37: “How many of us do you think will be blind by the end of the evening?”

Joey and Iggy had a joint birthday party at the end of November. They rented out the top floor of a relatively sketchy bar and everyone chipped in ten dollars to cover the cost. It was a really inexpensive venue, which Robin assumed was the motivation behind the decision because, other than that, it didn’t have very much going for it. It was dark, it was sticky, and it smelled like cat piss in certain corners. The joint party had been Miles’ idea. Robin assumed he’d come up with it so that he’d be able to go to both of their birthday parties, which had originally been scheduled at conflicting times on the same Saturday night. Robin also assumed that Iggy was pissed about it, at least a little bit.

If Robin was being honest, he was more than a little concerned that the evening was going to end with a few truly horrible cases of alcohol poisoning.

“I told him he wasn’t allowed to give anybody drugs so he made six dozen jell-o shots and spent a hundred dollars on tequila alone,” Robin informed Finch and Gord as they made their way to the bar for the party.

“How many of us do you think will be blind by the end of the evening?” Gord asked in return.

“At least three,” was Finch’s very discomforting answer.

When they got to the bar, they walked up the stairs to the top level, the floor they’d rented, and were immediately greeted by Joey, Vinny, and Joey’s supplier Beezy, who was, of course, wearing his orange tuque. “Work Bitch” was blaring in the background. There was a pretty impressive rig of lights above the dance floor that were ricocheting off the disco ball Joey had hung. He had told Robin that Vinny had bought it for him, but Robin was about ninety per cent sure that Vinny had stolen it from somewhere else. Iggy was already in the middle of the dance floor with her friends, dancing her heart out. She seemed to be enjoying herself, but Robin wasn’t sure how much of that was down to actual excitement or if it had a lot more to do with the jell-o shots.

Joey grinned, wicked and sharp, and held his hands in the air. He was already double-fisting. He was wearing his black skinny jeans, the ones with the holes in the knees that likely hadn’t been intentional, and a white muscle shirt. Robin thought it was nice that he hadn’t bothered to dress up for his own birthday party.

“Brace yourselves, bitches!” He shouted to them. “This shit’s about to get fucked up!”

“Oh holy Jesus, save us,” Finch muttered darkly in response.

“I know that sounded flippant, but I think he was genuinely praying for help,” Gord assured Vinny, who didn’t look like he cared at all. In fact, he was wearing his wearing best black Adidas tracksuit and smoking indoors, which definitely wasn’t allowed. On the other hand, the bartender was a very slight gentleman with a rosy complexion and wide, innocent eyes. He looked very much like he didn’t want to have to approach Vinny about anything, let alone to tell him not to do something. Robin made a mental note to tip him well; he was about to have the worst evening of his professional life.

Robin, Finch, and Gord met up with Miles and Ramsay, who were watching Iggy and her friends on the dance floor a little dazedly. Joey had obviously already hit them with the jell-o shots.

“Already drunk?” Robin checked. Miles looked up at him with mildly panicked eyes.

“Are we going to survive the night?” He asked plaintively.

“Him?” Finch asked, pointing to Ramsay. “Yeah. You? Borderline.”

“I feel like this may have been a mistake,” Miles said in the same panicked voice.

“Most things involving Joey usually are,” Robin agreed. He looked over at Joey just in time to see him dunk Vinny’s entire head in the giant bowl of chips Joey had put out. Robin made a vow, which he would undoubtedly break by the end of the evening, not to eat any.

About twenty minutes later, their groups shifted slightly. Ramsay and Gord took off for the bar while Iggy and Jacklyn joined them. And then Iggy bolted in the direction of the bathrooms when she caught sight of Joey walking toward them. He had been trying to convince her to funnel beers all evening, an invitation that would’ve undoubtedly been less alarming if he hadn’t been carrying a bottle of rum around with him all evening. Robin got the distinct impression that it would actually be rum in the funnels or that there would be an excessive quantity of rum consumed following the funnelled beers. Either way, he didn’t blame Iggy for running.

“What are you fuckers doing over here?” He demanded, wrapping one arm around Robin’s shoulders and the other around Finch, dragging both of them close to his bony rib cage. His rum bottle clocked Robin in the side of the head and he winced.

“Where should we be?” Miles asked in return.

“Slaying the dance floor,” Joey told him without hesitation. Robin barked a laugh at that, knowing full well what Miles looked like when he was “slaying the dance floor”. Ironically, it tended to look a lot more like the dance floor was getting the better of him.

“Miles isn’t a very good dancer,” he said, turning to look Joey in the eye. Of course, their faces were inches apart so he ended up going cross-eyed. Joey turned as well, grinning at him sharply. Remarkably, he didn’t have a single visible bruise. It made him look innocent, which threw his wicked smile into even more wicked contrast.

“That surprises me zero,” Finch snorted. Joey threw his head back and laughed, then turned to look at Finch and kissed him full on the mouth. He pulled away, smacked both Robin and Finch on the ass and walked away, throwing a wink in Jacklyn’s direction. She looked rather confused by that, though to be fair, so did Miles.

“Is he trying to get off with all of you?” He checked.

“It isn’t working,” Finch replied and then headed off where Ramsay and Gord were still standing by the bar.

“I have noticed that he kisses Finch quite a lot,” Jacklyn commented, aiming for casualness and falling quite a bit short. “What do you suppose that’s about?”

“Probably that they’re fucking,” Robin answered. It was a really funny joke to him. It was less so for Jacklyn, as he soon learned. Miles snorted beer down the front of his shirt, either at Robin’s joke or the scandalized look on Jacklyn’s face.

“Really?” She asked, eyes wide in shock.

“No,” Robin answered, sensing that directness would be the best option in this particular misunderstanding. “Finch is incredibly handsome and Joey’s deranged. I think that’s what it means.”

“Yeah, but what if they really are?” She pressed.

“I don’t think you know who I am,” Robin told her after a moment of staring at her with one eyebrow raised in general scepticism.

“You’re Miles’ friend,” she answered, gesturing to Miles, who smiled and waved.

“Yes, true,” Robin nodded. “I’m also Joey’s roommate.”

“Oh,” she said.

“And Finch’s boyfriend.”

“Oh,” she repeated. “So no, you wouldn’t think that then.”

“No, I do not,” he agreed. She left them, chewing at her bottom lip, still very much unconvinced. Robin turned to Miles, perplexed. He found Miles was frowning back at him.

“That’s her biggest concern?” Miles asked. “I can think of at least five other reasons why dating Joey is a mistake right now.”

“Yes, me as well,” Robin replied. “Though he did previously sell drugs from the trunk of my car so perhaps I’m biased.”

“I think it would be weird if you weren’t,” Miles assured him.

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