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Point of retreat, p.16

  Point of Retreat, p.16

   part  #2 of  Slammed Series

Point of Retreat
 


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  against my forehead. My head is pounding. I reach above the refrigerator and move the boxes of cereal out of the way to get to the cabinet behind it. I pull out the bottle of tequila and grab a shot glass and pour myself a drink.

  “I was thinking more along the lines of a soda,” Gavin says as he sits down at the bar and watches me down a shot.

  “Good idea.” I open the refrigerator and pull out a soda. I grab an even bigger glass and mix the soda with the tequila. Not the best mix, but it helps it go down smoother.

  “Will? I’ve never seen you like this. You sure you’re okay?”

  I tilt my head back and finish the entire drink, then put the glass in the sink. I choose not to answer him. If I say yes, he’ll know I’m lying. If I say no, he’ll ask me why. So I just sit down next to him while he eats, and I don’t say a thing.

  “Eddie and I wanted to talk to you and Layken together. I guess right now that’s not going to happen, so…” Gavin’s voice trails off and he takes another bite of basagna.

  “Talk to us about what?”

  He wipes his mouth with a napkin and sighs. He brings his right arm down to the table, gripping his fork with his hand so tight that his knuckles turn white. “Eddie’s pregnant.”

  I don’t trust my own ears at this point. My head is still pounding and the alcohol mixed with the homemade concoction Sherry gave me is causing me to see two of Gavin.

  “Pregnant? How pregnant?” I ask.

  “Pretty damn pregnant,” he says.

  “Shit.” I stand up and grab the tequila off the counter and re-fill the shot glass. I normally don’t promote underage drinking, but there are occasionally times when even I push my boundaries. I place the shot in front of him and he downs it.

  “What’s the plan?” I ask.

  He walks to the living room and sits back down on the third couch. When did I get a third couch? I swipe the bottle of tequila off the counter and rub my eyes as I make my way into the living room. When I open them, there are only two couches again. I hurry up and sit down before I fall.

  “We don’t have a plan. The same plan, anyway. Eddie wants to keep it. It scares the shit out of me, Will. We're only nineteen. We’re not prepared for this at all. ”

  Unfortunately, I know exactly how he feels.

  “Do you want to keep it?” I ask.

  Sunday, January 21st…I think. It might still be Saturday night. Whatever. WTF ever.

  Lake...Lake, Lake, Lake, Lake. I’d take a mountain and then I need another drink. But I love you so much. Yeah I think I need more tequila…and more cowbell. I love you I’m so sorry. I’m not thirsty. But I’m not hungry, just thirsty. But I’m never drinking another cheeseburger again I love you so much.

  Chapter Eight

  Eddie’s pregnant. Gavin’s scared. I let Lake go. That’s all I remember about last night.

  The sun is brighter than it’s ever been. I throw the covers off and head to the bathroom. When I make it across the hall, I try to open the door but it’s locked. Why the hell is my bathroom door locked? I knock, which feels extremely odd-knocking on my own bathroom door when I should be the only person in my house.

  “Just a sec!” I hear someone yell. It’s a guy. It’s not Gavin. What the hell is going on? I walk to the living room and see a blanket and pillow on the couch. There are shoes by the front door, next to a suitcase. I’m scratching my head when the bathroom door opens, so I turn around.

  “Reece?”

  “Mornin',” he says.

  “What are you doing here?” I ask him.

  He shoots me a confused look as he walks to the couch and sits down. “Are you kidding?” he asks.

  Why would I be kidding? What would I be kidding about? I haven’t seen him in over a year.

  “No. What are you doing here? When did you get here?”

  He shakes his head with the same bewildered expression across his face. “Will, do you not remember anything from last night?”

  I sit down and try to remember. Eddie’s pregnant. Gavin’s scared. I let Lake go. That’s all I remember. He can see from the struggle in my face that I need a refresher.

  “I got back last Friday. My mom kicked me out? I needed a place to stay last night and you told me I could stay here. You really don’t remember?”

  I shake my head. “I’m sorry, Reece. I don’t.”

  He laughs. “Dude, how much did you have to drink last night?”

  I think back on the tequila, then remember the medicine Sherry gave me. “I don’t think it was just the alcohol.”

  He stands up and looks awkwardly around the room. “Well, if you want me to leave…”

  “No. No, I don’t mind you staying here, you know that. I just don’t remember. I’ve never blacked out before.”

  “You weren’t making much sense when I got here, that’s for sure. You kept saying something about a star…and a lake. I thought you were cracked out. You’re not cracked out…are you?”

  I laugh. “No, I’m not cracked out. I’m just having a really shitty weekend. The worst. And no, I don’t feel like talking about it.”

  “Well, since you don’t remember anything about last night…you kind of told me I could live here? For a month or two? Does that ring a bell?” Reece raises his eyebrows and waits for my reaction.

  Now I know why I never drink. I always end up agreeing to things that I normally wouldn’t agree to when I’m sober. I can’t really think of a reason not to let him stay here. We do have an extra bedroom. He practically lived here when we were growing up. Although I haven’t seen him since his last break from deployment, I still consider him my best friend.

