“You want…” I trail off, unsure as to what to make of the soup my mind has become. I mumble uselessly, “.. China?”
Kris chuckles, brushing a strand of hair lightly from my cheek.
“Yes, China.” He murmurs, his gaze making my cheeks red. I look away.
My brain is a jumble of thoughts, and I focus on my hands, clutching the cheeks that cover Kris’s chest. I notice vaguely that I should probably file my nails before Yifan loses all the skin on his back.
“Why?” I ask stupidly, finally looking back up into his dark eyes.
Kris seems to think that’s a dumb question, because he frowns, raising an eyebrow.
“Because I want you to come with me,” He chuckles. “I want the girl I love to see where I grew up, where my life changed, where I trained, learned, became who I am. Not only is it important to me, but it’s also a beautiful place. I would pay for all the expenses of course; I know you’re trying to save up for University.”
When I don’t say anything, he rushes on.
“Also, I want you to be there to support me with all this lawsuit shit. I wasn’t able to see you for a couple days already because of it, I don’t want to be away from you for that long.” My heart skips a beat, and I can’t help but blush and smile. I bury my head in his shoulder, beaming.
However, something occurs to me. If I go to China with Kris, I will be totally lost. I’ve never been there before, I know nothing about it, and I don’t speak Chinese, not even a little bit. I suddenly frown, my breathing becoming slightly heavier. Also, I’ve seen what sasaengs do at the airport when EXO members arrive. There would be no secrets when Kris walks off that plane, with me latched onto his arm. I’ll become famous, and not in a good way. Hate, rumours, threats; everything will be thrown around on the internet, and I’m not sure I’m ready for that kind of publicity.
I can hear my breath catching in my throat, and my mouth has opened and closed at least three times, gaping like some sort of demented fish. I’m suddenly glad my face is buried in Kris’s shoulder. I can feel his jaw clench against my cheek and I frown, sensing his unease. He shifts his upper body, bending his back so that he’s pulled away from me, leaving my head to thwump down onto the pillow. I shoot him a look as I lift my face from the down, but immediately stop when I see his concerned expression.
“I was expecting you to be happy,” he says, watching me with sad, dark eyes. I can tell that he’s exaggerating some of the expression, but most of it is genuine. I feel like someone has dropped a lead weight into my stomach. The corners of my lips pull down, and I look away. Yifan’s hand reaches out to me, long fingers brushing across my shoulder before resting lightly on my waist. He pulls me closer to him, pressing his body against mine and entangling our legs and feet. My feet are eternally cold, and I can sense his muscles tensing up in response, but he doesn’t pull away. That makes me feel marginally better. I look up at him.
“If you don’t want to go, please just tell me,” He pleads, voice becoming more pitiful by the second. I reach up with my lips, hastily kissing away his worries. I can practically taste his disappointment.
‘It’s not that I don’t want to go,” I murmur against his mouth, keeping my eyes closed. Maybe if I don’t look at him, his eyes can’t fluster me. “I just- It’s..”
Or maybe not.
I sigh, pulling away, watching as Kris’s eyes open lightly, watching me as I fumble for the right words.
“You’re worried about the fans.” It’s not a question; he says it as if he already knows. I shrug in resignation.
“Yeah,” I say simply, “And also the fact that I’ve never been to China and I don’t speak Chinese. I’d be completely helpless.”
At this Yifan chuckles.
“I speak Chinese, remember? You’d be with me,” He smiles lightly, “Unless you plan on running off.”
He raises an eyebrow at me, and I can’t help but laugh.
“Okay,” I say, my smile fading again. I hear Kris sigh, “But you’ll be doing lawsuit things; I’m sure there will be at least one occasion during which I am not with you. Do you expect me to sit around in a hotel room whenever you have to go somewhere?”
Kris frowns again. I watch him for what seems like a long time, watching his eyes flit back and forth; thinking. Just as I’m growing certain that he’s found something particularly interesting about the sheets, he opens his mouth.
