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"Cath, I'm not that kind of guy." I said, eyeing the woman. "Especially because Aeron is my best friend."
Cath was also my best friend, but she was like one of the guys. Her girlfriend, Sabriel or Bri for short, is this over-the-top ginger with a big nose and high cheek bones, but she makes Cath happy. So, I have no real opinion. But Cath, being the shit-pot stirrer she is, knows that I have deep feelings for our other friend, Aeron.
"Come on, Jamie! You gotta tell her sometime," she said, sipping her gin. I gave her a side glance.
Bri and Aeron walked into the kitchen, causing a wave of air and noise pollution to crowd the once-peaceful room. I was sitting on a counter close to the back door. Aeron smiled, showing us her teeth. Her purple-look-at-me lipstick was smeared.
A pang of jealousy flashed in my heart.
"Hey Bri, let's go dance!" Cath said, giving me a look that said "Sorry, bro." She grabbed Bri by her hand and led her back into the party.
"I'm SOOO glad that Cath found Bri! Aren't you, Jameson?"
I nodded. I could smell the cheap champagne on her breath. She was like, across the room.
"I'm just glad that Cath is gay, so my girlfriends don't get jealous of her," I say, hopping off the counter.
"I'm not even drunk, before you lecture me."
"Ha, lecture you? Why waste my time? I'm going out for a cigarette, want one? I wish you'd come out and smoke one with me, feels like I haven't seen you since we got here." Smart one, Aeron is. She knows me through and through. Except this time, this time, I really want a cigarette.
"Sure, I can ride with that."
She held her hand out to me and I guided her through the undulating bodies that was the dance floor. I waved at Cath and signaled a cigarette then pointed at the front door. She thumbs-upped me and told Bri the same thing I think. Some jerk bumped into me, and spilled his beer down my shirt.
"Hey, Dickfuck, wanna watch what you're doing? That's my friend you poured your piss hot beer on!" Aeron piped.
"Aeron it's fine, I don't care. I hate this shirt."
The guy walked by us, without a word.
"Hey asshole, don't touch me! Don't fucking touch me! Did I give you permission to molest my tit? Fuck no!" I turned around and pushed Aeron behind me.
"Hey Pal, keep your hands off the girl. Keep walking and I don't beat your drunken ass."
"What's going on, Darrel?" Cath said, approaching his flank. Bri took Aeron the rest of the way out. "Well if you won't tell me, Jamie will, and if I find out from him, I'm going to let him beat your ass."
"Uh, no, no, that's okay. I just grabbed that girls boob."
"'That girl?' You don't even know her name?" Cath spewed. "I'm going to beat your ass, Timothy."
"Ooh, Darrel, you better run," some guy said. Clearly, he knew of me and Caths co-fights. Darrel Timothy walked away, but that wasn't the last time I saw him.
As soon as he was out of my line of sight, I found Bri and Aeron, sitting on the hood of my Jetta and laughing. Bri saw me and she nodded in my direction. Aeron hopped off the car a couple seconds after Bri was inside.
"My knight in shiny skin! My, you're hella sweaty, babe."
I chuckled, pulling my shirt over the top of my head. I used it to wipe the majority of stank off my body.
"I hate that guy."
"You hate all the guys who touch me."
"I don't hate all the guys who touch you, I hate all the guys who touch you inappropriately," I say, pulling out my pack of cigarettes.
I took one out and put it between my lips, lighting it gingerly with a match. After, I shook the match out and through it toward the house in a pond. I take a drag and look down at Aeron.
"Want a hit?" I ask her. She's looking up at me with her drunk, sapphire eyes. It's hard to focus on her face when she's practically pressed up against me. I adjust my position against the hood, causing her to sit down on it next to me. After a while, she nodded. I handed her the short, watched her inhale and ignite the cherry in the dark.
After a second of smoke holding she blew out.
"That's some good shit, you roll it with pot?" She asks. Chuckling, I nod.
"Only half the pack is like that, though."