  “Stay as long as you need to,” I say. “Just don't expect me to be much fun. I'm not having a very good week.”

  “Obviously.” He grabs his bags and shoes and takes them down the hallway to the spare bedroom. I walk to the window and look across the street at Lake’s house. Her car is gone. Where would she be? She doesn’t really go anywhere on Sunday’s. They’re her movies and junk food days. I’m still watching out the window when Reece walks back into the living room.

  “You don’t have shit to eat,” he says. “I’m hungry. You want me to grab you anything at the store?”

  I shake my head. “I don’t feel like eating,” I say. “Just get whatever. I’ll probably go later this afternoon, anyway. I need a few things before Caulder gets back tomorrow.”

  “Oh yeah, where is that little twerp?”

  “Detroit.”

  Reece slips his shoes and his jacket on and slips out the front door. I walk to the kitchen to make coffee, but there’s already a full pot. Nice.

  ***

  As soon as I step out of the shower, I hear the front door open. I don’t know if it’s Reece or Lake, so I rush to pull my pants on to see if it’s Lake. When I emerge from the hallway, she’s holding the vase in her hands, making her way to the front door. When she sees me, she speeds up.

  “Dammit, Lake!” I cut her off in the living room and don’t let her by. “You aren’t taking it. Don’t make me hide it from you.”

  She tries to shove her way past me but I block her again. “You have no right to keep them at your house, Will! It’s just your excuse to make me keep coming over here!”

  She’s right. She’s absolutely right…but I don’t care. “No, I want them over here because I don’t trust that you won’t open them all.”

  She shoots me a dirty look. “While we’re on the subject of trust, are you sabotaging these? Are you putting fake ones in here, trying to get me to forgive you?”

  I laugh. She must be getting some great advice from her mom if she thinks I’m sabotaging the stars. “Maybe you should listen to your mother’s advice, Lake.”

  She tries to brush past me again so I grab the vase from her hands. She jerks it away harder than I expect and the vase slips and lands on the floor, spilling out dozens of tiny stars onto the carpet. She bends down and starts scooping them up. Her hands are full and
I can see on her face that she doesn’t know where to put them since her pants don’t have pockets. She pulls the collar of her shirt out and starts shoving them inside by the handful. She’s determined.

  I grab her hands and pull them away from her shirt. “Lake, stop it! You’re acting like a ten year old!” I set the vase upright and start throwing the rest of them inside as fast as she’s grabbing them, stuffing them inside her shirt. I do the only thing I can…I reach my hand down her shirt and start grabbing them back. She slaps at my hands and tries to crawl backwards but I grab the back of her shirt to stop her. She continues to back away as I continue holding onto her shirt until it slips over her head and it’s resting in my hands. She gathers more stars and stands and heads toward the front door with her hands clasped to her bra, still trying to hold on to them.

  “Lake, you aren’t going outside without a shirt on,” I say. She’s relentless.

  “Watch me!” she says. I jump up and wrap my arms around her waist and pick her up. Just as I’m about to release her onto the couch, the front door swings open. I look over my shoulder and Reece walks in with a handful of groceries. He pauses and stares at us wide-eyed.

  Lake is still trying to struggle to free herself from my grasp, ignoring the fact that someone she doesn't even know has a front row seat to her tantrum. The only thing I can think of is the fact that she’s in her bra in front of another guy. I pick her up higher and toss her over the back of the couch. Just as fast as she’s on the couch, she’s back up again, trying to make her way past me. She finally notices Reece standing in the doorway.

  “Who the hell are you?” she yells as she slaps at my arm that’s holding her back.

  He responds cautiously. “Reece? I live here?” he says.

  Lake stops struggling and folds her arms across her chest with an embarrassed look on her face. I take the opportunity to grab most of the stars out of her hands and I toss them back toward the vase. I reach down and pick her shirt up and shove it into her chest. “Put your shirt on!” I snap.

  “Ugh!” She throws the rest of the stars on the floor and turns her shirt right side out. “You’re such a jerk, Will! You have no right to keep these here!” She pulls her shirt over her head and turns to Reece. “And when the hell did you get a roommate?”

  Reece just stares at her, still wide-eyed. He has no idea what to make of the scene going down before him. Lake walks back to the center of the room and grabs a small handful of stars, then turns and rushes toward the front door. Reece steps aside as she moves passed him and goes outside. We both watch as she crosses the street, stopping twice to pick up stars she drops in the snow. When she shuts her door behind her, Reece turns to me.

  “Man, she’s feisty. And cute,” he says.

  “And mine,” I reply.

  ***

  While Reece is cooking us lunch, I crawl around the living room and pick up all the stars that scattered. After I think I have them all, I take the vase to the kitchen to hide it in the cabinet. If she can’t find it, she’ll have to speak to me to ask me where it is.

  “What are those, anyway?” Reece asks.

  “They’re from her mother,” I say. “Long story.”

 
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