A Romantic First Meeting Private Cocktail Party at a Hotel
I started at a private liberal arts college when I was seventeen. I moved into a fourth floor room in Logan Hall. I didn’t have a roommate because they were doing some construction in the building and the ceiling had just been redone. As a result, I had a larger double room all to myself. I didn’t really need it, though, since I spent most of my time during the first semester, off campus, visiting my secret girlfriend.
Some of the guys in my hall figured it out pretty early on. They made it a surprisingly big deal, but I kept denying it. I could not afford to have people figure out what I was doing on the nights that I put my makeup and cowboy boots on and left the campus. My friend group believed that I was going to house parties nearby and dancing my heart out. I was sober on weeknights but still had some social interaction. I certainly did that when someone wanted to follow along, there was always a party to go to and it was easy to just shoot a text to my girlfriend and let her know that I would have to go out to a house party with a friend, out of nowhere, so that they wouldn’t suspect that I had a secret life going on. The lesbian daughter of a famous politician had attended my school several years before, and it was officially a pretty accepting environment. The reason that I had to keep my relationship with my girlfriend secret was that she came from a powerful family way deep in the deep state, and in order for us to be together, we had to date in complete secrecy. Her family knew all about me, of course, but her whereabouts from time to time had to be kept secret, like they had to be during my first semester of college.
She had the option to stay in her dad’s side of the family’s bunker, back east, but we were young; young lovers tend to be when they are still in their teens. Instead of living alone in “The Tavern” as her dad liked to call it she decided to stay in a hotel in the downtown near my school. "The Tavern" was underground and completely soundproof, designed to be virtually undetectable and outfitted with sports tv, pool table, fake fireplace with supplies for several years in the storage room. The hotel room was pretty fancy and my girlfriend, Hepzibah, whom I always called by her full first name. She slapped me when I tried to make a up a nickname for her. I felt that I deserved it; it was a beautiful name. Her name meant “ the one that I desire” in Hebrew and she had been pretty offended. We were also both drunk that night, and it was in the few moments leading up to our first kiss.
We were at a cocktail party thrown by the financial corporation where our both fathers worked. The Tuesday before, my father called upstairs to me: “ Your mother and I are going to a cocktail party this Friday, and we’re supposed to bring our kids, if they’re old enough to drink” I wasn’t old enough to drink-legally-but I was seventeen and didn’t get out much. My father called up the stairs again: “ Which dress do you want your mother to pick up from the cleaners?” I had to think about this for a moment. If this was a party with my father’s company, I would have to wear a muted color to the cocktail party. It took me several minutes before I was ready to respond. “ Please tell Mother to pick up the bone-colored leather dress for me” My father was silent for a several minutes. “ Camelia, I think that dress is a little short for a company party” I didn’t respond this time and started looking through my shoe closet.
The cocktail party was pretty bland and the band was terrible. It was a string quartet and they kept playing film scores. It was driving me insane because I had actually grown up going to the symphony with my grandmother and the film scores are characteristically repetitive. I had to get away from the string quartet. It was a weird set list and I had to get out of the room, but my parents wouldn’t call me a car because they said that they wanted me to stay and socialize with the other people in my age group. I was pissed off at my parents for making me stay and listen to the string quartet and kept picking up glasses of champagne and downing them quickly. I noticed one of the sons of the my father’s colleagues sneaking quietly through a side door that had a curtain over it. It was a narrow door with a glass in the window and the curtain was beige. I hadn’t noticed it before, but I noticed that the boy who went through was wearing a tuxedo, so he was the son of one of the people who worked at the company and he was my age. I saw the orange lighter in his hand, which he was carrying so that it wasn’t visible and I immediately knew that he was on his way to the “kids room” as we tended to call them. There were no actual children in them, but were for the children of the partygoers, kind of hidden away. They always had televisions and video games and all adults that entered received suspicious glares until they got the message and left.
