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Eric stood in the bright sunshine, eyes closed and face tilted back as he let the warm rays wash over him. He held a solo cup full of cold Coors Light in his hand, and for a brief moment, he wasn’t in a cement backyard with a gaggle of mid-twenty-year-olds, playing drinking games that they were no longer good at. As the heat enveloped him, he felt that he was on a beach in South Padre with his toes in the sand. He could practically see girls in bikinis around him and if he really listened, he swore he could make out the crashing of the surf.
“Dude, if you think standing in the sun is going to make you grow like a plant, you might as well unzip your fly and catch some rays where you really need them!”
Aaaaaand he was back. Jack’s voice pierced his reverie as Eric blinked and saw his group of friends laughing good-naturedly at him. On another day, perhaps Eric would have had a snappy comeback, but today, he was too content to even bother. Also, too drunk. Way too drunk.
This day party had been planned since Tuesday, when Andrew sent a screenshot of the weather forecast to the group chat with the fateful words, “Let’s get fucked up.” He was not a wordsmith. Nevertheless, the text achieved it’s desired results. Work had been abandoned, a keg had been ordered, and most importantly, friends had been texted. It could be perceived as sad, that something so mundane could make the crew so excited, but Eric reasoned that when you work 50 hours a week, the opportunity to drink beer in the sun is as good of a reason to get excited for as any.
As the party reached its peak, Eric felt himself slowly revert back into college mode. Something about a day rager always brought out the worst/best in people, and as the sun shone high above them, the red-cup laden crowd began to get rowdier and sloppier. Keg stands had started, and from his perch on the balcony above the yard, Eric could clearly see several couples making out very aggressively in broad daylight. Kyle and Jack stood next to him surveying the scene.
“Is that my intern getting a whole handful of ass down there?” Kyle half-shouted, unable to contain his excitement. He beamed like a proud father whose son had said his first words. “It’s like watching a baby horse walk for the first time. Just beautiful.” He continued, wiping an imaginary tear from his cheek as the other two laughed.
“Speaking of getting some ass,” Jack interjected, “look who’s finally arrived.” He pointed towards the sidewalk where a group of five girls were walking up to the gate, clothed in rompers, sun dresses, and jean shorts. In front of them, holding hands with the lead girl, was Andrew. “It looks like Andy being wifed up could be a good thing,” Kyle slurred, already feeling the effects of combining alcohol and sunshine. “Oh god,” Eric said as he pushed Kyle aside and stepped towards the stairs leading into the backyard. “At least let us talk to them before you go weird them out.”
An hour later, Eric was feeling the effects of the booze and sun himself. Luckily, the girl he was conversing with had come from a bottomless brunch and was in a similar state of mind. He couldn’t remember her name, nor could she his, but there was an undeniable sense of attraction between them. They were playing the worst game of beer pong that had ever been played; haphazardly tossing the ball towards their opponents cups while they continued their slurred conversation.
“…so my boss, who is, like, my best friend, told me about this goat yoga place which is my dream because I love baby goats. But they’re actually kind of strong and one of them kicked me and that’s how I got this bruise!”
“Wow,” Eric said, trying to contort his drunk features to make it look as though he was paying attention to the conversation. “That’s a nasty bruise, you gotta eat more iron or whatever.”
The girl giggled, despite what Eric said being possibly the least amusing comment that had ever been said, and grabbed his arm. “Shut uuup. Is there iron in champagne? Because then I’ve had plenty!”
Eric laughed and put his arm around her as he tossed a ping pong ball three feet past the end of the table. He may have been sloppy drunk, but in his own mind, he was Casanova. Suddenly, the girl he had been talking to was pulled away by one of her friends.
“Come with me to the bathroom!” The new girl exclaimed. “I’ll bring her right back,” she giggled mischievously at Eric as the girls stumbled off towards the house, arm-in-arm.
Eric took this breather as an opportunity to check his phone. He pulled it out and closed one eye to get better focus. “Shit, I’m hammered.” He thought as he attempted to read his texts.
Rachel [3:24pm]: Ugh I’m having the woooorst day 🙁 Wanna come over and make me feel better? *winky emoji*
Rachel [3:41pm]: Boooo, answer me! I got a Brazilian…you should come check it out…
“Fuuuuuck,” Eric groaned out loud as he ran his hands through his hair. He was in a conundrum. Granted, the best conundrum to be in, but still, it involved thinking which was not his strong suit right now. On one hand, there was a girl here that was clearly into him. On the other hand, there was a girl who he could have guaranteed sex with. On a third hand, that girl was his ex which he told himself he would stop hanging out with. On… whatever number hand he was on, hooking up with someone new is always more exciting than hooking up with an ex.
His thoughts moved like molasses as he attempted to keep his pros and cons list straight. He probably had thirty more seconds until the girl returned from the bathroom. The timer ticked down in his head as he tried to make a decision. Suddenly, his phone vibrated in his hand.
Eric looked down. His eyes widened. It wasn’t text. It was a picture. He closed the messaging app. He opened his Uber app. And started walking towards the road. .