I don’t know what happened. The lights had gotten to that place where they’re soft but also swirly, and skin felt so fucking good against mine, and all I wanted to do was dance dance dance, and that had been amazing and that had been good but then.
But then. What? Some punk had pushed me, I think, and then I’d pushed him because, duh, I’m dancing here, only maybe I pushed too hard? Fuck. Fights break out. That’s just the way life works sometimes. And if I happen to get punched up during it?
God, that fight had been a godsend. A thousand things in my body had been screaming, a million voices in my head, maybe, and the best way to shut all that shit up is to just fucking hit something, to get someone to hit you. And so the fight had been good, the fight had been perfect. You can’t think when you’re fighting. But now I wasn’t fighting, or at least it didn’t feel like I was. After all, I was thinking. And I was definitely not dancing. And I had an ice cube in my mouth that was threatening to turn my body into a refrigerator, into the arctic, into a goddamn polar ice cap.
The cold in my mouth was kind of helping me to focus, actually, a delicious kind of pain that wasn’t quite pain enough, but almost got me there. Fuck, I thought, pushing my tongue against the smooth cube. It was never ending, it wasn’t going away. I didn’t like this kind of pain - I liked fast and hard, not long and just a little and fuck, it was so cold I thought I was going to die. I pressed it against my lips and got ready to spit, got ready to get this shit out of my mouth, but. I didn’t want to spit it out. No, more than that, I couldn’t. My body wouldn’t let me, not after the words I’d heard, the way I’d been touched. Not after I’d been commanded not to.
Fuck, I thought, a little confused but whatever, life goes on and I pulled the cube back into my mouth and pocketed it in one cheek.
The room was hazy, and warm, and cold, and something was biting at my gut but something was always there anyway, so I guess mostly I felt… okay. It was strange, to feel okay. I almost never felt okay. I guessed that I had gotten most of whatever I needed out in that fight, and really, I had. I leaned back on the counter and smiled, sucking gently on the cube of freezing against my skin. It had been a good fight. A good fight, and then…
And then he’d grabbed me. And held me. And hadn’t let me go back in.
I didn’t really want to go back in. Right about the time that I’d been thrown into him - or had he just grabbed me? - I couldn’t really remember, things had been so shifty - and that’s when, that was when this warmness had started and I had started worrying that I’d overdone the K and not mixed in enough E and maybe had missed the whites altogether, did I even have any of those left? I needed to get more of those - shit, what had I been thinking about?
I blinked, switching the ice cube to the other side of my mouth. The sudden blast of new cold against a part of me that wasn’t numb almost made me gasp, but I wanted my mouth closed. I didn’t want any of the cold to escape, wouldn’t let anyone else have it. This was all mine.
This, I thought. But what the fuck was this? Melting, I thought. This was melting. One moment we had been in the middle, and he had been moving around me, I had felt his body shifting and the suddenness of him, the power, the way he’d held me like my weight was easy and I’d just melted for him. Which was stupid, and I shouldn’t have done it, but it just felt so good to have his warmth pressed up against my back.
Hm, I thought, feeling my tongue grow numb as it explored the little bit of ice that was left. Melting. I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to melt. I think I wanted something a bit more dramatic than that.
I shifted the cube to my teeth and bit down, feeling it crumble under the strength of my jaws. Me too, little cube. Me too.
I sat there for a moment more before I remembered that I didn’t have to be there anymore. I could feel Chad hovering behind me, so I made a little wave for his benefit.
“Alright.” I slipped down off the stool and had to grab the bar to steady myself - shit, when had the world gone and got so goddamn wobbly. Rude. “I’m outie.”
Chad didn’t make a comment at that, but I could feel him watching me as I made my way to the door, stumbling through the shifts the world wouldn’t stop throwing at me. Fuckin ungrateful.
But, on the bright side, I managed to make it outside before I threw up.
Me and Bren took down everyone who was willing to be taken down, which turned into very few people once the brawlers realized they were up against two professionals, one of whom just wanted to end this as quickly as possible, and the other of whom was fucking nuts. We saved a few chairs in the process, too, which might have won us back the points Bren lost when a particularly persistent idiot called Bren a “sissy bitch” and Bren had smashed a chair over his back while screaming, “Sissy this, bitch!”
