“What’s that?” Dora asked when the waiter put two glasses of Bloody Mary in front of her. The decorations and paraphernalia on top were nearly spilling out.
“Courtesy for the birthday girl,” Rodrigo explained, smiling from the other side of the table.
“Guys, for fuck’s sake, at this rate my ride back home will be an ambulance.”
“I’m pretty sure you’ve had worse.”
The whole table erupted in laughter. Dora took one of the glasses. If her friends were willing to get her drunk, who was she to say no? The table was full, the drinks were delicious and her brain was at that early stage of drunkenness, when everything seemed to be covered in mist. If this wasn’t her best birthday, Dora thought happily, it was definitely on the list.
The bar was crowded, the atmosphere filled with a loud buzz of conversation. It was a recently-opened place, in a hip part of town, complete with exposed brick walls and drinks served in mason jars. It had been hard to reserve the table for a group that size, and still the hostess had pursed her red-painted lips in a bitchy manner when they arrived.
It didn’t matter, though. All that mattered was that everybody she cared about had managed to come.
“It’s official. Vivi and Marina went to the bathroom together. It looks like someone is going to win the bet,” Leo pulled her out of her thoughts, sitting on the empty chair and taking one of the glasses without the slightest ceremony.
“Leo, you wouldn’t be so inelegant as to charge me a bet on my birthday, would you?” The boyfriend raised an eyebrow. “Besides, you poured Tequila on Marina. That’s cheating.”
“I’ll think about it, just because today you look particularly gorgeous,” Dora smiled. Leo wrapped one arm around her waist, pulling their chairs together. Then, he stuck his forehead to his girlfriend’s and whispered, “Are you happy?”
“Yes. Very much.”
“Good,” He leaned over to steal an affectionate kiss and then straightened up. “They really keeping the drinks coming, huh? Good stuff, but drink slowly. I don’t want you passing out any time soon.”
“Why? What are you up to?”
“Me? Nothing. What a terrible thing to do, to be suspicious of me.” Leo pouted, winked at Dora and turned around to steal some more of the Bloody Mary. She was then sure her boyfriend was plotting something.
“Guys, there’s a lot of cake left, really! Don’t you want some more?”
“No, no, we’ve already taken a lot of cake, thanks!” Marina answered, with her lipstick all smudged up.
“Uber arrived,” Vivi warned, smiling. They both disappeared into the car and Dora sighed, happy. She felt Leo’s arms wrapping around her back and leaned back against his body. He kissed her neck a few times and whispered in her ear:
“Shall we go?”
“Let’s go,” Dora whispered back, feeling her knees weaken. He knew she could never resist that move, especially when there was a gallon of alcohol running in her blood.
“But then… Actually, I have a surprise for you.”
“Surprise? Leo, what are you talking about?”
Dora turned to face her boyfriend, and saw Gustavo leaning against the wall, smoking a cigarette. He looked at her and gave her a shy smile. She gulped, her cheeks burning immediately. A part of her brain said it couldn’t be, she was getting it all wrong. The other said that Gustavo looked REALLY good in those tight jeans.
“Gustavo is riding with us. We have a gift for you.”
Dora was looking at the glass of water in her hands, while Leo introduced Saci, his rescue dog, to Gustavo. She couldn’t decide if she should drink water to sober up and enjoy the night the right way, or if she needed a shot of Absolut.
The light from the living room was harsh, bouncing off the white walls and high ceiling. It was an old and run-down one-bedroom apartment downtown, with simple furniture, a large balcony which overlooked one of the busiest avenues in the city.
Gustavo asked where the bathroom was and excused himself. Leo put Saci back on the floor and looked at Dora.
“Yes. I’m a little nervous.”
Leo pursed his lips and approached the sofa, kneeling.
“You know that if you don’t want to we don’t have to do anything, right?”
“That’s not it. I want to! You know I do. I’m just nervous.”
Leo looked into Dora’s eyes for a while, as if hoping to see a confirmation there. Then he smiled that sweet, naughty smile that had won Dora over when they met.
“Don’t worry. We’ll relax you.”
He took the glass out of Dora’s hands, wrapped his arms around her waist and made her stand up. He brought his girlfriend’s small body close to him and buried his face into her shoulder.
“You smell good.” He commented in a low voice, making Dora shiver. “You look gorgeous today,” Dora heard the bathroom door open. Leo raised his face to Gustavo, behind her. “Come here. Doesn’t she look beautiful today, Gus?”
“She does.” Confirmed Gustavo, kind of shyly. Leo was dominating the situation so much, which was surprising. A few weeks ago, the two of them had talked about it, and he had been reticent. Now, he was acting as if he had a PhD in threesomes.
“She is even more beautiful when she is naked”. Dora blushed immediately. It was very exciting to see this ultra-confident version of Leo. Gustavo let out a blunt giggle. Leo looked at him over Dora’s shoulder. She felt paralyzed, could not look back to face her friend. Leo released her waist, took Gustavo’s hands and brou…