Yes, I know. I said there was stupidity involved with the drinking. Maybe I should have said it came after the drinking. That would have been a little bit clearer, I suppose. Maybe I didn’t want to be clear.
I don’t think I did…
Clayton lifted his head and looked around, wincing. Okay, yeah, he recognized this place—and that was a relief because he could have been anywhere considering how much he’d drunk last night. He picked himself up slowly off the couch. Okay. He needed clothes. Why had he thought that going to Larabee’s and drinking when he had to work in the morning was a good idea? He was an idiot.
He pulled off his shirt and pants and dropped them in the trash can that he used for a dirty clothes hamper—amazing how it had been cheaper to get a piece of plastic designated trash than it was to get a real dirty clothes hamper—and went into the bathroom, turning on the shower. He caught his reflection in the mirror and smiled. Ah, good, no weird shifting while he’d slept.
He stepped into the shower and started rinsing off. No more puke.
He’d thrown up. Yes. He remembered that. He’d thrown up after he shifted in front of April. He leaned his head against the shower wall. She was gone—his apartment wasn’t big enough for him to have missed her as he passed through it. He hadn’t really expected her to stay, but they were going to be back at the beginning. Why hadn’t he shown her what he could do some time when neither of them had been drinking? There would be no denying it then, but right now—it was just the alcohol. All of it was.
He finished his shower and got out, drying off quickly. He dressed in a hurry—he knew that he was late. He would have skipped the shower if he hadn’t spent the night in puke, but no, after that, he had to be clean.
He grabbed his coat, cursing again when he remembered what had happened to his coat, and checked his messages as he went out the door. Nothing. Great. She hadn’t called, either. Last night definitely fell under the category of it never happened.
He shook his head and headed off to a long shift of drudgery at work. He still couldn’t believe that he missed the archives.
Larabee would call it moping. He’d probably be right. It happened far too often with Clayton. He had been trying to change, but today he was definitely having a set back. It was just not a good day to try for the positive outlook. He’d been three hours late to work, and he stopped to check his phone again. Yeah, still nothing from April. She was ignoring him.
He’d tried calling her on his lunch break, and he’d gotten no answer. He had a really old Beatles song in his head and kept picturing her with Brady again. Clayton put his head down on the table and sighed. He wasn’t even in the mood for gummy bears. Biting their heads off only reminded him of her.
Yeah, that was pretty twisted, too.
He needed to stop this. It was not helping anything. It also wasn’t very manly of him, was it?
“I really thought you’d be sick of those things by now. How can you think about eating more gummy bears after last night?”
“It usually makes me happy, and I wanted to be happy. Can’t I just be happy?” Clay shook his head on the last one. “I’ve tried. It doesn’t work. I’m not meant to be happy.”
“Are you still hungover or what?” April asked, setting her bag down on the booth with a sigh. “Oh, I will be so glad when that class is over. It’s only one day a week, but that makes them shove a whole week’s worth of work down your throat in a couple of hours.”
He nodded. They definitely were back to normal, weren’t they? Only not quite. She wouldn’t even be talking to him normally, would she? He didn’t know. He was just going to leave now because he’d get mean in a second.
“I have something for you.”
He frowned, stopped in the middle of standing up. “Uh… You don’t have to give me gummy bears. Or the pictures that we took last night. Really.”
She shook her head, dragging a lump of fabric out of her bag. “This.”
“Is that… a coat?”
She nodded. “It was my dad’s. You said that the one Larabee ruined last night was your favorite, so… This one is almost the same. You can have it.”
“I don’t… understand. Why are you doing this? Aren’t you still convinced I’m a liar and that we just drank too much and everything?”
She sat back, frowning. “Why would I say that? Clayton, didn’t you read the note I left?”