90: “We’ve lost him to the other Italians”

Joey and Robin hosted a party at their apartment solely because their upstairs neighbour was on vacation and they could be as loud as they wanted without disturbing them.

“You guys know you have neighbours on either side of you, right?” Miles pointed out after hearing their logic. He had stopped by their place on his way home from work. Iggy was going to the gym and he wanted to have a snack, but he and Iggy didn’t have very much food. As it turned out, neither did Robin and Joey. In retrospect, he probably should’ve tried David and Melly’s, but the fear of being roped into staring at their child sleeping for hours was too great a deterrent.

“Yeah,” Robin shrugged, obviously unconcerned.

“The neighbour on the right is fucking nocturnal,” Joey interjected, lazily pointing to each direction. “And the one on the left needs me if he wants to keep getting a deal on his cocaine.”

“Ah,” Miles nodded, as if he understood. He raised both eyebrows, eyes wide, at Robin when Joey looked away, but all Robin did was shrug for a second time.

The party was wild. Miles hadn’t really expected otherwise. He had assumed that he could comfortably use Joey and Iggy’s joint birthday party as a precedential marker, which turned out to be the case, the only exception being that more of Joey’s friends were in attendance at this party and fewer of Iggy’s were. Joey knew a lot of sketchy people. A solid twenty per cent of the guests looked as if they had a serious drug habit. Miles supposed that made sense, given his chosen profession. Joey’s cousins were also in attendance, obviously. Sabrina had only been there for about twenty minutes and already she was furious, generally with everyone and everything, very specifically with Vinny. And Vinny was of course wearing an Adidas tracksuit and smoking out the open living room window.

“I think you’re going to have to deep clean your entire apartment after this shindig ends,” Oscar told Robin, shooting a wary look at a couple of Joey’s friends, who were attempting to take shots without using their hands.

“You know, I won’t lie, I find most of these people terrifying,” Bear admitted mildly. “Although, if I ever wanted to try cocaine, now would be an ideal time.”

“Certainly convenient,” Oscar agreed.

Surprisingly, David came. Normally, when he went to parties, the notable exception being the time he got absolutely hammered at Iggy and Joey’s birthday party, David liked to suggest they start a rousing game of euchre before ultimately going home at least two hours earlier than everyone else. Miles understood why. He assumed it would be hellish to be hungover in a house that also contained a toddler. But it appeared David was starting something of a trend because he had already downed two tequila shots within the first fifteen minutes of arrival.

“David’s getting turnt tonight,” Miles observed, wide-eyed, watching David accept a third shot from Joey.

“He’s not the only one,” Oscar returned, nodding to Frank, who had been absorbed into the crowd. It literally parted for him and then, seconds later, the crowd reformed and he’d disappeared from sight.

“We’ve lost him to the other Italians,” Robin said.

“Is that a thing that happens?” Miles asked skeptically. Robin nodded.

“They bond over soccer, hair gel, and family recipes,” he replied.

“Why does every Italian dude have a secret sauce?” Oscar cut in.

“I bet Joey doesn’t,” Miles offered. “He’d probably mix in cocaine.”

Joey happened to walk past them at that exact moment and halted abruptly in his tracks, looking outraged and offended.

“I would never waste cocaine like that,” he argued. Overall, it wasn’t very reassuring.

As the night wore on, Miles observed his friends getting more and more wild. Nobody had seen much of Frank since he’d first been absorbed by the Italians. He would pop up every once in a while, always holding a drink, usually swearing in Italian. Vinny was particularly taken with Frank. Miles caught them smoking out of the living room window together at one point. Miles was more than a little concerned about how this evening would derail Frank’s recovery from overwhelming grief. Though, to be fair, he wasn’t sure there actually was much of a recovery as of yet. Surely this wouldn’t help. He’d have done more about it if it hadn’t been for David, who seemed to be making up for lost time as it were. All the times he’d spent playing couples’ charades and making chilli instead of drinking steadily and making fast-friends with other drunken strangers. He was often with Sabrina. Miles was definitely worried that she was going to get the wrong impression, that she didn’t know David was happily married with one kid and another on the way. Sabrina getting the wrong impression felt like it would end up being just about the worst thing in the world.

Miles turned to Ramsay for help. Ramsay was the most sensible of all his friends, aside from Bear, but he had disappeared into the crowd and Miles couldn’t find him. That was ridiculous. Never once had that happened. He could always find Bear in a crowd; he was like a human mountain. And yet, it had happened and Miles was left with Ramsay as his only option.

