why did she drink so much? second half: now decide who you think is to blame...
After a further two, three, maybe four glasses of wine she felt as though her head were made of iron and her body was light as a feather. She sat for a moment trying to gather her thoughts, but as with most drunken thoughts they were fleeting and made little sense. He now sat in the chair beside her.
She rested her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes in desperation as the room began to spin and sway each time she moved. His hand traced the skin on her cheek, they were cool. He raised her head with the tips of his fingers beneath her chin and kissed her softly. The noisy roar of the crowd had now faded into white noise and the bright lights from the bar seemed like no more than the headlights of a car far off in the distance.
Soon she found herself in the back of a taxi, it was dark and the swaying and bumping as they travelled (to where exactly she was still unclear) was beginning to make her feel sick. She raised her head and tried to focus her eyes. Then she asked the driver to stop and he put on his breaks fast enough for her to feel as though she would have fallen forwards had she not been wearing her seatbelt.
After a short moment of fumbling she opened the car door, accidently falling onto the side of the road where they had stopped. Her stomach wrenched and knotted to the point where she could no longer control it. Once her stomach was empty she felt two arms around her waist pull her up and place her in the taxi. What felt like seconds later his hand stroked her face and he lifted her up out of the taxi once more. Her body felt weak and heavy now as he carried her inside and upstairs where she found herself upon a large bed covered with white linen sheets that were cool and refreshing.
She began to drift into a sleep and just at that moment she heard someone walk into the room but her eyes were heavy and tired so she lay there in silence and let herself continue to drift further until she felt a cool hand brush away the hair from her face. She opened her eyes, and though unable to see clearly she recognised his face before her. Their lips met again.
He sat back towards the edge of the bed and removed her black knee length boots, for which she was grateful, as they were severely uncomfortable, as most women’s shoes tend to be. Then, ever so gently, he removed her jeans and her sweater, leaving her almost naked except for her underwear. He then sat beside her and lifted her body to pull back the soft linen sheets which he carefully arranged around her shoulders to make sure she would not be cold. Already undressed down to his boxers he climbed in beside her and with his arms around her watched her breathing in a sleepy shallow way. Her skin was hot to the touch and he wished to possess her. He wished to behold her flesh in the shallow light of the moon and press his fingertips to her lips and consume her intense warmth with his body with his hands, his tongue and every member of his being. She stirred as his hands breached her thighs.
She awoke the next morning alone. The cool blue light of the November dawn cast a pallid complexion across the room. She looked about for her companion, but he was nowhere to be seen and she could hear nothing outside the heavy oak door. Then realising the absence of her clothes she glanced about for them and saw them neatly arranged over the side of a wash basket in the far corner of the room. She got up and felt cold and self-conscious walking about the room with not a stitch of clothing to hide her shame and lifted her clothes from where they lay. Holding them up to the light she realised the extent of her drunkenness the night before. Her jeans were smeared with dirt at the knees and her shirt had what appeared to be a large stain from a spilled drink of some kind as well as a noticeable clinging scent of vomit. She could not wear these to work. What was she to do? Should she call in sick? She wandered. Just as she thought this the door opened behind her with a loud groan.
Turning to meet his gaze she now felt ashamed and embarrassed as she tried to conceal herself behind the grubby clothes that she still held with both hands.
‘Yeah, I wouldn’t wear those if I were you...’ he said in an almost casual sort of way then continued ‘I have some stuff you can wear if you’d like, but you’ll have to be quick, we’re leaving in ten’
She nodded timidly and followed him to another room where he handed her a black shirt and a pair of jeans. She began to dress and as she did she looked at him, her lips saying nothing but her eyes pleading for him not to watch. Seeing her reticent expression he turned and left in silence.
Standing now facing each other on the train they both seemed more real somehow. His messy black hair now seemed greasy, he was unshaven and still had the look of someone just risen from their bed about him. She became suddenly aware of the clinging scent of alcohol and vomit on her breath. She rustled and fumbled in her handbag for a pack of gum from which she removed no less than three pieces and then briefly met his eyes as she offered him the remaining two. He was so calm. His face offered no feeling, no indication as to what he felt about the night before. Perhaps he was indifferent to it entirely? She thought to herself. No. Surely he must have thought something of it all, but she did not dare ask him.
They ascended the steep hill towards the office in silence. Her mind was screaming and yet not a word could she find. Should she thank him? Should she apologise? Should she make light of it? She wished he would say something, anything.
As they stood outside the front door to the tall building she realised that she still had no idea what time it was. Searching in her bag once more and finding her phone she read the face, 06:34am it mocked. She must have been asleep for no more than two hours when she had woken; she did not begin work until half past seven, although she surmised that by this time he was already four minutes late. They stood and smoked a cigarette. He finished half way and turned to her as if to say something, but only nodded and turned away again and began typing in the four digit code to the secured door. She watched wordless as his outline faded behind the frosted glass pane.
What was she supposed to do now? She couldn’t possibly go up to the office, especially not straight after him, it would be far too conspicuous. It was half past six, the shops were not yet open and there were no parks or public greens in this vast concrete jungle. She resolved finally that she would have no choice but to hide away somewhere in the back streets, lest she be seen by a commuting colleague or worse from the office window. As she walked past the vacant shops and salons she caught her reflected profile staring back from behind the dark glass. She was pale, her mascara had run slightly under each eye and her hair was messy and she had no comb with which to restore it to its proper place. She found an alley way with a row of concrete bollards which she decided would be the most comfortable place she would find to sit or at least lean until she could return to the office bulding. Once five or ten minutes had passed she began to realise how cold she was, she had not noticed before when she was walking but now the hairs on her arms all stood to attention and she shivered violently inside and out. Why was she not wearing a jacket? The cold was now becoming a pain in her fingertips and she resolved that she would have to go into the office building. She would sneak inside without anyone seeing and hide in the ladies lavatory. There she would stay until it was time to begin work.
Now in the stall she decided she would try to make herself at least partially presentable. She pulled a compact from her bag and examined her eyes. As she struggled with a piece of tissue dampened at the tip with saliva to clean away the smudged mascara she saw how bloodshot her eyes were, so pronounced were the masses of tiny red blood vessels that from a distance her eyes looked entirely pink. She could not cover this with makeup. She would need a story, a wild night out with some old college friends would probably suffice. Some would probably scorn the idea for being irresponsible and foolish to do during the working week, but it was by far more appealing than the truth.
A loud click alarmed her, the cleaner was here. It must be nearly seven, she had fallen asleep leaning against the bright green wall of the toilet cubicle. As she tried to sit up and open her eyes they felt dry. ‘Why did I drink so much?’ she asked herself.
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