A/N: So, this had been published two years ago and I thought that my muse had died right after the first chapter. Well, I couldn't sleep so I rewrote it after getting a review recently. At least now this chapter doesn't make me cringe so much. Maybe I'll continue it, during down-time from The Time Traveler. We shall see.
She had been sitting on the barstool for close to two hours, slowly sipping her alcoholic beverage. She was dressed nicely, as she had just come from her sister's engagement party. She new she should be happy for her sister and her fiancé, and she was; until she saw how ecstatic everyone else was. Her sister couldn't be normal and announce the engagement at a quiet family dinner, sans the fiancé. The two of them had to spring the news at a party, her birthday party never the less.
"Happy birthday, me." She mumbled into her drink before finishing it. Everyone had forgotten about her birthday and focused their attention on the lovely, doting couple.
"Need another one?" the bartender asked, indicating her drink.
"Nope, I should go home and forget this night." She slurred, trying to get up off the stool. The door to the bar creaked open and she saw who entered: the fiancé.
"Never mind, I'll take another please." She tapped on the counter.
"No, she won't. She's had enough." The fiancé interrupted.
"No, I clearly have not since I know who you are. Another, good sir." The bartender laughed at her logic before giving her another. The fiancé shot him a dirty look.
"Hey, her logic is sound enough. As soon as she asks who you are, no more. Besides, she's only had two. Their mild cocktails." He shrugged his shoulders and moved onto the other patrons.
"Lindsay, you need to stop. Why are you getting drunk? Shouldn't you be with everyone else, celebrating?" he was concerned, but genuinely clueless.
"I am celebrating; by myself. Now if you'll excuse me." She grabbed her drink and lithely hopped over the bar, plopping down against the back counter. The bartender shot her a bemused look.
"I'm trying to get rid of Annoying over there. Is he still there?" The bartender chuckled.
"Unfortunately for you, yes. You should listen to your boyfriend, he's trying to help." He went back to work but looked back when she snorted.
"He's not my boyfriend. Do I look like the type who would date a…an idiot, like that? Heck, you are more my type than that blonde he-bimbo. He's my sister's fiancé."
"Lindsay, that's enough. Why are you moping?" the fiancé sighed in exasperation.
"Because I want to, Devon. And personally, I think I have a very legitimate reason to mope. Now please, let me get back to moping before you make me mad." She took a swig of her drink, spilling half the contents on her shirt.
"See, you can't even drink properly. It's time to go. You'll be able to sleep this bad mood off and then you can explain to everyone why you left your sister's engagement party."
"No, I'm not leaving." She crossed her arms over her chest and pouted like a four year old. The bartender tried to hold back his laughter. Devon glared at him, but the bartender's back was turned.
"Just exactly how old are you Lindsay?" he ran a hand through his mussed hair.
"I don't know, you tell me." She stuck her tongue out for effect.
"25 now start acting like it."
"Just tell Taylor I was being impossibly stubborn and would not depart before my friend." Devon raised an eyebrow and looked around.
"What friend?" Lindsay waited until the bartender passed by her before grabbing hold of his leg.
"Him. He's my friend." She nodded assertively before letting go. She glanced up at him, hoping he wasn't mad and was relieved to see he was laughing at her. This would be the only time she would be happy somebody was laughing at her.
"Whatever, Lindsay, I've tried. Don't call me if you wake up and you don't know where you are." With that, Devon stormed out of the bar. Lindsay crowed in victory before nimbly hopping back over the bar.
"Hey, what's your name? I thought I should know, since you're my friend and all. I can't believe I don't know my own friend's name. I'm a horrible friend." The last part she said to herself.
"Jay. I take it you're Lindsay?"
"Yep. Can I get another one? I kind of spilt the rest of it." She looked sheepish.
"Only if you tell me why you are really moping." Jay had to admit, this Lindsay girl intrigued him.
"Okay." She readily agreed. He waited for her to start. She glanced at his expectant face.
