"I grabbed our next round of drinks," Amanda said, putting down another shot glass brimming with tequila.
I tried to reach for it, but Mark distracted me by kissing my neck as he pulled me higher onto his lap. Or was it Mike? Matt? Eh, his name didn't matter. I'd never see him again once morning hit.
"I don't know if you should be having another one," my best friend, Shannon, said from across the table. My vision was blurry, but I knew she was pursing her lips, squinting her eyes, waiting to drag me home.
"It's my twenty-first birthday," I said, reaching for the glass and downing it. When the burning disappeared, I added, "I deserve to have some fun, don't you think?"
"You've had four hours worth of fun," she said, waving her phone's home screen in front of me. "The bar's going to be closing soon."
"Shit. Have we been out for that long? I need to feed the cats."
"Awww. What a ripoff," Amy said, downing her own drink. "It feels like we just got here."
"Sorry, darling," I said, grabbing my keys, which were sitting in between my bag and a row of empty beer bottles.
"Hey hey hey," Shannon said, getting up and moving toward my end of the table. "Give me those. I'm the designated driver, remember? That's why you brought me."
"Is it? I was wondering why you were here," I said, my drunk version of humor.
Amy burst into a fit of laughter, but Shannon just tried to swipe the keys from out of my hand.
"What the hell?" I shouldered her away. "It's my car. I'll drive it if I want to drive it. It's not like I don't have a license or a brain or a functioning--"
And that's all I remembered. I must've blacked out. Lost the rest of my memories.
But when I woke up in my party dress from the night before, Shannon was sitting on the edge of the bed with an ice pack hovering over her eye. When she drew it away, a bruise enveloped her eye.
"What the... What happened?" I asked, my voice raspy. I needed water. Badly.
"You hit me, because I wouldn't let you drive."
I blinked, trying to stop my head from spinning. "I'm serious."
"So am I." She got up, threw a bottle of aspirin at my stomach. "Look, I only stayed here to see if you'd wake up or if I needed to get you to a hospital. But you're up. So I'm leaving. Oh, and I fed your cats, by the way."
I tried to sit up, but the motion shot daggers through my head. "Don't be pissed," I said, then thought better of it. She deserve an apology. More than that if she was telling the truth. "I'm sorry. I drank a lot. That's not an excuse, but--"
"It's cool. Just don't expect me to be playing DD again. Call an Uber or something the next time you need a ride."
"That's not why I invited you out. You're my best friend. You've been to all my birthday parties. I would've wanted you there, even if I wasn't drinking."
"I don't know about that," she said, her voice a bit smaller than before. "Seems like all you need is Amy now."
I licked my lips, trying to moisten the cracks. "You're still my best friend. It's just that Amy drinks and you don't. So she's my drinking buddy. Just like you like painting and I don't, so you have Ally to go to art classes with. Just because I have other friends doesn't mean you're any less of a best friend."
She gave a quick I'm-only-smiling-because-you-want-me-to smiles. Then she said, "I'll see you."
"Wait, no." I swung my legs off of the bed. Every muscle screamed at me, but I needed her to take me seriously, and that wouldn't happen with my head smothered by a pillow. "Amy is cool, but I don't talk to her about anything real. I wouldn't trust her. I mean, she would've let me drive that car. You wouldn't. That's why your my best friend. I hit you and you still stuck around to give me aspirin and feed my babies."
"Yeah, well, it's not their fault they have a shitty owner," she said, but she smirked as she said it. A peace offering. A silent I-forgive-you.
"Listen, I'll try to go a little less crazy next time," I said. "I don't ever want to make you feel like I don't need you. Or like your eye is going to explode." I pursed my lips. "You can punch me back if you want to make things even. And trust me, it'll feel like hell with this hangover."
"You definitely deserve it," she said, pretending to think it over. "But a hug will do."
** That's the whole story! Thanks for reading! **