How a Big Mistake with My Rich Older Man Got My Friend Into Big Trouble

My sur­prise birth­day party my older fiancé, Patrick, had orga­nized was in full swing. Most of the guests had intro­duced them­selves to one another, but I went around the room, speak­ing with every­one, one by one, with Patrick by my side; we both thanked them together for com­ing to the birth­day cel­e­bra­tion. I hadn’t really had a chance to talk to Patrick, but he knew his sur­prise had worked out beautifully.

There were a num­ber of my girl­friends who were meet­ing each other for the first time. And many of Patrick’s friends had never met many of my girl­friends. Every­one let loose once the bot­tom­less cham­pagne and wine were served. There were also lots of never-ending food platters.

Almost every­one was eat­ing heartily, but I noticed two of my girl­friends were barely touch­ing the food, although they were drink­ing. It was the first time they had met and I was look­ing for­ward to them get­ting to know each other. Unfor­tu­nately, they some­how got into a heated debate about the artist/photographer Diane Arbus.

Both of these women con­sid­ered them­selves experts on the sub­ject, espe­cially after toss­ing back all that cham­pagne and wine. One had been a pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher her­self and con­tin­ued it as a seri­ous hobby. The other woman had attended the School of the Art Insti­tute of Chicago. So, we basi­cally had an intel­lec­tual debate going on over whether Arbus was an artist or a pho­tog­ra­pher. The debate quickly turned nasty and my two girl­friends, both of whom I loved dearly, became bit­ter foes. They barely man­aged to con­tain their anger and for those sit­ting within hear­ing dis­tance, which was many, the atmos­phere turned from fes­tive to tense.

Patrick tried to smooth things over by chang­ing the sub­ject and I was afraid of look­ing like I was tak­ing sides, so I switched the con­ver­sa­tion to a sail­ing friend of Patrick’s who was pay­ing a lot of atten­tion to another girl­friend of mine, whom he had also just met that night. I thought things had finally taken a turn for the bet­ter, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

After I cut the cake and Patrick made his toast, we decided to call it a night. In fact, we were the first ones to head out, but no one seemed to mind. Patrick had dis­creetly paid the bill. We went back to my apart­ment and had a lovely time hash­ing over all the details before we tum­bled off to bed.

I wouldn’t learn until the next morn­ing what really hap­pened that night. A small group of the birth­day guests had stayed too late and no doubt con­sumed too much, includ­ing my two Diane Arbus expert friends, who voiced their grudges well into the night. Even­tu­ally, they were asked to leave. But that’s not the worst part. I received news early the next morn­ing that one of my girl­friends, the one who had met one of Patrick’s male friends, spent the night locked up in jail for dri­ving under the influ­ence. I couldn’t help but feel partly respon­si­ble. Some­times you have to be care­ful not to let your older man take up all of your atten­tion, because you never know what you could be missing.