The potential for drama presents itself again as Aaron and Arianne make their way through the crowd. Aaron has let his hair get long and spiky, and Arianne has selected a sweater-jacket for the evening with fluffy feathery trim. Quite the picture they make. As Aaron goes by, Alli reaches out and grabs his sleeve. "Aaron, I'm Miss Alli." He narrows his eyes in a caricature of menace. "Miss Alli," he says. "It's an honor to meet you." They shake hands, the way James Bond sometimes shakes hands with people he knows are evil. You'll have to decide who's evil and who's James Bond. "It's an honor to meet you, too," he says. "It's wonderful to be here among all our enemies," he oozes comically. "Oh, there are only friends here," Alli assures him. Introduced to Arianne, Alli continues to impress by coming up with absolutely nothing to say except, "Wow," while fingering the trim of Arianne's jacket.
Later, we see Alli in the back of the bar, which is not a coincidence. She has come, it appears, in search of Drew, who she hears has settled himself somewhere back there and, legend already has it, is mightily amused by one of the party favors in the goodie bag, which is his very own copy of a postcard of the "Am I The Keeper Of My Brother's Butt?" naked picture of him and Derek that made its way into the TWoP consciousness before the show even aired, and never left it. I suspect Alli is more impressed by people who take that sort of thing in stride than by practically anything else, so it's not surprising that she goes back to try to find him and say hello. When she gets there, he is actually on the phone. Someone tells her that he is, in fact, on the phone with Derek. When he's off the phone, she insinuates herself into the little circle of people he's talking to, but doesn't say anything at first. He gives her an opening (hee) when he mentions how funny it was that so many people had so much to say about that picture. She admits to being partially responsible, and gestures sort of lamely at her nametag. What follows is a surprisingly normal, low-key conversation about the picture, and about how Derek inspired his namesake character in Zoolander, and about how it was strange that people were so put off by Derek screaming at him, because according to Drew, he (Drew) tends to be the one who gets his way. Incidentally, he, too, is a bit shorter than one might have guessed, not that it matters.
As Alli and Drew are finish up this chat, he is again surrounded by a little crowd. A tap on Alli's shoulder turns her around, and -- hey, it's Flo! They exchange a friendly greeting, and Flo starts to say, "I have to tell you this story." Still pretty much stuck in the gaggle of people hanging around Drew, Alli takes Flo's elbow and nudges her away from the horde. "I want to be able to hear this," Alli says, "so let's go over here." As they walk off, Flo reaches over and snags the beer right out of Drew's hand. He actually looks down at his empty hand for a minute with that look, like, "Didn't I just have a beer?" At any rate, the two women walk over and lean on the wall facing each other, yapping like a couple of girlfriends. Flo explains that an argument took place earlier in the day over whether "Alli" is pronounced like it rhymes with "valley," or like a boxer. Alli confirms that it rhymes with "valley." "That's what I thought," Flo says. Apparently, this gives her a point over Zach, who went the other way. Looking around the party, Flo says, "This really isn't as bad as I was afraid it was going to be." Alli shrugs. "These people," she says, "are generally wise to the fact that just showing up says something positive about you." "I'm the happiest girl in the world," Flo says with a shrug. "And that," she says, pointing at Zach, who has arrived and is standing only a few feet away, "is just the greatest guy I ever met." "He seems like a sweetheart," Alli agrees. "You know," Flo says, "when I wanted to go on this race, I told him, 'Come on this race with me, and you will not regret it. I'll get us on this show and I will get us across the finish line.'" She stops and thinks. "And, you know, I got us on the show, and he got us across the finish line, and that's what being a team means." Alli pauses, as if to absorb this. I'm not sure she entirely buys this theory, but it's better than some of the alternatives. Perhaps not wanting to get too deeply into it, she changes the subject. "That was you posting in your thread, right?" Alli says, wearing a dubious expression. "Yeah," Flo says ruefully. "That was a real low point. Drew had just gotten eliminated, and, you know..." Her voice trails off. She goes on to explain that it hasn't exactly been the most pleasant experience in the world, watching this particular footage of herself with people she's known for a long time, not to mention people she's just now getting to know. Alli nods. "I don't think it got really, really bad until, you know, the last three or four episodes," she says, and Flo nods. "Until then, I think people felt like whatever you were doing, it was working for you, so...it was really just the last few, where, you know..." "I know," Flo says with a nod.