title gives a pretty good idea
I leaned on the railing as I ascended the stairs, a can in my hand. I was at my buddy Kyle’s house, but it looked nothing like it. Some girl I didn’t know stopped me at the top of the staircase. She put a hand on my chest, giggling, clearly drunk, but not nearly as drunk as me.
“Hey, Joel.” She giggled again, taking off my hat and putting it on her head.
“Do I…” Holding myself up on the wall, I strained to make her face stop moving. As if the alcohol wasn’t disabling my vision enough, the party had a ridiculous amount of strobe lights. “Do I know you?” I slurred.
I knew the nickname, but couldn’t quite put the pieces together, so I pretended to know who she was now. “Oh, yeah, J.J., hi.”
“Hey.” She dragged her fingernails gently across my cheek, sending shivers down my spine. She drummed her fingers on a door beside us. “This bedroom is open.”
Numbly, I nodded, and took another sip of beer, barely being able to successfully get it to my mouth. It dribbled down my chin, and she licked it off, then pulled on my arm.
“Come on, Joel.” The said ‘J.J.’ rubbed her body up against me, pulled me in, and closed the door behind us.
I remembered bits and pieces, but everything after the come-on was a blur.
I couldn’t even remember if the sex was good.
* * *
When I woke up, I had a splitting headache and raging nausea. I pulled on my boxers, and then proceeded to start vomiting in my hands. Thankfully there was bathroom right off the bedroom, or Kyle’s parents would’ve been replacing their carpet.
Oh crap, that’s whose room this was.
I spilled my guts, washed my mouth out, and stumbled back into bed. Miserably, I rolled over, and found myself face to face with my ex, Jane—
You’d think after getting stalked for the last three months I’d remember the name when I heard it, no matter how drunk.
Her eyes fluttered, and she awoke to me staring at her incredulously.
“Morning, sunshine.” Jane leaned over to kiss my forehead, and I just sat there, frozen to the spot. “Last night was good.”
Was it? I wouldn’t know!
But apparently she did.
Needless to say, I couldn’t have jumped out of that bed faster if she’d pulled a gun on me. “You—!”
“Hey, you were willing.” She cut in, already defending herself. Her disheveled, emo hair, dyed strawberry blonde, held just a hint of the beauty I had once seen in her. “You could’ve said no.”
“I was wasted! You took advantage of me!” I struggled into my jeans, snatched up my hat, and slammed the door behind me. I could care less about my shoes and shirt; getting away from her was like escaping the plague. You don’t really care what you can grab before you run—you only care if you get out alive.
“Hey!” My friend Kyle stumbled out of his room, half asleep and very hung-over. “What’s going on?”
I ignored him, stepping over and around a few passed out people on my way out the door. Driving was terrible, everything hurt my head. When I got home, I collapsed onto the couch, and put my hat over my face, squeezing my eyes shut. Admittedly, I was hoping that if I squeezed them shut hard enough, what had happened last night would all go away…
But all I could do was imagine how gross it must’ve looked.
* * *
Something smacked me in the forehead, and I jerked awake, my brain screaming. I grabbed my head, groaning, “What do you want, Luke!”
“For my hung-over brother to get off the couch so I can watch T.V.,” Said my older brother, twirling my hat around on his finger. “Get.”
“Why are you home from work so early?!”
“Doesn’t matter. Get.”
Stealing my hat back, I slouched off into the kitchen, suddenly hungry. When I could smell the T.V. dinner as it started to defrost in the microwave, I dry-wretched, and changed my mind.
I’d lost count of how many drinks I’d consumed towards the middle of the night.
Retreating to my room, I paused at my dresser to lean in and frown at my disheveled reflection. The dark circles under my eyes hid nothing about what had happened last night.
“I hate you.” I muttered disapprovingly, and then turned away, crawling onto my bed to sulk.
At least I was good at something.
By the time nine o’clock rolled around, I was taking a shower, getting dressed, putting on my hat, and getting back in my car.
Hey, routine is routine.
Picking up my phone, I checked my text messages:
You coming out tonight, boo? Amy’s house, starts at nine.
Joel, my brother’s having a kickin’ frat party. See you there?
Hope to see you tonight, cutie ;) Parents are out of town.
Dude. Three kegs. Brandon’s house. Text me back.
Not a single hello. Go figure.
The first was from a girl I often hooked up with at parties. Her name was Brooke. She was, in every sense of the word, amazing.
I needed some amazing right now.
* * *
I took a deep breath, inhaling the scent of sweat and alcohol as I approached the monstrous, familiar house, and readjusted my hat. It was only nine-thirty but half the people were already smashed. Weaving through the people, I scanned the room for Brooke. When I spotted her, she was over in a corner, cracking open a can of beer. She was wearing a little purple dress, a black leather vest, black fishnets, and black stilettos. Her choppy, mid-length brown hair was tastefully unkempt. In a word:
“Brooke!” I called, possibly with too much enthusiasm. Thankfully, I was far enough away that she wouldn’t have heard me anyway.
I came up behind her, and wrapped my arms around her waist. “Hey, hot stuff.”
“Hey you. Just get here?”
Handing me a beer, she smiled and asked, “You wanna go sit somewhere quiet?”
We went upstairs, and stopped at a password locked door. Without even pausing, she punched in the code, and opened it, walking into an attractive home theater. Amy and Brooke were best friends, so Amy more or less gave Brooke whatever she asked for.
“For you, kind sir.” She pulled a small bottle out of her bra and handed it to me. I opened it and took a swig of the contents.
Coughing a little, I spluttered, “Wow, that’s some strong stuff.”
“Mhm. That’s why it’s so expensive. I bought it for us.” Brooke took a swig and sat down, pressing play on the remote. Some old movie was playing, and she turned back to me, grinning that grin that never failed to make my IQ drop.
“Shh.” Brooke put a finger to my lips, and whispered, “It’s probably better if you don’t talk.”
Her lips crashed into mine before I could say anything more.
* * *
The next morning didn’t seem to come. We were still in the home theater, so it stayed dark.
“What time is it?” Brooke groaned, shaking me awake.
The light on my phone made my head throb. “Three o’clock.”
“In the morning or afternoon?”
“Ugh. I gotta go. I have my cousin overnight tonight and she’s getting dropped off at my house around five.”
“Oh.” The disappointment was evident in my voice.
“See you around?” she asked, getting dressed.
“Yeah…see you around.” I walked her out to her car, and then waved as she left, trying not to look too upset.
Gonna be honest, I cried a little on my way home that day. My teeth dug into my lip as I merged onto the highway, thinking of who would miss me if I ‘accidentally’ swerved in front of a car. I mean, really, who did I have? Luke? He’d be more upset if the T.V. died.
I was greeted by the sight of Luke passed out on the couch. Thursday was the only day that he didn’t work, and he never failed to get wasted Wednesday night.
Tiptoeing by the couch, I heard Luke mumble, “Hannah’s coming over.”
Growling, I turned stomped into my bedroom to change. Hannah coming over meant that I couldn’t be here. Or at least pretend I wasn’t, by hiding out in my room.
I turned to my mirror. “I hate you.” I announced to myself, chuckling bitterly, blinking back tears.
After I got dressed, I decided it didn’t feel much like my usual hat tonight, and put on a black, winter-like one that reminded me of gang members.
Turning the key in the ignition, I sped off down the street. When I reached the park, I walked around for a little bit, bought a hotdog from a vendor, then laid down under a tree in the shade and went to sleep…