Jess was on texting terms Ruffa, our “substitute” floor manager, until the night we had the Christmas get-together hosted by Jessica. Ruffa said that Carlo did not show up at all for work the days leading to our next Earthling visit. Sigh. No Carlo for Ella yet again.
Before hitting Earthling on the night we planned to do so, Jess and I had another giggle fest as we confessed to Ella what we had done during our one hour together in Earthling. Ella was a tad surprised that Jess and I did what we did. Hey, I myself was surprised, too. I assume Jess was, too. That was rather bold for us given our history.
As we correctly guessed, Carlo was again nowhere in sight that night. Our original floor manager, Pipay, was present though and he attended to us again. Ella, Jess and I chose to sit in a different seat this time.
Pipay knew that Ramon was also reserved for Jess in advance. Pipay told us (me, actually, since I was seated next to her) that Ramon was getting dressed (undressed, actually) in the locker room. I reminded Pipay that Jess doesn’t like strong scented perfumes/colognes and Ramon better remember our instructions not to reek of anything too strong. Pipay hurriedly got up to remind Ramon.
Pipay returned shortly, smiling. Pipay said that she told Ramon what I said and Ramon replied that he knows already. Pipay said slyly that Ramon and Jess seem like sweethearts already, with Ramon knowing what Jess likes and dislikes on him. I shared that piece of information with Jess who didn’t seem pleased.
After getting drunk the last time the girls and I were in Earthling, I relegated myself to being a soda drinker only all night. More so, Jess wanted to experiment herself and find out how many bottles she can down successfully so I accepted the role of mother hen and guard.
An all-cast dance number ensued shortly, Ramon excluded since he was already seated next to Jessica. Ella pointed out that one of the dancers onstage was wearing a bikini that was just like what Carlo wore before. At that point, Jess, Ella and I were starting to enjoy watching all-cast numbers. The songs they usually danced to during all-cast presentations were also fast growing on us as with the dance moves that we were starting to know by heart.
Jess and I were concerned that Ella might not see anyone who could substitute for Carlo. However, Jess and I were relieved when we saw this tall dancer who was muscular on the arms and back but had such a tiny waist. This dancer had thick hair, a solidly good-looking face and all in all was an Adonis incarnate. Ella also spotted this dancer and immediately liked him (good riddance, Carlo?).
Jonas, the one who was strutting his stuff to and Jess and me a lot, was again strutting his stuff a lot. Still, he was never on our radar.
I had a much harder choice. Jess prodded me to make a choice. I thought the dancer who seemed like a comedian and made funny comedic moves was interesting. He seemed like someone I could laugh with and interview. I also noticed this dancer who seemed like your average boy-next-door and seemed harmless and normal.
Against my better judgment though, I did not pick either of the two. Instead, I chose the only dancer onstage who was wearing black boxer shorts instead of a bikini like the rest. This boy was of average height, lean, had fair-complexion and a pleasant face. From where he was dancing on stage, he seemed wholesome and angelic to me.
Pipay introduced us shortly to Francis, the Adonis incarnate Ella picked and to Lawrence, the seemingly pleasant boy I settled for. Lawrence, apparently, is one of those dancers described in blogs who looks better (much better) from a distance than up close. However, I allowed Lawrence to take a seat and order a drink.
Lawrence introduced himself as a 23-year old single father. Francis may have looked like Adonis incarnate and Narcissus up on stage but he was tops for Jess, Ella and me that night. Francis was funny, frank and yet very attentive. Francis would pour your drink for you, wipe any spills, get you tissue and voluntarily render other helpful small favors. Francis impressed us most that night.
On the other hand, Lawrence was not at all helpful. To sum it in one world: Lawrence was vain. He thinks he’s all that (when he’s not—but I didn’t want to waste any time bursting his delusional bubble). Similar to Ned, Lawrence also had conservative viewpoints in life, which to me clearly bordered on hypocritical.
Lawrence, as it turned out, was rather close friends with Ramon. Unlike Ramon though, Lawrence could talk a mile a minute. He was definitely way above talkative. Not a good listener though, just a talkative fellow. Lawrence was interesting enough if all you wanted was a monologue about his beauty secrets, sexual conquests, adventures, pretentious college-boy lifestyle and gossip.
In all honesty, spending time listening to Lawrence made me appreciate Banjo. Banjo, as it turned out, was nicer than and less annoying than a parrot like Lawrence. It occurred to me to return Lawrence but I knew I would just feel guilty in the long run if I did so. It was Christmas season after all.
Banjo, who was not in the first all-cast dance, was there after all. I didn’t notice him but Ella and Jess told me Banjo passed by our table twice and smiled at me. I felt guilty automatically over that unintentional snob. I kept my eyes open and smiled at Banjo the next time I saw him. As I said earlier, I liked him a whole lot more suddenly after spending time with Lawrence.
I had a reprieve from Lawrence’s “me, me, me!” routine when we all changed dancers to sit next to. Jess, Ella and I had planned that earlier. We would talk to all three dancers this time and spend time with each of them.
Relieved that I was Lawrence-free for a bit, I turned my attention to Francis. Francis said he was 26 and from the province. My conversation with Francis was pleasant. It was not interesting but I certainly did not find him annoying. He was also very helpful that it felt like I had an all in one—-dancer, entertainer, waiter, personal assistant.