Shockingly, Bren’s bear still wanted to go home with him after all that. I shrugged when Bren told me I could take his car. I had the keys anyway - Bren knew I wasn’t going to drink enough to put me over the legal limit.
I think the disappointment showed on my face when I got back to the bar and found it deserted, because the bartender immediately shook his head. “He was never going to stay, mate.”
I didn’t have anything to say to that. I’d known it, Theodore Xavier John Baby Roosevelt had known it, the bartender had known it from the moment he’d walked in the door. But I’d still had to try.
“He finished the ice cube, though.”
“Really?” I was genuinely surprised, and totally forgot to be embarrassed that this man had overheard my instructions.
“Don’t know if he chewed it or swallowed it or what, but when he left.” He shrugged. “Nothin’ to keep him from talking.”
Something told me there wasn’t much that could. I thought about that, then sighed. There was nothing to do about it now. “How much do I owe you?” I meant for the drinks, for the damage, for putting up with Bren in rampage mode, but the guy just laughed.
“Please. It’s on the house. You cleared out that mess in record time.” I wasn’t sure if he was talking about John or the brawl, and decided not to ask. Then he looked at me, eyes twinkling. “You don’t want a job, do you?”
“I hate this place,” I said truthfully, and he laughed.
The cold air felt good on my face after the surprising exertion I’d made my body go through. It was only August but already crisp at night, and I loved that. I took a second to just exist, trying to get that stupid guy out of my head. He was gone, and that was that. Why did it matter that he’d finished the ice cube? Why did it matter that I’d wanted him to stay longer, that I hadn’t been fast enough? What was it to me if he’d smelled so good I’d wanted to just keep him with me all the time, to just be around, one hand in those stupid fucking dark curls?
Fuck, whatever. He was high as shit anyway. It’s not like he knew what he was doing. And it’s not like I needed that shit in my life anyway. I took a deep breath and headed in the direction of Bren’s car.
“Oh, fuck,” I heard a voice say behind me and I froze.
Don’t you do it, I told myself. Don’t you dare. He is quickly becoming dangerous for you - you’ll fall, and you’ll like it, but it can’t last forever. You fucking know this.
I heard the jingle of keys and passed my hand over my eyes. Shit, was he trying to drive?
“Fucking world,” he said, and he sounded so angry, so annoyed, so completely him that I found myself turning without thinking.
I found him propped up against a green Golf, keys in hand but nowhere near the keyhole. “So,” I said quietly, and he froze. Then he dropped the keys with a sigh.
“Fuck,” he stated, turning around. He didn’t sound surprised, or shocked, or even angry. Honestly, if I had to put an emotion to it, he just sounded resigned. He took me in, really gave me a hard look, or at least it would have been hard if his edges hadn’t seemed so blurred. “Don’t make me melt again.”
I frowned. “You shouldn’t be driving.”
“I’m not.” He looked down at the keys on the ground and made a face. “I’m fine.”
“You’re high as shit.” It was true, but I wasn’t really sure where to go from there. I mean, what was I going to do, call the police? I came closer as I thought about it, watched him watch me with some sort of trepidation and anticipation and, man, this guy was far gone.
“The fuck are you going to do about it,” he slurred, echoing my thoughts. I sighed and bent down to retrieve his keys and found that he followed me down, sliding down the car to sit on the cool pavement. I stayed at his level, holding his keys, chewing over my options.
“You made everything so fucking melty,” he accused.
“Pretty sure that’s the drugs.”
He shook his head. “You. And your fingers. And your ice cube. And then the world. It wasn’t very nice.”
“No,” I agreed, my voice quiet in the face of the guilt he was stirring up in my stomach. I should have known it would all be too much for him. I should have never touched him like that, not when he was like this. “It wasn’t.”
He shifted, his eyes dropping closed for just a second before they burst open with a gasp. “Shit,” he muttered. I gave him a hard look. He had been messed up in the bar, yeah, but this was some serious shit. Jesus. X wouldn't do this.
“What did you take?” I asked, but he just laughed and responded with, “What didn’t I take?”
I didn’t find that very encouraging. “Okay, what didn’t you take?”
