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|Best Hangover Ever|
August 15th 2016
Continuing to drive wasn't really going to do her much good, at least, not for now. It wasn't doing its job in lifting her spirits, so maybe spirits were the answer.
She pulled into a parking lot, near a bar that looked okay. This wasn't the shadiest part of town but not the stuff of dreams either. Jinora went inside, taking in her surroundings. It was a fairly typical bar: tables a long bar with plenty of bottles behind it, a couple of people here, some in small groups, some by themselves. It was pretty quiet, hence why there was only one bartender.
Jinora couldn't bring herself to care right now that he was quite handsome, so she just plonked herself down on one of the stools.
He didn't take long to get to her. "Can I get you anything?"
"Something big with a lot of alcohol," she curtly replied.
He raised a single eyebrow. "Are you alright, Miss?"
Jinora sighed. "I just walked in on my fiancé in bed with my sister, so you tell me. Look, I just want a drink and no bullshit."
The bartender smiled. "I got just the thing." He set to work pouring her a large glass of an amber liquid, probably brandy, if she were to have a guess. "No ice, you drink this pure. Give me a heads up when you want another one."
Jinora followed him with her eyes as he walked over to the computer and seemed to fiddle with the playlist. He threw a look over his shoulder, winking once at her. A piano song started playing, and Jinora didn't really care about it, so she started drinking her brandy. It burned in her throat, but that was kind of what she wanted now. She needed this right now.
It wasn't until she heard the lyrics that she realized it was Elton John. "It's sad, so sad. It's a sad, sad situation." Jinora couldn't help but chuckle as the bartender walked back up to her. "Made this playlist for you," he said. "Take as long as you need, I know plenty of songs for situations like these."
He walked off again, and Jinora shook her head. On the one hand, he was being an ass, but on the other, he did manage to make her smile already.
It did make her wonder though; what was next? She couldn't stay in here forever, but home wasn't really a place she could go now either. Perhaps her parents' house, that was doable by car, but then she'd have to explain the situation to them immediately. Not really something she'd want to do either.
Luckily, the apartment she and Skoochy lived in was in her name. She'd get to kick him out and enjoy the satisfaction that came with it.
Was it really something that had come out of nowhere? That would be a stretch, seeing how Skoochy and Ikki had always gotten along. Still, it wasn't something that had Jinora worried at the time, hell, she was glad. Just meant that she wouldn't have to worry about them, as was the case with Skoochy and Meelo. They didn't get along.
Of course, she didn't know the exact details of the situation just yet, but the end result was the same: he had cheated on her with Ikki.
Jinora tried taking another sip of her drink, but much to her surprise, saw that her glass was already empty. "Another," she told the barman.
"Sad song or strong drink?" he chuckled in reply.
"Are you an ass to all of your customers?"
He jutted out his bottom lip, mulling it over for a moment. "Yeah, pretty much."
Jinora sighed. "Fine, both."
With another chuckle, the bartender set to work on another drink for her, only this time she actually paid attention to him. His hands were nimble, his skin dark, his face handsome. Since he was only wearing a simple black T-shirt, Jinora could easily see his toned build and that he had a tattoo on his left upper arm. The type of guy who was probably one of those 'bad boy'-types in high school.
"Here you go," he said, placing the drink in front of her. "Got any special requests?"
"Anything's good," Jinora snorted.
He obviously took this well and put up Eric Carmen's All By Myself. Another one that should be sad but somehow managed to put a smile on her lips. She threw the rest of the drink back in one swig, and it did punch her in the gut with that much alcohol. Still, this way it didn't hurt so bad.
"Another one," Jinora said. "And make it a double."
As the night drew on, the bar slowly started to empty out, until it was just a group of men and the girl at the bar. Kai became increasingly uncertain about giving her more strong drinks, because she was going on pretty damn hammered. It wouldn't be too long before she'd pass out.
He leaned over the bar, right across from her. "Obviously, you're not looking forward to going home."
By now, she had resorted to letting her head rest on her arm. "What gave me away?" she said, looking up without lifting her head.
Kai chuckled. "Alright, how about you go somewhere other than home? Friend, coworker, parents. I'll make the call for you, just give me your phone."
"Hmm..." she mused, clearly not very perceptive anymore. "Purse..." She gestured to the bag hanging off the back of her seat, and Kai let out another deep sigh. He walked around the bar but, by the time he got there, saw that that had been a mistake. "Come on, don't pass out on me!" he said, shaking on her shoulder, but it was already too late. No way in hell was she waking up now.
Kai went through her purse, and there was unmistakably a phone in there, so he took it out. "Password protected..." he muttered. "Of course it is."
With a sigh, he put the phone back and decided to let her sleep for now. He warned the other group that it was one in the morning, and that he would be closing up shop in ten minutes. This was met with a few grumbles, but ten minutes later, they were gone, having left him a nice tip.