Regrettably, when he managed to locate Ramsay, he was deep into a bottle of whiskey and a surprisingly emotional conversation with Joey’s drug supplier Beezy, who was still wearing his orange tuque, even though they were indoors. Miles interrupted their conversation, feeling that he had far more pressing matters.

“I think David’s getting way too out of hand,” Miles informed Ramsay, who blinked up at him for a few minutes.

“What?” Ramsay asked slowly after a while. He was drunk. He was in fact drunker than Miles had ever seen him in the entire time they’d been together. He was as drunk as Miles assumed he had been the night he’d been sprayed by a skunk.

“David,” Miles repeated urgently, glancing over to Beezy to see if it was possible he would be any help to him, deciding quite quickly that he would not be. “He’s getting out of hand. He’s spent, like, the whole night with Sabrina and I think she thinks something’s going to happen between the two of them.”

“But it isn’t,” Ramsay replied slowly after a while longer.

“No, it isn’t,” Miles agreed. “You know that and I know that. Even David knows that. Sabrina does not know that.”

“She isn’t going to like that very much,” Beezy cut in with the most useless, most obvious observation. Miles shot him another glance, this one significantly darker than the last, and turned back to Ramsay. Ramsay blinked at him again.

“Right,” he nodded. Miles sighed and considered his options. Ramsay clearly wasn’t going to be any help to him after all. Beezy certainly wasn’t. Miles scanned the crowd to see if he could finally find Bear, but came up empty. He spotted Finch and Robin taking shots from each other’s hands by the kitchen. Frank was likely still with the other Italians, Oscar was probably lying down somewhere, and David was still dancing with Sabrina by the TV. She kept flicking her wild hair about and giving him sultry looks, all of which were going straight over David’s head. Miles sighed and looked back to Ramsay.

“I’m going,” he said, not because he thought Ramsay would care, but because he felt someone should know what a martyr he was being. Then he pushed his way over to David and Sabrina and tugged on David’s arm.

“Come on, buddy, let’s head out,” he said, starting to pull David away. David smiled sloppily at him. Sabrina grabbed his other arm and pulled him back to her so that they were each holding onto one of David’s arms like some bizarre game of tug-of-war with him as a the rope.

“We have to go home,” Miles told Sabrina, who looked very unimpressed.

“He’s fine,” she argued. Miles sighed and held up the hand attached to the arm he was holding to show her David’s wedding ring.

“We have to go home,” he repeated, speaking more flatly. Sabrina glared at Miles, but let go of David’s other arm all the same. Miles pulled him to the front door, dug their coats and shoes out of the pile by the door. It took some time because David kept getting distracted while describing his shoes to Miles. All he kept saying was that they were black, but there were about twenty pairs of black men’s shoes at the door so it wasn’t so helpful.

Miles flagged down a cab for them to take to Melly and David’s. David hummed to himself the entire car ride, which made Miles want to strangle him just a little bit. He had to pull David out of the cab when they finally got to his house. And then Miles had to drag David up the front walk, all the while thinking about the running metre in the cab waiting at the end of the driveway to take him back to his own home. It was going to be an astronomical fare. He thought about asking David for money before he left, but the thought of waiting for him to struggle to fish it out of his wallet in his drunken state was enough to deter him.

“Got your keys out, buddy?” Miles asked when they reached the front door. David pulled his keys out of his coat pocket, a look of pure concentration on his face. He held them up triumphantly and Miles offered him a weak fist pump in return, still thinking about that running cab metre. It took him a couple tries to get the key in the lock and then the porch was flooded in light and the front door was wrenched open before he even got the chance to turn the key. Melly stood in the doorway in a nightgown fit for someone’s invalid mother and a pair of slippers Miles was fairly certain his grandmother owned. She looked furious. Miles had half a mind to sprint for the cab, afraid that he was about to be murdered on Melly and David’s front porch in Melly’s fury.

But then she turned to Miles and offered him a wooden smile.

“Thanks for getting him home, Miles,” she said to him. Miles was amazed that, for once, he wasn’t the one about to face her wrath.

“Yeah, no problem,” he returned, clearing his throat. He gestured to the cab behind him. “I’ll just —”

He turned and hurried down the front walk before either Melly or David could respond. Miles said a silent prayer for David as he climbed back inside the cab and gave his own address. David was clearly going through something. Miles wondered what kind of friend it made him that he was glad he didn’t have to be around to help him through the fallout.

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