This one's a little shorter, but hopefully equally as satisfying for your Chlerek needs.
My eyes were assaulted as whoever was in the doorway hit the light switch. I recoiled, covering my eyes dramatically with my forearm and letting out a groan.
"Get out." I yelled as I blindly felt around for a pillow. When I finally found one, I tossed it at the enemy.
"I should be telling you the same thing. You are in my room after all."
I shot up in bed and looked around, the sudden realization sobering me. A desk propped up in the corner was full of college level textbooks, and the shelves were full of sporting trophies. There was a pile of laundry in the opposite corner, telling me that this was somebody's bedroom, and not a guest room. I finally looked down to see my body covered by a thick, navy blue blanket. Seconds later my eyes connected with the person at the door.
He leaned against the door frame and crossed his arms.
"This isn't the guest room?" I asked, bewildered.
"No, Chloe. This isn't the guest room." He pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Ughhhhhh." I groaned dramatically. "I gotta get to the guest room." I said as I threw the blanket off me and swung my legs out of Derek's bed, feeling the chill and I shivered.
"There's no use in that. It's already taken." He sighed and bent down to pick up the pillow I threw at him. He then moved over to the foot of the bed and collected another blanket from a linen chest and gathered it in his arms. "There's a couch in the basement."
"The basement. I'll go to the basement." I said as I stood up. Blood rushed to my head and I stumbled forward and held out my hands to brace my fall, but Derek caught my arm at exactly the right time and steadied me, only letting his hand drop once he was satisfied I wasn't going to fall and break my face on his floor.
"No, I'll go to the basement. You stay here." He ordered.
"But your room-"
"I don't trust you to get down to the basement without falling down the stairs." He grumbled.
"Just stay in the bed, Chloe." He snapped and gently placed his hand on my shoulder, pushing me back down onto his bed. He gathered a change of clothing from his closet and headed back towards the door. He watched as I laid back down in his bed and got settled.
"If you're going to vomit, please don't vomit in my room."
My eyes fluttered open at the rising sun peeking through the curtains of Derek's bedroom. I rolled over to face away from the light and snuggled further into the bed. His blankets smelled of cinnamon and were warm and comforting, making the thought of sleep even more alluring.
The sun continued to rise and with it came enough light in the room to wake me up completely. My head thumped and my stomach churned. Next to me on the nightstand sat a full bottle of water and two advil on top a piece of paper.
Take these when you wake up.
I smiled down at the gesture and swallowed the advil, chasing it down with the water. Swinging my legs out of bed, I shivered as my bare toes touched the floor and reached back for the blanket, draping it over my shoulders while I gathered my jacket and my shoes. As I bent to grab my jacket from the floor, a familiar feeling churned in my stomach and my mouth began to water. The previous night was foggy in my brain, but I explicitly remember promising Derek that I would absolutely not vomit in his bedroom. I bolted out into the hallway and breathed a sigh of relief seeing the bathroom door open and vacant. Slamming the door behind me, I hunched over the toilet where I let loose. A mix of cinnamon whiskey, apple cider, vodka and stomach acid burned at my throat as I emtied my stomach. Tears streamed down my face as my body heaved.
Once I was sure there was nothing left threatening to come up I rinsed my mouth out in the sink and wiped at my eyes. Looking up in the mirror, I realised how absolutely wrecked I looked. Bloodshot eyes, tangled hair, and remnats of smudged eyeliner over half my face. I was a mess.
I swung the door open and my luck would have it that Derek stood on the other side. He looked down at me. Amusement played on his face and I wasn't having a bar of it.
"Don't even start at me." I snapped and held up my hand to stop him and walked straight past, back into his bedroom where I picked up my phone, shoes and jacket.
"You're welcome for the advil, by the way." He crossed his arms as he leaned against the door. His grey sweatpants hung low on his hips and his black t-shirt clung to him a little too tight. I tore my gaze away and fixed my attention on slipping on my shoes.
"Thank you." I mumbled.
