I slammed my tiny shot glass down hard on the bartop. That earned me a dirty look from the bartender. Shit, I couldn't remember his name.
"Hey… hey! Yeah, another one over here, please." My words weren't quite slurred yet, but I was getting there fast. Fucking-A.
I swiveled on the barstool, just enough to get a real good look at the people who were milling around the crowded Port Angeles bar. Which bar was I at again… Midnight? Eclipse? Some spacey, cosmic phenomenon name.
I was past being discreet. I craned my neck and checked out every booth and table just to make sure they were really gone. The bartender nudged my arm with my new drink and I felt for it blindly, never taking my eyes off the tiny dance floor.
"I'm Michael," he grunted.
"Whatever." I pulled the tequila hard and fast, barely grimacing as it burned its way down.
"Wow. That looks painful. I might have to try that."
The voice came from my left. I turned slowly, wiping my mouth rather sloppily with the back of my hand. I squinted, trying to get a good look at the guy.
His hair was the first thing I noticed—it was hard not to, messy as it was. But it was a very attractive mess, and I couldn't tell if it was the crappy lighting or his natural hair color, but it looked kind of bronze.
I realized I'd been staring at the top of this guy's head like an idiot, before finally meeting his gaze. Deep green eyes looked back at me, also squinting through the cigarette smoke haze and the dim lights.
Holy fuck, he was a hot mess. I felt a twinge of equal parts guilt and self-righteous anger. I thought maybe it was a bit too soon for me to notice other hot guys, but the anger spoke up even louder. Why shouldn't I engage in interesting conversations with random, gorgeous men? Angry chick won. Thank God.
Wait, he'd said something. What was it? He wanted to do a shot?
"Um, it's Cuervo. I think I might go blind if I keep it up, but that's okay. Then I won't have to see that asshole walking around with that bitch."
Fuck, overshare. At least I hadn't hurled tequila and peanut mix all over him. Yet.
Hot guy raised his eyebrows. He was just as shit-faced as I was, maybe a little bit more. "Asshole? Who's he?"
Eh. Might was well. "My ex. Turns out those late-night work meetings were late-night sex marathons with Leah."
"Leah? AKA the bitch, I assume?" He flashed a crooked grin and tossed the remainder of his own glass into his mouth. "Which would make you…?"
"Bella. Spurned but pissed ex-girlfriend." I held out my hand.
He took it in his and squeezed it gently. "Edward." The tequila must have kicked in; my hand and arm felt all tingly and a warmth sparked in my chest.
"So… any particular sorrows you're drowning in cheap liquor?" I faced the bar again, looking at him out of the corner of my eye.
"Oh, yeah. But I daresay they're halfway gone now." Edward shook his empty glass and the ice clinked. "My sixth."
I snorted. "Seventh." I held up my own shot glass in Eric's—or was it Ben's?—direction. "Dude, two please." I glanced at Edward, smiling wickedly. "You need to catch up."
"Yeah, but I really don't want to risk blindness." He called out to Tyler (Mark?). "Make it Patron, please."
"Patron, huh? Is she worth it?" I caught his gaze.
Edward's eyes hardened, but I could tell it wasn't at me. "No. But I am."
"Fair enough." The glasses were placed in front of us and I raised mine to his. I stood, wobbling a bit and he did the same. "A toast. To Edward and Bella. May their exes catch amoebic dysentery and shit till they die."
"Amen." He held his own shot aloft and touched its rim to mine. We looked at each other for a moment before we downed the golden liquid.
"Argh!" Edward shook his head, making a face and coughing once. "Nice."
"What was that you were drinking?" I nodded towards the chunky tumbler filling fast with melted ice.
"Scotch. I probably shouldn't mix Johnnie and Patron, but fuck it. I don't care."
Now both our eyes were kind of swimming and I stumbled into him as I tried to hike myself back onto the barstool.
"Easy there," he chuckled. I straightened up, pushing away slightly. I gripped the bartop tightly. The world was tilting crazily now. Shit.
"I think that last shot was kind of a mistake." Now my words were blending together in strange ways.
"Yeah, for me too."
I laid my head on the bar, not really caring if my hair got dirty. I groaned, and felt Edward pat my back gently. "Um, thanks." I managed to raise my head off the table after a few minutes.