"I have to see the drink first, dummy." She snorted as if it were obvious. Jay chuckled but complied.
True to her word, she waited until the drink was completely made before starting.
"Want to know something interesting about me?"
"What?" he handed her the finished drink.
"I turned 26 today. But you wouldn't know that. You have an excuse for not wishing me happy birthday. Devon doesn't though. Neither does my sister. Or my family. Or anyone at that party, for a matter of fact."
Jay was kind of shocked at that. He had come from a bad family, but they had never forgotten his birthday. Seeing his face, Lindsay nodded emphatically.
"Oh yes. They sure did. We had gone to a nice Italian restaurant, Italian because that's my favorite, and there goes Taylor and Devon, announcing their engagement. Although, that was really just a formality, they've been together for years and everyone already knew that they would get married, so now that I think about it, my birthday was forgotten for a mere formality." She took another big gulp of her drink.
"Well, that sucks much more than I thought it would." He honestly had expected a dumb reason. The girl was drunk, for crying out loud. No one thinks right when one is drunk.
"I know, right? I mean a freaking formality. Why couldn't it have been a good reason at least? Like…a death in the family, or something like that. What time is it?"
He paused at the abrupt change of topic. He glanced at his watch and found that it was dead.
"Never mind. I don't want to know. For all intents and purposes, I've been 26 for an entire day, and not one person has wished me a 'Happy Birthday'. You don't realize how much you come to rely on that simple phrase until you don't hear it when you think you are supposed to hear it."
So she was a talkative drunk. Interesting. Jay smiled a little. She was cute.
"You want to know something else about me?" she leaned over the bar, as if she was going to tell a secret. Jay unconsciously leaned in as well.
"I have a crush on Devon." She sat back up, giggling like mad. So there was another reason she was moping.
"Oh. Don't worry. I'll get over it. Although I've been telling myself that since I met him and found out, he liked my sister instead. She always gets them, my sister. And she doesn't ever have to do anything. Then she wonders why I can't get a boyfriend. You want to know another thing about me?" Jay wasn't sure if he wanted to, given the last 'secret' she told him.
"I put all the guys I meet through what I call, the 'Taylor Test'. I invite them somewhere and she just so happens to show up and we all get to talking and then off she goes. Every single time, the guy will stare after her and every single time, the guy decides that we should just be friends. I figure, why invest all that emotion into a guy if he's just going to forget me when she comes around. It's much smarter, my way. But it also sucks. I must be a masochist. Do you think I'm a masochist?" she focused all her attention on him. He noticed her eyes were a pretty shade of green.
"I don't think so."
"Do you think I'm pathetic? I mean, who does something like that? The Taylor Test, and all." She sighed and dropped her head on the counter.
"No, you aren't pathetic." He couldn't answer the second question.
"I'd like another drink please." She didn't raise her head.
"How many have you had, now?" he didn't want her passing out. He liked her drunken conversations.
"I still know that your name is Jay, and I've told you the reason why I am trying to get drunk off my ass and clearly, I am not there. More please." She tapped her glass against the counter. He obliged but he only filled the glass half-full.
"Thank you. See, my logic is still there. I'm not nearly drunk enough."
"Bartender." Someone called. Jay was surprised to find that there was only one remaining customer in the bar. Had he been that wrapped up in their conversation? On his way back, he glanced at the clock outside the window. It was almost one in the morning.
She was doodling with some of her drink she had spilt on the counter top.
"This is probably old by now, but want to know another interesting thing about me?" she didn't look up this time.
"Sure, there's a never-ending supply of interesting things about you."
"I like you." She was doodling with even more concentration than before.
"Why do you like me?" he hadn't expected her to say that.
"Because you remind me of the first boy I fell in love with." He paused, not saying anything. This was unexpected. Jay didn't know what to say. He'd never had a drunken girl tell him so, innocently, that she liked him. Usually, they came onto him with a little more…force. Knowing she wouldn't remember any of this in the morning, he laughed.
