Light rose through the slats in the floor, illuminating my thoughts as it reached into each crease in my skin with tapering tentacled fingers. It was too early to be awake and hungover. I reached over to the empty pie tin I'd been using as an ash tray for the past three days, cringing at the metallic kbang that popped the air as my questing fingers nudged a dent into an opposing direction.
The party had been a bad idea. Charlie's parties were always a bad idea, and I always went. The cycle was as vicious as it was unavoidable. He hired DJs that should have gone back to high school and made something of themselves, the way none of the party-goers ever would. Malita was already in the middle of her downward spiral, enough DUIs under her belt to make it a lethal figurative weapon, Ivo still chased the wrong skirts while denying he'd rather be in one, and Charlie himself was on the fast-track to his father's nowhere.
I futzed with the zippo and swore at my fingers, struggling to light my first cigarette of the day. It wasn't judgment if I admitted I was the biggest loser, was it? Possibly. They may have been digging the inveterate holes of destroyed youth, but I wasn't even alive enough to make mistakes. Just coasting through life, there was my teabag. I couldn't even name the worst thing I'd ever done without sitting down and thinking long and hardand even then, I always made it up. Never been arrested, never been in a fight. I just lived in my parents' attic and smoked until my lungs felt like two carpet bags turned inside out. And that was nothing at all, comparisons or no.
Ash fell gracelessly into my lap, tiny greyscale flakes of my morning sitting on my thigh and waiting to be brushed away. I took a long drag and blew the smoke up at the ceiling. They could wait. Inanimate objects had amazing patience.
"What a night." It had been, and that was all that could really be said for it. A night that no one else would remember. The booze had flowed like saliva from the mouth of a horny sixteen-year-old anticipating his first lap dance, and it had tasted about as wonderful. I flicked the ash off onto the lumpy mattress, streaking my boxers with grey and white. Damn ash. It got into everything, and it never seemed to wipe off. I finished off the cigarette and stubbed it out in the pie tin, then got up and stretched.
If someone had been freakishly tall enough to peak in through the piss-small circular window, they would have seen a skinny-ass ridiculously androgynous university student with ratty black and green hair and a pretty enviable caboose. Thankfully, I'm talking about me. Charlie called me a long drink of water, although I could never decide if he meant my figure or my personality. Apathy is a disgusting addiction, so my face wasn't really much to look at, a boring nose, enough chin to keep people from making comments, and high cheekbones that made Malita go after me with her makeup bag every now and again. Bitch.
My head was pounding away like a construction crew that actually got work done, and I had to hunch two feet off of my full height to make it to the hatch. If the ladder wasn't there, I swore I'd turn around and just use the window. It was too small, even for me, and above the third floor besides, but it sounded like a really good idea right then.
God I needed to get a gallon of ginger tea and a lake of honey. Stat.
I fumbled the hatch open and glared at the hardwood floor beneath my dangling holey sock and bare toes. The ladder was there, supposedly. I didn't quite trust my eyes. They weren't the most reliable body parts to begin with, and that morning they were rebelling like the good guys in Star Wars. Hell, that made me Darth Vader. That should have been depressing, but I was too hungover to care that I was doing a better job of making fun of myself than most third-grade bullies ever had.
Tea. Honey. Silymarin tablets. Onward ho, Ando.
"I'm coming," I said to absolutely no one. My parents were away again, Gibraltar I think, and wouldn't be back until they felt like it, which worked out marvelously for me. Nobody could give me crap for living with my parents, considering they weren't actually in the country for more then a weekend at a time. Half of my classmates thought I lived alone. As if I could afford a 200 fuckbillion-year-old farmhouse and the land around it. "Had a rich uncle, doncha know."
The kitchen table eventually loomed, but I didn't bother to collapse onto it. Experience deemed it old, creaky, and bizarrely smelling of oranges. I went straight for the tall cedar cabinets and extracted my fixin's, then filled the ancient black teakettle with water from the tap and waited for it to scream my head onto the floor.
It didn't take as long to do it as it used toalthough the time lapse was most likely due to the fact that I'd fallen dead asleep on the smelly table. The teakettle screeched unabated, nurturing my revenge until I nearly dropkicked it. Good thing I didn't, my kicking foot was the one without a sock. I silenced it as best I could and poured most of it into a huge mug shaped like a skull, then dropped in a few slices of ginger. They were fresh, but I couldn't remember cutting them up. Ah well, days like this.
I sipped the awful tea and stared out the window, repressing the urge to put the mug down and just strip. I was by myself, I could have. Weird urges like that came to me quite often, but they usually passed after I sat and had a proper think, although my thinks were more about assignments and whether or not I'd have time to drive by the chemist's and harass some friends. The chair squeaked as I returned to it, sucking a bit of ginger that had gotten into my mouth. I spat it back into the tea and wished I'd bought some lemons.
Toast happened somehow, only after I'd dropped it several times, of course, and then the phone rang. "Whoever you are, this is your last day to live happily," I growled, fumbling for the receiver.
"Hey, Ando. Who do you hate?"
"Yay, I was hoping you still loved me. Are you human yet?"
"Never. Don't come over."
"Too lateI'm standing on your porch, sweet cheeks."
Damn his chirpy gerbil-faced charm. I hung up the phone, downed as much of my tea as the heat and taste would allow, then headed for the door. Good thing I hadn't stripped. The last thing Jussi needed was a quick thrill. Hell, the last thing I needed was a quick thrill. A long one would be nice though, I had to admit.
Not gonna happen though, which was probably a very very incredibly extremely good idea. I tugged the door open and glared at my 'friend' through my hair. "What the hell do you want?"
He grinned at me, looking disgustingly tidy and well-put-together, physically and clothing...ly. Shut up. His hair was cut in a style that magazines edited by sane people would consider fashionable, he'd shaved recently, and he smelled like a long hot shower that had somehow included bubbles. It was impossible to tell that he hadn't graduated yet. I reached out to smother his face with my hand. "Go the hell away."
This just made him laugh and duck into my house. "Oh come on. Say you're glad to see me."
"Why do you persist in punishing both of us?"
"Because you know you love it, and I know that one day you'll admit it." He handed me a large cup of store-obtained coffee. If it was Thundermuck, I'd probably kiss him.
I held off tasting the coffee. He knew Thundermuck was the way to go, and I hadn't brushed my teeth yet.