TAI Story. Josey is a unhappy editor who runs into a boy one Christmas eve. This boy, named William, happens to have a few life problems of his own. He's got a bitchy girlfriend, crazy family, and...
An exhausted young woman walks alone down the street, tightly clenching onto the lining of her black knee length coat. Proceeding quickly to avoid further confrontation with the cold, she turned and walked into a place commonly know as Nick’s Cocktail lounge. Walking in calmly, she politely sat at the bar while waiting to order herself a drink.
She brushed a hand through her butterscotch colored hair, removing snow and other flying objects that made their way through the wind. Suddenly, she perked up at the sight of the person she’d intended to see. Waving her hand towards the man behind the counter, she exclaimed, “Ted!”
“Josey! What are you doing here?” he asked, looking a little surprised since so far he’d only had to tend to the few stragglers who’d come in all night.
“I came here to see you!” she over enthused, earning a dully sarcastic look from her acquaintance. After a moment, she settled herself calmly into the bar stool before admitting, “Okay, you caught me. It’s Christmas and I have no where else to go.”
Raising a gray eyebrow, Ted asked, “not even a friend’s house?”
Shrugging, she replied, “Not tonight; Ayla’s visiting family. Oh, and I’ll have the usual tonight, Ted.”
Ted shot her a saddened look before turning his back and sighing. You see, Josey showed up there almost every weekend to drink away her daily problems and lately, she’s been showing up more than usual.
Don’t get this wrong, Ted loved to have her company, especially during the late shifts in the evening. However, the girl had become dependent on being here every time she’d start to feel a little lonely. It was the only place where people didn’t ignore her… almost as if they were her only family.
Finishing pouring her drink, Ted turned around and handed her her drink. Sighing soothingly, she took a sip of the sweet liquor that burned slightly as it slid down her throat.
“So, how’s your boy-toy- what was his name again?” Ted inquired curiously, sparking up some small talk.
“Seth, and that’s ex boy-toy now. To say the least, we had our ‘artistic differences’. I had my journalism and he had Winifred,” she explained briefly with a groan.
“Damn girl, what’s that now? Five different boys in the past month? I take it you need a break, eh?” he replied, trying to lighten up the mood. Chuckling, she replied, “Ha, I think I do too.”
Reaching for her third drink, Josey asked, “So, how’s your wife?”
Smiling edgily, he answered, “She’s doing better than she was. Cancer treatment has been a little hard on her but she’s optimistic. ‘saying she’ll be back on her feet in a few days.”
“That’s lovely to hear,” Josey said warmly while spinning in her chair, “Send my regards, will ya?”
“Of course,” he muttered, a smile making its way across his face as he courteously warned, “Don’t drink too much; I want you going home walking a straight line.”
Laughing while pulling out a pack of cigarettes from her purse, Josey replied, “I wouldn’t bet on it, pops,” before lighting her smoke and taking a drag.
“How’s work going?” he asked, now diverting the subject.
Chuckling eerily, she omitted in reply, “It’s been a crazy month. A lady in the department I work in left on maternity leave and they’re pinning her editorial duties on me. Lots of pressure, that’s for damn sure.”
“Is there anyone helping you?”
“Not really. My boss tries to secede some of the responsibilities but all he ever does is make everything worse, so I guess it’s better if I’m the blame,” she explained with hard sigh. The alcohol had set in, her head feeling light as air and her body just moving with the rhythm of the music blaring from the tiny radio under the bar.
“Uhhh,” she groaned, biting her lip in dismay at the reminder of going back to work the following week. Such a painful truth to endure, she thought detachedly as she swallowed another gulp of her cocktail.
“I really should go,” she said finally, sighing at the though of going home alone again. It was something childish to think but the feeling was something she feared. She wanted a friend to be there so she wouldn’t have to face the dark. But how she couldn’t break herself away from this bar scene that she considered her second home. A place she didn’t have to be afraid of.
“See you around, kid,” Ted waved her off as she slid her overcoat on top of her sweater, tugging her purse onto the level of her shoulder blade. It’d be okay, she told herself, there was nothing to be afraid of.
“Night,” she whispered as she walked out those doors into a fury of white flakes that awaited her beneath the winter sky.