Miles was concerned about David. He kept messaging Miles and asking if he wanted to go out. Miles knew for a fact that David had done the same to Oscar as well, largely because Oscar kept complaining about it at work.
“Why does he now all of a sudden want to spend his free time getting shit-faced at random bars?” Oscar asked, checking his phone as it chimed, signalling yet another text from David, marking the third in as many minutes. “I have spent so much of my life playing charades in his goddamn living room. Why couldn’t this have come around sooner, preferably while you were still single and forcing me to go out every fucking weekend? Then at least I could’ve gotten it over with at once.”
Miles glared at him.
“First of all, I didn’t force you to go out with me every weekend,” he began to counter. “Let’s not pretend I can make you do anything. If I could, you would definitely have spent less time lying on the floor and making fun of my girlfriends.”
“It’s not my fault you had stupid girlfriends,” Oscar cut in. “Honestly, thank God you have Iggy. Can you imagine if you’d stayed with Marly? Your wedding would’ve been a rave.”
Miles glared at him again.
“Secondly,” he said loudly and forcefully. “I’m kind of worried about David. Why does he want to go out all the time now? Do you guys think he’s trying to have an affair?”
“No,” Ramsay answered immediately. He said it so certainly and without a single moment of hesitation.
“No?” Miles confirmed, feeling significantly less certain.
“Can you imagine David having an affair?” Ramsay asked shrewdly. “Beyond the fact that he just wouldn’t be able to handle that kind of stress, it’s a damn miracle he managed to get even Melly. She is so far out of his league, they’re not even running on adjacent tracks.”
Miles thought it over for a minute.
“I hope you’re right,” he told Ramsay.
“I’m always right,” was Ramsay’s response.
David got his wish the following Friday. Their friend Richard Radford from high school was moving back to Roehampton, having been let go from his job in Ottawa where he did video editing for a broadcasting company. It had been a pretty sweet gig, even if he was just putting together pre-taped fluff news segments. He seemed to edit a lot of pieces that revolved around woodland creatures. Groundhog Day was a really big deal in his previous job. He’d already gotten another job, but he worked from home and made significantly less money so he was moving back in with his parents for a little while. Plus, he’d decided that he wanted to live back home again. According to Richard, or Dick as he was more commonly known around their friends, he hadn’t made very many friends in Ottawa and also it was cold as hell.
“Like living in the fucking tundra,” were his actual words.
“I’m sure that’s not true,” David replied benignly.
“Your balls have never been so cold,” Dick retorted and that pretty much put an end to the discussion.
David decreed that they should have a big welcome home bash for Dick, which was a nice sentiment that seemed to translate to guy’s night out in practice. Melly was very obviously absent from the guest list. Instead, David invited their entire high school circle of guy friends. Jake was fortunately unavailable, but Taylor was always down for an evening of heavy drinking. Dan, however, opted to pass up the invitation in order to stay home with his pregnant wife. David complained about that, stating that Dan was lame for doing so.
“A strong opinion from a man who quite recently tried to make every night out a euchre tournament in,” Oscar remarked wryly to Miles as they gathered at Miles’ apartment for a few drinks before heading out.
Since Miles, Oscar, and Jake were not quite the grand celebration David had envisioned for Dick’s homecoming, David suggested Miles and Oscar invite some of their other friends. He specifically mentioned Joey, which was more than a little worrying to say the least. Amazingly, Joey was unavailable. Until that moment, Miles hadn’t thought it was physically possible for Joey to pass up a party.
“I don’t know what’s up with him,” Robin explained when he arrived, Finch sauntering along behind him. “He’s being weird. I haven’t seen his sketchy crack backpack in, like, at least a week.”
“I think he was tripping balls at church two weeks ago,” Finch offered.
“That seems on brand,” Miles nodded.
Oscar and Ramsay’s arrival concluded the list of attendees. It was not as such grandiose. It also included quite a few people Dick didn’t even know. He didn’t seem nearly as charmed as David did. David, in fact, went wild. He fell into Joey’s position, forcing shots on people and goading everyone into drinking more and often. He was the one to usher them out of the apartment to a bar he’d chosen. It was new, it was hip, and it was loud. It was beyond crowded. Finch wore a permanent scowl, as if to discourage anyone from coming remotely close to him or Robin. Miles wished he had that kind of protection. He kept getting elbowed by young twenty-something bros in baseball hats. Some drunk girl stepped on his foot with her stiletto and Miles’ vision blackened in agony. He was going to have to do something to curb David’s newfound party attitude before Miles broke a limb in the fray.
Miles managed to escape the crowd for a bit of a reprieve by hiding out in the men’s room. It wasn’t nearly as busy as the women’s appeared to be. Miles dodged Taylor’s demand that everyone do tequila shots and fled for safety. In Miles’ personal experience, the night always ended after tequila shots were introduced. It didn’t matter when they reared their ugly head; it was a night-ender. Disaster usually ensued.
David found Miles leaning against the sink, basking in cool relief about twenty minutes later. He was smiling and sweaty and Miles was even more concerned than he’d already been.
“What’re you doing in here?” David asked him, coming to lean against the counter beside him. Someone in one of the bathroom stalls threw up. It had been ongoing for at least ten minutes.
“What’re you doing here at all?” Miles returned. David went quiet for a long moment. Miles assumed he wasn’t going to answer, but David surprised him.
“I just feel like I maybe missed out on some stuff,” David answered quietly, but earnestly. Miles turned his head to look at him.
“Missed out on what exactly?” He replied.
“Well, you know, Melly and I got together in high school,” David began, shrugging with one shoulder. “We were together for all of university. I got married when I was twenty-three. I never really got to be single, you know?”
Miles gave him a long, skeptical look.
“Again, what do you think you missed out on?” He repeated. “You saw how Oscar was after Katy dumped him.”
“He had fun,” David protested. “You guys went to parties.”
“Yeah, where Oscar lied down in people’s closets. It wasn’t fun.”
“All I do is play charades,” David said morosely. “I don’t even think I like charades.”
“Bro,” Miles replied, clapping David on the shoulder. “No one likes charades.”
“You guys meet new people and go places,” David continued. “The only people I ever see are Danielle and Jake and Melly’s parents. I’m not sure I really like Danielle either.”
“Bro, no one likes Danielle,” Miles clapped David on the shoulder again.
“Really?” David turned to him in shock.
“Jesus, are you kidding?” Miles returned, eyebrows raised.
“Melly always tells me that everyone loves Danielle.”
“Melly lies to you.”
“Look, I’m not saying being single isn’t great too,” Miles changed the subject. “But you have to want to be single. You don’t want to be single, man. You love Melly.”
“I do,” David agreed solemnly, nodding.
“So maybe you can love Melly, but stop playing charades,” Miles suggested.
“That’s the dream,” David agreed in the same solemn tone.