Mikey takes the good with the bad, and he does it with a smile.
“Slut!” The word rang through the living room. The music had suddenly stopped. Or maybe it had been off before. I wasn’t so sure now.
I went from having my lips locked to Frank’s… to facing a crowd of frowning partygoers. The girl who had shouted ‘slut’ stared at me with disdain… and next to her was Mikey, and next to Mikey was Gerard.
It was like a bad scene out of a crappy romantic flick gone wrong, and I knew I should chase after Gerard as he abruptly left the room but my legs had gone numb. My mind had shut off, but now my actions were at least registering as wrong and I no longer wanted my lips smashed against Frank’s.
“She’s not a slut.” Mikey spit out, but his anger was unmistakable. “She’s just drunk.”
“Mikey!” The blonde girl continued frowning. “She’s dating your brother, and kissing your bandmate and-”
Mikey cut her off with a glare that could kill, and the sharp pronunciation of her name. “Lauren!”
My head was a mess. The smell of alcohol was overwhelming. I was betraying Gerard and Mikey all at once, and yet still… Mikey was standing up for me. That was just the kind of guy that he was, until the end. I knew that. So why did I have to hurt him? Like this… and with the entire deal. It was business gone terribly, terribly wrong.
Frank let out a soft gasp, and our eyes met. I understood immediately. “Go after him.” I muttered, frowning. “He went upstairs.” I was sober enough to pay attention to where Gerard had gone, and to where I should have followed.
“You sure?” Frank frowned. “You come first… you can totally go instead…” But he was wrong, and this was right. This would work out in Gerard’s favor. Frank would go upstairs. He would apologize. If Gerard was smart he would remember my tips and… major headache building up.
“Go.” I whispered, letting my gaze fall to where Mikey had been. He was gone now. “I have to make sure Mikey is okay.” The words fell out before I could stop myself.
“Why wouldn’t he be?” Frank asked. His frown deepened, and for a second I thought he got it… but then I realized. He was just drunk.
“Just go.” I didn’t waste another word as I left his side. I was sure he didn’t waste any time thinking over the odd gesture. We were both wasted, and that was the magic of alcohol… it was a magical, poisonous substance.
The blonde with the filthy mouth stopped me, but the music had resumed- and no one was paying attention to us now. Evidently that one word was about as risqué as it would get, and they all seemed to know it. “Move.” I spit out, in no mood to deal with her. The alcohol melted my calm, and all of my control was gone. This was worse than drowning in water, as the waves crashed down. This was a million times worse. The waves were everywhere, and my own mistakes made up the water.
She frowned. “I know what you’re doing.” Oh, really? I doubt it. I don’t even fucking know what I’m doing.
“Clever people don’t often stand in my way, so I really doubt you have anything figured out.” It seemed that alcohol helped make anger a lot more noticeable, and a hell of a lot less controllable.
She rolled her eyes, and opened her mouth to speak. I didn’t care to wait around for her to formulate a reasonable argument and so instead I just pushed past her. She was all bark and no bite, considering how she didn’t follow along.
Now, where had Mikey gone? I searched around the crowd, finding it useless to do so. It was just a wave of people, a wave that kept moving.
Someone familiar bumped in to me, and the stench of alcohol grew. I think his name was Bob, but I couldn’t be sure. “He went outside.” He slurred out, completely surprising me. How did he know what I wanted, when he could barely stand? Then again I could barely stand.
I just nodded, taking the words and running with them.
If I ran I’d probably fall and never ever get back up again.
It took me three tries to open the door. I kept pushing, before I realized I should pull. I pulled, nearly fell on my ass, and eventually made it out.
The cold air hit my face, but the effect was far from sobering. Instead my brain seemed to continue to shut down, and I found myself stumbling.
The cement was cold on my feet, and as I gazed down I realized I’d lost my shoes at some point in the night. I wasn’t too hung up on that, because as soon as I looked up I saw Mikey.
He was several feet away, stuck talking to someone. He looked uncomfortable, and tired. But he was still right there, within walking distance.
