"This is our first double date with you two as a married couple!" I said when Shanna greeted us as the door. She wrapped us both in hugs.
"I know! How crazy is that?" she asked. "I'm a wife. I have a husband. That all still sounds so weird."
She led us up a flight of stairs to the second level, which housed the living room, kitchen and eating area. Ronnie was behind the counter straining a pot of pasta and Ronnie's parents were setting the table. It was their last night in Dallas before they headed back to Florida. They all greeted us and Ronnie poured us each a full glass of red wine.
"Let me give you the tour while he finishes cooking," Shanna said.
Their new place was absolutely beautiful. It was a three-level townhome with a Tuscan-inspired interior. On our way up the stairs to the third floor, Shanna stopped and pointed at the wall.
"Look. We get to see it every night as we walk up the stairs to go to bed."
It was the framed quote I'd given her as a wedding gift.
"I can't tell you how much I love that gift," she said. "It's seriously the best gift ever."
"That will probably be the best gift I ever give anyone," I said.
The third floor housed their bedroom and the biggest walk-in closet I'd ever seen. The closet was literally bigger than two of my apartments in New York City. It was every girl's dream.
"You guys are like real adults now. Married with a kick-ass townhome?"
"Yeah, this is satisfying my need to buy a real home for now."
I wanted her life. She got married to her once long-distance boyfriend, had a beautiful wedding and moved into an adorable house. Everything about her radiated happiness. I was only that happy for one week every three months, which was always followed by a tear-filled goodbye and a woe-is-me outlook on life for a few days until I returned to neutral.
The six of us crowded around a four-person kitchen table, Shanna and Ronnie sitting on makeshift chairs. Other than the seating arrangement, you would have though we were at a five-star restaurant. Our wine glasses never dipped below half empty (or half full?) before one of them filled it up again. The salad was crunchy and fresh. The pasta with meat sauce was thick and full of flavor. And the cheesy garlic bread melted in my mouth. I seriously considered unbuttoning my pants. A gooey turtle ice cream pie completed the culinary party that was happening in my mouth.
"That was ahh-mazing," I said as I washed the last flavors of pie down with another swig of wine. I was positive my teeth and lips were dark red, but I was so satisfied I didn't even care. My lips tingled and I felt my cheeks get warm. You would have thought all that food would have soaked up the alcohol, but my blood stream got to it first.
Cayden patted his stomach and nodded in agreement. "Absolutely delicious."
We tried to help clean up, but Ronnie's parents shoo'ed us to the couch. Shanna opened another bottle of wine and topped off our glasses yet again while Ronnie queued up a playlist and docked his iPhone on a speaker system.
"Is it sad that sitting here and drinking wine is much more enjoyable than going out? When did we get so old?" I asked.
"Oh, my gosh!" Shanna said. "I'm so glad it's not just me! I'd take wine at home over cocktails at a bar any day."
"Do you remember when we used to go out multiple nights in a row? And then we'd wake up and go to class like it was nothing," I said. I specifically remembered drinking Long Island Iced Teas until 6 am and then rolling into my 9 am class still drunk. I can't say I'm proud of that, but that's pretty impressive.
"I can't even do two nights in a row anymore," Ronnie added. "My body can't take it."
"Last time I got drunk, I spent the entire next day on the couch," I said. "And it took me a full three days to recover. It's pathetic."
"Oh, you think you're old?" Cayden asked. "I'm almost 30! I actually thought I was dying last time I had a hangover."
We talked and laughed and drank the night away. By 11 pm, our cheeks were as red as our teeth. Ironic that we were all complaining about hangovers while we killed three bottles of wine on a Tuesday night. It was time to go, but we didn't want the night to end. What good night doesn't end without a series of the latest and greatest YouTube videos?
"Tell me you've seen the Bad Lip Reading videos."
Ronnie and Shanna stared at me with blank faces.
"Oh my god! You HAVE to watch them!" I grabbed the computer and searched for Mitt Romney's Bad Lip Reading video.
"Basically, someone took all of these politician's speeches and muted them and made up their own words. It seriously looks like the politicians are saying these ridiculous things!" I can't explain why I thought the videos were so hilarious, but I cried every time I watched them. I'd laugh so hard the backs of my ears would hurt and my stomach muscles would burn. Just as I suspected, the videos had the same effect on Shanna and Ronnie.
If you haven't had the pleasure of watching a Bad Lip Reading video, here are my two favorites:
Shanna and Ronnie held their stomaches and wiped their tears. Cayden and I had watched them a million times, but we both doubled over laughing yet again.
"Wait," Ronnie said when he'd finally caught his breath. "Have you seen the farting preacher?"
"It's a really old one, but basically it's this televangelist and he makes these weird faces and someone inserted farting sounds. For some reason, it's hilarious. I used to watch it all the time in college."
He pushed play. I died.