"Anytime." He hoisted himself on the stool next to mine. We endured silence for a bit until he grabbed a nearby salt shaker. I waited.
The music suddenly changed; slow, mellow notes filled the bar. I was about to make a snarky comment about the DJ's song choice when I noticed Edward's hand held out in front of me.
"Dance?" he asked softly.
"Only if you promise not to twirl me," I found myself answering.
We made our way onto the makeshift dance area in the corner. He pulled me close, his hand at my back and the other clutched mine tightly against his chest. My left hand went on his shoulder as he led me expertly around the floor. My head threatened to drop, nestling against his neck. The alcohol was finally achieving its purpose—numbing me.
We swayed back and forth; I was still trying not to hurl as we danced to some funky country tune. Country, seriously. What was this shit?
"I proposed to her." His warm breath tickled my ear.
I gripped his shoulder harder. He proposed? Edward's story sounded even more fucked up than mine. He took my touch as a sign to continue.
"It was our 2-year anniversary. Fancy restaurant, candles, romantic shit. You know. Movie-style."
"What's your ex-bitch called?" I slurred, surprised I could focus on a question.
"Victoria." Edward's voice had a sneering quality when he pronounced her name. "After I'd pulled the ring from my pocket, and knelt in front of the entire restaurant—she said she didn't want to hurt me, but that we should remain friends."
"Friends. Classic. Only if being friends means you get to punch them in the mouth after a speech like that," I laughed bitterly and he joined me.
"This was exactly a year ago, tonight. I just found out she's dating some asshole called James. Hence, scotch."
The song ended and Edward looped my arm through his, and we collapsed at a table; barstools were a little too complicated for our current state of mind. I took a deep breath and reciprocated with my own sad sob story.
"I walked in on Jacob and Leah. In our bed. Shit, we'd known each other since we were kids. We were living together. Was 'I think we should see other people' so hard to say?" I signaled a waitress, holding up two fingers.
"Whoa, whoa. Another one?" Edward looked concerned. I was no lightweight, but the previous shots were having an effect on me. Fuck it.
"Yeah. I need it." I sucked on a lime and poured the tequila into my mouth. I barely acknowledged the burn.
"That bad, huh? He cheated on you how long ago?"
"A year ago, too." I winced, remembering how I still hadn't managed to take down the pictures of us. This was just damn unhealthy, psychologically.
"Oh." He paused. "It's really not my place, since, well… I'm totally drunk too, but… isn't that a little long to hold a grudge?"
"Not when you just ran into the bitch, who's sporting a rock the size of a peach pit on her finger."
"Oh." Edward looked chagrined. "Yeah." He swallowed his own shot and gestured for more. He raised his glass in a toast like I had.
"To you. Because at this point, your story sucks worse than mine. And you're still standing." We downed shot after shot after shot until finally, sweet oblivion.
No more pain, no more misplaced guilt, no more what ifs. A moment's peace.
It could be found at the bottom of a glass.
~ oOo ~
Sunlight streamed through the pale, gauzy curtains. It felt like a fucking drill through my eyes.
"Ow." I rolled over, ignoring the pounding like a sledgehammer in my temples.
I hit something soft and warm beside me.
My eyes flew open, light hitting me painfully. As they adjusted, I caught sight of a tousled bronze head peeking over the top of the covers.
Oh my God. Oh my God.
How did this happen?
~ oOo ~
Please review! I try to answer each and every one, and your comments are always appreciated. REVIEWERS GET TEASERS. This one's been in my head for awhile. Title's taken from a Kooks' song. Updates will be pretty regular, every Friday or Saturday. There will be alternating B/E POVs. I'd like to make some recommendations of fics that just OWN me right now:
The University of Edward Masen, by Sebastien Robichaud. EPIC.
With or Without You, by Rochelle Allison. Also check out her story, Volition.
Fuggiasco, by kdc2239.
An Introduction to Swirl and Daisy, by m81170.
Blossom, by ms-ambrosia.
For the Summer, by camoozle.
Just Wait, by InstantKarmaGirl.
It's because of awesome stories like these that I try to write, too. Mine are nowhere near as awesome, or have these intricate loooooong chapters, but they inspire me to be better every time. Thanks for reading, I'll shut up now. Stay tuned for the next chapter.