I give him a look as he showers me in warm, not entirely pleasant smelling air, before closing his wide mouth and saying;
“Just promise me you’ll think about it, okay?” He bends down again to kiss me, before rolling over on his back. “ I don’t want to pressure you; it’s entirely you’re decision. Just know that I would like you to come and that you don’t have to pay for anything.”
“How long would we be there for?” I ask.
Kris shrugs, “A couple weeks. If it takes longer you can come back. I know you can’t take too long off work.”
The thought of being without Yifan makes the lead weight return to my stomach, but I try to shake it off. Instead I roll over, turn off the bedside lamp, and reach over Yifan’s chest to turn off his. I stretch my arm across, my breasts resting on his soft skin. Just before the room goes dark, I see his eyes watching me, warm and mildly amused. Then I click the light off; falling back onto the bed beside Yifan’s warm body. I snuggle up to his side, wrapping my right around aound his abdomen, curling my left up beside me. He raises his arm to stretch it behind his head, effectively thrusting armpit hair up my nose. I make a displeased noise and roll over, muttering “thanks” before settling on my other side.
I hear a light chuckle from behind me, before feeling my bedfellow shift. I feel Yifan press up against my back, and immediately doze off to the warmth of strong hands draped over my waist.
* * *
“China?!” Eli’s mouth drips mustard down his chin, and he absent mindedly wipes it with his napkin. He licks his lower lip before continuing, “You dumb bitch! Why didn’t you say yes?”
I roll my eyes. Eli has sprawled himself across the three-seater couch in my basement, forcing Kat and I to squeeze onto the loveseat adjacent. Our legs are tangled together, our backs against each armrest. Back in high school, I remember there was a rumour we were lesbians, and were fucking each other. We went along with it, until Kat got a boyfriend and the rumour went away. High school’s weird.
“Do I speak Chinese, you dumb fuck?” I snap, shooting Eli an exasperated look. He has a hotdog in his mouth (he just got my barbeque working and wanted to test it), and he dramatically thrusts the sausage down his throat, giving it a meaty blowjob. I simply roll my eyes, Kat and I glaring at him.
“So, how far have you gone with Kris?” Kat asks, shifting her legs against mine. I stick my cold toes under her butt, and she shrieks as the cold skin touches her exposed back between her waistband and shirt. I chuckle.
“Yeah, have you sucked his dick?” Eli practically shouts, pulling the food from his mouth.
“Eli!” I’m actually slightly irritated by Eli’s insistence on sticking his nose in my business, “Want to be more vulgar?”
“Well, have you?”
I blink, debating whether or not to even answer. I’m usually very open about my sex life with Kat and Eli, and they know pretty much everything about my every sexual encounter, but for some reason this feels different. I feel like I’d be betraying Yifan’s trust if I were to open up to them.
Luckily, I’m saved by my phone ringing, making my pocket sing and vibrate. I detangle myself from Kat’s legs and hop out of the room, jiggling my phone from my pocket and flipping it open. It’s an unknown number. I answer anyway.
“Alloo?” My French accent has seemed to seep into my phone conversations more often lately.
“Alice?” A low voice reaches me through my phone and I frown.
“Who is this?” I ask.
My heart seems to freeze in my chest. I haven’t heard my father’s voice for at least four years, and we haven’t even exchanged letters in two. My jaw clenches, and I become aware of my nails digging into my palm. I take a deep breath, unsure of what to say.
“What do you want?” It comes out harsher than I had intended, but I couldn’t care less. This is the asshole that put my family through hell, and couldn’t even deal with the guilt. He is no father to me, just a ghost who found someone better to haunt.
“Alice, I know we’ve been through a lot,” His voice seems desperate. I snort. “And I know I haven’t been the best father, even from a difference. But I really want to re-connect with you and your brothers. I know Marc will talk to me, he’s a good kid, and so are you. I know I can trust you, right? You were always so strong, so organised.”
