HA! Now that song is stuck in your head. I've been trying to avoid Mexican stereotypes these past six months to prevent accidentally defaming a culture I don't really belong to, but I'll be damned if Kari's dad doesn't LOVE that song. I must have heard it two dozen times while I was over there for Christmas.
That's what I've been doing these past few weeks, celebrating the holidays with my temporary family and trying to make the best of it. I know the timing of the absence is a bit troubling, since my last post was all about dealing with the fallout of my rendezvous with Kari's boss, but I assure you all I didn't fall into a black hole of regret and shame and give up on posting in this blog.
Work has been different since I started sleeping with Latherman. I won't say "better" but "easier" would be a good term for it. Not the work itself, answering phones has always been easy, but I'm definitely getting preferential treatment and a lot of slack around the office, much to the chagrin of my co-workers. I feel kinda bad about that, especially since the whispering and gossiping have started back up again. But at the point where I'll be gone in a few months I'm ready just to ignore all that and just coast my way back to Maine.
Speaking of which, reservations for the trading post start back up in a few days and I've got some cash for a deposit, thanks in part to my Christmas bonus. It was 750 dollars, which I'm not sure is high or low for a receptionist. It doesn't even compare to what I got as a bonus from my real job, but I won't go into too much detail about that because I know Wall Street bonuses can be a bit of sore subject.
I was the one who passed out the checks to all the employees at the Christmas party, Latherman had me do it while wearing a ridiculous Santa cap but people were drunk enough that it was far from the most embarrassing thing that happened that evening, although Latherman got pretty sloshed and almost kissed me on the neck in front of everyone else, which I prevented from happening. I think he and Kari's affair is a bit of an "open secret" but to have undeniable confirmation of it would make things at the office complicated. He did have his hand up my skirt for 5 minutes by the copier later, but nobody else saw that.
Ashley and I headed over to Kari's parents' house Christmas Eve, the plan being to spend the night there after going to church on Christmas Eve. That left me with the odd task of picking out a "church dress". I knew how to look like a business woman, and I knew how to look like a party girl, but I had to do some searching for something that wouldn't be too scandalous in a place of worship. I finally found a nice green dress that went down past the knees and didn't have too deep of a neckline, although it did have a plunging backline. A nice pair of black nylons and flats and I was able to look like a nice, respectable girl.
Church in and of itself was a bit weird, not in the least because it was at midnight. I'm much of a churchgoer, nobody in my family is. Kari isn't except for Christmas and Easter when she goes with her parents and they ARE churchgoers. I won't go into too much detail because I know religion can be a touch subject, but my take on God the supernatural has changed a bit since being magically changed by a cursed hotel and it was a bit surreal being in a church again.
We got home at about 130 Christmas morning and Ashley and I curled up on the futon near the Christmas tree while I put "Bad Santa" on Netflix. She had never seen it and wondered why her mom had suggested such a raunchy movie, but she laughed anyway. (As well she should, I watch it every year and it's hilarious).
I have nieces and nephews and cousins that are younger than me that live around my parents house, so my entire life Christmas morning has started as soon as those kids wake up. With Ashley being the youngest Cruz in the house and being the age when teenagers sleep forever, Christmas morning didn't start until about 11 when she walked in to the kitchen all groggy to Pilar and I having hot chocolate.
Experiencing someone else's Christmas is an exercise in acting. Imagine the feeling when you get a gift you don't like from someone you do like, and you have to feign happiness to show appreciation, and now imagine having to do that for every gift. I've been a 30 year old woman for half a year now, but I still can't really be excited about clothes, gift cards to stores I don't shop at, perfume, make up, and other beauty products, although I did express gratitude and gave tons of hugs. Ashley got me a gift certificate for 5 free mani/pedis for two people.
"I saw that you haven't gotten your nails done in awhile, so I figured you could take this and go with Aunt Rosita or something."
"Or we could go together" I offered. She smiled. I personally have no interest in sitting and getting my nails done, but part of the reason I don't get them done is because I don't see it as worth the money. Ashely noticed her mother's sacrifice and made a heartfelt gesture, so I figured some bonding time was in order. I'll probably leave them until after the switch back so the real Kari can enjoy time with her daughter.
That thoughtful gift and moment happened before I gave Ashely her main gift though. Me and Pilar had gotten her a bunch of clothes and girly stuff that Kari had been consulted on, but shortly after getting that bonus check I got something else. The bonus wasn't enough to cover my entire trip to Maine but it was more than enough to make a deposit on the rooms to reserve them. There was still a couple hundred dollars left over so I headed to a small electronics shop and picked up a laptop. It's not top of the line or anything but it will work as a Facebook and Instagram machine, which is what she uses it for as well as any school research. She squealed with joy and as she hugged me I was happy too, because this was also a gift for me. I'm typing here on the old laptop that I no longer have to share, and thus not have to worry about a 16 year old stumbling upon something she doesn't need to see or some bizarre search history. Or even worse, letters from Latherman.
