The morning sun crept through my blinds, intent on waking me. I rolled over onto my side, a hiss escaping me as the sunlight seemed to want to set my brain on fire. Jesus, how much had I drunk last night?
The sound of snoring erupted into the air around me and I stilled, my whole body going rigid under my soft blue duvet. I forced one of my eyes open, shame creeping over the rest of me when it fell upon a sleeping man that I had absolutely no recollection of.
"Urgh," I breathed out, sliding under my covers wishing it was the ground instead, swallowing me whole. I manoeuvred my body so it practically melted off the side of my bed, the cold air nipping at it. I glanced down, bare, pastel skin covered in goosebumps screaming the answer to the other question that was bouncing around my mind. Had I had sex with this random?
Yes, the answer was clearly yes.
The remnants of alcohol swirled in my stomach, wanting to join the outside world. I staved down the vomit that burnt my throat as I scrambled about my bedroom floor, desperately trying to find something that resembled clothes. My hand found some off white, threadbare boxers and my stomach heaved as I flung them from my fingertips. Eww, eww, fucking eww. I had not only slept with a man I didn't know, but a man that wore boxers like that. They looked older than I was.
I glanced up to my door and my eyes fell upon my saving grace. My grey, fluffy dressing gown was hanging beautifully on the silver hook. I would have squealed if I hadn't been trying to be a ninja and also trying to suffocate the vomit waiting impatiently in my throat.
I dashed across my floor, one arm splayed across my chest barely covering both breasts, the other outstretched, reaching for the dressing gown. I almost snapped the ribbon that dangled it from the hook, desperate to cover myself before this stranger opened his eyes and saw me.
Had he seen me already? Of course. Had he seen me sober? Fuck no!
I knew that for a fact because I had no idea who he was. Not even a faint recollection. So he must have entered my life somewhere between drink 10 and drink...200 for all I knew.
I glanced back over my shoulder as I whipped my door open, the slight gust of wind rippling the blonde hair that fell around my shoulders. I pulled my dressing gown tighter around me as I walked out into the hallway, my toes wiggling as the ground beneath my feet morphed from my warm grey carpet to the cold, light oak wooden floor Liza had forced me to buy. I shivered as I shuffled towards the kitchen, needing coffee to soothe my raw edges.
"Morning, sleepyhead," Liza's voice felt like a bullet to my skull. I winced as I shot her a look of contempt, shuffling further into the kitchen and flicking the kettle on.
"Great night?" she asked, the lightness of her tone telling me she knew exactly how great my night had been. I could sense the ripple of laughter, just below the surface of her words.
"No," I stated, my voice gruff. I stared at the kettle, willing it to boil faster so I could escape the torture I knew would follow.
"Really? Sounded like you had a great, great time," she giggled, the laughter escaping with the last word.
"Oh God don't," I groaned, leaning onto the worktop in front of me, my elbows bracing my arms as my head collapsed into my hands. I rubbed my temples before straightening, my gaze falling towards my bedroom door.
"Oh shit. Is he still here?" Liza whispered loudly, leaning around the corner trying to peer down the hallway. I leant back onto the worktop, leaving the question unanswered.
"Well, atleast you finally took my advice. The best way to get over Bryon is to get under something else."
"Remind me to never, ever take your advice again," I whined, my head pounding. I glared at the kettle, it's loud rumbles echoed into the air around me, assaulting my eardrums as if they were tiny fists.
"Hey-" she started but movement reached both our ears from my bedroom, both of us stilling as our gazes flicked to the hallway. A massive grin spread across Liza's face as a look of dread spread across mine.
"Tiger? Where's my Rory tiger at?" a voice called out, my body recoiling at the question. His voice was a little slurred still, alcohol and sleep pulling at them. I took a step back, trying my best to hide from him in case he chose to exit my room. Liza looked over to me, flicking her head towards the hallway and I shook my head violently, desperate to avoid whatever awkward interaction I was about to endure. I had never, ever had a one night stand before. I just wanted to pretend it had never happened but the proof was currently standing in my bedroom.
Liza's gaze widened as she mouthed words in my direction that I refused to decipher. I just kept shaking my head, lips taut as I wrapped my arms around myself.
"Tiger?" she called out, storming out of the kitchen, flapping her hand behind her back as a signal for me to hide, "I think she left for work already."
I dashed into the corner by our oven, hands covering my eyes as I listened intently to their conversation as best I could. Liza was the fucking best friend in the world! No the entire galaxy. Or to quote Liza herself, the multiverse.
"Oh, God! Put some clothes on!" Liza shrieked and I couldn't help the cackle that exploded out of my mouth. I slid my hand down to stifle the echo of it, stretching forward a little as I strained to hear the rest.
"Oh, sorry," was all I could make out, the rest too mumbled to carry through two walls and a half-shut door. I fought against the urge to creep closer, our hallway offering absolutely no places to hide once he left the room.
"Less yabbing, more dressing if you please. I have work to get to as well," Liza's voice was purposely loud and no doubt felt like a jackhammer to that poor guy's skull. Part of me felt guilty, avoiding him when he hadn't done anything wrong, not even attempting to know him. But parts of me knew him too well whilst not even remembering his name. So the rest of me, the shame-filled me, called the shots.
My head fell into my palms, my head pounding as the self-loathing crawled over me like a bad rash. This had definitely not helped me get over Bryon. 6 months of moping hadn't either so I guessed drunk me had decided to make some bad, bad choices.
