When I closed my eyes, the room spun slightly to the right.
The alcohol was definitely doing funny things with my brain. And it went beyond just throwing off my equilibrium. I knew Blake was attractive, sure, but it had to be the tequila and the four whiskey sours talking; never had my thoughts of my best friend been quite so... vivid. I turned my head towards where he sat at his desk, scribbling in his physics book. I watched the way some of his fair hair fell across his forehead. He needed a haircut again. The way his brow pinched in concentration. He needed to relax.
"The room's still spinning," I said, breaking the silence. Blake hummed in affirmation but didn't glance up. "You hadn't asked how I was feeling, but I thought you should know everything's falling to the right."
Despite my pathetic attempts at conversation, he didn't say anything. Which was strange, because he was usually amused by me, especially when I was drunk. Normally he was nothing but attentive. There was no subtle smile playing across his features, a sure sign of amusement, nor a tightening of his jaw, the only clue he gave of his frustration. Instead of either typical emotion, he was pretending I didn't exist. Like I wasn't lying on his bed, watching him carefully. Sitting up, ignoring my skull's protest, I brought my knees to my chin. My shoes caught the frame of his bed and dropped to the floor with echoing thuds.
At the noise, Blake glanced up, met my gaze before returning back to his studies. His eyes flashed with a first sign of emotion: irritation. At me. We sat in silence until it once again became too much for me.
"You always look busy."
He sighed, dropped his pen and ran a hand through his hair. Catching me eyeing him expectantly, he pushed aside the annoyance that came with me distracting him. Again.
Instead of snapping, he calmly replied, "You always look bored."
"I am bored."
"Well I'm not that busy. What is it?"
He nodded. "I am."
"You're mad… at me?"
"You're drunk. Get some sleep."
"You're mad at me." I repeated, my words echoing in the silence of his dorm room. The alcohol pulsing through my insides rushed to my head as I whipped my focus from his brown eyes to stare at the ceiling. The tiles were white and soothing. Best of all they weren't shooting me angry, condescending stares. I bit my lip. "But I didn't do anything."
Blake had never been upset with me before. Not truly upset. He'd get annoyed when I slurped Pepsi from a can, or when I didn't want to go out because my hair wouldn't cooperate, or when I was late to our 10:30 biology lab because I overslept. But he'd never treated me quite like this.
"Why?" I asked, only half expecting the answer that never came. The room stopped spinning for a moment as I closed my eyes. "Because I texted you?"
Blake grunted in affirmation, and I continued,
"I know it's Friday and it's late and I didn't even tell you where I was going, but I couldn't think of anyone else. You're the only person that would drop everything when I needed you."
"I would." A shadow of a smile tugged at his mouth. His homework was abandoned. I wasn't sure when he'd swiveled to face me. "And I'm probably the only person who can interpret your drunk texts."
My phone was lying by my hip. Glancing down at the message I'd sent a half hour earlier, I frowned. I could barely understand the jumble of letters that were supposed to represent that I was drunk and alone and waiting outside Crickets in need of a ride home.
"I must be sobering up. That's terrible."
I set my phone back on his bed. The sheets were freshly washed, thanks to me. I doubt Blake would think to wash them if it wasn't for me.
"I am sorry. Weren't you supposed to go out tonight? I figured you'd be with Mike and Paulie, not sitting in your room catching up on physics."
"Mike and Paulie were going to the lake."
"Oh?" I glanced down at my painted toes. There was too much in Blake's stare and my head was too fuzzy to decipher what it meant. "You love fishing. Why didn't you join?"
"I don't get service at the lake. How could I come to your rescue if I was an hour away and without reception?"
The alcohol buzzed in my ears. My mouth fell slack. "What?"
Blake was still looking at me. His features still giving little away. "You're welcome."
"Blake... You... So you're not mad?"
His brows narrowed a fraction. "I'm pissed."
"Because I ruined your evening?" I was getting frustrated by playing this guessing game. I was way too drunk for this.
"No. Think about it Harper."
But I couldn't think about much of anything. My cheeks were numb and the room was still spinning and Blake wasn't making any sense.
"You're drunk. Get some sleep. We can talk about this in the morning."
I wasn't so drunk that I would forget his words. Lying back in Blake's bed I waited for him to join me. When he didn't I propped myself up on my elbows, expecting him to be doing physics once more. However, he was still sitting in his computer chair, facing me. Watching me with that indiscernible expression.
"How did you know that I would need rescuing?" I hadn't expected it. I wasn't a Disney princess. Animals didn't flock to me when I sang and no prince charming had ever swooped in when I'd needed him most. Besides, my voice was terrible and I was terrified of birds. And even more importantly, there were no prince charmings. At least none I'd spotted at my university.
He sighed. "You went out with Tanner."
I blinked. What did that have to do with anything? My head was still fuzzy and I couldn't remember the exact number of times I'd been out with Tanner, but Blake knew that I liked the guy. Tanner was affable and trustworthy and, well, he wasn't the kind of guy to leave a girl stranded at a bar without a ride home. At least, I'd never pegged him as the type.
"Tanner can be an ass when he's not getting his way. And I know you Harper. You're not the kind of girl who gives in easily."
Catching my lower lip between my teeth, I thought his words over. "So you gave up your Friday night on the off chance I refused Tanner's advances, he reacted like a brat and I needed a ride home?" It sounded shaky at best. Not a predictable scenario. It was laughable, really. But neither of us felt like laughing.
"I thought you might need me. That's all." He smiled a small, sad smile and the skin around his eyes crinkled. Blake was handsome. He was also sweet and perfect and my best friend. "Get some sleep."
I snuggled back into his bed and inhaled the familiar scent of his sheets. The alcohol swimming through my veins was making me groggy. My eyelids grew heavy and I succombed to the strengthining pull of slumber. It was easy to give in.
The soft navy blanket I liked to curl up with whenever I was in Blake's room was pulled to my chin. A warm hand brushed across my forehead, swept over my cheek and lingered on my jaw.
I wanted to tell Blake that I was sorry. And that I appreciated everything he'd done for me. I needed to let him know what he meant to me, how lucky I was to have him. That I wanted more. I opened my mouth but I was too tired to say anything. I was sorry I was so drunk. I wanted to apologize for not finding the right words to say what was becoming so clear. I wanted to sleep.
The lights flicked off and the bed dipped. The old dorm mattress springs groaned. Blake was beside me; I could feel him and I snuggled at his side.
I would wait until tomorrow. It would mean more, coming from me when I wasn't quite so intoxicated. And if I didn't remember this exact feeling, this exact moment, it would come back to me at some point.
Blake and I were best friends. We'd figure the rest out eventually.
I'm struggling with NaNo and wanted to write something short and sweet and with a male lead who wasn't complete shit. Sometimes a too-nice best friend is the best remedy. :)
Thanks again to Amy and all the brilliant ladies over at ADoR. If you haven't participated in WHWN, I definitely suggest it. And if you're in the need of something to read, go check out their library of fabulous fics. Working link on my profile!
Until next time,