what happens in

I ajsut wannmt to kame otu with jllliean and bu thes begiian a JERK so ai’m calaling rook inseat

Happy New Year soon to be 😦

Okay, it’s a long story, and all of it, 100% of it, is humiliating. This has been the most humiliating week of my life, and in case you don’t remember, I once asked Tilly Marlow to coffee me.

Remember how on Monday I said this whole phenomenon started with a restaurant’s marketing scheme? Well we spent the whole day searching for any other leads and didn’t find them. So, we decided to hit Kennedy’s.

Well, Neal and I went to eat. Julian decided to stay back at the hotel. It would be easier not to get recognized if we weren’t all together, none of us really expected to find anything — apart from maybe a thriving drug market — at Kennedy’s and I think he wanted some time alone to talk to Beverly.

The restaurant, Kennedy’s, was CROWDED. Literally, it was wall to wall with people. The bar was surrounded three deep with people.

“Should we go somewhere else?” I asked, because I was fucking hungry, but I think Neal had some suspicions.

“No,” he said. “But we’re not eating anything.”

Horrible news.

We asked a few people why they were eating here, and they all said variations of the same thing: they’d been told that if they really want to live the #vegasrennaisance they had to start the night at Kennedy’s.

Well we were in that stupid restaurant for like 2 hours and nothing happened.

Or we thought nothing happened.

Oops.

Maybe, potentially, I should have noticed that something was strange when I started getting…

Okay, so we all know how I feel about Neal. Like obviously, I’m obsessed with him, I want to like make out with him and punch him in the face, but the thing is that I’m not really into him. Like remember how I used to be obsessed with Warren Miller and it was entirely because he was always mean to me and never showed me any kind of interest whatsoever? And then we became, like, actual friends? And like — if I hadn’t been IN LOVE with Tilly at that point, like, genuinely I think Warren and I could have been a thing, if I’d wanted it to be, but the thing is that by the time it was at that point, I didn’t really want it to go there anymore. Hahahahaha now that I actually like Warren I genuinely have no interest in banging him.

And I don’t think it’s quite the same situation with Neal, because I didn’t like… make up every aspect of his personality in order to be obsessed with him like I did with Warren Miller. Like, I actually know Neal and love him very much, and also, COMPLETELY separate from my totally normal not weird affection for him, I secretly occasionally imagine scenarios in which I do something especially epic and he realizes, oh wait… is Shiloh a grown up? Am I???? In love with her???? After all?????

It’s because he would never in a million years sleep with me. Hahahahahahahaha I’m having, like, a totally pathetic fabulous imaginary love affair with him because I have a 0% chance of seducing him, and that’s why he’s so attractive to me.

Which is why, on Wednesday night, when I started Having Some Feelings, I should have known right away that something was up.

This is so humiliating.

It started because I couldn’t stop looking at his hands. Boy hands with veins and scars and short, practical nails that he keeps clean. He pushed some curls off his forehead, and I watched them run, downy as feathers, through his fingers. He whet his lip, then chewed it thoughtfully, watching over the heads of the crowd, and I couldn’t process a word he said because I was too busy gazing longingly up at his stupid beautiful angel mouth.

Bamboozled. Absolute brain fog.

“Hell-ooo,” he said. “Earth to Shiloh.”

“What?” I said.

“I said lets get out of here.”

“Where should we go?”

And instead of going back to the room, which is what we told Julian we were going to do, which is what we should by all rights have done, Neal said, “let’s go get a drink.”

If only I’d gotten shit housed. If only I’d gotten so trashed I blacked out the whole night. But no, I had one single drink and remember the entire awful night in crystalline agonizing detail.

We went to a strip club. Yet another place I should have known something was up. Neal bringing me into a strip club? Like, it’s not impossible. Two casual bisexuals are allowed to enjoy titties together, but like… Neal and I going to a strip club would be a hilarious event, something that we dared each other into, not something we casually just did one night because we felt like it. You know? It just doesn’t quite track.

