The two characters in this one are a couple that I’ve had in mind for a long time, and intend to write a series of short stories about them (temporarily called the “word series”). I have a couple already done. 🙂 It was a challenge to myself to find random words and think of an idea for them based on it. They won’t be in any particular order… and, well, that’s kind of where that idea is sitting, presently. I’m still fleshing these two out, but I love them and like where they’re going.
Somehow, Dante was only a little surprised when he entered Robyn and her roommate’s shared apartment to find her drunk.
She had never had a drop in her life, he knew; she’d told him as much, and knowing her stand on alcohol he believed her one hundred percent. She’d been out with her fellow EDU majors a couple nights ago to celebrate midterms being over, and even then Robyn hadn’t had a sip. But apparently she’d brought some of the leftover booze home with her. At least, he didn’t think her roommate had vodka and schnapps. He could smell it as he stepped in and shut the door behind him, and could see the bottles.
And he still couldn’t bring himself to be too surprised. Proud that she’d gone out with some friends finally—she was such a hermit—but…
He found her in her customary reading position: back pressed flat to the floor, butt resting against the wall and her legs stretching up toward the ceiling (he still didn’t see how that was comfortable). With three bottles sitting next to her, each opened and looking to have lost a fair amount of their contents, she was looking pretty sorry in her recline. She was fiddling idly with the green bracelet he’d given to her on her twenty-second birthday.
“Is Tasha coming back soon?” he called to her, setting his bag down next to the door. Having no experience with a drunk Robyn, Dante thought it best to act nonchalant.
Sounding surprisingly clear for someone who had as much alcohol as she seemed to, she said, “No. She and Jeremy are staying at his place this weekend.”
That was a new name, he thought; Tasha must have switched boys again.
As he moved to sit next to her, she whined, still staring at the ceiling, “This shit tastes awful,” drawing out the ‘aw’ piteously.
Dante pressed back to the wall in the same position as Robyn, only upright. He wrinkled his nose at the boozy smell. Clearing his throat, he ventured to ask, “So what’s going on?”
“Raspberry and coffee schnapps,” she sighed, finally turning her head to face him somewhat. Her eyes and cheeks were red and puffy, and her blond hair was a haphazard mess on the floor. She could scarcely focus on his face. “And green apple vodka.” Closing her eyes tightly, she whined again in the back of her throat. “The flavors sound so tasty, but it burns…”
And yet you drank so much, he thought forlornly. “That didn’t exactly answer my question,” he pointed out.
“Huh?” She blinked at him dumbly. Suddenly she swung her legs from the wall, and the hard thud that followed made Dante wince. The next thing he knew her head was on his lap and her face tucked into his stomach. She curled into the fetal position and didn’t say anymore.
Realizing this, Dante poked her in the side of the neck. She squirmed. “Don’t puke on me,” he joked, and, though muffled, he heard her making faux retching noises. He chuckled, running his fingers through her hair. “Seriously, Robby, what’s up? You don’t drink.”
Mopey drunk that she was obviously turning out to be, she whined again, snuggling closer to him. “Uh-uh,” he intoned, twirling her hair around his finger and tugging just a bit. She looked up at him, pouting. Dante had to bite his lip to stop his grin; if only he had a camera, he thought. She never acted like this… but the circumstances were less than the best.
“It’s my last midterm,” Robyn said seriously, averting her eyes as she sighed loudly. “I’m gonna graduate in… uhm…” She squinted in thought.
“A couple months,” he offered, and she nodded. “That’s good, isn’t it?”
“I called home,” she muttered, and already Dante could begin to understand. She buried her face in his shirt again, sniffing loudly. “I just thought I’d… I dunno, share. Mom ‘nd Dad had me on speakerphone. Sean just got promoted, and Audrey got an award for something on the school paper. I think th’ most I got out was ‘hi,’ ‘what’s up on your end’ and ‘talk to you later.’ I…” She shook her head and whispered, “I feel invisible.”
Dante sighed through his nose, still trailing his hand in Robyn’s hair. He knew from experience that Robyn’s family, while loving, was very focused on their eldest and youngest children. As an only child, he’d never had that problem. It had been him and his mother for so long… He supposed he took his mother’s affection and doting for granted. Sad that Robyn’s lack of attention was what made him realize how much he appreciated his mother’s love.
He blinked, feeling Robyn’s breathing deepening. “How about we get you into bed?” he asked, shifting until he got an arm under her knees and another around her shoulders. “You’re going to probably feel that schnapps in the morning.”
“And vodka,” she said sleepily. She blinked, reaching a hand up to squeeze his bicep. “Man, are you strong.”
He laughed, turning so he could fit through the doorway to her room and set her down on the mattress. As he pulled the comforter over her, her hand shot out and snatched his wrist. “What is it?” he asked softly.
Looking very unsure, another oddity tonight, Robyn bit her lip before timidly asking, “Stay?”
And Dante smiled and whispered ‘sure’ before bunkering down under the blanket with her. She let out a content sigh and snuggled to his side, falling asleep quickly.
But the brunette stayed awake for some time, thinking. He longed for a way to somehow help Robyn with… this.
But what could he do?
The next morning found bright light blinding the poor hung-over girl in bed, which then brought to her attention her splitting headache and sudden urge to throw up.
Dante grunted loudly and clutched his gut after having a hand firmly squash him. Robyn made a mad dash to get off the bed, struggling with the covers and falling to the floor before finally freeing herself. Dante heard the bathroom door slam, and decided now it was his turn to get up.
Coffee sounded like a good idea.
Dragging her feet, Robyn plopped gracelessly into a kitchen chair at the small table, her head slowly lowering to rest on the cool wood. Dante set a glass of water in front of her and had a mug of coffee himself. Smiling a little, he leaned down and kissed the back of her head.
“While this will probably keep you from resorting to alcohol… ever again,” he teased, “I wish I could make you feel better,” he said quietly.
Robyn rolled her head until it rested on her cheek, and she looked up to him. “You being here is perfect,” she said equally quiet. And she smiled.
And he supposed that he was helping her, then. For, while her family wasn’t there, he certainly was.