New Year's Eve
But the reason I decided to blog today, rather than just give you all the Cruz Family Christmas Letter, was because something...interesting happened on New Year's Eve. Rosita and I got all dolled up and went to one of the bars in in Trenton, which was packed because not only was it one of the biggest bar nights but it was also the day of the college football playoff, and one of the teams had a large local following.
I was wearing a pair of tight black leggings because it was cold with a matching black blouse that combined with my hair and makeup made me look a bit evil...but in a sexy way. I was getting a lot of compliments and free drinks, since MSU wasn't doing to well people started to drink more.
I was about three margarita's in and doing my thing on the dance floor when I heard a familiar voice call out "Kari". I turned around and saw Darius, smiling and nursing a beer. Darius, if you don't remember is the brother of one of Ashley's track teammates and he asked me out for coffee. A while back one of the commenters asked how that went and I never really went into too much detail because ultimately it was just that, coffee. But we've hung out a few times and we text regularly and we've become friends. He doesn't get a lot of air time on this blog because I write here to cope with having to deal with Kari's life and Kari's friends, and Darius is exclusively my friend since he's never actually met the real Kari.
Being glad to see him, I walk/danced my way over to him and gave him a hug. I've learned that girls greet people they like with hugs, and I've started doing it as well because it does feel kinda nice. Although I was tipsy and I may have lingered a bit longer and pressed my boobs a bit. Darius was there with some friends to watch the game and then ring in the new year. I introduced him to Rosita, who remarked out loud out cute he was. He introduced me to his friends, who were a bit amused at Rosita practically throwing herself at them. I'm not saying she's a gold digger, but when Rosita sees a guy in expensive clothing she kind of...nah she's a bit of a gold digger.
As fun as it would have been to join the guys at the bar and talk sports and just hang out, I split my time between their table and the dance floor. What can I say, dancing is fun! I was awkward and weird about it when I was a guy but now I kind of like just going out there and letting loose and the attention can be fun too, as long as you're careful about it. I've gotten better at watching my liquor intake, but it was a special night and when people hand you champagne and you're in the energy it seems like a great idea to take it.
Somewhere around glass 11 or 12 the countdown to midnight started and I was at the bar near Darius when I joined in in the loud shouting of numbers. When 2016 struck people all around were kissing and I was so caught up in the moment I reached up, grabbed his collar, pulled him down and kissed him on the lips. I remember him being shocked, but continuing it. That's about all I remembered before the booze caught up with me.
I woke up the morning of the 1st in a strange bed. A nice, big bed in a well furnished bedroom. I looked down and saw that I was wearing a large sweatshirt that said Wayne State University and a pair of panties, nothing else. I brushed my hair out of my eyes and behind my ears realizing I was really hung over. Heading out of the bedroom I saw I was in Darius' apartment and he was eating cereal on the couch.
I remember thinking "At least it wasn't a stranger" but wasn't exactly relieved. I didn't want to face the consequences of getting drunk and falling into bed with one of my better friends. "Listen, last night---I was drunk and"
Darius was staring at me with a bit of a smirk. "Yeah, you were drunk. That's why I slept on the couch"
My sigh of relief was audible. "So you mean we didn't...you know"
"Kari, you were falling down drunk. You were white girl wasted. I wasn't about to take advantage of that, I'm an enlightened man. Affirmative, enthusiastic consent. That's what it's gotta be. It's 2015."
I nodded in respect at him before correcting him. "2016"
We both laughed at that before I motioned down to my lower body. "So...where are my clothes"
"Folded in the bedroom" He replied "You undressed yourself, but you insisted it was fine if I was in the room. Something about you not having anything I haven't seen before."
Eesh. Drunk me must have forgotten that we weren't both men, and yet she still kissed him. The Inn creates a mindfuck sometimes. "So you saw everything"
"I saw enough" he said in a cool manner that made it seem like he was impressed.
I went back into the bedroom and found my purse and clothes. I got back into my leggings and shirt and fished a rubber band out to make a ponytail. When I returned dressed I addressed the smaller elephant in the room. "I do remember, last night I kissed you."
"I remember that too" he said playfully
"Right, and while I won't say it was only the booze talking I do have to reiterate what I said before-"
"About taking it slow?" He offered. He has a way of finishing my sentences, I think that's why we get along so well
"Right, it's just I've got to get some things in order in mine and Ashley's life before I over complicate things"
"I understand completely. Whatever speed is fine for you."
"Thank you" I say, truly grateful that he was so understanding.
I took an Uber home, he actually doesn't live to far from us...in the next city over. As I watched the scenery go by I mulled over what an upstanding guy he was. A lot of guys I know would have slept with a girl as drunk as I was and acted like it was totally fine. Honestly, if I play this right and the real Kari winds up with him I'm doing her a serious favor.