Three hours later, Meghan's little promise had been screwed long ago. I had planned on just a little to drink, I honestly had. I didn't even like the taste of anything that much. But as time passed and we kept talking, I finished one drink and reached for another as mindlessly as reaching for a bag of chips while watching TV. And Meghan didn't stop me, didn't warn me- Meghan, it seemed, was having the same mindless mentality I was.1161

Looking back, I can remember how I used to scorn the girls who would get drunk, thinking them weak and pathetic, lacking self-control. But now I know how very easy it can be to cross the line over from sober…2162

Meava tried to warn us after our second drinks, slow us down- we'd had some earlier too, if you'll remember. But she was so quiet and non-forceful, and we were so caught up in our dialogue, which I can remember no details of now, that we barely heard her, let alone listened. Meava stopped after a single beer and just sat watching us, not even participating in our conversation- which may well have been because it made no sense. And after the first hour or so, after probably our third or fourth drinks, she snuck her camera out so subtly I barely noticed the subsequent shutter clicking and flashing…3163

By then Meghan and I were pretty tipsy and on our way to flat out drunk. We were basically doing completely stupid things, giggling the whole time. As Meava sat there, watching us and snapping pictures, we launched fierce pillow fights and flick wars that involved squealing and shrieking, running and drink spilling, and general Drunk Girl clichéd behavior. Had I not been drunk, and egged on by Meghan, I would have been disgusted with myself.4164

Eventually it got to the point where we were being so loud, giggling and squealing and stumbling around, that Meava begged us to shut up and go to sleep, we were keeping people up. We tried, but we kept snorting with laughter every time we looked at each other. I know Meava must have rightfully wanted to kill us. Her only way of seeking vengeance was her sly photo taking…5165

As my vow to remain sober was broken, Meghan decided at some point it would be a great idea to go skinny-dipping. I was so stupid by that point I agreed, despite the obstacles being A. the pool was public, B. it was closed. But at this point Meava absolutely held her ground, sitting down in front of the door and locking it. She gave us a look as close to fierce as I've ever seen on her.6166

"If you two want to be naked idiots, go whoop it up in the shower," she snapped. "Maybe it'll sober you up."7167

At that we laughed so hard Meghan actually fell over, and I realized almost too late I was going to vomit. I barely made it to the toilet, which was conveniently next to the door. Meava just stood there, watching me with disgust, as Meghan crawled over to me clumsily, patting my back with fumbling fingers.8168

"Hey, it's okay, River," she mumbled as I wiped puke, snot, and tears with rough toilet paper. "We don't have to drink anymore…"9169

Needless to say. I'd had probably seven drinks by then, maybe more- me, who had said I would not get drunk. Right.10170

After that, we sobered up in attitude, if not intoxication levels. I hadn't realized how sick I'd felt- or maybe I just hadn't been sick until then. Whatever the case, I vomited twice more before we finally decided to try to go to sleep. I was shaking and involuntarily crying, my stomach as sore inside as if there were wasps stinging me. All I could think as my temples throbbed was, why the hell had I ever thought this would be a good idea?11171

Meava stalked off to bed around midnight, obviously pissed at all of us, muttering something I'm sure was not meant for our ears to hear. That left the still far from sober Meghan to tend to me, and though she meant well, her intoxication high was coming down, and she didn't feel so good herself. She mostly just kept an arm around me as I knelt before the stupid toilet.12172

When I finally felt I could leave the now reeking bathroom and get some sleep, Meava was already curled up in bed with only one lamp left on for us, presumably asleep. She was the only one in her bed- at nearly 12:30, nearly 3 and a half hours after she'd gone with the guy from the pool, Lysandra still wasn't back. Had we been more alert and sensible, that would have worried us- but we barely noticed.13173

Meghan muttered something about being hot before stripping down to her bra and underwear, standing before our bed. I started to crawl in, still wearing jeans and a t-shirt, but she stopped me with a hand on my shoulder.14174

"River, you're gonna be uncomfortable in that."15175

"I don't wanna change," I mumbled.16176

"Let me do it then," she insisted, reaching over to pull my shirt off my head. She had more trouble with my jeans, but eventually we got into bed, partially clad.17177