I simply stand there, mouth gaping, feeling like a fat wad of bile is stuck in the back of my throat. I want to say something, to tell him how I feel, but all I feel right now is numb. I don’t even feel angry.
“How have you been?”
I frown, my teeth clenching and my fists balling. I pull an outraged face, trying to find my words for a moment before I let fly.
“Oh, I’ve been great daddy thanks for asking! My life has been so fucking perfect since you left mom for some American bimbo with a tighter pussy. Fine, actually, right up until my tuck-tail father decided to call me out of nowhere and ask me how I am. What the fuck is up with that, anyway? You think you can just waltz in here after everything you did and insert yourself back in my life? Our lives? If I’m strong, what the fuck do you think your disappearance did to Marc, or Gille? How dare you call me? How dare you act as if nothing happened, you two-faced, cheating, sadistic asshole!”
By the end I’m shrieking, and I break off suddenly, my heart beating fast and my breathing rapid. I glance around, and see Kat leaning over the back of the couch, watching me with a concerned expression. Eli is still eating his sausage, eyebrow raised.
“I’m sorry.” Comes my father’s response. The weakness in his voice is the only thing that stops me from exploding again, and I press the cellphone closer to my ear. “I’m sorry for everything I did, Alice, honestly. But I have a favour to ask. I know this is entirely inappropriate and I don’t deserve your help but I wouldn’t be asking if it wasn’t important.”
I simply wait for him to continue, slightly intrigued but mostly cautious.
“Please talk to Gille. I know you and Marc will come, but Gille probably won’t unless you talk to him. Please, I need all my children at my wedding.”
I blink, taking a moment to absorb my father’s words.
“What?” I gasp, “This.. This about your wedding? Gille can do whatever the fuck he wants but.. What gave you the idea that Marc and I would come?”
My father is silent for a moment, I can practically hear his brain working. He has always had a hard time wrapping his head around people disagreeing with him.
“I don’t think you understand.” His voice is suddenly hard, controlled. “I can’t show up at my own wedding without my children. Do you know how that would look in front of Sunni’s family? You’re coming, and so are you’re brothers. I may not have spoken to you in a while, but I am still your father, and I say you come to this wedding and you’ll try your darndest to convince your brothers to do the same.”
This wedding is the last place I want to go. I have no desire to watch my runaway father legally wed the woman who ruined my life, and tore apart my family. I don’t want to go to California, I don’t want to meet Sunni. I want to say no.
“I can’t go.” The words are out of my mouth before I can even think. Why did I do that? I don’t have an excuse.
“Why not?” He sounds more angry than sad.
I search desperately for some reason as to why I can’t attend the wedding, My face changing to a pained expression before I blurt you:
“I’m going to China.”
“Well that was stressful,” I drop myself on the couch once I’ve hung up, tossing my phone on the table. I feel exhausted mentally but my body is all wound up, my muscles tensed and shaking. Kat rubs my knee sympathetically.
“What did he want?” Eli asks, wiping his hands on a napkin. He brushed the last of the crumbs from his pants to the floor and I scowl at him until he kicks them under the couch.
Rolling my eyes, I respond:
“His fucking wedding. I thought he was calling to ask if I was going, but he had just assumed I was, and wanted me to convince Gille to come too. He was worried about what Sunni’s family would think if not all his kids showed up to his wedding.” I pause, take a deep breath, “Well, the way things are going, he won’t have any of his kids there.”
“You decided not to go?” Kat asks, incredulous, “How did he take it?”
“Not well,” I sigh, “But he can’t really do anything about it. I told him I’m going to China. It’s a little white lie because I said I have to pay for the trip, which I don’t, and that’s why I can’t afford to go.”
“So you’ve decided you’re going?” Eli asks, “To China I mean.”