Still left the problem of what to do with the girl, though. He couldn't just leave her here, and he didn't know who she was, where she lived, or even if anyone was looking for her. Kai pinched the bridge of his nose, knowing what he'd have to do. "Christ..." he muttered and set to work one last time.
Jinora woke up with a groan. Her head felt like a chord of firewood, it had been split so bad, and her throat felt like sandpaper. What was worse than that was when she tried to take in her surroundings, she realized she had no idea where she was. It was on someone's fake leather couch, that much was certain, but for the rest, she had no idea.
When she tried to sit up, she immediately regretted that decision and was forced to reach for the bucket that was standing beside the couch.
Puking her guts out from drinking too much was something that had never happened to her before, not even in college. It just wasn't her thing to drink a lot, which is probably why she didn't have a tolerance and those strong drinks of last night worked so hard on her.
"Glad you realized what the bucket was for," a voice came from somewhere in the room. Even though it was probably someone talking at a normal volume, it felt more like someone was pounding away at her eardrums with a jackhammer.
"Can you not yell like that," Jinora groaned, rubbing her temples. She looked up from her bucket, seeing the handsome bartender from last night standing there. He was down to a pair of pajama slacks, upper body bare. Now that was a sight for literally sore eyes, because damn. His tattoo turned out to be a Japanese-style dragon, running from his arm to his very muscular pec. This in turn drew her gaze down to his abs, ultimately ending with a small tuft of hair under his belly button. It was kind of infuriating that he looked so good while Skoochy had been getting flabbier ever since he was done with college. Not that that mattered very much anymore.
"Sorry," he laughed. "I suppose you want to keep the drapes shut as well?"
Jinora took another look around, seeing that all the light coming into the room was indeed from around the edges of the drapes, leaving her grateful. Before she really realized what was going on, the bartender had disappeared into another room and soon came back with a glass of water and a small pill. "Advil," he said, handing them both over. "I think you could do with some."
"Thanks," she muttered and sipped on the water. It was definitely nice to have something to drink, and once she had swallowed the pill, it didn't take long before her headache started to become a bit more bearable.
This was also more or less the point that she realized how this must have looked. Jinora fell back onto the couch, covering her eyes with her hands. "Oh God... How pathetic do I look?"
"Right now or can I also count last night?"
Jinora perked up. "Did I... you know, try anything, or worse?"
Kai chuckled. "Nope, you passed out at the bar last night, I took you back to my place, right behind the bar. I put you to sleep here, figured that would be better than if someone found you there now."
She laughed as well. "Yeah, I suppose," she said. "Listen, I appreciate this all, but why do it? You've never even seen me before."
"True, but you went on and on last night about your fiancé being a dick, your sister being, and I quote, 'a filthy Judas', and a couple of other things. The fiancé was the one you kept coming back to though. Figured you could use someone right now who didn't want anything from you."
"And you put up with all my bullshit, let me sleep in your house, and watch me throw up in your living room? All for someone you don't know?"
"Well, we can always fix that last part. I'm Kai," he pragmatically said.
"Jinora. Nice to meet you. Properly, that is." It briefly fell silent between them. "How many embarrassing things did I tell you?"
A slight smile played over Kai's lips. "Quite a few. My personal favorite was when you said that your favorite color is yellow, but then you loudly announced to the whole bar that for underwear, you prefer orange."
"Oh, God..." Jinora groaned, because now that he said it like that, she did have some vague memory of it.
"Don't worry too much, it was quite funny. For me, at least." Kai smiled at her. "Want some breakfast? There's some left in the kitchen."
Jinora groaned again. "No thanks, I think I'm gonna give my stomach some rest for now," she said, though not without a morbid chuckle.
Kai laughed too. "Alright, then I'm gonna take a shower. Make yourself at home."
"Wait," she said, though not entirely sure why. "You're just gonna trust me in your house?"
Kai took a moment to eye her up cautiously. "You're a primary school teacher who drives a Volvo C30. You have all the paperwork with you, even though you left in a rush. Tells me you're precise and responsible, and that makes me inclined to trust you."
"How do you know all that?"
"Went through your purse last night," he simply shrugged. When Jinora shot him a quizzical look, he had his defense ready. "Look, I was going to let you sleep in my house, I needed to make sure you weren't a serial killer or something. Took a quick look at your papers and then put everything back. It's on the table in the kitchen."
For this, Jinora didn't really have a reply. It was a little rude, but on the other hand, he had taken care of her when she was being stupid and irresponsible.
Before waiting for a response, Kai had left her again, making for the shower.