I immediately got out of raised chair in the corner of the bar and followed the boy who had gone through the door. There was a narrow marble staircase leading downward and I carefully walked down in my stilettos, a little insecure about the length of my light yellow leather dress as I approached the bottom of the staircase. I wasn’t insecure about my body, because I had always been an athlete and was very fit and slender and changed in many different locker rooms in front of other girls without feeling insecure. Between my stilettos, the shortness of my dress, and the steepness of the staircase, I was concerned that someone was either going look up my skirt or judge me for wobbling as I approached the bottom of the stair. Luckily, all of the young men in the room were high on marijuana and sitting on the couch, playing Grand-Theft-Auto.
There was a dining room table to the right of the sofa, where several girls my age sat awkwardly, drinking actual cocktails with straws. I still had the champagne flute that I had brought with me from upstairs. I had struggled to make it down the steep stairs in my stilettos without spilling my tenth glass of champagne. They all looked sort of pissed off and were trying to pretend that they understood what the boys were doing on the television screen. Some of the girls sitting at the dining room table to the side were in serious, long term relationships with guys that they went to high school with. These girls would occasionally look down under the table at the text messages that they had received from the boyfriends and subtly text back, trying not to be rude to their single friends. The single girls were all wearing long dresses that went down to their feet, their makeup was light and classy and they watched the males on the couches expectantly. They all looked pissed off and they clearly were hoping to pick up a boyfriend to drag along to the graduation dances that were coming up.
There were several other girls in the “kids room” as well. The bisexuals and the lesbians were on the balcony, also wearing short cocktail dresses with heavy makeup like mine. A couple of them were smoking cigarettes and they were passing around a flask of vodka and leaning on the railing. These young women were were all very, very thin. As I exited the stairwell, moving the see-through curtain out of my way, I glanced at all the straight girls at the table to my right. I tried to smile at them kindly and placidly. One of the nerds was holding her phone down below the table, in the middle of texting her boyfriend, looked up at me and rolled her eyes. She went to school with me and had been in my most recent chemistry class. She was nice and pretty and was wearing her glasses at the party. Her single friend next to her was wearing a pale, brick colored dress with her sparkly grey pumps sticking out slightly at the toes and had an hourglass figure. She was staring longingly at a long-face boy sitting at the corner of the video game couch. He was sitting up straighter the other boys and I could tell that he enjoyed her watching him. He was acting a lot less brutish than the other boys were and made sure to keep taking the joint when it got passed around. He was the embodiment of cool, as far as he and the girl watching him were concerned. I gave the girl from my chemistry class a quick look, my eyes smiling, trying not to laugh too visibly.
I realized that I had been awkwardly standing in the doorway for several moments now, one of the boys on the couch turned to look at me. It made me uncomfortable that one of them had exited their stoned gaming haze long enough to notice me standing awkwardly in the doorway. I gave him a little sarcastic toast with my champagne flute and turned to my left. There was a mirror with a table below it where several packs of cigarettes were, as well as a few plastic containers of marijuana and a some generic metal grinders. There were a couple packs of Parliaments, which were either open and partially empty, or completely empty as well as several packs of L&Ms which the boys had been using for rolling spliffs. I had always wondered how the boys bribed the hotel staff into bringing them this stuff in the “kids rooms” of the company parties, since they were underage. I pulled my Millicent Rose lipstick out of my squarish, key-lime pie colored Rockstud lipstick holder and fixed my lipstick and combed my longish pixie cut out with my fingers. I had a hair product in, that textured my terribly straight hair and gave it a little bit of volume. I had natural curls in my hair, from my dad’s side of the family, but they were only visible when my hair was a little longer. I had artificial highlights in the parts of my pixie cut which were a bit longer. They looked magnificent, especially with my light pink lipstick. I secretly hated myself because I had forgotten to bring my lip-liner downstairs with me. It was in upstairs in the coatroom, in the coat pocket of my trench-coat. I always forgot to take my lip-liner out of my pocket before I ended up in front of mirror where I could reapply it. There was something deeply depressing about reapplying lipstick without fixing the liner first.
