And She Rises

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"For the record, I knocked."

Brie's arms give out and the three bodies pancake down to the mat. Brie scrambles to her feet, struggling to free herself of Krystal, while everyone else lies laughing on the floor.

"Ooh, is this Mr. Porsche?" Shauna says, walking towards him in her underwear.

"Shauna, off!" Brie pushes her back. She turns back to Danny, her face hot. "This probably looks strange."

He is holding an enchanting gold box with ribbon that looks made out of seaweed. "More than strange," he says. "Like the prelude to an orgy."

Brie laughs at this, though she can see he did not mean it as a joke. "Definitely not an orgy." She looks at Gabe. "Though I do see how you might think that given that Gabe here is naked. But Gabe is always naked. It's sort of his calling card."

"What's up, Man," Gabe says, reaching out his hand. "Nice to meet you."

Danny shields his eyes with his forearm. "Put some fucking clothes on, Man."

Brie claps her hands like a teacher. "Okay, party's over everyone. Get dressed. It's time to go."

Danny stands expressionless, examining her camisole.

Alex comes at Brie with a high five. "So nice meeting you, Chica. You're so cool." He slaps on his ball cap.

"Wait," Danny says. "You don't know these people?"

"Ohhh just," Brie says, waving away his concern. "Just not Alex. I've met Beck before, once, but everyone else here is ancient."

Beck pulls his shirt on. "Nice suit, man. You're looking sharp." He says this in all earnestness, but Danny seems to interpret it as some sort of insult. Brie shrinks within the boundaries of her own private Switzerland. Worlds are clashing, the two worst possible worlds. Danny is now focused on the text of Alex's hat. "Do you know what a meatus is?"

Alex laughs. "Yeah, Man. It's the hole that you piss out of. Brie told me."

Brie laughs in pain. "I... no, I...looked it up."

Shauna and her goose egg announce that the party will be continuing downstairs at Chez Shauna. "It's not as nice as Brie's apartment, but I've got cigarettes and hard lemonades."

Brie does a full body cringe. This is like your rich boyfriend meeting your white trash family accidentally at a horrible car crash. It was not discussed that he would come over tonight. In fact, it was specifically decided that they would meet for breakfast tomorrow morning because he might get home late and she might go to a Korean spa for a body scrub and hair wash and make an early night of it. Which is not what ended up happening, but a friendly text alerting her to his arrival would have been swell. She would have made sure everyone had their clothes on, for starters. She would have sent them packing! Those cigarette butts are simply not hers. And it is uncouth, is it not, to arrive unannounced late at night? Brie checks the clock on the microwave. Shit, it's only half past nine.

It feels like an eternity plus a leap year until her motley crew of party pals have finally gone. Danny is standing there still holding the box. "Well I guess I know why you didn't want to come to my house tonight."

She let's this one go by. "How come you're home so early?

His eyes widen in offense. "I'm sorry I interrupted your little sex game."

Brie studies his face. "It wasn't a sex game. No, I mean why did you leave the event so early? You said it would go until midnight."

Danny produces the most self-righteous face she's seen yet. "I'll make a note to never be done early again."

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