“What did you bring her for, Fred?”
I was lying on my back. I felt the prickly grass on my neck, my back felt sore and the scars on it were tweaking. But the stars were right ahead of me, turning around and around. The sight was hilarious. I giggled. Fred’s face appeared in front of mine, blocking out the stars. I wanted to tell him to piss of so I could watch the stars dancing, but all that left my mouth was more giggling.
Fred shook his head first at me, then at Dave who was the only one laughing. “You asshole. What did you give her to drink?”
“Honey Dapples. Only three or four cups, mind you.”, he managed to say before bursting out laughing again.
“She doesn’t drink!”, Fred yelled. “Didn’t she tell you?”
Dave shrugged. “I didn’t think she was serious.”
“I’m going to kick your ass later.”, Fred promised him. “I’ve got to take her home first.”
He leaned down and took hold of my arms. “Ok, Mag. We’re going home. Can you stand?”
“I don’t know. Haha, I would be so funny, if haha, if I couldn’t, because I’m not drunk. I don’t drink, you know.”, I told the silent audience as Fred pulled me into a standing position. The world was revolving very fast which Fred seemed to notice because he lifted me into the air and carried me over to the paddock. I waved at Dave over Fred’s shoulder.
“What were you thinking?” Fred was leading Shakespeare through the darkness. I was lolling around on Shakespeare’s back, at peace with the world.
“I dunno.”, I said. “Dave was doing funny things.” I giggled at the memory. “And you were so busy saying hello.”
Fred sighed, but didn’t reply. My head was feeling pleasantly warm and I was getting drowsy. “I’m tired, Fred. I want to go to sleep.”
“We’re almost there.”, said Fred, in a surprisingly gentle voice.
Fred carried me up the narrow stairs of the cottage.
“I feel like a princess.”, I said dreamily as I lay on the bed, resting my head against the pillows.
“You didn’t behave like one.”, Fred mumbled. He crouched down at the end of the bed to untie my shoelaces.
“What are you doing?”
“Taking of your shoes, so you can go to sleep.”
“Wanna take of my sweater too?”, I asked, giggling girlishly. “You’d even be allowed to kiss me and that’s saying something.”
Fred shook his head again, but I could have sworn he’d grinned a second before. He sat down on the edge of the bed and leaned closer. “I’d never take advantage of you while you’re in that state.”
“Shame…”, I mumbled. He grinned and made to get up again, but the moment I realized what was about to happen, I felt a twinge in my stomach. And then I realized something. “Don’t go now.”
“I have to. Our mothers would kill me if I stayed.” He stood up, smiled and after a moment’s hesitation kissed me on top of the head. I could feel my face burning.
“You’re all scratchy!”, I complained, suppressing fresh giggles. “You should shave more.”
“Good night, Mag.”
Ah. My head. Lights. They were too bright. Even through my eyelids. Oh god. What had I done? I sat up. Mistake. Without thinking much, I jumped out of bed and tumbled into the bathroom. Man, I felt sick… Hands gently touched my neck, holding my hair back.
“It seems that you enjoyed yourself.”, someone said waspishly.
“Not – not now, mum!”, I said, holding my stomach.
“I’m not going to say I told you so, you know that already.”, she heaved a sigh. “Do you want to go back to your bedroom? Thank god you didn’t ruin the sheets. That would’ve needed a lot of explaining.”
“I’ll just stay here, thanks. What time is it?”
Mum yawned pointedly. “It’s four in the morning.”
“Go back to bed, mum.”, I told her. “I can handle this.”
And so she did. I grabbed two towels from the cupboard under the sink, made myself as comfortable as my churning stomach would allow and reached up one last time to turn out the lights.
Hours and hours later, I raised my head slowly from my towel, relieved to see that the bathroom came into clear focus again. My stomach still felt a bit queasy and I thought that it had woken me up until I heard voices from downstairs. I got up carefully, still clutching a towel in my hands and tiptoed across the corridor. A clock on the wall showed that it was already past noon. Poor mum. Though she had probably just used the bathroom downstairs.
I sat down on the topmost stair to listen.
“It wasn’t her fault, I swear. I didn’t think David would do something like that.”, said Fred. The mere sound of his voice made me want to find a nice underwater cave in which I could hide and which I would never leave again. Never. My problem? I could remember every word I had spoken last night, when a certain golden drink had untied my tongue. Much of it had been true, but that didn’t mean I wanted Fred to know. Because I only thought he was attractive because my hormones had taken over.
“You should choose your friends more carefully, young man. Now I know I was right about you in the first place. You cannot be trusted.”
“Oh, come on. Mag is no little angel either.”, Fred replied angrily. “Anyone would have tasted the alcohol. I’m sure she did. But she was desperate and that’s why she let it happen. Now ask yourself why and don’t make me find out for you. If you will excuse me now – I have work to do.”
And he stomped out of the cottage. After a short pause – and to my utmost astonishment – mum followed him. “Hey! Wait a minute – Fred. Would you like to come over for dinner?”
“Well”, now mum sounded really uncomfortable. “Arthur’s coming round and I don’t want Mag to feel left out. Especially after a night like this.”
“Wow, you have a heart, have you?”, Fred said venomously. And after pausing for a moment: “Sure. I’ll come.”
I had heard enough. Scrambling to my feet as fast as I could, I tiptoed into my bedroom and slumped down on the bed. I had been planning to have a few furious thoughts about mum and then be embarrassed about Fred again, but apparently, I was still too tired. I rolled over and fell asleep again.