"Remember when we first started smoking weed?" I did. We were in my older brothers room while he was at work, looking for his porn collection. I hadn't seen breasts yet, but Cath had, and Aeron had seen a penis.
So, I had to initiate myself. However, instead of finding porn, we found pot. We weren't stupid 13 year olds. So we rolled one up in notebook paper(lol) and smoked it. As we got older, more reliant on pot, it was like we were seeing each other for the first time.
Cath was always with us, and she could tell. How? Aeron and I shot gunned all the time. It meant I was practically kissing her, all the time.
"Yeah, ha. Yes, I do."
"Me too, Jameson." No shit, I think.
She's doing that drunken stare thing that she does when she wants sex. But she already has had sex tonight, from the looks of her tangled hair, smeared lipstick, and rumpled look.
So I say, "It's time to go home, Aeron."
No sooner than that, she vomits on my shoes. I kick them off, wipe her OMG-I-puked-on-your-feet tears, and got the girls. Cath got in the passenger seat, I was driving.
Bri had the window down and was holding Aeron's hair as she vomitted out of my window. At this point, I didn't care if she puked on my car. I drop off Cath at her dorm, Bri at her apartment, and Aeron comes with me to my apartment. Well, our apartment. I carry Aeron up to our place, where she unlocks the door. I carry her further, into the bathroom.
"Holler if ya need me," I say. I leave the room after unzipping her dress for her. I sit in the recliner closest to the kitchen part of the apartment. A few minutes later, I hear her start a bath and turn the bathroom vent on. Soon, she'll ask me to hold her hair. She always does that.
So for a few minutes, I waited. Except she didn't call. I get up from my chair and make my way to the bathroom. I hear a squishy noise coming from beneath my socked foot. I heard the wetness before I saw it. The carpet was soaked. Drenched. How long had I been sitting there?
"Aeron?" I call, stepping forward. "Aeron, are you okay?" I knock lightly on the door before pushing it open. Aeron lay there, on the ground, in water. Her near dead eyes looked at me. The water around her was wet and reddened with what could only be blood. As I raked her body to lock onto an abrasion, she sat up.
"Jamie, it's not as bad as before, Jamie." She stumbled. I knew what it was.
"God, Aeron! What.. What am I supposed to do?" I helped her up, sat her on the toilet and shut the water off.
"You don't have to do that-"
"You won't. You'd let yourself drown." I say as I unplug the tub. Having already seen her naked, I shove her in the shower and scrub her hair. Maybe if I scrub it hard enough, all this wanting to die will go away.
I scrub her entire body and she lets me. I scrub her three, inch deep cuts and applied pressure to stop the bleeding. That's when I bring out the sewing needle. I use the water as lubrication and rip it through her skin.
"How's that for pain?"
"No, Aeron, I can't. I can't keep doing this with you."
"It's not that big a deal, Jamie." By now I was wrapping her arm in gauze.
"Not that big? Are-Are you fucking serious? You're drunk, then you decide 'I wanna die.' So you cut yourself? Bleed out all over my bathroom? And it's not that big of a deal?" I'm screaming now, and I know that's not the proper way to assess this situation, but fuck.
I slam down the gauze tape and punch the mirror. "You know, you may not value your life, but I do! Cath does! Bri does! Every guy you fuck even values your life! Why? You're the best sex they've ever regretted. Sex with you should be sex all the time, because you make them fall in love."
She looked up at me.
"You may not love you," I say calmly. "But I do."
I leave the room, dragging her with me. I lock her bedroom door and make her sit with me in the kitchen. I clean up my fist and throw the glass shards away. I sit down and call Cath.
"Jamie, you just dropped me off."
"I need rehabilitation clinic numbers, therapists, and a bank. Also, bring your ass. And pick up Bri on the way. We're having a sleepover." I look at Aeron as I hang up. She's pale.
Sometimes she forgets that having a support group and being honest with each other is as healthy as a fruit salad. I won't let her forget.