"You are one weird drunken girl. Believe it or not, I think you are drunk off your ass." He saw the last customer leave and began cleaning up. He heard a sigh before he hear her leave.
He was just finishing up when he noticed her keys laying on the floor by her barstool. He grabbed them before rushing outside. He stopped when he saw her sitting on the curb, throwing rocks across the road. She looked over her shoulder before jumping up.
"You found my keys! Oh, thank you thank you thank you! You are a lifesaver! I would have lot my car and my car is my life. It's this sporty little thing that is so smooth, but has this get up and go. I got it when I was 18. I don't know what I would do without my car. Did you know it's my life?" she jumped around, doing a victory dance. She abruptly sat down, shaking her head.
"Wow, I am so dizzy right now. Hopefully I won't barf. I don't want to barf in front of you. That would be embarrassing. Come sit here." She patted the ground in front of her. Turning off the lights in the bar, he locked up before sitting down in front of her. Before he had a chance to get situated, she had grabbed his right hand and sat it in her lap. He was about to question her when she started to trace the veins that she could see.
"You want to know an interesting fact about you?" her fingers sent chills up his arm.
"What?" his voice had turned husky without him meaning to.
"You have nice hands. They look very capable; not too girly, not too manly. Just right," she continued tracing his veins, moving onto his fore arm now, "You also have nice arms. They look like a guitarist's arms. All defined and all. Do you play guitar?" she glanced up at his face. He cleared his throat.
"I play the bass guitar."
"That would explain the calluses." She stopped tracing his veins and sat back. He regretted her stopping.
"Thank you for letting me touch you. Most people would have been freaked out."
"No problem." She started leaning over, oh so slowly closing her eyes. He cracked a grin.
"Are you going to ki-?" her head fell with a thud onto his shoulder and she was out like a light. He looked down, confused before he began chuckling.
"I don't think I've ever been so entertained." He stood up, leaning her against him before he grabbed her keys. Looking in the parking lot, he found her car and headed towards it. He sat her in the passenger seat and made sure she was buckled in securely before heading over to the driver's side. Buckling himself in, he searched for something that would tell him where she lived. He found a check in the glove box that had her address on it. He started the car and drove there. She didn't wake up the entire ride.
He stared at the condominium complex from the driver's seat. He was debating whether to wake Lindsay up or not when she sat upright with a start, banging her head against the windshield.
"Ow! God damn frickety-frack. What the hell?" She was way beyond disoriented. Jay chuckled and that brought her attention to him. She looked dumbstruck.
"Oh, so you weren't a dream." She muttered while gingerly rubbing her sore head.
"Afraid not, Lindsay. You're home by the way." In the short drive from the bar to her place, Lindsay's hair had mussed up quite a bit. There were bits and pieces flying in just about every direction. Jay tried to restrain himself, but he couldn't keep from laughing at her appearance.
"Why are you always laughing at me?" She had adopted an injured tone and huffily leapt out of her car. Well she tried to leap out, anyways. The heel of her shoe caught on the lip of the door and she stumbled, somehow managing to stay upright.
While she struggled to right herself, Jay stepped out of the car, deftly pulling his wallet out of his back pocket. He found an old receipt and scribbled a note on it with a pen he found in Lindsay's car. Folding his driver's license in the receipt, he ran up to Lindsay's door. Just before she slammed it shut, he stopped it with his foot.
"I'm glad to see your so concerned about me getting home, Lindsay. I think your drunken stupor has worn off." He wasn't offended that she had just left him standing by her car, as he mused before, you can't rely on drunk people.
"Whatever. You're the one always laughing at me." She groused, not being too coherant. Jay just chuckled some more. This had to be the most he'd laughed in a long time.
"Night Lindsay. See you soon." With that, he leaned close to her and gave her a chaste kiss on the forehead, slipping the note into her hand.
Lindsay watched, slack-jawed as he sauntered away from her home.