I was still a little hungover when I woke up the following morning. I held my head softly and clamped my eyes shut, blocking the light out. I had had a fair bit to drink, more than Saoirse or Keri had seen me have at any rate. I was glad that I could handle the drink, especially when Saoirse had needed help. In the end I had simply slumped onto my bed when I finally got home in the early hours of the morning and had slept for less time than I would have liked before being forced to get up and do my job.
I sighed, knowing that Keri could quite easily have opened up and probably should have done seeing as she was my boss but I didn't care that much. At least it gave me an excuse to distract my mind from everything else that wasn't quite going to plan in my life. Plus it meant that I didn't have to think about what had happened the night before.
I was about to leave for work when I saw something out of place, something that hadn't been there before I had gone out. As memories from the night before came flooding back to me, a bout of uncontrollable vomit reared its ugly head.
* * * * *
The sisters had come over and picked up their drinks as the girl talked to me. They took a couple of sips before returning to their dancing, flailing as if nothing had been wrong. Maybe I had been wrong about Saoirse flirting with me. A small part of me was disappointed by that but I moved on, realising that even if she had been, it wouldn't have helped. I was not looking for a serious relationship.
"I'm not looking for a serious relationship." Holly said, twirling her hair around her fingers. "So, Kyle." She leaned in towards me, licking her lips. I felt her place her hand on my leg and run it up my thigh. "Interested?"
I shook my head decisively, sliding away from her. "No thanks."
I made my way onto the dance floor, trying to look like I belonged. I couldn't find either of my friends so after a song played out, I joined a crowd as they made their escape and supported myself on the bar.
I was stood next to a group of young women, all younger and drunker than me. I smiled at them, unfortunately catching their attention. "Heya." One of them slurred. "You alone?"
I nodded, thinking that they had forgotten about me. "What's the party for?"
"My 18th." Another said, moving towards me. "I'm the youngest you see." I nodded again, looking over the group. There were six of them, all of a similar age and blood-alcohol levels. They encircled me, sliding their shots along the bar. "One more!" The birthday girl yelled, handing it to me. I looked at the liquid inside and back to the girls. They all downed the contents of their glasses, looking to me to do the same. I smiled, drinking the alcohol swiftly.
"The next round's on me!" I called, smiling. Maybe getting drunk would be good for me. I could certainly do with it. "And make them doubles!" They all giggled, the birthday girl getting closer to me.
"I'm Melanie." She said, grinning at me as she took her next drink.
I savoured my drink, ordering an extra couple for my own benefit. As the barman handed them over, I handed one to Melanie. "To your birthday!" And we drank.
It was frustrating not to feel terribly different, making me realise that I hadn't had enough to drink yet. Melanie on the other hand clearly had as she collapsed against me, looking up into my eyes.
I was about to say something to her when I saw Keri a little further down the bar. She looked concerned so I said my goodbyes to the party, only slowing for a hug from Melanie.
I joined Keri and she took me to Saoirse. As we got her out of the club and into a taxi, she stumbled from time to time, looking to me in thanks every time I helped her up.
It was then that I realised that I was disappointed. She was cute.
* * * * *
I was hiding away, back at the counter at work. I had seen Saoirse come in and had had a little chat with her, backing away in shame when I had openly admitted that I thought she was cute. Great.
I nursed a strong cup of coffee, taking small sips of the hot liquid. It burnt my tongue slightly but that didn't concern me. As more memories flooded back, of the taxi ride with Saoirse, of my return to the club, of the amount of alcohol that I had subsequently consumed, of rejoining the party of girls and talking to Melanie more and of bumping into Holly and a couple of her friends on the way home.
It had been a long night and I was now paying the price. Luckily, I wasn't feeling as bad as Saoirse was; that I could tell from looking at her but I still felt rough.
I fished around in my pocket, pulling out the piece of paper that I had found when I had woken up. Someone had written a number on it, a mobile phone number. It was girly handwriting but that didn't help me at all. I had met a lot of people last night and so I didn't know whose number it was.
It could have been Holly when she was touching me.
It could have been Melanie when she hugged me.
It could have been any of their friends when I hadn't been looking.
Or it could have been Saoirse when I was helping her in and out of the taxi.
I didn't know why any of them would have done that or how they could have done without me noticing . I looked at the number, scared of ringing it.