I walk up to Bill as slowly as I can, feeling wary and apprehensive in every way imaginable about coming face to face with him after my last two encounters with his girlfriend. I tell myself to just act normal.

“Hey, you,” I say, doing my best to forge a genuine smile as I go in for a hug. “I was wondering when you would show up. I’m like two seconds away from strangling myself and they’re already out of punch, apparently.” I seriously hope I sound a lot more calm and hinged than I feel.

“Yeah, we pretty much just got here,” Bill says as he hugs me back.

I finally pull back from his embrace and my eyes land right on the petite figure behind him as I do. “Hey, Gina,” I say, offering a small wave as all the muscles in my cheeks strain themselves to maintain whatever semblance of a smile that’s still managed to stay on my face. I look between them, my eyes darting back and forth in slight confusion. “Where’s Trixie?” As soon as the words leave my lips, both his and Gina’s expressions make a complete one-eighty, and I almost wish I hadn’t asked.

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