The casinos in Detroit were huge. Bigger than the one I used to hang out at in Reno. I kind of wished Ricky was here with me to watch me cheat in a state where it wasn’t illegal. All the money I gained, I spent on drugs. Or lost again when I was high.
“You’re so small,” one of the women who had seen me in the casino for the last days commented. I shrugged and pushed a few chips forward. “What brings you here, short stuff? I’ve not seen you around before.”
“Reno got boring,” I muttered. I was too sober for this. I needed the money to buy more.
“Reno,” she repeated appraisingly, “don’t tell me, you came from one of the tougher areas?” a laugh slipped from between her lips as I gave her a vaguely surprised look, “the strung out junkie look – I’d recognise it anywhere.” Her lips were really pink. Like cotton candy. She had these coffee brown eyes that only went down so far. I couldn’t see enough of her in them.
“I just need the money for a few more hits, and then I’ll be going back home,” I told her, trying to convince myself that was what I was going to do. I missed Kyle and Scruffles like nothing I’d ever missed before, but...
“Where’s home, short stuff?”
I faltered. Home was Kyle, but I didn’t want to live in that town anymore. I was too paranoid. I moved on every year or so, and I’d already been there way, way longer than I was comfortable with. “Kyle,” I told her simply, “my husband is my home.”
“Oh, you’re married. Trouble in paradise?” she asked, glancing down at my wedding ring that I’d been fiddling with.
“Not really. I just like to move around a lot, but he doesn’t.”
By the end of the night, we were both drunk, and both in the hotel I was staying at. She’d come up to my room for more drinks and a few lines of coke, which I’d given her, but I remembered what coke did to me. So I avoided it, and shot up instead. She was fun, but I was having trouble remembering her name or why she was in my room. Eventually, she realised I wasn’t about to jump into bed with her, and made her excuses before leaving. It was a bit of a downer, really. I didn’t want to be on my own. I wanted Kyle.
“Hello?” There was someone trying to talk to me, but I couldn’t see them. I looked around, vaguely realising my eyes were still shut. “Are you alright there?” I lifted up a finger and prodded my eyelids open, attempting to keep the world from spinning long enough to see who was speaking. It was a girl. She was bending over me, and for a moment there, I thought we were in a field. I laughed. “What’re you laughing at?” she asked brightly, her smile incredibly friendly.
“I thought I was in a field,” I giggled, “when clearly, I’m still in my hotel room.”
“You are in a field,” her smile was replaced with a frown and I groaned.
“I’m in a field?”
“Yeah. My dad saw you wandering around earlier and was all geared up to come shoot you for trespassing. You shouldn’t be here.”
“I know. I should be in my hotel room. Why the fuck am I in a field?”
“Given by the state of your arms, I’d say you were too high to notice you’d even left,” she glanced at the exposed skin, making me hastily roll my sleeves down. She chuckled. “You’re cute when you blush, y’know.” I hadn’t even realised my cheeks had gone red. I didn’t seem to be realising much that my body did lately. “You’re a state. Wanna come inside?”
“Inside?” I was confused. I’d been confused enough about the fact I was in a field and someone was being nice to me, without being invited in somewhere with a stranger whose father had threatened to shoot me.
“Yes, inside,” she laughed, offering me a hand to help me up. I took it, letting her pull me to my feet. For the first time, after I’d stopped swaying, of course, I had a proper look at her. Her hair was shorter than mine, bleached bright blonde, and her eyebrows were a dark brown. The eyes underneath them were even darker still, and despite the fact that I had to look up at her to see it, her face was actually quite pretty. “You’re really short.”
“So people tell me,” I nodded, just about managing to shuffle along beside her. Smiling, she grabbed my hand. I froze. “What’s wrong?” I looked down at our hands, her fingers intertwined with mine. “Oh!” she pulled away, “sorry. Dad always did say I was way too friendly.”
“No, it’s fine, it just surprised me.” Because the last person to hold my hand was Kyle. I missed Kyle. I missed him all the time, like a niggling headache eating away at me even when I was asleep, but thinking about him caught me out like the sudden onset of a migraine. My gaze dropped to the floor and she thumped a hand down on my shoulder reassuringly.
“C’mon. I’ll get mom to make you a coffee. Get you to wake up a bit, yeah?” I nodded and followed her quietly back to her house.