We stopped at a gas station, and Natalie was in the store with Gabe. Nate was in the car after filling the gas tank, and I was waiting for everyone while smoking a cigarette I snatched from Mr. Clean back at work. It tasted like gasoline. I put out the short due to it's cheap taste resembling the reservation cigarettes my mother used to buy for me when I was a teenager and got back in the car.
"So, where are we going?"
"That's up to Gabe."
"You are so useless."
I turned my head out the window to find Gabe and Natalie walk out of the convenient store. Gabe carried a plastic bag with the words "THANK YOU" printed on it in red ink, and had his arm around Natalie's waist as she walked uncomfortably. They sat in the two front seats of the car, Natalie emptying the contents of the bag. She put a box of condoms in between the two front seats, tossed two packages of Ho ho's in the backseat, one for both me and Nate, and kept two energy drinks along with a few lottery tickets in the front. For the most part, the car ride was silent, besides the drivers obnoxious choice of music. I watched the dark scenery outside my window, counting streetlights and seconds. I felt a few fingertips on my left knee. "Excuse me?"
The hand was gone, and I glared at the person to my left. I grabbed the bottle of vodka at my feet and downed a few ounces.
"So, Monica?" Gabe asked for my attention from the front seat.
"If you don't mind my asking, why are you without a home?"
"I was kicked out when I was 16, so I've been spending the last three years making a living on whatever I can. To clubs and liquor stores my name is Rachel and I'm 22."
"Ah, so you're a little baby? 19?"
"Gabey, can we keep her?" Natalie whined, I rolled my eyes.
Gabe looked back into the backseat, not specifically talking to me or Nate "I don't know, can we?"
Before I could say anything, Nate commented "I'm sure we could do something with her."
I sighed and took another sip or four from the bottle of liquor in my hand.
The car parked, and we were in front of a large white house thumping with a steady baseline. All of the lights were on and the property reeked of alcohol, or maybe that was just me.
"Welcome to my humble abode." Gabe said, opening the car door.
I grabbed my belongings and hopped out of the car. "Lovely" I mumbled, and took another sip of the half empty bottle of liquor.
I lead the group to enter the house, strange faces and red cups flooded my sight. Gabe tapped my shoulder, and I looked up at him. He took my chilled hand and put a key in it. "Get some sleep, up the stairs second room on the right. Lock the door."
I did so, walking up the creaking stairs. The house felt like it was about to collapse at any second. I spotted the room, and pushed open the wooden door. The room was strangely silent. I closed the door and locked it.
Instead of Bill's preferred club scene, he took me out to a house party for once. Jouvenille, but it was easier for me to get lost for a while. We walked onto the porch and entruted a good friends house. We met up with Gabe in the kitchen.
"So, you're keeping her upstairs?" Bill asked, and Gabe nodded.
"Whats your plan?"
"I don't think I have one, she'll be gone in the morning, most likely."
I was lost.
"Bill, what are you talking about?" I interrupted. He didn't reply, just glared. His eyes dug into me, they were hate filled. Even though he loved me, he didn't hesitate hitting me. The back of his hand caused my cheek to burn and turn pink. "Get out."
I stared at my feet. Right foot, left foot, right foot. I dragged myself into the living room being held back with shame. I shakily sat myself in a chair, watching bodies and emotions. Hour after hour, the room got bigger and quieter. The party was over. There was booze on the floor and sleeping bodies on the furniture. One being William. I could have taken the keys out of his pockets, he wouldn't awake from his intoxicated slumber. I could have driven myself home, and moved all of my things from our apartment and move out. I wanted to. I'd leave him nothing but a note and an empty shared bank account. I'd be half way New York by now. But I didn't, I just sat on this chair, not really awake or asleep. Staring at his sleeping body, wishing I would gather my pride and take those keys that were hanging out of his pants pocket.
"Brooke," I whispered softly to the scrawny body next to me on the cramped hospital bed.
"Yes?" She whispered back, a smile in her voice.
"Can you go out and buy me a package of ho-ho's?"
She laughed a little and sat up, "Alright." She walked out of the room.
I waited thirty seconds to see if she would come back. I paced my room, looking for my needle. I hid it last time, but couldn't remember where. It was under the mattress, my stash taped around it. I prepared a dose, and flicked the needle a few times. Air bubbles rised to the top. I stuck the needle on the inside of my elbow, and applied pressure.
My family and friends thought that I came here to get better, I'd be clean here. But I was in the middle of a lie, and I was perfectly content. I couldn't stand the withdrawal, my body ached. I could barely walk. I soaked the drugs affects, the high. It was a relief. I quickly hid the evidence before it was too late. I locked my room and lied down on my bed, wanting to have a nice sleep and little proof that I shot up.
I zipped my suit case shut, I was moving out back to the world.
"You ready?" I could see Kyle's lanky silhouette standing at the door way from across the room. I turned.
I dragged my suitcase alongside me for a few feet, but Kyle took the bag away and carried it. I examined the hall ways, tile, smell. I hadn't realized how much of a morbid environment I had been living in. All I could smell was death, it was horrible. I entered the elevator, and there was Brooke.
"So long, Peppermint Patty." She sighed.
"Good bye, Paige."
We hit her floor, and she was about to leave. "Good luck with her friend." I said, but she ignored me.
Outside, I just stared at the building for a moment. It was good to be out. I had never appreciated oxygen more in my life than at that moment. Kyle pulled his car around and I situated myself in the passenger seat. We rode home in silence.
When Kyle dropped me off at my apartment, I hesitantly unlocked the door. My home was empty the last few months, so I was surprised that bats didn't fly out of my kitchen when I turned on the lights. I was even more surprised when I saw Harper sitting on my couch. "Hello, P-Paaige." She slurred.
My eyes snapped open, my clock read noon. Mine and Natalie's bodies were awkwardly intertwined and wrapped around sheets. I gently pulled myself out of the bed, trying not to wake her. I tried my best to clothe myself, but I was far too tired to pay attention to what I was putting on. I walked down the stairs to find Monica making herself a sandwich.
"I see you found your place," I teased, taking the sandwich from her.
"I found yours, too." She retorted.
"Yeah, you're a cheater. You used to gamble your money away before you found out it wasn't all chance. You haven't given me any reason not to sell your crime."
My face flushed with fear and rage, my hand reached out and grabbed the gingers throat, lifting her small body.
"I swear to fucking God, I'll wake up everyone in this house, I'll lie. I'll ruin you." She barely managed to squeeze the words out. I dropped her, trying to 'accidentally' inflict pain.
"How do you know?"
"You don't keep very secretive company," She gestured to the living room, at least 8 bodies scattered about.
"How will I keep you quiet?"
She grabbed an apple from the fruit basket and violently bit into it, "I'll get back to you on that one," and silently crept up the stairs.