"Here, here," she said, patting my shoulder. "I promise you, you'll get used to it."
The first weekend of my internship, I had wallowed in bed the entire time, eating Sour Patch Kids and watching Cameron Diaz movies. Seeing as how texts and Facebook posts from my friends had started to drop off, I figured I needed to spend this weekend back in the land of the living. Friday evening, getting home at a remarkably early 8pm, I returned two weeks worth of missed calls. After begging for forgiveness and promising to do better, I cajoled my two closest friends into margaritas and mexican food at Los Amigos, a run-down, college hangout four blocks from my house. My plan was to get sloshed on margaritas, then stumble home. In retrospect, that sounds like the perfect "college girl gets snatched by a serial killer" scenario, but at 21 years old, it sounded like a perfectly good plan.
At 9:30pm, dressed in a blue sundress and Badgely Mischa heels, with my hair loose and makeup subdued, I wrestled through the line outside and made my way into the bar. My skin was paler than usual, due to my recent inability to spend any time at the pool, but I still turned a few heads coming in. I saw Olivia and Becca perched at a high top in the corner. The bar was filling up, and it took a few minutes of squeezing through people for me to get over to them.
"Hola!" I said enthusiastically, giving them both hugs before climbing onto one of the stools. They both already had ridiculously huge margarita glasses with goofy straws in front of them, and I looked around for the waiter. He came over shortly, a young Mexican with shy eyes and poor English. He took a cursory look at my ID and then disappeared to get us some queso and chips. Becca didn't wait long to start chewing me out.
"So seriously," she snapped, glancing at her imaginary watch. "It's been almost two weeks since we've seen you - Unacceptable!" She slapped her well-manicured open palm on the table to emphasize her point.
"Go easy on her Becca," Olivia chided - "she's WORKING, something you wouldn't understand!" she shot a playful smile in Becca's direction. Olivia was right - working was something Becca would probably never understand. Her wealthy parents and their generous funding pretty much guaranteed Becca an easy ride straight to whatever wealthy husband she ended up marrying. With Becca's classic good looks and intelligence, she had basically won the genetic lottery.
Olivia was more like me - from working class parents, barely surviving on student loans and part-time jobs. I was especially tight right now, due to my full-time unpaid internship. We were all prelaw students - but I was a semester ahead of them, therefore the first to undergo the intern experience.
We were on our third rounds of drinks and gossip when I felt an arm slip around my shoulders. "Hey beautiful," a voice said in my ear. I pulled back, and stared into Todd Appleton's face.
"Todd!" I said, surprised to see him out of the office. I hadn't seen much of him in the last two weeks, since I was banned from entering the East Wing. He had stopped in once or twice, but I'd always been too busy to chat.
"This seat taken?" he asked, gesturing to the other empty stool.
"Not at all!" Becca said smiling brightly. She flipped her brunette hair over her shoulder and leaned forward, flashing Todd her best megawatt smile.
I looked to Olivia for approval, and she rolled her eyes good-naturedly and smiled agreeably at me.
Todd introduced himself to both Becca and Olivia, and then slid onto the empty stool. He motioned for the waiter, and then leaned back, drumming his fingers on the table. Grabbing a handful of chips, he turned to me.
"All of the interns have been going out a few times a week - you should join us sometime," he said, biting down on a chip covered in meaty cheese.
I shot him a look. "Sure, I'll just swing by on one of my three bathroom breaks," I said dryly.
"Oh, so Julia has been ignoring you too?" Becca said, leaning forward and showing her ample, enhanced cle**age.
"Aw, I'm just kidding her," Todd said. "I know that her attorney buries her under work." He brushed the back of his hand gently down my arm, sending a shiver through me. I moved away. Not what I need right now.
Becca shot me an inquisitive glance and I sent back a "he's all yours" look. The waiter swung by, laden down with a platter of dirty glasses and plates and Todd put in a drink order.
"So," I said casually, "what's it like working for De Luca?"
Todd snorted and nodded enthusiastically. "It is awesome - the guy is an absolute animal! You should see him in the Courtroom Julia - he rips these guys to shreds!"
"The courtroom?" I interrupted him. "You've been to court?" This is bullshit! Todd gets plush hours and courtroom experience?
"Yeah!" Todd nodded, "he took me with him this Monday - it was awesome!"
Five minutes with Todd, and I was already a little sick of the word "awesome". Maybe I was just bitchy about my current situation. Either way, I tried to appear cool and offhand. "What was going on there Wednesday?"
"Wednesday?" Todd's face scrunched up, like he was concentrating hard. "SERIOUSLY!" I wanted to scream at him - "Smith & Wollensky's, lobster, music, TWO DAYS AGO, and you can't remember?!"
"Oh!" he slapped his head. "The Hatfield deal! You know the Hatfield family - like the media tycoon? Mr. Hatfield finally settled, so De Luca threw a mini-celebration for the Missus."
"THAT was a Mini-Celebration?" the words popped out before I could stop them. Todd looked at me surprised.
"Yeah well, you know - De Luca throws some big parties. We have a huge client party planned out at his house this weekend." He shrugged, like it was no big deal.
"Are you going?"
"Of course!" he snorted again. "It's going to be, like, awesome! I heard he's hiring strippers!"
W-O-W. Super Classy. De Luca seemed to live up to the reputation. I took a big sip of margarita and thanked God that I hadn't been assigned to him.
One more margarita later, and Todd was still hot - but now not quite as annoying. My drunken haze had turned his juvenile antics into sexy cool. I was starting to let his hands do some roaming, when Olivia pulled me aside.
"Seriously Jules, I'm going to do you a big favor and send you home."
"Whaat…? Why?" My slurred voice sounded drunk, even to me. I waved my hand in front of my face, stopping Olivia from responding. "Never mind, you're right. I'll go." I moved over and hugged Becca, gesturing over the music that I was heading out. She blew me a kiss and waved goodbye.