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She woke up in somewhat of a daze. Maybe she had more wine than she had originally thought, or maybe it was because she and Todd stayed up so late. Thinking she was alone due to Todd running out for coffee or a bagel, she rolled over in bed and checked her phone. She had a few messages in a muted group text with some of her friends, but nothing she needed to immediately confront. After opening and closing Instagram, she briefly shut her eyes again.
It wasn’t until she heard a noise in the other room that she realized she wasn’t, in fact, alone. Putting on one of Todd’s oversized t-shirts, she exited their bedroom and saw Todd sitting in the couch shirtless wearing nothing but sweatpants. Coffee in front of him, he looked over and said, “Hey babe,” with a frog in his throat.
“Is it bad that I feel a little hungover after last night?” she asked.
Todd’s eyes were fixated on a soccer game on the television, but he wasn’t so completely distracted that he couldn’t answer. “No, I think I had too much of Tom’s fucking Japanese whiskey.”
“…why are you watching soccer?”
With his eyes still on the screen, Todd explained, “John told me to put some money on the game last night after we had finished dinner and, I, uh, put some money on the game.”
“Whatever,” she thought. “Do you want to rehash what happened last night?”
Todd smiled and leaned over. He thought about kissing her on the mouth before realizing that they both had morning breath. “Yeah, we got pretty wild last night,” he noted with a smirk.
“Jesus, Todd,” she stopped him. “No, I’m talking about when our newfound friends tried to seduce us in the comfort of their own home.”
Todd repositioned on the couch as the game seemed to be stuck at 0-0. “You know, I told you beforehand that Tom sucked.”
“I know, I know,” she assured him. “Tom sucks. But Claire just kind of seemed… IDK, cool? Cooler than my other friends?”
“I mean, yeah, she might be,” Todd interrupted, “but she’s also a swinger so those things cancel each other out.”
She put her hand on her forehead. “I’m just going to text her,” she said begrudgingly. “I can’t just let this fester. I’m so weirded out.”
She walked back into the bedroom and grabbed her phone off the charger. It was at 22% but with no plans for the day, it didn’t really matter if she had a fully charged phone. Falling backward onto the bed, she held her arms straight above her and pressed send on a message that she refused to overthink.
Girl: Heyyyyyyyyyyy lady. Thank you SO much for hosting us last night. [Confetti Emoji, Red Wine Emoji]
Claire: Hi! Of course — we had SO much fun.
She thought she had a good way of steering the conversation in the way she wanted to, but now that she actually had to say something, she felt absent of the right words.
Girl: Sooooooo I have a question for you.
Claire: Of course, shoot.
She thought about just bluntly asking, “Are you and Tom swingers?” but decided against it. It almost seemed accusatory, which isn’t the aura she wanted to start the conversation with.
Girl: Did things get a little weird last night?
Claire: Ha, I mean, I’m hungover too. That wine you brought over was de-lish. Butttttttt we probably didn’t need two bottles.
“Fuck,” she thought. “She’s really going to make me ask her about this, isn’t she?”
Girl: Ha, I don’t mean “weird” like that necessarily. But like, you guys started getting pretty friendly?
Claire: Ugh, I’m sorry, I kind of get like that when I’m drunk. Tom always says I get too touchy-feely.
“Toddddddddddd,” she yelled to the other room. “I need your help.
Todd lumbered into the room with his coffee and hangover in tow. “What’s up?”
She had both of her hands on her face while her phone sat next to her head on their white comforter. Through her hands, she muttered, “I don’t know what the fuck to say to her. She’s not getting it.”
“Let me see your phone,” Todd requested. He opened the text and tried computing what Claire had said in response to everything. “Is she serious right now? I don’t think you can chalk her flirty-ness up to just being buzzed. Besides, it’s not like Tom can just wash his hands of all this too.”
Todd handed her phone back to her. “I think you just ask her.”
She opened her phone with Face ID and began typing. Frankly, she had had it.
Girl: Can I just ask you a question?
Claire: Ha, yes, as long as you don’t ask “can I ask you a question” again.
Girl: You and Tom weren’t, like, coming onto Todd and I last night, were you?
And then there was another pause. What felt like longer than fifteen minutes could have been only three. But until she saw those three dots appear at the bottom of the text message, she felt as though she was having a minor panic attack.
Then it showed up. The message she both wanted to open and wanted to never read.
Claire: Okay, I thought that was what you were getting at but I didn’t want to make things awkward. Honestly, we thought you guys were in line with us when it came to this stuff but after you left, Tom said he was afraid he made you feel weird. I hope you guys can forgive us if that wasn’t the night you envisioned, and I can still send you that duck recipe if you want.
She burst out laughing. “Yeah, the duck recipe is what I’m most concerned about,” she thought. She passed the phone to Todd while saying, “Here, read this shit.”
“Well, at least we know?” Todd asked rhetorically. “Dammit, I’m so hungover. Can we go get brunch somewhere with friends who aren’t going to try to bone us?”
She laughed. “Yeah, I’ll text Caroline right now.”
“I already texted John,” he told her. “They’re on their way to Health & Co. right now and said we could join.”
“Do I have time to shower?” she asked coyly.
“No, you absolutely do not have time to shower.”
“Ughhh, fine,” she relinquished. “Let’s just get dressed.”
Todd walked into their closet and put on a t-shirt along with a fleece before taking off his sweatpants to swap them out for a pair of jeans. She decided to simply put on a pair of yoga pants underneath Todd’s t-shirt, and then cover it up with her Patagonia vest.
“I’m going to brush my teeth real quick and then we have leave,” he said from the closet while she had just gotten done brushing her’s. Falling back onto the bed, she decided to pass the spare 90 seconds by going on Instagram.
“Huh, that’s weird,” she said to herself. “When I woke up, I had 2,345 followers. Now I have 2,343.”
Her jaw dropped.
Clicking her follower count, she began typing in both Claire and Tom’s names, neither showing up.
“Are. you. fucking. serious,” she blurted out while Todd walked out of the bathroom.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“Let’s go. Claire is fucking dead to me.” .