Too bad there was a pool in between us. One that I happened to completely miss visually, however it became very clear that it was there when I fell in.
I crashed in, inhaling chlorinated water that burned my nose. Somehow I decided opening my mouth would be a good idea, and choked on some more water. Temporarily I found myself unable to breath, causing panic to set in. My feet hit the bottom of the pool, and one of my ankles twisted painfully.
It turned out cold water was fairly sobering. Or maybe it was just the fact that I couldn’t breath that sobered me up quickly.
Still, my mind wasn’t working correctly as I flailed underneath the water continuing to suck in water.
The surface seemed miles away as I struggled uselessly. It was like I was pushing myself further down instead of up, and then right as I swallowed another mouthful of the foul water strong arms wrapped around my waist. I tried not to fight, as hard as it was. I was a ball of panic, wound up tightly.
We broke the surface together and I gasped for air, feeling my stomach expanding from the intake of water. I spit some water up, or maybe it was just spit. All I knew was that I could breath again, and that sweet relief flooded my body. “Tay.” The endearing nickname, the familiar deep voice.
“I saw you fall.” Mikey had pulled me to a place in the pool where he could stand. He held my body up with the help of the water. “Did you hit anything?”
“I want out of the water.” I was shivering pathetically, holding on to Mikey for dear life. My eyes had finally cleared, though they still stung from being open under water. My throat felt dry, despite the large intake of water I’d just basically chugged in my panic induced state of nearly drowning.
Mikey nodded, “Your feet should be able to touch here.” He didn’t laugh at me, or make me feel stupid. He just cited a fact.
My feet could touch. “Ow.” I immediately winced as my left ankle touched the ground. Any weight, even in the water, hurt. I floated slightly, balancing my weight on my other foot.
Mikey frowned. “What did you hit?”
“I think I twisted my ankle.” I didn’t feel like I was drunk talking, or like I was drunk anymore. It was weird how fast that cleared up, or maybe I was just so drunk that I didn’t know I was drunk. I was new to this, after all.
Mikey wrapped his arm around my waist, holding me up. I figured it would be harder out of the water but I didn’t say anything as he helped me up the steps in the pool. Once we were out he let me sit down. I pulled my feet out, not wanting to be in the water /at all/.
“You okay Tay?” Mikey’s soft voice was the last straw.
Was I okay? “No.” I wasn’t. My eyes filled with tears, which were almost unnoticeable because of how wet my face was. The tears pooled together however, giving my predicament away.
“Tay?” Mikey’s voice was the one that cracked.
Stop calling me that. I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to force him to stop. Force him to stop caring, and to stop liking me… and to stop being so damn nice, and to stop smelling so good, and to stop doing things like saving me from drowning. I just wanted him to stop. No, I needed him to stop, because if he didn’t then I most definitely would not be okay.
The words fell free, but Mikey could never guess just what they meant. “I don’t want to do this anymore.” Because as I looked in to his innocent open eyes I didn’t. I didn’t want to do it anymore.
I didn’t want to hurt him.
But I also knew… it was too fucking late because the way he was looking at me, well now I was looking at him in the same damn way.
The door cracked open. My voice was hoarse but I didn’t care. I just wanted to be alone. “Busy in here!”
I expected a quick apology, or maybe some angry response. I sure as hell didn’t expect the person to stay. “It’s a little early in the night to jack off, isn’t it?” Frank’s smooth teasing voice hit me like a brick to the face.
“Seeing as how you took my girlfriend, I don’t think it’s early enough.” I bitterly answered.
“Yeah, about that…” Frank sounded uncomfortable. “She didn’t mean to, and I didn’t mean to. We were just dancing, and it was my idea to get her so drunk… and well, I guess what I’m trying to say is…”
“Sorry?” I offered.
“No.” I turned at Frank’s surprising response.
He was frighteningly close. I nearly fell off the bed I was sitting on. Frank chuckled. “It should have been you.” Frank’s tone turned serious real fast.
