Listen. This whole love game, it’s a joke. A bear dance – circus stuff. All it is is remembering the right moves at the right notes. When the violins come in it’s up on your tip-toes. When the timpani really gets going to raise the tension with their rhythmic pounding, play dead – you never really cared.

Listen. Forget the birds and the bees. This love stuff is all high comedy.

There’s eight of them. Seated around a table. A dinner party. They’re all quite young – mid to early twenties. Many of them are still students; a few have experienced the ravages of the corporate world.

Picture them. The hostess, at the head of the table, she fucked the guy at the other end last week. Now he’s in love. Now she has to find some way to get rid of him. Not that she wants to. She lives for the attention. It’s enough to get her out of bed in the morning.

The girl next to him, she’s desperate to fuck him – and she’s been horrible at hiding it since her first drink this evening – but he barely takes notice. She is sitting with her breasts held high and she touches his arm when she can find reason to. It’s been a hard month and she deserves a little distraction, at the least. He’s staring past her to the head of the table.

The guy next to her, between her and the hostess, last week he asked out the hostess. She said no. Well, she said what amounted to no. To actually reject him would be to lose his attention - that is much too precious. He came here tonight hoping maybe he could win her over with a little charm. He’s starting to lose patience with her. This will be his last dinner party, he tells himself.

Across from him sits a girl. Her eyes give her away, but here it is so unexpected that no one takes notice. Her eyes are glued to the hostess. Smitten. She doesn’t understand exactly why, but lately she finds herself wanting to fuck her. There are times when this troubles her, but she tries not to think about it. The hostess would never suspect such a thing.

These are the five we are concerned with tonight; the hostess, her rejected lover, his hopeful rebound, the cynical suitor and the infatuated friend.

The other three are as equally unremarkable in their own sordid ways. Across from the hostess, down the long end of the table, sits her best friend who wants to be a bartender and has been pouring far too much ethanol down everyone’s throats this evening – it has been no challenge to get everyone drinking – in her experimental attempts to impress a guy she thinks can get her somewhere – a bartender.

The bartender came at her invitation, hoping, after their first meeting, to find a quick fuck before work. When he arrived he was noticeably surprised to find that he had not been invited to an intimate evening. With all of these people in the way of his plans he is making an ass out of himself with his impatience to end this dinner party and make his way to her bedroom before his shift starts at midnight.

Next to him, next to the infatuated friend, sits the only person at this table not somehow tangled up in one of these love tetrahedrons. Keeping up with everyone’s drinking, though, has brought out the smart-ass in him.

Plates being cleared from the table and bladders full of experimental cocktails, all of the guests make a seemingly coordinated attempt to stand on wobbly knees. With everyone drinking the entire evening, plates being cleared means freedom to dispose of some already processed alcohol. The cynical suitor balances himself first and secures his spot as first to visit the toilet.

After clearing the plates, already standing, the hostess makes her way down her hallway as the door opens and the cynical suitor walks out of the bathroom. He smiles at getting a chance to be alone with her. She smiles in return, drinking up the attention.

He leans in to her to whisper, asking if they might have a chance to speak alone in a moment. She takes a step back, afraid of getting too involved but not wanting to lose his interest - she says they can talk in public; this is, after all, a party.

Disappointed and finding himself further alienated from the party by his own thoughts the cynical suitor returns to the party where the rejected lover takes advantage of the situation. He slips away, appearing to want to be the next in line for the toilet but wanting, really, a moment alone with the hostess.

His hopeful rebound approaches the cynical suitor to start up a conversation but they are both too distracted by the rejected lover’s timely exit to notice they aren’t actually talking to each other. That is until the cynical suitor realizes he is looking rather fixedly at the breasts she has been trying so hard to show off all evening – even if not to him – and he decides to take a crack at starting with some small talk.

While the cynical suitor attempts to raise his eyes from breasts to eyes the rejected lover waits outside the bathroom as the door opens to reveal the woman he has so quickly fallen in love with. He quickly steps around her into the bathroom, pulling her back in with him and closing the door.

This move manages to surprise both of them into silence for a moment. He regains his composure first and uses his advantage to kiss her, which she pulls away from after about forty-five seconds of him sucking on her tongue after she forced it into his mouth.

She says they need to talk. What she really means is she needs all of his attention with none of his love-talk. He agrees, but what he really means is that he loves her.

He says that he has missed her and places a hand on her stomach. She tries to take a step back but only to find the door blocking further retreat. She wants to escape but she lives for this attention. He moves in even closer and kisses her again.

He pulls her back from the door enough to unzip her dress, which she lets fall to the floor. Her hands move hastily to his belt buckle.