I take another deep breathe, scratching my arm absent mindedly. I had only really said that to get my dad off my back, but the more I think about the wedding, the more attractive China seems.
“I don’t know,” I say finally. I rub my forehead, pinching my eyebrows together, and trying to make sense of the jumbled mess in my head. Too much has happened lately, I just need to take a nice long nap.
“Can we just talk about something else?” I ask as Kat pulls my nails away from my skin. I’ve left a red mark on my forearm from the nervous scratching. “It’s all just super stressful.”
“Of course,” Kat replies, just as Eli’s phone goes off with a text message. We both look over as he reads it, watching his eyes scan the screen. After a moment his face breaks into a grin.
“I think I know exactly what you need,” Eli says with a satisfied smirk. I raise an eyebrow, waiting for him to continue as he slides his phone back into his pocket. “You wanna get drunk?”
“Where?” Kat asks, before I can answer.
“Jake’s; he’s having a party.”
Kat and I exchange a look before we both turn back to Eli, grinning.
* * *
Loud music with low bass assaults our ears as we pull up in front of Jake’s new, expensive-looking house. His parents just moved in, and I guess tonight they’re out in Toronto, picking the best possible counter tops. Good for us; this was exactly what we needed.
As we step out of Eli’s silver convertible, it’s evident what the group of four or five teenagers are doing to our right; the smell of pot is strong and pungent, but we’ll save that for later. As we walk up the steps, the music gets louder, and practically slams into our chests as soon as we open the door. Before the door even closes, we hear a high pitched squeal, and long streak of blonde is all I see before I’m swept into a bone crushing hug.
I forgot what going to Jake’s house entails; Katelyn, his annoying little sister.
She’s not little to us, we were in the same grade in High School, but she’s one of those people who will act like a five-year old even when they’re in an old-age home. She wears way too much eye make-up, and her long blonde hair would be pretty if she didn’t straighten it all the time, which leaves it thin and stringy when it fall around her face. The skirt she wears now is too short, and is a light blue with frills along the edging, causing it to puff out around her thighs. I look up to see her face split into an ear to ear grin, but she’s not looking at me.
Oh yeah, that’s one more thing I forgot; Katelyn has a huge crush on Eli.
“I’m so glad you guys could make it!” She squeals, turning to Eli and Kat and giving them the same hug she gave me. I idly rub my ribs where I’m pretty sure something cracked.
“Yeah,” Eli says as katelyn pulls away, giving me a meaningful look over her shoulder. We pull off our shoes, shuffling out of the way for a giggling couple who make their way past us and up the stairs, completely unashamed. I simply shrug at Kat before padding down the hall in our stockinged feet. The music seems to be coming from the basement, as sure enough, as we pull the door open, not only does the beat become even louder, but it’s suddenly mixed with laughing and teenager’s raucous voices.
Eli, Kat and I know about half the people in the basement, a bit more. Immediately to our left, a group of college boys and some girls from our high school are playing beer pong, and I avoid the sticky puddle on the concrete behind one of them, B-lining for the group sitting on the leather couch in the corner. I see my close friend, Emily, sitting on her boyfriend James’s lap. Beside him is the pathetic Sam, who hits on everybody’s boyfriend and says she has a crush on everyone. Right now her hand rests dangerously close to James’s crotch. Beside Sam is Connor, a very tall, toned blonde from the year above us; Kat really likes him. Across from them, curled against the wall is Monique and Stephanie, fairly new additions to our friend group, and Mo’s boyfriend, Graeme, who appears to be just leaving to get another beer.
As we near the group, Emily shoots up, hopping over to us and wrapping her arms around my shoulders. We were very close in our last year of high school, but she went off to college last September for Visual Art, and I haven’t seen her much. I’m slightly annoyed that she didn’t tell me she was in town, but I hold my tongue and smile.
“Come on,” Emily urges, pulling on mine and Kat’s wrists, Eli slowly following behind with Katelyn, “We’ve got Sourpuss.”
