“Star Wars reference, drink!”
“Oh god. Who decided that Family Guy and tequila shots were a good idea?” Lilly gasped and sucked the lingering lemon juice off her fingertips to kill the nasty tequila aftertaste.
“Blame Amy, toots. She bought a bottle just to pickle you with.” Jeff laughed and began to pour the next round of shots.
“I’m so lucky to have such demented friends.”
“Hey, its not every day you get to see a famous writer completely sloshed.” Amy shouted from the kitchen. The steady chopping sound accompanying her comment chipped away at Lilly’s soul. Her best friend was cutting more lemons so they could keep playing the game.
“That wasn’t why I came to visit, you know. My publisher won’t like it if I show up to the signing with a hangover.”
“Screw the slave drivers. They’re running you ragged.” Jeff remarked and handed over a shot glass. The clear glass read: Sex Instructor, the first lesson is free!
“Those slave drivers, as you call them, paid for my house.” She reminded him with a glare over the top of her glasses.
“A house that you haven’t slept in for over a month now.” Amy said as she shoved a wedge of lemon into Lilly’s free hand.
With a sigh, Lilly realized they weren’t going to let it go. Jeff and Amy were still coming to grips with the idea that she’d moved out of state. California was a great state to live in, but not if you wanted to be in the center of the publishing world. Her career demanded she move across the country. Leaving the two of them behind was the hardest thing to stomach next to the nightmare of a divorce she’d endured.
“No, no. You’re not going there. Drink.” Jeff pushed the shot glass up towards her mouth.
Lilly complied. The dark road her mind was going down would only ensure a complete mental breakdown by the end of the night. Alcohol wasn’t the end all to the misery trying to leak through and ruin their good times, but it sure as hell made the pain easier to ignore. The burning tequila was a welcomed distraction. Even if it meant that the next day was guaranteed to be wretched.
“God, I forgot how nasty this stuff is.” Amy complained. Her glass clanked down on the small coffee table so loud it made Lilly jump. Man, she really had to get out of her own head for a while.
“You’re the one that bought it. I told you rum was a better idea.”
“Only if you want Lil to do her pirate impressions until four in the morning.” Amy tossed down a gnawed wedge of lemon and smiled at her friend. “No offense, hun, but I dealt with the Pirate Wench for far too many year.”
“That wench landed me my first publishing deal.” Lilly reminded her and set her empty glass down on the table.
“I still can’t believe they loved her so much. Probably because they didn’t have to fetch the wench off a balcony before she could walk the plank during spring break.” Jeff added.
“It made sense when it happened. I think.”
“About as much sense as the stupid clothes and haircuts we all had in college. Nothing about those years serviced logic.”
Once again Jeff was refilling the shot glasses. Lilly wondered for a second if hiding the shot glasses would make the insanity of Amy’s idea stop. Without glasses they couldn’t take shots, right? Knowing her friends they had spare ones waiting on the counter just in case she tried something rash. But the idea was still there as she watched the yellow tinted liquid dribble over the lip of the small glass.
“Here’s to old friends and new adventures.” Amy shouted suddenly, breaking the trace Lilly had fallen into watching the tequila drip down her glass.
All three upended their shot glasses in unison and in unison groaned at the awful taste. Lemon wedges flew into three gasping mouths but had stopped killing the foul taste two shots ago. Or was it three? Hell if any of them knew.
The warm, fuzzy blanket that signaled Drunk had come for a visit settled over Lilly’s shoulders. She snuggled down into the feeling and let the false security buffer her from reality for a while. Nothing bad would happen while her friends were there with her.
God how she wanted to drag them to live in her house in New York. Amy would absolutely love the rose garden and Jeff could take the entire bare basement space to make into his man cave or whatever men called their sanctuaries. Living without them near was heart wrenching. Not even the daily calls to check in with them eased the loneliness living alone gave her. There was a hole in her heart where the two belonged.
“I love you guys.” Lilly murmured through the thick cotton blanket of drunkenness.
“Ut oh, she’s there already.” Amy shot a concerned look across the couch.
“I don’t remember her being such a lightweight.” Jeff’s face echoed the concern. The dual looks made Lilly’s heart clench.
“No, really. Listen to me.” She struggled to sit up straight and met their eyes straight on. Well as straight as she could while wobbling slightly.
“We’re listening, sweets.”
“You have to come live with me.”
“Did I miss part of this conversation?” Amy asked and looked down at where Jeff was sitting on the floor.
“Honest to Bob, we didn’t talk about anything like this while you were in the other room.”
“Amy! Just listen to me.” Lilly slurred a little and frowned. How much tequila had they fed her?
“Okay, I’m listening.”
“The house is horrible. I mean, no, its great. I love it, but it’s so empty. Too much space not enough love to give it all.”
“Has she started making sense yet?” Jeff leaned in to whisper against Amy’s leg so he wouldn’t get yelled at.
“Yeah, I think so.” Amy smiled down at him and then at Lilly. “It’s a big move to go all the way across the country, Lil. If we go you’re stuck with us for good.”
Lilly beamed at them. She wanted so badly to be stuck with them. Even during the times when they fought like siblings she still loved them dearly. Amy and Jeff were her everything and worked so hard at keeping her sane when her work threatened to send her to the loony bin. Having them in the house would always be a blessing.
“Tell you what, girls. We’ll do this again sober. If Lilly still wants us to trash her wonderful new home then we will. But no one is agreeing to anything when we can’t count to twenty without taking our socks off.”
“Promise we’ll talk before I have to go deal with the publishing witches tomorrow.” Lilly begged. “It will make it so much easier to survive the signing if I know you guys are coming home with me.”
“We promise. Now come on, I got the spare room set up for you two.”
Jeff stood and bent his large frame down to scoop Lilly up in his arms. She’d never had any romantic inclination towards him not even when he held her with such tenderness. Since day one there had been a sibling connection. It was a connection she desperately needed after going through elementary and middle school an only child.
As Jeff hauled her drunken butt to the guest bedroom, Lilly couldn’t help but laugh. It just bubbled up out of her throat before she could put a cap on it. Neither of her friends bothered to ask what struck her funny bone. The giggles were a side effect of too good a time with Mr. Cuervo. At least it wasn’t the rum pirate invasion.
The mattress felt wonderful under her as Jeff eased her down onto the soft sheets. Amy crawled into the bed beside her. Her hair sprawled out across both pillows. Lilly pushed the strands invading her space and gave it a stern look.
“Keep your snakes where they belong. I don’t want to wake up dead.”
“Uhh, Lilly…” Amy started and then just laughed. “Never mind. Go to sleep. We’ll get you to the signing tomorrow night in one piece.”
“After you agree to move in with me. Promise we’ll talk about it. Jeff, you have to remind us.” Panic made her voice squeakier than normal.
“I promise. Now just go to sleep.” He kissed both of them on the forehead and pulled the blankets up.
“Goodnight.” Amy called through the dark room.
“I love you guys.” Lilly slurred.
“We love you too.”
“Ain’t that sweet.” She managed to whisper before drunk paired up with sleep and dragged her deep down into the blackness.