"Night, River. Feel better," she whispered, but I only nodded, too weary to reply.18178

It seemed like I had barely closed my eyes before I was forced to open them again, squinting into the darkness of the room. The digital clock on the night table between the beds read 1:17- why was someone banging around then? Why weren't they sleeping, and letting me sleep?19179

It took a few moments before I realized- the noise, I thought foggily, seemed to be coming from the door to our room. Someone was banging on the door with their fists. As the thought rolled through my mind slowly, I heard a voice join in among the bangs.20180

"Meghan? River? Meava? Let me in… let me in…"21181

Beside me Meghan groaned, curling tighter into a ball, and in the bed across from us, Meava sat up slowly, looking around with a groggy, pissed-off expression.22182

"What the hell," Meghan mumbled, sitting up as well as the banging continued.23183

"Lysandra," Meava muttered. "I knew she'd come back."24184

She swung herself out of bed slowly, shuffling over to the door. By the time she reached it, the knocking had stopped. I guess Lysandra had started to go away or something. As she opened the door, sticking her head out and calling her name flatly, Meghan scowled.25185

"Dammit, it's one in the fucking morning! Where has she been- can you really have sex for four or five hours? What the hell is her problem?"26186

Just then Lysandra stepped inside the room dimly lit now by the light from the hallway. Her steps were shuffly, her head lowered, shoulders slumped, and I thought even in my foggy state of mind I could make out tearstains on her cheeks. As she stumbled into the room, Meava closed the door behind her and nearly launched herself back into bed, pulling the covers over her head. Obviously she wasn't in the least curious about Lysandra's whereabouts or what had happened to her.27187

Meghan, on the other hand, was. Giving Lysandra an evil stare, she said in a slightly slurred, fuzzy, but no less fierce voice, "Where the hell were you, Lysandra?"28188

Lysandra just stood in the middle of the nearly completely dark room, and though I could barely see her, I could make out her chest hitching.29189

"I'm sorry, Meg- I-I… I wasn't really with him that long," she said weakly, and I heard the shuddery tone to her voice. "We were at the pool an hour, or something, and then we drove around, and…"30190

"Had sex," Meghan snapped. "We can guess that, Lysandra."31191

"Yeah, well…" Lysandra said miserably. "I'm sorry. I wasn't with him this past hour, he dropped me off… I've been walking all around trying to find our room." It was obvious even in the dark how close she was to tears. I could pretty much guess the details of what had happened- it wasn't as if this were the first time. Lysandra meets guy, they disappear to have sex, he ditches her, she shows up upset hours later. At this point, I was much too tired and sick to deal with it.32192

Meghan, however, as before, apparently wasn't. "Lysandra, were you drunk?" she snapped- rather hypocritically, I thought.33193

"No…" breathed out Lysandra slowly, shamefully.34194

Meghan sighed loudly, and in our proximity to each other I could almost feel her frustration. 35195

"Go to bed, Lysandra, none of us feel like dealing with this. And I can assure you that you probably would prefer me not to say any more to you at this moment."36196

Her voice sounded clearer now, more herself, and I didn't know if this was because she was feeling better or just more alert. She lay back in bed, rolling onto her side close to me. Lysandra stood there uncertainly for a few moments, still crying quietly, before moving slowly to her and Meava's bed and crawling under the covers. She must have been tired too, because it wasn't long before I heard her deep breathing mingling with Meava's. I couldn't hear Meghan's- I remember thinking she must not be able to get to sleep just before I myself drifted off.37197

I think that when I first began to awaken once more, I thought I was still in a dream, that what I heard and felt was still a part of it. I know that it didn't alarm me, that I stirred only slightly…38198

But as I continued to feel it, become more aware of it physically, I came to realize that it was no dream. Someone was touching me, gently, stroking my arms, my head, my shoulders and face…39199

I opened my eyes, confused, groggy, and everything seemed blurry and unreal…40200

