Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chapter 22: The best and worst hangover

Chapter 22: The best and worst hangover (Wattpad)

Part I:

Hangover – the disagreeable after effects of drunkenness. 

Fuck that bullshit.

I can’t believe the human dictionary could be so incompetent in defining these kinds of things. It’s freaking nausea and headache at the same time, not to mention the humiliation that I’ve been anticipating when I’ll face my parents later.

I was so stupid! Why did I get drunk in the first place?! Now I can’t even recall what I did last night; only up to the point where Delsey was dragging me downstairs and we asked permission which we received immediately…then we were having a blast…then El joined in our crazy drinking session and then…

It’s fuzzy.

It’s too damned fuzzy for me to decipher. I slowly untangled myself from the sheets, trying not to wake Elaine and Delsey on either side of me and stood up unsteadily. I surveyed the bedroom and got a warm wave of relief when it was still in order. 

I sighed, tried to remember some other details from last night – and failed – and finally resigned to checking my phone. The first thing I checked was the inbox, though I don’t text much, and was unsurprised to see that there aren’t any new messages. I checked my call log next.

I gagged.

Names flashed through my eyes with sickening speed; Sarah, Travis, Unknown number, Sarah again. Damn this. I closed my eyes for a moment and didn’t open them yet – the dark was so much more inviting than the blinding nausea. 

So, all the people who called me last night are Cassie and the rest of the bunch, Travis, Sarah and lots of unknown people. 

Prank calls?

I slowly opened my eyes and considered it, but there were too many people who called for this to be a silly little joke. Just too many. Then with a mind-numbing thud, I remembered the blinding truth to everything that happened last night.

It all started with the blasted photos. Those magazines!
That must mean that these people are precisely just that – unknown. They’ve read the maagzines. The fucking magaaazines. So, to simplify it, I had been worried sick for the last few days because I thought my family would finally find out about Travis so I isolated them from him, but it turns out that I have to isolate them from the rest of the world.


But I still couldn’t figure out what really happened last night. My subconscious was trying to remind me urgently but I can’t…aaargh.

What is it?

What the hell is it?

I swayed on my feet and settled on the floor slowly. God, I’ll never drink again. Ever. Why did I even do that? I must’ve been a bloody mess. Was I that depressed?

You were, scumbag.


MESS. My mind is a galactic mess of sorts. Fuuuck. I can’t differentiate what I’ve been imagining from reality and do you know how hard that is? I don’t even curse this often, but fuck etiquette. Damn being nice.

Okay. I took a deep breath. So let’s tackle this nightmare one step at a time. 

Dad turned on the music. Yeah, that’s right; I remember that one as clear as day. Then I was serving drinks and Uncle Zed stopped me and we had a little chat. Oh, darn it. I told him about Travis. 

And after that, uhm. Fuck, my head hurts. Okay, after that, the party went smoothly and…speed stacks. We were playing speed stacks. Right, I remember that. I breathed in and out now, willing the nausea to ease. So, right after that, El told me about her Ethan and I…


That did not happen.

My eyes widened as I remembered the events at this very room. No, no, no! Aaargh. This is not acceptable. Of all the guys in this – this wretched life I have, it has to be him. He doesn’t even see me! For all I know on his part, I’m probably just his buddy who was kind enough – no, stupid enough – to help him. 

Biting my lower lip, I stood up cautiously and went to my cabinet. I opened one side and the full-body mirror instantly reflected me. I moved closer and scrutinized my appearance with an honest, critical eye.

I wish I hadn’t.

Bloodshot eyes – hangover or from crying? Why the hell would I even cry? I’m certainly not that depressed – same clothes from yesterday, though they look a lot deal more tattered. I look physically drained. I saw more – eyebags that looked forever etched to my skin and loose wavy hair that tumbled down in clumps from sleeping. I look like I’ve been diagnosed with cancer.

You’re not. You’re beautiful.

My eyes flashed. 

What was that? What the hell was that? I must be going senile. But as I scanned my brain for the source, I know they’ve been said to me last night. I know it. 

But, wait a second. Me? Beautiful? Yeah, thanks.

I stashed away the information inside my brain and went back to the topic at hand – Travis. So what the bloody hell about him?

I looked at myself in the mirror and I saw my cheeks flaming. Jesus Christ, it’s just his name. Then a strange thought crossed my mind.

What if he said that?
You’re beautiful.

As I watched, the color drained from my cheeks and the sparkle died in my eyes like sunset. They filled with tears.

Travis would never say that.

Part II:

This is different. I’ve always disregarded anything I feel, anything serious. But right now is another story. I’ll have to tread my path with him carefully from now on.

As I combed my wet hair, I stepped out of the shower and wrapped my body around my white bathrobe. I tied it securely, finally finished with my hair and looked at myself in the huge mirror.

I don’t look that bad anymore – there’s a pink tint on my cheeks from the warm bath and I looked as white as a porcelain doll, in the middle of the good and bad way. But my eyes are troubling me; they looked lifeless.