I listened to his footsteps retreat and slumped back on the bed one last time before finally getting up and making my way downstairs. I sat on the couch until everybody else woke, which wasn't much longer. Simon descended the stairs, as chipper as always. Liz came down shortly after with Tori and they shared a joke, laughing together.
Tori stopped dead in her tracks when she saw me. "Woah, I was going to say I'm glad you're alive but you look like a corpse."
"Thanks, Tori." I mumbled sarcastically as I nursed my water.
I looked at the clock - dad was supposed to pick me up from Liz's for work in half an hour and I was not ready at all. Liz removed most of my make up last night after my run in with Mila but I still had the remains of black, streaky eyeliner surrounding my eyes. My hair was knotted, to the point where I couldn't even run my fingers through it, and I reeked of alcohol.
I slumped over the counter, touching my forehead to the cool marble when my phone vibrated in my pocket. I looked at the name and let it ring a few more times while I composed myself.
"Hi Jay, what's up?" I asked my boss.
"Chloe, have you left for work yet?"
I took a moment to check the time, it was only eight thirty and I didn't start work until ten o'clock. "No I haven't. Do you need me in early?"
"No, stay where you are." He sighed. "Power's gone out at the store, looks like it won't be back for a few more hours so take the day off."
I set down the phone and resumed my position, slumped over the counter, and let out a groan. Blindly, I dialled my father's number and let him know my shift had been cancelled, so he didn't have to pick me up from Liz's so early. He agreed to collect me later on in the afternoon and I sighed in relief, knowing he wasn't going to see me like this.
"Damn that's lucky." Simon quipped. "Chloe, you wanna come to the diner with us?" He gestured to Tori, Liz and another boy, Brady, who I assumed was the one who had occupied the guest room last night. "Some greasy bacon and eggs might do you good."
I mock dry heaved at him and he chuckled, accepting my answer. "Okay, you okay to stay here?" He asked, and I gave him a thumbs up in response. "D will be around if you need anything."
I made myself comfortable in the living room by drawing the blinds and hiding under a mountain of blankets while I flicked through the channels on the television. Rain started to pour outside, pelting down on the roof. A flash of lightning lit up the whole house and I jumped at the sight of a human silhouette in the doorway.
"Put these on." Derek barked. An armful of material fell in my lap and I sorted through them - a pair of sweatpants and a hoodie.
"Yes, clothes." He repeated me slowly, as if I was an idiot. "Every time I pass the living room I see you shivering like you're buried under six feet of snow. I'm not dealing with a hungover and sick guest overstaying their welcome." He turned on his heel and disappeared up the stairs.
"Asshole." I muttered under my breath.
"I heard that."
I didn't argue it further and hurried myself into the bathroom where I slipped off my dress and replaced it with the more comfortable loungewear. After returning to the couch, I spent the next four hours flicking through channels and never came to a decision on what I actually wanted to watch. The Bae family's DVD collection was minimal, all movies I'd seen before. So my options were Keeping up with the Kardashians for my quick fix of reality trashy drama, or Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares for just some regular reality drama. I couldn't decide so I watched both.
I went between watching TV, dozing off, and scrolling through my social media feeds when a commotion in the kitchen startled me and left me curious. I threw the blankets off me and moved over to the doorway where Derek was crouched in front of the fridge, picking up a punnet of strawberries he'd dropped on the floor. He gathered them together and stuffed them back into the little plastic container.
"Can I help you?" He asked without so much as looking up at me.
"N-no." I walked over to the kitchen counter. Grabbing a glass from the cupboard, I filled it with water and stood back, sipping it slowly as I watched him.
He took the fruit and held it under the tap to wash them and shoved them back in the fridge, now pulling out lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise and some kind of deli meat. My stomach growled as I watched him slap a sandwich together and cut it in half. He paused for a moment and sighed. Without so much as any eye contact, he pushed the plate towards me and pulled out another two slices of bread, preparing another one.
"I'm only doing this because I pity you." He mumbled.
"T-thanks." I said as I picked up a half and took a bite. "Simon t-t-told me you didn't normally attend his p-parties."
He squished the top slice of bread down and cut his sandwich. "Not usually." He shrugged.
