Two hours later the party was still going. Annabelle’s mother glowing with attention was she made her way around the room again. Annabelle watched her from the bar, a place she considered her new home for the rest of the night. Her hand gripped onto the bar as she let her eyes travel across the crowd. She saw Eli and Elizabeth having an animated conversation on a couch in the corner, and Jack was floating from each group in the room like a butterfly. Annabelle used her hand to turn back to the bar. Swaying a bit, she picked up her drink and chugged it down. Without signaling to the bartender, he appeared to refill her glass. She thanked him, wondering how he got so blurry.
“How much have you had tonight? Five or six drinks?” a deep voice to her right asked. Annabelle gripped her glass as she looked over, sighing at who she saw.
“What, counting my drinks now? Weren’t my sentences enough?”
Ethan rubbed his beard before leaning against the bar. “Just making sure you are ok.”
“Why do you care?” Annabelle shot back taking a sip of her scotch. Even she wasn’t sure what scotch she was on either. She just knew it didn’t sting her throat.
“No one else is checking up on you. Not like you are handling any of this well.” Ethan calmly said. Annabelle looked over at him as he called over the bartender for a drink.
“Can I have two glasses of water please?”
“Thirsty?” Annabelle asked him as the bartender went to get the two drinks.
“One is for me, and one is for you. You are welcome.”
“I don’t want water. I got my water right here.”
“Scotch is not water. Believe me, in the morning when your head is ready to burst off your body, this water will be your saving grace.” Ethan shot back as the bartender dropped off the two glasses of water. He slid one of the waters towards her and watched her closely. Annabelle stared at it for a minute before being interrupted by a laughing Ethan.
“You just looked at that water like it was the devil and you were an angel,” Ethan said through his laughter. Annabelle stuck her tongue out at him before grabbing her scotch to take another sip. Ethan settled down and took a sip of his water. Both stood in silence as Ethan nonchalantly pushed the water towards Annabelle. Annabelle rolled her eyes and grabbed the water and took a sip.
“Happy?” She asked taking another sip, letting the cold-water smooth over her scotch ravaged throat.
“I’m jumping for joy over here.” He replied.
They both fell back into a comfortable silence as Ethan looked around the room. His eyes lingered on Jack and Elizabeth who have now found each other at one of the tables. He made a humming noise before turning his attention back to Annabelle.
“You do look very lovely tonight.” He said to her. The comment caught Annabelle off guard.
“You look nice too. Your bowtie is still crooked, though.” Annabelle told him as her eyes trailed down his body. Ethan’s hands immediately went to his bowtie to fix it.
“I think I have an irregular neck.”
“We all have something irregular about us. I have one boob smaller than the other.” Annabelle announced taking another sip of her scotch.
Ethan stopped fidgeting with his bowtie in surprise. “That’s good to know.” He muttered trying to fight a smile.
Annabelle shrugged in response before downing the rest of the scotch in the glass. The bartender came over and filled it back up.
“Hey, guys! Let’s do some shots!” Jack yelled as he made his way over towards Ethan and Annabelle. Elizabeth was in tow giggling in response.
“Shots!” Annabelle yelled turning towards Jack and Elizabeth. Ethan sighed in response.
“Bartender, four shots of tequila, por fovor,” Jack asked stepping in between Ethan and Annabelle. Elizabeth landed behind Annabelle giving her big hug from behind.
“Don’t you feel better now. I told you this would be fine.” Elizabeth said to Annabelle squeezing her tight.
“Alcohol makes everything fine,” Annabelle said back as Elizabeth hugged her tighter.
“Oh dear God,” Ethan said under his breath taking a big swig of his water. Annabelle gave him a dirty look in response. He gave one right back.
“Alright, everyone. Let’s take a shot for the happy couple!” Jack announced when the bartender came back with four shots of tequila. Everyone straightened up and grabbed their tiny shot glasses. Ethan looked at Annabelle, motioning to the water. Annabelle pretended not to see him.
“Alright. Let their marriage but fun and full of adventures!” Jack exclaimed as they all clinked their glasses together. Annabelle rolled her eyes as she took the shot.
“That was awesome. Another one?” Jack asked putting the glass down. Before anyone could answer Jack was distracted. “Elizabeth! You have to meet my Uncle Frank. He just finished his graduate work. He could shed some light on your problem.”
“What problem?” Annabelle asked looking back at Elizabeth. She didn’t get an answer, though. Elizabeth had run off with Jack to talk to Uncle Frank. Ethan scooted down to get closer to Annabelle.
“Fun family fact. That isn’t his actual uncle. You draw your conclusions.” Ethan told her waving off the bartender who motioned to the shot glasses. Annabelle watched the two of them as they talked to Uncle Frank. She felt herself get a little dizzy.
“How much did I miss being away for these last couple of weeks?” Annabelle asked aloud. Ethan looked over at Jack and Elizabeth and then back to Annabelle.
“Everything. You missed everything. Regret not hanging out with us? Storming out?” Ethan asked her.
“Excuse me? I was blindsided.”
“True. You were. I don’t know why your mom handled things like that, but here we are. She is engaged to a great guy. Get used to it.” Ethan told her.
“I don’t know anything about Eli.” She retorted back, feeling herself getting worse.
“You could have if you stuck it out these past weeks,” Ethan told her grabbing his water.
Annabelle didn’t know what to say. She looked at the two drinks in front of her and grabbed the water.
“I wouldn’t have written it that way,” Annabelle muttered taking a swig of the water, hoping it would help with the dizziness.
“Are you a writer? I figured. You had all those books in your place.”
