Chapter tune: Darlene Love – (Today I met) The boy I’m gonna marry
“Charlie… I… I’m not feeling so well.”
With that sentence, Raina stood up from her stool and sprinted towards the restroom. Except she had no idea where the restroom was and found herself near the bar exit.
“Shit” was all Charlie had time to say before she started chasing after her. If Raina was clumsy when sober, she was ten times more when drunk. Charlie glanced at the bar for a second, but Zach was nowhere to be found. She grabbed her cousin tightly. “Come one girl, let’s get you outside.”
Charlie carefully sat Raina on a bench near the bar exit.
Shit… How could she be so drunk all of a sudden? She didn’t have that much to drink. Unless…
“Hey sweetheart…. look at me. Did you eat anything before we went out? Anything at all?”
“Nooope… Gooorsh, I’m not drinking ever again!”
“Sorry..! I tooot’lly forgot it! Arrr’ you mad? Phlease don’t be mad Charlie, I love you!”
“I’m not mad girl, but I wouldn’t have let you drink so much if I knew… Well. I have to get you something to eat now. But I can’t leave you here all by yourself. Shit.”
“I’m fiiiine!” Raina said, and immediately proceeded to groan in discomfort. Thankfully she hadn’t reached the vomit stage, but she sure was close.
“Oh my god, is she alright?” a girl who was standing close came even closer.
She and her two girlfriends – all three of them, but especially her, very well dressed and put-together – had obviously just exited the bar. Charlie opened her mouth to say that this was none of her business, but the interesting part about that girl was that her face showed genuine concern, not the slightest sign of mockery or intent to pry.
“She needs something to eat. I think there’s a hot dog cart somewhere near, but I can’t leave her by herself.”
“Nooo…” Raina muttered “no hot dog! No Sam!”
Charlie made a hand gesture, as if to say don’t mind her to the girl.
“It’s okay, I can stay with her. Or I can go get that hot dog, whatever you think is best. My ride will not be here for another twenty or so minutes… Oliver – my boyfriend – just texted me he’s running late at the hospital – he’s a doctor; well, resident – and he called my brother to pick me up so that I don’t have to look for a cab. But he’ll be kind of late too; apparently there’s been some kind of accident and there’s traffic at this late hour” the girl rambled “You girls can go if you want, I’ll stay.” she added, turning to her girlfriends.
“Not boyfriend anymore though, fiancéee..! Goodnight love!” one of them said in a sing-along voice, as they we leaving.
Charlie studied her face a little. She couldn’t shake the impression that, besides seeming very sweet in a motherly sort of way, she also looked really familiar. Then it hit her. “…Allison?”
The girl jerked her head upwards in surprise. “Yes, that’s my name. But… how do you know?”
“Oh my god, Allison! It’s me Charlie, remember? From Starlight Shores?”
“Charlie?!” Allison was now almost squealing “Of course I remember you! How are you? And how is Raina?”
Charlie pointed her hand to show her cousin. “Really, that’s her? I should have guessed, she looks so cute! …oh my god, right!” Allison exclaimed “We should bring the poor thing something to eat. I’ll go. It’s towards that direction, right?”
“Yeah. You sure?”
“Of course!” Allison yelled, already walking.
“See?” Charlie said softly while stroking Raina’s hair “We met our old friend again and you are too drunk to even notice… next time, I’ll force feed you before we go out.”
“Sorry..! I just… I got distr… distrsac…”
“Shhhh, it’ okay… I understand babe, I understand.”
At that moment, Zach appeared. “Shit, I thought you had left, and I didn’t get a chance to give her my number!” he said, his voice hoarse; apparently he’d ran all the way outside as soon as he noticed Raina was not sitting at the bar anymore.
“Well easy now Romeo, she’s not very well – as you can clearly see. And I looked for you before we got out to let you know, but you were gone.”
Raina, seeing Zach, tried to pull herself together, with little success.
“Shit. Shit, shit! I was needed in the back for a while. I told her but I guess she was already out… shit, I didn’t realize… I was really careful not to give her too many…”
“I get it man, calm down. Geez. She just didn’t eat much before we left.”
Charlie looked at Zach. She had to give it to him, he looked awfully concerned, despite the fact that he probably witnessed this kind of scene more or less every night.
After Allison arrived, Raina half-heartedly ate half a hot dog and drank a bit of the bottled water she was given. She was already feeling better, so Charlie decided her cousin was sober enough for Zach to be allowed to keep her company alone, until Allison’s brother, Andrew, came to pick all three of them up; Allison had insisted on it.
Zach looked more than happy to be left alone with Raina at last. “I’m really glad to see you better.” he beamed at her.
“Th-thank you…” she smiled back.
“Wow… you have such a beautiful smile.” he tried to turn on the charm, but seeing Raina blushing and turning her gaze elsewhere, made him change the subject. “Sorry for passing you all those drinks… I feel like a total tool now.”
“Oh… no, no it’s not your fault. I just… it’s embarrassing really, but I forgot to eat before I left the house. I’m better now so y-you don’t… you don’t have to stay…”
“But what if I really want to stay?” he gave her another cheeky smile “Please don’t take this the wrong way, but from the first moment I saw you, I just… I couldn’t look away. And the moment I noticed you left the bar, I kept thinking what an idiot I was for not asking for your number in time. I wanted to see you again… as soon as possible. So… can I stay next to you for a while? Until you have to leave?”
“S-sure…I’d like that.”
Meanwhile, Charlie and Allison were more than happy to catch up until Andrew arrived. “…Wow, so you’re a kindergarden teacher? You know, I can totally see that!”
“Oh, yes. I love kids, always have. I hope me and Oliver – my fiancé – have a bunch of them someday.”
“Oh right, your friends mentioned you’re engaged! Congratulations! So when is the wedding?”
“Ah well, it’s all so new. He just proposed last week so we haven’t had a chance to get started yet, but my guess would be in about a year or so. Everything has to be perfect!”
“Well I’m very happy for you.”
“You know, I’m so glad to see both of you again! Would you believe me if I told you I was thinking about the two of you just a couple of days ago? It seems so unreal to meet you after all those years! I know Andrew will be glad to see you too! You know what, we should meet up for a coffee soon. I’d love to catch up properly, with Raina too!”
“That would be awesome, girl. I’ll call you for sure.”
That moment, a tall, dark haired man crossed the street. He looked all grown up, but his intense, icy stare and serious expression were exactly the same he permanently had as a kid. There was no doubt about it. Andrew.
“Hi. Sorry I’m late.”
A/N: Hey guys! 😀 This chapter is on the short (and a bit boring) side I’m afraid – sorry! – but hey, at least it’s not too late this time! 😉 Honestly, I’m having so much fun with this generation (even though nothing particularly interesting has happened yet), that so far it’s been a blast taking pictures and writing; so the next chapter won’t take long to get posted! 🙂 And I had promised we’d see the siblings again, hadn’t I? 😉 We’ll definitely see more of them in the future! Thank you so much for reading! 😀 ❤