Inside was dark and pulsating with people. The dancers were lithe and glittery, flashing smiles, eyelashes thick as bat wings, thick enough to catch wind when they fluttered at us. People Noticed Neal, and I loved that, I felt weirdly proud and possessive of him, and I loved when he went to a cash machine and withdrew several thousand dollars.

“Here,” he said, passing me a stack, and then he waded into the crowd. He didn’t even check to see if I was following — and like, I don’t think I’d have ever noticed the attention he pays to me except in contrast. Like, would I have ever called Neal a mother hen? No, of course not. Until he walked away from me like that in the club, nonchalant, like, follow me or don’t did I realize that usually he’s paying close careful attention to my whereabouts.

I loved it. Obviously I followed him.

We sat back away from the stage, watching. I didn’t know what we were watching for, but we certainly weren’t there for the dancers. He was watching the audience instead, eyes flickering and fixed, drinking slowly, fingers twitching.

I didn’t know what he was watching for until someone grabbed a dancer. She handled it like a professional — a firm yank, a few quick steps, the quick eye-contact towards security.

Security didn’t have time to get there.

Neal said, “Finally,” downed the rest of his drink, slid right over the table, turned the handsy guy around by the shoulder, grabbed the guy’s beer from the table beside them, and bashed him over the head with it. Glass and beer went flying everywhere.

This guy was there with like ten of his friends, and they all stood up at once. One of them was huge, and jittery, clearly coked out of his mind, and swung a meaty fist, and I’ve seen Neal dodge shit three times that fast but tonight he just took it, skidded backwards, and then popped up like a cork. His nose was bleeding and when he grinned his teeth were smeared with blood. He spat red, tossed back his hair, and fucking dove back in for more.

And you know what I thought, witnessing this scene?

I thought it was the hottest thing I’d ever seen in my life. Cave woman brain said man strong man hit man good

It took like five security guys to untangle the mess and boot us out of the place. One of them was a big burly dude who basically picked me up and carried me out and literally in my head I’m going Are we about to kiss rn??? What are we?????

We were not about to kiss. Only I thought we were about to kiss.

It was at about that point that Julian called. He called my phone, which meant that he’d likely already tried Neal several times and gotten nothing.

“Hello?”

“Shiloh?” Julian was very calm, which meant he was literally frantic. “Is everything alright?”

And I said, “yeah Neal got in a fight.”

“Where are you?”

“Strip club!”

“What?” and then before I could answer, “Just… don’t move, I’ll come find you. Send me your location.” And he hung up.

So I sat on the curb, and Neal, grinning and loose-limbed, slung himself down next to me, arm around my shoulder, knocking his head against mine.

“How long do you think I could stand in the street without getting hit?” he said.

I genuinely have no idea what I said because I was too busy being hyper aware of every single place our bodies touched. And then when he got up I just watched him, not even what he was doing, just watched him as cars spun by.

Which was how Neal was playing in traffic when Julian arrived.

“Shiloh?” He was breathless, must have run all the way here. I was staring, fixated, on a dude across the street who was leaning against the wall on his phone and didn’t even notice. He bent, and grabbed me, somewhat roughly by the shoulders. “Shiloh!”

Julian has very big hands.

“Where’s Neal?” he asked.

So I pointed across the street to where Neal had bouldered into a bachelorette party all wearing feather boas. In the literally 15 seconds we watched, Neal said like three words to the bride-to-be, she grabbed him by the face and kissed him, and he dipped her like a ballroom dancer right there in the street. Her friends exploded with glee.

“What in the fuck — NEAL!” Julian shouted at him and Neal flicked him off without even looking around. Julian took a deep breath. “Oookay. Shiloh come with me, we’re going home.”

“But Neal —”

Across the street, Neal had come up smiling from kissing the bachelorette, and had followed them into the bar with them.

“Neal is gonna have to handle himself for twenty minutes while I get you home safe,” Julian grumbled. “Come on.”

On the way back to the hotel, Julian asked me all the questions he should have. I recounted everything about the restaurant, and the strip club, and everything we’d seen and done.

“And now Neal’s out there… fighting random guys in bars, and kissing random strangers in the street.” Julian sighed. “What about you, are you feeling strange at all?”

