For the next few nights, Cayden helped me get my alcoholism out of my system and made sure that I wasn’t going to end up doing something stupid at the same time. He took me to what he told me were the best bars around the city. I was grateful that he still cared about me enough to try and make sure I was having a good time, but honestly, as long as I wasn’t sober, I didn’t really care.
My plan for the night had been to drink until I passed out somewhere, but apparently Cayden had other ideas.
“Pace yourself, dude,” he told me. I just shook my head and downed another drink. I wasn’t even sure what I was drinking, all I knew was it was alcoholic. “Why not?”
“I don’t know anyone else up here. You have someone else up here, that guy from the hospital, right? You’re probably all cosied up with him already and all I have is you,” I slurred my way through my miniature rant before finishing the drink in my hand.
"So stick with me and Gage or go make some friends."
“How do you make friends with dead people?”
"Same way you make friends with living people." After I’d downed another drink in response to that – you’ve seen how good I am at making friends, and for those of you who haven’t, I’m really bad at it – Cayden forced me into dancing with him to distract me. I went along with it, but the only distraction he was giving me was in my pants, and y’know, getting comfort sex from your dead brother in law who was probably all loved up with that other guy is a bit of a minefield.
I didn’t need to navigate said minefield, though, since the next thing I knew, Cayden was kissing some baby faced guy I didn’t recognise. I guess that was Gage.
“Speak of the devil,” Cayden said. I just kinda stood there all awkward and drunk.
"Who's this?" the guy asked.
"This is my ex and brother-in-law, Maxxie," Cay told him.
"I recognise you from when Mouse was in hospital. I'm Gage,” he gave me this small smile. Mouse? Seriously? This is as bad as watching Hadley go out with Eden. I muttered a ‘hi’ in his general direction and staggered back to the bar, determined that I would pass out before either of them could say another word to me.
“Dude, take it easy,” Cayden said, blocking the path of another shot on its way to my mouth. I just waited til he moved it. “What’s wrong?”
“Everything,” I told him once he’d moved his hand enough for me to speak.
“Everything,” I repeated. How could anything possibly be okay? I was dead, nothing was even remotely okay about that. At least Cayden had someone up here. I mean, I know I found Cayden, but he’s not gonna be interested in me with this other guy, is he?
“Wanna talk about it?” he asked, wrapping his arms around me.
"No, I want to go home and see my husband and kids," I told him, trying not to snap.
"Go see them in a dream?"
“It’s not the same,” I said, realising my face was wet and that my throat ached and the back of my nose felt funny. Apparently I started crying and didn’t even notice. Cayden hugged me again.
“I know, but it helps.” I just sat on the bar stool and shamelessly cried. Dreams made me feel worse. It was like being home and then having it stripped away from you all over again when they wake up. "You know I'm here if you ever need anything, right?" I nodded, not really listening as I downed another drink. "Don't drink yourself stupid tonight.” I glanced at Gage, who was hanging off Cayden like a needy kid.
“Why shouldn’t I?” I asked, feeling the urge to snap at him again. He sort of punched my arm.
"What would Hadley think?"
“That’s not fair,” I whined, “he doesn’t know there’s any sort of afterlife, leave him out of it.”
"It's perfectly fair."
“Well then what would John-O think of him, huh?” I might’ve snapped a little then, gesturing at Gage.
He shrugged, apparently not bothered by me snapping. Or y’know, if he was, I was too drunk to notice. "We all knew I was a whore anyway. John knew that and he was happy to marry me regardless."
I threw back another drink and stood up – just about. “I’m going now.” And with that I stumbled off. Of course, Mouse and his little child pet thing followed.
"Where're you going?" Mousey man asked.
"Somewhere," I told him, pretending I totally didn’t need the wall to keep me upright.
"Somewhere?" I nodded. Apparently moving my head was a real bad idea, ‘cause it made me all dizzy and I kinda fell over. Well done me.