“Reading books means you are a writer now?”
“It is a natural conclusion,” Ethan said evenly watching Annabelle closely. “Are you ok. You are leaning a bit.”
The water hadn’t helped at all. She could feel herself getting worse, her stomach deciding to join the party. “I don’t feel well.”
“What’s wrong?” Ethan asked letting go of his drink. His green eyes looked her over as he reached over. Annabelle felt weak. She tried to stand up straight but only fell forward. Ethan grabbed her and tried to hold her up.
“Twice in one night. My knight in bearded armor.” Annabelle muttered. Ethan huffed in response looking over at the bartender who had made his way back over.
“If anyone of those two come back and asks about us, tell them I escorted Annabelle upstairs. Ok?” Ethan told the bartender getting Annabelle upright. He nodded as Ethan wrapped one arm around her waist and another around her shoulders. He slowly walked her out of the ballroom and towards the elevators.
“You might have to ditch the heels.” He said to her. Annabelle didn’t argue as she leaned on him to push her shoes off her feet. She wrapped an arm around his waist, and she reached down to pick them up. The elevator doors opened, and Ethan walked them forward.
“You don’t happen to know what floor and room you are in,” Ethan asked as the doors closed. Annabelle, still leaning against him, wiggled her shoulder. Ethan looked over and saw the strap of her purse.
“Can I look through your purse?” He asked edging it off her shoulder. Annabelle nodded as he opened the purse. Her key card still in its little pouch with all the information he needed. “How lucky for me.”
“I’m an author. I don’t believe in luck. Just coincidence.” Annabelle muttered wrapping herself tighter around Ethan’s waist. The smell of his Old Spice cologne filling her nostrils. She felt her eyes start to close.
“You are a writer. What are you working on right now?” Ethan asked. Annabelle could feel the elevator start to travel upward.
“J.D. and Lena. Couple. They don’t do much but stare at each other right now.” Annabelle told him.
“Why are they just staring at each other right now?”
“I don’t know what to do with them. They almost kissed before I came down for the party. Almost like I left them suspended in mid-air.” Annabelle said sleepily, keeping her eyes closed. The elevator doors opened, and Ethan gently shook her awake. As he dragged the two of them off the elevator and towards her room, a thought crossed her mind. “Why do you care about my writing?”
“I was trying to keep you awake by talking,” Ethan told her as they reached her room. He put the keycard into the slot throwing open the door.
“Didn’t leave the lights on?” Ethan asked his voice strained. Annabelle dropped her shoes in the hallway and detangled herself from Ethan throwing herself against the wall with the IPAD that controlled the room.
“I can do it.” She announced grabbing the Ipad and hitting it with force. Ethan stood there stunned as the lights turned off and on, Annabelle just pounding away.
“Alright, Alright, ALRIGHT,” Ethan yelled taking the Ipad away from her. “We don’t need your room to turn into a club. Just need the lights on.” He said, lowering his voice. Annabelle used the wall to navigate down the hallway to the bedroom. Ethan put the Ipad back onto the wall, shut the door and followed.
Annabelle had taken two tentative steps towards her bed before she belly flopped onto it. Her laptop jumping in the air at her presence. Ethan hesitantly walked in after her.
“Are you ok?” Ethan asked edging his way towards the bed. Annabelle picked her head up and turned to look at her laptop, which landed near her hip. She wiggled backward so she could grab the laptop and pull it up against her chest. Ethan watched his lips curving into an amused smile.
“I should write this down,” Annabelle said opening the laptop and pressing her hands onto the keys.
Lena pushed forward captured her lips against his. She sighed and pushed harder. Pushy harder. Harder pushed. Ouch. OUCH. What will happen next? Even I dohn’t know. What am I doing? Who am I? What am I………………………..
Annabelle had fallen asleep on the computer keys a long strand of periods growing on the blank word document. Ethan sighed and walked over to where she fell asleep. Crouching down he watched her for a moment before gently pulling the laptop away from her head. He closed the laptop and stood up. He placed the laptop and purse onto the right chair. He walked over to the bedside table and left her keycard. He grabbed the notepad and pen that rested there and bent down to write her a note. He smiled as he heard her start to snore. He finished his note and walked over to the mini bar hidden in a chest of drawers to grab her water. Placing it on the bedside table next to the note he watched her for a bit before making his way out of the room, making sure the door securely locked itself.
“Goodnight dear author.”
It was the cold light of day that woke Annabelle up. The sunlight traveled across her room to land right onto her face blinding her as she opened her eyes.
“Oh god. No. Stop.” Annabelle moaned as she buried her head into the covers of the bed.
“I think she is awake.”
“I told you we were making too much noise.”
“No, we weren’t. We are perfectly quiet.”
“Except for the talking part.”
“Well, doesn’t matter now. She is awake.”
Annabelle moaned and wondered when she put the television on. She didn’t remember much past that shot she took with everyone. The world went black after that.
Annabelle slowly lifted her head letting her eyes adjust to the sun. Spreading out she stretched her body before forcing herself to sit up.
“Good morning! Can I have these shoes I found in the hallway?”
Annabelle froze as she saw two people sitting in the two chairs at the end of her bed.
“Well? Can I?” A women’s voice asked turning her head towards her.
“I don’t think you can just take someone’s shoes, Lena.” A male voice said turning towards Annabelle too.
“There is no harm in asking. Not like she is using them now J.D.”
Annabelle dumbly stared at the two of them.
“Well?” Lena asked pointing to the shoes in the hallway.
Annabelle looked between the two of them being opening her mouth to scream in their face.