“No,” I said, unable to peel my eyes away from the well-defined cords in his throat, his adam’s apple, the little curls on the nape of his neck that had escaped his bun.

“And you haven’t been drinking?”

“Only a little,” I said.

The hotel was only like a five minute walk, so it really didn’t take long to get there, especially since I spent the whole time thinking about how tall Julian is.

Back in the room, he gently steered me onto one of the queen beds and put the tv remote in my hands. He knelt down in front of me to look me in the face from my own level. “I need to go find Neal,” he said. “Are you sure you’re alright? Because you seem a little bit dazed. Did something else happen?”

But I was too busy gazing into his warm dark eyes to have any idea what he actually said. How had I never noticed that Julian has the most beautiful eyes in the world, I thought to myself, imagining running my hands through his hair.

“Shiloh?” he said.

And then I

oh my god I can’t believe this happened

I leaned forward and kissed him.

Let’s just all sit with that a moment. Breathe in my humiliation.

Julian froze. It was literally like kissing a statue. He put his hands on his shoulders, pushed me away, and then held me there to look me in the eye.

“Shiloh.”

I burst into tears.

“Oh no,” he said. “No, don’t cry.”

And I wailed, “you don’t want to kiss me?”

And his mouth fell open.

I hate so much that I have to remember this for the rest of my life. Literally, I am begging you, lobotomize me.

Julian said, “Your pupils are dilated. Did you take anything?”

I sniffed up the snot and shook my head, literally hiccuping because I was so sad he wouldn’t kiss me.

“Okay, just please don’t leave this room, alright? I’m going to keep calling you, and I need you to pick up every single time, okay? I’m gonna go find Neal.”

“Wait!” I cried, like he was about to sail away to war. He flinched at the door and turned to look at me.

“I’ll be right back, I promise,” he said.

And I (OH MY GOD this is so embarrassing) took off my shirt and threw it on the floor. In protest? In some ill-conceived seduction attempt?

Julian immediately turned to face the wall.

“You don’t want me?” I sobbed.

“Shiloh, you know I love you very much,” he began, cautiously. “But —”

“But?!” I shrieked, and stormed, wailing inconsolably, into the bathroom.

Why didn’t I leave my phone in my jacket pocket? If I’d just left my phone in my jacket pocket this would be the end of my enormously humiliating saga. But no. I’d left my phone in my bra. So while I was in the bathroom, sobbing uncontrollably that no one wanted to make out with me, I was able to pick up my phone.

And who did I call?

I could have called Neal, who would have at least understood.

But no of course not. Instead, I called ROOK.

I’m gonna throw up it’s so horrible.

So, this is also the point at which I wrote the above entry, which I am posting, to further consolidate my humiliation, and while I was writing it, Neal got back. He did not come alone, he brought some hot dude with him.

I didn’t actually witness this, because I was locked in the bathroom, sobbing, struggling like a drunk to write coherent words, cursing Julian for not wanting to make out with me, so my description of what happened is going to be partially conjecture, but here it goes:

Julian must have heard some noise out there, because he opened the door, and found Neal and this guy, who’s name I don’t even know, were making out against the door.

At which point the guy Neal was making out with spotted the other dude, waiting in the room and was like, “Oh, shit — I’m so sorry, I didn’t know you were — I’m gonna —”

“What?” Neal said, far too loudly. “You don’t have to go!”

“I don’t want to get in the middle of anything…”

And then Neal laughed, and said, “this is Julian, my brother.” And then I think he tripped or something, because there was a loud thump and he roared with laughter.

And that was when Rook picked up.

“Shiloh? Is everything alright?”

Because OBVIOUSLY he thought something was wrong, I’ve never called him before and it was after midnight at that point.

And I said — wailed, really — “Noooooo,” and sobbed incoherently for literally like half an hour about how the world was unfair because Neal gets more dick than me and Julian didn’t even want to make out.

After that I didn’t leave the bathroom, so that’s where I’m going to end my story for the time being. I can’t face more humiliation. I’m going to drown myself in one of the many fountains I’ve seen since being here, goodbye forever.

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