Half an hour later my head feels satisfactorally fuzzy, after we’ve all settled down on the couches and chatted. The basement has quieted down a little, the majority of people having gone upstairs to bedrooms or the kitchen, and if not they went outside for a smoke. The group of college guys at the ping-pong table have left, and right now a couple are pressed against the edge, mouths exploring each other’s bodies, hands in shirts. Even after two beers, half a cooler and 4 shots of Sourpuss, I can still see the guy’s raging boner. Oddly, I feel my own south regions twinge. Where’s Kris when you need him?
Connor, who’s sitting across from us with Kat on a dirty old couch dragged up from some corner of the basement, begins talking about his University classes. He’s going into his third year of a Global Food Management course, and he apparently has an upcoming trip to Ethiopia that he is very much looking forward to. The thought that I’m still stuck in this dead-end town forces me to gulp down almost half of my third can of beer, and I feel my head swim as I pull it back from my lips.
Since I was young, I’ve always had trouble making decisions. I’ve never been an easy-going, go-with-the-flow kind of person. I want to make sure what I do is perfect for me, but that’s a difficult thing to know at 18 years old. Right now I think I’ll study Nursing, but who knows?
I take another gulp.
I wonder vaguely if I should go eat something. The music is starting to hurt my ears.
“Yeah, Alice has a new boyfriend, didn’t you hear?” Eli’s voice comes from my right, and I turn to see him smirking at me, and Emily turns to smile at me.
“Oh! You didn’t tell me you had a new boyfriend! What’s his name, what’s he like?” She begins to gush, adjusting her position on James’s lap so that she’s facing more my direction. Before I can open my mouth, however, Eli begins talking again.
“He’s some famous Chinese pop star. He’s like an Asian version of Justin Bieber, except he was in a band that he ran away from. That’s why he’s in Canada. He met Alice at the Diner and took her home to fuck her. I guess using women for sex is a Chinese thing, eh?” Eli has had a lot to drink to, I can tell, but the way he’s talking about Kris makes me want to punch him. He rambles on, “Oh, and he wants to take her to China and parade her around in front of the press like some kind of trophy. Sick, huh? She wasn’t going to go but now she kind of has to because she used the trip as an excuse not to go to her dad’s wedding. I wonder how those skinny Asian people will respond to their favourite pop star banging her fat ass.”
I can feel, through my cloudy brain, my nails digging into my palms. I watch as Emily and James stare at me, eyes wide. Emily’s are full of drunken concern, James’s with pity. Eli smirks at me, and suddenly, I want to be anywhere but here. I push myself off the couch, unsteady on my feet, and stumble towards the door. I hear Emily call after me, but her voice sounds muffled. I grab the bottle of Sourpuss on my way out, not giving a fuck.
The stairs are a struggle. My legs feel weak, but the anger in my veins keeps me from falling backwards. I lean against the wall to my right and half crawl my way up the stairs. I open the door into the hallway, hearing voices and laughter as I stumble into the kitchen, bottle of booze swinging by my side, trying to muster up all the dignity I have left. Taking a swig as I walk past a group sitting around the counter, I see Jake, the host. I reach around him and grab a slice of cold pepperoni pizza, and continue walking out into the night, ‘za in one hand, delicious smelling booze in the other.
As I open the door to the backyard, the cold air hits me, and I think about turning around and getting a sweater. The thought is pushed from my mind immediately by the smell of pot drifting over from a grouping of trees to my right, and I make a B-line for the group of laughing teenagers. On the way, I shove the pizza in my mouth, wash it down with Sourpuss. When I’m almost there, my phone buzzes in my back pocket.
Emily: 12:46- R Uu ok?
I ignore the text, notice I have another one. I open it up.
Kris: 10:13- Hey baby, how are you?
To this one I type the first thing that pops into my mind.
