She poured out a glass of neat whiskey and dropped in a cube of ice. The glass immediately became moist on its outer surface. She picked it up, stirred it, and took a long sip, looking at him all the while. The man in the room stared at her, an eyebrow raised, arms folded. The drink was downed in two long sips and her twisted smile and the look in her eyes felt new and strangely nice to him.
Before he had showed up, her girlfriends had been over for an evening of catching up and bitching and reviewing each others’ lives. The ‘review’ was like an open forum between the four of them, where everyone could voice their opinion on the way each of them was living their lives. She had brought out the bottle before the review and kept taking swigs, much against the liking of the other three. She hated that they knew her so well, without her having to spell it out to them. She took another long sip, spilling some because of her physical instability. She put up her hand, almost as though she were ready to give a speech and wanted silence. The sentence could not even be started...
“You’ve had enough tonight, Fatty. No more!” he said, walking towards her in an attempt to take the glass. “It’s the third time this week. I can’t keep com---”. “I never asked you to. If your fucking shoes had not made so much of noise, I’d have been happily passed out right now. You came to check on me? I’m fine. You’re dismissed. Go!”, she said. As always, she was convinced she had had the last word.
He stood leaning against the wall as she got back into bed and pulled the blanket over her head. Two minutes later, she peeked out to see if he was still there. He was. She covered her face again, wondering if he’d go, half hoping he wouldn’t. She heard him walk towards the bed. His voice near her ears made her jump as he pulled the blanket down and whispered “You hate that I'm here, don't you? Or do you actually like me being here but want me to believe that you want me to go?”
She tried to stop herself from smiling. Why did they have to have a myriad of good memories together to cherish now that they’d apparently ‘grown up’? Eventually, the era of casual dating began and the childhood playfulness stopped. Other boys she believed she loved found a new place in her life.
The warmth of familiar arms snapped her out of her reverie. They stayed that way for what seemed like hours, talking randomly about whatever came to mind. Finally, she tapped him on the back and asked him to check the time. “It’s us! Who would mind?” he asked her, surprised at her wanting him to go at this juncture. She just smiled. When he asked her why she was drinking so much, she gave him her innocent smile that he knew so well and said “Fuck you”, wriggling out of his grip.
He jumped off the bed and looked at her. It was now or never. He held her face in his hands and kissed her. They were warm and smelling of more whiskey than he’d ever had in his life. “And you will stop drinking so that the next time we do this, I don’t feel like I’m kissing a whiskey bottle!”, he said, pulling himself away to look at her and say what he had to. She laughed at the comment and tried to find words to apologize. He looked at her, predicting her reply to what he was about to say next. Her eyes had given her away too long ago, but he had not been able to read them or his own, till only recently.
“I love you. Marry me and let me look after you every single day of my life from now on, all right?” She looked at him, intrigued by whether she was too drunk to make sense of this joke he seemed to be playing, or whether it was oddly real. “Okay.” “That’s all I get for finally doing something that feels more right than anything I have done in the world? What has the world come to? Where is the appreciation for me being a man and all? You’ve had it!” And he proceeded to tickle her till she was laughing so hard that her stomach cramped and she had to beg him to stop. He had pinned her to the bed with all the tickling. She stopped struggling to get free of his hold. They were both breathing heavily and she caught her breath and said “I think I love you.” He just smiled.