Eventually my personal taxi, in the form of Alex, arrives.
"Some taxi service you are," I mutter, half dragging Hadley into the back with me. Trust him to stay up all night thinking of how this mess was his fault.
"What's wrong with you? Hadley's turned up, you're sober, and I'm driving you around for free. What more could you want?"
"You're driving me around in my car."
"Caleb is convinced it's his," Alex says and I sigh, glancing at Hadley. He has his cheek pressed up against the window, and is still half asleep. Possibly more than half.
"My car," I mutter under my breath. I want to yell at Alex, scream at him until my voice gives out. But he's not to blame, I suppose. However begrudgingly, I will admit that. Not more than two hours before, I'd been hysterical and then drunk, and going on about it. I may have been right, but if I'd acted a bit more... I dunno, sane, maybe, none of what took place last night would have happened, and he might have actually paid attention to my texts.
Unless he fell asleep. In which case, the fucker has no excuse.
"I got your text last night," Alex says casually, almost as if he's reading my mind. Or maybe he can see me glaring at him in the mirror.
"Pity you didn't pay attention to it," I mutter.
"I don't like walking through my neighbourhood in my boxers," Hadley mumbles.
"I asked you to come and get us, but no, you didn't believe me, did you?"
"You were still drunk when you texted me, and I thought you were in your motel room."
"I told you where I was!" I snap. Hadley shushes us and I grit my teeth, willing myself to say nothing more. Alex has other plans, apparently.
"...Why was Hadley walking through the neighbourhood in his boxers?" Because John has some serious issues that need addressing. Urgently.
"Long story," Hadley says.
"Doesn't matter," I say hastily, "stop here, I want fags." Alex rolls his eyes and pulls over anyways, not bothering to turn the engine off to wait for me. "Want anything?" I ask Hadley before I get out.
"I'll have a coffee, cheers," Alex says. I glower at him.
"I wasn't asking you, asshole."
"Somewhere to sleep for about a year," Hadley mumbles and I lean over, kissing him on the forehead.
"We'll be back at the motel soon," I murmur. I get out of the car before either of them can say anything to me and step into a slightly crowded convenience store. Places like this make me tense anyways, but I'm more tense than usual, today. Any unwelcome contact with anyone else in the store makes me bristle. I stop and take a deep breath before moving anywhere else. There's no need to react like that when someone pushes past you to get something. Sure, it's annoying, but none of them are John, and none of them are trying to make you their sex toy.
I shudder slightly, and feel vaguely sick at the memory, trying to simultaneously keep it at the back of my mind, and keep my pizza down.
C'mon Max. You're here for cigarettes, so get them and get out.
Admittedly, when I walk out of the store and light up only to catch a glimpse of someone who only slightly resembles John, I freak out a bit and I choke on my cigarette smoke when I inhale too sharply. But other than that, I'm fine.
Last night wasn't traumatic at all.
Who am I kidding?
I climb back in the car and lean out of the window to finish my cigarette, saying nothing.
"Something wrong?" Hadley asks. Jumping slightly, I look around at him.
"Hmm? No, I'm fine," I mutter turning back to blow smoke out of the window. Hadley cuddles up to me and I put an arm around him, barely glancing at him.
"You're comfy," he mumbles and I smile a little.
"Don't get too comfy, we're nearly there," Alex says, glancing at us in the rear view. He opens his mouth to say something to me, probably about why I look so tense, but he's cut off by a whine from Hadley. I play with his hair soothingly, listening as he hums and his breathing slows a little as he starts to fall asleep. "I said don't get comfy," Alex grumbles.
"He's not slept all night. I can carry him, he's not exactly heavy."
"Why's he not slept?" he asks, "and what's the long story behind him wandering around in his boxers?"
"I'm not in much of a sharing mood today, Lex, just drop it." He clenches his jaw a little and pulls into the parking lot, parking across three empty spaces. "C'mon, sleeping beauty," I mutter, flicking my cigarette out of the window.
"I will, but you have to get out of the car first," I sigh. He whines again, but slips out of the car anyways, letting me catch him. I pick him up bridal style again and, with Alex in tow, I manage to get Hadley upstairs. "Key's in my pocket, open the door for us," I say to Alex, who scowls.
"Just open the door for me," I growl. He raises his hands half in defence and half in defeat, reaching into my pocket to get the key. Suddenly uncomfortable, I shift just as he gets to my pocket and move away from him a little.
"Why did you flinch?"
"Flinch? I didn't flinch," I frown, "hurry up and get the key, he's getting heavy."
"I thought I was wasting away."
"Yeah, and I seem to have let the same thing happen to my muscles," I mutter, feeling a muscle in my jaw twitch as Alex pulls the key from my pocket. He gives me this weird look and unlocks the door for us.
"I'll get down if you want," he offers as Alex pushes the door open and stands back.
"No, you're good," I mumble, walking in and laying him down on the bed before turning to Alex to get the key back from him. "Thanks," I mutter as he hands it over, giving me another weird look before walking off and letting the door swing shut behind him. I stare at the door for a moment, trying to figure out if I'd flinched or if I'd moved.