Sent: 12:47- Am i beeautifol?
Feeling immensely satisfied with myself, I close up my phone and head over to the pot smoking group. My head is swimming, and I almost trip on a rock before I reach them. I don’t recognize half the group, but I’m drunk enough to not care. I squeeze in between two foul-smelling guys, shouldering my way into the circle just as the bong passes from my neighbours hands to mine. I clutch at it, putting down the sourpuss bottle at my feet so I can hold the lighter. Wrapping my lips around the head, I suck in the sweet smoke, feel it fill my lungs, hold it there. Let it out.
I don’t remember passing the bong on, but when I open my eyes it’s two people over. I reach down and grab my bottle again, unscrew the lid and take a swig. The neighbour to my right gives me a concerned look, but simply shrugs and looks away, focusing on the bong that is once again being passed to him.
Just as I’m readying for my second drag, a guy across the group calls out.
“Hey!” He steps forward, snatching the class contraption from my hands. I shut off the lighter and gaze at the guy in front of me. My vision is blurry, and at times I can see two dealers. I want another swig of booze but I don’t feel the heavy bottle in my hand.
“Only people who paid me for the pot are smoking,” He says, frowning at me, “Get out ‘o here you drunk mooch.”
Unaffected by his insults, I throw the lighter down on the ground in the middle of the circle, and barely stay long enough to watch three people lurch for it before I scoop up my bottle and hobble off. Halfway back to the house, however, my foot hits something hard and I pitch forward, my hands going out in front of me to catch my fall. I’m vaguely aware of my leg hitting something hard, but the alcohol in my veins helps numb the pain, and I simply roll back over on my back.
I’m not sure how long I was lying there for, but when my phone rings in my back pocket, the ground seems significantly colder and the pot-smoking group has disappeared. My hands fumble to retrieve my phone, and by the time I flip it open I’m half expecting the call to be dead. Just to make sure, I ask.
“Alice? Is that you? Fuck! Are you ok? I’ve been texting you for the last two hours, why haven’t you responded? Alice?!” An urgent male voice comes streaming through the ear-piece and I have to pull the phone away from my pounding head. Something in the back of my brain tells me the low Chinese flavoured voice belongs to Kris, my boyfriend.
“Hiiii Krisseu. I’m fine, don’t –hic- worry.” I grin, rolling back onto my side. The grass is cold and damp, and I roll onto my hands and knees.
“Where are you?” And then, “.. Are you drunk?”
“No, I’m –hic- buzzed.” I reply, putting a fair amount of attitude on the last word, “Eli said he wouldn’t let me get drunk.”
“Fuck Eli, you’re hammered,” Even through my foggy brain I can tell he’s angry. A low whimper escapes me as I stand up, a dull pain throbbing in my low right calf.
“Nooo, I don’t –hic- fuck Eli that yoouurr job,” I giggle at that, thinking I’ve made a joke about me and Kris but not realising I’ve failed miserably.
“I- what?” Kris sounds confused, “You know what, never mind. Where are you, Alice?”
“Going home,” I articulate as I slowly shuffle towards the front of the house. I’ve suddenly had enough of this party; my head is pounding and I can feel my stomach sloshing. I try my best to watch for rocks and potholes, but my vision is swimming before me and the grass looks like water.
“What? No! Alice, don’t get in a car! I’ll come pick you up, where are you?!” he’s now yelling, panic seaping into his voice. I giggle.
“You’re cute when you’re angry,” I cover my mouth as I burp, feeling a hot acidic substance burn the back of my throat. I swallow it down.
“Alice, I’ll drive around this whole bloody town if I have to; WHERE ARE YOU?!” Kris’s voice resonates through my speaker and I pull the phone away again.
“Holy shhhh okay, I’m on… John Street I think? It’s a house party,” My giggling has gone away; now I just feel sick. I want to curl up in my bed and go to sleep.
