It was Ross's staff Xmas party (a little too late, or early, in the season for that but no matter). There were free drinks. And free food.
The drinks were sorely needed. It's often daunting to be around people who don't you at all but know your SO very well...it reminded me a lot of being around Ross's friends and family in Scotland.
Especially since the first thing Ross's boss said to me was, "So, when is the Big Day?"
At first I didn't know what he meant by that, so he repeated himself, making a gesture to my ring finger.
Ross looked like he was suffering awkwardly so I quickly said to his boss, "You mean my birthday? Not for another 11 months."
"Nice save," Ross whispered in my ear and ushered me away from him. I commented on how drunk his boss must be. "No, he's always like that," Ross admitted.
I then met all of Ross's co-workers. They came up to me by saying, "Looove the photos of your trip." I smiled and thanked them and after the 10th time it happened it began to dawn on me: What photos?
"Oh," explained Ross, "I sent a link to our vacation photos around the office." The vacation photos in which I am either wasted, hungover or flashing various body parts in them.
No wonder they were so nice to me.
Hours later, after we drank and ate our way through a $4000 bar tab, a group of us decided that we hadn't had enough (even though we already tried on each other's shoes and smelled each other's feet...ah, drunken hi-jinks).
We soldiered on to a bar up the street from my house where we proceeded to swoop in just as they were doing last call. We all got two drinks and two shots each. Carnage.
The DJ was soon replaced by a Piano Man. Ross went over to him to put in a request only to be ambushed by some drunk blonde chick (not I). She asked him where he was from and as soon as he said Scotland, her accent went from Canadian to full-tilt Scottish.
"My parents are from there," she cooed, patting his hand.
"But you were born in Canada..."
"That's right," she winked and her accent grew stronger, as did the arm-stroking.
Ross looked over at me for help.
"That's my girlfriend over there," Karina get over here!,he pleaded with his eyes.
She gave me a distracted look and in the Queen's English combined with a Groundskeeper Willie accent she said, "Ever so pleased to meet you."
Then, as the piano man started to play Ross's request of Great Balls of Fire, she began to drag him towards the dance floor. He broke free of her and took me over to the dance floor instead. Take that, you fake accent charlatan.
The dance floor was empty but that didn't prevent Ross from dancing and spinning me around to Jerry Lee Lewis whilst singing at the top his lungs. My earlier goal of trying to get Ross drunk was complete.
After the song was done, and the other people in the quickly emptying bar grew tired of watching us make fools of ourselves, the Piano Man came over.
Because we were at a gay bar (most bars on my street are), he made a beeline for Ross and started fawning over his accent. Then Ross introduced me with a heavily emphasized "My GIRLFRIEND."
The Piano Man looked at Ross in disbelief, "This is your girlfriend? You are a handsome man but this woman is absolutely gorgeous."
Oh brother. I don't do flattery well.
Ross smiled proudly, "I know, I -"
"No you don't," the Piano Man quickly enjected.
"Of course I do, I tell her all the-"
"But you don't appreciate it."
"Of course I do-"
They continued on like this for several minutes while I contemplated making a dash for the door. The Piano Man turned to me and said, "Men say they know, but they don't know. He doesn't know." He jabbed his finger at Ross.
Ross rolled his eyes. I smiled politely and was about to defend him but the Piano Man continued.
"Sorry, I'm a bit emotional. My boyfriend recently broke up with me...he owns this bar."
"Awww," Ross and I said in unison and were about to offer condolences but he just carried on like before.
"I may be gay, but I should know. I know these things. You are too stunning. TOO stunning. You are going to have trouble in life because of your beauty. People will hate you. You should be a reporter. No, a reporter! On TV. You know you are gorgeous, right? Men don't know anything. Yes, a reporter. Do you watch CTV? What do you mean you don't watch the news? Men don't appreciate their women, I should know. You're going to be a reporter. You want to be on Lonely Planet? Listen, I know Ian Wright. He's an idiot. It's all about good camerawork... editing, yes that's it!Do you know who Tamara Taggert is? I know her. I know these things. You know that Backstreet Boys song 'you are my fire...' I wrote that."
Ross and I exchanged a look. Oh brother.
"Listen, I thank you for your kind words but-" I began.
"How many times a day does he tell you he loves you?"
I could sense in this crazy gay man's voice that he wanted me to say never, that he wanted Ross to fail and prove that he was right, that all men were stupid, unappreciative pigs. But I answered truthfully.
"A dozen times a day," I said, looking the Piano Man straight in the eye.
At that the Piano Man looked like he wanted to cry. He held out his arms and gave us both a group hug.
"You two will make it," he cried out and then disappeared behind the bar.