I was pretty happy with my appearance anyway. I looked a lot prettier than most models did and I was kind of health nut on top of being an athlete with good genetics. My leather dress looked fine. I had small breasts so they didn’t interfere with style of the dress. I had on a Yves-Saint Laurent chain that I pretty much wore all the time, since it went with everything. I wore earrings as well. They were cheap and they were from Claire’s. I went through earrings very quickly and had hundreds of pairs of them and I simply could not stop buying them from Claire’s. They had a lot of really classy-looking ones and I had not stopped shopping there after starting when I was twelve. It was partially out for posterity’s sake, to continue shopping at a store designed for tween girls, but the designs continued to amaze me and I was always looking for an excuse to pop into the shop at the mall when I parked there to pick up my box of Cinnabon. I went to the mall every week in my Bugatti to buy a box of Cinnabon after soccer practice on Friday afternoon. It was a little reward for myself to keep me in a good mood and motivated towards training for finals. I was the star shooter on my high school’s soccer team and if it took a whole box of Cinnabon every week to keep me focused on winning. I could have my cinnamon rolls and eat them too.
I made it out the balcony in with my leather dress still on and not slipping down yet. I recognized one of the girls, she was wearing a peacock blue toga and her name was Lydia. She had a narrow face and olive colored skin. She was very spidery and had a cute, pointed face framed by dark pixie cut. We didn’t have chemistry as more than friends but she was standing in the corner of the balcony without shoes on and I leaned over from up high in my heels and she lit the Parliament that I had picked up from the table before the mirror. Lydia put her arms up on my shoulders we sort of fake slow-danced a little, we were both quite drunk at this point and trying to keep to ourselves so that we could gossip a bit before paying attention to the other women on the balcony. She filled me in on the other women who were on the balcony. There was a bland looking girl wearing a really nice-looking corduroy dress with cute, slick little heels. She looked pretty normal and she was hogging a joint while she was also taking a sip of the vodka from the flask that a short, long-haired Greek girl had just passed her.
Lydia leaned up and whispered in my ear: “ That girl in the emerald corduroy dress, her name is Hepzibah. She just transferred to my school recently to finish off the semester, but she’s real intense. Like in a good way. I think that she’s openly, officially bi." I glanced over at her, trying not to get caught checking her out. Hepzibah looked over at me a little quizzically. She tossed her wavy hair and sort of posed for moment. I was a little embarrassed that she had noticed. I was trying to be subtle, but I was more than ten drinks into the night and it was hard to not get caught staring at her. Lydia was blatantly holding her hand up to cover my ear as she continued to whisper in it, drunk as well. It was a little embarassing for me to gossip too much in front of people; I was raised to believe that it was a bad habit. Her hair was shiny and about shoulder length. Her highlights were natural and I could tell that her hair had been pressed into waves. She looked sort of Irish on that night, with the bright emerald dress on, and her skin was pale back then when we first met and so much work had gone into her hair. We looked sort of similar, like maybe we could be related. Her shoulders were sloping and the angle where she hung her arms was different than the way I held mine. I had wide shoulders and stretched, lean muscles. She was just kind of thin and soft, not a serious athlete, but not lazy either. I got the feeling that she was a little more emotionally mature than me. My friend Lydia had told me that she was a year older than I was. The look that she gave me was confident and patient, like she would wait for me to collect myself and make a move by the end of the night.
I heard a loud cackle from the balcony above ours. It was my mother, drunk enough to completely fail to notice the smell of marijuana coming from the “girls balcony” just below. I calculated that my parents would be ready to leave the party in an hour and half, and if I was going to get to know Hepzibah, I would have to sober up a little a try to make a move soon.
About the author
Hi! I am a twenty-eight year old college student at San Francisco State University majoring in Mathematics for Advanced Studies. I plan to continue onto graduate school in Mathematics once I am finished the plethora of courses which remain.