“Now,” I say, pulling back from her, “let’s go have a drink and shake some tail feathers.”

“Okay,” she says, and it sounds like there’s still a bit of sadness to her tone.


Personally I think she’s all twisted up about her man and needs to let it go. Live in the moment and enjoy herself. That’s what I plan on doing. And tomorrow, when Oz gets back to town, I’m going to spend the day showing him how much I missed him.

We head out of the building and around the corner to Marie’s Yacht Club. A lot of people from work come here to catch a drink before they head home. When we walk in, I spot Skyler at a table in the back with a group of people around her. Paige and I make our way over, and I introduce her to the people I know, along with being introduced to the ones I don’t. There are about fifteen to twenty people total, milling around in the back, so Paige and I head to the bar to grab a drink.

“A lot of people came,” Paige says as she looks around the place.

“Yeah, it should be fun this way,” I say, grabbing our beers and passing her one. “Let’s order some food. I’m starving.”

“You’re in charge,” she says, and follows my lead.

* * *

We spend a couple of hours at the bar, ordering food and hanging out. I have a few beers and then switch to Jameson, wanting something a bit stronger.

“You sure you should be drinking so much?” Paige asks me after I finish my whiskey.

“I wanted to get a good buzz before we go dancing.” I shrug like it’s no big deal. It usually takes me a few drinks before I can get on the dance floor. Paige sips her beer and leans back in her chair.

“I think it’s time to bust some moves,” Skyler’s partner, Jamie, says. She stands up, shaking her hips, and we all laugh.

I get up to follow her and Skyler, but Paige grabs my arm on the way out.

“I’m not feeling so well, Mal. Can we go home?” There’s concern in her eyes, and I take a step toward her.

As I do, I see Captain America out of the corner of my eye. He’s standing outside the bar, like he’s been waiting for us to leave.

“You’re in luck. Your man is outside, and I’m sure he’d love nothing more than to take you home.”

“Hey, Mallory, I thought I’d miss you.” Just then, I turn around to see Joel approach us.

“Hey!” I say, overly excited. I know I’ve had a few too many drinks by how happy I’m sounding. Whenever I drink too much, I get goofy.

Walking over to him, I reach out and give him a high five. I laugh because it’s a silly thing to do, but I’m genuinely happy he came out.

“You guys ready?” I hear Skyler say, standing with Jamie.

I laugh, looking around and thinking this needs to get sorted out.

“Captain America. Paige isn’t feeling so good. Can you walk her home?” I yell to him as he enters the bar, getting his attention. I turn to Joel and smile at him. “We’re going dancing next door. You in?”

He says yes, and both Skyler and Jamie hoot with excitement. He walks with them, and I take a step in that direction, but again, Paige grabs my arm.

“Mal. Come home with me. Let’s call it a night.”

I lean in, whispering, but I’m sure it’s way too loud after all my drinks, so Captain America hears everything. “Let him take you home. I bet he’d let you rock that body of his.”

She rolls her eyes and tries to pull me with her. Suddenly, I’m irritated that she’s trying to keep me from having fun.

“Stop it, Paige. I’m going to dance for a bit, and then head home. I’ll call you when I leave.”

At my words she drops my arms and squares her shoulders. “Fine. I’ll go with you.”

When she takes a step in my direction, I hold my hand up. “No, I think I’m good on my own tonight.”

I’m pissed off as I walk away, wondering why she keeps trying to make me go home. I’m a grown woman blowing off some steam after a hard day at work. Jesus, it’s not like I’m kicking a puppy.

When I walk around the corner, I see Skyler, Jamie and Joel up ahead and I take long steps to catch up with them. Once we’re at the entrance of the club, I shake off the aggravation from a second ago. I like being happy Mallory when I’m buzzed, and I don’t want to let her weird mood spoil tonight. My first week of work rocked, and I want to let my hair down. Whenever we went out in college, we always cut the nights short, more focused on school than anything.

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