Jase has answers. The voice doesn’t shut up. I slam the glass down hard on the counter. Too hard for being this sober. Barely caring that the glass isn’t broken, I grab the bottle and pour the rest of it into the glass. It’s more than enough to help me pass out and to leave me with a hangover in the morning.
With both of my hands on the counter, I lean forward, stretching and going over every possibility.
If I stay, he’s either going to try to fuck me or kill me. And I must be insane, because I think it’s all worth it if I get answers.
I’m willing to risk it just to feel something else – something other than this debilitating pain. “I’ve lost my fucking mind.”
Just as the words leave me, I hear a ping from the living room and turn my head to stare down the narrow walkway of my kitchen.
My gaze moves from the threshold, to the fridge and I purse my lips before making my way to where the other bottles are hiding from me.
My bare feet pad on the floor and it’s the only sound I hear as I grab the next partially drunk bottle from the fridge, the glass from the counter, and move back to where my ass has made an indent in the sofa.
Pulling the blanket over my lap, I sit cross-legged and read the text. I’m trying to prepare myself for any number of things. The trepidation, the anxiety, both are ever constant, but dampened with yet another sip of the sweet wine.
It’s only Laura, though. Seeing her name brings a small bit of relief until I read what she wrote.
Where the hell are you?
Home. What’s wrong?
I went there yesterday. What happened to your door?
That sick feeling creeps up from the pit of my stomach and rises higher and higher until I’m forced to swallow it down with another gulp. This wine is colder, and it gives me a chill when I drink it.
I know I should. I need to. I won’t bring her into this bullshit. It’s my problem, not hers.
You know I’m Italian, I answer her. Hoping the bit of humor mocking my hot-tempered heritage will lighten her mood.
You broke your door?
Italian and Irish, can’t help it. Even I smirk at my answer. My mom used to tell us we’re mutts, a mix of Italian and Irish, so people should know we’ll hit them first if they’re coming for us, and we won’t stop hitting until we hit the floor. She was a firecracker, my mom.
The memory of her, of us, stirs up a sadness I keep at bay by filling my glass again. Three glasses, in what, twenty minutes? Even I can admit that’s too much.
What happened? Laura asks.
Staring at the full glass, but not taking a sip, I settle with a half-truth. My boss told me I have to take time off.
Is it paid?
I get a little choked up thinking about how everyone chipped in to donate their PTO and debate on telling her the details, but hell, I can’t deal with all this shit right now. I’ve never felt so overwhelmed in every way in my entire life. So I keep it simple.
Yeah. It’s paid.
I miss you, she writes back. Thankfully, not continuing a subject that’s going to push me over the edge.
I’m teetering on the wrong side of tipsy, exhausted, mourning, angry and in denial of fear and loneliness. And being coerced into … probably sex, by a man I thought was going to kill me.
Fuck any kind of therapeutic conversation right now. Whether it’s with Laura or anyone else. I don’t have the emotional energy for it.
I miss you too.
We should go drunk shopping next weekend. Laura’s suggestion sounds like a good way to have a minor public breakdown and max out my credit card. Which is fine if I do decide to leave town on the bus to Jersey City.
We can start at the mall, hit the restaurant bars in between the department stores? she suggests. The best times I’ve had with Laura were on the edge of a barstool holding a bag in one hand and a drink in the other, all while laughing about old times.
Hell yes, I answer her, because that’s how I always answer her. Whether I’m going or not, I’ll let her think I am so she feels better.
I promised I’d make you go out, so boom. Look at me keeping my commitment. I can practically hear the laughter in her voice from that text.
Who would have thought drunk shopping was a commitment you could keep, I joke back.
Seriously though, we haven’t talked. How are you? Do you need me to come over? Laura’s message makes me pause. But I can’t hesitate for too long. She’s sent me that message before, do you need me to come over, when in reality she was five minutes away and already headed here. She’s notorious for just dropping in on people like that and thinks it’s cute. In all honesty, I’m glad she’s done it in the past, but I can’t tonight. I will break down and tell her everything.