She whispers into his ear that they can’t take long as she unclasps his belt. She stands on her tip-toes to sit on the vanity. She spreads her legs and thinks of all the strange places she has been worshiped before. By strangers and friends and colleagues.

As they act out this selfish performance of mutual indulgence – him getting to express his love and she being worshipped – her infatuated friend notices the couples extended absence from the party. She has started pouring her own drinks now, getting a few ahead of the crowd.

Vodka sans tonic in hand, she approaches the only two in the room who don’t need to have the absence pointed out to them – though they have managed to forget about it for a few minutes while discussing their latest reads – and points out that the hostess and her rejected lover have been absent for more than a while.

Everyone in this conversation knows that the two fucked last week, though none of them know the others know. A few drinks ahead, the infatuated friend, for anyone smart enough to notice, is doing a worse and worse job of hiding her infatuation. The cynical suitor tries to change the subject to something more positive, though all their minds are on the missing couple and all their eyes on the hall.

As the cynical suitor desperately tries to keep the conversation going and the attention of the hopeful rebound – someone to keep his mind off the hostess, and since she is looking to get laid (even if not by him) this evening he figures this is enough to occupy his mind, at least for tonight – the couple in the bathroom finish their religious experience with muffled moans made into each others’ naked skin.

The rejected lover smiles a lover’s smile at the hostess as she squirms to free herself to search for her clothes, filled with guilt for not being able to control herself and feeling dirty for selling herself for such cheap worship.

She attempts to wash the smell of sex from herself and dress, asking her rejected lover to take a few more minutes before rejoining the party to not catch the notice of the partygoers. So enraptured in orgasmic delight that he could never see her duplicity, he agrees.

She returns to the party, turning the heads of all three half involved in a conversation and unnoticed by the other three. The hostess retreats through the living room into the kitchen - having made an appearance, trying to find some privacy to gather herself.

Her infatuated friend quickly follows her into the kitchen, cutting off her privacy and her escape. Now even another drink ahead of the rest of the party, her friend, unable to hide her jealousy, asks where the hostess has been. Has she been with her rejected lover again? Isn’t that over? Then drawing back, trying not to be accusatory, she puts her hand on the hostesses shoulder.

The hostess, full of angst and self-loathing hugs her friend in what will in a moment turn out to be a slightly too emotional way.

In the living room, as the cynical suitor continues to try to win the attention of the hopeful rebound, in walks her hopeful lover and her eyes fly to him.

It is in this moment, this moment that has been aligning itself for weeks, that the hostesses hopeful bartender friend walks into the kitchen and lets out a slight oh at finding what everyone who has quick enough eyes soon sees: the publicly interrupted kiss placed on the hostess’ lips by her infatuated friend.

Before even realizing the publicity in which this kiss was made the hostess steps back in surprise – and everyone in the living room moves toward the kitchen in shock.

The hostess stands befuddled as her infatuated friend, oblivious to all the attention, is still taking in exactly what it is she has just done. The rejected lover walks into the kitchen, upset, followed by his hopeful rebound and the cynical suitor. The hostess becomes painfully aware that everyone has seen this and turns red with embarrassment. With tensions high, her rejected lover is the first to speak, demanding to know what the infatuated friend was doing by kissing his girl.

To which she responds by informing him that she is not his girl – the first he has heard of it. That the hostess had been trying to figure out how to end things with him since the night she fucked him.

To which he responds, to the hostess, by demanding to know what was meant by what had just happened in the bathroom.

By which the entire crowd is taken aback, especially his hopeful rebound and the hostess’s infatuated friend, and the hostess further embarrassed. And now the cynical suitor starts laughing, uncontrollably. All of this being too high drama for him to any longer take seriously.

And at this laughter, the infatuated friend takes notice that the entire party is aware of what has happened and is finally herself embarrassed and humiliated. She looks at the cynical suitor, laughing, then back at the hostess - still frozen in shock - and, overcome by the humiliation of it all, runs out of the kitchen and out the front door.

As the cynical suitor continues laughing, the hostess, confused as she is, gathers half her wits and runs out after her humiliated friend. Her rejected lover, still demanding to know what is going on, runs out after them, pulling the door behind him. What he hopes will be a clear sign for no one else to follow.

The sound of the slamming door jolts the laughing suitor from his hysteria. The hopeful rebound follows the others for a few steps then gives up and stops in the middle of the living room when the reality of the situation hits her.

For a moment she exists in a state of both laughter and crying, all her hopes for the evening ruined, until the cynical suitor places his hand on her shoulder. She looks at him with teary eyes and he kisses her, which she pulls away from after about forty-five seconds.