"Where do you go?"
"Out." He took a bite of his own sandwich. "So you knew I wasn't usually home when Simon and Tori threw their parties. Is that why you thought it'd be okay to take my bed?"
I stopped chewing mid bite and swallowed, putting down my sandwich. "N-no, of course not!" I pinched the bridge of my nose. "I honestly thought I was in the guest room." My cheeks heated, flushing a brighter red than I ever thought existed.
"If you say so." He grunted, sounding skeptical. "Just don't make a habit out of it."
"I'm not planning on it. I'm never drinking again."
He smirked and took his plate before disappearing up the stairs. Simon, Liz and Tori came back an hour later without Brady, who had somewhere else to be. Liz drove us back to her place where I showered, brushed my teeth and drank my daily intake of water in half an hour, just trying to feel better about my decisions from the previous night.
"Ugh, is it always like this?" I said as I flopped down next to her on the bed and pulled the covers up to my chin.
She giggled. "You're not a seasoned drinker, you just don't know your limits yet. Next time you'll know how to pace yourself better."
"I don't know if I want there to be a next time." I sighed and looked over on her night stand. A framed picture of Liz and an older woman sat perched underneath her lamp and I picked it up. "Your mom?" I asked as I studied it. The older woman sat on a park bench in a powder blue tank top and white shorts with Liz on her lap in some floral pink overalls. They both had striking blue eyes and flowing golden hair.
"Yup, that's her." She smiled. "That was my favourite park as a child. We should go there one day, there's a really sweet campground."
"Your mom, is she…"
"Dead?" Liz cut in. "No, I can see why you'd ask that though since I live with nan."
I nodded and Liz continued.
"Mom has her struggles. Sometimes she'll be here with me and nan, but when she relapses again she gets put into an inpatient program for those struggling with addiction." She hugged her knees to her chest. The way Liz spoke about it, made me think that it happened frequently. "Right now she's in the program, but she's doing really well this time."
"I'm glad to hear that." I paused. "Not to hear that she's in the program but-"
"-but that she's doing well, I know Chloe. I'm glad too." She smiled and reclined back with me. "Are you missing your mom?"
"Every single day." I blinked back tears that threatened to spill and sighed. "I can't help but wonder how different things would be if she was still around." Looking down at my hands, I wasn't sure if I envied Liz or pitied her. A pang of envy hit me in the stomach that her mom was still around, that there was hope of them having a functioning relationship. And then there was pity. Pity that her mom was still alive, but that she was unwell. "I'd better call dad to pick me up. Don't want to overstay my welcome."
After packing my bags and calling dad to come get me, Liz followed me down stairs and we waited in the living room. She trapped me in a hug, her blonde hair spilling over her shoulders and tickling my nose. "Feel free to drop in any time."
I heard dad's Audi pull up in the driveway and I hurried out to throw my bags in the trunk. Once I was settled in the passenger seat and buckled up, dad struck up a conversation. "You look like you've been to hell and back. Too many rom coms and not enough sleep last night?"
If that was the story he wanted to believe, it was the story I was gonna roll with. "Yeah, we even braided each others hair."
"But no nail polish? Isn't that what teenage girls do at sleepovers?" He mocked as he reversed out onto the road.
"No, we swapped that out and decided to summon the dead instead."
"Ah, and I suppose you snuck out to perform a Satanic ritual in the woods too."
"You know us too well." I rolled my eyes at him, but couldn't help but crack a smile. "Bet you aunt Lauren wouldn't put it past us."
"Yeah well aunt Lauren is boring. Have you heard from her?"
I shook my head. "Nope. I think it's gonna take her a while to come around."
"She just hates to think her baby niece is growing up. You're staying on your own, in a new school where you'll graduate. You've got a job and you're working towards a car now. And you seem to be able to hold your own in a fight. Your mom would be proud."
"I hope so." I sighed. I wasn't so sure he'd be saying that if he knew about last night's antics. But I'd never tell him that.
Tell me what you think! Hope you're all staying safe and healthy during this time :)