He thought about that for a moment. “Donno. I thought.” Those eyes were closing again, and I was starting to get worried, actually worried about him. Was he overdosing, right in front of my eyes? Fuck, it’d been awhile since I’d had to worry about that. It didn’t feel good in all the same places, places I’d hoped to leave behind.
“Yo,” I said, snapping my fingers to bring him back. “Stay with me here.”
“Yeah, uh.” He looked around us. “Everything is just so melty.” He tried to run his hand through his hair but it got stuck, and I had a momentary moral quandary of if I should be reaching out to help him or if he would be better without my touch, but in the end he managed to get it untangled. “I think I just took too much K.”
“Special K?” Great, I thought. Horse tranqs. Fucking great.
“Takes the edge off the whites.”
“Whites,” I repeated blandly. What the fuck are whites? I thought. I don’t remember anyone talking about whites when I was part of the scene. A bit of anxiety was building in me. “Did you take X?”
He rolled his eyes at me. “I’m always on X. I live on X. I am E-X-tra, triple X rated, baby.” He seemed to look past my shoulder for a moment before focusing in on me. “But I don’t think I mixed them right today.”
“The.” He waved a hand. “Any of them.”
“Do you think you might have had too much?” I asked, trying to be gentle but genuinely worried. Horse tranqs, ecstasy, some other mystery shit, this kid didn’t even seem to know what he’d taken.
But he was shaking his head. “No, just.” Then he pointed at me. “And it’s your fault I went melty instead of stayed punchy.”
I had noticed that he’d been much more - melty - when I put him on the barstool than I remembered seeing him just moments ago in the fight. But, when he’d been thrown into me he’d felt like a ragdoll. I shook my head and decided it didn’t matter.
“Do you want to go to the hospital?” He flipped me off. I sighed. “Do you want to go home?”
He thought about that for a moment before nodding.
“Alright.” I stood, trying to check his key ring for any clues. “Where do you live?”
“Helpful.” I didn’t find any clues - it didn’t even look like he had house keys, just the fob for his car, the car keys, and then a small key that looked like. Maybe a safety deposit box?
“No,” he said, and I looked down to find his eyes so full of something that I nearly took a step back. Oh, I thought, remembering the way he’d stepped away from me in the club. Something where you expect nothing. That’ll do it. “Give me your dick.” His hands began questing towards me, but I fended him off easily enough. He was making these noises, half frustration and half just too turned on from the X and whatever goddamn else he’d put in his system. I scrubbed at my face.
“Shit,” I muttered. I needed to search his pockets, maybe find an ID to tell me where he lived. It just seemed like a really, really bad idea to touch him like that right then. Plus, I hadn’t seen any pockets. There certainly weren’t any on those pants, so tight I could see every muscle in his leg, every definition in his pocketless thighs. Plus how likely was it that his ID was updated with his current address? Mine wasn’t. And if the bartender didn’t even know his name…
He reached for me again and I captured his wrists, causing him to freeze instantly. I looked down at him, surprised, and saw a mix of fear and complete sexual desire on his face.
Fuck, I thought, as my body reacted to that, my hands tightening on his wrists. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
“Don’t make me melt again,” he whispered.
“I won’t,” I told him, although I honestly wasn’t sure that was true anymore. God, he was so fucking tempting. And so fucking high, and drunk, and just. Fuck.
“Take me home with you,” he continued, and I thought about that for a second. I mean, what else was I going to do with him?
Wait. Shit. What was I thinking? But it was too late, because I’d let myself think it, and he couldn’t stay here like this and I didn’t know where else to take him.
“Yeah,” I finally said, more a symbol of resignation to myself than in response to his entreaty. He moaned at the word all the same, and I had to close my eyes tight against the idea of making him make that noise for real, for me. Sober, I reminded myself. Sober. “Let’s get you up.”
Fuck it, I thought as this guy, this melty man whose fingers turned me into putty and who had somehow made the world go so soft, as he touched me again. Fuck it, because I was going home with him even if it killed me. I kind of hoped it did - what a way to go, melting everything right off your bones and dribbling into storm drains and then you got to be - oops.
I’d tripped and fallen, or I would have if this man wasn’t holding my arm. I liked him holding me. I liked him. I smiled, because I was going home with him, because I was going home with someone, and settled my weight against his.