That was the reason I sat in a dingy bar, eating far too many packets of crisps, nursing the same brandy I had started with, and trying to shake off some guy who was insistent my clothes would look better on his bedroom floor.

I had eaten so much at my not-date with Maximus, simply to have something to concentrate on other than his disgusting flirting. They (him and the waitress) had thrown so much inuendo at each other, my virtually sleepless brain had decided to flash me screwed up images of what they would end up doing if they carried on at that rate.

At some point, I became irritatingly aware that I was jealous of the waitress. Too jealous, in fact, to be appropriate for someone who was not on a date. And so I had got to work devouring my chicken nuggets, and then most of Maximus's chips after I'd finished my meal. I drank both of our milkshakes, which were followed by a pounding headache. My uncharacteristic appetite and sudden migraine were both signs that I should have left and gone to bed, but sleep was not an option for my deluded mind.

After a while, Max sensed my mood and suggested we both go and get some rest, so I followed him into the carpark blankly. He offered me a lift, and seemed concerned, but I assured him with an unconvincing smile that I would be fine. I vaguely heard him say my name as I was about to drive away, but decided to pretend I hadn't. After that my phone buzzed continuously until it became a background noise. The calls and texts could have been from anyone, but I was in no mood to check, and so I wouldn't find out until the next morning.

My original intention had been to go home, but when I realised that all these things were signs of the vicious mood swings I had been subjected to since I turned fifteen, I headed to the nearest bar. That just brought back memories of the dangerous alcohol addiction I had suffered through college, so when my drink came I had already decided not to drink it.

The guy was now headed towards me, and he gave me a bottle of very strong vodka, probably not knowing his plan to get me drunk would work as instantly as it eventually did. I went outside and he followed, but I pushed him away again ("Do you mind?"), then called Harriet.

"Make it quick," she answered, not unkindly. "I'm really busy."

At this point, I was still sober so I knew what I was saying. "OK, right. Say there was a guy who... was confusing you a lot, and... you didn't think that... Dammit! Basically, how do you get the thought of a guy out of your head?"

Vodka guy, who I knew was already delirious, and standing uncomfortably close, threw me several more inappropriate invitations.

Harrie answered my question without hesitation. "Fill it with the thought of another. And don't even ask how, because you and I both know. Call me tomorrow." And with that, she cut me off.

So, against my better judgement, I downed the vodka (which had an effective and immediate desobering effect). Then I turned to the guy who'd given it to me and, just before the alcohol eradicated my mind, accept his invitation.

The End

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