Jeff walked back across the room and sat down at a vacant table. He moved aside the plates and cups before placing his head in his hands. Between the music playing and the conversation he just had, he was starting to feel the beginning of a headache. He closed his eyes and tried to relax. But no matter how much he tried, he kept thinking of that woman Katie. He thought about how she had looked at the end of their discussion when he all but took a white gloved slapped her in the face. He had seen that look before, many times in his own mirror that look told him that she meant to drink until she couldn't walk straight, until she couldn't even remember her own name. ' Not that it's any of my business, she made that perfectly clear' back. He continued to sit there, head in hands and with thoughts of the world was like this for a few minutes before he heard someone Walkup on his side.
"What do you want?" He said, keeping his head in his hands.
"Hello Jeff, you all right?"
Jeff recognized voice. He looked up and, to no surprise, he saw his old friend Gretchen. "Yeah I'm fine" he put on small smile, trying to convince her. It didn't work.
"What's wrong? "She asked as she sat down opposite to him "I saw you talking to Katie. After that you came back here in the looked a little... Upset. Is everything all right?"
"You know her?"
"Yes, I've known her for years. We were in the fireside girls together." She tilted her head "why?"
He gave a slight shrug "I was just talking to her and, uh , let's just say it didn't go too well"
She fixed him with a serious look "what did you do?"
"What, automatically it's my fault?"
She continued to look at him space" yes because as the past has shown, you are not very good conversationalist when it comes the women".
He let out a deep breath before you begin. "All right I may have said a few things that could have upset her" he told her about their conversations up to the part where he left. When he finished she put a hand to her eyes and rubbed them. "I have got to say this is the worst one yet. Counting drinks? Really?"
"I didn't think it was rude"
"Of course you didn't, you think it's normal for a single man to wear a wedding ring."
"You know why I do that"
"Yes, I know. It's still unusual"
"Back to Katie please. I think I may have offended her"
"Fine I did all right. You can't tell me she was in the wrong as well"
"That is true. And that's what worries me " she let out a small sigh and rested her head on one hand. " She normally doesn't drink and certainly not in this quantity. It is a little worrisome. Only times I have seen this from her is when she gets really depressed."
"So what's depressing her right now?"
She gave him an irritated look" I knew that I would be over there right now with her."
Jeff leaned back, warning bells going off. You need to change the subject. You could see the signs that she was to become angry. And that was territory he knew from experience you want to avoid." so... Where's Phillip? I don't see him around anymore."
"He had to leave early, something to do with work. I try to convince him to stay but he said it was urgent." She let out another sigh "sometimes I wish you just quit that job. They call him at the most inconvenient of times and at all hours of the night. She really has a weekly has a full night sleep. It's going to catch up to him."
"I know what that's like" he said glancing to the side of the room. Katie was still there.
"No you don't" she said, site smile lifting the side of her mouth " you don't have a boss. in fact you don't even have a job. is have a hobby that pays the bills.
Jeff smiled back. He knew what she was doing, she done it many times before. He decided to take the bait "just because I don't have a boss is reunite get enough sleep. My " hobby" requires my full attention.
"So why don't you get a regular job then? Work a set amount of hours and have a steady income for a change?" She asked again.
"You know me. You know I would never do that if I can help it."
"Yeah I know you" she gave a slight smile " after you date someone for a while, you get to know them". He saw back ' those had been good times'. She looked at her watch and got up" I have got to go. I have work to do at home before the night is over." She started to move away but then stopped and turned back towards him" could you keep an eye for Katie. She may start to get a little... strange after the drinks."
'A little late for that'. "Sure. I don't have my cell, so I can call you or anyone else for that matter"
she gave him a disapproving look " they still don't remember numbers do you."
He gave a little shrug" you know me too well."
She sighed again, check your head " yes, yes I do." She took a piece of paper out of her purse and jotted something down on it. " Here if anything happens, call my number." She handed him the paper. It was one of those notebook papers of flowers on top. " Why don't you just take her" he asked as he placed papered his breast pocket next to his own notebook.
She came here with me and said that Ginger was giving her a ride back.
"Why is she getting rides with you all to a wedding?"
"Because her car broke down now can you just please do this for me."
"Fine, if anything goes wrong I call the number, got it."
She gave him a small smile "thank you Jeff."
"Have a safe drive" he said and with that she left. He sat there for a while watching the dying crowd. He looked back towards Katie now and then and she was always there, chair in the corner, her head resting on her hand as if she was asleep. He almost got up to check, but sided against it. You want to get chewed out if she was awake. He looked around. He didn't see Ginger, but that didn't mean she wasn't there. He stayed for a while taking out his own notebook to flip through and work in. " I need to get home" he finally said" I have to finish up a few things or money's going to get tight." It was only after he said this that he noticed how quiet the room was. As if cotton had been removed from his ears, he now heard the silence that had descended upon the room. ' I must have really been zoned out'. There were a scant few people left. One was Katie. None were Ginger. That was a problem. He got up and walked over to Katie and found that, to no great surprise, she was asleep. He put a hand on her shoulder and gently shook it.
"Wake Up." When he got no response he shook a little harder. After his third shake, she started to awaken. She looked around a little and mumbled something he couldn't understand. " Look you got to leave now" Katie looked up at him, but difficulty, then try to go back sleep. " Get up" he said a little louder. After little difficulty she managed to get up.
"I thought you were supposed to get a ride" he said. He reached into his breast pocket to get the note and … found nothing. He looked again and only in those and there was no book and his keys. He pulled out the notebook and look again. Nothing in any of his pockets. He walked over to the table, but didn't see it there either. 'Perfect. Just perfect.'
"Well, you have any ideas" he asked Katie. You only a few quiet words that he couldn't hear for a reply. "I didn't think so. Well I've got nothing" he decided to walk to his car. Maybe, by some miracle, the cell is there. He walked across the room with Katie out the door. The cool night air met them. They want across the parking lot to his old beat up car. He briefly struggled to get the keys open passenger door and gently placed inside. Major she was in, closed the door, and stood next to car
'What do I do now? I have no number, no idea where she lives and she isn't waking up anytime soon to tell me, not to mention it's too late to drop her off at Gretchen's house.' He leaned back and looked the starry night sky. He mulled over his choices a bit. Really need to get home and he didn't live too far from here and when she woke up she could call a friend. 'Well, I guess I have no other choice. I guess you get to come home with me.' He turned to walk to get into his car. "Gretchen's going to love this"