Yesterday would have been our three year anniversary and I had clearly decided to drink away my emotions, filling the void with copious amounts of alcohol. Because instead of celebrating with the love of my life I had been sat alone on my sofa. Because an angel had walked into his life and swept him off his feet, flying him straight out of mine. A literal angel. I mean, nobody can compete with that.
Minutes passed by, lost in the memory when muffled speech and staggered movement pulled me back to the present.
"Yeah, I'll let her know you had a great time. Best to let her call you," I heard Liza shout, loud enough for me to hear. The door clicked into place and I popped my head around the corner, relief pouring over me like hot water.
"You have got bad taste in men," she sighed, walking towards me with a look of disgust on her face. I cringed, rubbing my arms as if that would clean the dirty feeling from my skin. I needed a shower. A scalding hot, peel your skin off, shower. After my coffee.
"Yeah, tell me about it. He was a frog ok. I need to kiss some so I can find my prince."
"Prince? That's so 1990. Why settle for a prince when you could have a vampire? Or a werewolf? Or a fairy? I've heard fairies are kinky as fuck," Liza smiled, waggling her eyebrows at me as I poured my coffee.
"I'd rather die."
"Ok chill out drama queen. You haven't even tried it yet. Trust me when I say some are out of this world."
"Ok enough with the corny puns. Threewishes.com is definitely not for me. Anyway, we've gone over this. It's what ruined my relationship with Bryon," I grumbled, hand gripping my empty coffee cup as I leant back against the side. I went to take a sip, disappointment flooding me when my lips were greeted with air.
"My gorgeous best friend," Liza soothed, walking towards me with her big brown eyes full of concern. "Threewishes wasn't what ruined your relationship. The fact he was on dating sites ruined it."
"Yeah, but we could have fixed it," I breathed, placing the empty cup heavily on the side, "but I was never going to win against a fucking angel. Have you seen her? She actually glows. Even I would have left me for her," I cried, tears escaping, carving rivers of grey down my cheeks. I wiped at them furiously, annoyed at my weakness again. Alcohol and sadness were never a good mix for my psyche. I tried to pretend I was strong but really, with matters of my heart, I was a complete lightweight.
Liza wrapped her arms around me, hugging me fiercely as we stood alone in the kitchen.
"How about we find you a devil or something? Then they can duel it out in the street or something, protect your honour."
"I think that's more of a knight thing," I choked, laughter forcing it's way out through the tears. I stepped out of her embrace, smoothing my hair and wiping the stray tears that still stained my cheeks.
"I'm just saying, that you shouldn't write off the app just because of Bryon. What could be better than finding happiness yourself with something badass? Something ten times better than him," she persuaded, corners of her mouth pulling up in a small smile.
"So your version of revenge is doing exactly the same thing to him as he did to me?" I asked, raising an eyebrow. I watched as the small smile vanished from her face, brow furrowed.
"No! She isn't better than you!" she growled, eyes glaring at the statement. She grabbed me by the arms, shaking me softly.
"You are amazing Rory. You're a damn tiger," she laughed. I dropped my head back and groaned, wishing the last 24 hours had been a nightmare. Hell, the last 6 months if that were a possibility.
"Don't remind me. I need a shower," I grimaced, shaking my hands as if they physically had dirt on them.
"You need to be dipped in acid love. Of all the guys, you pick someone that looks like they are an extra from the royal family. The T.v show, not the monarchy."
"Was he really that bad? Urgh, I didn't stay in the room long enough to even look at him."
I tried to remember his face but all that came to mind was a brief side profile, mouth open, black stubble falling messily around it. "See this is what happens when I listen to you."
"No. You can't lay the blame at my door, we share the same flat. I said to get under something, not someone," she corrected, flicking the kettle on again behind me. She busied herself next to me, filling my mug with a spoon full of coffee and four sugars. She always added extra sugar when I was hungover, making the coffee taste like treacle.
"Well shame on me for wanting a normal relationship. Not everyone is dazzled by immortals. I find it hard enough keeping a man when his lifespan is 80 odd years. I'm not jumping up a level when I've failed the first."
Liza stopped what she was doing and grabbed me once more. She stared at me, face close to mine. The look in her eyes held me in place more than her hands at that point, unwavering.
"Ok, I'm gonna activate my bitch mode for a second so that you hear me. Bryon is a dick. He cheated on you, multiple times and then left you. But that says more about him than it ever will about you. And yes it was for an angel but you are an angel in human form woman! Don't you forget it. Now you deserve happiness. Or at least a bit of fun that you don't need to wash off you the next morning. So please I'm begging you, just try it. For me. I will accept all blame and all responsibility."
"Will you quit going on about it? If I sign up for one bloody date on the thing?"
"Absolutely. As long as you let me help with the bio. There is no way I'm letting you write, lovesick 25 year old seeks demon for one date just to shut best friend up. Deal?"
"Deal. Along as you don't write lies like 25 year old virgin seeks devil for casual sacrifice."
I offered my phone begrudgingly over, fingers gripping it tightly as Liza pulled it from my grasp. She typed my 4 digit code in flawlessly, scrolling through my phone before opening Threewishes.com as I sipped at my coffee. I kept the mug high after my sip, breathing in the sweet aroma of sugar and coffee, the rich notes floating up to my nose as a sigh escaped me.
"Um, Rory?" Liza asked, words tinged with confusion, "You still have only one email right? [email protected]
I nodded, too tired to cringe at the username I had made when I was 15. Liza thrust the phone towards my face, almost colliding with my coffee cup.
"Why does it say this email address already has an account?!"