The next morning I woke up to the sounds of men arguing. I stayed in bed listening to the conversation, only making out bits and pieces between the English slang. Getting out of bed, I made my way into the kitchen where Jordon and Joe were, I think, cooking.

"Oh, my, should I call the fire brigade?" I dazedly said, startling the guys into turning around.

"We were making you some bangers, but this piss-head doesn't know the proper way to make 'em!" Joe stuck out his thumb motioning toward Jordon.

"He's just cheesed off 'cus he didn't come clubbin' wit us last night, that's all!"

"I don't need to go out and come home tanked every night like you and Rion!" They turned back toward each other and continued their argument.

I cleared my throat, "Guys, stop it, this is juvenile." When they didn't responded I went over and smacked both of them in their heads, "STOP!"

"Shite, Mari," Jordon said, rubbing his head.

"What the hell are you arguing about?" I demanded.

"The baaangers," Jordon replied mockingly.

"What the hell are BANGERS!" I yelled throwing my hands up in the air and waving them like a mad woman.

"Those are bangers," Joe laughed and pointed at the stove where sausages were sitting in a frying pan, "We were making you breakfast, for your birthday."

We all laughed at the absurdity of them fighting over sausages and decided it was best that they didn't cook—ever again—and that it was a better idea to take me out instead. After breakfast Jordon left us, apologizing for not being able to spend more time with me on my birthday but insisting that he if could finance his drinking with just being a musician, a real job wouldn't be necessary.

Joe took me through all the little mom-and-pop shops, buying me candy and silly little trinkets that caught our eyes. Neither of us said anything about what happened the day before, it wasn't important, we both knew the other was sorry.

We came to the fountain where I had eaten that first morning, and I just couldn't help myself from walking along the ledge. I held out my hands and walked like I was on a tight-rope, still talking to Joe about mine and Stacie's plan to move out of the city. I twirled and danced, letting my hair fly around me while Joe walked behind watching, smiling, laughing at my childish behavior. I was just coming out of a twirl when my right shoe slipped and sent me backwards. I let out a scream but before I could even finish I was caught.

I don't remember closing my eyes, but when I opened them I found myself in Joe's arms; he had caught me. His face was so close to mine that I clearly made out the white scar that ran from the left corner of his mouth to his cheek bone. It was jagged and harsh, and told an unknown story that I longed to understand. But everything else was on his face, in his eyes--concern, passion, tenderness, honesty, attraction. I could feel his intense emotion through his eyes, and with our faces, our mouths, so close it was challenging not to submit. Those brief seconds seemed to last an hour, but just when I thought I was giving in Joe swung me down and planted my feet on the ground.

"Leave the dancing to the pros, Mari," He joked.

"Aw, come on!" I said playfully jabbing him in the upper arm, willing the awkward moment to pass by quickly. "I've never seen you let your guard down and get wild for all the time I've known you, Joe Dane."

"When I was your age—"

"Don't start in with the "when I was your age…" garbage. It won't work with me, just ask my parents," We started walking toward Joe's flat, joking around about my crazy activities and forceful attitude.

Even with the window left open a crack, the flat still smelt like burnt sausages. I sat down on the couch and rubbed my sore ankle while Joe hit the play button on his answering machine, something he rarely did or so I was I told.

"For God's sake, Joe, pick up. We're all getting shit-faced down here at Sonny's, where are you?" The message was deleted and automatically played the next. I didn't recognize any of the voices coming from the machine, and all the messages were all about meeting at bars or shows. Toward the end, when I had nearly been put asleep, Rion's voice came through the speaker, "Joe, I got banged up by a blasted Bobby. They're not letting me go till tomorra mornin', figure a day away would be healthy. Bullocks Joe, it looks it's just gonna be you, Jordon, and Mars tonight. Tell that Betty a Happy Birthday for me and---," He was cut off by Joe punching the erase button. There were no more messages.

