“You’re in free fall Livi, and you’re going to hit rock bottom soon.”
Waving a bottle of raspberry gin at him, I say, “The sooner, the better my dear Red, the sooner, the better.” Usually I’m just a regular plain old gin kind of girl, but lately, I’ve been testing out different flavours, and there are oh so many to choose from. From blackberry and apple to rhubarb to elderflower, all delicious in their own unique way and many more I’m yet to try.
“Look at the state of you, Olivia, how can you do this to yourself?”
“Quite easily.” I reply downing the rest of the bottle, overbalancing on my stool, I topple over. Everything seems to be in slow motion. Horror is etched on Joey’s face, he reaches to catch me, but he’s too far away. I hear my head hit the corner of the counter, ringing echoing in my head. I try to catch hold of something but can’t; Joey shouts my name then everything goes black.
I wake with a throbbing pain in the right side of my head, Pearse holding my left hand his eyes red and puffy. Squeezing his hand, I say, “I’m sorry.”
“So you bloody well should be, I’ve been worried sick. You’re damned lucky you have such a thick skull that you didn’t do some serious damage.”
“Where’s Joey at?” I ask I can’t get the look on his face before everything went blackout of my head. It was a look of utter helplessness, of being so close yet so far away.
“Went to get some coffee and a sandwich. He was in a bad way Oli when he called me; you have to stop doing this to yourself?”
Staring up at the ceiling, I say, “I know, I just miss her so much P.” Tears running down my face, I squeeze his hand tighter.
“I know you do, but I need you Oli, Joey needs you even Alice in her twisted way needs you. Anna is gone you can’t change that, you drinking yourself into an early grave is not going to bring her back.”
“I would take her place in a second Pearse; she didn’t deserve to die that way.” Tears and snot running down my face, he hands me a tissue, I weakly smile at him as I wipe my face.
“And neither do you.” I scoff at his comment.
“I wouldn’t be so sure.”
“Self-pity doesn’t look good on you Livi,” Joey says from the doorway, he’s holding one of those cardboard cup trays in one hand, a plastic bag with who knows what in, it in the other. “So you’re finally awake.”
“Yes,” I reply somewhat subdued, he’s been crying too, he’s better at hiding it than Pearse, but I can tell, little flecks of red in his ordinarily bright eyes, a slight puffiness and his voice sounds like he has a cold.
“Typical I only buy two cups, and here you are wide awake on my return.”
“I’ll pretend to be unconscious again until you two enjoy your coffee, how does that sound?” He smiles, his body relaxing, the tenseness in his shoulders easing, I can’t keep doing this to them.
“Glad to see you’re still as big of a smartarse as ever.”
“I’m sorry Joey, I know it doesn’t cut it but I truly am for all the worry and hurt I have caused you, both of you.” Looking from him to Pearse and back again.
“Hurt me, never.” I know him, he deflects and cracks jokes when he doesn’t want his true feelings to show through.
“Stop trying to be the tough guy Joey.” Pearse comments as Joey hands him a coffee cup.
“Drink that and be quiet.” Pearse smirks as he takes a sip from the cup.
“So when do I get to go home?” They look at each other a serious expression on their faces. “What?”
“You can never go home Livi.” Joey replies in a serious flat tone.
“Whatever do you mean?”
“Will you tell her or shall I?” Joey asks Pearse.
“You, I can’t bear to.” He says, looking down at his cup sniffling; I’m beginning to get annoyed and worried both at the same time, which isn’t helping the throbbing in my head.
“Did I burn down the house or something?”
“Worse than that.”
“Oh, god, what?” His serious expression starts to falter a smirk forms on his lips, “I don’t see what there is to smirk about.”
“Sorry Livi I couldn’t resist, you can go home tomorrow afternoon.”
“You bastard, you had me worried.”
“Now, you know how it feels.” I deserved that I deserved much more than a silly prank.
“Anything good in that bag?” I ask in regards to the mystery contents of his plastic bag.
“Something that will rot my teeth and make me regret I ate it afterwards.”
“Oh yeah, plenty of that.”
Depositing me on the sofa, he wraps a teal faux fur blanket around my legs. “I’m not an invalid Joey.”
“The doctor said you were to rest and so you shall.”
“Doesn’t mean I can’t walk from the car to the house on my own two feet.”
“Pearse and I have work to go to Richard should be here to keep you company in a few.”
“What is this, Joseph Peters?”
“Oh full name time is it, well Olivia Constance de Winter this is you under house arrest.”
“Don’t fight it Oli it’s for your own good.” Pearse says setting a tray of soft drinks and snacks on the sofa beside me.
“So where’s the patient at?” Richard smugly comments, “Ah there she is, ooh that’s developing into a nice shiner.” He says poking at my blackening right eye.
Swatting his hand away, I say, “Hello Richard.” He throws his coat over one of the armchairs.
“We’ll be back around four want us to pick some dinner up?” Pearse asks as he is halfway out the door.
“Some bibimbap please.”
“You would pick the most awkward place to go to.” Joey says as he puts his jacket on.
“Shut up grumpy.” Pearse comments, I can hear them continue to squabble all the way out to the car.
Handing Richard a can of pink lemonade, I ask, “How are you holding up?”
“A lot better than you it would seem. First, a viral video and then an argument with the floor. Quite the show you put on.” He says, cracking open the can of lemonade taking a sip his face scrunches up.
“Vile I know. Wait what viral video?”
“Oh, you haven’t seen it.”
“Umm no.” He shows me his phone, and there I am in full HD gyrating on stage next to 5 male strippers in my bra and pants, god I hate modern cell phones.
“Quite the sensation you’ve become. All the boys at Alistair’s school want to meet you.” Richard says a smirk on his face.
“Charming just what I’ve always wanted a fan club of horny teenage boys.”
“You only have yourself to blame.”
“Yes, yes I’m quite well aware of that.” He reaches into his suit pocket and produces a silver cigarette holder sliding one out he places it between his lips reaching into the same pocket he extracts a matching lighter engraved with his initials on the front. “Richard this is a no smoking house.” He frowns and says,
“Oh shut up, Olivia one cigarette isn’t going to kill you.”
“No, but they aren’t going to do you much good.”
“Spare me the lectures on the evils of smoking, especially considering everything that has transpired in the last few days. I’m old enough to make up my mind when and how many to smoke.” I should know by now not to say anything to him about smoking any time I do he bites my head off, then again he has a point I’m not in any position to be lecturing him on bad habits.
“Fair point. Shouldn’t you be at work or something.”
“Nope perks of being the boss, I’ve got the rest of the day free.”
“Lucky, lucky me.”