In response to the Daily Post writing prompt Stroke of Midnight
She woke up with a terrible headache. Her head pounded, as if she’d drunk her weight in alcohol. Only she knew she hadn’t drunk. Just some orange juice. She knew better. She did. She turned in her… no that wasn’t her bed. Definitely not. Silk? Who had silk bedsheets? Oh No! Had she truly got drunk and gone home with some loser, thinking of himself as a stud. Disgusting! And Jonah would be so disappointed in her. Forget Jonah! She was pissed at herself. What had she done? She’d been doing so well. Six months… and now back to square one. She thought she’d learned.
“Hello sleepy head. Happy New Year.”
She sat up brusquely. Jonah? What the hell! What?
“Jonah, what the f…?”
“Language Kate. And don’t worry. I slept on the sofa.”
He held a glass fizzling with what probably was aspirin.
“What happened?” Then it hit her. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
He sat next to her handing her the glass.
“I got drunk. I hadn’t had a glass in six months.”
“Oh you didn’t get drunk.”
She didn’t understand. What then? She remembered absolutely nothing of the evening.
“I smoked?” He shook his head.
“What do you remember?”
“We were at Stacy’s. I invited you because, well because you’re my mentor but also a friend. And Stacy doesn’t know about… my addiction. I didn’t want to get tempted. But obviously I messed up.”
“You’re jumping ahead. Take your time. So we went to Stacy’s.”
She went through her fuzzy memory. It did feel as if she’d drunk or drugged herself. It felt like walking into a fog, but Jonah was here helping her. There were at least 20 people, none of which she knew. Kate remembered starting feeling anxious, so anxious in fact that she did seek the “bar”, at least to get to a place where she could breathe. The kitchen, as it happened, was quite full as well, so she’d gone outside. The music was nice, some Hit40s but also some goodies from Stacy’s very own personal collection. Some Kate had introduced her colleague to. But she wasn’t going to begrudge her for telling people she’d “discovered” that group in a small disc place. Stacy was cool. And she’d been the only friend she managed to make at work.
Jonah had been walking around the crowds, fitting in better despite being ten years older than some of the guests than she did. She’d grabbed an orange juice and sat observing the crowd from the seat by the pool. A girl had sat down by her side. Her name was… she couldn’t remember her name. She’d asked how she knew Stacy; they got to talking. But she couldn’t remember her name. Why?
“Don’t worry about that yet. What next?”
She’d offered her drink. But she refused. Said she was fine with her orange juice. She’d whistled. Impressed. She’d said that. She knew Stacy from school. They’d done stupid things together. Had she come with someone? Yes, a friend. But she didn’t know where Jonah was. Her boyfriend. No, just a friend. And how did she know Stacy? She’d changed subject a lot, making it hard for Kate to follow, but she was cute. In fact, when she tried to stand up, she’d stumbled and Kate had helped her back up.
“Maybe I should stop drinking.” The girl had said. “I guess that’ll be my new year resolution once we hit midnight.”
With that she’d gone back to the kitchen to grab some more alcohol. She’d come back while Kate was finishing her beverage. Then some disco song had started and the girl – why couldn’t she remember the name? – had pulled her up to dance. She loved the song. She let her new friend guide her. They’d danced. And then another song. She’d had fun. They’d even slow danced. She remembered the girl’s hand on her waist and butt. She’d felt slightly dizzy with the attention. She wasn’t really sure how she felt about it but it was irrelevant since having a boy/girlfriend was out of the equation until she’d managed on her own for a year. And she’d only got her own place two weeks before. Still… she’d started to say she wasn’t, but the girl had just silenced her with a finger. And she’d kissed her. She’d felt good but dizzy. And slightly buzzed.
“She drugged me!”
“I’m not quite sure to be honest. But you were willing to do anything she said. I got you and brought you here.”
“I’m supposed to guide you through the steps. And I wasn’t even here to protect you from a stupid girl who wanted to have some New Year’s Eve fun. I’m sorry.”
“How did you know to help me?”
He blushed. Jonah never blushed. He’d done some stupid things before he joined AA. What got him out was that he’d considered dosing his ex-girlfriend and pimping her for money. And she knew. She blushed too.
“Did we do anything?”
“Well when I saw you french kissing her even though we were a good 15minutes away from midnight, I figured I should intervene.”
It turns out that she didn’t fight him. He did mention though that Kate had been clean for 6 months and that she’d destroyed the work and improvement. Apparently the girl felt so really bad about it.
“Thanks again Jonah. I’m so lucky to have you.”
“But what’s the lesson Kate?”
“If I’m not 100% certain my drink isn’t clean I shouldn’t have it.” She chucked the glass with aspirin. “So where were we at midnight?”
“In the car. You were singing to the world a song playing on the radio that I’ve never heard in my life before. You didn’t say you could sing.”
“I guess it was a good night after all.”
“I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else kiddo.”