Ruby Red

“Let’s go, bitches!” Claire screams as she pulls in with Nelly blaring from her GrandAM.

“Don’t get your panties in a wad! I’m not running in these heels!” Kate yells from the top of the stairs to my third-floor apartment.

I roll my eyes and grab my purse, as I lock my door. “I have neighbors you heifers!”

“Hot In Herre” bumps into the warm night as the four of us are off for a much needed night out. Spring finals are over, and we have three weeks until our last year of college begins. Kate, Claire, Annalise and I have lived a lot of life in our 22 years, yet we are only at the jumping off point for adulthood. This will be a year of planning and prepping what our path toward the future will look like. However, tonight is a night to let lose and just be four girls laughing and dancing until we sweat off our make-up and blisters form on our feet.

With wristlets in hand and gloss on our lips we make our approach into The Hill. It’s Saturday night and we are feeling ourselves. The wind picks up right on cue whipping my hair like I’m on the Victoria Secret catwalk. My heels click with a little extra pep to my strut. The DJ must have known we arrived and turns up P!nk “Get This Party Started” for our walk-up song. We are rolling in tonight like a wave of slow-motion awesomeness. We head to the bar, get our drinks with the ease of what we imagine life is like for celebrities, then turn around to survey the situation.

“I’m ready to shake my ass.” Claire sips her drink.

People are everywhere. Walls are lined with half-drunk-20-something-year-olds focused on the same goal…whatever feels good tonight.

Annalise chugs her beer and slams down the empty bottle. “Let’s do this.”

Like true music video fashion, we sashay to the dance floor in sync with each other and the beat. It feels like the Red Sea parted the crowd to welcome us. All the while, I wonder if I am already buzzed or if everyone is really looking our way. I know I am feeling cute tonight, but this amount of attention was abnormal. We get to middle of crowd with just enough room for the four of us to drop it like it’s hot. We have about three drinks under our belt when, Kate grabs my shoulder and spins me around. I can barely make-out what she is yelling at me over the music, but I the last thing I hear is, “your ass!”

“What about my ass?” I yell back over the bass booming in my ears.

There is a lull in the music at the right moment for Kate’s voice to carry above it, “Your ass is hanging out of your jeans, Ruby!”

She might as well have had a megaphone for the crowd surrounding us, because they all turn to find the ass, which is apparently me tonight. I reach to touch my behind to find my old trusty, but comfortable fire red cotton panties where my jean pocket should be. My brain takes a minute to process what this must look like from behind. No worries, because Annalise gives me a functioning visual.

“Oh hell, Ruby! Your entire cheek is hanging out!” Her concern for my ego is lost in the humor of the situation.

I feel a hand on my shoulder turning me and my ass to another angle. “It sure the hell is! How in the world did you manage this Ruby? The entire pocket is just ripped off!” Claire continues to supply descriptive details so I have a full picture of what I am dealing with here.

We are in the middle of the mob of other minimally-talented-beer-buzzed dancers, which provides some coverage to my current predicament. My wristlet will not provide any amount of coverage and since I opted for comfort over cuteness tonight, the bright red color of my underwear is sure to attract a few glances no matter where I go. I debate how long I can stay here. Do I ask my girls if we can make a dash for it and head to the car? They could form a protective cover and flank me as we nonchalantly made our way out of here. I decide none of that will do. We’d come out for a good time and I wasn’t about to cut that short. Who knows how long my jean pocket has been missing. I felt a little drafty earlier in the night, but that didn’t stop me from laughing and dancing and being with my friends. It would explain the reason the Rea Sea parted to let us on the dance floor earlier and why we seemed to attract so much attention, but that’s not important right now. My girls are looking at me to give them direction. Like troops waiting for an order, I can tell by the look in their eyes, they will go and do whatever I want or need. That is friendship. Ride or die. Hell or high water. Covered or bare ass.  

“Screw it! Let’s get a drink!” With that, I turn on my alcohol-covered heels and head to bar with a red wave behind me. The girls follow my lead and we make our way through the crowd. Kate wraps her arm around me and gives me a squeeze “you are a badass, Ruby. You never disappoint, darlin’!”

“I try,” and I give her a wink right as I bump into a guy standing in our path to the bar.

“Oh, my bad. I didn’t…Dennis?” My voices trails off as I realize it is in fact Dennis, Kate’s boyfriend for the last 100 years. “Hey, who are you here with?” but the smile in my voice slowly fades as I see Kate staring straight ahead with no emotion on her face.

Just then, Annalise and Claire in unison change the conversation, “who the hell is that?”

Their question directed at Dennis was regarding the blonde hiding behind him.

“Dennis. Seriously? What have you done?” Claire pushes forward toward him and the mystery girl.

The slow-motion has returned to haunt us instead of highlight this moment. An extremely drunk girl bounces off Annalise and spills her pink umbrella drink down the front of Claire’s white tank top.

I wait for the f-bombs to start flying. Claire takes a deep breath, calling Buda, Jesus or whoever is listening. We all brace for the fall-out.

Claire throws her arms up and shoves the drunk girl. “Straighten up, sloppy!”

Then a guy comes from behind and pushes Kate. Dennis pushes him threatening him to leave Kate alone.

“What the hell do you care!” Kate yells as she pushes Dennis.

I push mystery blonde just for purpose. Annalise grabs me quickly, “let’s go, now!”

The four of us make a run for the back door dodging the angry mob that we may or may not have started. We were not going to stick around to find out.

For the quickest extraction, we catch a cab back to my apartment but not before we bribe the cab driver to stop at White Castle and order anything he wants. When we get home, we gorge ourselves with chicken rings and cheese fries. We console Kate over the revelation of Dennis. Then we laugh until we are all in tears about mystery blonde taking a fall and Claire’s pink stained white tank. Because isn’t that what friends are for? To push mysterious cheating blonde girls to the ground in the middle of a barroom brawl you all started?

This story always seems to come up at least once a year. Today’s telling is around the pool at Annalise’s 39th birthday. Instead of sloppy, drunk girls there are cake-covered toddlers and pre-teens with water guns. Contagious tears of laughter have us all trying to catch our breath.

“I still picture the bouncers on their radios trying to control the chaos.” Annalise slaps her leg as she cackles out loud. “The girl with the red ass did it!”

“Even at a young age, you never disappoint, Ruby!” Claire wipes her eyes.

“What would have happened if we tried to sneak Ruby out the other way? I may never had found out about Dennis. Can you all image what that would look like today?” Kate takes a sip.

“Cheers to that, ladies! Multiple wins from that night!” I raise my glass to meet their three.

Parties look a little different now. Nights don’t always end at White Castle. Change is inevitable, good or bad. This too shall pass. But friendship that you will cause a barroom brawl for is worth the work to maintain. In life, you need people who will take a pink a drink for you and cover your ass when you need it.

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