Chapter 15


I don’t know whether to hug Holly or throw my drink on her.  “I Never” was a game we played in high school, but it was pointless because we all grew up together and already knew everything about everyone else.  However, playing as part of orientation when I got to college was an… eye opening experience.  I learned more about my dorm-mates than I ever wanted to know.

The shots are poured and Holly starts since she suggested the game.  “I never…” she pauses to think, “dated an athlete.”

Several of us take our shots and pour.  Alcide comes next and says, “I never… wore women’s underwear.”

All the girls groan and then giggle when more than one guy takes the shot with us.  I raise my eyebrow at Eric as he shoots his tequila.  “What?  You’ve seen the show.  It was a dream sequence.”  Yes.  I remember that episode vividly.  Hot pink boyshorts that didn’t hide much of anything.

We continue around the circle and it’s finally my turn.  “I never… used handcuffs in an unorthodox manner.”

“Clarification!” slurs Amelia.  I know there’s little she hasn’t done.  “Define ‘unorthodox’.”

“I’ll rephrase.  I’ve never worn handcuffs that weren’t part of being arrested or when playing a character that gets arrested.”

I’m not completely surprised when Eric takes a shot anyway, despite my concession for his job.  He grins at me with a twinkle in his eye.  “Don’t ask.  So now me…”  It takes him a while to think of something he’s never done.  “I never… cheated on a significant other.”

I’m disappointed by the number of shots taken by my friends, but it’s nothing I didn’t know before.  I am impressed that Eric hasn’t cheated on anyone, even before he was globally known.  It raises my respect of him.

We continue circling, the questions getting more and more sexual.  “I never… had sex on the first date,” I state and am not shocked in the slightest when everyone but Tray takes a shot.  I’ve been tempted, but I’ve never been that kind of girl.

Eric grins at me and I wonder what’s going through his mind.  “I never… made out with a member of the same sex when a script didn’t call for it.”

His little caveat makes me smile as I shoot my vodka and suck on a sugared lemon wedge.  I roll my eyes at Holly’s wide eyes.  “I was in a sorority.  We played ‘Truth or Dare’ when we got bored.  It’s not a big deal.”  Does everything really think I’m a sheltered little darling?  Well, maybe I am, but still…

We continue making statements about things we’ve never done and getting drunker than we really should.  Amelia refills her shot glass from the last round and looks straight at me.  “I never… had a freebie to sleep with someone while in a relationship with someone else.”

Eric’s glass stays on the table but looks at me astonished when I take the shot and glare at Amelia, swearing revenge.  When it gets back to me, I grin wickedly at her.  “I never… did the walk of shame from a stranger’s bed… and still don’t know the name of said stranger to this day.”

She shoots her rum and gives me a dirty look.  “It’s not my fault, Miss Goody-goody-only-slept-with-five people.  You only know about that because I had to call you to pick me up.”

I laugh, “Yeah from a gas station down the street and you were still drunk from the night before.  My car smelled like a brewery for days.”

Eric watches the exchange between us with interest, but says nothing.  Jason uses the pause to call from the hot tub, “Hey Alkies, the DD stew is done.  If any ya’ll wanna ride home, grab ya shit and meet us by the cars.”

My vision is blurry enough to need help making my way up the stairs to grab my purse.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had this much alcohol… probably since college.  Bob, Danielle, Kennedy, and Jason wait by their cars to divvy up the drunks.  Since Kennedy was my ride, I stand by her car, but she nudges me.  “You don’t have to ride with me.  You could always call in tomorrow and hang out here to help Eric clean up.  Holly and Dani would cover for you.”

I sling an arm around her shoulder as we wait for Holly.  “I know they would, but that isn’t what I need to do… especially in this frame of mind.  I know that I’m likely to do something I’ll regret if I offer to stay and ‘help’.  I just need to go home and pray that the hangover fairy misses me on her rounds tonight.”

She nods in understanding, but I can’t deny that the idea of spending a single night with Eric, letting him do whatever he wants is appealing.  I need Kennedy to get me away from temptation.  We decide to take Holly home first since she lives the farthest away and she’s way drunker than I am.

Ken and I help Holly in and make sure she’s securely in bed and Kennedy has the foresight to place a trash can by the nightstand for easy access.  We get back in the car and I roll down the window, hoping the cool air will help me sober up a little.  When we drive past Merlotte’s I see Sam’s Bronco in the parking lot with a strange pick-up truck parked next to it.  I look over at Kennedy.  “The repair work should be done by now.  Pull in; I want to see what’s up.”

She looks at me and bites her lip.  “I don’t think you want to do that, Sook,” she says quietly and pulls onto the side of the road.

“Kennedy, what’s going on?”

She closes her eyes and swipes her hand over her forehead.  “Sam closed himself in his office yesterday doing paperwork that he usually saves for Monday.  Since we were going to be closed today, he wanted me to come in and do a quick inventory.  When I left for lunch, I guess he thought I was done for the day.  When I peeked in his office to let him know I was back… well…” She hands her phone to me.

Now I know I’m drunk.  There is no way in hell that I’m holding a picture of a shirtless Sam wrapped around an equally shirtless waitress that I’ve only met a couple of times.  My jaw opens and closes soundlessly before I fling open her passenger door and lean over, throwing up.

Kennedy unbuckles her seatbelt and leans over to pull my hair back as my stomach churns.  When my heaving finally stops, she hands me a bottle of water and some fruity gum to erase the foul taste from my mouth.  “I didn’t tell you earlier because I wanted you to have a good time today.  If I told you earlier, you wouldn’t have gone to the party and probably would have stewed and cried all day.  Not that this doesn’t warrant it.”

I take a deep breath and look in the rearview at the lone Bronco and truck in the parking lot.  “That’s her truck, isn’t it?”

She nods.  “Yeah, Dawn.  She was only hired about a month ago.”

Silently, I forward the photo to my phone and save it.  “Ken, take me back to the lake.  I have a freebie to take advantage of and damn if that cheating asshole is going to guilt me out of it.”

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