She sighed and finally threw the blanket he had draped over her off. Here, she found that she was left in her tank top, jeans, and socks, with the rest of her clothes neatly draped over the back of a chair next to the couch. Jinora decided to take a quick look around the house, though it was quickly becoming apparent that this was an apartment. The decoration was slightly tacky, mostly mismatched, leading her to believe everything was done on a bit of a budget. On the whole, it was simple, small, but would do perfectly well for one person.
The one thing that really drew her attention was a rack in the corner. It was one of those poster racks that every thrift store has for displaying old hand-me-down movie posters, but this wasn't filled with that. It had papers in all sizes, all having spectacular drawings on them. Some were portraits, some landscapes, even a few cars and planes. The only thing consistent about them was the signature in the bottom corner: KF.
"See anything you like?"
Kai's voice startled her, making her jump up in shock. "Geez, Kai, you scared me."
"Figures," he deadpanned.
Jinora turned back to the drawings. "Did you do all of these?"
He nodded. "I have a job at an advertising agency, for drawing up designs and logos and such. This is just a hobby. Pay isn't great, so I managed to snag this place, the owner gives me a big discount on the rent if I help out in the bar every now and again." He took a quick look at his phone, seeing the time. "Look, Jinora, I have to go, or I'm gonna miss my bus. Just pull the door closed behind you, it doesn't open from the outside unless you have the key."
"Kai, wait," she hesitantly started. "I could give you a ride. It's the least I can do after everything you did for me."
A slight smile played over his lips. "Jinora, I'm sure you'd like to, but with your hangover, your head would be everywhere but the road. So here's what you're going to do," he interrupted before she could protest, "you're going to take it easy, take a shower, eat the breakfast I left for you, and go to your mother to explain the situation. Before you ask, you mentioned her last night. Sound fair?"
Jinora chuckled. "Not really, but okay." The main reason she gave in was because he was right, she wasn't feeling like driving. It would probably end in a horrible accident. Before he could be out the door though, she stopped him again. "Kai?"
"Thank you. Fo-for everything."
He smiled a damningly handsome smile. "You're welcome." Now though, he really was out the door.
Jinora felt slightly uncomfortable, being truly alone in someone else's home. She therefore decided to go to the kitchen, which was in the same style as the living room, only much brighter, which was unpleasant. The breakfast he had left for her did look quite good, but she decided it would probably be wiser not to eat it straight away.
Showering was awkward, as, naturally, there were only men's products, and it wasn't her shower, but rinsing off was nice. What she really wanted though was to brush her teeth, but that wasn't an option. Instead, she took a sip of Kai's mouthwash, get at least rid of the worst of the taste.
Once Jinora was clean again, she finally sat down at the kitchen table to eat her breakfast, trying to make herself eat a few things, which was when reality hit: she was alone again. Having spent most of last night being angry and then drunk, she didn't really have time to let that sentiment sink in.
But there it was. Even though she had only eaten a few bites, she wasn't hungry anymore and felt the first tears roll down her cheeks. She really didn't know what to do right now. Skoochy had been her go-to person, he was good at cheering her up, but that was out of the question now. Her sister was a good one too, but right now, same problem.
This left her parents, which also wasn't very high on her list. If Ikki hadn't told them already (which she probably hadn't), Jinora definitely wasn't looking forward to telling them. It would mean making Ikki look bad and admit that her father, who had his doubts about Skoochy from day 1, had been right all along. Her mother had been leaning towards Jinora's side of things more, but she was of the opinion that Tenzin was mostly right.
Ultimately steeling herself, Jinora decided that her mother was probably the best person now to talk to. Kai was right, she couldn't fully trust herself behind the wheel of a car yet, so she dug through her purse for her phone, which was when she found something that didn't belong there.
Jinora pulled it out, and even though she was crying, it did put a slight smile on her face.
Being a bartender teaches one to be a therapist as well. Call me at 555 645 7781 if you need a listening ear.
Maybe coming here and drinking herself silly hadn't been the worst idea after all. With a chuckle, Jinora dialed the number on the paper, knowing that at least something good had come out of all this.
Hope you had fun with this one, guys, it was fun to write as well. Special thanks goes to Korra2000 who was kind enough to provide me with the prompt for this one.
|Korra's Recovery • The Road to Nowhere Special • Soldier's Eyes - Part 1 • Inked • Smokin' • For Those About To Rock • Soldier's Eyes - Part 2 • Bath Time • Gym Buddies • The New TA • Moving Out, Moving On • Earning Her Spurs • Swimming in the Rain • A Drink For Free • Insider • How I Got to Memphis • What Happens In Vegas... • Vendetta|
|Tickets • As Tough As You Are • The Compound • Was It Worth It? • Coffee to Go • Best Hangover Ever|
|My Other Works|
|The Divided Republic • Team Player • All Are Equal • The Callgirl • Who We Are • She's a Pirate|
For the collective works of the author, go here.