I felt like anything but a fifth wheel as I accompanied the four guys I’d met earlier to a corner table downstairs.
Dinner conversation included Chris raving endearingly about his wife, whom he met after wooing her away from a friend. When I asked if he’s still friendly with her ex, he said bluntly—
“F**k no, I’ve got a wife [to think about].”
As the saying goes, all’s fair in love and war. Having briefly dated an ex’s best friend once (two years after the breakup), I can appreciate Chris’ pragmatic approach to romance.
After we finished eating, he continued playing matchmaker, leading Ted and Patrick out of the restaurant while Cedric and I stayed behind. We exchanged business cards – and our first kiss of the night.
Clearly a regular of the Meatpacking district scene, Cedric received an enthusiastic greeting from the bouncers at our next destination, the Hotel Gansevoort.
On our way up to the swanky rooftop bar to join the others, Cedric impulsively pressed the button for a different floor, pulling me out of the elevator and into another exhilarating kiss. I was in a happy haze when we made it upstairs -- until I discovered that one of my earrings was missing.
Upon informing Cedric that the gold baubles had been a gift from my brother 10 years ago for getting my master’s, he went off to retrace our steps. Much to my surprise and delight, he returned with the earring in hand.
Accessory crisis averted, I was able to refocus my attention on the standing room only crowd of beautiful people, and mixing a cocktail from the bottle service Chris & Co had sprung for.
As I made my way home around 330am, I couldn’t help marveling all over again at my beloved hometown. When it comes to the element of surprise, no place does it better than the Big Apple.