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“No, absolutely not, there’s a zero-point-zero percent I’m texting him back,” she told to the rest of the table.
The spring sun beat down on the four girls as they sat on the patio at Palm House despite Katie’s clarification that “palms are so 2015, but okay.” Her and Caroline’s sunglasses spanned from above their eyebrows to below their bloodshot eyes, while Alex and Katie pleaded for them to “man up” and finish their prickly pear mimosas. The discrepancy in attitudes between the two conjoined parties could not have been more evident. Arriving in San Francisco the night before proved to be an expensive mistake. Like, “wasted the entire deposit down on the point house at a Big Sur yoga retreat”-sized mistake. Luckily for the group, Caroline got on the phone and talked to the retreat’s director, Genevieve (or as Caroline would refer to her the rest of the trip, “fucking Genevieve”) and canceled without paying full price.
“I don’t see why you wouldn’t text him back,” Alex explained, already on her third Aperol spritz. “Like, why take a break if you can’t at least have a little fun?”
The girls had gone directly from the airport and used their recovered funds on two hotel rooms in Pacific Heights. After sorting through Katie’s suitcase hoping to find something other than the Lululemon they’d packed for a weekend of yoga, they soon realized that Katie wasn’t going to let them ravage her clothes. It was nothing a two-hour shopping spree couldn’t fix, and these hangovers were nothing a few prickly pear mimosas couldn’t fix either.
She pleaded to the rest of the girls who saw no reason as to why she didn’t text the nameless guy from the night before who’d bought their dinner. “First, I don’t even know what he looks like,” she began listing. “Second, he was wearing a blazer to the bar. Third, eww. Fourth, just because Todd’s at The Kentucky Derby without me while we’re on a break doesn’t mean he’s going to just go sleep around––”
“Uhhhhh,” Alex interrupted, “Yeah, it does.”
“Alex!” Katie yelled, noting the absurdity of the candid comment she’d just made.
“What?” Alex said after taking a sip. “I mean, I wouldn’t dump my boyfriend right before he goes on a guy’s trip if I wanted to get back together with him.”
She looked in Alex’s direction with “fuck you” eyes despite her sunglasses blocking them. “First of all, rude. Second of all, I’m still not texting this guy. What if he has a weird mole on his face or a girlfriend?”
Alex sucked more through her straw before asking, “Okay, like, you didn’t even tell us what he said.”
“I don’t think that’s any of your business,” she clarified. “Like, it doesn’t matter at all because I’m not texting him back.”
Alex shrugged. “Your funeral.”
“Seriously, Caroline,” she said while reviewing the sashimi menu, “I don’t know how you do it. Like, this restaurant looks phenom and I heard it’s pretty much fucking impossible to get a rezzie here, especially on short notice.”
They had decided early in the day that they needed to do a sushi dinner, as San Francisco is known for it. She had made it through the entire day avoiding everything on her phone – texting the mystery guy from the night before, Snapchatting or Instagram storying anything so no one would know they skipped the retreat, and (most importantly) texting Todd. They had decided prior to leaving town that they would not communicate with one another, and she was dedicating herself to sticking to it.
“Should we just ask the waiter what he recommends and go with that bottle of Dreamy Clouds sake? I had it at Ginger the other day again and it’s, like, the bomb,” Caroline announced to the table.
Katie confirmed that decision while the other two looked at each other and made the gagging motion, still feeling the effects of the night before. “I don’t know why I’m still so fucking hungover,” Caroline explained.
“Well,” Alex said, “You better get over it because I didn’t fly all the way out here to go to bed at 10 p.m. and eat room service.”
“Oh my Goddddddd,” she responded. “That sounds sooooo gooooooooood.”
“No!” Alex shot back. “Absolutely not. You always do this and we’re not going home early. We’re staying out. You’re staying out.”
The dinner went as expected – forced shots of sake, mispronunciations of the rolls they were ordering and receiving, and even more discussion about whether or not she should text Blazer back. Three bottles of Dreamy Clouds later, Alex requested options for what they should do after for a night on the town.
“I mean,” Caroline hesitated, “If we’re going by the retreat’s schedule, we’re supposed to be doing ‘campfire talks’ at 10 o’clock and mama is about to go to the hotel and do ‘pillow talk’ and fall asleep.”
“We’re. not. being. lame,” Alex insisted. “Katie, haven’t you been here before? What should we do tonight?”
Katie thought to herself before responding, “I mean, when I interned here, I barely even saw the city because we were so busy. And that was, like, five years ago so pretty much everything has changed because SF is so fucking transient.”
“Hmmmmm,” Alex sarcastically said. “If only we knew a group of people in the city who would be willing to hang out with us and show us a good time all night…”
Caroline, Alex, and Katie all turned their heads to the other side of the table.
“What?” she asked. “Are you asking me to text that guy again? Because I’m not doing it.”
“Come onnnnnnnnnnnn,” Alex pleaded. “Pleeeeeeeease. We don’t have to hook up with them, obvs. We just need something to dooooo.”
She reached down below the table and lifted up her clutch where her phone had been all night. “Unlike you guys, I’m abiding by the ‘no phone’ policy this weekend and have stored mine away for the night outside of getting Ubers. I’m way too hungover to deal with this bullshit and I need to go to the bathroom.” She reached into her bag and pulled out her credit card. “Here, I’ll pay for this and you can all Venmo me. When I get back from the bathroom, make sure the check is here.”
She stood up from the table and made her way to the bathroom. The table was quiet before Alex broke the silence.
“Wait,” she hesitated. “Did she leave her clutch down there?”
Caroline’s head peeked under the table. “Yep,” she confirmed.
“Well fucking grab it,” Alex screamed back. “I’m getting this guy’s number and we’re drinking for free for the rest of the night.”
Alex typed in 8-6-3-3 and immediately went into her texts looking for a number that wasn’t saved in her phone. “Got it,” she confirmed as she began typing it into her phone.
“Hurry,” Caroline shout-whisered. “She’s coming back. Give it here, give it here.”
She sat down and looked at the table. “Did y’all get the check? I either need another drink or a bed to pass out in.”
“Let’s go to the bar and get another drink,” Katie said while smiling. “Let’s start this champagne campaign off with a bang.”
On the other side of the table, Alex’s fingers were texting with her phone close to her chest.
“Sorrrrryyyyyyyy,” she texted. “My phone is dead so I’m texting you from my friend Alex’s phone – are you guys getting into anything tonight?” .