No will. No energy. All drained.

I sighed and my shoulders sagged. I’ve never felt so low in my life. Going with him in that park was a mistake. Spending that lunch with him was a mistake. This never should’ve happened. I should’ve seen it. 

I looked at myself in the mirror and I saw that I looked, if it was even possible, worse. I blinked and tears feel to the tiles beneath my feet. I can’t understand it, and I’m used to understanding. You can’t just leave someone torn up to pieces.

I wiped the tears from my face with the back of my hand, even though every part of my body feels broken. I took a deep breath and forced a smile on my face. It seemed to tear my face apart, but I kept the smile intact. I started gathering my things when my ringtone echoed through the bathroom space. My smile disappeared.

Shakily putting my belongings back, I took out my phone and felt even worse. Much, much worse.

Travis Warner, the caller ID simply said.

Pressing the answer key, I answered as normally as possible, “Hello.”

“Avery.” More tears fell as I heard his voice. I held the countertop and took a deep breath. Fuck it, Avery. “I think you called last night, but I can’t remember. Sorry.” 

“It’s all right. That’s why I called you.” When I bit my lip, I immediately tasted blood. “Travis?”

There was a pause before he replied, “Yes?”

“Nothing.” I changed my mind at the last second. Pretty stupid of me to say I love him when he doesn’t even like me back. I waited for his response but heard nothing. My brow furrowed in concern, “Travis? You okay?”

“I’m not.”

The words hit me hard. It squeezed my heart until I couldn’t breathe. As more tears streamed down my cheeks, my spirit spiraled even lower. How could he just say that?

“I…last night. Did I say anything?”

“Let’s talk when I get there.”

When you get here…

“I’ll wait for you.” I realized that I meant those words more than I let on.

Part III:

Fully dressed, I paced in Mom and Dad’s room, gathering courage for the inevitable. He’s on his way here. To my home. My heart thudded faster. When I checked earlier, my parents and all the other adults are having their morning coffee along with cookies. I escaped here just to prepare on how to give them a heads-up. 

So far, my mind is still a total blank.

No guts, no glory, my dear niece. 

Before I could lose the moment, I strode towards the door, and in no time, I’m already facing all of them. “Avery,” Aunt Adelaine said, “Coffee?” she offered, raising her own cup. As I shook my head no, Uncle Zed soundlessly offered the chair next to him for me to sit on. 

Everyone went on with the conversation and Uncle quickly slipped a hundred bucks in my pocket. I gave him a smile, which hopefully disguised my discomfort. 

Okay. This is it.

Taking a deep breath, I faced my parents at the head of the table. As if the hundred dollar bill gave me energy, I waited until Grandpa Ian finished his remark on their talk and smoothly joined in the conversation,

“Dad, Mom. You remember Travis, don’t you?”

Everyone’s eyebrows pitched rocketed upward aside from Uncle Zed, who was grinning excitedly. My parents were smiling but it was Dad who replied, “What about him, Ave?”

I sought my courage and forged on, “We talked last night and…and he’d really like to meet you all.”

Before anybody else could react, he chuckled and said, “Absolutely.” Mom smiled, “Where is he, darling?”

“He’s going to be here soon. I’ll wait outside.” I stood up and left the table because I don’t want to be there when they ask the questions. But my parents don’t even know Travis’ last name. Not even Uncle Zed.

They’ll find out sooner rather than later.

I pushed the door open and the fresh air greeted me the instant I took the first step over the threshold. The sun was beating down on me, but the heat is more bearable than not. Sighing, I walked on the gate and took three steps down and sat. What’s intended to happen will happen. Let’s just see how this damned thing goes.

3 minutes later

The instant I heard the sounds of what unmistakably be other than a vehicle, my tired muscles tensed and my senses sharpened. The only good thing about this is that I’m incredibly tired and still on hangover to boot. I restrained the urge to tear up and curse as the sight of his car showed up on my right and parked in front of our little home. 

My legs straightened on their own accord and I stood up. I was unfocused and detached from the world and I only saw the driver’s side opening and he came out. His eyes met mine at the next second and he walked purposefully towards me, his eyes never leaving me. 

It’s as if my universe became him and my everything became him. Now that I’ve set my eyes on him, I’m determined never to let him slip away from me. That would be impossible. It can’t be that way.

As if drawn to him, I met him halfway and the moment I can touch his skin, without thinking, I wrapped my arms around his familiar neck and pulled him down to me and kissed him like my life depended on it. And he did the same. I could even feel my feet being lifted from the ground and I felt only bliss, being complete and nothing else. 

My body was more than humming – it was craving. It seemed as if eternity had passed before we both pulled away at the same time and I looked in the bluest eyes I’ve had the privilege to see, to know, cherish and understand. It’s like I can see into his very soul and I wanted it that way. 

He didn’t smile and neither did I. So many turbulent emotions can be seen on the surface and there were still things to be sorted out. He just whispered.

“Maybe we should come in.”

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