Meghan was lying close to me, still clad in her underwear only, her face inches from mine. As I blinked at her stupidly, she continued to run her hand over me gently, feeling me…41201

Seeing me looking at her, she didn't look startled, as I would have expected- just scooted closer to me, resting a finger gently on my lips.42202

"Shh, it's only me," she murmured softly.43203

"Meg…" I croaked, having to fight to keep my eyes open. "What are you doing?"44204

"Shh," she answered, sliding an arm under my shoulders and squeezing my limp body to her. "You look cute asleep. I always noticed that, you know."45205

"What…"46206

"Go back to sleep, River. It's okay."47207

I blinked at her, bewildered, wary… but she wasn't touching me anymore, beyond the arm around my shoulders. And I was so tired…48208

As my eyes drifted shut, I could have sworn I heard her whisper hoarsely, "God. Shit…" and I felt something brush my lips that felt suspiciously like the lips of someone else. I thought, but I could not be sure…49209

The next morning I woke not because of my horrible headache, dry nasty-tasting mouth, or pained, raw-feeling stomach, although all of this was present, but rather because of Meava, her mouth located approximately six inches from my ear.50210

"Get up, both of you, Lys too, we're going to be late!"51211

Although her voice was raised only slightly, the urgency in it and its proximity to my ear made me jump, startled and spooked. She was leaning over our bed, looking at me anxiously.52212

"Come on, we're going to be late, it's almost eleven!" she repeated.53213

"Leave me alone," Lysandra mumbled as Meava turned to face her, shaking her shoulder, and Meghan made a weird growling noise, burying her face in my bare shoulder. It was about then that I began to wake up slightly, enough to realize that Meghan was pressed up against me, and the clock by our bed read 10:43.54214

It took a while for me to see the connection of the time and Meava's concern- but then it hit me. Checkout time was eleven- and we were supposed to be home by noon.55215

I sat up jerkily, sending a drowsy Meghan tumbling off me, and got out of bed unsteadily, the resulting dizziness I received as a result forcing me to grab the night table. Damn, so this was a hangover…56216

"We gotta check out of the hotel and go home sober in fifteen minutes, Meghan!" I said hoarsely. "Get up, hurry!"57217

With Meava, poor thing, doing most of the pushing and commandeering, packing our duffel bags haphazardly, throwing away bottles and cups, and nearly yanking Lysandra out of bed, we somehow managed to get down to the checkout less than three minutes before time. Our teeth and hair were unbrushed, our clothes wrinkled, eyes red and circled. Meghan and I were half-supporting each other's weight, both of us suffering from the night before.58218

By the time we piled into Meava's car, none of us were talking or even wanting to. Lysandra climbed into the passenger seat, staring out the window in an utterly depressed manner, and Meghan and I slid into the back. As Meava went into the driver's seat, turning on the car, she turned suddenly, whipping out her camera from her coat pocket. She snapped a picture of Lysandra first, then me and Meghan. We stared at her, stunned and more than a little dismayed.59219

"Hey! What the hell was that?" Meghan protested. 60220

"Meava's revenge," she replied, smiling briefly. "I'll get my kicks where I can." Replacing her camera securely, she began to drive. Meghan leaned against me, cuddling her head to my shoulder and closing her eyes.61221

As I sat there, sore, tired, and disgusted with myself, I was hyper-aware of her closeness. I really wanted to squirm away from her, push her aside…. For now I was remembering the night before, and wondering.62222

She had been so odd, touching me like that and getting so close- while we were in our underwear, no less. Had I been exaggerating it in my mind, half asleep and drunk on top of it all? Or had there really been something weird about her touch? Had she really kissed me?63223

What are you worrying about River? I asked myself irritably. She was drunk and you were drunk- you're making too much of it. Even if she did kiss you, it doesn't mean she's gay or in love with you. People do weird things after drinking- you should very well remember that after last night.64224

But whatever I told myself, the thought kept nagging me… particularly her final hoarse mutterings to herself. 65225

One more memory from the night before… this one, I suspected, would not be one to look back on and laugh at later, but rather one to be left unspoken…66226

The end67227