Lovell Station: Friday, September 14, 2170 23:56 UT

She should not have stood up.

She squinted her eyes—that really didn't help her vision much—and she tried to take slow steps out the apartment door, but one foot in front of the other was much, much harder in practice, and she felt strong hands wrap around her, steadying her, and a low, soft chuckle in her ear.

"Shepard, I believe you've had more than you can handle," Jack chided gently, jokingly. She grunted in response. And she thought she'd be cleverer drunk. "Come on, let's get you home before your father kills me."

Lila heard a chorus of farewells over the loud boom of the bass behind her, and she lifted a hand in response. She had wanted to say a more personal goodbye to the host, but Vance was constantly surrounded by swooning girls and high-fiving boys, and besides, Jack was not going to let her stray from the path from the Haise apartment to the Shepard apartment. His firm grip told her as much.

Her eyelids dropped, and she leaned into his warm body. Jack groaned. "Lila, babe, I'm going to need you to help me out here a little bit."

"Mmmf," she murmured, "then be a man and carry me."

"Oh, don't be such a baby," he said, and he stopped and pushed her off of him, holding her steady with outstretched arms and firm hands on her shoulders. She forced her eyes open. "Man, you're such a lousy drunk."

"M'not that drunk."

"No one likes a liar, Shepard."

Lila laughed softly. "You do."

Jack lifted a corner of his mouth. "Yeah, I guess I do," he said. A strange look subtly crossed his face then, and if she had been sober Lila was convinced she might have been able to figure out what it was. He shook his head, and he pulled his head back, and Lila realized that he had been in debate with himself, and that his head had won over his body. "Let's get you home. It's past midnight. Your dad is going to be pissed."