Before I knew it, we were walking through the door of my apartment. I dropped the small bag onto my living room table and shuffled slowly towards the kitchen. Claire stood confused in the doorway, still trying her best to control her buzz. I pulled a bottle of jack from the fridge and cradled it as I made my way back to the living room. I sunk into the couch and took a long hard gulp from the bottle.
"You just gonna stand there?" I asked, staring faintly into the darkness of the apartment.
"I should really be getting home," she muttered in a nervous voice. "I think Cassie might be worried about me."
I didn't reply.
I didn't care about whether she'd decide to stay or leave. I just wanted to feel numb. My arm was throbbing now, slowly sending dull shivers throughout my body. The weed had masked it behind the high, and now the alcohol was slowly killing it. Things started to slow down, and my arms were too heavy to lift the bottle.
The front door closed and I didn't even get a chance to look up before she sat closely next to me.
"They say this stuff is poison," she sneered as she slipped the bottle from my hands.
"Good," I replied, letting out a soft smile. She took a swig from the bottle and her face clenched tightly in regret. "They also say it's not for kids," I teased.
She gave me a dirty look then took a strong gulp from the bottle. I smiled again as she struggled to keep a straight face.
"Good thing I'm not a kid".
She leaned into me, pressing her chest against my arm. I yanked back and winced in pain, feeling the sharp sting of the tattoo.
"What's wrong?" She asked in confusion, pulling herself away. I slid my sleeve up and showed her my freshly wrapped up wound.
"W-woah," she continued, edging back to the distance we had before.
She lost the courage that the bottle had given her.
"When did you get that", she asked, analyzing it with her eyes. I took the bottle back from her and took another generous swig to numb the pain.
"You got that all in one day?"
I didn't reply.
I stood up loosely. My legs turned weak and my eyes were barely able to stay open. She reached for my wrist and tugged me back down to the couch.
"I always wondered why you didn't speak much," she whispered, nervously making eye contact with me.
"Because I'd rather listen."
An image of Malena flashed in my head. Memories of her always trying to get me to open up, begging me to smile.
I chased it away with another swig.
Claire pulled me closer until I could feel the warmth of her breath against my neck. I hadn't noticed it before, but she was already drunk. Or maybe she was just a bit too high.
Hell, maybe it was just a bad mix.
She was a pretty girl, beautiful even. But I felt nothing for her. After what happened with Malena, I turned cold. Food didn't taste the same, my bed felt colder, and I just didn't feel right.
Claire's cheeks blushed red, and her eyes were staring daringly into mine; all the nervousness and unease she had was killed.
I felt sick.
She leaned forward and kissed me. It was sloppy and uncertain, as if she wasn't sure about herself. Her body was tight and her arms were tense with fear. Her hand slid up my leg until her fingers hovered right over my belt. She pulled at the hinge and struggled to open it.
I knew the feeling.
"You're a virgin," I muttered, finally returning her gaze. Her face turned pale and she pulled away. "It's alright," I whispered, "but I think you have the wrong idea."
"Huh," she replied, slowly getting her color back.
"You should lose it with someone you actually like, not someone you had a drink with."
"You don't understand, do you..." She muttered, her eyes looking into the darkness of the apartment. "I do like you. I've liked you since we were kids. It's just that you've never given anyone a chance," the red flush of her cheeks had clenched with anger.
She was right. I barely knew her, yet we've lived in the same building for all of both of our lives. As a matter of fact, the only person I ever really knew was Malena.
But you could say I barely knew her too.
"How could you like me," I replied, clenching the bottle tightly.
"I don't know. It's mostly because you seem different from the other guys. Not that you were weird or anything. But it was more like you were-"
The front door flew open. My father's lawyer stormed in with his tie undone and his hair in a mess.
"Kyle, where the hell have you been?!"
I shuttered as I forced myself to stand. "Uh...I've been...I've been busy." My voice was shaken and weak, confused by the weight of the alcohol. My fingers slipped open and I dropped the bottle on the carpet.
"Uh, I should get going," Claire mumbled, sobering up and grabbing her things.
"No, it's alright," I interrupted, "you can stay."
"No, I think it would be better if you left," Green continued strongly.
"Listen Mr.Green - I was in the middle of something, could you come back tomorrow," I sneered sarcastically, " like maybe later in the day and not one in the morning?"
I could barely think straight, let alone hold a conversation with my father's lawyer.
"You dumb little shit-," he mumbled, staring at me blankly, "you don't know why I'm here, do you?"
"I should really go," Claire whispered. She turned around and walked towards the door. I followed behind her and ignored Green as I reached for her arm at the doorway.
"Claire, you can stay!"
Something inside me refused to be alone. Her words had reminded me how much I needed to change.
"She needs to leave, Kyle!"
She swung around again and froze.
"What do you even want, Mr.Green? Your paycheck? Papers? What the fuck is the problem?!"
"Your father is dead!" He yelled with a crack in his voice. His face tensed and he dropped down to the floor. He crashed under the weight of his words.
I stood silently as my grasp slipped off of Claire's arm. She was pale again, maybe even more afraid than I was.
"Kyle, I'm so-"
"Go," I interrupted, "-go home Claire."
We stood silently in the doorway. It was quiet enough that I swore I could hear my own heartbeat. In a moment she simply walked away, leaving me to stand in the exact same place my father had last questioned me about drinking.
And here I was, drunk as the piece of shit he never wanted me to be.