Rosalyn’s birthday was in the middle of April, but she celebrated it at the end of the month so that all of her most favourite friends could be there. Those were her exact words when she told Tallulah the reason. Their friend Doug had gone on a business trip with his father earlier in the month and thus hadn’t been around for Rosalyn’s actual birthday. Tallulah was sure Doug had had a fabulous time in Wisconsin with his father, representing the pharmaceutical company they both worked for. While his father was in important meetings and attending lectures pertinent to the field, Doug had been sitting at the hotel bar, responding to his father’s emails on his behalf. He’d been propositioned by two separate escorts.
“One of them had gigantic knockers,” Doug told Rosalyn and Tallulah, having come to their apartment for the party. He was the first to arrive, clearly keen to get out of his house. He was living at home and Tallulah got the impression that living in the same house as his father and working for his father at the same time was beginning to create some tension.
“I wonder how much money she makes per year,” Rosalyn replied thoughtfully, holding the first of what would most definitely be many, many drinks for the evening.
“Considering a career change?” Doug asked shrewdly. Rosalyn shrugged.
“I mean, maybe,” she answered. “My current job is super boring and I don’t get paid all that well. I only have two weeks of vacation.”
“And yet you still don’t have to make your father a latte every morning,” Doug retorted darkly.
“Oh yes. Out of us all, though all our lives are garbage, yours is for sure the worst,” Tallulah assured him with a pat on the head.
Rosalyn’s birthday party was small, but Tallulah was under no delusions that this meant it would be low-key. Priscilla was invited of course, given that she lived in the apartment where the party was taking place. Rosalyn also invited their friend Britt from high school, her friend Matt from the outdoor sporting goods store, and Baby Teeth, whose first name she still couldn’t recall.
“It feels like something you should know,” Doug pointed out to her unhelpfully before any of the other guests arrived.
“Yes,” Rosalyn agreed, nodding. “Which is why I invited him. Now he can introduce himself to one of my friends and they can tell me what his first name is.”
“That’s a great plan,” Doug told her. “Except if he tells me his first name, I’m for sure not going to tell you what it is because it will ultimately be much, much funnier for me if I don’t.”
Rosalyn smacked him in the back of the head.
“Britt will probably tell you,” Tallulah offered, not bothering to suggest that she herself would tell Rosalyn because she most definitely wouldn’t. She and Doug were firmly of the same mind.
Regrettably, when Baby Teeth did arrive, about an hour after the others had already settled at the apartment, he introduced himself to the group at large.
“Hey, everyone,” he smiled and waved to the collective group. “I’m Rosalyn’s boyfriend.”
And then he didn’t say anything else, either because he felt he needed no introduction or he figured that she would’ve already told her closest friends his first name. Either way, it was rather presumptuous, and not only because he had called himself Rosalyn’s boyfriend.
“Is he really her boyfriend?” Priscilla hissed to Tallulah, frowning. “They’ve been on, like, three dates.”
“Well, if he is, she should probably learn his name,” Tallulah replied.
Tallulah and Rosalyn’s friend Britt from high school was single. For most people, this would be a non-issue, something that didn’t even need to be mentioned or considered for any reason. Doug was also single and no one gave a damn. But Britt was the kind of person who loathed being single. She’d been on the hunt for her next boyfriend ever since she’d broken up with the last one, supposedly because he had transition glasses.
“They transitioned to sunglasses once while we were in a subway station because someone took a photo of us with flash,” Britt explained. “I just couldn’t continue dating him after that. It was too ridiculous.”
Tallulah wondered if Britt saw the irony in that, but she didn’t bother asking. She had other more pressing questions that needed to be answered.
“Who took your photo in a subway station?” She replied. “Did you know them? Why did they want your photo?”
Britt answered none of Tallulah’s questions. She was too focussed on her romantic prospects in the room, which, due to the size of the gathering, was essentially limited to Doug and Rosalyn’s friend Matt. Since Britt had already unsuccessfully tried to date Doug roughly ten other times throughout their friendship, that left her exclusively with Matt, who didn’t seem to know what to do with the attention. He struck Tallulah as a very nervous man.
“I don’t think Matt is going to fare well with this,” Tallulah remarked to Doug and Rosalyn a couple hours into the night. By this point, Britt had pretty much glued herself to Matt’s side and didn’t appear to have any plans to move in the near future.
“Maybe someone should warn him that he’s about to become her boyfriend if he doesn’t get up from that couch,” Doug replied shrewdly, tossing a look in Rosalyn’s direction. She shrugged.
“I could tell him, but isn’t it better for him to learn on his own?” She asked.
“No,” Tallulah answered immediately.
“Very, very hard no,” Doug added. Rosalyn sighed dramatically.
“Fine,” she conceded. She walked over to the couch where Matt and Britt were sitting together. Matt looked up at her in panic. Rosalyn grabbed him by the front of his shirt and hauled him off of the couch, ignoring Britt’s many and varied protests. Rosalyn dragged Matt over to Doug and Tallulah.
“I just saved your life,” she told him before walking away to get another drink. Matt looked to Tallulah and Doug, still panicked, but less so.
“Hey, do you know what Rosalyn’s boyfriend’s name is?” Tallulah asked after a moment, breaking the silence.
“Are you asking because she doesn’t know?” Matt returned, one eyebrow raised. “Because I do know, but I’m not going to tell you because I don’t want her to know.”
Tallulah and Doug observed him for a moment. Then Tallulah gave him a high-five.
“I like your style, Matt,” she told him. He looked slightly startled at that, but Tallulah was beginning to suspect that he just looked startled most of the time.