“What’s wrong with my lipstick?” I run my fingers over my lips, wishing now that I hadn’t worn it.
“Girl, you are not stupid. I don’t have a penis, but even I know that, when a man sees a woman who looks like you wearing red lipstick that makes her lips look even fuller, all he can think about is shoving something between them.”
“You did not just say that.” I frown at her.
“It’s the truth, girly,” Derik says.
Images of some of the women I have seen in Vegas, the ones who sell themselves, flash through my head, all of them with their bright-red lips and bedroom eyes.
“I need to go to the bathroom.” I stand and don’t even wait for Tara when she calls for me. I run into the bathroom and franticly wipe at my lips, trying to get the color off.
“Autumn, stop it. What are you doing?”
Tears spring to my eyes and I bite the inside of my cheek, trying to fight them off. I wipe my mouth again and again, but the color won’t come off no matter what I do. Stupid smudge-proof lipstick!
“Autumn, please stop,” Tara says more quietly this time, her hands going to mine at my lips.
“I just want it off.”
“You know men will think the same thing whether you’re wearing lipstick or not. Some guys are ass**les. You’re beautiful and sweet. Please don’t let something as stupid as lipstick f**k with our night out.”
I take a second and let her words sink in, and I let out a long breath. “Thank you,” I tell her, pulling the tissue away from my mouth.
“We’re friends, and that’s what friends do.”
It feels good to be friends with a woman, someone who knows what I’m going though, someone I can talk to about the stupid things like I’ve seen women on TV talk to each other about.
“Now, are you ready to finish our drinks?” she asks, making me smile.
“Yes,” I say immediately. I look in the mirror, quickly making sure I look okay before following her out of the bathroom.
When we reach the bar, Derik and Stan have disappeared.
“Do you see them anywhere?” Tara asks, stretching to try to see over the crowd on the dance floor.
“No.” I look around, but there are so many people here that I can’t even move without bumping into someone. “Oh wait, I think I see them.” I grab Tara’s hand and start to lead her through the crowd to where I think I spotted Stan and Derik.
I look back over my shoulder when she stops dead in her tracks, causing me to teeter in my heels. I start to ask her what’s wrong, when she yells at the top of her lungs, “I love this f**king song!” I bite the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing at her. The song is ‘Sexy and I Know It,’ and as much as people like the song, I really doubt anyone actually loves it.
When she starts dancing, I can’t hold it in and start to laugh. Her long, blond hair is flying all over. Her face is a mask of concentration and her hands almost look like she’s doing the hand jive.
“Dance with me!” She throws her hands in the air and spins around, closing her eyes.
I look around, seeing that everyone around me is dancing; no one is even watching what Tara’s doing. I start to move my hips a little, but apparently that’s not enough for Tara, who grabs both of my hands and starts spinning me around with her.
“Tara, stop!” I yell as we fly around in circles. My feet are barely keeping me upright.
“Stop being a party pooper and dance, bitch!” she yells back at me. Without warning, she lets my hands go and starts wiggling all over the place.
I laugh but join her wiggling, and then I bump my hip with hers when the song changes to Ke$ha’s ‘Your Love is My Drug.’ We start jumping around, throwing our hands in the air, and spinning in circles.
I’m laughing so hard and having so much fun that I don’t even realize that I’m in the middle of a giant crowd of people and they’ve all stopped to watch us. When the song ends, we both stop immediately and look around.
“Rock on!” Tara yells, making me lower my head and whisper a quiet, “Oh my God,” to myself. “You only live once. Fuck it,” Tara says, shrugging before grabbing my hand and pulling me with her to the bar.
“Hey, there’s Derik.” I point to the other side of the bar, where Derik and Stan are sitting, both of them with large smiles on their faces.
“You two looked—”
“Crazy, I know,” I cut him off, taking the bottle of water from his hand and drinking it in large gulps.
“I was gonna say hot, girl,” Derik corrects with a laugh. “Happiness is a good look on you, kid,” he tells me, pulling me into his side.
I take a breath, realizing that I am happy—really fricking happy.
“You want another drink?” Tara asks, calling the bartender over.
“I don’t know.” I look around at all the people who are having a good time and then out on the dance floor at all the people still dancing and laughing. Screw it. I want to live a little. “What are we drinking?”
“How about tequila?”
“Never had it.” I shrug, watching as the bartender makes his way towards us.
“Seriously?” Tara asks, looking at me with wide eyes.
“Seriously,” I repeat.
“Okay, you have to have a shot.”
“You are not an adult until you’ve had tequila,” she tells me, her voice all serious.
“Is this a rule?” I ask with a smile as she gives the bartender our order.
“One of many.” She looks at me and smiles. “Body shots are another, but we’ll get to that another time.”
“I’m never doing body shots.” I roll my eyes at her.
“A couple shots of tequila and you will do a whole lot you never thought you would.” She hands me a little glass of clear liquid and a wedge of lime. “Lick your hand,” she instructs. I do, and she picks up a saltshaker, dumping some onto my hand. “Lick it, shoot it, suck it.” She nods, and I shake my head but follow her directions.
The salt is grainy on my tongue as I close my eyes and shoot back the tequila. The cool liquid burns down my throat, making me gasp for air. My hand is suddenly shoved towards my face and I cram the whole piece of lime in my mouth, pressing it up against the roof of my mouth, and then I chew on it to try to get rid of some of the heat.
I open my eyes when I hear laughing, and I pull the lime out of my mouth and look around. “What’s wrong?”