When it was time for the merry-go-round to move again, it was my turn with Ramon. Ramon is no stranger to us girls but I seemed to have little to no rapport with him. Ramon seemed sullen and introspective even to the point of sulky. We managed to have a few words here and there, mostly when I was giving advice to him about his sister’s college plans and schools his sister could apply to. Ramon was very interested in what I had to say about that topic.
Ramon and I also talked about Jessica. Ramon said that he often does not know how to act around Jess. We got to discuss that Jess and I were not thrilled when he causes us to witness that parade of dancers up-close. I told Ramon that Jess thought he seemed different when he returned to our table after his dance the last time we were there. Ramon seemed far from wholesome then and I reminded him that his ‘wholesome’ looks and character were the initial reasons why Jess picked him.
Ramon, unsmiling, replied that if Jessica wanted something or someone wholesome then why go to a place like Earthling. Ramon insisted he was just doing his job. To a certain extent, Ramon was right. It was his job to dance erotically. But he seemed to have forgotten that it was also his job to make sure Jess is entertained and comfortable during her stay in Earthling. He’s not just a dancer but also a guest relations officer.
Other than a few words here and there, Ramon just sat there in silence. The way I saw it, Ramon did not seem suited to the job where he is required to entertain guests. He is not a happy person in general. Ramon is actually better to look at onstage rather than sitting silently next to you.
Hence, I initiated another merry-go-round turn when I started getting bored. Parrot-like and vain as he is, Lawrence was interesting. I may have been wrong about him being good-looking and wholesome but I was right that he was interesting in his own way.
Lawrence resumed talking about his favorite topic: himself. At some point, an elderly lady passed by and Lawrence pointed her out as someone who would regularly table him alternately with two other boys but expected sexual favors in exchange for about thirty thousand pesos of tip money. Lawrence was a gossip-monger and I highly doubted his credibility but I listened nonetheless to pass time.
Lawrence went on to talk about more of his misadventures, times when he was sexually harassed (or so he claims) and episodes when he actually acceded to having sex in the VIP room because he liked the guest. More anecdotes about threesomes with a married couple and the like followed.
My opinion of Lawrence only dipped further when he said that Jess and Ramon were communicating outside Earthling. Jess never said anything as such to me and Ella so I knew Lawrence was exaggerating if not lying. Or maybe his buddy Ramon was the one who fed him such exaggerations. Earlier that night, Lawrence said that Jess and Ramon seemed to have an LQ (lover’s quarrel), implying that the two look like lovers.
I’m not certain if I’m better at being nice than I thought or if Lawrence was just really thick but he seemed to think I like him a whole lot. Lawrence even said he wanted to go to a videoke place with me to sing. He added that we could bring Jess and Ramon. I laughed at that thought. And I was again amazed at his thickness. He didn’t even remember Ella.
Lawrence had earlier dissed both Francis and Ella. Lawrence pointed to Francis and said biceps as big as his were no longer in style. Instead, Lawrence claimed that lean bodies like what he had was in.
As for Ella, Lawrence was in the middle of telling me an anecdote he said he already started earlier but I looked confused. I have never heard of the names he was mentioning. I told Lawrence he hasn’t started that anecdote yet with me. Lawrence then laughed and said something that went like: “Oh yeah, I told that to your fat friend instead.” Lawrence is an A-Hole.
In fairness, at some point he asked me if I was annoyed with him already but I didn’t answer coherently otherwise it would have been a full blown Lawrence dissing. I guess it’s obvious I didn’t like Lawrence very much. I hope in time he will be more pleasant and less an A-Hole—-for his sake.
Jess was very generous that night. The tips she gave were bigger than last time. Lawrence didn’t deserve that much. As far as I was concerned, neither did Ramon. Francis did.
Jess, Ella and I were about to leave in Jess’s car when the car broke down. That nearly caused a meltdown for Jessica. Jessica’s driver, Danny, tried to fix the car while us girls waited. Jessica was clearly not having a good time by then. Ella, on the other hand, was happy and even taking photos of herself for posterity.
As always, I was in the middle. I was worried that Jessica will get herself sick with all the worrying but I was also a little giddy still.
Over a trip to the ladies’ room, I mentioned to Jess that Lawrence told me she and Ramon were in touch. Jess panicked even more. She quickly told me and Ella in confidence that what Lawrence said was true.
Hell froze over as far as I was concerned. Jess admitted a number of things she never told me and Ella before: that she and Ramon have been exchanging texts since the night Jess and I spent one hour in Earthling. Jess also admitted to me something that Ella already knew: Jess had a crush on Ramon. Jess liked Ramon.
The rest of the night (more like dawn hours) was dramatic as well. Jess worried some more. We discussed her feelings for Ramon. Ella grew hungry (no, that’s not dramatic).
Despite all the drama related to Jessica’s car breaking down, one thing stood out to me: Jessica likes a dancer: Ramon, the sullen, sulky one. I didn’t know it was possible but there it was staring us in the face.
I knew for sure that night was not the last night I would spend with Jessica and Ella in Earthling.