“Mandy! Where have you been? we’ve been looking for you!”
“Oh you know socialising and getting to know new people,” she half slurred for me to understand that she was tipsy, if not drunk.
“How well are you getting to know these people?” I asked with a chuckle.
“Oh darling if you only knew,” she said whilst adding another layer of red lipstick to her somewhat smudged lips. When she was done she headed for the door.
“Where are you going? Wait for me!”
“Oh come on, the party is out there, I’m not going to stay in here. It smells bad,” pinching her nose to emphasise the urine and alcohol scent in the air.
“Stay, or do I have to get a dog’s leash for you?” I smirked.
“Woof woof woof”
And she walked out.
“Great! another game of hide and seek it is then” I muttered to myself as I got back in line. Some of the girls around me were still laughing at Mandy’s barking. Well that’s what you get when you’re barking mad. I laughed to myself, realising that I too was a little tipsy. Oh well.
I walked out of the bathroom and saw Dan at the bar. He was waiting for me with another tray of shots. The bartender had put a fresh bucket of popcorn on the bar, and Dan was throwing popcorn at anyone who walked by. The bartender was trying to reason with Dan but he was too drunk to care. I went up to Dan and dragged him, the shots and the popcorn away from the bartender.
“This is the best popcorn ever” Dan said whilst taking two shot glasses and handing me one.
“To the best popcorn ever” as we clinked our glasses together and downed the shot. It was Sambuca. The night kept getting blurrier by the minute.
We headed back to the dance floor where we found some of the people we had been talking to before. We all started dancing together in a big circle. Everyone was jumping and smiling and having fun. And I was seeing in slow motion, I think.
A song or two, or maybe more later I spotted Mandy, in the smoking area talking to some people. I went over and tried to join into the conversation, but my intoxicated non-Italian speaking brain was not having it.
“Hey you! Where have you been? You’re missing the fun,” I said whilst pointing towards Dan.
“Uno momento” I think she said. And I realised this was my perfect chance.
Her bag was right in front of me. I opened her front zipper and found the apartment key. I took it and closed the bag again. I have no clue how she did not notice. I was quite proud of myself. Knowing I have a key to get back home just put me at ease. This called for celebratory drinks.
“Mandy, I’m getting drinks! Are you coming?”
“Yes yes, just give me a second,” while she let her new Italian friends go.
I looked over to the dance floor and saw Dan looking my way. I waved towards the bar and he just nodded. So I went and ordered his gin tonic and my jack sprite. I look behind me and Mandy was gone. Again. I did not even bother - I had the key anyway.
I went back to Dan and we danced and drank some more. We talked to so many people, who spoke some broken English at least. The DJ kept playing one great song after the other so we sang along and jumped some more.
Some time later I checked the time on my phone. It was 4AM. How did time pass so fast? I showed Dan the time and he agreed that we should make our way to the apartment. We did not really want to, but we did not want to spoil the next day by sleeping in.
We started looking for Mandy. It doesn’t come as a surprise that she was winning at this game of hide and seek. To try and speed up the process we showed her photo to some people and most of the answers were “she was here with my friend a minute ago”, less well structure, and in an Italian accent.
After half an hour of looking, I was tired so we walked out of the club hoping to see her there. We were asking a group of guys if they saw her when my phone started buzzing. It was Anna.
“Hey Mia! Mandy is home.” she sounded tired.
“What? How?” I was surprised to say the least.
“I woke up ‘cause I heard someone shouting my name under the window. She rang the entire block’s doorbells till someone let her into the yard that’s under our window. She is on the sofa now eating pizza.”
I was amazed. It had to be Mandy to pull a stunt like this. And from where did she get the pizza? So I asked.
“Really Mia?” Anna was laughing. “Thats all you heard from the story? Just get a cab and get back here. We have a long day tomorrow”.
“Alright, good night”.
I told Dan what had happened and he was crying with laughter. The guys we were talking too joined in as well. I asked them if they had a taxi’s telephone number. They said we did not need one, as they would drive us home.
Before I got a chance to turn to Dan and beg him not to speak he accepted the invitation and started walking towards the parking lot.
“Dan can you not get us killed tonight? Please? What if they want to kill us or rape me?” As the only female in the group, I was scared to say the least.
“Oh come on! Let’s have an adventure. This has been an amazing night, let’s end it with a bang!”
I was hesitant but he had a point, and the alcohol was still in full effect in my system. So I just said “Fine, but if they kill us, I will kill you”.
We got to the car, a small 90’s Fiat. It was miracle we all fit inside. I sat in the front seat praying to make it out alive.
Somehow, I am still unsure how, we made it to the street leading to our apartment. I got out of the car and just looked at Dan. He just said, “I swear this was the most fun night ever! Thank you.”
“Only ‘cause we made it out alive, you’re welcome.”
We walked, or rather stumbled down the little street till we go to the crossroad. That is when we saw it - the Treve fountain in all its glory. There was no one in sight, not a single tourist with a camera or coin to throw.
“Oh my god, its beautiful,” Dan exclaimed and ran to the bottom of the stairs to the edge of the fountain. “Take a photo, please, please, please!”
I joined him and took a selfie. I had to admit, staying at the club with Dan and Mandy was the best thing I could have done. This was definitely a night I would always remember.