“What?” My eyes widened. I really needed a hearing check because…
“I was thinking of you.” Frank pushed the words out as if it was as simple as asking for seconds at dinner, or declaring that his favorite color was yellow.
“Like, thinking about how I’m dating Taylor?” Every single one of Taylor’s flirting techniques and tips slipped my mind as I decided the coy approach would just not work for me. I had to be who I was, because I wasn’t good at being anybody else. I definitely wasn’t good at being Taylor. I’d need a lot more alcohol for that.
I suddenly felt envious of her. She was so good at what she did. She had Mikey eating out of her hand immediately, and my entire family loved her and… and I just doubt she had ever been turned down before.
“It should have been your lips I was kissing, not Taylor’s.” Frank was drunk. Oh, was he drunk? I tried to think of how many shots he’d had, how many beers. I couldn’t, because I was drunk. Did I drink more than him? I didn’t know.
“Is this a joke?” I choked out.
“No… it’s more me asking for permission.” Frank answered. He was being so straight forward, and so sexy… but as he leaned forward I could smell the alcohol.
He was drunk.
So was I.
My car looked like it had been flooded. Water dripped down both seats, as Taylor and I quietly leaned against each seat. She shifted. The seat squeaked in response. It was the most noise that had come from either of us in the last twenty minutes. So many songs had gone by, but none of them could break our silence.
Finally I decided to give it a shot. “You must be cold.” Stupidest line ever. I was nervous. I felt like I was back in freshman year, on my first date. Gerard had to take me since I couldn’t drive. We sat in the back. Come to think of it, that girl ended up with my brother too. So this was kind of pay back in a fucked up horrible way, but I wanted more than karma.
I wanted Taylor.
What did she mean, she didn’t want to do this anymore? Was it me? Was I what she didn’t want to do anymore? The thought of being the cause of her pain crushed me.
“Can we leave?” Taylor’s tone was so soft, and filled with pain. Slowly, with a sinking sensation, I started my car.
“Wait, wait, stop.” Taylor cried out in alarm.
I had just pulled away from the curb but I hit the breaks without even thinking about it and okay, maybe I shouldn’t drive after drinking but… I was doing it anyway.
Taylor threw open my car door and leaned over, promptly vomiting. I leaned over, attempting to pull her hair away from her face without placing any of my weight on her back. I didn’t want her to fall out of my car.
Taylor stayed in that position for several seconds, coughing. “God, that tastes awful.” She finally filled the silence with her words.
“Yeah, the taste of regurgitated alcohol is nearly as disgusting as the taste of alcohol.” I commented, pulling her hair back in to a ponytail with one hand. With the other I attempted to soothingly rub her back.
Taylor groaned but said nothing.
It wasn’t exactly the perfect moment but… “You know I’m not mad at you, right?”
“What?” The word was cut short as Taylor’s body convulsed in disgust. Second wave of nausea. She wasn’t taking it all that well.
“I’m not mad at you for kissing Frank.” I thought maybe that was why she didn’t want ‘to do it anymore’. It was a shot in the dark, but I didn’t want her to end things. I wasn’t sure what I would do if she stopped seeing me. Probably sit in a dark corner and cry. I had the tendency to be emo like that when things I really cared about walked away from me. Like when my pet bunny rabbit ran off. Well, didn’t really run off… later I learned the neighbors cat killed it but… at the time it hurt. Somehow it hurt less knowing it didn’t leave me, but was murdered.
Taylor didn’t respond.
“And I know this is just sex… but you know, I kind of need to ask you a question.” My heart was thumping harshly against my chest.
“What?” Taylor was hesitant to ask, but I wasn’t sure if it was because of the way the conversation was going… or because she was seconds away from vomiting once again.
Taylor shifted and so I let go of her hair. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand as she straightened up in her seat. For a second I said nothing, but then I decided to just go for it. “Are you in love with Gerard?”
And then Taylor vomited all over my lap and the inside of my car.