. It was annoying. Ramsay was still holding her hair out of the way and trying to clean up the majority of the vomit with an enormous quantity of paper towels. Women kept coming in and staring at the lot of them, which was fair. Iggy was sitting on the sink, as was Joey, and there was vomit on her back. There were also men in ladies’ room.
“I don’t think it’s going to get any better than that,” Ramsay told her matter-of-factly, tossing the used paper towels in the bathroom.
“So I’m spending the rest of the evening with someone’s dried vomit on my back then?” Iggy asked flatly, unimpressed. At that point, she wanted to go home. She chanced a look at Miles, who was still twitching about nervously. He didn’t want to go home. She knew he didn’t want to go home. She also knew that he didn’t want her to go home, but that he would both let her leave and accompany her out of consideration for the drying vomit of a stranger on her back. He was trying to help out Oscar and she didn’t want to tear him from that, regardless of how poor a job he was doing.
“You can wear my shirt,” Joey offered, already taking off the unbuttoned denim shirt he’d been wearing over his white tank top. He handed it to her and she slipped into one of the bathroom stalls to change out of her barf-covered shirt into his. He was a very thin man. She was also quite thin, but she had breasts and he did not, which made it something of a challenge to button up again. It pulled across her chest, leaving a few undesirable gaps.
“You’re quite thin,” Iggy told Joey when she emerged again. He merely grinned at her.
“Well, at least it isn’t covered in vomit,” was Ramsay’s very practical contribution to the conversation. It was hard to argue with that logic.