THE FACES OF LOVE – Learn To Say I Love You

Everything was ready for that Wednesday night: the restaurant had been booked, a one-Michelin-starred gem in the west side; he had a couple of options for after-dinner cocktails, depending on the mood of the moment and the time they would end up leaving the restaurant; then the highlight of the night: a table at Le Bain, one of the coolest clubs in Manhattan. Dave was so excited, especially because Will still had no idea of what would happen that night.
Will was going to marry Kelly in a couple of weeks, and Dave had planned the craziest bachelor party for his best friend. It would be the two of them and Will’s two other close friends, Tom and Jay, four guys out for a night to be remembered.
“You guys ready for tonight?” Dave asked that morning in the Whatsapp group he had created, very promisingly naming it “The Hangover”.
Jay immediately responded with two thumbs up.
“Wow, Jay, got no work to do this morning?” Tom immediately threw in, as Jay rarely responded to messages that fast.
“I’m taking a piss. You know Wall Street can’t survive five minutes without me. You’re the one who’s always pretending to work.”
“Right,” Tom posted a loudly laughing emoji, “We’ll see at the end of the year who gets the highest bonus.”
“Guys,” Dave intervened, “Stop comparing your dicks, ok?”
“Thanks, mate,” Will quickly responded. “And can someone tell me what’s the plan for tonight?”
“Nope,” both Jay and Tom fired back.
“Nope,” Dave snickered, “But I can tell you to be at the corner of Gansevoort and Greenwich tonight at eight sharp.”
Will reacted with the pensive emoji, then he kept typing, “Dress code?”
“Suit up, of course,” Dave replied.
“Good clothes or disposable striptease clothes?”
“FFS, Will, we’re classy people here,” Tom intercepted.
“That’s exactly what scares me,” Will tapped back.
Dave laughed out loud, he locked his phone and he put it back in his pocket, to focus on the pile of documents that was sitting on his desk. He had to review the first results of the investigations one of his senior associates had been conducting for a high profile case that was burning his hands. He had to try to get some work done before the enthusiasm build-up would completely clog his brain. He hoped Will was getting as hyped as the rest of them already were, and he could see him in one of his business consulting client meetings, one eye at his watch to keep track of time. They had been friends since the first day of high school, inseparable for twenty years, most of which they had spent as two desirable bachelors. When Kelly had come in the picture, the blonde from San Diego, he hadn’t thought she would last more than a week. He shook his head and he kept leafing through the hundreds of pages in front of him.

“Let me ask you one thing first,” Will greeted his three grinning buddies when he showed up at the meeting point, “Tom, Jay: are your wives worried about tonight?”
The two laughed hard, while Dave dramatically sighed.
“I mean, do they even know what’s going to happen tonight?” Will insisted.
Dave grabbed his shoulders, “I promised you: no whores.”
Tom and Jay laughed even harder. Will looked even more hesitant.
“Don’t worry, “ Dave used his most legally soothing tone, thinking about how happy he was not to have anybody to respond to at home, nobody waiting for him, mad when he came back late from work. “Kelly won’t kill you after tonight.”
“I mean…” Jay raised his eyebrows with a plotting expression on his face.
They all laughed.

Dinner and drinks were plenty of fun, and they provided the right amount of alcohol intake for the group to be in exactly the right mode shortly after midnight, when the doors of Le Bain opened for them. Jay ordered bottles of champagne as soon as they reached their table in the club, and by the time Will came back from his visit to the golden restrooms, Tom had already invited four or five girls to party with them. Dave would normally be annoyed by those intruders, but not that night: he wanted Will to have as much fun as possible, he wanted the club to be memorable for him. He even let more girls in the private area where their table was, spreading free drinks and passing glasses of champagnes to everyone Will seemed to be interested to. Will was dancing with a couple of half naked girls, probably club personnel, and Dave couldn’t get his eyes off the maze of arms and legs and touchy hands. He kept sipping his champagne and he sat on one of the sofas, relaxing his back against the soft leather. He sighed.
“The fuck you doing here?” Jay came to find Dave and he dragged him on the dance floor, where girls were swarming around Will and Tom, both drunk with testosterone and alcohol.
Jay threw himself in the mix, and Dave followed, as he always did, wishing for something else, for something more for himself, as he always did.

Le Bain kicked them out at dawn, and Dave tossed Jay and Tom in the first taxi.
“Do you want to walk for a few minutes?” Will asked Dave. “I need some fresh air before I go home.
Dave giggled, “Yeah, I wouldn’t want Kelly to see you like this! At least your pants didn’t rip off this time…”
Will mouthed some curse words and he threw his arm around Dave’s shoulders.
“Tonight was amazing, mate.”
“I’m happy you had fun,” Dave responded, rushing to firmly grab Will’s arm, to prevent him from falling with his face on the ground.
“I think I’m drunk.”
“I think your statement is factually correct,” Dave laughed back.
Will held on to Dave’s shoulders to look at him in the eyes, “You’re the best friend one can have. I’m so happy you’re my best man at the wedding. I would surely fuck something up without you.”
Dave gave a hint of a smile.
“I’m serious, mate,” Will didn’t let go. “My life would be a mess without you. All these years you’ve kept me on track, and I will never thank you enough.”
Will paused, as if he had to throw up, but then he didn’t.
“I love you, mate,” Will said in the end.
Dave hugged Will as strong as he could, half to sustain him and half to embrace him with his whole self.
“I love you too,” he sighed, a tear rolling down his cheek.