"Is everything alright?" I questioned from my location on the couch.

"Rion's tied up. Looks like it's just me and you, love," He came over into the room and settled down in a chair. "What do you want to do?"

"Let's stay in and drink. You know, close the shades and hole-up in your apartment until Friday."

"I've just the thing," He got up and went into the kitchen, opening and closing many of the cabinets until he found what he was looking for: a bottle of wine.

We opened it and poured it into drinking glasses. It was silent for the first few minutes as we let the wine work its alcoholic magic on our nerves, numbing our feelings and relaxing our bodies. The night moved on as we finished the bottle and continued through the various sorts of drinks that resided in Joe's cabinets. I took what I knew was my last glass and staggered into Joe's bedroom, placing the glass on the nightstand and collapsing on the bed. I positioned my legs over the headboard and allowed my body to sink deep into the welcoming mattress. Joe followed shortly, falling onto the bed so that his feet hung off the end and our faces were side-by-side. His arm drooped off the side of the bed and I could hear his empty glass drop from his hand and clank against the floor, rolling to a stop against the dresser.

I was drunk, but not in the way I would normally find myself. I didn't feel stupid or compelled to do any silly stunts, I felt composed and aware; aware of my location, my position, myself, and Joe. I felt at ease with my body and state of mind.

My head rolled to the right, Joe was lying beside me, drifting in and out of sleep like myself. I inched closer so we were face-to-face like earlier today at the fountain. I could feel my eyes grow heavy and I let them close for what I thought was a second, but in reality was an hour. Gradually they opened again to Joe's sleeping form beside me. I leaned in toward his face and hesitated for moment, then I pressed my mouth against his and felt a surge of emotions course through my body as though they were being transferred from him to me. I pulled away and found that I had awakened him in the subtlest of ways. Our droopy eyes held a conversation between themselves before they closed and our lips found each other, the kiss full of withheld passion. We moved horizontal on the full-sized bed so we were no longer facing opposite directions. Both extremely drowsy and still intoxicated, our movements were unhurried and sluggish. Joe laid on my left and I moved so that I was half laying on him, my legs still beside his. I idly traced his scar with a finger as he groggily caressed my skin. My eyes closed and I leaned into his hand as his thumb traced its way from my eye-socket down to my mouth before gently pulling me down to him again.

As I began to fall asleep I started slipping off Joe's body, and as our kiss was broken when I found myself next to him. I could feel him shift, felt his arm drape across me, and felt it go limp as we both drifted back into sleep. I awoke again shortly after and propped myself up on my elbows, eyes straining to keep open and see through the darkness. Something stirred beside me and I felt a soft, wet sucking on my shoulder that traveled up my neck and found my lips. He parted my lips and our tongues danced, moving and caressing within our mouths. An impulsiveness began growing between us, an unstoppable force if it weren't for the increasing fatigue. His kiss pressed me back down; too drained to fight I gave in and collapsed. His hands found the hem of my shirt, and began pulling up, breaking our kiss only to remove the unnecessary piece of clothing.

He went to tenderly kissing and gradually sucking my neck, then my collar bone. Alarms started going off in my body; my eyes securing themselves shut as my head screamed for me to rest. Stop, Joe, stop, I could hear my inner voice echoing, but nothing came out of my mouth. I was too tired and too drunk to forcefully stop this from going further. My hands found Joe's chest and pushed against it, stopping his actions long enough for me to vocalize.

"Joe," I sleepily whispered. "I'm so tired," was all I could manage. My hands didn't get the message my brain was sending, they grasped his shirt and pulled it over his head revealing the toned skin beneath. They wrapped around him and the palms pressed down, bringing him to me.

I could feel his already gentle kisses grow faint and finally he shifted back beside me, pulling me close to stroke my shoulder.

"Joe," I began again, but I don't think he heard me. I could tell he was already drifting, "I'm….. so….. tired……" I could barely even get the words out as I too drifted further and further away.