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The following events are all true, but the names have been changed to protect the guilty.
As I left the client site and drove back to my hotel, the excitement of Nashville was palpable. It was the first day of CMA fest. It was game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Concerts had been playing on pop up stages in every corner of downtown. Vendors were slinging Predators gear on every street corner. Broadway was shut down for a mile in each direction. Massive screens were set up every 100 feet for fans to watch the most exciting sporting event there is. I could feel myself becoming enveloped in the anticipation of it all. I rolled my windows down and sang along as Garth Brooks blasted through my speakers. Tonight was, after all, my last night in Nashville; or at least that’s what my *current* itinerary said.
After navigating my way through the maze that was the hotel parking garage, I began attending to the notifications from the day on my phone. I liked a few messages in the GroupMe. I giggled at various memes on Instagram. I sent a few embarrassing selfies acknowledging my freedom for the day and began mentally preparing myself for a quick workout before getting after it with the Nashville locals. As I entered the lobby, I scanned the dining room happy hour to see if anyone had started drinking yet. I waved at the employees at the front desk and smiled, and as I looked out the giant double doors at the front of the hotel. And that’s when I saw them. Two attractive blonde girls who appeared to be my age. One was wearing exactly what you’d expect a girl who is visiting Nashville to wear: a sundress and cowboy boots. I muttered to myself (a little too loudly) “oh my goodness, hell-llo.”
Her friend was wearing jeans and a T-shirt, but when I looked down to examine what I expected to be cowboy boots, I noticed that not only were they missing, but so were any form of shoes whatsoever. Her hands were full so I assumed she was holding her shoes, but again I was wrong. I noticed that both of them had sunburnt shoulders which led be to believe they had been outside drinking all day. As I walked into the elevator they followed me in and cowboy boots snapped at me:
“Don’t judge her for not wearing shoes.” This was it. This was my opening.
“I wasn’t judging!” Easy Frogon, don’t get too defensive. Play it cool. “I was trying to figure out where she’s hiding them cause they’re not on her feet or in her hands.” They both giggled slightly too hard which confirmed to me my theory that they had been out drinking.
“My boots gave me fucking blisters today. I just couldn’t take it anymore!” She directed my attention to her heels where there was, in fact, some decently aggressive blisters. I had also noticed the large laminated passes attached to lanyards around their necks, and took the opportunity.
“So are you guys in town for the CMA fest?” Smooth.
“YES!” They said in unison with excitement. “We’ve been out exploring all day! Are you down here for CMA Fest too?”
“Ah actually I’m not. I’m just down here for work.” They both politely nodded and looked up at the elevator to check the progression of our climb.
The elevator bell chimed and the doors rolled open. The two girls stepped off and quickly huddled outside the door. After two steps they both turned around. Cowboy boots and I locked eyes. She smiled real big from ear and ear and said:
“You can come hangout with us if you want.”
My heart rate increased by 100 in the blink of an eye. Butterflies were racing in my stomach as I scrambled to formulate a response.
“Hey don’t tempt me. I’ll actually take you up on that offer.”
The elevator doors began closing. I threw a karate chop out faster than Bruce Lee to make sure this didn’t ruin my moment. I wasn’t sure if they were going to walk back to me or if I should follow them out to exchange phone numbers, but none of us moved from our fixed locations.
“Okay, then do it. Room 321” said cowboy boots. She was giving me a look that screamed ‘I dare you’ while also maintaining a small sense of apprehension.
I retracted my arm, and took one step back. I grabbed both straps of my backpack and re-adjusted it to gain back my balance. I could feel my cheeks blushing and my ears getting warm. My confidence and anxiety were battling when the doors began to close again. Our eyes remained fixated, and at the last possible moment I finally blurted out:
“You guys are crazy, I’ll be down in 10 minutes.”.