“Okay, okay fine. Stay there I’m coming to pick you up,” I hear keys jingling in the background before he hangs up. I cringe from the loud sound.
Looking down at my phone, I see I have 13 messages. Frowning, I open the first.
Seven are from Kris.
Kris- 12:50 – What? Of course you are. Are you okay? What brought this on?
Kris- 12:59 – Alice? You there?
Kris- 1:13- Are you okay? Are you drunk?
Kris- 1:45- Hey, I’m getting worried.
Kris- 1:49- Alice, pick up your phone.
Kris- 1:53 – Alice, are you okay?? Why aren’t you picking up your phone???
Kris- 2:01- PICK UP YOUR FUCKING PHONE NOW. ARE YOU DEAD?
The light from the screen is hurting my eyes, and I squint. I don’t bother responding to Kris’s texts, instead I open one of the others as I settle down on against the wall of the house.
Two more texts from Emily.
Emily- 1:03- Yo, Alice, you sure you’re ok? You haven’t come back down.
Emily- 1:34- Hello?
One text from Kat.
Kat- 1:24- Hey, Eli says he’s sorry. Come back down please, we’re worried. Where are you? Connor and I looked upstairs but you weren’t there. Did you walk home?
Walking home, that sounds like a really good idea. I can still hear the music from the basement, but the voices have died down. I suddenly feel very lonely. I think of Emily and James, probably curled up on the couch downstairs, not even worrying about me. Eli has probably hooked up with someone tonight, and I can almost hear his moans as someone shoved their cock up his ass. And I doubt Kat and Connor went upstairs to look for me, unless they thought I was in one of the spare bedrooms.
I hoist myself up, pushing against the brick walls of the house as I stumble to my feet. Grabbing my phone before it falls, I stumble to the front of the house, leaning against a thin tree in the middle of Jake’s front lawn. A few more steps and I’m on the sidewalk.
Surprisingly, it’s harder to walk on the concrete than it was on the bumpy grass. I look down at my feet, watching then swim in and out of focus as they disappear under my body, one after the other. Little circles of light surround me every time I walk beneath a street light, and my multiple shadows makes my head hurt even more. I lose my footing, stumbling against a concrete pole, just barely keeping myself upright. My eyelids feel like lead, and I supress another burp. Sliding down the pole to sit on the grass, I realise my hands are shaking.
I’m not sure how long I sat there, leaning against the street lamp with my head back, eyes closed, drifting in and out of consciousness. By the time headlights washed over me, it felt like 5 minutes and 5 hours at the same time. I just sat there, head spinning, barely enough energy to open my eyes. Distantly I hear a car door slam to my right, and warm hands were grasping my upper arms, shaking me.
Opening my eyes, I see Kris’s face looming over mine, concern and something else sprawled over his face.
“Come on, let’s get you home,” He says, voice soft as he helps me up. I stumble off the curb, leaning most of my weight on Kris’s shoulder. I mumble something about my leg hurting, and Kris readjusts my weight before opening the passenger door and gently placing me in the car. I reach out to close the door, my hand stretching into darkness automatically, but long, slender fingers place my hand back on my lap before reach around and close the door for me.
For the first couple minutes of the car ride I drift in and out of sleep, my head leaning against the window. Suddenly, Kris’s voice cut through the silence.
“Are you happy, Alice?” His voice sounds sad, and I frown as I pull my head back up.
“Yes,” Comes the automatic response.
“Really? Is that why you felt the need to get wasted?”
That stumps me, and I look down at my hands in my lap, the crease between my eyebrows deepening. Something from tonight surfaces.
“Eli said I’m fat and ugly.” It comes out as more of a question, and I hear Kris sigh beside me. I look over to see him frowning at the road.
“Eli’s an idiot. You’re beautiful, Alice, don’t let anyone tell you any differently. Eli is jealous of you, as he should be. But someone insulting you shouldn’t drive you to drink like that.” He sounds like a therapist. However, his soft voice gives me chills, and I pull my knees to my chest, trying to ignore the sudden heartbeat between my legs. Alcohol has always made me horny.
Smiling, I mutter a thank you, before leaning my head back against the window and drifting off to sleep.
The car ride couldn’t have taken more than five or ten minutes, but by the time Kris shook me awake in the hotel parking lot, my head was marginally clearer. Or at least I thought so until I stumble out of the car and fell to my knees.
“Alice!” Kris rushed around the car, immediately pulling me off the ground.
“I’m o- I’m okay,” I slur, leaning against him once again. We make our way sloppily across the parking lot, Kris supporting more than half my body weight for most of the way there. Luckily, the hotel is deserted; even the receptionist is missing. We make our way to the elevators in silence.
The ride up is awkward; I lean against Kris’s shoulder, his arm around my waist. I hiccup once, my whole body twitching suddenly, and I feel Kris tense. He’s nervous, and worried.
“You called me beautiful,” I recall, and I feel his hand trace gentle circles on my waist.
“Because you are,” he says simply as the elevator comes to a stop. I try to walk on my own, feeling silly because I have to depend so much on Kris. I wobble and stumble toward, forcing him to hold me tighter. I clench my jaw in irritation. Why did I have to get so drunk?
Kris’s steady hands as he unlocks the door are a wonder to me, and before long we’ve hobbled into the bedroom. Kris sits me down on the edge of the bed, and I begin pulling my socks off. He shuffles around the room before leaving again. I suddenly have a great idea.
By the time Kris comes back, I’ve taken off everything but my underwear, and I’m lying on my back against the pillows. I stare straight at Kris’s face, and register his surprise before he blinks it away. In his hands is a glass of water and a small white pill. The sight of it triggers something in the back of my head but I can’t place it.
“Prove it,” I say, my voice low and quiet, practically a whisper.
Kris frowns, and looks away, moving around the bed to stand in front of me.
“What are you talking about, Alice?” he sounds tired, and irritated. Normally that would mean now is a bad time, but my drunken self just ploughs right on. I lean forward on my knees and shuffle towards him on the edge of the bed.
“You said I’m beautiful,” I explain, reaching for his belt. I can see his package outlined behind the dark denim of his jeans, and my fingers sloppily start pulling at his waistband, “So prove it.”
Pale, slender fingers catch mine, and I look up into Kris’s shadowed eyes. His hands are rough as he pushed the water glass into my hands, forcing my fingers to grasp it.
“Open your mouth,” He commands, and I don’t have much choice but to obey. He places the small white pill on my tongue, and pushing my mouth closed with his fingers.
“Take that, and then go to sleep,” he says, turning away and walking towards the closet. I swallow the Advil, chase it down with a big gulp of water. I don’t realise how thirsty I am until the glass is empty. I place it back on the bedside table.
“But,” I begin, shuffling over on my knees to follow Kris’s movement around the room, “I want-”
“You’re drunk, Alice, I’m not having sex with you.” He cuts me off, voice sharp. I frown, feeling hurt against all reason. I just sit there and watch him as he pulls a pale beige t-shirt from the closet and turns around. He silently lifts my arms and pulls the shirt over my head, before pulling back the sheets and blankets. I wordlessly climb under then, feeling defeated. I curl up in a ball, pulling the sheets over me as Kris stands above me, watching. I can see the frown despite the shadow.
When I’m all tucked in, he leans down to kiss me. I reach my lips up, feeling hopeful once more, but instead his hands grab my cheeks and his lips touch my forehead ever so gently before pulling away. My head falls back against the pillow, my eyes closing, disappointed. Through the tingling currently numbing my body, I can feel the lead weight return to my stomach. Clicking the light off, I hear Kris’s footsteps shuffle against the floor.
“Goodnight, Alice.” He says, low but clear, just before leaving the room and closing the door behind him.
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